Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Haunted Whaley House

The Whaley House in San Diego, California is so haunted it is one of only two houses that the United States government recognizes as being haunted. 

San Diego Pioneer Thomas Whaley built his home in 1856. Unfortunately, the land he chose to build it upon was a Kumeyaay Indian burial ground. 

In the early 19th century when San Diego became a booming city, disease and conflict dropped the Kymeyaay population in a brief ten years from 16,000 to 9,000.

The ghosts at the Whaley House have been witnessed by large numbers of people—often by groups of people who witness the phenomenon at the same time. 

One ghost often seen at the Whaley House’s is that of Yankee Jim Robinson. In 1853 Robinson was a colorful character who tried to steal a boat—it is said he did this so that he could become a pirate. During his attempt he was hit over the head with a butt of a sword and badly injured.

The story goes he was put on trail right away still suffering from a bad concussion. The judge at his trail was drunk, he convicted Robinson immediately. Then while he was still semi-conscience Robinson was hanged on a makeshift scaffold. 

Because of Robinson’s height his feet could just touch the floor, which resulted in a slow suffocation; it took him nearly an hour to die. This exact spot was where the future Whaley House was built. 

Yankee Jim is said to haunt the stairs heading from the first floor to the second, specifically the ninth step, which is believed to be where he dangled during his drawn-out death. 

Some visitors to the Whaley House have experienced the feeling of a noose tightening around their necks as they tour the house. Yankee Jim has also been spotted standing behind tour guides during their presentations.

The builder of the house Thomas Whaley, is another ghost that is very active. 

Visitors and volunteers often smell the sweet aroma of a Cuban cigar—Thomas Whaley's favorite brand—in fact this aroma is sometimes so overpowering that some visitors have to leave the home. 

Thomas’s ghost is seen wearing a long coat and top hat. His spirit roams the house but he is most often seen at the top of stairs or in the master bedroom. People hear his booming laughter throughout the house regularly.

Thomas’ wife Anna is yet another ghost often spotted downstairs and in the garden. A distinct smell of perfume is associated with her presence. 

One volunteer walking through the garden noticed a young woman picking flowers without permission. She approached the young woman who was wearing a long cream dress with her hair swept up in an old-fashioned hairstyle. When the volunteer got within ten feet of this woman she just vanished.

Thomas and Anna had a red-haired daughter who died at the age of eleven under mysterious circumstances. It is known that she ate some poisonous powder. 

She is by far the most playful ghost in the house. She often appears to children her own age. She is so real they don’t at first realize she is a ghost. She likes to pull hair and tickle the house’s young visitors. It is said that she is responsible for the swinging meat clever in the kitchen, which hundreds of visitors have witnessed.

Thomas Whaley died at the age of 67 in 1890; Anna lived until 1913. The last Whaley to live in the house was Corinne Lillian Whaley who was the youngest of six children. She died in 1953. 

After this, the Whaley House fell into disrepair. Its' demolition was prevented in 1956 by the Historical Shrine Foundation of San Diego County, which bought the land and building. Today the house is an historical museum and has been restored to its original splendor.

A recent curator of the Whaley House Museum a Mrs. Reading arrived at the house early one morning in order to prepare things for the days' visitors. 

She was making her usual inspections when she rounded a corner into the dining room and came face to face with a Native American Indian who looked to be as real as anything else in the room except that he had no feet. He hovered in view for a few minutes and then faded away.

There are so many eyewitness accounts that I will not attempt to list them all. Here are just a few compelling ones. 

One tour group was being shown the rooms upstairs when they all heard the piano being played downstairs. The piano music was still heard as the group gathered at the the bottom of the stairs but then the music just stopped. The music room was silent. 

Anna Whaley while alive loved to sing and play her piano. She also loved her music box and this box is heard playing when no one has wound it. 

Other witnesses have heard singing in the building late at night, when everything is locked and the lights are out. Window shutters are seen opening and closing at night as well.

Many witnesses have seen a young boy playing in the Whaley House master bedroom. The Whaley’s lost one son while he was a toddler, people hear him laughing and crying in the house.

No comments: