America’s most famous haunted houses
Can’t get enough Halloween? Well, you might want to try on a spookier life for a few nights by renting one of America’s most famous haunted houses. VacationHomeRentals.com, the leading vacation home rental website, composed a frightening list of the Top 5 Haunted Houses in America.
Most notable on the list—for me at least—is No. 3, the Lalaurie House in the French Quarter, New Orleans, La., which plays a big part on this season’s American Horror Story: Coven. And if you’re still feeling brave after reading this list, check out my tips on setting a spooky mood in your house or boudoir.
1. Franklin Castle (aka Hannes Tiedemann House) – Cleveland
As one of Ohio’s most notorious haunted places, strange voices are often heard from this house. Others have claimed to have witnessed faces that suddenly materialize in the woodwork, spinning chandeliers, cold spots, sounds of crying children and mysterious ectoplasm. Yikes!
2. Hampton Lillibridge House – Savannah, Ga.
Said to be the most haunted house in Savannah, it’s the scene of several tragic deaths, an exorcism, and even survived the great fire of 1820, which destroyed almost all the residences in the area.
3. The Lalaurie House – French Quarter, New Orleans
If you’ve been watching the new season of American Horror Story this season, this house will be sure to send shivers up your spine. This house has a creepy history of torture and visitors and neighborhood residents claim to have seen slaves in chains and other apparitions, as well as having heard sounds of screams, groans, and cries at night. (Click here for ideas on how to dress like your favorite Coven characters this Halloween)
4. The Thomas McCann House (aka The Congress House) – Bend, Ore.
This one has had loads of paranormal sightings and some family members believe that relatives have died due to living in a cursed house.
5. The Riddle House Yesteryear Village – West Palm Beach, Fla.
This one must be really haunted—despite being relocated to a different area, residents have reported ghostly apparitions and sounds of chains and knocks.
Home Scary Home
Scared yet? If you’re suddenly inspired to make your own home look a bit spookier, consider a few small touches that will add atmosphere without breaking the bank.
I recently spent a night at the Refinery Hotel in the heart of the Garment Center in New York City. The building has a gothic façade and rooms on the upper floors occupy what were once milliner’s factories. So whether or not the building is haunted, it made me think everything was just a bit spookier. According to Christina Zimmer, principal at Stonehill & Taylor, the architects and designers of the space, the floor lamps were inspired by photographers’ lights and meant to be inspired by fashion. Since it’s a spooky time of year, the lamps reminded me more of great big all-seeing eyeballs that could easily have been part the sets designed by Salvador Dalí in the Hitchcock classic Vertigo.
In other words, if you think it spooky—it shall be so. So transform what you have, or add a boo or two to your home this Halloween. Here are some tips on setting a spooky mood:
- If your décor clashes with your decorations, consider covering your couch with a solid slipcover (a great idea before any party or event) which can make the room look more neutral as well as help protect the upholstery (prices vary surefit.com).
- Even if you have a paper tablecloth, an artful floral arrangement can pull together the mood of the party. Better yet, if you’re a guest at a house party, consider sending a small holiday themed arrangement to your hosts. 1-800-flowers.com has classic hostess gifts, but this fresh flower pumpkin arrangement will add a smile to an otherwise spooky table (about $50).
- If you’re having a sit-down dinner, consider these Archival Paper Perfect Setting Placemats from libastyle.com. A great way to set a ghostly meal and save your tablecloth, the Addams Family would have loved these (50 perforated placemats for $22).
- Candles can be either oh so romantic or super spooky. Bring your own haunted house home with this amazing looking Haunted House Candleholder, light gleams from the teeny tiny windows (Sur La Table, $14.99).
- Part delightful, part frightful, Besieged is a limited edition varietal wine created by Ravenswood winery’s founding winemaker Joel Peterson. The label is decorated with three menacing ravens and costs a very un-scary $15.99 per bottle.
- Photo booths are really popular, but really expensive. Invite guests to download PicsArt (a free download for iPhone or Android) ask them to try the new “ghost” effect, print out and turn their selfies into haunting Halloween art.
Whatever you do this Halloween, make sure never to drink and drive or text and drive. Because the Day of the Dead is best celebrated by the living!
Rachel Weingarten is a noted and quoted style expert and former celebrity makeup artist. She’s the author of Career and Corporate Cool and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ’40s-’60s, and the forthcoming Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year. Tweet with her @rachelcw or visit her online hub racheletc.com. Need help style stalking your favorite celebrity looks? Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.