Location: 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110, United States
Small Description: The two-story house and store addition was designed by Thomas Whaley himself and constructed in 1857. The building was started with the construction of a granary that later became the courtroom. It was the first two-story brick edifice in San Diego, and was built from bricks made in Thomas Whaley’s own brickyard. Thomas and Anna Whaley had six children. Their daughter Violet married George T. Bertolacci in 1882 in a double wedding with her sister Anna. Unfortunately for Violet, George was a fortune hunter and only interested in her dowry. Apparently he found it lacking.
Two weeks after the marriage, as they were traveling by rail to the East Coast, George abandoned Violet, and she was forced to travel home alone – a double humiliation for a young Victorian lady. Shunned by society for this faux pas and for her subsequent divorce, Violet committed suicide in 1885, shooting herself in the chest with her father’s gun. Over time historians have discovered that the house was built on the land of an old cemetery. The Whaley House has earned the title of “the most haunted house in the U.S.”
Ghost Story: In 1871, an angry mob held Anna Whaley at gunpoint on the 9th step of the stairs, while public records were removed. Thomas Whaley was out of town at the time. A chill in the air is reported there. The ghost of Thomas Whaley has been seen on the second floor landing dressed in a black coat and wide-brimmed hat.
In the music room, turn of the century songs, laughter are heard and the smell of cigar and the smell of perfume, which quickly disappear. A lamp in the music room has a couple of crystals that hang off the lamp. These have been seen moving, while the others are motionless.
Electric lights in the house go on and off by themselves. Inspections find nothing to explain this. The ground floor windows have been sealed to keep them from opening by themselves, setting off the alarm.
There is a little girl ghost that we believe is the granddaughter of Anna Whaley. She died in the dining room after accidentally ingesting some poison. When the Whaley’s lived in the house the “kitchen” was actually outside just off the dining room.
Thomas Whaley, Jr. died at the age of 17 months in his upstairs bedroom. Cries of a baby have been reported coming from this room. The ghost of a small dog has been seen coming and going from this room. The dog has also been seen out in the yard.
At night, a figure has been seen peering out of the upstairs windows when everyone has gone home for the day.
Things that have been reported upstairs are: curtains in many rooms moving by themselves when the windows are closed, beds and pillows have shown the impressions of someone having laid there, even though visitors cannot gain access to the rooms. A rocking chair has been seen rocking on its own.
Bonus Spook: The really odd thing about the Whaley House is that the Whaley’s themselves suspected it was haunted. Thomas Whaley told the local paper that he heard phantom footsteps on the stairs, and mused the place was haunted by the spirit of “Yankee Jim” Robinson, who’d been hanged at the site.