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Creepy Haunted Houses With Gruesome Histories

Updated on September 6, 2015
Congolier Mansion
Congolier Mansion

We have all heard the strange noise, the bump in the night. But most of us just roll over and go back to sleep. However, if we were a resident of one of the following houses, sleep would be far from our mind.

There are haunted houses and then there are those houses whose histories are so gruesome they give haunted a new name. The houses we will explore here have experienced events beyond our wildest nightmares.

So come with us on this tour of the haunted, the bizarre, the gruesome nightmare that is the reality of these American houses. Keep the lights on and the doors locked. And whatever you do don't scream!

Congolier Mansion

Congolier Mansion
Congolier Mansion

The Congolier house stood in the Manchester neighborhood of Pittsburgh. It has been called the house the devil built. It was once known as the most haunted house in America. It's long and gruesome history is more horrifying than any horror movie.

According to the legend the Congolier house, a carpetbagger by the name of Charles Congolier made his way to Pittsburgh. He built a beautiful mansion in the 1860s. The mansion was located at 1129 Ridge Avenue.

He was very proud of his beautiful mansion and when it was completed he moved in with his wife Lyda and their maid Essie. All was happy at 1129 Ridge Avenue until Lyda discovered Charles was having a passionate affair with their maid, Essie.

Enraged Lyda gathered a knife and a meat cleaver and surprised the two lovers. She stabbed Charles to death with a knife. She then proceeded to decapitate Essie with the meat clever.

Days later a friend of the family went to check on the Congoliers. He found Lyda sitting in a rocking chair humming lullabies to the severed head of the maid.

For twenty years the house remained empty. No one would touch it due to the horrific tales told about the Congoliers. Finally a railroad company purchased the house in 1892. It was then converted into apartments for railroad workers.

The railroad workers complained of strange activity in the house. They were constantly confronted with strange noises. Most of the workers refused to stay in the building. The railroad company had no choice but to put the house up for sale.

In 1900 the home was purchased by Dr. Adolph C. Brunrichter. Dr. Brunrichter was a recent immigrant to America. He was a very reclusive man. He never socialized with the neighbors and was never seen leaving the home.

On the night of August 12, 1901 neighbors heard a woman screaming and then an explosion of light within the Congolier house. Neighbors reported a red explosion like flash shooting through the house. The earth trembled, the sidwalks cracked and every window in the doctor's home was shattered.

Upon arriving the police found a gruesome scene. The decomposing body of a young woman was strapped to a bed inside the home. The police further found five headless young women buried in the basement.

It was surmised that the doctor had been experimenting. He reportedly had been able to keep some of the young women alive for short periods after severing their heads.

Dr. Brunrichter was nowhere to be found. He simply vanished. The house stood empty again.

The Congolier House now had quite a reputation, not only for its violent history, but for its ghostly inhabitants. Finally it was purchased by the Equitable Gas Company. Once again it was used to house workers, this time for the gas company. These immigrant workers also experienced strange happenings. They however dismissed them as pranks. That is until two of the workers were found dead in the basement. One of the workers was hanging from a rafter and the other had a board driven through his chest like a stake. Both workers had been seen shortly before being found in the basement.

Although the men appeared to have been murdered, police could find no way for a murderer to escape the house undetected. Needless to say the other workers left the home.

On November 14, 1927 a giant flame erupted from a natural gas storage tank. Workers were attempting to repair a leak at the time. Other tanks began to explode, creating smoke, destruction and fire. The Congolier House was two blocks from the site of the explosion. The house was completely destroyed leaving nothing but a giant crater.

The house was the only structure which was completely obliterated. Everyone in the neighborhood believed that the house was evil and it had been sent back to hell from whence it came.

Legend has it that Thomas Edison visited the house in the 1920s. Another visitor was a well known psychic of the era, Julia Murray.

The Congolier Mansion is a part of Pittsburgh's haunted history. However, the facts of the story are disputed by many historical experts. The legend however lives on and it is enough to send a shiver down anyone's spine.

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Los Feliz Mansion

Los Feliz Mansion
Los Feliz Mansion

Los Feliz California Murder House

The story of this California mansion is one of the creepiest tales I have ever heard. It is tragic, mysterious and eerie.

This home which sits on a hill in Los Feliz is shrouded in mystery. Its tragic history began with the story of Dr. Harold Perelson. On December 6,1959 Dr. Perelson took a hammer and beat his wife Lillian to death. He also savagely beat his eighteen year old daughter Judye.

Perelson also had two younger children who were sleeping at the time of the attacks. When Debbie and her older brother Joel were awakened by the screams, they were told by their father "go back to bed. This is a nightmare."

Judye, after being beaten, ran from the mansion and sought help from a neighbors house. She was quicly transported to the hospital with a possible skull fracture.

When police responded they found Dr. Perelson dead on the floor still clutching the hammer in his hand. On the nightstand next to his bed the police officers found an open copy of Dante's Divine Comedy. It was open to the passage which read "midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost..."

Dr. Perelson had apparently drank a glass of acid. Detectives speculated that the doctor was having financial difficulties.

The children went to live with relatives on the east coast. Their whereabouts today are unknown.

This tragic murder was only the beginning of the mystery that this mansion contains. Built in 1925, the mansion is a Spanish style home. The first floor features an entrance hall, glassed in conservatory, large living room, a den, a dining room and a kitchen. The second floor features four master bedroom sized bedrooms and a ballroom featuring a bar is on the third level. It also features a basement with maids quarters.

The truly creepy part of this mansion, is that it has set frozen in time since the night of the murders. No one has lived in the house for more than fifty years.

Emily and Julian Enriquez purchased the mansion in 1960. Neighbors witnessed the couple bringing items to store in the house. Nothing was ever removed and the couple never lived there.

The mansion has fell into disrepair. Items on the outside of the house have been stolen. A burglar alarm was installed after neighbors witnessed people having a barbeque in the backyard.

Neighbors who have had a glimpse inside through the windows report that the house was left virtually as it was the night of the murders. In the living room a Christmas tree still stands with gifts visible. An old 1950s style tv set sits forlornly in the living room as if waiting for someone to turn it on.

The new owners have had many offers from prospective buyers. They refuse to sell. The house is now owned by their son, Rudy Enriquez. Mr. Enriquez says he has no plans to sell the house and no plans to live in the house.

This tragic house stands, overlooking the neighborhood. Its windows and doors look outward, while keeping all its secrets inside. Perhaps Dr. Perelson and his wife still roam the mansion. At any rate, this tragic house will remain a mystery.

Los Feliz Inside the House
Los Feliz Inside the House

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Villisca Murder House

Villisca Murder House
Villisca Murder House

Villisca Ax Murder House

This farmhouse in Villisca, Iowa was the scene of a tragic mass murder. The unassuming farm house holds within its walls the secrets to these unsolved murders.

The home belonged to Josiah and Sarah Moore. The couple were a well known and affluent. The family was well liked by the community. The Moore's had four children, Herman (11), Katherine (10) Boyd (7) and Paul (5).

On the evening of June 9, 1912 the Moore family attended the Presbyterian Church to watch the children's day program. The Moore children participated in the program which their mother had coordinated.

After the program, Katherine invited two of her friends, sisters Ina and Lena Stillinger to spend the night at the Moore home. Mr. Moore telephoned the Stillinger girls parents to obtain permission for the overnight visit. The Moore's and their guests left the church at 9:30 p.m. and walked to the Moore's home.

The following morning the Moore's neighbor, Mary Peckham, began her morning chores at 5:00 a.m. at 7:00 a.m. Mrs. Peckham realized that her neighbors, the Moores, had not been outside performing their own chores. She stated the house seemed unusually still. Mrs. Peckham knocked on the door and received no answer. She tried the door but found that it was locked from the inside.

Mrs. Peckham then placed a call to Josiah's brother Ross Moore. Ross knocked on the door and shouted, receiving no answer. After attempting to look through the window, he finally produced a set of keys. One of the keys opened the door.

