Would you buy a home that was reported to be haunted?
In this article, we’re examining five of the scariest homes ever sold. Some of these buyers found financial success in getting a bargain on these properties. Others found financial ruin and even death.
Here are the scariest homes ever sold (and how much they’re worth today).
1. The Amityville Horror House, Amityville, NY
Even if you’re not a horror fan, you’ve certainly heard of the Amityville House, the subject of Jay Anson's book, "The Amityville Horror,” made even more famous by film adaptations (like the 2005 film of the same name, starring Ryan Reynolds).
This house was the location of the DeFeo murders, in which 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. fatally shot his parents and four siblings. But this isn’t the “horror” that earned the house its name. This Amityville home became the Amityville Horror House over a year later when George and Kathleen Lutz purchased the home, unaware of its history, and began experiencing supernatural phenomena.
The Lutzs reported hearing disembodied voices urging them to “get out” and even physical altercations with ghostly beings, prompting the homeowners to seek assistance from a priest to rid the property of the evil spirits that remained from the DeFeo murders. The Lutzs sold the home the following year.
Most recently, the home was listed for sale in June 2016 at $850,000. But it didn’t sell until the following March when a brave buyer scooped it up for just $605,000!
The current owners haven’t reported any ghost sitings, but they do have trouble with the general public constantly stopping to see the house. In fact, this appears to be the experience of every owner since the Lutzs. Did the Lutzs make the whole thing up? Or were they the only owners perceptive enough to take note of the otherworldly presence occupying the home?
Address: 108 Ocean Ave, Amityville, NY (was 112 Ocean at the time of the murders)
Last Sold: March 2017 for $605,000
Current Estimated Value: $1,066,000
Current Use: Private Residence
2. The LaLaurie Mansion - New Orleans, LA
Once home to New Orleans’ Creole Socialites, Dr. Louis LaLaurie and his wife, Delphine, the LaLaurie Mansion (which many locals simply call “The Haunted House”) has been attracting attention as one of the most haunted homes in America for over a century.
Long-standing rumors report that Delphine was a cruel woman, torturing and possibly even murdering slaves who lived at this French Quarter property in the 1830s. According to local lore, mutilated bodies were found by journalists who were investigating claims of a “torture room” in the house. Some critics question whether these reports are true, proposing that these rumors were spread by community members who disapproved of the LaLauries' extravagant lifestyle. What we do know is that a mob took over the house based on these rumors, but not before the LaLauries escaped. Delphine was living in Paris when she died in 1849.
Ever since these horrific events, many people have believed the house to be cursed. Whether the property is actually haunted or not, it certainly proved an unlucky investment for actor, Nicolas Cage, who purchased the mansion in 2006 for $3.4 million and lost the home in a foreclosure auction when it finally sold for just $2.3 million a few years later.
Address: 1140 Royal St., New Orleans, LA
Last Sold: July 2010 for $2,300,000 at auction
Current Estimated Value: $3,471,700
Current Use: Private residence
3. The Brittany Murphy House, Los Angeles, CA
This home may be famous as the location where both Brittany Murphy and her husband, Simon Monjack, died unexpectedly. But the property was disturbing residents even before this tragedy. Notable, Britney Spears, the owner before Brittany Murphy, was so terrified of spirits in the home that she left one night and refused to return.
According to Spears’ former make-up artist, Julianne Kaye, Britney believed that a reiki healer opened a portal to another plane of existence during a healing session, which allowed evil spirits to enter the home. Spears reported that the spirits were actively trying to harm her, specifically telling Julianne that they were trying to push her down the stairs.
Spears sold the home to Brittany and Simon in 2003 for $3.85 million. Six years later, an otherwise healthy 32-year-old Murphy collapsed after a few days of flu-like symptoms and was pronounced dead at nearby Cedars Sinai. Just five months later, 40-year-old Simon was found dead in the house. The coroner reported that both Brittany and Simon died from pneumonia, which was made worse by anemia. But the low likelihood of otherwise healthy adults of this age, combined with the reported haunting of the property, leave many questioning this conclusion.
