5 Scariest Real-Life Haunted Houses You Can Visit
There are plenty of haunted attractions during Halloween, but one of the most popular activities to do during the season of spooks is to visit a haunted house. Though there are many pop-up houses that can be found anywhere, the best ones are filled with whispers of murderous legends and confirmed paranormal activity.
To experience thrills and chills all year long, here are five haunted houses riddled with frightful mysteries.
Paxton Manor, Leesburg, Virginia
Leesburg has a history of paranormal energy; Paxton Manor is no exception. Built in 1869, the house has been haunted by causalities of the Civil War, a few orphans, and local legend Jedidiah Carver — a man rumored to have hidden beneath the home in the underground catacombs after being banished from Leesburg. Needless to say, the home is popular for ghost hunters and thrill-seekers alike.
“Shocktober” is held at Paxton Manor and nearby sites for a month-long haunt and ghost investigation during the Halloween season. Fear not, even if you can’t attend the theatric haunted house, Paxton Manor and the acres surrounding it are always haunted by their ghosts.
Dent Schoolhouse, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Dent Schoolhouse was built in 1894, but promptly shut down in the 1950s. Allegedly, several students went missing from 1942 to 1955 and a foul odor lingered throughout the school. An urban legend tells of a janitor named Charlie who brutally murdered students at the school who mocked his mangled face, hiding their bodies in the basement.
Though the story is vehemently denied and debunked by skeptics, many residents and the current owners of the Dent Schoolhouse firmly stand by the building’s haunted past, insisting Charlie is still on the hunt for students to kill. No matter the legitimacy of the tale, it was named one of Haunted Attraction Online’s 13 most haunted attractions in 2016. Dent Schoolhouse is open seasonally and is upgraded with new frights each year.
Pennhurst Asylum, Spring City, Pennsylvania
Though technically not a house, this frightening attraction has a disturbing history. The Pennhurst Asylum Haunted House (once Pennhurst State School and Hospital) is the site of a once controversial 20th-century mental institution. Opened in 1908, Pennhurst accepted the mentally ill, the disabled, and even criminals and orphans when overcrowding at other facilities occurred.
Heinous acts of the abuse and neglect of patients came to light in a 1960s exposé by reporter Bill Badini, later being named “The Shame of Pennsylvania” by local newspapers. Though it closed as a medical institution in 1987, it reopens every year for a haunted house attraction to fund renovations and maintain it as a memorial of historical significance.
Loftus Hall, Wexford, Ireland
Though Loftus Hall is located on a scenic estate, luck is lacking at the historic mansion declared to be the most haunted house in Ireland. Built in 1350 around the Black Death epidemic, the mansion is rumored to be haunted by both the Devil and the spirit of a young woman.
The facility offers house tours and a paranormal investigation lockdown, but a special Friday the 13th lockdown is happening in honor of the 710th anniversary of the slaughter of Parisian Templar Knights.
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California
A contrast to the bright rays of sunshine and laid-back vibes California is known for, the Winchester Mystery House has a curious past. When William Wirt Winchester perished from tuberculosis, Sarah Winchester inherited her late husband’s fortune. Rumors circulated that she was convinced of bearing a family curse once inheriting the fortune, consulting a medium to ask how to fool the ghostly victims of the Winchester-brand rifles Sarah’s fortune was built upon.
Legend has it that the medium encouraged her to travel west to Santa Clara Valley and build a house large enough to confuse vengeful spirits. The Victorian mansion contains a staircase to the ceiling, a door that leads to nowhere, windows with a likeness of spider webs, and the reoccurrence of the number 13 in its architectural structure.
Today, it is a National Historic Landmark and offers house tours, a museum of curiosities, and special candlelit tours for Halloween.