What is it about mankind that attracts some of us to high levels of tension created through mystery, suspense, gore, terror, or shock? Horror movies are one thing, but even that seems a bit sick and twisted to knowingly put oneself in a position to be scared, shocked or disturbed right? Why would anyone in their right mind want to visit an “actual” haunted house? Some might answer something to the effect of, “wanting to see for themselves if there really is anything after death,” but deep down is that the real attraction to horror, or to things we know will scare us? What about curiosity? Can people really say they’re “just curious?” Does that answer hold up?
Perhaps some people just have a certain curiosity or fascination with the unknown that is like an itch that has to be scratched? In that way, they’d be very similar to thrill seekers in other areas? One person may choose to skydive, while the other walks the halls of a haunted house hoping to get a glimpse of a soul caught between worlds? The end result they are both seeking is the thrill that results? As it related to horror movies, Sigmund Freud himself posited that horror came from the “Uncanny” – emergence of images and thoughts of the primitive id that were being suppressed by the civilized ego. Ol’ Freud might have been onto something there…
In the first video, The Big 10 researched which alleged haunted houses were actually haunted, and compiled their list of the Top 10 most haunted houses in July of 2015. Then, The Lineup ranks their top 8 Real Haunted Houses that you can actually go and visit should you be so inclined. In the second video below, Top 10 researched the Top 10 infamous Murder Houses in America where everything from actually killing in the home itself took place, to just storing the bodies there. It may come as no shock that where some of the most gruesome murders took place, also happen to be the most haunted houses in existence. The article concludes with The Lineup’s version of the Top 10 infamous Murder Houses in America. Again, there is much overlap in the different sources, which suggests if you like to get the crap scared out of you, these would be the places to do it!
THE MOST HAUNTED:
Costumed madmen wielding fake chainsaws are fun, but sometimes you want the real deal—An authentic, hair-raising, spine-chilling walk through a place where bad things actually happened. Herewith, eight real haunted houses fit for real thrill seekers.
Winchester Mystery House
San Jose, California
What happens when a grief-stricken woman has a ton of dough and lot of time on her hands? Answer: The Winchester Mystery House, a seven-story mansion filled with serpentine hallways, secret passageways, and eerie staircases that lead to nowhere. Sarah Winchester constructed the bizarre mansion at the behest of spirits who were gunned down by her husband’s deadly invention, the Winchester rifle. Though the real mystery is whether she created all the nooks and crannies to house the ghosts that spoke to her—or hide from them. Book a tour, which take place daily, from 9:20 a.m. to 5 p.m., and judge for yourself.
St. Louis, Missouri
Now a theater, B&B, and restaurant, the Lemp Mansion used to house the Lemp family. A powerful clan of beer barons at the turn of the twentieth century, darkness soon consumed the Lemps: By 1950, four members committed suicide, three of whom died inside their gloomy St. Louis home. And it’s their footsteps you’ll hear as you sip your brew. Once you’re buzzed, join in on a Lemp Mansion tour, which usually occur every Monday night at 7 p.m.
A quaint, porch-front property located in a northeastern Texas river port city, the Grove has not one or two but three resident apparitions. There’s a lady in white who takes the same path through the house when she appears, a man who rustles through the lilies out back, and a Don Juan sort who makes nice with purdy ladies. Get to know the specters every Saturday at 2 p.m. or Sunday at 11 a.m., when tours are usually held.
The Wild, Wild West
Jerome used to be a bustling copper mining town. And though today it’s home to just 400 residents, it continues to hum and stir with paranormal activity. Ghosts of prostitutes, outlaws, and those killed from tragic mining accidents make up the otherworldly population of the town’s historic homes and buildings—which you can tour with The Wild, Wild West. Keep an eye peeled for Sammie Dean, a working gal who was strangled in the Curb District and continues to roam the alleys looking for her killer who was never caught.
