Whaley House

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Tragedies of the Whaley family have caused them to stay together.

A once bitter, restless spirit who suffered a bad execution
changed his tune after developing a fondness.


The Whaley House is described as being “a classic example of mid-nineteenth century Greek Revival architecture.” Today, Thomas Whaley’s home is a house museum and is set up like it was during the years of 1856, when construction began on the house, to 1885, when Thomas Whaley moved his family to another home in New Town San Diego.

On the first floor, most of the rooms were used for commercial and public uses, except for Mr. Whaley’s office/study, the dining room and kitchen. The kitchen was originally outside of the house as a precaution to help prevent house fires. In later years, the kitchen was in-closed and made part of the first floor.

The office/study room was also the music room, as the Whaley family loved to make music together. Whaley family descendants have donated original artifacts; such as Thomas Whaley’s books, hat & cane, musical instruments, including the piano, and the original bed that was in the master bedroom.

The guest room was half-way up the staircase, off a little landing, that also was used as a birthing room, a sick room and a room where various members of the Whaley family took their last breath and died.

The second floor was where the family bed rooms were located; the nursery for the tiny children, a kids room with two beds that could hold two to three kids each, and the spacious master bedroom that has large Victorian windows facing the street with a view of Old Town San Diego.

The Whaley House also had a lovely garden to grow table vegetables and flowers; a corral, an outdoor privy, a cistern, and a little courtyard to hang laundry, etc. and perhaps sit outside and enjoy beautiful weather.




Thomas Whaley was a gutsy entrepreneur, whose parents ran a business selling hardware and woodwork in New York. In 1849, at the age of 26, Thomas Whaley left New York and went to San Francisco, with plans to take advantage of the wealth produced by the California Gold Rush.

Thomas set up a store with his partner, George Wardle, selling hardware and woodwork from his family’s store in New York. Using what he learned about running a business at the Washington Institute, Thomas became very successful and opened up his own store on Montgomery Street, building a two story home with a view of the San Francisco Bay as well; planning to bring his new bride-to-be here.

Someone didn’t like his success, and all of his business buildings were destroyed by an arsonist in May of 1851, that also postponed his personal plans of marrying the love of his life, Ana Eloise DeLaunay. Undaunted, he moved to San Diego, upon the advice of a fellow merchant, Lewis Franklin, who had stores in both San Francisco and the up and coming city of San Diego.

Starting all over again, Thomas made a new start in San Diego, starting up businesses with Franklin, Morse, Hinton and his brother, Henry, in 1851. Two years later, Thomas had made enough money to go back to New York and marry his beloved, Ana Eloise DeLaunay.

The history of the Whaley House began when the property that the house was built upon was just an undeveloped piece of property with trees, that was used as an execution yard; conveniently located near the town cemetery. In 1852, this vacant lot was used to hang a convicted criminal, attended by a lot of the townspeople, including Thomas Whaley who noticed the possibilities of this vacant lot.

In 1852, a tall, 6 ft 4 inch man known as Yankee Jim had been convicted along with two other men for stealing a boat, though the three were suspected of more serious crimes like murder. While Jim’s two other partners in crime were given sentences of a year in prison, Jim was given the death penalty probably because he was seen as the bully ring leader, leading the two other men in crime. This gang probably killed some people, though there wasn’t enough evidence to convict. To today’s observer, he was executed for a minor crime of trying to steal a boat.

Right or wrong, Yankee Jim was brought in the back of a buck board, and a noose that was hanging from a tree that grew on this vacant property, was put around his neck. He was pushed off the buck board, but there was a problem that was ignored. Because of his height, the toes of his boots touched the ground, but not enough to support his weight. As there was no hard fall because he was hung too low without the proper force to snap his neck, he instead suffered a terrible, painful and slow choking death; a cruel way to die that no one deserved. Uh oh.

While watching Yankee Jim’s cruel demise, slowly strangling to death, entrepreneur Thomas Whaley had the idea that he could buy this prime piece of property for “a song”, at some point when he had the funds; as no one would want to buy land used for executions. He didn’t see the problems that may arise if he did this. His inspirational thought was to build a one story brick structure; to be a rat-proof granary, that would be in great demand.

