Oct 16, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

Best Places to Buy a Real Haunted House in the U.S. and What to Look For

Halloween season has arrived and the popular holiday night of partying and candy-collecting is almost hear, so many people are looking for a haunted house to visit for a good scare or ten. In this case, “haunted house” is the entertainment kind, but a few brave individuals, couples and even some odd families are seeking a real haunted house to buy and live in – not just on Halloween but all year round. It’s not the kind of thing that is advertised on the popular real estate websites or on ‘For Sale’ signs, so these spooky domiciles may be hard to find. Never fear … you can now find a ranking of the best and worst states for buying a haunted house, and we’ve provided a list of things to look for so you know you’re getting the real deal … and hopefully a good deal too.

Haunted houses are great for do-it-yourselfers and house flippers too

“After a much-heated debate, our team determined the difference between a “haunted” house and a “creepy” house. Haunted houses would be based on the number of homes with previous deaths, homicides, and paranormal reports. Creepy houses would be based on the number of homes with crime, damage, drug, and sketchy reports.”

The ranking of states with the highest probability of haunted houses comes from the fine folks at Homeadvisor.com, who admit that they were challenged from the beginning by the ideas of ‘haunted’ versus ‘creepy’ when it comes to houses. An easy definition is that both are creepy, but only houses with reported paranormal activity qualified as ‘haunted’ houses. Incidentally, paranormal investigators agree with realtors that the most important thing to check out when considering a home for purchase (After “location, location, location” of course) is its history. As the horror movie industry constantly reminds us, houses with a history of crime, murder, mysterious deaths and mayhem are more likely to be haunted. To ascertain creepy versus haunted, Homeadvisor.com used a service known as Housecreep – a “a one-of-a-kind resource for realtors, homebuyers, renters, and true crime enthusiasts alike” which tracks and maps “the exact addresses of homes where murders, crimes, or other historical events have occurred” using personal experiences, old newspaper clippings, death certificates, and other public records. Homeadvisor then matched the haunted and creepies per state to the numbers of houses for sale in total per state to come up with their rankings.

The top five states most likely to sell haunted houses are:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Ohio
  3. New York
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Massachusetts

And the top five states for finding creepy houses are:

  1. Wyoming
  2. Vermont
  3. Alaska
  4. North Dakota
  5. South Dakota
  6. Delaware (for those who think North and South Dakota should be one state)

Before we get into the details, some interesting side facts. New York and Ohio make the ‘most haunted houses’ list but are at the bottom of the ‘most creepy houses’ list. The haunted list is top-heavy with New England states – are their houses haunted or do they just want you to think they’re haunted to attract tourism dollars? On the other hand, southern states fill out the bottom of the haunted list. Do ghosts avoid warmth? As a matter of fact, that brings us to another sign that a house may be haunted – abrupt temperature changes. Those may be hard to determine in those heavily air-conditioned southern homes and buildings, while northerners may be more attuned to unusual temperature fluctuations during mild seasons when they don’t use heating or A/C.

“New Jersey comes in first place as the most haunted state in America with just over a 30% probability of moving right into a haunting. This may not surprise some, considering New Jersey is also one of the smallest states on the east coast. It’s also a state rife with spooky attractions, like the empty and eerie Batsto Village, a 251-year-old ghost town abandoned when people discovered coal in the neighboring state of Pennsylvania.”

Being near other haunted houses may give people in New Jersey and other top states the opportunity to feel they’re being watched, have the sensation of being touched, or notice strange neck tinglings – all are signs a house is haunted. Pets are said to act oddly in the presence of spirits, so, if the home seller and real estate agent allow it, it might help to bring them along and watch their behavior. Speaking of watching, watch chairs and objects as you tour your potential haunted house buy. Does it seem like chairs move or objects show up on different counters than you remembered seeing them? It could be a meticulous realtor but it could also be a sign of a ghost.

“While Ohio seems tame enough at first glance, it‘s actually home to 125 haunted houses, according to The Scare Factor. One unpopular theory among Ohio residents, however, is that it’s all in their collective imaginations. Since Ohio was ranked among the most boring states to live in according to one study, many argue that dreaming up creepy creatures and spooky specters is the only source of entertainment for Ohioans.”

Confession time – this writer is an Ohioan and the Buckeye state is far from boring. However, it does have a lot of older homes with long histories that could easily include mysterious deaths or murders. It is also a heavily ethnic state, so residents are used to smelling unusual food and cooking smells and might easily pick up something strange odors that don’t fit the house – another sign of ghost habitation. Those old houses have their creaks and groans and drafts and noises and most residents just accept them – but they know when an unusual sound doesn’t fit … another sign of a spirit.

“One such historic hotel is The Wayside Inn in Sudbury, which also happens to be the oldest operating inn in the country. While it has been restored to its original glory thanks to a few renovation projects over the years, they haven’t been able to get rid of the ghost of Jerusha Howe, who New England locals claim still plays “ghostly tunes through the middle of the night.”

Massachusetts rounds out the top five haunted house locations and it deserves its spot. Hearing music playing is definitely out of the ordinary and a serious sign of haunting, as are disembodied voices. So are objects flying through the air. However, one of the best signs that a house is haunted is that it just gives you a bad feeling … a gut feeling that something is wrong with the place. That would cause a normal real estate agent to rush you out and to another open house, but you are no normal buyer … a place that gives you the creeps is EXACTLY what you are looking for. And if it is in New Jersey, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire or Massachusetts, the chances are excellent that your gut has led you to a haunted house.

Ghosts are always included in the price.

Now that you have identified the haunted house you want to buy, a good realtor can help close the deal and get you a good deal. Does the seller know the house is haunted or gives people the creeps? That could be a reason to drop the price. While those cold spots and flickering lights may signal ‘ghosts’ to you, you can call them drafts and faulty wiring and possibly get another price concession. Use your head and, at least when negotiating, don’t listen to the ghosts.

Happy haunted house hunting!

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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