13 Haunted House Mysteries No One Can Explain

These sinister structures hide dark and horrible secrets.

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Haunted house mysteries - Myrtles Plantation Louisiana
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Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana

Just how many murders and deaths have occurred at Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is up for debate: some say it’s as many as 10, while others think the only murder victim was one of the owners who got shot on his own property. However, there is a legend that one of the former slaves on the plantation killed her master’s family and still haunts the grounds.

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Haunted house mysteries - Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon
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Pittock Mansion, Portland, Oregon

The Pittock Mansion now belongs to the city of Oregon, but many believe it’s still the property of the ghosts who are said to reside there. Unlike other stories of haunted houses, however, this one plays host to friendly ghosts. The mystery here, then, is why they are still there. Why do they make themselves known to people? If nothing bad happened, why haunt the mansion? Perhaps it’s something to ask the Ouija board.

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Haunted house mysteries - Winchester Mystery House
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The Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California

With the word mystery in its name, the Winchester Mystery House has a good reason for its reputation. Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune, continued construction on this house after her husband and infant child had passed with the sole purpose of creating a mystery. A psychic had told her that her family died because the spirits of the people who died by Winchester rifles were angry; by continuing to add rooms and wings to her home, she could give these spirits a place to go. Sarah believed that the confusing passageways that turned on themselves and staircases that led nowhere would confuse and trap the evil spirits.

Would you believe these famous horror movies were inspired by real events?

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Lemp Mansion, St. Louis, Missouri

Once one of the wealthiest families in the United States, the Lemps’ legacy is now shrouded in mystery. They earned an immense fortune thanks to their brewery, but luck was not on their side: Numerous untimely family deaths plagued the mansion. The most haunting mystery of all is the legend that William Lemp, Jr. had an illegitimate child and kept the boy hidden away in the attic for his entire life.

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lizzie borden house

The Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, Massachusetts

Everyone knows about Lizzie Borden’s axe and her 40-plus whacks thanks to the ghoulish children’s rhyme. So, did she really chop up her own parents? While she was officially acquitted of all charges during her lifetime, the debate still continues today. No one knows for certain what really happened in that house and whether Lizzie was a falsely-accused young lady or a cold-blooded killer.

Don’t miss our countdown of the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.

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the whaley house

Whaley House, San Diego, California

Now a museum and landmark, Whaley House has had a long history of hauntings, due to the number of people who were hanged there and the suicide of Violet Whaley in 1885. The best-known ghost story is one of a man called Yankee Jim, who was hanged there after committing a serious crime and still haunts the premises.

These chilling ghost stories are guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

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Haunted house mysteries - McPike Mansion, Alton, Illinois
Photo: Mcpikemansioncrew/Wikimedia Commons

McPike Mansion, Alton, Illinois

The entire town of Alton, Illinois, is renowned for paranormal activity. Its best-known haunted house, however, is the McPike Mansion, where dozens of people have reported strange phenomena. The spirits of the previous owners are thought to haunt the property as part of an ancient curse.

Discover 13 creepy facts about Canada.

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Waiter in a tuxedo on a black background

Governor William Sprague Mansion, Cranston, Rhode Island

The Sprague Mansion has been rumoured to be haunted for many years. The wine cellar and the doll room—yes, a room filled with creepy dolls—are the two rooms with the most reported supernatural activity. Legend also says that a ghost named Charlie the Butler haunts the place because he is still angry at his wealthy employer for refusing a marriage between their two children.

Here are the signs your house could be haunted, according to paranormal experts.

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Franklin Castle, Cleveland, Ohio

This Cleveland home has seen more than its share of grim events. From the deaths of several infants to the discovery of bones in a closet as recently as 1975 (although this may have been a hoax), Franklin Castle is rumoured to be bursting at the seams with spectres and secrets.

Siding with the skeptics? Check out five famous ghost stories that have been thoroughly debunked.

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Haunted house mysteries - flies on window from The Amityville Horror
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The Amityville Horror House, Amityville, New York

The murders of six members of the DeFeo family and the subsequent haunting of the Lutz family has made the Amityville House world famous. It has inspired several horror films with its stories of demons, possessions and more. Did the supernatural cause all of these deaths and hauntings? Or was it just a man?

Are you brave enough to visit these real life horror movie locations?

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Haunted house mysteries - Woodburn Mansion, Dover, Delware
Photo: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Woodburn Mansion, Dover, Delaware

The story goes that a little girl was found dead in the fountain of the Woodburn Mansion during the inauguration of Delaware’s governor, and now haunts the stately structure. If that wasn’t spooky enough, there are also rumours that soldiers from the Revolutionary War still raid the place for all the drink they can find.

These eerie ghost ship mysteries also defy explanation.

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Exit from dark room

“The Murder House,” Boise, Idaho

Not very original in name, but it gets the point across. The Murder House” of Boise, Idaho, is so named because in 1987 a dead man was found inside, chopped into pieces—and no one’s sure why. They say his soul still haunts the house and will do so forever.

Would you believe these true crime mysteries were solved by psychics?

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Haunted house mysteries - Ferry Plantation House, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Photo: Rlevse/Wikimedia Commons

Ferry Plantation House, Virginia Beach, Virginia

It is said that more than ten spirits lurk around Virginia Beach’s Ferry Plantation House, including ghosts of those who died in a ferry wreck. A woman thought to have been a witch was killed there, too, and also haunts the premises.

Can’t get enough haunted house mysteries? Check out 10 of the most haunted places in Canada.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest