Real Haunted Houses in America

America is full of houses in which pain and suffering occurred and thus, some say, full of places that are haunted by the victims of that suffering. A look at some of the most famous "real" haunted houses would seem to give credence to that notion.
It's not clear whether ghosts choose to appear only to those who believe in them -- or not. But should you happen to visit one of these houses and run into a ghost, be sure to be polite.

 Hull House
Location: Chicago
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.

LaLaurie House

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.

White House

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"? 

Franklin Castle

Location: Cleveland
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.

Sprague Mansion

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? 

Chambers Mansion

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.

Myrtles Plantation

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?

Stranahan House

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.

Lemp Mansion

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. 

Biltmore Estate

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.
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