At first glance, many of the stories of these houses, are ones of success, happiness and good fortune - but looks can be deceiving. Behind closed doors, tragic tales, awful affairs, and eerie events took place, leaving lives mired in misfortune, and unexplained occurrences in their wake. With Halloween just around the corner, take a journey with us, reliving the paranormal pasts, and heart-breaking histories, of the worlds most haunted houses. 


Winchester House – California, USA

The unusual story of Winchester House begins with its eccentric owner, Sarah Winchester, who inherited an enormous fortune under the most unfortunate of circumstances. Her husband, William Winchester, a firearms mogul, and their daughter, both died within short succession of each other, leaving a grieving Sarah in possession of a large fortune, and searching for guidance. She met with a psychic who informed her that vengeful spirits, who had met their deaths as a consequence of her husbands rifle empire, had cursed the wealth she held. The psychic advised Sarah to use the money to build a property for the spirits, to keep them at bay.

Here began Sarah’s endless task of building Winchester House. She travelled to California and bought an 8 room-house with a large amount of land. Round-the-clock work to start expanding the house started immediately, with Sarah believing that if she stopped construction, she would die. Therefore, without a plan in place, building works continued for the next 36 years until Sarah’s death in 1922. Winchester House ended up as an 160 room, seven-storey labyrinth, with doors opening onto solid walls, hallways that would run into dead ends and staircases that led to nowhere. In the middle of the mansion Sarah constructed a séance room in order to communicate with ‘good spirits’ who would inform her what to build next to appease the cursed souls she was building the house for. This is said to be the reason for the many odd design features of the house.


Sarah was abnormally superstitious, and this is evident throughout Winchester House. Spider motifs can be seen all through the home which carried spiritual significance for Sarah, and the number 13 is repeated in many design aspects – there are 13 bathrooms, 13 rooms each with 13 windows, the staircases have 13 stairs, walls with 13 panels, and the chandeliers can all hold 13 candles. Due to her superstitious nature many of the doors in the home could only be opened from one side, preventing anyone exiting the room using the same door they entered. When an earthquake destroyed one part of the house, Sarah left it as it was, believing this was higher intervention from angered spirits.

Today, mysterious new rooms and secret passageways are still being discovered. Staff and Visitors to the home reports seeing the spectre of Sarah, still wandering the house, keeping a watchful eye over the apparitions of workers that refused to leave their jobs in death. The most sighted is that of a ghostly groundskeeper, content with pushing his wheelbarrow through the grounds forevermore. 


Villa De Vecchi – Lake Como, Italy

Villa De Vecchi, otherwise known as ‘The Red House’ has been left abandoned for many decades, with only a slither of the once grand, red exterior, now being visible. Identified as Italy’s most haunted villa, its tale begins with Count Felix de Vecchi, a decorated war hero, who commissioned architect, Alessandro Sidioli, to build him a summer house. Unbeknownst, to Sidioli, he was the first victim of The Red House, and died before construction was complete; it is here that the startling story starts to take its shape.

Count Felix and his family enjoyed a handful of happy summers at the Villa, until one night the Count came home to find his wife violently murdered and his daughter missing. After a year of unsuccessfully searching for his missing daughter, De Vecchi committed suicide in the home. The villa was then inherited by Count Felix’s brother, Biago, who owned the property until WWII. Not much is know about who inhabited the Villa since then, but it is thought Aleister Crowley, the prolific occultist, stayed in The Red House for some time, with rumours of satanic rituals, ceremonial orgies and animal sacrifices. Since then the house has been left abandoned.

Today, it is said that on a quiet night the haunting sounds of a Grand Piano can be heard playing from the ruins of the house, and a female voice screaming. To add to the perpetual paranormal lore of the property when an avalanche destroyed the surrounding area in 2002, wiping out many other houses, Villa De Vecchi was the only thing left standing.


Monte Cristo Homestead – New South Wales, Australia

Christopher Crawley was a savvy farmer who lived near the small town of Junee, where a railway station was soon going to be built. He gathered all of his money together to buy a piece of land and built a hotel opposite the station. This venture paid off, and meant in 1885 Crawley could afford to build a large 2-storey home for his family on a hill overlooking the village. This late Victorian style home was the ultimate status symbol, but this status did nothing to save the Crawley family from their fearful fate.

Mr Crawley died in 1910 leaving his wife, Elizabeth, heartbroken and she locked herself away in the attic of the family home. There she remained for 23 years until her demise aged 92, only leaving the homestead twice during that time. Both their spirits still remain roaming the home in ghostly form, with visitors reporting hearing disembodied whispers, and suddenly developing feelings of overwhelming sadness. Mr & Mrs Crawley were known to loathe animals, and new owners over the years have spoken about brutal deaths of various pets, including strangled chickens, choked parrots and a drowned litter of kittens.

Mr & Mrs Crawley were not the only family members to meet their end at the homestead. Ethel, their infant granddaughter, was dropped by a nursemaid on the stairs and died instantly. Children who have visited the property throughout the years are said to get upset when they enter the stairway, and guests have reported feeling icy-cold small hands slip into theirs, or feel as though they are being pushed by an unforeseen force at the top of the stairs, just as the nursemaid had claimed that fateful night.