Three years later, in 1855, Thomas Whaley did indeed buy the property and built his rat-proof granary using the bricks from his own brick factory in town. When this one story brick structure granary failed to be rat-proof, Whaley came up with another idea. In August of 1857, He renovated the granary into a commercial space for his own general store; Whaley and Crosthwaite General Store, and came up with a plan to be able to discourage jealous rivals from burning him out again.

In New York, it was a common practice to have commercial space on the first floor of the structure, and have the family live in private rooms on the second floor. Thomas expanded upon this original brick structure, building a second story over part of it for his growing family. He used bricks from his own brick yard for this addition.

The family loved their new spacious home. Thomas declared that it was the “most comfortable and convenient place” in Old Town San Diego. By today’s standards, it wasn’t grand, but it was considered upscale for his community in Old Town San Diego.

When the Whaley and Crosthwaite General Store proved to be too far from the heart of the community to be profitable, Thomas rented out the first floor rooms downstairs of his home and went into New Town San Diego and rented a space for his store right on the main plaza in New Town San Diego.

By 1857, Thomas and Anna had three children; Francis, Thomas and baby Anna. Unfortunately, after being in their new home for only a short time, both a personal and a financial disaster hit this family in 1858. Not only did Thomas’ store on the Plaza get burned out by another arson fire, but his 18 month old son, Thomas, died of Scarlet Fever in their new home.

Depressed and saddened by this double whammy, Thomas and Anna moved their family back to San Francisco where they still had their home on the San Francisco Bay. They rented out both floors of their beloved San Diego brick home. The first floor was a commercial space while the rooms upstairs were rented out to boarders.

Whaley found work as an U.S. Army Commissary Storekeeper, thanks to his friend and contact: Maj. George Ringgold. While in San Francisco, Thomas and Anna had three more children: George, Violet, and Corinne, who was called Lillian. Anna’s mother, sister and brother also came to live with them.

The family had a stable home life for nine years. In 1867, Thomas was sent away from his family to help in the take over of Alaska. He set up stores in Sitka and established an American base there. Thomas was also elected to be a councilman in Sitka in 1867.

After the 1868 San Francisco earthquake, the Whaley family planned to move back soon to their favorite brick home in San Diego, thanks to some inheritance money that Thomas received from the sale of some family property. He bought some stocks and fixed up his woe-be-gone brick San Diego home. In October of 1868, they rented out their master bedroom space to the Tanner Troupe Theatre for 6 months to raise some funds to pay for expenses.

In August of 1869, the County of San Diego signed a two year lease to use the front first floor commercial space as their County Courthouse and use three of the rooms upstairs for storage of court records in the Whaley house for $65 a month; which was a great financial asset to the Whaley family. Finally, a stable source of income was established; no longer having boarders, but a relatively safe source of steady cash flow.

However, in July of 1870, the people in New Town San Diego voted to move the San Diego County Court House over to Horton Hall in new Town San Diego; to make it more convenient for them, despite the first decision made by the city with Thomas Whaley. The officials further made plans to make Horton Hall the place for the new San Diego County Court House home. This would’ve been fine if the city had waited until the lease was up in 1871.

Unfortunately, the County of San Diego didn’t honor their lease; something no city can get away with now. On April 4th, 1871, at 2:00 am, the Sheriff and Supervisor French, along with some other new townspeople ransacked the Whaley House and terrified the Whaley family when Thomas was out of town.

This illegal posse then forcibly moved the court furniture and court papers from the Whaley House, and notified Thomas that once the furniture and papers were removed, the County of San Diego didn’t owe Whaley the rest of the rent money for the year despite the written, legal agreement. Really?

I couldn’t find any information that Thomas got any more rent money, or even got the bill paid from the destruction done to his home. In fact, Thomas Whaley for twenty years tried to get compensation for the damage done in the ransacking, and the city didn’t even pay him this.

This left the Whaley family on a tight budget. Thomas had planned to use this bread and butter money for a lifeline until the end of the lease in 1871.

