The haunted Whaley House in San Diego is one of Old Town San Diego's most haunted places. The Whaley House is said to have many ghosts and spirits lurking behind its old walls.
Ghosts of the Haunted Whaley House in San Diego
The earliest documented ghost at the Whaley House is “Yankee Jim”. James (aka Santiago) Robinson was convicted of attempted grand larceny in San Diego in 1852, and hanged on a gallows off the back of a wagon on the site where the house now stands. Although Thomas Whaley had been a spectator at the execution, he did not let it disuade him from buying the property a few years later and building a home for his family there. According to the San Diego Union, “soon after the couple and their children moved in, heavy footsteps were heard moving about the house. Whaley described them as sounding as though they were made by the boots of a large man. Finally he came to the conclusion that these unexplained footfalls were made by Yankee Jim Robinson.”
Many visitors to the house have reported encountering Thomas Whaley himself. The late June Reading, former curator of the museum, said, “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.” However, many adults have reported seeing the apparition of Mr. Whaley, usually on the upper landing. One said he was “clad in frock coat and pantaloons, the face turned away from her, so she could not make it out. Suddenly it faded away.”
Even television personality Regis Philbin reported seeing Anna Whaley in the house. Anna isn't the only female visitors see or sense. Some have claimed to sense a small figure woman in the courtroom. No one has been able to identify this woman but it is believed she is one of the numerous tenants that the house was rented to. A long-haired little girl has also been spotted in the house, particularly in the dining room. According to an urban legend, the little girl is one of the Whaley children's playmates that broke her neck on a low-hanging clothesline in the backyard.
Human spirits aren't the only ones seen at the Whaley House. A parapsychologist reported seeing a spotted dog, perhaps a fox terrier, run down the hall in the house. The Whaley's owned a terrier named Dolly Varden.
History of The Haunted Whaley HouseIn addition to being the Whaley Family home, it housed a granary, the County Court House, San Diego's first commercial theater, various businesses including Thomas Whaley's own general store, a ballroom, a billiard hall, school, and polling place.
Significant events, such as the siezure of the court documents and records in 1871, and the suicide of Violet Whaley in 1885 profoundly affected Thomas and Anna Whaley. These events, as well as the hangings which occurred on the property before the house was constructed, have suffused the Whaley House with an air of mystery and added to its reputation as something more than just California State Historic Landmark.
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