We like to be creeped out, don’t we? To kick off this Halloween season, we have chosen 10 homes in the U.S. notorious for their haunted history and spirits who like to visit. Some are privately owned homes, some are now bed-and-breakfasts, some have historic designations, and one is even the seat of our government.
Some of them are pretty cheap (based on Zillow‘s price estimate for a comparable home in the neighbourhood), so brave readers should submit an offer.
Cost of comparable home in neighbourhood: $2.2 million
Location: San Jose, CA
Notable ghost: Sarah Winchester
As one of two homes in California sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department as being haunted (the other is the Whaley House, below), the magnificent Winchester House stands alone as perhaps the most bizarre haunted home in the U.S. It was inspired and designed by Sarah Winchester (photo), widow of William Winchester, founder of Winchester rifles. Legend goes that Sarah was deeply affected by the deaths of her daughter, Annie, in 1866 and then her husband, William, in 1881. Sarah consulted a medium who instructed her to build a house to ward off evil spirits. Construction on the Winchester House started in 1884 and continued for 38 years -- until Sarah's death in 1922.
Sarah reportedly held nightly seances to gain guidance from spirits and her dead husband for the home's design. What resulted was a maze-like residence full of twisting and turning hallways, dead-ends, secret panels, a window built into a floor, staircases leading to nowhere, doors that open to walls, upside-down columns, and rooms built, then intentionally closed off -- all to ward off and confuse evil spirits. Read more about Sarah and the fascinating Winchester House. (Photo of Sarah Winchester: freewebs.com)
Cost of comparable home in neighbourhood: $1.3 million
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Notable ghost: Frank Stranahan
The Stranahan House was one of several structures built between 1893-1906 along the New River in Fort Lauderdale, FL, by an enterprising young man named Frank Stranahan (photo). Frank arrived in 1893 to operate a barge ferry across the river and was the first non-Indian to live in what is now the centre of Fort Lauderale. Soon, this prime location spawned other businesses for Stranahan, including a trading post, post office, bank and hotel. He became a powerful land owner in the area and soon, the Stranahan Trading Post became well-known. He married school teacher Ivy Cromartie and built her a home right on the New River in 1906, the Stranahan House, which still stands today as the oldest remaining structure in Broward County. Frank and Ivy were considered Fort Lauderdale's First Family.
This is also where Stranahan's story turns grim. Stranahan suffered from depression and his mental health could not endure a hurricane that devastated his businesses, or the financial effects of the Great Depression. Stranahan committed suicide on June 23, 1929 by strapping a large iron gate to his ankle and throwing himself into the New River. There are many reports of Frank Stranahan's ghost in the Stranahan House, as well as the ghost of Ivy Cromartie. Other ghostly presences include six family members and the apparition of an Indian servant girl near the back of the home. The Stranahan House is now open to public tours. (Photo of Stranahan: Broward County)
Cost of comparable home in neighbourhood: N/A
Location: St. Francisville, LA
Notable ghost: Chloe
Take an historic old, antebellum plantation home from 1796, surround it with trees draped with Spanish moss, and set it in voodoo-rich Louisiana and you have the perfect setting for ghosts. But, you need mayhem and history to generate ghosts and there are lots of both at the Myrtles Plantation. In 1808, Clark Woodruff took charge of the plantation from his deceased father-in-law, General David Bradford, where he kept things running along with his wife, Sara, and three kids. Legend has it that Woodruff also took a special liking to a slave he owned named Chloe. But Chloe was immensely jealous of Woodruff's family and baked a birthday cake filled with poisonous oleander leaves. Woodruff's wife, Sara, and two of their children died. Chloe confessed, but fellow slaves retaliated, hanging Chloe and dumping her body in the Mississippi.
Lots of other natural deaths occurred in the home, but the only other murder was when plantation owner William Winter was shot and killed in 1871 while standing on the front porch. He supposedly staggered inside, dying on the 17th step of the home. Myrtles Plantation is also reportedly built on the site of an old Indian burial ground and during the Civil Warn Union soldiers ransacked the home. While it is hard to separate fact from fiction, popular sightings of ghosts around Myrtles Plantation include the large mirror in the home that contains the spirits of Sara Woodruff and her children, ghosts seen around the 17th step and, of course, Chloe who is outside, tending to her plantings. The house is on National Register of Historic places and is now a bed and breakfast.
Cost of comparable home in neighbourhood: $238,500
Location: Fall River, MA
Notable ghosts: Andrew and Abby Borden
Who killed Andrew and Abby Borden with an ax on the morning of Aug. 4, 1892 in this Fall River, MA home? To this day, no one truly knows. Lizzie Borden, the daughter of Andrew and step-daughter of Abby, became the prime suspect and eventually, the subject of a popular children's rhyme.
Andrew was a widowed cabinet-maker and had two daughters, Lizzie (photo) and Emma Lenora. In 1865, he married Abby Durfee grey and then in 1872, he bought the home pictured above so he could be closer to the city's downtown district. Reports say the Bordens were not a loving family unit and the stresses of step relatives created much tension in the house, which were only escalated by the Borden girls' fears that their father was bequeathing his assets and property to the step-mother's side of the family. Lizzie was indicted for the crime, and then acquitted by a jury. It was the trial of the century. She and her sister eventually moved to a home on French Street, and the murder home is now a bed and breakfast where Andrew and Abby are said to still roam. Need a room for the night? (Photo of Borden: Providence Journal).
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.