After the County Courthouse and its records moved to the New Town San Diego, in 1871, Thomas Whaley moved forward and connected the former granary and courtroom space to the newer private home structure. Perhaps he had soured on renting it out to commercial business. Part of this renovation was changing the windows, doors and front portico.

They started to rent the space for community and social events to bring in money. Sunday school was held here for a church that had space issues. Other community and family social functions used the old courtroom space as well. However, this income wasn’t enough.

Financially, from 1874 to 1879, the Whaley family had to depend on Thomas’ brother, Francis, for financial support, which made Thomas hard to live with for the rest of his family. Thomas formed another plan. He went back to New York and then to San Francisco, looking for work.

Things were looking up in 1881, and Thomas once again was able to join his family in San Diego. Real Estate was his next venture, which turned out to be a solid money maker at last. He established a real estate office at 5th and G in the First National Bank building, with a variety of dependable partners. He also had an interest in the railroad.

In 1882, daughters Anna and Violet, were both married. One marriage, Anna’s, was very happy. Anna married the love of her life, cousin John, son of Francis Whaley. Unfortunately, the other marriage, Violet’s, turned out to be a disaster. Violet, who had struggled with emotional issues her whole life, married a real loser, who called himself George T. Bertolacii when he married her. After two weeks of marriage, George deserted Violet, causing terrible humiliation for all concerned. Violet had a broken heart and this huge mistake pushed her fragile, emotional state into a deep depression.

Despite the best efforts of the family doctor, Violet shot herself in the privy on August 18th, 1885. Her father, Thomas Whaley, found her and carried her into the parlor couch where she died in his arms.

Her suicide shook her parents to the core. It was time to move again, away from their beloved home, once again being too upset to stay. One source used for this story stated, “Anna regarded the property to be doomed, the cause of all the tragedy in her life.”

Moving forward again, Thomas built a one story single frame house for his family in New Town San Diego where they moved to and lived as a family again. However, in 1888, Thomas retired because of health issues. His son, Francis, took over his business, which must have given Thomas some peace. Thomas died in his new home in 1890.

The Whaley House then became the property of Francis Whaley, but stood vacant for nearly twenty years, as everyone wanted to live in New Town San Diego. Perhaps the Whaley family members were leery of living in a house that had experienced so much bad luck as well as a suicide event. There was the possibility that perhaps the house had some sort of curse on it because of the land’s former use as a place of execution and death.

However, in 1909, the same year that the Casa de Estudillo was saved and restored (turned into a wedding chapel, and a tourist attraction for people who loved the play, Ramona), Francis Whaley became inspired.

Francis came back once again to the family home where he started and finished a restoration that greatly improved the Whaley House’s state of being; from being a fixer upper opportunity that really needed attention to a home he could live in himself. When people began flocking to Casa de Estudillo, Francis put up signs telling the story and historical significance of his family home while singing some songs for the tourists, playing his guitar.

In 1912, Francis got more company to live with him; the rest of his family, with the exception of his younger sister Anna who had died in 1905. His mother, Anna, his youngest sister Lillian Corinne (librarian), and his brother George (musician) enjoyed living here together for only a year. Mother Anna died in the house on February 24th, 1913. Francis, the oldest of the Whaley brood, died in the house on November 19th, 1914.

After almost staying in the house for sixteen years, George died in the home in 1928; leaving Lillian living there alone until 1953, when she suffered from a bad fall and a growing case of dementia. Under a court order, the Whaley House was put under a liquidation order, to provide funds for her care. A month later, she died.

This old woe-be-gone, almost past the point of restoration property was put on the real estate market, as a possible tear-down for the building of a motel. Luckily, the preservation activists in San Diego sprang into aggressive action to save the Whaley family’s beloved home.

The County of San Diego took ownership of this historic home and started the stabilizing and restoration process, in partnership with The Historic Shrine Foundation who led the way. The house was restored to its 1918 status, with the renovations that Francis had done. The Whaley House opened for public tours in 1960.

The County of San Diego stayed in partnership with the private organization, Historic Shrine Foundation, led by June and Jim Reading until the year 2000, when SOHO took over the stewardship of the property for the County of San Diego.