The executor struggled to find a buyer for the home after the deaths of Brittany and Simon. The property was finally sold for just $2.7 million in 2011.
In 2013, the property was demolished, leaving just three walls standing from the original structure. The new structure, which sold for $14.53 million in 2017, shows no resemblance to the home in which Brittany and Simon died. But the curse may remain as more recent sales and the current estimated value are nowhere near this $14.53 million figure.
Address: 1895 Rising Glen Rd, Los Angeles, CA
Last Sold: December 2020 for $12,200,000
Current Estimated Value: $12,645,000
Current Use: Private Residence
4. The Winchester Mystery House - San Jose, CA
Sarah Winchester, the widow of firearms mogul William Wirt Winchester, designed the Winchester Mystery Houseroom-by-room over nearly four decades. Rumor has it Sarah was tormented by the loss of her infant daughter, husband, mother, and sister in short succession, and she built the house as a maze to confuse evil spirits that were preventing her from mourning in peace.
With an inherited fortune of $20 million in 1881 (the equivalent of over $600 million today), Sarah had the means to indulge her eccentricities. Reports say that a seven-story tower was rebuilt 16 times until it suited her exact vision. Rooms were added and demolished randomly, leading to a disjointed structure that confounds visitors as well as the spirits it was intended to confuse.
Filled with stairways to nowhere, secret passageways, windows in the floors, doors that don’t open, and a barrage of twists and turns, the Winchester Mystery House is truly unlike any other home on Earth. Visitors to the property report supernatural sensations, including hearing footsteps and whispers, feeling unexplained cold spots, seeing doors and windows slam when no one else is around, and a general feeling of being watched. One visit to this property, and it’s easy to see why this house is believed to be the inspiration for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.
When Sarah died in 1922 the house had 160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. It was sold at auction for $135,000 to a group of investors. These investors leased the property to John and Mayme Brown, who began offering tours to the public and eventually purchased the property outright.
The property is currently owned and operated by Winchester Mystery House, LLC, a private company representing the descendants of the Browns. You can tour the property today for $42.00.
Address: 525 S Winchester Blvd., San Jose, CA
Last Sold: Unknown
Current Estimated Value: This home is so unique that Zillow won’t even attempt to estimate the current value. With the median price per square foot in San Jose at $841, at the Winchester House coming in at around 24,000 sq. ft., we can guess that the value is somewhere north of $20 million.
Current Use: Tourist Attraction
5. Franklin Castle (aka The Tiedemann House) - Cleveland, OH
When Hannes Tiedemann moved his family into their new Cleveland home in 1881, he couldn’t have known that his wife, his mother, and his four children would all be dead within the next 14 years. But that’s exactly what happened at The Tiedemann House.
Records show that Hannes’ eldest child, a 15-year-old girl, died from diabetes shortly after moving into the home. His elderly mother died shortly thereafter, with the remaining three children following over the next three years. Then, in 1895, Hannes’ wife, Louise, succumbed to liver disease, leaving Hannes without an heir to inherit his castle-like estate. Hannes sold Franklin Castle in 1896.
In its long history, Franklin Castle has had a series of owners. In the 1960’s the house was owned and occupied by the Romano family, who called on priests and ghost-hunting groups to exercise the homes of the demons they claimed possessed it. Finding no one who could rid the castle of its spirits, the Romanos sold the property less than a decade later. Many owners have attempted to restore the property, including Judy Garland’s fifth husband, Michael DeVinko, and early Yahoo! Investor, Michelle Heimburger. But the property seemed to resist, with fires halting construction efforts and forcing sales.
Finally, in 2011, European tapestry artist, Chiara Dona Dalle, purchased the property and succeeded in turning it into a tourist attraction. Today, you can tour the property, and even stay a night at the castle…if you’re lucky enough to find a night in which the castle is available. Visitors can then share their ghost encounters with others on the “konnekt” message boards.
Address: 4308 Franklin Boulevard, Cleveland, OH
Last Sold: August 2011 for $260,000
Current Estimated Value: $564,100
Current Use: Tourist Attraction