Whaley House

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Built by Thomas Whaley in 1857, this home once included the town’s courthouse, general store, granary, theater and morgue. It is now a National Historic Landmark and museum, and folks say it’s haunted by the ghosts of Whaley family members and the spirit of another man who was reportedly hanged on the site before the house was erected.

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    Geographic Information

    2476 San Diego Avenue
    San Diego, California
    United States

    Get Directions »
    32.752531, -117.19447550000001
    San Diego County, California
    Nearest Towns:
    San Diego, CA (3.4 mi.)
    Coronado, CA (4.7 mi.)
    National City, CA (7.6 mi.)
    La Jolla, CA (8.0 mi.)
    Lemon Grove, CA (9.5 mi.)
    La Mesa, CA (10.0 mi.)
    Chula Vista, CA (10.1 mi.)
    Spring Valley, CA (11.4 mi.)
    Bonita, CA (11.6 mi.)
    La Presa, CA (11.9 mi.)


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    1. This place is definitely haunted. My son and boyfriend and I all experienced paranormal experiences while we were there. My boyfriend and I saw and heard a chair in the back of the theater room move and thump the ground three times as he approached it asking if someone was sitting on it (after the docent said she saw an apparition sitting on it a few days before.) This was during a visit during the day. Later that evening we returned with my son and his daughter and her friend. My son saw the apparition of a little girl staring at some baby shoes in the upstairs bedroom. She looked really sad and looked up at my son then turned around and walked away. As I was walking down the stairs I heard the beautiful voice of a woman humming an ethereal sounding tune. I thought it was piped in music and told the docent who was downstairs talking to my boyfriend, that it was a really cool affect as it sounded so realistic. She looked at me stunned and asked me “that wasn’t you singing?”! I said no, isn’t it piped in? She said no and swore up and down that it wasn’t. She was really freaked out about it since I was talking to her as the singing was happening, so she knew it wasn’t me.. As we were leaving the place my son was pushed out the door by something invisible. I saw his mid back jut forward as it happened and he stumbled a little. A few weeks later I returned to the Whaley House with my sister and asked the docent outside if there was piped in music. He said no. I asked him if anyone ever heard a woman singing, and he said that yes, a few weeks ago the docent heard singing and at first thought it was a woman who was walking down the stairs, but it wasn’t. I told him that it was me walking down the stairs and I could have sworn the music was piped in somehow as it was so loud and clear. We were the only ones in that part of the building at the time since they were getting ready to close. Two older women were in the courtroom part of the house taking pictures, and they confirmed that it wasn’t them either. It couldn’t have been them, though, since the singing sounded like it was surround sound and coming from the staircase area.

      • I went there with my friend and we heard strange noises in the theater room and while walking along the house’s porch my friend said he felt cold fingers on the back of his neck. We were getting freaked out but wanted to stsy longer, but right when we went back inside, someone whispered something in my ear, and we bolted.

      • Robert,

        The Whaley House does not allow paranormal investigation teams into the house for that purpose. They will give you a “tour” in which you are not allowed to bring anything but a still camera. You can find their contact information through an internet search. They are not paranormal team friendly.

    2. Upon visiting the Whaley house for the first time, I was incredibly disappointed. I was disappointed by the fact that the vast majority of “ghost” pics that people had taken there could be easily debunked right away. i had seen so many pictures of misty figures and strange translucent apparitions in the rooms of the house. The first think you notice when you head up stairs is that the entrance to every room is blocked off by a 7 foot tall piece of Plexiglas. Right away, I could tell that so many of these amazing pictures I had seen were simply reflections from the glass.

      The house is gorgeous and creepy. So many people have had amazing experiences there, but I will have trouble being convinced by any photos taken from behind that glass.

    3. I have been here numerous times and I can say and feel that there is NOTHING haunted about this place. And Yes, so much plexiglass and the sun reflecting off the glass decorations in the Court house, is a bit annoying.
      As a point of reference, I started G. Hunting years ago after seeing an apparition past by me in a So. Cal Restaurant that I worked at, I have picked up numerous EVP’s at different sites in different states (including a family members grave site), etc… Though there were the Orbs that appeared to follow one of the friends that I was with in the Waverly graveyard, the house for me is not haunted unfortunately. I feel the same way about the queen mary, though the tour is well worth the experience of traveling through that awesome ship at the wee hours of night. Happy Hunting.

    4. This location is definitely haunted. There have been recorded sightings of apparitions, and I have personally experienced being touched, smelling perfume, hearing footsteps and the organ upstairs playing, lights flashing violently and lots of orbs in still photos. Video recordings are not allowed nor audio. The staff closely monitors your actions while in the house for it’s protection and a fee is charged for admittance.

      I have been investigating the paranormal for over 25 years and this lovely house is full of poltergeist activity, active and residual hauntings. The night time tour is the best chance you’ll have for any activity or experience. Also, the Queen Mary is very haunted and not to be missed. Robert A, I recommend you spend a little more time investigating with equipment – not your senses.

    5. I was at the Whaley House a couple weeks ago trying to capture evidence of paranormal phenomena. I wasn’t able to capture any EVPs, but I did catch multiple orbs using my cell phone. (They do not allow video or audio recording) The interesting part is that the orbs I did capture a photo of were different in colors. I have had an experience in the court room in which I felt my energy being drained from my body. This location is haunted.