SOHO made the commitment to achieve an authentic restoration of the Whaley House; the way it looked when the Whaley family lived there, off and on from 1857 to 1885. To help with this, the original and later plans that were drawn up by Thomas Whaley himself were an effective tool the preservationists used, starting with the 1860s front porch.

As more restoration money has been raised, more of the house will be made to conform to what Mr. Whaley had in mind, undoing much of what his son Francis did to upgrade and change the home for 1909 living.

Because of the restoration and the Whaley House’s history, it is no wonder that the spirits of the members of the Whaley family, and others as well have chosen to stay here. Some of the spirits now enjoy what they feel they missed, continue to comfort family members, relive their good memories, while others mourn or agitate about their death or misfortune suffered because of unfortunate circumstances, unrequited love or the legal system. They have even found ways to still be active in this world.


Children who die from accidents or from health issues like to stay where they felt comfortable and enjoyed life; perhaps even where they died.

A small neighbor girl, Annabelle Washburn, ran into the clothesline, got the line caught around her throat and was strangling when she was rescued, but it was too late. She was brought into the kitchen, barely alive where she died.

Eighteen month old Thomas died of Scarlet Fever in his parents’ bedroom.

People who die prematurely or have been relocated for a variety of reasons from their forever, beloved home, often try to make up for all the years missed there, by staying there at some point after they enter the spirit world.

Thomas and Anna Whaley didn’t have much time at all in their dream home. Circumstances, bad luck and painful losses caused them to spend more time in San Francisco and New Town San Diego.

Restoration of the beloved home or place can act as an environmental trigger and draw spirits back into this world to once again enjoy their favorite structure in this world.

After Francis restored the family home, Anna, George and Lillian all came to live with him while still alive. Spirits Violet and Yankee Jim were still there. Perhaps Thomas Whaley and his little son, Thomas; both in spirit form, also came back then to stay with their family, and never left. When mother Anna died, she stayed on to be with husband Thomas and daughter Violet, and little Thomas as well.

People who kill themselves out of terrible grief from a loss and deep mourning due to an unacceptable failure or profound disappointment, find that they have no relief in the spirit world and stay where they killed themselves in this world. They continue on in their emotional pain, stuck in their feelings and not able to move into the next realm; trying to work through their distress. People with mental/emotional issues sometimes have trouble passing onto the spirit realm.

Second to youngest daughter, Violet, in an unbalanced emotional state, killed herself with her father’s gun because the man she married turned out to be a con man with many aliases looking for cover, and left her only two weeks into the marriage.

If a member of a family refuses to leave their favorite structure in this world, other passed members of this family may also stay to take care of the member or members who still want to be in this world.

Violet’s mother, Anna Whaley will not leave because her husband, Thomas, and two of their children, Violet and little 18 month old Thomas, are still in this world. She still enjoys taking care of her family.


The following reasons are listed below to explain why Yankee Jim is haunting the Whaley House and perhaps why the female entity is haunting the old court room:

When people are tied to the land in this world after they pass into the spirit world, they will simply move into any structure that is built on top of the land they find themselves grounded on for a variety of reasons especially if it is where they died.

Yankee Jim seems to have bonded with the land where he died.

People who have had their way through intimidation, or conning others, or doing things against the law and taking risky chances along the way are restless when their actions catch up with them, causing their death one way or another. If they feel their death was unjust or unfair, then they are really unhappy and can’t rest, or try to go on; wanting things to end differently, enjoying what they can as spirits in this world. Some even want justice.

Yankee Jim thought that it was unfair that he was given a death penalty for such a minor offense while his two buddies got off with prison terms.

Dying from a cruel, painful execution done badly by others; (often a lawful sentence that was decreed by law), just rubs salt in the wounds of a unrepentant person; causing anger and restlessness.

Yankee Jim died a torturous death, and no one cared. The witnesses stood by and watched him suffer terribly and die.

Besides Yankee Jim, other family members of convicted men who died or were sent to prison because of a judge’s decree after the Whaley House was built, may be haunting the old courtroom that was in the Whaley’s former granary room/grocery store for a short while. A female entity still hangs around the court room, waiting for the verdict. She relives the awful news of the scheduled death or conviction to prison of her loved one; something she never got over, and mourns still.

Historic House museums that have original items that belonged to former families or people who lived there, often have former owners of the stuff/artifacts/belongings coming to stay or visit. The old courtroom now has the original furniture along with Thomas Whaley’s desk.

Thomas and Anna enjoy some of their old possessions, as well as replicas of furniture and other things they had in their home.

Thomas must have some peace to see that once more court room furniture is in his old commercial space.

Annabelle and little Thomas still enjoy playing with the toys that are out and in other areas as well.

Many believe the shadowy figure on the far left is a ghost.



Paranormal occurrences began after the Whaley family moved into their new home in 1857. Over the years, as more spirits joined the regulars at the Whaley House, the joint has been jumpin’ ever since.

When George came back to restore the old family home in 1909, he too had experiences with perhaps the spirits of his father, Yankee Jim, little Thomas and Violet, plus the woman haunting the old courtroom space. George would close all the windows and drapes and try to communicate with the spirits in the house.

When Lillian was living at the home for so many years, she rented out the other rooms to boarders, who also reported having experiences with all the spirits mentioned above plus her parents: Anna and Thomas. While reports of the hauntings kept vandals and thieves away from the property, it also discouraged boarders when she needed the extra income. By this time, Old Town San Diego was way past its prime and I bet crime was an issue.

Since 1960, when the Whaley House was opened as a house museum, numerous paranormal events have been observed by 20th and 21st century witnesses; seen, felt or heard primarily by staff, though other observers have been visitors and investigators.

It seems that these spirits who stay here get to know who steadily works there and make their presences known in various ways, but not in a hostile manner. The experiences mainly take place in the daylight hours, as the house is closed during the evening to the living, with a few exceptions given to trust worthy investigators and celebrities with staff members present.

General paranormal occurrences experienced by staff, investigators, and visitors:

Rocking chairs move on their own, and chandeliers swing, with no reasonable explanation.

Sounds of a piano being played, music and singing, and a party happening are heard by staff.

Doors and windows open and close at will.

Disembodied voices are heard throughout the museum.

Spirits unseen apparently have meals at the dining room table. The living hear all the sounds that one associates with such an occurrence, such as silverware clinking against china, aromas of food, and the great scent of freshly baked bread, and pies; especially around the holidays.

Throughout the home, the staff and visitors catch the whiff of fine Cuban Tobacco; a favorite past time of Thomas, and French perfume; a favorite of mother Anna.

Entity of Thomas Whaley

Described as content and happy.

He is seen enjoying his master bedroom on the second floor. Smoking, looking out the window.

His deep laughter is heard coming from the upstairs.

Thomas has been seen walking through the house, going about his business.

Thomas also helps to keep an eye on the visitors and the living, sharing this responsibility with Anna.

When the staff was standing near the stairs, Thomas appeared briefly at the top of the stairs, wearing pantaloons and a black hat, checking up on everyone.

As Thomas and Anna have shared their house with the public, during most of the time that they actually lived here while alive, they have been gracious about having tourists see their home.

However, after one terribly busy visitor day, that had lots of visitors walking all around, a staffer was startled to see that the front door and upstairs windows had all locked at the same time, as soon as the last visitor had left. Thomas and Anna were saying in a firm but friendly manner, that enough was enough, even for hospitable spirits. The staff agreed, and simply closed early.

Entity of Mother Anna

As Mother Anna always took pride in caring for her own family, she has found peace in this world, existing without fear of loss, enjoying the activities she was responsible for; doing the laundry, cooking and, most of all, enjoying the company of her husband and two of the children who tragically died too early. She rocks a baby, takes care of little Thomas and tries to comfort daughter Violet.

Her presence is both seen and unseen.

Lillian, in one of her books, details how she saw both the spirits of her parents in the house, keeping her company.

She keeps an eye on the visitors, like a good hostess would, while going about her everyday chores she loved to do.

