Original purpose: The mansion was built by a developer in 1856.
Renown: In 1889, Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr turned it into a settlement house.
Haunting: The ghosts of a wife who died in a second-floor bedroom and a "devil baby" who was locked in the attic.
Winchester Mystery House
Location: San Jose, Calif.
Original purpose: Sarah Winchester lost her family, and to escape the curse, she started building.
Renown: Construction began in 1884 and only stopped when someone died. What did it cost?
Haunting: Some have said they see Winchester; others report different phenomena.
Whaley House & Museum
Location: San Diego
Original purpose: It was built as a home for a San Diego mayor and his wife in 1857.
Renown: It was built on or near the site of a hanging and a cemetery.
Haunting: Do some report heavy footsteps moving about the house? The spirit of a young girl? A dog? Other ghostly sightings?
Lizzie Borden House
Location: Fall River, Mass.
Original purpose: A widowed cabinetmaker bought the house for his new wife and his daughters in 1865.
Renown: The parents were killed with a hatchet in the house; a spinster was accused of the slaying.
Haunting: The family does not seem to rest easy; there are reports of cold spots, among other things.
Location: New Orleans
Original purpose: Built as a home for a doctor and his wife in 1832.
Renown: Madame LaLaurie is reputed to have tortured and punished slaves, including a child who fell to her death. When a fire exposed her, she disappeared.
Haunting: Do slaves haunt the house? Does a tall black figure?
Sidenote: An A-list actor lost it through foreclosure.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Original purpose: Residence of presidents and their families. Who were the first?
Renown: Home of the "leader of the free world"; and a place some former inhabitants seem reluctant to leave.
Haunting: A president's wife hanging laundry? The ghost of the Great Emancipator? Another president's wife protecting her rose garden? The third president playing his violin? British soldiers? A "demon cat"?
Original purpose: It was built in 1860 for a German immigrant and his wife.
Renown: Many deaths occurred in the home, and some were regarded as mysterious.
Haunting: Some report choking sounds in a room where a servant girl died. Later inhabitants told stories. Then there was an odd cemented-over area.
Location: Cranston, R.I.
Original purpose: Home of the wealthy Sprague family.
Renown: In 1843, a family member was found dead on the road between his textile mill and his mansion.
Haunting: Is there a family member in the wine cellar? A butler on the stairs?
Location: San FranciscoOriginal purpose: It first owner was a silver tycoon; it was built in 1887.
Renown: The tycoon's niece met an unpleasant fate. Was it an accident? Or deliberate?
Haunting: Some say she haunts the mansion.
Haunting: Some say she haunts the mansion.
Location: Saint Francisville, La.
Original purpose: A leader of the Whiskey Rebellion built the house on an Indian burial ground in 1794.
Renown: His daughter's husband reportedly kept a slave as a mistress. Whatever the slave's motives, her cake reportedly had fatal results. Another death was more mysterious.
Haunting: Does the ghost of a slave in a green turban wander at night? Do rooms sometimes smell of cigars? Are ghostly children heard playing on the veranda?
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Original purpose: The house was built in 1906 for a Fort Lauderdale founder and his wife.
Renown: A hurricane, followed by the Great Depression, sank his business. He committed suicide.
Haunting: He and his wife are among the six ghosts who reportedly haunt the house.
Location: St. Louis
Original purpose: A businessman bought the mansion built in the 1860s for a home and an auxiliary office
Renown: The mansion is believed to be under a curse that started with a Lemp.
Haunting: Ghosts of family members, including the Lavender Lady, reportedly still walk the halls. There are other reports of paranormal activity.
Location: Asheville, N.C.
Original purpose: In the 1880s, a Vanderbilt built a "little mountain escape".
Renown: When he died in 1914, his widow reportedly continued to carry on conversations with him.
Haunting: There have been reports of a ghostly headless orange cat, a woman in black and a maid who serves champagne.