Haunted houses are sort of an acquired taste. Some people love them. Some people hate them. No matter how you feel about them, this time of year, it's hard to walk down the street without seeing an advertisement for your local haunted house tour or the latest movie or television show about a haunted house. Most haunted houses are simply built to scare the "bejeebies" out of us, but a few are real houses that have reportedly been the sites of paranormal activity. Some of these homes have been immortalized in books or on screen. These more famous, and apparently truly haunted – haunted houses – have become increasingly expensive properties as their fame has grown. Some are still inhabited by a few brave souls, while others have become tourist attractions and magnets for paranormal hunters. Here are ten houses that just might suck the life out of your body – with price tags that will suck all the money out of your wallet.
10. Franklin Castle – Price: $260,000
Where: Cleveland, Ohio
National Registry of Historic Places – 1982
While relatively inexpensive comparatively speaking, Franklin Castle has one of the more interesting pasts of any home on this list. Originally built for German immigrant, Hannes Tiedemann in 1881, the dwelling became home to multiple tragedies. Between 1891 and 1895 four of Tiedemann's children, his wife, and his mother died in the house. While living there, he made extensive renovations, adding a ballroom, turrets, gargoyles, and other castle-like additions. There were also rumors that he built secret passageways in order to smuggle alcohol during Prohibition, but no passageways were ever found. He moved out of the house in the early 1900s. Even with the move, by 1908, he and the few remaining members of the Tiedemann family were also all dead.
Assorted people lived in the home for short periods throughout the early part of the 1900s, but no one wanted to remain there. No one lived there regularly until 1968, when the Romano family moved in. They immediately began reporting sightings of ghosts. After multiple exorcisms and ghost-hunting attempts, they moved out in 1974. The house then changed hands twice, with one owner going so far as to pour $1 million into renovating it – before ultimately deciding not to live there. Since the early 2000s, it has remained largely abandoned. Part of it was burned down in 2011, and it has reportedly been used to shoot porn on more than one occasion. It was purchased in late 2011 by an artist from Europe, who plans to turn it into a multi-family apartment.
9. Kimball Castle – Price: $879,999
Where: Gilford, New Hampshire
National Registry of Historic Places – 1982
This sprawling home sits on 13 acres of land overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. The home, also known as The Broads, was originally built for Benjamin Ames Kimball, as a summer retreat. It was situated on 300 acres of land when it was first constructed in 1894. The original construction cost the equivalent of $1.2 million in today's money. The property also includes several smaller buildings. Over the years, the land has been divided and now houses a nature preserve with walking trails. There have been plans to turn the castle into a hotel, but none of them have ever amounted to anything. People who have stayed in the castle over the years, have reported doors opening and closing by themselves, and the sounds of horses coming from the stables.
8. Amityville House – Price: $1.15 million
Where: Amityville, Long Island, New York
Arguably one of the most famous haunted houses in existence, the Amityville House story has been the subject of books, television specials, and movies. The history of the home is a tragic one. On the afternoon of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. shot his mother, father, and four siblings with a .35 caliber rifle. He later ran to the local pub and claimed his family had been murdered, after having cleaned himself up. He blamed the murders on an alleged hitman, but later confessed. He said, "Once I started, I just couldn't stop. It went so fast."
13 months later, the Lutz family moved into the home. They were aware of the murders, but decided to purchase the home anyway. The problems started before they were even fully moved in. When a priest came to bless the house, a voice told him to "get out". He tried to warn the family away from particular rooms, but his phone calls were cut short by static. The priest later developed a high fever and blisters on his hands. Then things started to go from bad to worse in the house itself. The family experienced everything from walls oozing green slime, to offensive smells, to furniture moving, to physical attacks from unseen figures. The family eventually moved out, but reported that the hauntings followed them to their new home until all of their furniture had been removed from the Amityville House. Over the years, there has been much controversy surrounding their story, and numerous lawsuits. Various families have lived in the home, some for decades, but none have reported any problems like the ones experienced by the Lutz family.
7. The Surgeon's House – Price: $1.2 million
Where: Jerome, Arizona
National Registry of Historic Places – 1966
The Surgeon's House was built for by George W. Hull in 1916. The house was part of a large complex that included a hospital and housing for the chief surgeon. It was first occupied by the Head Physician and used as a nurses' residence. Sometime in the 1930s, it became the home of Chief Surgeon, Dr. Arthur Carlson. It then changed hands multiple times over the years. It is now a well-maintained and popular Bed and Breakfast, run by a woman named Andrea Prince. It is allegedly haunted by a couple that dances, a maid, and a person carrying a doctor's bag, who walks in and out of the rooms.
6. The Cassadaga Hotel – Price: $2 million
Where: Cassadaga, Florida
Cassadaga, Florida is such a a hotbed of paranormal and psychic activity, that it is widely referred to as the "Psychic Capital of the World". The town sprang up around George P. Colby's Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. Colby, a traveling trance medium, said that he had been instructed to found the camp by a Seneca Indian spirit guide who told him he needed to travel south to Florida. After arriving near Orange City, Florida, he found the plot of land that his spirit guide had shown to him in a vision. He established The Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association there in 1894, and subsequently signed a deed for 35 acres of land. This later grew to 57 acres. The Cassadaga Camp is now a much larger unincorporated community that is made up of the Cassadaga Hotel, an auditorium, a library, a bookstore, a welcome center, The Colby Memorial Temple, the Caesar Forman Healing Center, the Andrew Jackson Davis Educational Building, and the Colby-Alderman Park. The hotel is at the center of the town, and is said to house numerous spirits. People visiting the town, or passing through, all speak of a palpable sense of energy that can be felt throughout the town, but especially around the hotel. Even skeptics admit to feeling something noticeably different in the area. The town's population is almost completely made up of psychics, mediums, and spiritualists, and numerous tourists visit it each year.