Villisca Axe Murder House
Forget the Field of Dreams: The real reason to visit Iowa is this house of nightmares, the Villisca Axe Murder House. In 1912, a ruthless killer bludgeoned to death Josiah Moore, his wife, their four kids and two other visiting children. The attacker’s identity remains a mystery. Today, the historic farmhouse is open to tours or even staying the night. Though guests usually cut their stay short once the visions of the murderer with the axe begin. Understandable. Tour season runs March 28 to October 31: For scaredy cats, there are daylight visits Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. For die-hard ghost hunters, there are overnighters: Check in at 4 p.m., then check out—hopefully—the next morning at 9 a.m.
RELATED: THE VILLISCA AXE MURDERS
Lizzie Borden House
Fall River, Massachusetts
Even though the murders happened more than a century ago, this crime scene-turned-national landmark remains a hotbed for macabre enthusiasts hoping to meet the ghosts of Lizzie’s parents, whom she—allegedly—hacked to death with a hatchet. Tours at the Lizzie Borden House are held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, but let’s be honest, you want the full experience: Sleep in the bedrooms where the bludgeoning occurred, watch a grisly reenactment, then relive it all the next morning over coffee and eggs.
St. Francisville, Louisiana
It’s known as one of the most haunted places in America, and for good reason—12 plus ghosts roam the grounds of Myrtles Plantation. One spirit is Chloe, a slave girl who hangs out in the breezeway of the mansion’s general store. Another is the unnamed Ghost Girl, a young lassie dressed in her antebellum best who often materializes in pictures. Tours are offered daily, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can even stay the night and experience the plantation’s dark side when the sun goes down.
RELATED: 16 MOST HAUNTED B&BS IN AMERICA
San Diego, California
Once a prominent family in California, the Whaleys are now just faded apparitions drifting through the Whaley House, a sprawling mid-19th century Greek Revival mansion. But they’re not alone. Now a museum, the Whaley House has a history of hangings, suicides, and untimely deaths, making it the home to several lost souls outside the family. One such spirit is Yankee Jim, who was hanged from the gallows on the site where the house now sits. He schlepps through the house with heavy footsteps. Self-guided daytime tours are available between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Though we suggest booking a paranormal ghost hunt, which goes down from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. Check the calendar for dates.
Photos (in order): Shannon O'Toole / Flickr; Wikimedia Commons; Missouri Historical Museum; Wikimedia Commons; Joyce Cory / Flickr; Jo Naylor / Flickr; Wikimedia Commons; MRHSfan / Flickr; Alik Griffin / Flickr
Forget the haunted house put on by your high school. The walls of these real-life murder houses witnessed some of the most brutal killings in American history. Several of the homicides remain unsolved, and some residents claim restless spirits still haunt the grounds. So step on in, if you dare…
REAL LIFE AMERICAN HOUSES OF HORROR:
9. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR HOUSE
112 OCEAN AVE, AMITYVILLE, NY
Note to first-time home buyers: when the deal is too good, start asking questions. In 1975, George and Kathy Lutz bought this sprawling Dutch Colonial on the south shore of Long Island at a bargain rate. The reason for the discounted price tag? Just 13 months earlier, previous resident Ronald “Butch” DeFeo slaughtered his parents and four younger siblings while they slept in their beds. It didn’t take long for the weirdness to begin – demonic voices, oozing walls, cloven hoof prints in the snow. The Lutz family lasted just two months before fleeing 112 Ocean Avenue in the night.
8. THE HEX MURDER HOUSE
REHMEYERS HOLLOW RD, SHREWSBURY, PA
In 1928, John Blymire was convinced a reclusive neighbor named Nelson Rehmeyer had put a hex upon him. Believing the only way to break the curse was to track down Rehmeyer’s spell book and set it ablaze, Blymire rallied two buddies for a late-night visit. While the gang never found the book, they did find Rehmeyer – whom they murdered and mutilated before setting his body on fire. In 2007, an effort was made to open the Hex House to the public, but the plan was eventually scrapped.
