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Beware of these Frightening Haunted House Facts

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

A dark and haunting image of an estate that sits in the middle of a leaf filled yard with two smaller houses on either side created a symmetrical view of a fall home

Tis the season to be spooky! As Halloween is just around the corner, it’s time to start dusting off, or on, those cobwebs on your spookiest décor. Haunted houses are often a popular form of entertainment during this month, but how did they come to be? A haunted house is a house or other building often perceived as being inhabited by ghosts or other supernatural beings, who may have been former residents or were otherwise connected with the property. Houses that were the sites of murders or other violent events are also said to be haunted. Join us as we take a look through haunted houses, both real and fabricated.

History of the Haunted House

The first reports of haunted houses date back to the early Roman Empire. Pliny the Younger, a Roman author and administrator, recorded one of the earliest accounts of a haunted house in his letters. The idea of a haunted house quickly spread throughout the Roman Empire and into other parts of Europe. In the Middle Ages, there were many reports of haunted houses, especially in Scotland and England.

One of the most famous haunted houses from this period is the Borley Rectory in England, which was the subject of an investigation by Harry Price, a paranormal researcher, in the 1930s. Price's investigation uncovered many strange and unexplained phenomena, such as strange noises, footprints appearing in the dust, and objects moving on their own.

Despite the long history of haunted houses, it was not until the 18th century that the term "haunted house" was first used. The first recorded use of the term was in a letter from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu to a friend. In the letter, Montagu describes a visit to a haunted house in London's Westminster neighborhood.

The popularity of haunted houses increased in the 19th century, due in part to the publication of stories about such houses in magazines and newspapers. One of the most famous haunted houses of the 19th century was the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, which was said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman named Chloe. The Myrtles Plantation was built in 1796 and was originally a small sugarcane plantation. In 1834, the plantation was expanded to include a large plantation house. It was during this time that the story of Chloe's ghost began to circulate.

The Myrtles Plantation is just one of many haunted houses that can be found in the United States. Other famous haunted houses include the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. The popularity of haunted houses continues to this day. Many people enjoy visiting haunted houses, and some even enjoy living in them.

Famous Haunted Houses

According to Forbes, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas are among the top ten most haunted states in America. The history associated with these states allows for many haunting stories. So what are the most haunted places in these states?

The Ohio State Reformatory sits in Mansfield, OH and is one of the most haunted places in Ohio. It was built in the late 1800s and wasn’t closed until 1990 due to overcrowding and unjust conditions. It now stands as a non-profit and you can take tours of the prison both day and night. In fact, the Reformatory was the set for the film Shawshank Redemption. Due to the nature of this building, it offers a variety of ghost tours to discover the haunting secrets behind the bars.

In Cincinnati, OH, there is the Spring House Gazebo. The legend surrounding this gazebo is full of heartache. During the prohibition, a man charged for bootlegging shot his wife on the way to the courthouse. They were going there to finalize their divorce, but the wife, Imogene, would never be able to make the divorce final. Supposedly, she had an affair while her husband was in prison and stole all his money, which put the husband in a fit of rage. People claim to see Imogene walking in black along the road by the gazebo.

Hill View Manor sits in New Castle, PA, only an hour away from Pittsburgh. The building served as a place for the elderly with no family from 1926 till 2004. Many ghosts of the patients there are believed to roam the grounds. The building is now open for tours during day and night hours. This makes it a perfect spot for ghost hunting.

Good Golly, Miss Molly! Fort Worth, TX is home to one of the most haunted places in all of TX. Now named Miss Molly’s Hotel, this building was also a boarding house, a speakeasy, and a bordello. It opened in 1910 and remains open to this day as a hotel. Paranormal activity has been reported by many that have worked in this building, and a nearby university regularly visits with their paranormal activity class.

