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San Diego-Haunted-House


(Back to California Haunted Index, Paranormal San Diego)

Whaley House - HauntedHouses.com


Haunted Place - Whaley House


2476 San Diego Avenue
San Diego, California   92110

(619) 297-7511

Whaley House web site


The Whaley House is located at the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street, in the heart of historic "Old Town" San Diego. Because, this historical house was the center early San Diego, it is now a museum. The visiting hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. A small fee is required for entrance to the house.


The Whaley House is one of the best known, and thought to be "possibly the most haunted house in America," said Hans Holzer, a well-known ghost hunter, who investigated this house. Numerous people have observed ghostly presences and phenomenon here as well. Various ghosts may inhabit the Whaley house including an executed man, Yankee Jim, Mr. Whaley himself, Whaley's wife, several unknown apparitions, a little girl, & one of the Whaley's children, who died from scarlet fever. Some pictures taken of some these ghosts are on display in the courthouse room. "It's worth it, even if you don't have a personal ghostly encounter." - J.P.



The Whaley House, located in the historic "Old Town" section of San Diego, was built between 1856 and 1856 by San Diego Pioneer Thomas Whaley. Whaley was a prominent man, and a great deal of old San Diego's high tone socializing took place here. It later was used as a theater by "The Tanner Troupe," and the San Diego County Court House was located here for a time, as Mr. Whaley rented the first floor living room as a court room for San Diego County Court House.

The last Whaley to live in the house was Corinne Lillian Whaley, youngest of Whaley's six children. She died at the age of 89 in 1953. Whaley himself died in December 14, 1890, at the age of 67. His wife Anna lived until February 24, 1913. They are both buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

The Whaley House fell into disrepair over the years. Its demolition was prevented, in 1956, by the formation of the Historical Shrine Foundation of San Diego County, which bought the land and the building. Eventually San Diego County was convinced to preserve the house as a historical museum. Over time, the Whaley House was restored to its original splendor, as it remains to this day.


Around 1960, when the Whaley House was opened to public visitors, numerous supernatural events have been observed, felt or heard since, primarily by employees at the Whaley House, though other observers have been visitors. It seems that as these ghostly inhabitants get to know who steadily works there, they have made their presences known in various ways, but not in a hostile way, as they have been accustomed to having to share their house with the strangers from the court house days. The sightings only took place in daylight hours. No one, or at least no humans, were present in the house at night, hence no nightly sightings.

  1. The oldest manifestation has been that of Yankee Jim, a convicted man that was hung on the Whaley property before Mr. Whaley had bought the property. According to Corinne Whaley, when heavy boot foot steps were heard, running across the second floor, Mr. Whaley would say."Don't worry, that's just Yankee Jim."

  2. On October 9, 1960, Mrs. Kirbey of New Westminster, B. C., Canada, entered the house's courtroom, which was empty, and observed the following: "I saw a small figure of a woman who had a swarthy complexion. She was wearing a long full skirt, reaching to the floor. The skirt appeared to be of calico or gingham, small print. She had a kind of cap on her head, dark hair and eyes and she was wearing gold hoops in her pierced ears. She seemed to stay in this room, lives here, I gather, and I got the impression we are sort of invading her privacy." A picture of a shadowy form of a woman was caught on film, that wasn't visibly there when the picture was taken. Some feel this apparition is tied to the time when there was a court of law located here.

  3. As mentioned above, the Whaley family was used to having to share their home, as for many years, the courthouse was located in the downstairs. But after a terribly busy visitor day, that had lots of tourists walking all around, a staffer was startled to see that the front door and upstairs windows had all locked at the same time, in a firm, but friendly manner, as soon as the last visitor left. Enough was enough, even for hospitable ghosts. The staff agreed.

  4. Mr. and Mrs. Whaley have been seen calmly doing everyday activities/chores. A clear picture of an apparition Mr. Whaley, smoking his pipe, was taken by the window in the upstairs bedroom. He also has been seen walking around the house, clearly going about his business. Mrs. Whaley, who prided herself in taking care of her own family, which included 5 surviving children, has been spotted rocking in a chair with a baby, folding clothes, and tucking in a child in bed. Sometimes, only the rocking chair is seen moving back and forth by itself. Also, on winter days when the doors are kept closed, and the heat is on in the house, sometimes staff members/other people have felt cold spots move past them, in the upstairs areas,which are assumed to be probably the Whaley's, going about their business.

  5. A little red-haired girl, dressed in late 1800s clothing, was recently seen clearly by a staff member, out in the garden area, smelling the flowers. She was there one minute, and then vanished. This same girl has been seen playing with the toys in the playroom. This child is the one thought to have died in the kitchen, after strangling on the clothesline in the outside yard.

  6. Also spotted, was a ghostly apparition dressed in a frock coat and pantaloons who suddenly faded away, as well as the apparition of a ghostly spotted dog.

  7. People and staff members have observed the sounds of music and singing, children laughing, a crying toddler in an upstairs bedroom, whistling, the smell of cigar smoke, the fragrance of perfume, and the wonderful aroma of baking coming from the kitchen, during Christmas week. The crying child is thought to be the toddler that died of scarlet fever.



As told by Joe Posner.

Several years ago, as preparation for this Haunted Houses site, Joe traveled to the Whaley House in San Diego. After paying the admission, Joe explored the house upstairs and down, including the courtroom, his eyes and ears in search of ghostly presences. He was disappointed to find none.

Shortly before leaving, He stood downstairs, checking things out. A mother holding a small child was in front of him. Suddenly, the child exclaimed, "Look, mama," pointing in Joe's direction. The mother and Joe turned around and looked in the direction the child was pointing: The door to the garden, which was already partially open, slowly opened several feet wider by itself, then stopped. The air was still in the garden. No breeze was blowing. The mother and Joe exchanged a brief, concerned look. Soon the mother, child and Joe left the house. Joe said, "I don't know about them, but I had gotten my money's worth!"


A BIG Yes Indeed!

Paranormal investigations of all sizes have caught hard evidence as well as the many experiences that staff and guests have reported surely does make the Whaley House one of the most haunted places in the United States.


Many believe that the shadow figure on the far left is a ghost.