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The Whaley House in San Diego, CA

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The Whaley House, the first 2-story brick house in southern California, was designed and constructed by Mr. Thomas Whaley in 1857. Thomas was of Scots-Irish origin born in New York in 1823. The bricks for this fascinating house came from Mr. Whaley's own brickyard. In fact, what is now a courtroom, was the original granary. It is incredible how many different things were inside this fabulous house. It included the family residence, the courtroom, a general store, San Diego's first commercial theater, ball room, billiard room, school, and a potting place. The property that the Whaley House was built on was used as public gallows at one time. Thomas married Anna Eloise Delaunay in 1853, and they moved in the Whaley House in 1857. Thomas and Anna had 6 children. Francis (1854-1914), Thomas Whaley Jr. (1856-1858), Anna Amelia (1858-1905), George (1860-1928), Violet (1862-1885), and Corinne Lillian (1864-1953). Unfortunately, little Thomas Jr. died of a scarlet fever at 18 months of age. Violet married in 1882 to a con artist, who then left her and the marriage ended in a divorce. Violet fell into depression, and after one failed attempt of suicide, she succeeded the second time and shot herself in 1885. Due to financial difficulties, the family moved to San Francisco temporarily, but returned in 1868 after Thomas made some repairs at the Whaley House. After Violet's death, Thomas built a one story home for his family to move into, leaving the Whaley House vacant. Thomas Whaley passed away in 1890. In 1909, Francis Whaley began renovations at the Whaley House. Up until 1935, the Whaley House was occupied by some of the kids and Anna Whaley. Anna passed away in 1913. Corinne Lillian was the last to live at the Whaley House. She was moved to a nursing home in 1935 due to her health, and later the house was put up for sale to provide physical care for her. After she died in 1956, the house was left to deteriorate and was scheduled for demolition. The Board of Supervisor of the County of San Diego purchased the Whaley House and began renovations. In 1960, the Whaley House opened as a museum managed by San Diego Historical Shrine Foundation. In 2000, SOHO ( Save Our Heritage Organisation) took over. They have done a wonderful job restoring the Whaley House. There is a wonderful Museum shop next to the main house that is a original 1870's Verna House. It is a 2nd Empire or French Mansard style Victorian House that was moved from its original site in1965. You will find souveniers and great gift items there, including several informative books about San Diego's history and the Whaley House, such as a book by Robert and Anne Wlodarski called, "Haunted Whaley House 2." The Whaley House has been called, "The Most Haunted House in America." Not only have several family members died there, it was rented out at one time, and was the site of the gallows and several hangings. The first hauntings date back to when the family first moved in. Heavy footsteps were heard upstairs that Thomas himself believed belonged to Yankee Jim Robinson, who was hung for attempted grand larceny in 1852. Many have seen an apparition of Anna Whaley in the lower rooms and in the gardens. The family dog, "Dolly," has been seen chasing a cat. We were told that if you have open toed shoes, she may come and lick your toes. Apparitions of children, and Thomas Whaley himself, have also been seen. Thomas Whaley is said to be angry due to the event that occured while he was away. The county of San Diego leased the courtroom and 3 bedrooms upstairs in 1869. Later, some men came into the house and held Anna Whaley at gun point on the stairway upstairs, while the court records were taken and removed elsewhere. Amongst them, we were told, were some of Thomas' personal papers. He wants them back, and he is upset at the way his wife was treated. Windows have come unlatched in the house, until they were later permanently closed. Sounds and smells are reported in different areas. 1 female presence has been sensed in the courtroom. In the dining room, a young girl has been seen going under the table. The Upstairs family bedroom was converted into a theater in 1868. Thomas Tanner and his group rented it. Unfortunately, Thomas Tanner passed away 17 days after their opening night. His presence is said to be there. He was called a ladies man, so some women may feel a hand on their shoulder or his closeness. Some feel chills going upstairs on the 9th step, where Anna Whaley was held at gunpoint. Crystals on a lamp in the music room move on their own. Some can still hear a child's cry coming from upstairs, and a rocking chair rocks by itself. The Whaley house is definately active. During our 3 hour private investigation there, we did not see any apparitions, nor heard or smelled anything unusual. Nor did we capture anything on the video or in photographs. We were able to capture male, female, and childrens' voices on the voice recorders. It is said that there are possible portals inside the Whaley House. Outside, you can find vortexes across the yard between the main house and the museum shop. We were able to to follow the vortex line with our K2 meters. Due to the busy street and a restaurant across the street, it is hard to get evidence that is not contaminated, but given a chance to go there few times, I have no doubt that we would capture more evidence. They offer several tours at the Whaley House, as well as investigations with the San Diego Ghost Hunters. The tour guides are great, and the Whaley House is a beautiful piece of history that everyone should see.

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