    6. A couple of yrs agobat the Whaley house, i swear i was in an area of the house that would be used for carraiges and horse equipment….i really like horses and am a horse owner..i was walking thrunthis area and all of a sudden it felt like someone was running up behind me… My husband said he saw a similiar part of the W house….but we went back a couple of weeks ago and i couldnt find that part of the W house…was told it never existed….help!#

    7. I’ve visited the Whaley House on three occasions. On two of those occasions I saw a full-bodied apparition. My first time visiting the house was in 2005 over the 4th of July holiday with my sister and cousin. We were up in the 2nd-floor theater, while a group of maybe three people were recording the master bedroom hoping to catch something. They were getting frustrated that they weren’t seeing anything and were getting ready to leave. I specifically remember the “ding” from the camera as they turned it off. Not a second later I heard a loud bang come from the master bedroom. The people originally recording ran downstairs. After catching up with them afterwards I learned that a chair in the back right corner of the room had levitated, spun around, and hit the back wall. This was the bang that we heard.

      Being curious as to the noise we went from the theater to the master bedroom. We were the only ones there since the people originally recording had run downstairs. We saw a full-bodied apparition in 19th-century attire appear at the site of the chair. This person then proceeded to run across the master bedroom, disappearing just before getting to the closet that connects the master bedroom to the theater. While the person ran across the room he ruffled the carpet. As well, the curtain was ruffled as the person ran by, such that the curtain ended up covering the lamp sitting on the table in front of the window. The window was closed- I don’t think they open any of the 2nd floor windows at the house. However, we didn’t see this peron’s reflection in the mirror of the dresser. As this thing ran through the room it was affecting the physical world as though it was real.

      We talked with the docent afterwards, and they told us that the person we described (including what they were wearing) matched Yankee Jim, who is known to play pranks and to be active in the master bedroom. The docent told us that what we saw was one of the most active sightings ever reported in the house. He let us into the master bedroom (through the theater), and although the carpet was ruffled and the curtain moved, we didn’t see anything in the room that would have explained what we saw. Just an old bedroom– I can’t see any reasonable way for what I saw to be explained. This docent had us put our experience and names in a book which was kept on the 1st floor of the house.

      I visited the house again a few years later and the docent remembered who I was, where I was from, and what I had seen (probably because of that book). I was talking with the docent at the end of the day, and along with the docent was the very last person out of the house as he locked it. Just after leaving the house I was looking up at the 2nd floor windows and saw somebody walk across. Their top half was well-defined but their bottom half was poorly defined. Again, there was nobody in the house since along with the docent I was the very last person out.

      I visited the house most recently in 2013 on a tour (first time taking a tour), but didn’t see anything unusual. I think being on a tour with all those people had something to do with it. I’ve only ever seen things when alone or in a small group. On this visit I asked for the book recording paranormal activity in the house but was told no such book existed. I imagine management of the house changed and the book was removed, since such a book did exist 10 years ago or so. Do I think the house is haunted? Yes… the second floor especially.

    8. I’ve been to the Whaley House on a few occasions and on 2 separate visits I had the same experience in the court room. We were sitting in one of the back benches listening to the tour guide and I distinctly felt someone comb their fingers through my hair. My hair used to be fairly long and I thought it was just my wife touching my hair. I asked her about it as we left and she said that it wasn’t her. On the second visit, again sitting in the court house, the same thing happened, the feeling of fingers combing through my hair. My wife again swore it wasn’t her. I looked around and there were no fans, open windows, or air vents that could have caused it. I asked one of the docents and, totally unphased, she replied “Oh, that’s just {name}. She likes guys with long hair.” She said the name of the ghost, but I can’t remember it now.

    9. Went in April of this year. I took the 7pm tour so it was just getting dark. We were encouraged to take pics and they were normal until we got to the kitchen area. All of the pics I took in that area were blurry, we moved to the next room towards the stairway and I felt I had hit a wall of ice. The feeling was so heavy and cold I even said “omg!” Outloud. We went up the stairs to the theater room and all the pics I took there were fine except one that was very blurry and creepy looking. My head started to hurt at that point. We kept walking around the upstairs and back down the stairs, no cold feeling anymore. We left the house and I started feeling sick to my stomach and I barely made the 2 blocks to my hotel, as soon as I got to my room I started throwing up and my head was throbbing. Idk if I’d ever go back there.

    10. The house is old and creepy and all the pics are taken of rooms behind a plexiglass screen. I could tell that the plexiglass makes pics look like they captured something they didn’t.
      We went there (native to San Diego) several times, mainly when we were waiting for a dinner reservation and never felt or anything. My stepmom sees spirits/ghosts/apparitions as a common occurrence and I asked if she felt or saw anything and she said no. We sat upstairs for awhile with one of the employees and we were messing around downloading ghost apps and trying our luck after she was trying it with a “ghost translator” app. I know all those are nonsense but I say it because I think the employees try to amp up the “haunted” reputation to people on tours.
      For reference: we went to Hotel Del for dinner and we walked around the hotel, My stepmom saw 3 ghosts and felt extreme sadness from the lady on the top floor. I asked where “the ghost” was standing so I could walk “thru” it. Lol. I didn’t feel any emotions but I felt like someone was sitting on my chest and had a hard time catching my breath for the entire time we spent at the Del until 20 minutes after we left in the car ride home. So Hotel Del is majorly haunted by multiple ‘ghosts’

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