When it comes to the number and frequency of ghost sightings and unexplained events, these real haunted houses can’t be beat. From burnt out ruins to presidential homes, these six haunted houses will chill you to the bone. You’ll find walking and talking ghosts along with poltergeist activity and tales of grisly deaths.
The top 6 most haunted houses are a reminder to us all that when the dead walk we would do well to run away and hide and not venture out until the way is totally clear.
In England, a country often associated with ghosts and haunted mansions and castles, Borley Rectory makes the claim of being “the most haunted house in England.” And there’s quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to support that claim.
The rectory was built in 1863 next to Borley Church as a home for Reverend Henry Bull. Over the years it was the site of intense poltergeist activity, including spontaneous displacement of objects, strange odors, cold spots, the sound of galloping horses and ghostly apparitions. Even after the rectory was destroyed by fire in 1939, photos taken around the ruins of the building and the adjacent church continued to contain unexplained elements.
One of the last residents of the house, Capt. W. H. Gregson, reported that the spirit of a nun had been seen wandering the grounds on several occasions. After the nun was seen peering out of a window a few times, the window was bricked up. “The disastrous fire at the Rectory may have had some disturbing influence,” Gregson wrote, “because during the night of the fire, several people report having seen me, accompanied by two ‘strangers,’ one, a ‘lady, dressed in a grey cloak,’ the other, ‘a gentleman with a sort of bald head, dressed in a long black gown.'”
Some of the most chilling experiences took place around Marianne, the wife of Reverend Lionel Foyster who took residence in the house on October 16, 1930. An entity attempted to communicate with Marianne through scrawled handwriting on the walls – an event documented in photographs. Other mysterious photos show a floating brick, an unknown floating ribbon-like thing and other ghostly figures. Anomalous images continue to appear on photos taken on the rectory grounds up to the present day. Just last July, 2000, a photo taken behind the church shows a mysterious orb.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London, one of the most famous and well-preserved historical buildings in the world, may also be one of the most haunted. This is due, no doubt, to the scores of executions, murders and tortures that have taken place within its walls over the last 1,000 years.
Dozens upon dozens of ghost sightings have been reported in and around the Tower. On one winter day in 1957 at 3 a.m., a guard was disturbed by something striking the top of his guardhouse. When he stepped outside to investigate, he saw a shapeless white figure on top of the tower. It was then realized that on that very same date, February 12, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded in 1554.
Perhaps the most well-known ghostly resident of the Tower is the spirit of Ann Boleyn, one of the wives of Henry VIII, who was also beheaded in the Tower in 1536. Her ghost has been spotted on many occasions, sometimes carrying her head, on Tower Green and in the Tower Chapel Royal. Other ghosts of the Tower include those of Henry VI, Thomas a Becket and Sir Walter Raleigh.
One of the most gruesome ghost stories connected with the Tower of London describes death of the Countess of Salisbury. According to one account, “the Countess was sentenced to death in 1541 following her alleged involvement in criminal activities (although it is now widely believed that she was probably innocent). After being sent struggling to the scaffold, she ran from the block and was pursued until she was hacked to death by the axe man.” Her execution ceremony has been seen re-enacted by spirits on Tower Green.
The Queen Mary
Ok, this grand old ship doesn’t qualify as a house, of course, but it is quite haunted. Once a celebrated luxury ocean liner, when it ended its sailing days the Queen Mary was purchased by the city of Long Beach, California in 1967 and transformed into a hotel. The most haunted area of the ship is the engine room where a 17-year-old sailor was crushed to death trying to escape a fire. Knocking and banging on the pipes around the door has been heard and recorded by numerous people.
In what is now the front desk area of the hotel, visitors have seen the ghost of a “lady in white”.
Ghosts of children are said to haunt the ship’s pool. The spirit of a young girl, who allegedly broke her neck in an accident at the pool, has been heard asking for her mother or her doll. In the hallway of the pool’s changing rooms is an area of unexplained activity. Furniture moves about by itself, people feel the touch of unseen hands and unknown spirits appear. In the front hull of the ship, a specter can sometimes be heard screaming – the pained voice, some believe, of a sailor who was killed when the Queen Mary collided with a smaller ship.
The Whaley House
Located in San Diego, California, the Whaley House has earned the title of “the most haunted house in the U.S. Built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley on land that was partially once a cemetery, the house has since been the locus of dozens of ghost sightings.
Author deTraci Regula relates her experiences with the house: “Over the years, while dining across the street at the Old Town Mexican Cafe, I became accustomed to noticing that the shutters of the second-story windows [of the Whaley House] would sometimes open while we ate dinner, long after the house was closed for the day.
On a recent visit, I could feel the energy in several spots in the house, particularly in the courtroom, where I also smelled the faint scent of a cigar, supposedly Whaley’s calling-card.
In the hallway, I smelled perfume, initially attributing that to the young woman acting as docent, but some later surreptitious sniffing in her direction as I talked to her about the house revealed her to be scent-free”.
Some of the other ghostly encounters include: the spirit of a young girl who was accidentally hanged on the property; the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, a thief who was clubbed to death and who can be heard on the house’s stairway where he died, and has sometimes been seen during tours of the old house; the red-haired daughter of the Whaley’s sometimes appears in such a realistic form, she is sometimes mistaken for a live child. Famed psychic Sybil Leek claimed to have sensed several spirits there, and renowned ghost hunter Hanz Holzer considered the Whaley to be one of the most reliably haunted structures in the United States.
Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, is most famous for the ghost of “the Brown Lady,” which was captured on film in 1936 in what is considered one of the most authentic ghost pictures ever taken.
The Unexplained Site describes one of the first encounters with the spirit: “The first known sighting happened during the 1835 Christmas season. Colonel Loftus, who happened to be visiting for the holidays, was walking to his room late one night when he saw a strange figure ahead of him. As he tried to gain a better look, the figure promptly disappeared. The next week, the Colonel was again came upon the woman. He described her as a noble woman who wore a brown satin dress. Her face seemed to glow, which highlighted her empty eye sockets.”
The White House
That’s right, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. is not only home to the current President of the United States, it also is home of several former presidents who occasionally decide to make their presences known there, despite the fact that they are dead.
President Harrison is said to be heard rummaging around in the attic of the White House, looking for who knows what.
President Andrew Jackson is thought to haunt his White House bedroom. And the ghost of First Lady Abigail Adams was seen floating through one of the White House hallways, as if carrying something.
The most frequently sighted presidential ghost has been that of Abraham Lincoln. Eleanor Roosevelt once stated she believed she felt the presence of Lincoln watching her as she worked in the Lincoln bedroom. Also during the Roosevelt administration, a young clerk claimed to have actually seen the ghost of Lincoln sitting on a bed pulling off his boots.
On another occasion, while spending a night at the White House during the Roosevelt presidency, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was awakened by a knock on the bedroom door. Answering it, she was confronted with the ghost of Abe Lincoln staring at her from the hallway. Calvin Coolidge’s wife reported seeing on several occasions the ghost of Lincoln standing with his hands clasped behind his back, at a window in the Oval Office, staring out in deep contemplation toward the bloody battlefields across the Potomac.