There are many things that must be disclosed when buying or selling a home. While this list includes numerous items, revealing whether a building qualifies as haunted is not required. Unless, of course, a homeowner has publicly made that claim.
On this Friday the 13th, the CoreLogic® content team explores abandoned mansions, former speakeasies and famous cinematic locales that are inevitably associated with paranormal activity and general creepiness. Some places are scary looking houses, and others are haunted homes that have gone up for sale repeatedly, but they are all cultural touchstones in one way or another.
Everyone has their opinion on places that creep them out, but here’s our take on locations and buildings that could (or should) be haunted.
1. Biltmore House
Asheville, North Carolina
Biltmore House is remarkable for many reasons, not the least of which is because it is said to be haunted.
When George Washington Vanderbilt – the grandson of the railroad tycoon – began constructing the home on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina in the 1880s, it was the architectural undertaking of a generation. It took almost a decade, but the 125,000-acre property eventually became the location of the largest privately owned home in the U.S.
At 175,000 square feet, the 250-room French Renaissance chateau covers nearly four acres of indoor space with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. The home was beloved by George and his wife Edith, and the legend is that they still hover around the estate entertaining guests at lavish parties and splashing in the now-empty swimming pool.
2. Camp Crystal Lake
Hardwick Township, New Jersey
The “Friday the 13th” movie franchise has long been a cornerstone of horror movie culture, and the original 1980 film was set and shot at a bucolic camp in northwestern New Jersey.
Camp Crystal Lake, the fictional summer camp where the masked villain Jason Voorhees methodically stalks and dispatches young staff members, is actually Camp NoBeBoSco in Hardwick Township, New Jersey, which is adjacent to the Pennsylvania border. The camp has been operating for nearly a century, and at more than 380 acres, it is the largest Boy Scout camp in the Garden State.
3. Edgar Allan Poe House
Master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe lived in numerous East Coast cities in his 40 short years, but the tale ultimately ended in Baltimore in October 1849, under fittingly mysterious circumstances.
Before his untimely demise, Poe spent time during the 1830s living in a West Baltimore home on N. Amity Street. Now a National Historic Landmark, the small brick home is just one the many places in the city associated with the legendary writer (including a pub in the Fells Point neighborhood, reportedly one of the last spots Poe was seen alive.)
Poe’s final resting place, on the grounds of Baltimore’s Gothic Westminster Hall, is located less than a mile from the historic home where he likely penned some of his legendary work. For years, an unknown visitor (or perhaps multiple visitors) known as the “Poe Toaster” left roses, notes and liquor bottles at Poe’s grave on his January birthday, a tradition that has since reportedly ended and remains as eerie as the author and his work.
4. Exorcist Steps and House
Immortalized in the 1973 horror classic “The Exorcist,” this stairway and home have rightfully cemented their place in both cinematic history and local lore of Washington, D.C.
Located in Georgetown just across the Potomac River from Virginia, the stairway plays a prominent role in William Friedkin’s film, including the iconic ending where the titular exorcist falls to his death. The home where the demonic possession supposedly occurred, is located on Prospect Street NW, directly to the west of the steps’ top.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser dedicated the steps a city landmark in 2015. And while many D.C. visitors might never think to venture to the stairway, those that do will be rewarded with both a quick, vigorous workout and a walk through a scenic, quiet neighborhood that is almost totally removed from the typical tourist traffic of downtown and the National Mall.
5. Franklin Castle (Hannes Tiedemann House)
The legend of Franklin Castle dates back to the 1880s. Built by Hans Tiedemann, a successful banker and co-founder of Union Banking & Savings Co., the dark, Victorian family home was the scene of tragedy early on.
Just after the Tiedemanns moved into the home, the couple’s first daughter, Emma, succumbed to diabetes. She was shortly followed by her grandmother and three more siblings. However, stories of paranormal activity in the 20-room mansion didn’t begin to surface until the mid-20th century, following its function as a meeting place for the German Socialist Party and later a residence for Nazis.
After World War II, the home remained vacant until 1968, when it was purchased by the Romano family. At that point, strange things began to transpire, including stories of phantom organ music playing, lights flickering and even the discovery of human remains in one of the hidden rooms.
6. Hotel Chelsea
New York, New York
New York is the city that never sleeps, making it an ideal playground for those seeking a long night in the company of ghosts.
Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan has become infamous for its long history of artistic crises and stories of dramatic demise. The hotel was originally constructed in the late 19th century as a utopian co-op residence, designed to promote self-sufficiency and the arts. Although initially successful, the concept and the building fell into disrepair in the early 20th century following several mortal incidents where the outcome resulted in the former guests staying behind — for generations.