Apparently, Anna appeared in front of Regis and his skeptical friend in the parlor years ago, to prove to this friend that Anna was a real entity; perhaps as a courtesy to Regis, who had brought Hans Holser and Sybil Leek to come and talk to her beforehand, a few weeks before this watch in the parlor was planned.

She has been seen, folding clothes in the children’s room.

She cooks and makes meals for her family, which may explain some of the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen and dining room, and the audio effects of spirit people enjoying a meal together.

Anna also takes time for herself, enjoying activities in the parlor.

She has been seen for a moment sitting on the settee, wearing a cheery green gingham gown.

Sometimes Anna guards the second floor, and mediums have to ask her permission to come up.

She has been seen, folding clothes in the children’s room.

She cooks and makes meals for her family, which may explain some of the delicious aromas coming from the kitchen and dining room, and the audio effects of spirit people enjoying a meal together.

Anna also takes time for herself, enjoying activities in the parlor.

She has been seen for a moment sitting on the settee, wearing a cheery green gingham gown.

Sometimes Anna guards the second floor, and mediums have to ask her permission to come up.

She tries to protect Violet’s need to be alone to mourn.

Medium Kim Russo at first found an energy source field that prevented her from going up the steps. Kim introduced herself to Mother Anna and said that she and Regis Philbin meant no harm. Anna allowed both of them to come up.

Entity of Yankee Jim

This tall, once surly presence began making his presence heard just after the Whaleys moved into their new home, and has been doing so ever since; still upset with his death and needless suffering. Jim was hanged over the location of the archway separating the parlor and study, before the house was built. Presently he has mellowed over the years and has begun to make the best of his situation, perhaps learning from the other spirits who stay here.

For the Whaley family and others who have rented rooms here, he stomped his feet across the 2nd floor hallway when everyone was down stairs. Thomas Whaley and his family were the first ones to hear this entity stomping. According to the youngest daughter, Lillian Whaley, when heavy boot foot steps were heard, running across the second floor, Mr. Whaley would say. “Don’t worry, that’s just Yankee Jim.”

Mother Anna had her own experiences, and reported that there was a presence in the house that surrounded her that she could not shake off.

Today, Yankee Jim still walks heavily around the second floor, but isn’t so angry, and has started to notice the positive elements in the home. Yankee Jim took a liking to a new, pretty female tour guide. Perhaps wanting to be supportive, appeared as a solid, real person in costume; slightly behind her as she gave her first tour, unknown to her.

The tour guide was told afterward all about him, by several visitors after the tour, who thought he was part of the tour. This tour guide couldn’t figure out why her visitors were smiling at her. Perhaps Yankee Jim had a welcoming smile for the tourists, perhaps with a twinkle in his eye that made them smile at her.

Sometimes lawmen today who come to visit, get a choking feeling around their necks as well as rope burn as they go up the stairs.

Yankee Jim hates policemen, and gets his chuckles by doing this little pay back, while not really hurting anyone; just an annoying and starling experience.

Entity of Violet

Her sad presence is seen and felt on the second floor near the bedrooms and hallway, wanting solitude from the world. Killing herself didn’t help her loose her depression, but now she has her family in spirit form there to bolster her.

Her presence is also seen in the parlor where she died in the arms of her father. She likes to stand in the archway of the parlor.

Entity of the 18 month old, Thomas

Described as an active little one, very much like toddlers who are alive.

He is heard crying in his parent’s room.

He also likes to laugh and run around just like a living toddler does. Sounds of his little feet can be heard as he runs all over the house, especially on the second floor.

He too likes to play with the toys in the playroom.

Entity of 4 year old neighbor girl, Annabelle Washburn

Playmate of one of the Whaley daughters.

Described as having red hair, dressed in late 1800s clothing.

She has been seen clearly by a staff member for a minute, smelling the flowers outside.

This little girl likes to play with the toys in the the children’s playroom, plays in the kitchen where she died and the dining room. She has been seen clearly doing so.


Personal experiences by the Whaley family throughout the years they lived here, as well their boarders and Lillian’s boarders, have always let people know that spirits were present in the Whaley House.

