Ain’t nothing like the real thing: 5 haunted haunts

While haunted house attractions may be fun, there’s nothing like the real deal – if apparitions, sightings and eerie otherwordly activities are your idea of Halloween fun.

My one encounter with the spirits was in a dzong (fortress/monastery) near Paro, Bhutan. But, there’s no need to travel that far. If you’re paranormal curious, there are plenty of places to have encounters with another kind right here in the US.

Here’s a short list of 5 sites.

The Winchester Mystery House > San Jose, CA

haunted mansions, paranormal activities, sightings and apparitions in the US, Halloween entertainment ideas, eerie entertainment, encounters with another kind, haunted architectureHistory: Construction began in 1884 on this Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion for Sarah Winchester and Oliver Winchester, inventor of the famous Winchester rifle. The mansion developed into a maze of craftsmanship, miles of twisting hallways and 160 rooms featuring architectural oddities such as the Switchback Staircase.

Lore: Sarah lost her infant daughter and fell into a deep depression. According to mediums, the Winchesters were advised to move west and they built the mansion. After Oliver Winchester died from tuberculosis, Sarah added endless rooms and staircases. The theory: if she kept adding rooms, she would stay one step ahead of the ghosts of the people who were killed by the Winchester rifle.

The Hotel Chelsea > New York, NY

haunted mansions, paranormal activities, sightings and apparitions in the US, Halloween entertainment ideas, eerie entertainment, encounters with another kind, haunted architectureHistory: This landmark, built in 1883, boasts a huge roster of guests and long-time residents: including Janis Joplin, Stanley Kubrick, Frida Kahlo, Dylan Thomas and Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, plus hundreds of other artists, musicians, and writers who passed through New York.

Lore: A hotbed of suicides, overdoses and homicides – many a deceased bohemian spirit is said to dwell here. It’s reported that the spirits of Dylan Thomas, Eugene O’Neill and Thomas Wolfe appear from time to time. Also, according to many overnight visitors, the ghost of Sid Vicious lingers in the elevator.

The Octagon House > Washington, D.C.

haunted mansions, paranormal activities, sightings and apparitions in the US, Halloween entertainment ideas, eerie entertainment, encounters with another kind, haunted architectureHistory: This example of Federal architecture was completed in 1800 by Colonel John Tayloe III. Tayloe, who had 15 children. was the richest plantation owner in the US at the time.

Lore: Apparitions and the other forces have been seen and felt on the spiral staircase and the second and third floor landings. These were locations of arguments and fatalities between Tayloe and his daughters.

Tayloe was extremely well-connected. His home was the center of important political gatherings. He was a friend of several presidents including James Madison. Dolley Madison’s spirit has been seen in the main ballroom. The Octagon, which was reputed to be a slave market, is also believed to be haunted by the spirits of African American slaves.

The Myrtles Plantation > St. Francisville, LA

haunted mansions, paranormal activities, sightings and apparitions in the US, Halloween entertainment ideas, eerie entertainment, encounters with another kind, haunted architectureHistory: Built by General David Bradford circa 1796, the plantation was inhabited by his family and then changed hands often, being sold and remodeled many times, until current owners John & Teeta Moss turned the plantation into a bed and breakfast. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Lore: The plantation is supposedly home to 12 ghosts including: Chloe, a slave owned by the Bradford’s daughter and son-in-law, Sara and Clark Woodruff. Some believe that she is the woman wearing a green turban; an Indian woman who is buried below the property in the Indian Burial Ground; three Union soldiers; and William Winter, the only verified murder victim in the house, haunts the 17th step,

The Lemp Mansion > St. Louis, MO

haunted mansions, paranormal activities, sightings and apparitions in the US, Halloween entertainment ideas, eerie entertainment, encounters with another kind, haunted architectureHistory: Built in 1868 by architect Jacob Feickert. William J. Lemp and his wife, Julia, purchased the mansion for use as a residence and an auxiliary brewery office for the family business. In 1876, they moved in.

Lore: The ghosts of several Lemp family members who committed suicide are said to haunt the mansion. The first suicide in 1904 was Lemp himself. It was followed by his daughter Elsa, his son Billy, Jr. and finally third son, Charles. The only surviving son, Edwin, died at 90 in 1970 and asked that all his art and family heirlooms be destroyed.

Visitors to the mansion have reported feeling they are being watched, or sensing an atmosphere of sadness. Some claim to have seen apparitions of members of the Lemp family, Charles in particular. Other paranormal incidents include doors opening/closing, locking/unlocking on their own; candles lighting on their own; and a glass flying off a bar.

Draw your own conclusions.

Photo: © The Winchester Mystery House / Photo, The Hotel Chelsea: © 2007 Janet Giampietro / Photo, The Octagon House: © 2009 AgnosticPreachersKid / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. / Photo: © Dean A. Orewiler from The Myrtles Plantation / Image: © The Lemp Mansion, in public domain in the US.

Leave a Reply