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The Whaley House

The Whaley house is regarded by some as the most haunted house in San Diego, and is certainly the most famous. It was built on the site of San Diego's first public gallows. The house was constructed by Thomas Whaley between 1856 and 1857. Whaley was a prominent businessman. He added the one story addition to the house that became the County Courthouse, but by 1870 most of the activity and development had moved to New Town (Now downtown San Diego). Tensions grew as Whaley refused to allow the government to break the lease with him and move the court documents to the new courthouse in New Town. He installed barricades and a small cannon in front of the house to prevent the document's removal, but while on a business trip in 1871 a group of armed men entered the house and removed the materials.

Ghost Stories

There is a rocking chair on the second floor that is said to move by itself, as well as reports of crystals on lampshades swaying with no reasonable explanation and recentlly fluffed pillows bearing the imprint of a human head. Cold spots bedeck the house from the second floor to the area of the first floor where the gallows are said to have once stood.

One spirit that inhabits the spot is said to be that of "Yankee" Jim Robinson, who was supposedly hanged on the gallows that once occupied the spot. That tree is supposedly near the archway on the first floor. Yankee Jim is said to cause the sound of footsteps on the second floor. By some accounts, even Thomas Whaley himself experienced this phenomenon. According to folklore, Yankee Jim stole San Diego's pilot boat and resisted arrest. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. His hanging did not goal well and it took 15 minutes for the man to die. Although there most sources seem to think this story is more fantasy than fact. According to the official Whaley House webpage, Yankee Jim was convicted of Grand Larceny.

Thomas Whaley himself is said to still roam the halls of his former home. He has been seen by various employees of the house, and even been contacted through seances.

Anna, Thomas Whaley's wife, is also said to be seen sometimes, but infrequently. She is sometimes seen in a white dress, or said to be the reason the her rocking chair on the second floor moves by itself. She is also occaisionally seen through the windows on the second floor.

A little girl is said to have died in the Whaley's kitchen after having accidentally run into a clothesline hanging in the Whaley's yard. The clothesline ruptured her trachea. She was carried inside where she died. Her name is given as either Annabelle or Carrie Washburn. The ghost of a blonde girl running through the yard and the kitchen is said to be Carrie (The Kitchen, which was not part of the house itself, has been torn down.).

Other ghosts spotted in or on the premises are a workman, an Indian servant, and the Whaley's dog, Dolly.

Our Review

We did not see anything unusual in our night time free roam of the house; although, another member of our group did photograph Kryis with an odd spectral face while they were on the second floor. Sadly, we do not have a copy of that image. We both had moments where we felt a little odd, but nothing serious. It is an interesting house, with fascinating stories, and plenty of photographs that seem to show spectral phenomenon. (A lot of these photographs are on display in the courthouse room).

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