At first, it was just Yankee Jim, who never appeared in front of the Whaleys, but gave audio and unseen presence clues that he was there. Violet joined Yankee Jim after she killed herself. After father Thomas passed in his New Town San Diego home, he also moved in to join Violet. Perhaps little Thomas also came along with his dad.

Ever since Francis Whaley restored the old family home in 1909, the people who lived there received the full paranormal sports package. Mother Anna of course joined the family in spirit after she died.

When the Whaley House was restored the second time in the late 1950s, and opened as a house museum, the little girl, Amanda made her presence known as well. It wasn’t long before both staff and tourists experienced the spirits who occupy this beloved home of the Whaley family.

Psychic Investigations:

1) Well-known parapsychologist, Hans Holzer and his psychic medium Sybil leek, were the first professionals to investigate the Whaley House, as part of Regis’s TV Show.

2) On the cable network; Lifetime, in 2012, Kim Russo did a walk through investigation on her show, SEASON ONE, Episode 5 of The Haunting of…. Regis Philbin.

Years earlier, Regis had witnessed a paranormal experience here when parapsychologist, Hans Holzer, and Holzer’s medium friend, Sybil Leek contacted the spirits. After the airing of this TV show, Regis had an old friend who thought his show depicting this investigation was poppycock. Asking permission of the museum, Regis and his skeptical Marine friend had a vigil in the parlor to see if anything would happen. Yep, the spirit of Anna didn’t disappoint, and succeeded in startling both men with an experience they would never forget.

3) A lot of hard evidence of these spirits has been captured by many paranormal groups throughout the years, that back up the personal experiences of so many people. Two examples are listed below.

San Diego Ghost Hunters have been investigating the Whaley House for more than ten years, and have caught a lot of hard evidence.

Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures featured the Whaley house as a televised investigation by paranormal investigators, led by Zack.




A huge Yes Indeed! There is no denying that spirits are enjoying the Whaley House, and their presence is accepted by the staff and others responsible for this house museum.

The Whaley House is a well-documented, spirit-occupied structure and is considered by many to be the most haunted place in America. Besides the findings of many psychic mediums, A boatload of hard evidence has been caught by various paranormal investigators, some of whom are well-known that back up the years of experiences and sightings of many people.

At last, Thomas Whaley has found peace in his castle with no financial worries, with his wife and two of his children that were taken from him too soon. They have meals together and help the living keep track of all the visitors.

It must give Thomas Whaley some satisfaction that the County of San Diego stepped up to the plate and not only bought his home, but helped to restore it; perhaps making amends to him for stiffing him rent money, causing damage to his home and terrifying his wife and children so long ago.

It also is probably satisfying for Thomas to see the court furniture once again in his former commercial space.

Mother Anna is happy about being able to enjoy her house once more, be the observant hostess to visitors, and have some of her family to take care of without all the worry and strife. She can relive the good memories and have the opportunity to support the grieving Violet, as well as run after and entertain young Thomas.

Yankee Jim gets his chuckles by admiring the female staff (even trying to be helpful). He has found some satisfaction in slightly choking men he doesn’t like who visit the Whaley House; mainly law enforcement.

The San Diego Ghost Hunters team up with the Whaley staff and conduct a paranormal investigation tour once a month as a fundraiser with SOHO. The spirits willingly cooperate, knowing that this helps to raise funds for the upkeep of their beloved home.



2476 San Diego Avenue
San Diego, California 92110

The Whaley House is located at the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Harney Street, in the heart of historic “Old Town” San Diego.



  • The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
    by Rich Newman
    Llewellyn Productions – 2010
  • The World’s Most Haunted Places
    by Jeff Belanger
    New Page Books – 2011
  • Haunted Places: The National Directory
    by Dennis William Hauck
    Penguin Books – 2002
  • The Ghostly Gazetteer: America’s Most Fascinating Haunted Landmarks
    by Arthur Myers
    Contemporary Books – 1990
  • The Whaley House Museum — Whaley Family chronology
  • The Whaley House Museum — The History Behind the Mystery
  • The Whaley House Museum page at The San Diego Ghost Hunters.com
  • Google Search: “The Whaley House paranormal investigations

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Our Photos are copyrighted by Tom Carr

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