Upon entering the house he opened the bedroom door and that is when he saw two bodies on the bed and blood stains on the bedclothes. He immediately told Mrs. Peckham to call the sheriff.

Upon arriving the sheriff entered the house to find a gruesome scene. The bodies of Lena and Ina Stillinger were found in the downstairs bedroom. All the members of the Moore family were found in upstairs bedrooms. Everyone in the house had been brutally murdered. Their skulls were crushed with what police believed to be an ax.

The local authorities soon lost all control of the crime scene, with people coming in and out of the house. Some observers even removed small items as souvenirs. The Villisca National Guard finally arrived and secured the home.

The only known facts about the crime scene were eight people had been bludgeoned to death with what was presumed to be an ax.

Each person was believed to be asleep. The murders happened sometime after midnight.

All the curtains were drawn except for two windows. These windows did not have curtains and they were covered with articles of the Moore's clothing.

The victims faces were covered with the bed clothes after they were killed.

At the foot of Josiah's and Sarah's bed set a kerosene lamp. The chimney was found under the dresser, the wick had been turned back.

The same scenario was found at the foot of the Stillinger girl's bed, the kerosene lamp was missing the chimney.

An ax belonging to Josiah Moore was found at the foot of the Stillinger girl's bed. It had been wiped off but was still bloody.

In the bedrooms of Mr. and Mrs. Moore and their children gouge marks were found in the ceiling which were assumed to have been made by the upswing of the ax.

A piece of a keychain was found on the floor in the downstairs bedroom.

On the kitchen table was a pan of bloody water and a plate of uneaten food.

All the doors in the house were locked.

The body of Lena Stillinger was found with a gray coat covering her face. It appeared that she had squirmed down in the bed after being struck in the head. Lena was found with her nightgown slit up, wearing no undergarments. She had a defensive wound on one of her arms.

Lying near the ax in the Stillinger girl's bedroom was a slab of bacon wrapped in a dish towel.

Although there was an abundance of suspects, no one was ever convicted of the murders. Many historians who have studied this case focus on the three most likely suspects. Frank F. Jones was a prominent resident and an Iowa State Senator. Jones had a grudge against Moore for leaving his employee and opening his own John Deere franchise.

Others believe that a deranged man named Reverend George Kelly was the murderer. Kelly had attended the childrens day program and had left town in the early morning hours of June 10th.

Still others believe the murders were an act of a serial killer. Serial killer Harry Lee Moore committed crimes similar to the Villisca murders.

Today the Villisca House still draws curious visitors. Many paranormal investigators have visited the house. There have been reports of children's voices, falling lamps, moving ladders and flying objects.

Whether the Villisca Murder House is haunted or not, there is no denying it holds a tragic, heartbreaking secret within its walls. The horror of that night over a hundred years ago still fascinates the world.

On a dark moonlit night the house looks much as it did a hundred years ago. Frozen in time, waiting for someone to solve the mystery within. Spirits crying out for justice that will never come.

Perhaps almost as tragic as the murder which has occurred inside, is the way the house has been turned into a haunted house sideshow. At four hundred dollars and up for an overnight tour, we can't help but feel that this tragedy has been exploited for monetary gain. Now that is something that should upset the spirits.







Villisca Ax Murder House Today

Villisca Ax Murder House
Villisca Ax Murder House

Villisca Ax Murders 100 Years Later Video

The houses we have displayed here are just a few of the many houses across the country that have witnessed tragedies. They stand forever, holding their secrets, stained by the events that happened within their walls.

Their legends grow with the telling of their stories. Fact becomes intertwined with fiction, until much of the truth is lost to legend.

The only undisputed thing is that innocent people lost their lives. Perhaps these souls still wander the halls of the places they called home. For the rest of us, they are scary places. Places that give us a shiver when we pass or that we shun outright.

Here is hoping that any spirits still wandering within the walls of these houses find their way to a better place. Meanwhile, their stories will still be told on dark nights and their legends will grow.

Do you have a ghost story or a haunted house story to share? We invite you to leave it in the comments.

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