For those whom are curious or into the paranormal side of things, the Whaley House definitely needs to be added to your list of places to visit. Built in 1857, the Whaley House is actually the oldest brick structure in Southern California. It was also San Diego’s first commercial theater, general store and county courthouse.
The owners of this home went through many heartbreaks, losing multiple family members inside (and directly outside) these walls. One would almost wonder if the Whaley House could in fact, be cursed? And that is quite possible, considering it was built upon the city’s old gallow where the accused were hung from the trees in the backyard!
One of the most notable hangings was that of Yankee Jim, who was hung for stealing a boat. HIs body is buried one block down at El Campo Santo Cemetery. I do not doubt that there are more people buried there who were hung on this property as well.
Thomas Whaley, the father and man responsible for building their home, not only knew this land’s dark history, but actually witnessed Yankee Jim being hung! You would think that would be enough to keep his family far away, but nope! The prices were definitely paid.
When the Whaley’s moved into their home, they themselves were said to experience paranormal activity. No surprise there. The first death within their family in this home was their young son Thomas, who died of scarlet fever at only 18 months.
Later, their daughter Violet committed suicide in the backyard after dealing with a heartbreak with her husband who turned out to be a con artist. Devastated from another child’s death in this home, the family finally moved out of to New Town (now known as downtown).
The Whaley House is said to be one of the most haunted houses in the U.S. Do you believe it’s haunted? I do and I’d like to share my story from when I was a child:
These days all of the rooms are glassed off so you can’t go inside them. When I was a kid there was just a rope keeping you from going in the rooms, and well, that wasn’t going to stop me from going in!
In one of the rooms I went in I remember extremely vividly looking in a long mirror and seeing behind me a young boy (about 5 yrs. old) in a 19th century-style outfit. He had suspenders, a paperboy hat, knee highs, etc.
He was talking to a beautiful lady who actually kept looking at me through the mirror and giving me a mischievous smile. She didn’t seem evil, but devious.
The weird thing about her was that she was all green! I mean green face, clothes, hair, etc. I wasn’t scared though. I was intrigued. I heard people coming up the stairs and I instinctively turned to see who it was.
The little boy and lady were nowhere to be seen when I looked behind me & when I turned back to look in the mirror, the only person looking at me was my own reflection.
The ghostly pair had vanished. It was an amazing experience. At such a young age, when my imagination was still going full-force, it was impossible for me to fully wrap this experience around my head. Regardless though, it has remained vividly in my memory ever since although I questioned if what I had seen was real or in my head.
Until my mid-20’s, the only mention I had ever heard or read about a green lady in the Whaley House was at a bookstore in Old Town. One day I was thumbing through this book about the ghosts of Old Town.
It briefly mentioned a green female spirit that haunts the area accompanied with a cheesy illustration of a green ghost woman. I’ve been kicking myself in the butt ever since for not at least writing down the title and author of that book.
Fast forward to October 31st, 2010. I went to Old Town that night and there was a group of ghost hunters there advertising their group and putting together haunted tours of the Whaley House. I decided to talk to them about my experience and get their take on it.
To my surprise, they were actually very interested in my story and believed me (unlike most people). One of the ladies asked if I would look at some of the female ghosts they were able to capture on camera there and of course, I naturally agreed.
The first photo was of Anna Whaley, the mother. I immediately said no and that she wasn’t the lady I saw. She then showed me a second ghostly photo of a female (I can’t remember who she said that woman was).
Again, no. I explained that she looked to be in her twenties and was beautiful. They both said at the same time “Violet”. They then showed me a ghostly-looking photo of Violet, the daughter who committed suicide in the backhouse.
Immediately I knew it was her. They then both got really excited when they realized that Violet had been seen with a green orb around her numerous times and was, in fact, associated with that color. I cannot tell you how excited I was to not only put a face and name to the female ghost that I had seen, but to also have people believe me and give me props for seeing her!!
Since I learned that the female ghost I saw was Violet Whaley, I began reading up on the Whaley family more. I then learned that a young girl was rumored to haunt the house, but a psychic ghost-hunting group who frequents this place all agreed that there is no spirit of a young girl there but instead of a young boy. That too would go right along with the little boy I saw there! This was all so exciting for me!
Here’s a shot of the Whaley House in the day, but it’s definitely most spooky in the evening!
Don’t you agree?
You purchase your tickets at the gorgeous Victorian next door. It also has some spooky and unique gifts for purchase!
The shots below are taken from several trips, both daytime and night:
Many people report strange, cold feelings on the staircase: