The Untold Stories Behind the 13 Creepiest Houses in America

People actually still sleep in some of them.

Many of the most terrifying properties are prisons, hotels, and hospitals, but there are also some seriously scary residences that are basically real-life haunted houses. Whether the locations of brutal murders, spooky ghost sightings, or both, the stories behind these creepy houses and menacing mansions are guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

1. The Amityville Horror House

The Amityville Horror House

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Almost everybody knows the story of The Amityville Horror, the best-selling book and movie supposedly based on true events. While it is true that on November 13, 1974, Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family in their beds in their Long Island home, the supernatural events reported by the subsequent owners of the house have been discredited. Still, the real story is gruesome enough to give us chills just by looking at this house.

2. The JonBenet Ramsey House

The JonBenet Ramsey House

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The murder of the 6-year-old pageant queen in her Boulder, Colorado, home is one of the country's most infamous cold cases of all time; the story resurfaces every few years in the news. To this day, we don't know exactly what went on in that house—but theories abound.

3. The LaLaurie House

The LaLaurie House

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Because of its grand size and old age, this mansion in the French Quarter is a New Orleans landmark. But the LaLaurie House has a seriously dark history. It was once owned by wealthy socialite (and one of history's deadliest serial killers) Madame Marie Delphine LaLaurie, who allegedly tortured and killed her slaves. When a fire broke out, neighbors burst into the house to help and discovered a grisly scene. LaLaurie avoided being caught and punished, though, reportedly fleeing to Paris. Now, the corner building is a stop on the Haunted History Tours in the French Quarter.

4. The Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House

(Image credit: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post Via Getty Images)

Sarah Winchester was the heiress to a gun empire, but it's said that she feared she was being haunted by the spirits of those killed by her family's famous rifles. So, supposedly to appease the ghosts, she ordered continuous construction and expansion on the farmhouse-turned-mansion in San Jose, California, from 1822 until her death in 1922. At one point, the Winchester Mystery House was the largest private residence in the United States. Now, it's a National Landmark that's available for tours, the subject of an upcoming film starring Helen Mirren, and according to some, still haunted.

Read more about the Winchester Mystery House.

5. Joshua Ward House

The Salem witch trials have marked the Massachusetts town. One of the creepiest residences is the Joshua Ward House, which stands on land once owned by Sheriff George Corwin. Corwin got his nickname "The Strangler" for the sadistic torture he would inflict on prisoners of the jail, where he also hanged several men and women. When he died, his family kept his body in the basement of the house for years to prevent it from mutilation by his enemies. The house that now stands in its place is said to be haunted by Corwin and the innocent lives he took.

6. Franklin Castle

Ohio's most haunted house is actually more of a castle. The stone structure in Cleveland is filled with tons of terrifying tales, including the mysterious deaths of multiple Tiedemann family members family members. There are also rumors of an axe murder, a mass Nazi shooting, and uncovered baby bones. Today, there's a "private property" sign on the outside.

7. The Lemp Mansion

The former St. Louis home of Lemp Brewery president William J. Lemp is now a restaurant and inn that can be toured or booked for private events. But be warned: If you host your wedding here, you might have an uninvited otherworldly guest or two. William shot himself in the mansion after one of his sons died of mysterious circumstances. Years later, William J. Lemp, Jr., also shot himself in the same building, and his son, William Lemp III, had a heart attack and died, too. William Jr.'s brother, Charles, lived in the house until his own suicide (also by gunshot wound).

8. The Kreischer Mansion

Superstition and ghost sightings shrouded this beautiful New York Victorian when the occupants' family business burned to the ground during the Great Depression and they lost their fortune. But the Kreischer Mansion's creepiest moment wouldn't come till 2005, though, when a grisly mob killing took place inside the house.