Whaley House, A San Diego Haunted Landmark

1960 Whaley HouseBuilt in 1857 by Thomas Whaley. The Whaley House has been the subject of many reports of paranormal activity. The Whaley House was the family home to the Whaley family members and their descendants  from completion till 1953.  The home now serves as a museum in Old Town San Diego, CA. At various times throughout its’ life, it housed a granary, the County Court House, San Diego’s first commercial theater, various businesses including Thomas Whaley’s own general store, a ballroom, a billiard hall, school, and polling place

It is reported that suicide of Violet Whaley in 1885 affected the family in a profound manner. There are reports of hangings on the property before the house was built in 1857.

The earliest reports are heavy footsteps of a spirit called Yankee Jim were reported in the San Diego Union soon after the family moved into the home. Legend says Yankee Jim was James (aka Santiago) Robinson, a man hung for attempted grand larceny in San Diego in 1852. The legend of Yankee Jim states that there was not a proper gallows to hang the criminal and that he was hung from a wagon bed and strangled, a slow death for sure. The local newspaper reported that he “kept his feet in the wagon as long as possible, but was finally pulled off. It is reported the Thomas Whaley, attended the hanging.

Whaley House CourtroomThomas Whaley has been reported to roam the upper landing of the Whaley house.  The smell of cigar smoke is reported in the Whaley house as well. Anne Whaley the wife of Thomas is reported to be seen in the lower rooms of the home, reports of a female presence are said to come from the courtroom n a regular basis.

A parapsychologist reported he saw a spotted dog, like a fox terrier, that ran down the hall with his ears flapping and into the dining room. The dog, he said, was an apparition. When they lived in the house, the Whaley’s owned a terrier named Dolly Varden.

The Whaley house has appeared in television numerous times. More recently shows such as SYFY Fact of Fake: Paranormal Files, Ghost Adventures, And America’s Most Haunted, in which it was stated the Whaley House was the most supernatural home in the United States.

What are your thoughts about the Whaley House? Let us know in the comments.




Haunted Houses (ISBN 0-553-12883-3)



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