5 Spooky Homes You Can Visit — and Even Stay Overnight (If You Dare)

published Sep 29, 2021
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Porch featuring Halloween DIYs, including a skeleton topiary, bats on the window, a spooky luminary, painted doormat, and feathered wreath

Once the weather starts to chill, some people look forward to their daily dose of pumpkin-spiced anything or making crockpot meals, while others prefer the scarier side of the season. And while it’s always fun to prepare and celebrate Halloween by carving pumpkins, welcoming trick-or-treaters, and bobbing for apples, you might want to delve even deeper into the spooky holiday by peppering their lawns with faux frights like DIY gravestones, 12-foot skeletons, and blow-up monsters. 

However, for some homes, there is a dark, downright chilling side involving real-life scares. Some of these haunted locations aren’t for the faint of heart, featuring things that go bump in the night and mysterious sightings of previous owners. This Halloween, enjoy the stories of five of the spookiest homes in the United States and decide if you want to visit in the future — if you dare.

Winchester Mystery House 

San Jose, California

Sarah Winchester, an heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune, originally purchased her two-story farmhouse in 1866, following the death of her husband, Wirt Winchester. Seemingly in an effort to appease the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles, she kept adding onto the home until her death in 1922. By the time of Winchester’s passing, the original eight-room farmhouse had expanded to include 160 rooms with a total of 10,000 windows, six kitchens, and 13 bathrooms. Today, the Winchester Mystery House showcases doors to nowhere, staircases to the ceiling, and sightings of Clyde, the resident ghost.

Lizzie Borden House

Fall River, Massachusetts

Although Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the 1892 deaths of her parents, her memory and the house where the infamous crime took place live on. The home retains most of the original furniture and artifacts from the investigation, and has been turned into a bed-and-breakfast. Of course, some visitors have reported ghostly sightings. 

Sallie House

Atchison, Kansas

The Sallie House started innocently enough as the residence of Atchison’s local doctor, complete with examination rooms downstairs while his family lived on the second floor. At some point in the early 1900s, a six-year-old Sallie was in great pain, and the physician diagnosed a near-rupturing appendix. Crucially, he reportedly operated on her before the anesthesia kicked in, and the child did not survive the operation. Now, Sallie is said to haunt the house. Today folks can take a one-hour tour or stay overnight, although seances, Ouija boards, and attempts to cleanse the house are forbidden. Visitors and paranormal experts have experienced seemingly cold rooms, physical touches, and objects moving independently.

Pittock Mansion

Portland, Oregon

The Pittock Mansion is a haunted home that doesn’t have a sordid tale to tell. Henry Pittock, a newspaper publisher, and his wife, Georgiana, completed construction on their home in 1914. Although they only enjoyed the house for four years, the property remained in the family until it was sold in 1958. It fell into disrepair and was ultimately saved from demolition by the citizens of Portland. Today, it operates as a historic house museum frequented by visitors and spirits, who indicate their presence with footsteps and rose-scented fragrances. Those who have experienced the hauntings sense the ghosts are kind and are most likely those of the Pittocks, who have every right to enjoy their beautiful home for eternity. 

House of the Seven Gables

Salem, Massachusetts

If there’s one place in the United States that exudes the paranormal, it’s Salem, where the infamous witch trials took place in the late 1600s. The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, nicknamed the House of the Seven Gables due to its construction, was built around the same time and has a vast history. With owners that included a merchant, sea captain, and the author Nathaniel Hawthorne, the home has centuries of history. As a result, some believe ghosts linger, such as a phantom boy playing in the attic and a man traversing the stairs. Whether or not you believe in ghosts is up to you, but some of the paranormal evidence in these locations is undeniable no matter where your viewpoint lies.