October 2020

Haunted Houses Around the US


It’s officially spooky season! Turn on some scary music (may I suggest this one?) and settle in to read about some of America’s most haunted houses!

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA
The Winchester rifle was so popular, that it’s nicknamed the “gun that won the west.” Its rugged construction made it suitable for life in the mid-1800s as the US expanded westward and made the owner of the company, William Wirt Winchester, very wealthy. After he died, his widow Sarah inherited a fortune as well as profits from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, so when a medium in Connecticut told her to move after the death of her child, she had the means to do so! She landed in San Jose, CA, believing that the spirits of anyone killed with a Winchester rifle was haunting her, and started work on the Winchester Mystery House to give her ghosts a home to live. The house underwent 24/7 construction until Sarah’s death in 1922, and now boasts 161 rooms, 47 fireplaces, 40 bedrooms, and—it is said—many ghosts.

The White House, Washington, D.C.
The White House has been around for decades—of course there are some ghosts! Willie Lincoln, Abraham’s son, died in the White House in 1862. After his death, President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, reportedly held seances to communicate with him. It may have worked. During the Grant administration, staff members claimed to see the ghost of Willie Lincoln. And there are claims that Abraham Lincoln’s ghost joined his son in White House hauntings. Eleanor Roosevelt, press secretaries for Dwight Eisenhower and Lady Bird Johnson, Harry Truman (and his daughter!), Theodore Roosevelt, First Lady Grace Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, and even Winston Churchill were all said to have seen Lincoln’s ghost or feel his presence.

Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, MA
On August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, were found dead in violent attacks in the middle of the day by their daughter Lizzie. Suspected murder weapons were found in the basement of the home, and after police inspected the house, Lizzie was arrested on suspicion of murder. Though she was later acquitted, it was widely believed that she murdered her father and stepmother. She now is said to haunt the house where the murders took place, which is now a bed and breakfast.

Farnsworth House Inn, Gettysburg, PA
Located near the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, this historic inn is said to be riddled with hundreds of bullet holes. It is also reputed that Southern Confederate soldiers hid in the house to avoid the battle, and some continue to haunt it to this day. They may feel welcome there, considering there is a Civil War-era dining room and ghost tours for all guests!

What’s your favorite haunted house story?
Tell us at #inspiresocialstudies

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