Spooked At The Haunted Whaley House

Parenthood, Travel

Our kids have that weird fascination, where they are a little scared of ghosts but yet are drawn to ghost stories and scary movies in some sort of curious can’t-look-away kind of attraction. At 12, Ava lives in that in-between stage where she’s not a kid anymore, and not yet a sturdy teen with practiced cynicism and a healthy case of KnowItAll-itude.

So tonight, Ava was finally ready to tackle the Whaley House.

The Whaley House is noted as one of the most haunted houses in the US The Whaley House is noted as one of the most haunted houses in the US

Situated smack dab in the middle of tourist traps, great Mexican restaurants and many historic buildings dating back to the city’s founding, The Whaley House rules Old Town San Diego. Local lore tells us this is a classic haunted house, and the folks that run the house give a great tour full of stories that support the claims. (The House has actually been featured in several books and TV specials, including Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel).

It seems Old Man Whaley was an opportunist back in the day, and he saw a good deal in buying the land where San Diego officials used to hang bad guys. The gallows were built pretty much where the Whaley House stands now. Now let’s see, what would be your first clue there was a reason that land was so cheap? Hmmmm.

Anyway, the ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson was the first dude to haunt the place, and the Whaley family reacted poorly. People started dropping like flies, including several children. All in all I think seven or eight people died in the house, not counting the people they hung on these grounds beforehand. On top of all that (literally) the house is built near a graveyard, which still exists in part. That’s a lot of ghosts to wander around, and naturally people are going to see some.

The Whaley House haunted tour is definitely spooky, like this hideous living room decor for example The Whaley House haunted tour is definitely spooky, like this hideous living room decor for example

Not us. Despite the spooky house – which is more like a museum than anything – we saw no apparitions, experienced no sudden gusts of cold air, heard no creepy little lady calling “Carol Anne, Carol Anne, go into the light!” We did listen to some great stories about the Whaley Family, the history of San Diego in its early years, and what life was like in the olden days.

On a related note, I almost died and joined the Whaley ghosts going up and down that staircase inside the house. That thing is steep and spindly, so watch your step.

You could easily become a ghost at The Whaley House by trying to navigate this rickety staircase You could easily become a ghost at The Whaley House by trying to navigate this rickety staircase

Overall, the Whaley House hosts a super interesting tour – definitely creepy – and maybe the kids were a little freaked. A little. Ava did great, racking up another notch on her Rights of Passage marker. Definitely worth the $13 ticket.

I kinda miss the days when she got scared and ran into my legs, wrapping her arms around me and burying her face, holding on for dear life. Yeah, that doesn’t happen any more.

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