Haunted house legends, whether real or fake, have catapulted certain locations to become the tourist magnets they are today. People are always fascinated by the sinister secrets a place may hold. From the White House to the ghastly Bell farm, get to know the spookiest legends that haunt these famous sites below.
5 Spine-Tingling Haunted House Legends
1. The White House
Apparently, the blessings John Adams asked to bestow on the White House were not enough to keep the rowdy spirits away. Abigail Adams continues to haunt the East Room, where her residual spirit hangs the laundry every once in a while.
One cannot help but wonder if Mrs. Adams paid a visit to The Rose Room to greet her fellow ghosts. The Rose Room is allegedly the most haunted spot in the entire White House. A number of eyewitnesses have claimed to see the ghost of former president Andrew Jackson as well as that of Abraham Lincoln. One of the famous sighting stories came from Sir Winston Churchill. He claimed to have come face-to-face with the ghost of Abraham Lincoln while emerging from a warm bath. To make matters even more inconvenient, Churchill was completely naked during the spooky encounter!
It truly seems like Lincoln’s ghost does not hesitate to make its presence known to visitors. First ladies Eleanor Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge‘s wife, Grace, have allegedly seen Lincoln lurking around the bedroom.
2. Blickling Hall
Although this was not the final resting place of King Henry VIII‘s infamous second wife, the ghost of Anne continues to pay yearly visit to her old home. Anne was famously accused of adultery, incest, and conspiring with the king’s death. It was also reported that Henry grew tired of her after failing to give him a male heir. Not only was Anne’s marriage to Henry considered null and void, but she was also sentenced to be executed in public.
She would later on become the center of one of the scariest haunted house legends ever known.
Since her death, Anne has been an object of fascination for paranormal investigators. According to some absurd legends, Anne was a witch and that she continued to laugh off the idea of death even after she had her head sliced off. She is said to constantly haunt a number of historical spots around the United Kingdom, including her old childhood home of Blickling Hall.
Each year, the ghost of Anne Boleyn arrives at Blickling Hall for her annual visit. She is transported through a carriage led by a headless horseman. No one knows who this man is, he could possibly be death ushering his famous prisoner around. As for Anne, she too can be seen without a head and often tucks her detached skull right under her arm.
3. Ballygally Castle
Ballygally Castle has earned a reputation as the most haunted place in all of Ulster, Ireland’s northern province. It is now run as a hotel and happens to be the only seventeenth-century building still used as a residence.
The castle was constructed back in 1625 by Lord James Shaw of Scotland. It remained in possession of the Shaw family up until the 19th century when it was sold by William Shaw. Since reopening its doors as a hotel, a number of alleged hauntings began to come to light.
The most famous ghost of Ballygally Castle is Lady Isobel Shaw, wife of Lord James Shaw. Shortly after she gave birth to her first son, James had locked her away in a tower and starved her. Lady Shaw reportedly jumped to her death only to return to haunt the residence. Hotel employees have acknowledged her presence, assuring guests that while Lady Shaw’s constant knocking may seem a little inconvenient, she is nonetheless a friendly ghost.
Another ghostly resident of the Ballygally Castle goes by the name of Madame Nixon. She is said to have lived in the hotel during the nineteenth century and to this day haunts a specific room aptly named The Ghost Room.
The Dungeon Room is also one of the most famous spots in Ballygally Castle. According to its former owner Olga Henry, the hotel is filled to the brim with creepy ghost stories. From ghosts of dead soldiers visiting the property to the lingering presence of children in guest rooms, it seems like Ballygally Castle is living up to its name as the most haunted place in Ulster.
4. Raynham Hall
The “Brown Lady of Raynham Hall” is the ghost that haunts this historic site. It is said that the entity belongs to Lady Dorothy Walpole, the sister of Great Britain’s de facto first prime minister, Robert Walpole. During her ill-fated marriage with Charles Townshend, Lady Walpole was reportedly having an affair with the equally scandalous Lord Wharton. As punishment for her adultery, the hot-tempered Townshend had her locked in her room. Although reports have it that Lady Walpole died of smallpox, the actual cause of death is rumored to be homicide.
Lady Walpole was last seen wearing a brown satin dress. She continued to wear the same piece of clothing to the afterlife. The very first story of Brown Lady of Raynham Hall sighting was told by a man named Colonel Loftus. The colonel was a guest at the house, and upon returning to his room, he saw a woman wearing a brown dress. Upon getting a good look at her face, he was horrified to see that her eyes were nothing but empty sockets. His story evoked so much fear in Raynham Hall’s residents, many packed their bags and refused to return.
The Brown Lady would go on to haunt anyone who set foot inside Raynham Hall, including King George IV. The former king was staying in one of the staterooms when he was woken up by a deathly pale figure hovering next to his bed. He was so horrified by the sight that he refused to spend another minute in the ghastly estate.
But perhaps the most popular sighting of the Brown Lady happened on September 19, 2936. Country Life magazine reporter Captain Hubert C. Provand and his assistant, Indra Shira, were paying a visit to Raynham Hall when they saw a figure resembling a woman approaching them. They quickly snapped a photo, and upon printing the negatives, the pair were bewildered by the sight. To this day, the picture of the Brown Lady is the most famous ghost photograph of all time.
Notable paranormal investigator Harry Price was asked to analyze the photo himself. He had a sit-down interview with both Provand and Shira to discuss how they managed to take such a compelling proof of the afterlife. Here is what he told the reporters:
“I will say at once, I was impressed. I was told a perfectly simple story: Mr. Indre Shira saw the apparition descending the stairs at the precise moment when Captain Provand’s head was under the black cloth. A shout—and the cap was off and the flashbulb fired, with the results which we now see. I could not shake their story, and I had no right to disbelieve them. Only collusion between the two men would account for the ghost if it is a fake. The negative is entirely innocent of any faking.”
5. The Bell Farm
Legend has it that the Bell Witch began to haunt the Bell family around 1817. One day while John was inspecting his massive cornfields, he encountered a strange-looking animal. The creature had the body of a dog and a head of a rabbit. Stunned by the sight, he proceeded to shoot it several times, but it later vanished.
John thought nothing of the encounter until nightfall came. The family was tormented by strange beating sounds and a faint chorus of women chanting resonated through the house. As time went on, Betsy became a target of the Bell Witch, and she often suffered physical and emotional torment at the hands of this supernatural entity.
The Bell Witch eventually got the upper hand when it claimed the life of John Bell. It was later reported that the witch’s laugh was heard all throughout John’s funeral.
Many consider the legend to be one of the most notable in Southern folklore. But a lot of people have argued that the terror was all real. Even former president Andrew Jackson was intrigued by the rumors and decided to go and investigate himself. Jackson happened to know the family well, having fought alongside Bell’s sons during the Battle of New Orleans.
Shortly after the investigation commenced, strange and unexplainable things began to happen. His wagon refused to budge, and the horses were frozen in place. To top it off, Jackson reportedly heard the voice of the Bell Witch, and that seemingly was the last straw. He and his men retaliated from the area, never to set foot on the cursed land again.
So who was the Bell Witch? Many believed she was a woman who lived next door to the Bell’s. Her name was Kate, and to this day, there is no concrete explanation as to why she lashed out on the family so much.
A number of modern films seemed to have conceived their own explanation of the Bell Witch story. In the movie An American Haunting, John Bell raped his daughter Betsy.