5. The LaLaurie House – Price: $2.3 million
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
The LaLaurie House was the home of Delphine LaLaurie, a thrice-married socialite born in the late 1700s. Popular among multiple social circles, LaLaurie lived an opulent life and kept many slaves. She purchased the home while married to her third husband, Dr. Leonard Louis Nicolas LaLaurie, in 1831. Three years after moving in, her house caught fire. When the fire brigade arrived to put out the fire, they discovered an attic room with bound slaves who had clearly been systematically tortured over the course of years. The slaves were taken to the local jail and put on display, so that the public could see for themselves what the LaLaurie's had done. Two of the slaves subsequently died. A mob attacked the house and tore it apart, only to discover dead bodies buried in the backyard and the condemned well. LaLaurie fled to Paris, where she reportedly passed away some years later. The house has since passed through multiple owners, including Nicolas Cage. Previous owners and neighbors have reported hearing screaming sounds at all hours and there have been multiple sightings of a ghost walking on the balcony. The ghost may be the spirit of a 12 year-old girl that ran from LaLaurie when when LaLaurie attacked with her whip for pulling her hair while brushing it. The girl fell to her death from the roof and was buried on the grounds.
4. Britannia Manor – Price: $4.1 million
Where: Austin, Texas
Britannia Manor was built in 1987 for game designer, Richard Garriott. The design is based on the medieval setting for his game "Ultima". The home is filled with swords, armor, crossbows, and other medieval trappings, and has a basement full of strange artifacts, including dinosaur bones, a human skeleton, shrunken heads, mummified body parts, and stained glass from an abandoned church. Britannia Manor is not actually haunted. Instead, it was the site of one of the most famous haunted house attractions ever. From 1988 to 1994, Garriott hosted an elaborate house party/haunted house that was coordinated and run by a massive team of volunteers. Entry was free, except for a few charity fund-raising nights, where tickets were sold for $100 each. Britannia Manor was a full-contact haunted house, and the people moving through it followed clues in order to make it through. Along the way, they had to surmount various physical obstacles. Physical and verbal interaction with the ghosts, zombies, ghouls, etc. that peopled the house was common. At the height of its popularity, hopeful guests camped out on Garriott's lawn as much as two weeks in advance, in order to get a coveted free ticket.
3. Ennis House – Price: $4.5 million
Where: Los Angeles, California
National Registry of Historic Places – 1971
Ennis House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1923 for Charles and Mabel Ennis. Construction was completed in 1924. It's the largest textile block structure Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed, and spreads out over 10,000 square feet. The house has undergone extensive restoration over the years, due to structural instability and damage from various earthquakes. Like Brittania Manor, this house isn't exactly haunted. Instead Ennis House's unique architecture has made it the go-to location for a number of action, science fiction, and horror films, including "House on Haunted Hill", "Day of the Locust", "Blade Runner", "Black Rain", "The Replacement Killers", "The Thirteenth Floor", "Predator 2", and the television show, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Its look is so popular, that some production companies have actually recreated it on sound stages, when they couldn't afford to rent the house for their productions.
2. Winchester Mystery House – Price: $10-15 million
Where: San Jose, California
National Registry of Historic Places – 1974
Sarah Winchester, the widow of William Wirt Wincheser of Winchester Repeating Arms Company, was told by a psychic that she needed to move West and to continually build a home to house the spirits of the people killed by the rifles manufactured by her late husband's company. So, after inheriting $20.5 million and 50% of his rifle company, she did just that. She moved from New Haven, Connecticut to San Jose, California, and began construction on a massive, mind-boggling home. Work continued on the home for the next 38 years. It only stopped because she passed away. At the time of her death in 1922, the home had 160 rooms, made up of 40 bedrooms and 2 ballrooms, among other rooms. There were 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys, two basements, and 10,000 panes of stained glass. Ms. Winchester had a fascination with the number 13 and with spider web designs. Both of these images appear in multiple places around the house. There are also stairs, doors, and archways that go nowhere. Whole sections of the home were left incomplete when she died. The renovations alone cost upwards of $75 million, and that's without the initial cost of construction. The house is supposedly haunted by the very spirits she was attempting to house, as well as the spirit of Sarah Winchester herself.
1. The White House – Price: $110 million (but really, priceless)
Where: Washington, D.C.
The White House was designed by James Hoban in 1792 and took eight years to build. John Adams was the first President to live there, and over the years, it has been altered and renovated to make it more structurally sound, and to repair damage from wars and bad weather. Ghost sightings have been rampant there since the death of John's wife, Abigail Adams. However, she's not the only former inhabitant that seems to be hanging around 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Both Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson have been seen walking the halls on more than one occasion. It is difficult to confirm the ghost sightings, however, as White House security has made ghost hunting in the President's home nearly impossible.