Two weeks before Halloween, a collection of horror stories with a real estate bent. Grab a bowl of bite-sized candy bars and prepare to be spooked.
LaLaurie Mansion (bought by Nicolas Cage) — New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo: Corey Ann/Flickr
Marie Delphine LaLaurie was a Louisanna-born socialite and serial killer responsible for the torture and murder of several slaves in her New Orleans mansion in the early 1800s. Her sadistic lifestyle was exposed on April 10, 1834, when rescuers, responding to a fire at her home, discovered bodies of tortured slaves. LaLaurie was run out of town by outraged locals and is believed to have settled in France where she eventually died. Her mansion still stands today at 1140 Royal Street, and, in 2007, was purchased by Nicolas Cage for $3.45 million. Obviously the Ghost Rider star was unfazed by the property’s dark past. Probably because he is a vampire and a total badass.
As the actor told Forbes Magazine:
“You know, other people have beachfront property; I have ghost front property – that’s what I always say. I have not experienced anything, but I like a bit of mystery, and the house has such a mystery to it. Some of the stories about it are pretty horrific.”
Unfortunately Cage wasn’t able to hold onto his haunted house for long. The financially troubled star lost it to foreclosure in 2009.
Villisca Axe Murder House — Villisca, Iowa
In June 1912, all six members of the Moore family and two young female house guests were hacked to death by an ax in this Iowa home. While there were several suspsects, no person has ever been convicted of the heinous crime. Future residents of the home have reported ghostly visions of a man with an ax, sounds of children crying, unexplained noises and other paranormal activity. The house was restored in the mid 1990s and is now open for daytime tours, and if you’re brave enough, overnight stays. Photo: Jennifer Kirkland/Flickr
Whaley House — San Diego, California
The US Department of Commerce officially declared San Diego’s Whaley House haunted back in 1960 following frequent reports of ghost sightings. One regular apparition is that of “Yankee Jim” Robinson, a man put death on the property for larceny before the house was built in 1857. Others visitors to the house-turned-museum have claimed to have seen members of the Whaley family, including daughter Violet Whaley who committed suicide on the property. Television host Regis Philbin says even he had a paranormal encounter at Whaley House. Photo: Smart Destinations/Flickr
Amityville House — Amityville, New York
The Amityville House is the setting of one of America’s most iconic horror stories. In 1974, six members of the DeFeo family were found slain in the home. The eldest son, Ronald DeFeo Jr., was later convicted of murdering his parents and siblings. A year later, the Lutz family moved in but quickly moved out following a series of paranormal phenomena ranging from a mid-winter fly infestation to sightings of a demonic pig-like creature with glowing red eyes. Photo: Dougtone/Flickr
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel — Banff, Alberta
Built in 1888, the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is said to be haunted by a family that was murdered in room 873 (which has supposedly been sealed off and covered in drywall), a bride who died falling down a marble staircase, and a retired bellhop dressed in full uniform. Also, the fact that the Banff Springs Hotel looks a lot like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining doesn’t do anything to quell the spooky factor. Photo: Calgary Reviews/Flickr
Myrtles Plantation — St. Francisville, Louisiana
As the story goes, in the early 19th century plantation owner Clark Woodruff cut the ear off a young slave named Chloe after catching her eavesdropping on his family. To get even, Chloe poisoned a cake she served to the family in hopes that it would cause them to fall ill. Instead, she ended up killing Clark’s wife and two children. Chloe was hanged for her crimes and her body dumped in the Mississippi River. The ghost of Chloe and members of Woodruff family still hang around the historic site. Photo: MRHSfan/Flickr
Fairmont Chateau Laurier — Ottawa, Ontario
Business Tycoon Charles Melville Hays commissioned the Fairmount Château Laurier, but was killed aboard the Titanic days before the hotel’s grand opening in 1912. But the man was clearly dedicated to his work. One hundred years after his death, and guests still report sightings of his spirit roaming the hotel’s lavish hallways. Photo: Asif A. Ali/Flickr