2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, is the address of one of the most interesting homes in the United States. A beautiful example of Greek Revival Architecture it is a source of fascination to historians, archaeologists and architects.
Teeming with history, the building has not only been the home of the Whaley family, it has in the past served as a courthouse, a granary, a general store and a theater.
Now home to the Whaley House Museum it has been beautifully restored and attracts visitors from all over the world.
What brings hordes of visitors to this house every year?
Obviously the history and architecture play their part. 2476 San Diego Avenue attracts visitors for another reason though. Purporting to be one of the most haunted homes in America, the house is also home to the Whaley House ghosts.
A Brief History of Whaley House
Originally built as a granary in 1856, a two storey addition was made to the structure in 1857 by businessman Thomas Whaley. The building then became the home of Thomas and his family and was possibly the grandest house in San Diego at the time, it was certainly the first two storey home.
Occupied by the family at various points until 1885, parts of the building were also rented out as a courthouse, theater and general store. Restoration of the building to its original style began in 1960 and is an ongoing process.
Who Haunts Whaley House?
1) Yankee Jim Robinson:
Thomas Whaley was clearly not a suspicious man. The land that he chose to build his property on was once the site of a public gallows.
One of the last people hung on the site was a gentleman called Yankee Jim Robinson. Convicted of larceny, Robinson was a big man hung from the back of a wagon.
Despite being present at the hanging Whaley went on to buy the land and build his home upon it.
Soon after occupying his new property Whaley reported hearing the footsteps of a heavy man walking around. Throughout their occupation of the property the Whaley family continued to hear the heavy footsteps. Thomas was convinced they were hearing the ghost of Yankee Jim.
2) Violet Whaley:
The ghost of Violet Whaley is another that is reputed to haunt her old home. Violet was the daughter of Thomas Whaley and committed suicide in 1885 aged 23.
Humiliated by the desertion of her husband early in her marriage, Violet first tried to kill herself by throwing herself down a well. Rescued from this attempt, she eventually succeeded in stealing her father’s gun from his desk and shooting herself in what was the family privy.
3) Annabel/Carrie Washburn:
A young red headed girl has been seen playing in various parts of the house. She is rumoured to be a playmate of the Whaley children called either Annabel or Carrie Washburn.
The poor child ran into a low hanging washing line strangling herself, before dying in the arms of Thomas Whaley. The child is often heard playing in the yard.
4) Thomas Whaley Jr:
The sound of a baby crying has been reported by many visitors to the house. This is thought to be the 18 month old son of Thomas Whaley, Thomas Jr. The baby died in 1858 of scarlet fever and is thought to still haunt the property. He can often be heard crying in the weeks before Christmas.
5) Marion Reynolds:
Marion Reynolds is another child suspected of haunting the Whaley house. The granddaughter of Thomas Whaley, she inexplicably ingested ant poison and died soon after. Perhaps she is the child often heard weeping and who could blame her after such a horrible death.
6) The Courtroom Lady:
Visitors to Whaley house have reported seeing the ghostly apparition of a dark skinned lady in old fashioned clothes in the courtroom. It is hard to identify this woman precisely. Could she have been someone convicted, perhaps unjustly, in that very courtroom?
7) Mr. and Mrs. Whaley:
The ghosts of Mr. and Mrs. Whaley have also been witnessed at the property often performing mundane everyday tasks such as smoking a pipe or folding the laundry.
Not one to be left out, the Whaley family dog Dolly has been heard scampering along the corridors and has even been caught on camera.
Staff and visitors to the Whaley House Museum continue to report strange paranormal occurrences. Music, singing and children laughing have been heard when the building is empty.
Chains clank in the old courtroom. The smell of freshly baked bread can be smelt when no one is cooking. Footsteps can be heard resounding along corridors that should be silent and shadowy images have been caught on camera.
For those that stop on the ninth step of the wooden staircase, an overwhelming feeling of sadness often follows. There is no doubt that people continue to experience supernatural events when they visit this historic house.
Does 2476 San Diego Avenue deserve the notorious title of ‘America’s Most Haunted House’? It must certainly be a contender. Sadness and tragedy seem to permeate the very soul of this beautiful building.
Could Thomas Whaley have guessed when he bought the land on which his house stands, the tragedy that would face his family?
Was the land he bought tainted or cursed?
Whaley House is visited by thousands of people each year hoping to catch a glimpse of the Whaley house ghosts. The very brave take part in the late night ghost tour.
For those ghost hunters hoping for their own paranormal experience, this spooky home is definitely worth the pilgrimage.