7. LaLaurie Mansion
New Orleans, Louisiana
It isn’t surprising that one of the most unnerving houses in the U.S. would be in New Orleans, long considered to be a haunted town.
What is surprising, though, is the agonizing history of this house that led to its acclaimed status. Located in the French Quarter, the multistory, neoclassical home originally belonged to Madame Delphine LaLauire, a wealthy socialite who was known for her lavish parties and later for her cruelty.
It wasn’t until 1834 that the dark history of the LaLaurie mansion was revealed when a slave set fire to the home, and those who came to quench the blaze uncovered the horrific living conditions of some of its residents, many of whom are said to still haunt the mansion nearly 200 years later.
8. Lizzie Borden House
Fall River, Massachusetts
The well-known children’s rhyme solidified the Lizzie Borden house as a touchstone in the collective American culture. But the dark history of the home did not stop it from becoming a tourist attraction, where curious guests can stay overnight.
Although the house long ago changed hands since the Borden family lived there, the clan never really left. And that connection with the supernatural is what prompted the creator of the Lily doll, Lance Zaal, to purchase the infamous home in 2021 for $2 million and expand the home’s ghost tour offerings.
9. Moss Beach Distillery
Moss Beach, California
Perched atop a cliff overlooking a secluded cove on the California coast about 25 miles south of San Francisco is the Moss Beach Distillery. Once a thriving speakeasy and well-known West Coast nightclub fueled by rum runners, the Spanish-style structure has since become a restaurant, as well as the home of the Blue Lady ghost.
This famous spirit is said to be that of a woman who was conducting an affair from the restaurant during the Prohibition era. On one of her visits to the speakeasy, the clandestine lovers were murdered on the beach below. Since then, there have been sightings of the woman who is said to play pranks, lock doors and steal earrings from diners.
10. Myrtles Plantation
St. Francisville, Louisiana
The dubious honor of the South’s spookiest house was long ago bestowed on the Myrtles Plantation, which was originally known as Laurel Grove.
Although imbued with ample southern charm, the facade cannot mask the eerie happenings at this plantation. Built in 1796 by the exiled General David Bradford, the 600-acre estate is well known for a roster of hauntings, with stories ranging from the macabre to the fantastical. Phantoms of generations past are said to walk the plantation’s halls, keeping guests company and adding a certain mystique to the atmosphere of this home that seems frozen in time and unable to let go of its past.
11. Sanders House
Los Angeles, California
Michael Jackson’s 1982 “Thriller” remains the best-selling album of all time, and a house in Los Angeles’s Angelino Heights neighborhood, the setting for the video of the same name, played a key role in its popularity.
Just a short jaunt from downtown Los Angeles, Carroll Avenue is lined with historic Victorian homes that feel somewhat eerily out of place in sunny Southern California. The video, which features a spoken-word cameo from the late, legendary Vincent Price, helped turn Jackson’s sixth solo album into a cultural juggernaut that has sold 70 million copies to date.
The 3,500-plus-square-foot home, officially known as the Sanders House, was reportedly built in the 1870s and was dedicated as a Los Angeles city landmark about a century later.
12. Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, Colorado
Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1980 horror film “The Shining” (based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name) has spooked decades of cinephiles, but it has also propelled millions of people to visit the sprawling, red-roofed Stanley Hotel, just outside of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
Constructed in Estes Park in 1909, the Stanley Hotel inspired the King novel that became a cinematic sensation. As if that weren’t enough, the hotel is also the site of a considerable amount of paranormal activity. Among the 142 rooms of this colonial-revival hotel, the fourth floor is known to be particularly spirited.
13. Winchester Mystery House
San Jose, California
Doors that lead to nowhere, staircases that abruptly end and other unnerving architectural features are hallmarks of this iconic 60-room mansion located near the heart of Silicon Valley.
The 24,000-square-foot Winchester Mystery House was the brainchild of Sarah Winchester, an heiress to the firearms manufacturer of the same name. Winchester began building the home in the 1880s, and construction continued until her death more than 30 years later.
Much speculation surrounds the house’s lengthy construction period and bizarre features; one anecdote goes that a psychic consulted Winchester to build the house, while another maintains that ghosts instructed her to continue building the home as restitution for those killed by her family’s namesake guns.
The potential for hauntings isn’t the only thing that makes the property market interesting. Follow the CoreLogic Intelligence blog to find our what else is going on and gain insight into property market trends.
Happy Halloween from CoreLogic®!