1.14.2014

America's Most Haunted?

Only thirty places in the United States are designated as haunted by the Department of Commerce, and the Whaley House is one of them. It's famously dubbed "America's Most Haunted." How could I not go? Mostly I wanted to visit because a ghost once scared the bejesus out of Regis Philbin back in 1964, and I thought any spirit with the inclination to do that has got to be pretty awesome.

I saw a documentary about the place, and before the ill-fated Whaley family built this home, it was a public gallows. One particularly morbid hanging was that of "Yankee Jim" Robinson, pictured right. He was clubbed over the head while trying to steal a boat, then promptly dragged to court semi-conscious. He was ordered to be hung from the scaffold.

Drifting in and out of consciousness, Mr. Robinson was tall for that era, and his legs were long enough to have his feet lightly touching the floor. He was even rumored to have grasped part of the scaffolding to help support himself. It was a harrowing scene, and it took about an hour for him to die. His dragging footsteps are rumored to be heard all around the home. The doorway in the photo to the left is the location where Yankee Jim was hung before the Whaley House was built.

When the family built a home atop these gallows, the sordid history never faded. Amidst the reported supernatural activity, the Whaleys carried on in that home. They had a young son who died at 18 months from Scarlet Fever. Their daughter Violet Whaley suffered from depression and shot herself in the heart in the outhouse. A great-granddaughter of the family, Marion Reynolds, died from ingesting an oddly large amount of ant poisoning. What's strange is that she was eleven, and old enough to know better. There's also a rumor that a neighbor named Annabelle or Carrie Washburn ran into their clothes line by accident, crushing her esophagus and dying.

It was a great tour if only for the historical aspects. I did not experience anything supernatural, but it was a beautiful home and worth the six bucks hands down. I spoke with a few employees, who confirmed that they have walked into rooms only to smell cigar smoke, (Thomas Whaley was a cigar smoker) and lavender perfume, presumably from Mrs. Anna Whaley. Footsteps are heard as well, but a few people have seen the ghosts, like Regis Philbin. Mr. Philbin is quoted to have said, "You know a lot of people pooh-pooh it because they can't see it. But there was something going on in that house."

Serves him right for using the term "pooh pooh."



Kids' rooms with dolls are always creepy.

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