The 5 Spookiest Pieces of Real Estate

Sometimes, Halloween is so focused on fun costumes and candy that we forget its traditional meaning: to be scared. And of course, whenever there's a murder mystery or ghost story to tell, there is usually a piece of real estate attached.

This list of the five scariest pieces real estate around the world ranges from one of the most famous houses in the world to an island once infested by plague victims.

1. 5121 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles

This impressive piece of real estate, built in 1927 by Frank Lloyd Wright, has a scary mystery hiding in its basement. Located at 5121 Franklin Avenue, the Sowden House’s basement is thought to be the gruesome murder scene of Elizabeth Short, aka the “Black Dahlia,” who was dismembered in 1947.

Its owner, Dr. George Hill Hodel, is the suspected killer, but he escaped to Asia to evade prosecution. In the early 2000s, his son Steve Hodel did a search of his own and a cadaver dog picked up the scent of human decomposition. The famous case remains unsolved.

And the public recently got a chance to own the haunted mansion; last year the house was listed on the market for nearly $5 million.

2. The Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta, Canada

Erected over 125 years ago by the Canadian Pacific Railway, this haunted hotel was once a high-end pit stop for train travelers to check in to. Its story--not to mention the look of the cavernous hotel--is strangely similar to that of the fictional Overlook Hotel, which drove Jack Nicholson mad in the movie The Shining.

As history has it, a family was murdered in room 873 and the door has since been boarded up. Family members have been reported to be wandering the halls to this day.

Other scary incidents include a bride who died after tumbling down the staircase when her dress caught ablaze -- she's since been spotted in the ballroom.

3. The White House, Washington, DC

Many consider the White House the most haunted residence in the country. Lots of people have corroborated paranormal sightings, including past presidents, their families and foreign dignitaries.

For example, Winston Churchill was once staying in the Lincoln Bedroom and claimed to see Lincoln standing by the fireplace. Lincoln's ghost has also been spotted by presidents like Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower and First Lady Jackie Kennedy.

Lincoln's not the only ghost trapped inside; in the Rose Room, President Andrew Jackson's fits of laughter have been heard by staff. And First Lady Abigail Adams has been spotted in the East Room, where she used to do laundry.

4. The Cecil Hotel, Los Angeles

Downtown LA has gone through a recent real estate revival, with a new Ace Hotel recently opening in 2014. but there's one historic hotel that will always retain its uber eerie past.

During the Great Depression, the hotel was the site several suicides, as people jumped off the 14-story property. In 1964 Goldie Osgood, known as The Pigeon Woman, was found in her room dead -- the murder was never solved.

And the hotel has played host host to not one--but two--serial killers, including the notorious Nightstalker (aka Richard Ramirez) in the 1980s. There was even a murder there as recent as 2013.

All in all, there have been so many scary occurrences and deaths there that the hotel inspired a whole TV series, American Horror Story: Hotel.

5. Poveglia Island, The Venetian Lagoon, Italy

The 18-acre plot of land has a lot in common with “Shutter Island,” from the Leonardo DiCaprio movie in which doctors performed lobotomies on patients at a mental facility on a deserted isle.

Poveglia Island was an asylum in the 1920s, where doctors did questionable experiments on patients. But its history centuries before that is even more terrifying.

As legend has it, Poveglia Island was once a quarantine station for those with the Bubonic Plague and served as a mass burial ground.

It was put up for auction in 2014 and sold for just $400,000, though the estimated cost of restoring its buildings is in the millions.

Henry Updegrave
Henry Updegrave
Henry Updegrave is a former member of the VTS team.

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