Legend has it that The Haunted Whaley House is filled with paranormal activity—find out for yourself by discovering centuries-old stories about this iconic building today.
The Haunted Whaley House has held a special place in American history for centuries, first as a historic building and a landmark, then as a haunted house.
It’s said to be the most haunted house in America and is the site of paranormal activity and supernatural apparitions. Head down to old town San Diego and learn about its amazing stories, its rich past, and see for yourself what this iconic house has to offer.
Explore the History of The Haunted Whaley House
The Haunted Whaley House dates back to its construction in 1856 by Thomas Whaley who built what would now be the oldest brick building in southern California. He came down to California around 1849 during the California Gold Rush.
The Whaley House was an important site in the city’s early development and holds strong significance today as a premier example of historic San Diego architecture with its Greek Revival design made from bricks he made himself in his own brickyard on Conde Street.
“My new house, when completed, will be the handsomest, most comfortable and convenient place in town or within 150 miles of here.!” He said to the San Diego Coast Life when he completed it his family would live there for many generations. But no family home is complete without its trauma.
In addition to being the Whaleys private residence it was also San Diego’s first commercial theater, a country courthouse and a general store. It has been an important landmark of the Old Town.
Visitors today can explore its history and uncover the eerie stories behind its mysterious reputation. Stand inside the same halls where Thomas Whaley once walked, hear tales about his ghostly spirit, and be part of this iconic American legend yourself.
The Legends About Mysterious Apparitions at Whaley House
Many wondrous legends have been told about the mysterious and strange happenings within The Haunted Whaley House and in 2005, LIFE magazine even called the Whaley House the most haunted house in America.
From rumors of reappearing spectral figures to disembodied whispers echoing through its halls, visitors often find themselves stunned at what lies in store on a visit to this eerie landmark. See for yourself by taking a tour of this historical building to discover centuries-old stories surrounding the apparitions and entities said to inhabit the grounds.
Examine Paranormal Activity Rumors at Whaley House
Rumor has it that the ground the Whaley House was built upon was haunted even before the house was built there. It was famous among the locals as being the place where the horse thief Jim Robinson was publicly executed. Many said that they heard the heavy footsteps of him as soon as they moved into the house and it is said he is one of the ghosts that haunts the place.
Also: Read about more Haunted Houses around the world: Here
Thomas Whaley seemed unfazed by the dark history of the ground though and started building and moved his family with six children into the house. Not long after they moved into it, tragedy struck.
The Death of the Whaley Children
Their 18 months old son died of scarlet fever and was the first to pass away inside the house of the Whaley family, but certainly not the last. And it seemed like he never really left either and many visitors talked about hearing small footsteps running around and the sound of him crying or giggling.
It was not the end of tragedies for the Whaley family though. One of Thomas’ daughters, Violet, had married a man named George T. Bertolacci and went on a honeymoon. One day she woke up and found that her husband had left her. He was a con artist that was only after her money and when he didn’t get it, he ran off.
Violet came home to the Whaley House without a husband and was distraught and ashamed. The society shunned her and she fell into a depression. At only 22 she put her fathers 32-caliber at her chest and fired, killing herself on August 19th, 1885.
Her suicide note read “Mad from life’s history, swift to death’s mystery; glad to be hurled, anywhere, anywhere, out of this world.” which is a passage from the poem Bridge of Sighs by Thomas Hood.
After both Thomas and Anna, his wife joined their children in the afterlife, many claim that they also are felt as a presence in the Whaley House as well as the rest of the Whaley family that followed. Lights are turning on and off, the crystal lamps in the parlor room are swinging without a draft.
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