The house has been an important part of storytelling since time immemorial, long before Gone With the Wind’s burning plantation or The Wizard of Oz’s tumbling farmhouse. Edgar Allen Poe made great use of different abodes to set the scenes for his scariest works – The Fall of the House of Usher, A Cask of Amontillado and The Raven all come to mind. Even the stories and parables from the Bible make rich use of the places people called home.
But often truth, or at least a version of it, is even more terrifying than fiction.
While you may or may not believe in ghosts and goblins or the supernatural in general, there’s no doubt that a home’s history cast it in a certain light that it never shakes off.
With Halloween on our doorstep, we went scouring the information super(natural)highway for America’s spookiest houses. Here are some of our favorite reads:
If it’s volume you’re looking for, Complex.com is the place to go. They profile 50 homes with sordid histories. You’ll love reading each and every one of them, but here are a few of our faves.
No. 50 – Pittock Mansion
Overlooking downtown Portland, Ore., the home has a reputation for haunts, including a pair of boots walking around without legs. It was also used in the filming of the 1993 Madonna/Willem Defoe sex-thriller vehicle Body of Evidence. Talk about scary.
No. 36 – Redd Foxx’s House
The modest Las Vegas dwelling of comedian Red Foxx was seized by the IRS two years before his death. The place was later reportedly beset by opening-and-closing glass doors. A séance led to the owners playing recordings of Foxx’s standup every night, and apparently the hauntings have ceased.
No. 30 – Barton Mansion
This house in Redlands, Calif., was reportedly built over an Indian burial ground AND served as a jail and an insane asylum. I don’t think we need to say much more.
No. 15 – The Poltergeist House
Yes, the house where one of the scarier films of the 20th century was filmed is allegedly pretty haunted itself. Located near the site of a rumored nuclear accident in 1959 and prone to fires and earthquakes (c’mon, it IS California), at least four members of the Poltergeist cast have died premature deaths.
No. 8 – Amityville Horror House
Yes, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. killed eight members of his immediate family in the house in 1974. Yes, the reports of hauntings by subsequent owners have been largely debunked. Yes, the home still gives us the heebie-jeebies.
No. 6 – The White House
Presidents as venerable as Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt have reported seeing ghosts of family members or past presidents in the place, which makes it completely unnecessary to make any jokes about the horrors of 2017.
If you’re looking for a listicle from a site that is slightly less sensational – and brotastic – than Complex, we also enjoyed an article from HGTV LINK: which hits a number of the same landmarks (White House, Amityville, New Orleans’s sadistic LaLaurie House in the French Quarter). A new one here is Myrtles Plantation, a Southern gem in St. Francisville, La., where people disappear and reappear in photographs and pianos play on their own.
Conde Nast Traveler lends an air of the elite LINK: to its roundup of haunted places, adding cathedrals, hotels, forests, cruise ships, and state penatenteries to its list (hey, they’re home to somebody). Added to this list, as well is the Crescent Hotel — located not more than an hour from Zbuyer’s headquarters – where a nefarious doctor set the stage for a future of haunts, which are said to include now fewer than eight ghosts.
National Geographic hits many of the same notes as the previous articles, and includes the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Co., which was the inspiration for The Shining, though it wasn’t used as The Overlook in Stanley Kubrik’s 1980 classic – that was Oregon’s Timberline Lodge. As recently as this year there are reports of the supernatural being caught on camera. Weird.
Want more: A simple Google Image search will do ‘ya nicely.
Happy Halloween, everybody