The Whaley House, located in San Diego, California, frequently appears on lists of the most haunted houses in the country. "America's Most Haunted," a show on the Travel Channel, ranked it the number one most haunted house in the United States.
Whaley House is a residence built by settler Thomas Whaley in 1857, located in what is now Old Town San Diego. It is now a public museum owned by the county of San Diego, called the Whaley House that is open to visitors. Over 100,000 people visit the museum annually.
The building today known as the Whaley House served as the county courthouse from 1869-1870, and the upstairs rooms were used as the first commercial theater in San Diego and as meeting rooms for the County Board of Supervisors and record storage. The Whaley family lived in the home on and off until 1885.
"My new house, when completed, will be the handsomest, most comfortable and convenient place in town or within 150 miles of here," Whaley said of the house, according to the website.
Ghosts that are reported to haunt the house include "Yankee Jim," otherwise known as James Robinson, who was hanged on a gallows on the site where the house now stands.
Even the Whaley family thought the house might be haunted, according to the San Diego Union, who report, "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 large men," the article continued. "Finally he came to the conclusion that these unexplained footfalls were made by Yankee Jim Robinson."
Visitors have also claimed to encounter the ghost of Thomas Whaley.
"We had a little girl, perhaps five or six years old who waved to a man she said was standing in the parlor," June Reading, the former curator of the museum, said, according to the website. "We couldn't see him. But often children's sensitivity is greater than adults."
Anna Whaley has also reportedly been seen in the garden or downstairs rooms. She even appeared to television host Regis Philbin.
"All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall," Philbin said. "There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind.
"I got so excited I couldn't restrain myself," he continued. "I flipped on the [flash] light and nothing was there but the portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house."
Other ghosts reported to have been seen include a woman in the courtroom, a young girl, even a spotted dog.
You know a lot of people pooh-pooh it because they can't see it," Philbin said. "But there was something going on in that house."
Excerpt from "The Haunting of Whaley House."