Ready for more spooky spots? In our first post, readers visited Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, the scene of the 1912 Villisca ax murders in Iowa, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky, and the Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. In the second part of our series, readers be prepared for even more spine-chilling tales of haunted places through newspapers of the past.
R.M.S. Queen Mary – Long Beach, California
The R.M.S. Queen Mary, a British ocean liner owned by the Cunard White Star Line, launched in 1936 to much fanfare. The DePue Leader captured the maiden voyage in “The Queen Mary Makes Its Bow.” Its 2,075 passengers were slated to cross the Atlantic in four and half days. It took five days and five hours.
After many years of service and a transfer of ownership, the Queen Mary made her final stop in Long Beach, California. The Long Beach Register highlighted her reign with pictures and a timeline in “Long Live the Queen.”
In 2020 during the height of COVID-19, the “world’s most haunted ghost ship” provided a unique experience to people worldwide. They offered a livestream event of every haunted area on the ocean liner.
Lizzie Borden House – Fall River, Massachusetts
In early August of 1892, Lizzie Borden became a household name, and not in a good way. Her father and stepmother were brutally murdered in broad daylight in their home. And Lizzie was there. Newspapers across the nation captured the gruesome details of the story. The Boston Daily Globe hooked readers with “Both Dead. Fiendish Murder in Fall River,” which graphically laid out the scene of the crime.
The day following the heinous crime, newspapers were already speculating at Lizzie’s involvement. The headlines read “Discovery! Strange Story Told by Lizzie Borden. Stepmother the Cause of Trouble.” Further details of the unraveling case were splayed across the front page of the Boston Daily Globe with an illustration of the room in which Andrew J. Borden was found.
Lizzie Borden was eventually found not guilty, but the stain of murders would haunt her in the small Massachusetts town for the rest of her life. The Lizzie Borden House, as it is now called, operates as a bed and breakfast for those brave enough to spend the night. Would you have the nerve to sleep in the room where Abby Borden was killed?
The Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
Close to the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance sits a historic hotel built by Freelan Stanley of Stanley Steamer fame. The grand opening for the hotel was in 1909 and highlighted in a local newspaper article, “Improvements in Estes Park.”
More than 60 years after its opening, the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph showcased the hotel as newly refurbished with the same pleasures of 1909, along with pictures of the property.
The hotel gained notoriety when it became the basis for the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King’s book and subsequent movie “The Shining.”
Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum – Weston, West Virginia
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum first opened as Weston State Hospital in 1864 and was intended to be the home for 250 “souls.” By 1950, the asylum initially supposed to house a couple hundred was grossly overcrowded with more than 2,000 patients.
After its closure in 1994, the asylum became a popular destination for ghost hunters and paranormal investigators everywhere. The disturbing tactics and “treatments” the asylum instituted during its operation are still evident today.
Whaley House – San Diego, California
Thought to be cursed from the beginning, the Whaley House was built in 1857 on the site of a public hanging. Yankee Jim Robinson, a local “pirate,” was hung for trying to steal a boat. Bad luck ensued for the poor Whaley family.
“Historic Building Ghostly,” published in 1965, gives historical background into the house and its occupants – living and not. The last resident of the house, Lillian Whaley, closed off the second floor her last few years there. When asked why, the old woman supposedly replied with, “I’m afraid to go there.”
Along with haunting orbs and apparitions, the phantom smell of Cuban cigars and the wafting fragrance of a woman’s perfume are regular occurrences at the Whaley House. In the 1960s, the home even received distinction from the U.S. Commerce Department as “haunted.”
Winchester Mystery House – San Jose, California
Haunted by the untimely death of her husband and young daughter, Sarah Winchester began building the renowned Winchester Mystery House in 1886 after advice from a medium. The continual construction would not cease until her death in 1922.
The Cincinnati Commercial Tribune ran an intriguing article titled “Wasted Millions on Fantastic Spirit Mansion” shortly after Mrs. Winchester’s death. In what started as a “modest” house of eighteen rooms, the final dwelling boasted “102 rooms of grotesque proportions and shapes.”
To this day, the Winchester Mystery House is a popular attraction for ghost hunters and lovers of the eccentric. “Spirits Stir in San Jose” regales readers with the infamous past of the odd home and its current use for “curious tourists” with a guided tour.
Can’t venture out for Halloween?
With COVID-19 putting the damper on Halloween festivities in 2020, the Daily Herald published a list of online activities. Visit these 7 virtual events from the comfort of your own home!
The list of haunted places around the globe could go on and on. Try a 7-Day Free Trial at NewspaperArchive.com to investigate your favorite haunt and its ghostly inhabitants.