San Diego, California is known for its great weather, amazing white sand beaches, and basically fun attractions. It is located in Southern California and a lot of people visit it since it is dubbed as America’s Finest City.
Downtown San Diego at night. (Link: https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/458452437039232983/?lp=true)
San Diego has a lot of tourist spots like the Balboa Park, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village, Old Town State Historic Park, San Diego Museum of Art and many more. However, other people are more interested in the haunted Whaley House.
The Whaley House in San Diego, California. (Link: http://whaleyhouse.org/about.htm)
The History Of Whaley House
The Whaley House was built sometime in 1857 and it had a Greek Revival style. Today, it is a California Historical Landmark and is being maintained by the Save Our Heritage Organization.
The house was built for Thomas Whaley and his family. Thomas Whaley was of Scots-Irish origin and his family lived originally in New York City. By January 1, 1849, he traveled to San Francisco to engage in some kind of business. He went to San Diego by September 1851. He went back to New York in 1853 and got married then they returned to San Diego later that year. Whaley was the one who designed the house and it cost him more than $10,000 to build it. The house was made of bricks and it was the first of its kind in San Diego.
Thomas Whaley in an undated photo. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Whaley)
By 1857, they moved into their home, which is now known as the Whaley House. The house was actually the area for a graveyard in the past. Despite that, the house was known as one of the finest homes in the area during that time. It also had mahogany and rosewood furniture, Brussels carpet, and wonderful drapes. It was a mansion during that time and was the gathering place for San Diego. It was also the first ever commercial theater in San Diego, the county courthouse, and a general store.
Whaley and his wife, Anna, had six children together but one of them died because of scarlet fever. They maintained a store but a fire broke out and they lost it. After the death of Thomas Whaley Jr., and their store being burned, they moved back to San Francisco. By 1868, Whaley went back to San Diego and invested some of his money to a new business venture. Eventually, he fixed the Whaley House and the rest of the family went back to San Diego.
Thomas and Anna Whaley with two of their children. (Link: https://www.sandiego.org/members/museums/whaley-house-museum.aspx)
In 1882, one of the daughters of the Whaleys, Violet, got married to George T. Bertolacci. It turns out, however, that Bertolacci was a con artist and he only married one of the Whaley daughters because he believed that he would collect a lot of money from the dowry. In August 18, 1885, Violet committed suicide because of depression. During that time, it was not proper for women to return home without a husband. Also, they got divorced a year after getting married. Violet shot herself in the chest with her father’s 32-calibre gun.
Violet Whaley in an undated photo. (Link: http://whaleyhouse.org/souvenirpostcards.htm)
Another Whaley daughter, Corrine Lillian, was initially engaged. However, her fiancé broke off the engagement because of the scandal surrounding Violet’s suicide. Later, the Whaley House was empty for over two decades as the Whaleys transferred to a new home.
Corrine Lillian Whaley in an undated photo. (Link: http://whaleyhouse.org/souvenirpostcards.htm)
In 1890, Whaley died due to being ill. In 1909, Francis Whaley restored the building until it became a tourist attraction. The widow of Thomas Whaley and the other children went back to the old Whaley House. The last of the Whaley children died in the old Whaley House in 1953.
The Hanging Of A Thief In The Area Where The Whaley House Was Built
Even before the Whaley House was built, the area is already known to be a spot for something tragic. According to reports, one of the ghosts that haunt the Whaley House belong to Yankee Jim or Hames Robinson. He was convicted of attempted grand larceny in San Diego just years before the Whaley House was built. As a consequence of his actions, he was hanged on the back of a wagon. Whaley saw the hanging himself but he still bought the property a few years later.
The Whaley family knew of Yankee Jim haunting their home. Soon after they moved in, they reportedly heard heavy footsteps moving out and about the house.
Yankee Jim in an undated photo. (Link: http://whaleyhouse.org/souvenirpostcards.htm)
One visitor of the museum in 1962 was unnerved by the phantom walking noise and this is what drove them away.
The Other Hauntings At The Whaley House
In 2005, LIFE magazine called the Whaley House the most haunted house in America. Here are some of the ghosts frequently seen at the Whaley House.
Inside the Whaley House. (Link: https://amyscrypt.com/haunted-whaley-house/)
Visitors claim seeing the ghost of Thomas Whaley himself. One visitor shared that a little girl, around 5 or 6, was with the group when visiting the Whaley House. She claimed she saw a man and even waved at him. Some adults have also seen Thomas Whaley usually at the parlor or the upper landing. He allegedly wears a coat and pantaloons.
Anna Whaley’s ghost is also seen frequently in the rooms downstairs or in the garden of the Whaley House. A mysterious woman is also seen wearing a long full skirt that reached the floor. The woman is said to be not a member of the Whaley family but is believed to be one of the tenants of the Whaley House over the years.
The ghost of a young girl is also seen at the Whaley House. She is usually in the dining room. Psychic Sybil Leek encountered the little girl’s ghost in the 1960s and Sybil described the girl as long-haired, had a long dress, and was very quick. It is believed the girl was a playmate of the Whaley children but she died after she accidentally broke her neck due to a low-hanging clothesline. She was identified as either Annabel or Carrie Washburn. It is believed, however, that the story of the girl dying was just made up by one of the employees to attract more people to the tourist spot.
The dining room at the Whaley House. (Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/slworking/220820781)
The ghost of a doggo is also seen running down the hall. The ghost is said to belong to the dogs of the Whaleys. The dog is a terrier named Dolly Varden.
The Whaley House Featured On Many TV Shows
The Whaley House has been featured on many shows like “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files” and “America’s Most Haunted.” The Whaley House was also mentioned on the movie “Hellboy: Blood and Iron,” wherein Yankee Jim was referenced.
In 2012, a movie called “The Haunting of Whaley House” was released. During the same year, the Whaley House was also featured on “The Haunting of Regis Philbin.” In 2014, the house was featured on “Ghost Adventures” and in 2017, it was again featured on “BuzzFeed Unsolved: Supernatural.”
A poster for the 2012 movie. (Link: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheHauntingOfWhaleyHouse)