Once a private residence, this mid-19th century house is now a museum dedicated to its former owners and the history they created here. Part of the house was once rented out to the County of San Diego for use as a courtroom…which may explain the appearance of several unidentified ghosts within the house. Apart from these unnamed apparitions, the original owner, Thomas Whaley, his wife, one of their children, a little girl, and a convict are repeatedly seen within the house. The house was apparently haunted as soon as it was built, as the spirit of a man who had been convicted and hanged on the site took up residence in the house upon its completion. The Whaley apparitions are often seen engaged in the normal activities of their former day to day lives. Doors have been known to close and lock on their own, and footsteps are often heard throughout the house, along with music and the crying of a baby.

The Whaley House was the home of Thomas Whaley and his family. At various times it also housed Whaley's general store, San Diego's second county courthouse, and the first commercial theater in San Diego.The house has "witnessed more history than any other building in the city

Thomas Whaley, of Scots-Irish origin, was born on October 5, 1823 in New York City, the seventh child in a family of ten. After taking over his father's successful business relations, Whaley left New York on January 1, 1849. During the California gold rush, he arrived in San Francisco where he engaged in business. He then left and arrived in San Diego in September 1851. After living in San Diego for two years, Whaley went back to New York to marry Anna Eloise Delaunay on August 14, 1853. Together they started a new life in California, arriving in San Diego on December 7, 1853. On August 22, 1857 the Whaleys moved into their finely built home, now known as the Whaley House.

Thomas Whaley
Thomas and Anna Whaley had six children, Francis Hinton, Anna Amelia, Thomas Whaley Jr, George, Violet, and Corinne Lillian. Francis was the first, born on December 28, 1854 and was named after a business partner. Thomas Whaley Jr. was born on August 18, 1856. He suffered from Scarlet Fever at 18 months and died on January 29, 1858 in the Whaley House in Old Town. Anna gave birth to Anna Amelia Whaley on June 27, 1858.

After the death of baby Thomas Jr., and the loss by fire of their wooden store, Thomas and Anna decided to move to San Francisco. In January 1859, Thomas Whaley turned his affairs in Old Town over to Frank Ames, the Wells Fargo agent. On November 5, 1860, George Hay Ringgold Whaley was the fourth born to Thomas and Anna. On October 14, 1862, Violet Eloise Whaley was the fifth baby born to Thomas and Anna. Corinne Lillian, youngest of six children, was born on September 4, 1864. In the summer of 1868, Thomas invested some of his new capitol of stock in merchandise and headed back to San Diego. Thomas fixed up the old Whaley House, and Anna and the rest of the family arrived back home to San Diego on December 12, 1868.

On January 5, 1882, Violet Eloise Whaley and Anna Amelia Whaley married in Old San Diego. Violet married George T. Bertolacci and Anna Amelia wed her first cousin John T. Whaley, son of Henry Hurst Whaley. Two weeks into Violet's marriage, as the couple was traveling back east on their honeymoon, she awoke one morning to find her husband gone. Bertolacci, as it turned out, was a con artist, and as Violet and her family later learned, had only married her for the substantial dowry he believed he would collect, upon the marriage. Due to the restrictive morals and societal standards of the time period, Violet was essentially shunned by polite society upon returning home, not only without her husband, but also unchaperoned, something proper ladies simply did not do in late 19th century Victorian society. Violet and George's divorce was finalized approximately a year later, but Violet never recovered from the public humiliation and betrayal and suffered from depression. Violet committed suicide by shooting herself in the chest with Thomas's 32-calibre on August 18, 1885.She was then 22 years of age. Her suicide note reads thus:

Mad from life's history,
Swift to death's mystery;
Glad to be hurled,
Anywhere, anywhere, out of this world.

— Violet Whaley, Save Our Heritage Organisation

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Replies to This Discussion

ty Rosey I love the Paranormal and have dealing < for a search of a better word lol > in real life. 


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