So far, in part 1, we’ve got one property that hosted a potentially possessed kid, one that took the nation by storm in the 70s and still gets airtime even now, another that a serial killer used as command central and storage, a former funeral parlor, and a house made famous by the Halloween franchise. What’s next on the list? How about some historic properties?
713 Center Street, Oregon City, Oregon
This is a sweet looking home is the picture of class and beauty. A spectacular, historical location, this home was built in 1900 and is actually, a National Historic Site and also a part of the National Park System. An extremely historically relevant place, this was once the home of Dr. John McLoughlin, a giant of a man and one of the most important people in the history of Oregon itself. The entire history there is interestingly enough- but what would a great history story be, without a great ghost story filled with tragedy and mystery pulling up alongside it? The ghost stories involving this house are steeped in fact- and some weird facts, at that. This one’s going to be a little longer than the others, purely for the fact that when history and legend combine: you’ve got one awesome Halloween tale.
He died on September 3rd, 1857, with his wife following 3 years later. They were buried in the churchyard at Saint John The Apostle church. His daughter sold the home and it was then a hotel. The owner of a wool mill bought it later and used it to house his Chinese workers until about 1886 when it became a brothel, and then, an apartment. Eventually, it was abandoned but saved from demolition in 1909- then moved to its current location. Because the churchyard of St. John the Apostle was also razed and moved- the graves of John and his wife were moved next to the home in 1970. This is where the ghost stories begin.
John Mcloughlin himself is said to be seen in the home- his imposing 6’5 form is kind of hard to miss, but he’s also said to play the harpsichord and rock a chair in his room. His footsteps are often heard on the upper levels, and coming down the stairs. Additionally, legend has it on the anniversary of his death, the ring around his portrait glows as the sun rises. Marguerite is also said to haunt the home, with the scent of her pipe tobacco often wafting throughout. The scent is also said to follow those who clean the place- as though the specter is checking up on them. Rumor also has it that the parlor contains a very negative entity- though no one can substantiate if it was where John Sr. died, or if a murder took place there during the home’s later years.
5460 S. Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, Nevada
This property is interesting for a number of reasons. In the first place, the 3 bedroom, 2 and a half bath seems kind of sparse in comparison to the other homes on here. It sold in August of 2003, to a realty company called Shannon Day Realty. So, what’s so horrifying about a real-estate office?
If you will note, in the lower corner of the sign, there is a small red fox. This isn’t because the CEO loves the critters, and it’s not because that’s their logo. It’s because the building once belonged to famed comedian Red Foxx. It’s probably good that this is a business and not someone’s home- because he wasn’t at all pleased with how things shook out in his life, and rumor has it, he’s still hanging around as a result.
In 1989, the IRS took possession of this property for nonpayment of taxes. This was the second time this happened to the funny man- who was apparently not all that great at handling his finances. they raided his home, taking 12 guns, 7 cars, over 12 grand in cash- and he was extremely angry about the whole thing. However, determined to make a come back, he continued to play gigs until Eddie Murphy cast him in Harlem Nights. Unfortunately, the movie did not go over very well at the box office, though his performance was well received. Then, in October of 1991, at the age of 68 all the stress caught up with him. During a rehearsal for a new sitcom called The Royal Family, he collapsed. Because he had frequently made a gag of clutching his chest screaming, “I’m comin’ Elizabeth!” initially, others thought he was joking- but he was not. Red Foxx died of a heart attack. Since then, the home has changed hands more than a few times. It has been home to an Elvis impersonator and several businesses, but almost everyone who visits the same thing: Foxx still haunts the place because he’s still mad at the IRS.
The current owner, Shannon Day allows ghost hunters to tour the place from time to time. Lights turn on and off, footsteps are heard racing up and down the halls, doors open and close by themselves, and famed paranormal investigators Mark and Debbie Constantino claim to have caught EVPs of Red Foxx himself. Have a listen, you decide: is this the spirit of Red Foxx? I must admit, it does sound like him.
