Withering houses with alleged paranormal activity have been targets of demolition for years. These ghostly and sinister homes rarely find homeowners brave enough to settle for a creaky sweet living space.
An abandoned home in Connecticut was one of the “haunted” houses considered for demolition and reconstruction last year. However, it should not be advisable to demolish houses that are laced with paranormal activity. These houses represent local histories and may contain residual energy that remains in the building materials and the land long after being destroyed.
Although many are repulsed by the idea of a ghost living among them in their home, these alleged haunted houses have historical significance. One example of a house with rich, yet mysterious architectural history is the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.
The house was commissioned by Sarah Winchester, who was said to be haunted by spirits of victims killed by the Winchester rifle. A medium had told her to move west, purchase a house and continuously renovate it. The home features quirky design elements, such as staircases that run into the ceiling and a door that leads to a two-story drop, possibly meant to confuse the spirits that tormented Winchester into building it.
However, the house is visually striking. Its rounded angles, scalloped exterior and bright yellow and green paint stand out among other modern homes with its regal Queen Anne style.
The historical significance behind this house does not solely come from the Winchester name. It was a glimpse into a period when houses were built ornately. It can serve as a reminder and an inspiration for people who may need a near-perfect example of what a Victorian house is supposed to look like.
Losing historic houses, even if they’re haunted, is erasing history. It does not allow people to appreciate architecture in a way that could inform them about the past and inspire modeling for future houses.
Chillingly, the most famous haunted houses have been the sites of exorcisms, gruesome crimes or a playground for violent poltergeists, which means that the residual energy from those events can become trapped in the buildings and land it was built on.
The stone tape theory explains how spirits become trapped in the places where they experience tragedy. It states that the memory of past events can become instilled in material objects.
Demolishing haunted houses does not destroy the residual energy that the house has captured. In fact, moving the materials of a destroyed haunted house and the possessions inside could increase the instances of hauntings.
The concept of keeping artifacts from hauntings locked up is not new. Ed and Lorraine Warren keep haunted artifacts in their museum in Connecticut to prevent malevolent spirits from harming people.
Haunted houses should stay intact for the same reason: preventing violent supernatural entities within the house and on the land from possibly attacking or harming people.
Some would argue that keeping haunted houses up is a waste of land and real estate. However, haunted houses can still pay for themselves. Towns and cities could buy these allegedly haunted houses and turn them into historic sites or tourist attractions.
Homes that are considered haunted fall under a legal category called caveat emptor, or “buyer beware” in Latin, which means that the property comes with past problems.
However, that does not impede people's curiosity about the paranormal. The Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts has been converted into a bed and breakfast that accepts visitors.
Hauntings may repel homeowners, but local governments should not let these houses’ value go to waste. Although haunted houses being sold for residential purposes is unethical, they can still bring in revenue and garner public interest.