Orange pumpkins sit in an ascending order on porch steps accompanied by lanterns and purple and orange mums creating the perfect fall decor

From Haunted to Haunted

There is one thing all of these haunted places have in common, and that is the interest and intrigue they create. Some people love the feeling of fright and seek out these places in the hopes of experiencing something truly spooky. Not everyone has the opportunity to experience these apparitions, so they manufacture their own frightful experience.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the first haunted house attraction happened in the early 1800s. Marie Tussaud set up an exhibition to showcase wax figures in terrifying situations, such as beheadings. This led to the development of other haunted attractions, such as haunted houses, haunted mansions, and haunted castles. These attractions became increasingly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Today, there are many different haunted house attractions around the world. These attractions vary in their level of scariness, but they all strive to provide visitors with a spine-tingling experience.

Create Your Own Haunted House

With the increase of haunted house popularity, you might even want to host your very own spooky adventure. There are many ways to create a haunted house. Some people simply decorate their homes with spooky décor and Halloween props. Others go so far as to install secret doors, hidden passages, and trapdoors to make their haunted houses truly frightening.

If you're interested in creating a haunted house, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, decide what kind of atmosphere you're going for. Do you want a house that is simply spooky, or one that is truly terrifying? It also helps to think about age range attending this event, as kids are typically easier to scare. Adults might enjoy horrifying displays more.

Once you've decided on the overall tone, start planning your décor. Think about what kind of furniture, props, and decorations will best suit your haunted house. You can find many of these items at your local Halloween or party supply store. Thrifting and crafting are also great ways to decorate on a budget. Family Handyman has some fun ideas for Halloween decorations.

Next, consider what kind of special effects you want to include. Do you want to create the illusion of ghosts? If so, consider using fog machines, black lights, and other lighting effects. You can also create the sound of ghostly footsteps or creaking doors with sound effects CDs or apps.

Finally, don't forget to promote your haunted house! You can do this by passing out flyers in your neighborhood or posting about it on social media. You can also hold a Halloween party and invite your friends to experience your spooky creation. Just make sure to check your HOA rules and regulations on decorations to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules. The only thing scarier than a skeleton is an HOA fine.

Two skeletons sit in a party having a good time and talking while a skeleton party goes on around them and LED lights in purple and orange set the lighting

Decorating Safely

When it comes to decorating your home’s exterior, safety should be your top priority. Whether you’re hanging lights or webs, follow these tips to stay safe and avoid any accidents.

Before you start decorating, take a good look at your home’s exterior. Make sure that any loose bricks or mortar are repaired and that there are no loose boards or rotting wood. Also, check for any exposed wires or other potential hazards. These are all things that could mean disaster when you’re decorating in high places.

When hanging lights, be sure to use proper light clips or hangers. Never nails or staples, as these can damage the wire and pose a fire hazard. And be sure to unplug your lights when you’re not home or when you go to bed. If you’re hanging these lights from your roof, make sure that it doesn’t need any roof maintenance first.

If you’re using a ladder to hang lights or decorations, be sure to set it up on level ground and have someone hold it steady for you. Never stand on the top rung of the ladder, and be sure to keep your arms and legs inside the rails. Never use a ladder without someone there to help.

When putting up some webs or other decorations, use a strong piece of tape or a hook specifically designed for the task. Never put anything in or on your electrical outlets, as this could cause a fire.

Ironically, Halloween decorating should be fun, not scary. With a little bit of planning and care, you can safely decorate your home’s exterior and enjoy the spooktacular season.

Happy Haunting

There are many haunted houses around the world, and each one has its own unique story. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, these houses are definitely worth checking out. If you're feeling brave, you can even spend a night in one of these haunted houses. Just be sure to bring a friend... or two.

If you live in Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Dallas, TX, or Tampa, FL, and you need a roof repair before decorating for Halloween, then contact Lifetime Quality Roofing. Our expert inspectors will give you a 100% free roof inspection before you climb on the ladder, so call today at 614-407-7663!

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