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Terrifying Real Haunted Houses Of America

1. The Winchester Mystery House

Tabloids claimed a medium told rifle-fortune heiress Sarah Winchester that she'd be haunted by ghosts of the victims of Winchester rifles, unless she kept building the rambling California mansion. Work proceeded around the clock until her death in 1922. Today, the partially-ruined mansion remains as a tourist attraction: numerous stairways to nowhere, secret rooms, doors that open onto walls, are among its eerie, deathtrap architectural features. The Winchester Mystery House inspired the Stephen King book/TV movie Rose Red.

2. The Chelsea Hotel

The iconic, Victorian Gothic hangout of New York's bohemians and artists is supposedly haunted, most notably by the poet Dylan Thomas, who died in Room 206 of alcohol and pneumonia-related complications. It was also the site of Nancy Spungeon's 1978 murder, allegedly at the hands of The Sex Pistols' Sid Vicious. The building, in major need of renovations, sold in 2013 to developer Ed Scheetz. He plans to renovate and re-open in 2016.

3. The Joshua Ward House

The Georgian/Federal style Ward House in Salem, Massachusetts has seen some gruesome moments in history: it was built on the foundations of the house of sheriff George Corwin. Nicknamed 'The Strangler,' Corwin killed countless "witches" by tying their necks to their ankles until blood ran from their noses. In the early 1980s employees at a real estate company who moved into the building alleged sightings of a ghostly, black-haired woman.

4. The Cecil Hotel

The Los Angeles hotel has a dark, strange past: in 2013, resident Elisa Lam went missing. Her body was eventually discovered in the Cecil's rooftop water tank. Later, surveillance video showed Lam acting erratically in one of the building's elevators, as if she was being pursued by an invisible assailant. Her death remains unsolved. Subsequently, people have reported other creepy apparitions, including a mysterious figure hanging out of one of the fourth-floor windows.

5. 10050 Cielo Drive

The house where Sharon Tate et al. were murdered by the Manson Family in 1969 has been destroyed: however, neighbour David Oman tells LA Weekly the whole area is haunted as hell: "During construction, a worker told Oman he heard voices and footsteps coming from the top floor and that he knew he wasn't alone.

In July 2004, Oman woke from a deep sleep at 2 am to find "a full body apparition at the bottom of his bed pointing towards the driveway which leads to the murder site." When he went to the LAPD, he saw a photo of Jay Sebring - also murdered on that night - who bore an eerie resemblance to the figure he'd seen at his bedside. Here's a video walk-though of the house from 1993.

6. The Myrtles Plantation

Weird, fleeting smells, handprints in the mirrors, vanishing objects, hangings, murder - the Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana has long been perceived as one of the most haunted houses in America. The main legend involves Chloe, a slave reportedly abused by former plantation owners Mark and Sara Woodruff. Regardless of its accuracy, it's said a woman wearing a green turban haunts the plantation. Sound inviting? Check out their website and book your stay.

7. Villisca Axe Murder House

Two adults and six children were found brutally murdered in their beds in this small, wood frame home in Villisca, Iowa in a massacre that panicked the entire town. Tours at the home have been cut short by children's voices, falling lamps, moving ladders and flying objects. Believers say it's a hotbed of psychic activity. Almost a century later, the murders remain unsolved.

h/t HGTV, Unexplained Mysteries, LA Times


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