During his life Mr Crawley is said to have gotten two of his maids pregnant. The first, jumped to her death from the balcony, the bloodstain is still visible where she and her unborn child met their end. The second maid gave birth to a son named Harold, who was later hit by a coach on the premises leaving him severely brain damaged. Years later, he was found chained to his mothers bed, whose corpse had been left to rot, and he was put into an asylum. Similarly to Harold, another young boy met a horrific end at the homestead. The stable boy, Morris, took ill one day and decided to stay in bed. His master didn’t approve and lit the boys straw mattress on fire to encourage him to get up and start the days work. Regrettably, Morris was too sick, and burnt to death in his bed. Over the the years, visitors have reported hearing Morris’ torturous screams, and Harold's clinking chains, wandering the grounds of Monte Cristo Homestead.


Minxiong Ghost House – New Taipei, Taiwan

The Lui family built the Baroque-style, Minxiong mansion in 1929, and were not to know the misfortune that was about to take hold of their lives. Lui Rong-Yu, the head of the family, had an affair with one of the family’s maids. His wife, overcome with jealousy, started physically and mentally torturing the maid, until eventually the maid could not take it anymore, and threw herself to her death down the well in the garden. From that night onwards, the aggrieved apparition of the maid appeared in front of Mr & Mrs Lui haunting them in their bed. As a result, the exasperated Lui family eventually deserted their home, leaving it to the mercy of the mystical maid. It is believed that over the years, curious visitors that have looked down the well have all been struck with perpetual bad luck, with some even meeting deathly unfortunate fates.

Before the Minxiong mansion was left to be taken over by nature, with its exquisite exterior being engulfed by twisted vines, it is said another group of ill-fated individuals met their doom as a result of staying in the Lui ghost house. During the Second World War some Japanese soldiers were stationed at the mansion, and one misty, moonlit night the soldier standing guard, spotted a ethereal figure, moving along the property boundary. The solitary soldier, spooked by the phantom, opened fire, waking up the rest of the troops who also started shooting. By the time the fog cleared, and morning arrived, all the soldiers were found dead, after inexplicably executing each other. To this day locals will not enter the Minxiong ghost house over fears of the misfortune the maid may cast upon them.


Rose Hall – Montego Bay, Jamaica

The haunting history of Rose Hall is littered with debt, despair, and death. Our nightmarish narrative begins with Henry Fanning, an Englishman who was set to move to Jamaica to marry his fiancé, Rosa Kelly, and purchased a plot of land to begin their new life together. However, after only a few short months of marriage on the plantation, Henry sadly died.

Rosa went on to marry 2 further times, with both husband’s meeting the same fatal end as Henry. The later of the marriages was an unhappy one, leaving Rosa in financial ruin, and it is here she met the owner of the neighbouring plantation, and her final husband, John Palmer. They lived in matrimony until they both passed, leaving Rose Hall to be inherited by their grandnephew, John Rose Palmer. John soon moved to into Rose Hall and got married himself, to Annie Patterson, and here is where our satanic story really begins!

Annie was born in Haiti, and after her parents passed away from yellow fever, was adopted by her Nanny, who taught her the witchcraft of voodoo. After moving to Rose Hall, married life to john wasn’t what Annie expected it to be, and she became very disdainful. This led her to be unfaithful, taking many of their male slaves as lovers. After finding out, John struck Annie, and within 24 hours of this incident, John was mysteriously poisoned to death.

With John dead, Rose Hall went to Annie and her reign or terror began. She continued her lascivious ways taking her male slaves as lovers, slaying the men once she was bored of them. The slaves that lived on the plantation despised Annie. She was cruel, regularly torturing, practising her dark voodoo, and killing them on whim. After the death of her 2nd husband, the horror she placed upon her slaves increased, leading them to dub her ’The White Witch of Rose Hall’.

Annie married for a third time, to a man named Robert Rutherford, and this is where her downfall began. Both spouses had affairs with their slaves, Annie with a man named Takoo, and Rutherford with Takoo’s granddaughter, Millicent. When Annie found out about her husband’s affair she strangled him to death and placed a curse on Millicent, which killed her painfully and slowly. Takoo, wanting to avenge his granddaughter, cast a spell on Annie, weakening her. Takoo and the other slaves then strangled Annie, placed her in a concrete coffin, and buried her in a deep grave on the plantation. To ensure, she couldn’t inflict pain on anyone else, they then carried out a ritual to imprison Annie’s soul to the confines of Rose Hall. Here her apparition remains, haunting the grounds of the hall, dressed all in white, gravitating to the lost sounds of harrowing screams, and running footsteps of her terrified slaves.


This concludes our harrowing journey of the the worlds most haunted houses. If you’re venturing out this Halloween, make sure to keep an eye out for any spooky spirits and ghoulish ghosts that may be roaming around. If you want more tales of paranormal properties a little closer to home, check out our other blog posts on Bath’s most haunted haunts, and the spookiest spots in Somerset. Happy Halloween!




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