Yes, friends, the Halloween season is upon us, when our thoughts turn to all things spooooooky. To me, there’s nothing scarier than a real haunted house (skeptics, please suspend your disbelief, just for a moment). There are some well-documented, super-creepy haunted properties here in the U.S. – sites where grisly crimes, tragic events and truly horrific abuses occurred. And what ties all these homes together (other than being haunted, of course)? You guessed it – exterior shutters!
So please…join me on a creeeeepy tour of America’s most horrifying haunted houses, and their equally fabulous use of decorative shutters:
1. The Whaley House, San Diego, CA
Named the number one most haunted house in the U.S. by The Travel Channel, this house is a hotbed of paranormal activity. Reportedly still occupied by the ghosts of owners Thomas and Anna Whaley, their daughter, and their dog (who likes to chase a ghostly cat through walls), the home’s location itself seems to be a source of its haunting. According to this article about the home, “Some of those who have experienced the Whaley House believe that this location is not just populated by spirits that can be traced to one or another part of its busy history, but instead is a psychic crossroads which constantly attracts disembodied traffic.” Great. And the shutter choice for the most haunted home in America? Louvered, of course.
2. LaLaurie House, New Orleans, LA
I’ve visited this home personally, and it gets the award for most stomach-churning history, hands down. I won’t outline the details here, but feel free to look them up (you’ll be sorry). As the story goes, esteemed couple Dr. Leonard and Delphine LaLaurie occupied this home in the early 1800s, and were high-ranking participants in New Orleans’ social circles. Over time, however, rumors began to circulate about the LaLaurie’s cruelty to their many servants. When a fire broke out at the LaLaurie home (perhaps set intentionally by the cook), the firefighters discovered a locked room where…OK, this is where I get queasy, so let’s just leave it that this house is haunted for very obvious reasons. The shutter choice of demented socialites? Again, louvered.
3. The Lizzie Borden House, Fall River, MA
If any house on the list needs no introduction – it’s this one. It’s the notorious site where Andrew Borden and his wife Abby were found brutally slain with a hatchet in 1892. While their daughter Lizzie was tried for the murders, she was found not guilty (surprisingly, because her case was pretty shaky). As a result, there are two very restless, and one would assume, cranky, ghosts occupying this home. The house is now a bed and breakfast, where guests report hearing weeping and seeing a woman in Victorian-era clothing dusting and making the bed. Others have heard footsteps going up and down the stairs when the house is empty, doors open and close on their own, and muffled conversations are heard in vacant rooms. Spooky stuff, for sure. And what type of shutters do (alleged) homicidal maniacs prefer? You guessed it – louvered.
4. The Amityville Horror House, Amityville, NY
If ever there was an over-the-top haunting story, you’ll find it here in Amityville. In 1974, six members of the DeFeo family were shot and killed inside the home, and I’m not arguing that would be enough to set the paranormal dial to “10″. The story that followed (which spawned a best-selling book and movie deal), however, is a little hard to swallow. The Lutz family moved into the house, and immediately began to fall victim to a malevolent force. Foul odors emanated from different locations, green slime ran down the walls, and hundreds of flies appeared in the dead of winter. A priest sent to bless the house was told to “GET OUT!”, and of course, there was the invisible, red‑eyed pig named Jodie, who befriended the Lutz’s daughter. Many sources (including the book’s author) have called this haunting a hoax, but it certainly makes for an interesting story. And of course, the shutters on this (possibly) haunted gem? Louvered.
5. The Artist House, Key West, FL
This house is my favorite on the list, thanks to one of its super-creepy residents. The house was originally home to Key West painter, Robert Eugene Otto, born in 1900. As the story goes, when “Gene” was a child, his nanny gave him Robert the doll, who was possibly possessed, cursed or otherwise NOT a normal doll. Gene became VERY attached to the doll, and his response to any mishaps or evil deeds was always, “Robert did it”. Even after marrying wife Anne, Gene (who got more peculiar as the years went on) kept the doll close, giving him a special room in the house’s turret. Locals reported seeing Robert move from window to window in the turret, and visitors often heard giggling from the locked upstairs room. After Gene and Anne passed away, Robert was donated to a local museum, where he is still responsible for all kinds of mischief. The house itself is said to be haunted by Anne’s ghost, apparently there to guard against Robert’s return (she was NOT a fan). Not surprisingly, the shutter choice for eccentric artists and their very strange dolls is…louvered!
Well, I’m no paranormal expert, but it does appear that the spirits prefer louvered shutters. Whether or not you’re a believer in ghosts, there’s no arguing that exterior shutters add style to any house, haunted or not!