We're Open! The Whaley House will remain closed but our tour visits the grounds. Read about our safety information.
From the original native indigenous Americans to the Spanish and Mexican Settlers, the city has had its share of culture that has influenced its personality. Within the beautiful boundaries of this southern California city, there’s also been an abundance of mystery, tragedy, darkness and ghosts. Read on here to learn about San Diego’s most infamous ghosts.
It was sometime in the mid 1800s that Roger Whitaker, a local gambler who got in too deep with debtors, was caught cheating at a game of cards. To escape, he fled to his room at the Horton Grand Hotel and hid inside an armoire in room #309. Unfortunately, the henchmen that were chasing him knew just where to find him and subsequently shot him to death. Since then, guests to the hotel have reported strange occurrences; so much so, that paranormal professionals have flocked to the historic hotel to investigate. From the lights turning on and off, the sounds of poker chips and playing cards appearing out of nowhere, it is safe to assume that the ghost of poor Roger is still lingering in room #309. The bed has been known to shake, objects have moved by unseen hands and the doors of the armoire have swung open in the middle of the night.
Next time you’re in San Diego, make a reservation to stay at the Horton; maybe you’ll have an encounter with Roger.
He lurks about in one of the most haunted houses in the city, the Whaley House. It’s on the property of the iconic mansion that Yankee Jim was hanged in 1852 after being convicted of stealing horses. It’s clear to many that he never left. Thomas Whaley himself, who owned and lived in the house with his family years later, had said they could hear heavy footsteps going up and down the stairs. Visitors have reported cold spots and the feeling of their chest and throat tightening while in the home. Others claim to have seen him – an apparition that appears and disappears when you get too close.
But when it comes to the Whaley House, Yankee Jim is not alone… there are many other haunts.
Poor Violet Whaley was so profoundly depressed after her divorce that she felt her life was no longer worth living. It was 1885 when the daughter of Thomas and Anna Whaley decided to end it all by shooting herself in the chest. Many visitors and staff members have felt the presence of something or someone while walking through the home. Feeling that someone was touching their hair and cold spots are not uncommon. And while Violet ended her life here, it seems she never intends to leave what was once her family home. She too, is not alone; there are still more spirits that linger here.
The Whaley House has meant a lot of things to a lot of people. But for Thomas and Anna Whaley, it was home.
It was here that they raised their children and unfortunately, it was also where they suffered the tragic loss of some of their beloved family. Today and for many years, visitors to the house have reported seeing Thomas Whaley. One guest, a 5-year-old girl, waved to a man she said she saw standing in the parlor. No one else could see the man, but when asked what he looked like, the girl described a man wearing period clothing that resembled Thomas Whaley. Adults too have seen him wearing a frock coat and pantaloons standing on the second story landing. Others have seen Anna usually floating about in the garden or in the downstairs room. Her ghost, which appears white and billowy, seems to just drift about and then disappears. Are these sightings truly a ghostly experience? A visit to the Whaley House will surely answer that question.
Kate Morgan was most likely filled with excitement and anticipation when she checked into the Hotel del Coronado in 1892. The newly wed Kate was awaiting the arrival of her new husband when she was found dead on the hotel steps that lead to the beach. It is believed that Kate became dismayed when she realized she was pregnant and her husband never showed up. Today drapes in the room where she waited for five days before taking her life are often seen moving and the screens on the windows seem to fall off for no reason. Often there is a glow seen coming from inside the room when no one is in there. In 1983, a guest in Kate’s room asked to be moved when he was disturbed by a cold breeze, the drapes continually moving and a gurgling sound – even though the window was closed tight.
Hotel del Coronado is where Kate died and continues to live in the form of a poltergeist that many find mysterious and spooky.