California has its share of haunted buildings, but none of them have as dark a past as the Whaley House.
Located on 2476 San Diego Ave in San Diego, the Greek Revival style residence is a beauty, earning acclaim as the finest new brick block in Southern California when it was completed in 1857.
However, it’s been over half a century since the Whaley House had people living in it.
Destined to Be Haunted
Updated 2/10/2020 – Long before the Whaley House became infamous for its spirits, many predicted its fate the minute it was built.
The building was erected on the site of one of the town’s famous public executions: the hanging of Yankee Jim Robinson.
However, this fact didn’t deter Thomas Whaley from purchasing the land and constructing what he believed would be the home of many Whaley generations.
The First Deaths of the Whaley House
Unfortunately, moving into the house came with a price.
Anna and Thomas’ 18-months-old son died of scarlet fever inside the house.
A fire burned through the building months later, burning the general store the Whaleys set up inside their residence.
These incidents forced Thomas and his family to abandon the house.
However, they returned after several years and suffered many ordeals as a result.
Anna and Thomas Whaley lost another child: Violet Eloise Whaley.
Violet married George T. Bertolacci, a con artist who married her for her dowry and disappeared with it after two weeks into their marriage.
The 22-year-old was shunned by the Victorian society, pushing her into depression and eventually suicide.
Her death affected her sister Corinne Lillian, whose fiancé broke off their engagement after the scandal was raised.
These events finally inspired Thomas to build another home and shift his family there.
The Spirits Sighted at the Whaley House
Though Thomas Whaley died at his second house in San Diego, he and Anne continue ‘living’ in the Whaley House till this day.
Many guests have smelled his cigar smoke and her lavender-scented perfume.
They’ve even spotted her rocking in her chair or heard the piano playing.
Their baby is also close by, walking, crying or giggling around the house without being seen.
Violet’s spirit is also bound to the house.
Many have spotted the young woman lingering on the house’s second floor, which is where she spent most of her time after her divorce.
Aside from the Whaleys, there are other spirits within the house and on the stairwells.
One of these belongs to Yankee Jim Robinson himself.
Hanged on the property for reportedly stealing a boat, he’s usually seen rowing a skiff.
Another is of a girl whose last name is Washburn.
Rumor has it that she died in the house while playing with the Whaley children.
She’s seen throughout the house often.
If you decide to visit the Whaley House, be on the lookout for moving curtains, the sounds of children, cold spots, the appearance of shadows, and other ways the building’s ghosts try revealing themselves.
Just make sure not to interfere with them as they’ve finally found peace in their home.