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Top 5 – Favorite Haunted Places in America

The outside of the infamous Winchester house

5. Winchester House
The Winchester Mystery House is an architectural wonder and historic landmark in San Jose. The house was renovated by a woman named Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester. Tragedy first fell upon Sarah when her infant daughter died of a childhood illness. A few years later, her husband, William Winchester died from tuberculosis. Shortly after his death, Sarah left their home in New Haven, Conn., and moved west to San Jose. That is where she bought an eight-room farmhouse and began what is described as “the world’s longest home renovation,” stopping only when Sarah passed on September 5, 1922.
The mansion was 24,000 square feet with 160 rooms and built with a price tag of $5 million dollars in 1923, which is $71 million today
It is said that it was possible that Sarah was tormented by the guilt of victims who were lost to the Winchester rifle, which was manufactured by a company owned by William. Sarah built the home with many odd and mysterious features including doors leading to nothing or the outside, stairways leading to the ceiling, and many more oddities in the mansion. It is also said that these spirits told her what to build. In one of the rooms in the mansion, Sarah would hold a seance and speak to the spirits about these renovations.
As for hauntings, the spirit that is most sighted and most active is, of course, Sarah. Many people have reported seeing a woman who looks and is dressed like Sarah. They also report feeling a warm and welcoming presence in some rooms, but anger in others.
4. Stanley Hotel
The story of the Stanley Hotel began in 1903 when Yankee inventor Freelan Oscar Stanly arrived in Estes Park, Colo., weak and underweight from the symptoms of consumption, or tuberculosis. To his amazement, staying one season there was enough to restore his health. He vowed to return each summer for the rest of his life. He and his wife, Flora, built a grand hotel that opened in 1909. However, by the 1970s the hotel had started to fade due to lack of care and investment. It might have been demolished if it weren’t for the visit by author Stephen King and his wife, Tabatha. The Stanley Hotel is the inspiration for his first hardcover bestseller, The Shining. When staying in the haunted Room 217, King had a lucid nightmare that his son was being chased by a coiled fire hose through the halls of the hotel. After he awoke in a panic, and before going back to bed, he came up with the idea for The Shining.
Although King’s terrifying night is the hotel’s most famous and creepy occurrence, paranormal happenings had been reported long before the 1970s, some specifically in Room 217. According to some guests and staff, former chambermaid Elizabeth Wilson’s spirit inhabits the room. Guests have reported waking up to a room that was tidier than the previous night with their clothes folded and their suitcases organized. However, unmarried couples that stay in the room have reported having restless nights and a chilly presence settling into bed with them. According to some, room 401 is considered the creepiest room in the hotel. Women have claimed to be touched by an unknown presence. Down the hall on the fourth floor, guests have reported being tucked into bed by some invisible force and feeling someone sit at the foot of the bed but finding nothing but an indent on the covers. In room 428, guests have seen the vision of a cowboy looming over the bed or standing in the corner, and heard sounds like furniture moving and footsteps emitting from the ceiling.
3. Sallie House
The Sallie House in Atchison, Kan., was originally home to a physician. The front served as an office space and examination rooms, while the doctor and his family lived upstairs. One day, a mother arrived carrying her 6-year-old daughter, Sallie. She was experiencing severe abdominal pain and was diagnosed by the doctor, appendicitis. He believed the appendix would soon burst and began cutting She before the anesthesia took full effect. Shedied on the operating table with her last memories being of a man whom she thought was torturing her. Sallie’s hauntings increased in 1993, when a young couple rented the house. The couple’s dog seemed to growl at nothing, especially the upstairs nursery, fires broke out in the house and a series of sinister attacks began on the husband. In fact, many male visitors report being scratched and pushed. Objects would visibly move when the husband came near and he could feel scratches on his chest or abdomen. However, the ghost never attacked the wife or baby.
Events that have been witnessed by visitors to the Sallie House include:
Video and investigative equipment that stop working
Batteries that are full immediately and completely draining
Experience moving objects
Unexplained scratches or bruising on their bodies during/after visits
Physical touches
Mysterious coldness
Trained guide dogs refuse to enter the nursery
2. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, W. Va., was constructed between 1858 and 1881 and is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and the second largest in the world. It was designed by architect Richard Andrews following the Kirkbride plan. The plan called for long wings arranged in a staggered formation, ensuring that there was a ton of sunlight and fresh air. The hospital was designed to fit 250 patients and opened in 1864. In the 1950s, there were 2,400 patients that were living in poor conditions such as windows coated in mold, the wallpaper peeling off and overcrowding. Patients were crammed together with four or five in a one-person room. This led to violence and a sense of apathy. Due to this, the hospital started to use hallways for patient rooms, which meant sleeping on the floor and in freezing rooms. The overcrowding was caused by people being admitted not only for mental illness, but medical reasons like asthma, tuberculosis and rabies. Others were wives who were disrespectful to their husbands, indigestion and political excitement. The hospital had also performed about 4,000 lobotomies on patients as young as 4 using the “ice pick” method. The experiment left many patients dead, and many with no personality or emotions, irreparable brain damage and/or hemorrhages. Patients were lucky if the doctor wiped the ice pick before surgery. They would also often prescribe drugs to keep patients in a catatonic state. Insulin shock therapy, electroconvulsive therapy and shock treatment were also used. .
As for hauntings, two ghosts named Big Jim and Dean haunt one of the rooms. Big Jim and another patient took 14-year old Dean and placed his head under the pole of a bed and jumped on it until the pole touched the floor. Quiet cries and cold spots are said to be Dean. Big Jim is said to melt flashlights and scratch people. On the first floor, there is a room they call “Lily’s room”. Lily is allegedly a little girl who died at the hospital, but visitors question whether or not Lily is actually a little girl. Many reports state there is a male presence in Lily’s room, and when investigators question this their equipment goes silent.
1. Bell Witch
The story of the Bell family dates back to 1804. John Bell, his wife Lucy, and their children moved from North Carolina to Robertson County, Tenn., where they purchased farmland along the Red River. The family lived peacefully for 13 years until the summer of 1817. They started seeing strange animals on the farm and then started hearing eerie noises in their cabin such as loud knocking noises, gnawing sounds, and the sound of chains dragging across the floor. Several accounts varied on who or what was causing these disturbances, or why they were tormenting the family. The sounds escalated to a voice speaking directly to them. John’s youngest daughter, Betsy, would get beaten until she became unconscious. Hundreds of people began to come by the Bell family home to witness this strange phenomenon, including President Andrew Jackson who was quoted saying “I had rather face the entire British Army than to spend another night with the Bell Witch.” Although Betsy and John seemed to be the main targets, the family were struck, pinched and had hair pulled out. The witch vowed to kill John. On Dec. 20, 1820, John was found dead in his bed after being bedridden, with a vial next to his bed with strange liquid inside. The witch took credit for his death. After his death, the witch vowed to return in seven years and did. When it returned, the witch made accurate predictions to the family. Not many people have been able to investigate the farm, but Ghost Adventures and youtubers Sam and Colby have caught some strange animal noises, knocks, and voices on camera


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About the Contributor
Monica Meszaros
Monica Meszaros, Photo Editor
Monica Meszaros, a junior, is the photo editor for the BRCurrent. She loves taking pictures in her free time whether it's for fun, the LOP Swim competition, Bear River Football Booster, or for her family Christmas cards. She also loves playing sports and acting. She has been playing basketball for 12 years and softball for five. She has acted in 12 Angry Jurors as Juror 7 and My Fatal Romance as Jane, the security guard. She wants to be a homicide detective and hopes to go to a four-year college that has a great criminal justice program.
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