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The Whaley House: America’s Most Haunted Home

Situated in Old Town San Diego, The Whaley House, constructed in 1857, is a Greek Revival style residence and a California Historical Landmark.

Owned by Thomas Whaley and his family, the property served as a general store, San Diego’s second county courthouse, and the city’s first commercial theater Journal of San Diego History said the house has, “witnessed more history than any other building in the city.”

It’s been featured on a variety of historical sci-fi and paranormal documentary programs including the Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted, marking the Whaley House as the most supernatural home in the U.S. It later opened as a museum on May 25, 1960 under the management of the San Diego Historical Shrine Foundation.

Whaley Housecredit: Whaley House Museum

Prior to the house being built, the earliest documented ghost is that of “Yankee Jim.” His real name was James (Santiago) Robinson who was convicted of attempted grand larceny in 1852. He was hanged on the gallows off the back of a wagon where the current home is located.

Thomas Whaley attended the execution, but refused to let this change his mind about buying and building on the property several years later. Not long after the Whaley family moved in, did they begin hearing heavy footsteps throughout the house.

The Whaleys’ youngest daughter lived in the house until 1953 and was absolutely convinced the footsteps belonged to the ghost of “Yankee Jim.”


Not long after the home opened for tours did one visitor in 1962 mention that, “the ghost had driven her family from their visit there more than 60 years [earlier], her mother was unnerved by the phantom walking noise and the strange way the windows unlatched and flew up.”

Former curator for the museum, the late June Reading, mentioned, “We had a little girl perhaps 5 or 6 years old who waved to a man she said was standing in the parlor. We couldn’t see him. But often children’s sensitivity is greater than an adult’s.”


Many adults claim they have seen the brief apparitions of Mr. Whaley in a, “clad in frock coat and pantaloons, the face turned away from her, so she could not make it out. Suddenly it faded away.”

Even Regis Philbin claimed to have seen the ghost of Mrs. Whaley during his 1964 visit, “All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall,” Philbin reported. “There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind, I got so excited I couldn’t restrain myself! I flipped on the [flash] light and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house.”

Creepy dolls everywhere



Unexplained Ghost Photos Taken Inside




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(More info: The Whaley House) (photo credits unknown unless noted)

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