By Peter Ricci
This is Halloween, the day when pumpkins scream in the dead of night, children trick or treat until the neighbors die of fright and real estate agents sell property with all their might!
Alright, that may not quite be how the lyrics go to Danny Elfman’s classic ‘This is Halloween,” but we thought the holiday served as a perfect time to visit some of the spookiest real estate from around the country.
Haunted Housing in the U.S.
John Hancock Center, Chicago
Supposedly, Cap Streeter, the eccentric Chicagoan to whom its Streeterville neighborhood took its name, placed a curse on the neighborhood on his deathbed, after year of development fights with other real estate professionals. Thus, some have speculated the curse is responsible for the strange deaths that have occurred at the John Hancock Center, which is located in Streeterville; anything’s possible, but we think the thoroughly awful “Poltergeist III,” which was shot in the Hancock Center, is to blame!
Marshall Field Mansion, Chicago
The Marshall Field Mansion on Chicago’s South Side earns its haunted reputation from the mysterious suicide of Marshall Field, Jr., the son of the famed businessman and philanthropist. Since his 1905 death, the home has been carved up into condos, but as Curbed points out, there’s been no word from any homeowners over the supposed footsteps, cries and shadowy figures that haunt the premises.
John Wayne Gacy’s Home: 8213 W. Summerdale Avenue, Chicago
This is the infamous spot in Chicago where John Wayne Gacy lived in the late ’70s – and where police uncovered the bodies of 29 of his victims. The ranch where Gacy lives was destroyed by police when searching the site, and this contemporary ranch was built on the land in ’88. We know it’s a new house, but…it’s still kind of creepy.
Versace Mansion, Miami
As our Miami affilate reported when it was listed, the Versace Mansion is gaining considerable attention in the real estate world for two reasons: one, it’s going for an incredible $125 million; and two, the famed designer was murdered on the steps of the mansion. Does he haunt the premises today, scolding the owner’s wardrobe choices?
Amityville Horror House, Toms River, New Jersey
This had to have been planned – just in time for Halloween, the current owners of the famous home featured in the 1979 film The Amityville Horror reduced the price of their listing, which has fallen from an initial $1.45 million to the current $955,000. Frightening!
108 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York
In case you were wondering, though, the real Amityville house, which sits on 108 Ocean Avenue in New York and was the actual setting for the supposed horrors of the book and film, was for sale in 2010, but according to Zillow, it sold Oct. 14 of that year for a sweet $950,000.
The Clutter Residence, Holcomb, Kansas
The setting for the grisly murders detailed so memorably in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” the former Clutter Residence in Holcomb, Kansas is a private residence, and, despite its past, a rather lovely one, as interior shots of the home demonstrate. The house was put on the auction block in 2006, but it failed to find sufficient bids.
The Haunted Residence of Nyack, New York
You know you have a special residence on your hands when it’s considered legally haunted. The owners of this 5,000-square-foot Victorian property in the ’70s and ’80s, the Ackley family, reported numerous cases of haunted visits, but the home garnered national attention when those owners attempted to sell the property.
The Ackleys sold the home in 1990 to Jeffrey and Patrice Stambovsky, but once the Stambovskys discovered the home’s haunted reputation, they backed out of the deal – but the Ackleys refused to refund their $32,000 deposit. Thus, the Stambovsky v. Ackley case was born, in which a court ruled – legally – that in the given circumstances, the property was haunted! The judge’s rationale was simple: because of the home’s reputation as a haunted residence and because the home’s value derived from that reputation, it was, in the legal sense, haunted, and he ruled in favor of the Stambovskys, earning the case plenty of attention in legal circles.
The Governor’s Mansion, Austin, Texas
The fourth oldest executive residence in the U.S., this stately home was built between 1854 and 1856. As this extensive profile of the home explains, rumors have persisted for some time that the ghost of Sam Houston himself haunts the mansion. Most sightings of Houston have placed him in his bedroom, which he occupied while governor of Texas – and which still features the mahogany, four-poster bed that he purchased for the room.
Curtiss Mansion, Miami Springs
Built in 1925 by Glenn H. Curtiss, the “Father of Naval Aviation,” the Curtiss Mansion has a schizophrenic past. The victim of three separate arsons, rumor has it that Glenn’s wife, Lena, burned the house herself on one of those occasions – with Glenn inside. Though there doesn’t seem to be any truth to the rumor, it has nonetheless persisted, and following an extensive renovation to the property, visitors began reporting sightings of Glenn Curtiss, along with lights going on and off and disembodied screaming.
The Former Jefferson Davis Hospital, Houston
Considered among the most haunted buildings in America, the Jefferson Davis Hospital was built in 1924 on the burial grounds of confederate soldiers, slaves and city leaders, a certain recipe for ghost stories and haunted visitations. It was recently renovated into a space for artists lofts, and we’ve yet to hear of any rogue paint brushes or floating frescos!