7. MOORE FAMILY AXE MURDER HOUSE
508 E 2ND ST, VILLISCA, IA
On a cool summer night in 1912 someone broke into this peaceful Iowa homestead and bludgeoned all six family members plus two houseguests with an axe. The horrific scene was discovered the following morning by a concerned neighbor. Numerous suspects were named in the case – including a traveling minister and State Senator Frank F. Jones. Nevertheless, the murder remains unsolved.
6. KREISCHER MANSION
4500 ARTHUR KILL RD, STATEN ISLAND, NY
German entrepreneur Balthasar Kreischer built this sprawling mansion in 1885 as a symbol of his success in the brick making business. Alas, the good times were short-lived. By 1894, his company had crumbled and his youngest son had shot himself in the head. The decaying mansion sat empty for years until its groundskeeper used the property for a mob hit in 2005. Joseph Young strangled and stabbed his target before finally drowning the man in a garden pool. Young then hacked up the body and burned it in the mansion’s incinerator.
5. LIZZIE BORDEN HOUSE
230 2ND ST, FALL RIVER, MA
On August 4, 1892 Andrew Borden was thrashed with a hatchet while he dozed on the couch of his parlor. Andrew’s second wife Abby met an equally grisly end in the upstairs bedroom. While everyone in Fall River suspected daughter Lizzie of the crime, the local judge remained unconvinced. She was tried and acquitted of the murder one year later. Oddly, the home is now a successful bed & breakfast.
4. MANSON FAMILY MURDER HOUSE
10050 CIELO DRIVE, LOS ANGELES, CA
Cielo Drive, George
In 1969, members of the Manson Family shocked the nation when they broke into this L.A. estate and slaughtered Sharon Tate along with four other victims. The murderers wrote “pig” in blood across the front door. Numerous residents have since called 10050 Cielo Drive home – including musician Trent Reznor, who recorded THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL there. In 1994, the original structure was razed and replaced with a new mansion, currently occupied by the creator of FULL HOUSE.
3. JEFFREY DAHMER’S APARTMENT
924 NORTH 25TH ST, APT 213, MILWAUKEE, WI
Cannibal killer Jeffrey Dahmer lured numerous victims to his nondescript one-bedroom, where he drugged and dismembered them in a brutal campaign of murder. Severed limbs were packed in the freezer for future consumption; torsos were dumped in a vat of acid. Police finally arrested Dahmer in 1991 after one of his prisoners managed to escape. The entire apartment building was torn down shortly thereafter.
2. JOHN WAYNE GACY’S HOUSE
8213 SUMMERDALE AVE, CHICAGO, IL
It’s always good to know your neighbors – especially if you suspect them of murder. John Wayne Gacy buried dozens of bodies in the basement and backyard of his suburban home while neighbors casually went about their day. When Gacy’s wife complained of a putrid smell, Gacy blamed it on dead mice. By the time police nabbed the infamous killer clown and excavated his 8213 Summerdale Ave property, they uncovered 29 bodies.
1. GARDETTE-LAPRETE HOUSE
1240 BURGUNDY ST, NEW ORLEANS, LA
How’s this for a Mardi Gras story? In the late 1830s, plantation owner Jean LePrete leased his French Quarter Greek Revival to a mysterious man from Turkey. The renter, known only as “The Sultan,” had more than a few roommates; he arrived with a massive entourage of eunuchs and concubines. The house quickly became known for its lavish parties, with music and revelry carrying on into the night. One morning, a passerby noticed 1240 Burgundy was eerily quiet. Then he spotted blood seeping out of the door. When authorities entered, they found everyone inside had been murdered and dismembered. As for The Sultan? He was buried alive in the courtyard. To this day, the case remains unsolved.
FOR OTHER TOTALLY RANDOM FUN LISTS:
BE SURE TO GO MY PROFILE’S BELOW AT OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA:
~ THE UN-SILENT MAJORITY ~