148 Washington Street, Salem, MA
Here we have another one that upon seeing the name of the city, you already know where this is going. I mean, come on, it’s Salem. When people talk about hauntings in the famous witch town, they usually talk about the Charter Street Cemetery, The Hawthorn Hotel, The Salem Jail, and The Joshua Ward House. This historic property is a 3 story Federal style brick, and it was originally built in 1784. Back then, it was something of a flashy show- one of the first brick houses in that town. The original staircase is the oldest surviving staircase by famous woodworker Samual McIntire, as is the rest of the interior. It’s now home to a couple of businesses, and has four chimneys. The home was damaged pretty badly early on by storms, but then, the 1938 New England Hurricane nearly destroyed them. It has since been a tavern and was restored using a grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Prior to that- a multi-story commercial building was erected in the front yard- obstructing the house. In the 70s, the developer attempted to get the city to tear down the house, but the proposal was declined, and later, the commercial building was removed from the property.
It is said to be haunted because Joshua Ward built it over where the home and jail of Sherriff George Corwin once was. Known for his extreme cruelty in interrogating suspected witches, but also carrying out their sentencing, Corwin was also called “The Strangler” and had 19 men and women executed under his command. His methods were notably cruel- he would interrogate by covering the accused in rocks until they confessed, and he was also said to have tied their ankles to their necks until they bled. He was also well known for seizing his victim’s properties after the fact. Because of this, legend has it many of the accused would curse him, the judge, and their accusers. Because the Sheriff died in winter, his body was interred in his cellar on the property- where it remained for a number of years until it was moved to the Broad Street Cemetery.
There are a lot of stories surrounding the reasons that this happened, but, as far as I know, none of them have been fully validated. One of the creepier ones is that after the witch trials- one of the falsely accused actually sued Corwin: and this version says not only did Philip English have a lien on the sheriff’s property, but he had a lien on the body as well. Both English and his wife were accused during the trials, and there were a lot of obvious personal politics behind the accusation. Through more political finagling, the couple managed to escape the hysteria, but they did not abandon their community- when they got word of crop failures, they sent a shipload of corn to Salem.
Upon their return, they found that Corwin had seized all their property. English, not to be outdone by all of this, sued him for 532 pounds sterling- which is worth about 861 dollars in today’s US currency. Stories cite him as having stolen the body, and others say he simply had a lien on it. Why his body remained in the cellar of his home so long is still unknown and undocumented. Other versions say it was because his wife feared retribution enacted on the corpse. Another legend states that Giles Corey cursed Corwin- and every sheriff that would come after him. Urban legends report that each successive sheriff has suffered some sort of heart or blood ailment and has either died or left the post.
It is said that the Joshua Ward house is haunted by several entities. Two of which, appear to be looking for their torturer- one is said to be an angry woman who runs around the house loudly,and by one account, in the book Haunted Happenings by Robert Ellis Cahill- captured in a photo. Originally taken by a real estate agent- the shot was supposed to be a passport style photo of a colleague. Instead, this was the result:
Bearing in mind this was a Polaroid photo- which means, it’s a notoriously hard to fake medium. There was supposed to be a very alive, human woman standing there- and instead, this photo was captured. This is also exactly as this entity is often described.
Another is said to be Giles Corey- an accused warlock who was killed during one of the rock-crushing interrogations. He is said to turn over trash cans, melt candles, and disturb people who visit. Then…there’s the ghost of The Strangler, himself. Now, mostly, it’s just reports of him knocking about, sitting in a rocking chair- but, there have been some reports of people being choked- the method of torture that made him infamous.
Those businesses that run the building now, however, don’t really care much for any notoriety- it’s not like they’re a hotel, or some other business that might benefit from a little spooky PR: a book firm and yet another real estate agent.
20 Nevada Street, Redlands, CA
Well, I suppose by now, you’re thinking, “Well, I just won’t buy a huge, creepy house with a bad history! Easy peasy, no tenant concerns!” Unless, of course, you decide that this beautiful historic office building is just the place to lease for your property management firm. Not that that stops anyone- the last time it was listed, it boasted 4,500 square feet of rentable space, breathtaking mountain views and a prime location right between Loma Vista and Redlands. As the oldest building in a very well kept park like setting- it’s easy to see why people would want to locate their businesses there. Until you get into some of the un-listed perks.
