Some hauntings are bound to be debunked as soon as there are investigations. This is the case with The Haunted H House, but the true story could have ended so much worse than a ghost haunting. 

The story of the Hauntings of H House was first published in 1921 in the American Journal of Ophthalmology by William Willmer, and was a story of one of his clients. It detailed a family that moved into a new house in 1912 and immediately started experiencing strange things. 

This ghost story quickly found its scientific culprit, but then again, the details of the supposed hauntings the family thought they were under, was scary. Perhaps even scarier than harmless ghosts, as this specific scientific haunting was deadly.

The Family H and Their Hauntings

The family moved into a large house built in the 1870s somewhere in America that was described as ‘Rambling and high-studded,’ and only lit by the flimmering gas lights. In other words, a perfect location for a haunted house. The family is known only as Family H, and it is the wife of the house that tells:

“Mr. H and I had not been in the house for more than a couple of days when we felt very depressed. The house was overpoweringly quiet.”


The Hauntings started in the small, but got even more detailed and vivid as time went on. And the hallucinations started to get more and more terrefying. 

“One morning, I heard footsteps in the room over my head. I hurried up the stairs. To my surprise, the room was empty. I passed into the next and then into all the rooms on that floor, and then to the floor above to find that I was the only person in that part of the house. Sometimes after I’ve gone to bed, the noises from the store room are tremendous, as if furniture was being piled against the door, as if china was being moved about, and occasionally a long and fearful sigh or wail.”

Kerosene Lamp, Lamp, Light, Lighting, Oil Lamp, Lantern
The Poisonous Gas: Although electricity was around during this time, many homes still used to light the house and war it up using gas. And it was a silent killer for many years in many homes.

The whole family felt it. The kids grew pale and lost their appetite, everyone suffered from headaches and they all started hearing things that weren’t there. Then the vision also started and they all started to believe they saw ghosts:

“On one occasion, in the middle of the morning, as I passed from the drawing room into the dining room, I was surprised to see at the further end of the dining room, coming towards me, a strange woman, dark haired and dressed in black. As I walked steadily on into the dining room to meet her, she disappeared, and in her place I saw a reflection of myself in the mirror, dressed in a light silk waist … On the night of January 15 we went to the opera. That night I had vague and strange dreams, which appeared to last for hours. When the morning came, I felt too tired and ill to get up. G told me that in the middle of the night he woke up, feeling as if someone had grabbed him by the throat and was trying to strangle him. He sat up in bed and had a violent fit of coughing, which lasted about five minutes … G had always slept heavily, never hearing a sound and nothing disturbed him. Now he was continually waking, answering the telephone and the doorbell, which had never rung, and looking for burglars, who never materialized.”

It was not only Mrs. H who had these visions, but her husband, her kids and her servants as well. They happened during the day as well as in the dead of night, and it wasn’t only the mind that got clouded, but their entire body felt ill. Even the plants in the house withered mysteriously.

“Sometimes as I walk along the hall I feel as if someone was following me, going to touch me. You cannot understand it if you haven’t experienced it, but it is real. Some nights after I have been in bed for a while, I have felt as if the bed clothes were jerked off me, and I have also felt as if I had been struck on the shoulder. One night I woke up and saw sitting on the foot of my bed a man and a woman. The woman was young, dark and slight and wore a large picture hat. The man was older, smooth shaven and a little balc. I was parelyzed and couldn’t move, when suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and I was able to sit up, and the man and the woman faded away.”

The Poisonous Gas Causing Ghost Hauntings 

This torture went on for two months with vivid and detailed hallucinations. Then Mrs. H got a visit from her brother that she confided in. He urged her to seek out a doctor as the reason for the haunting could be the furnace, not ghosts. 

And sure enough, when they had the house inspected, they found that the chimney pushed the carbon monoxide into their home and not out the chimney. There was also the case of the gaslights that also contributed to the problem as that type of gas at that time exhumed as much fumes as a car exhaust today. 

The scentless and sightless gas of carbon monoxide can lead to hallucinations, and in the worst case scenario, unconsciousness and death as it is poisoning you by blocking the oxygen to get into your blood. People often report that they hear noises in their ears, bells ringing, rushing sounds after being exposed to it. 

After the leaks were fixed, so was the haunted house. The family felt healthy and when they moved back into the house the visions stopped as well. 


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