You see, this building is also known as the Barton Mansion. Kind of funny, in this old listing from Loopnet, I see no mention of the Beast of Barton or any other indications of it’s interesting history. I can see it all now: Well, boss, I was getting those owner’s reports together when suddenly, Bigfoot came in, snatched my stapler while doing an impersonation from The Office, and ran back out again. I was traumatized!
Okay, so nevermind the fact that the Redlands could possibly be one of the most paranormal places in the US, but the Barton House is actually subject to the most common paranormal problem there is: hoaxters. In 2005, a website dedicated to the house claimed to have a real ghost, caught on camera. When called out on it…the site vanished. However, that doesn’t mean this place isn’t creepy. Oh, it is. There was a dental office in there.
Legend has it that the Barton Mansion was built over…you guessed it! Indian burial grounds. This place was basically engineered to be One Of the Creepiest Places On Earth because guess what it was when it was built? An insane asylum. Then, it became a jail. Rumor has it, when the remodel of the place happened, they went through 3 construction companies because nobody wanted to be there. People say they can feel an evil or eerie presence, laughter can be heard, as well as music playing, knocks on doors, lights in windows when no one is there, the list of fairly common “haunting” behaviors goes on and on. Creepiest of all, however, are reports of an extremely tall, demonic, animal like figure, carrying a lantern. dementia patients at the nursing home nearby claim to have seen a man. When they describe him, he fits Dr. Barton’s description.
9067 Southern Boulevard, West Palm Beach, Florida
A beautiful old Edwardian place in Palm Beach County, the Riddle House was built in 1905. Originally known as The Gatekeeper’s Cottage, it was where the overseers of the nearby Woodlawn Cemetery would stay to protect the graves from being robbed. In 1920, the city manager/superintendent of West Palm Beach bought the house to live in until odd things began to occur. Rumor has it that one of his employees hung himself in the attic, and after hearing all sorts of shuffling, chains, voices, laughter, footsteps and other things, each employee of the house quit. Without servants to help out, the house was deemed too big for the family, so they moved out. A handful of businesses tried to occupy the house, but all vacated fairly quickly. It became dilapidated and run down- a magnet for crime and vandalism, and then, it was scheduled for demolition.
Instead of being demolished, it was donated to John Riddle, because he was the nephew of the original namesake. The attic and roof were taken apart, the house dismantled and it was moved to Yesteryear Village– a living history attraction that is set in “a time before running water”. they allow ghost tours that not only include the Riddle House but several other paranormal hot spots in their park as well.
Reports of hauntings at the Riddle House are varied, and all of them creepy. When the property was near a cemetery- criminal grave robbing was very common and some believe that this caused a lot of spiritual unrest. Another story tells of a fight between a worker called Buck, who got into an argument and was murdered there. He, however isn’t a malevolent spirit, and instead is just reported to be puttering around, doing his thing. After the suicide of the employee in the attic, conversations in the home when no one was there to speak were heard, shadow people have been seen, knocks and other terrifying noises scared occupant after occupant out of the building. The businesses that took it up dealt with the same problems, and when it was a dorm for female college students, residents reported being too terrified to sleep, some even refusing to stay.
Explore With Caution
While a few of the places on this list do allow adventurous people to come check them out, a few of them are also private residences. These awesome properties are great for scary stories, but really, some of them should remain urban legend lore at a distance. As noted in the Haunting Of Hill House story- the people who live there really don’t like being bothered by ghost hunters. In the case of Joel Rifkin’s former home, his relatives were contacted about the sale- and not really happy about it. However, when you are looking for really scary properties or places to get a good fright on, this list could give you a good head start. You can also check out ShadowLands haunted place index, for more haunted houses and other spooky stories. Happy Halloween!