San Diego – Dare you go into Wiley’s house? You have no more excuses, as this historic San Diego property has reopened for tours after an “18-month hibernation” due to the coronavirus pandemic and a change in management.
Known as “America’s Most Haunted House,” Whaley House has been located on San Diego Boulevard in the heart of Old Town since 1857. It has been used as a family home as well as a general store, courthouse, theater and – eventually – a museum.
The house has a “mysterious and frightening past,” from a chain of tragic events that took place on its land to the gallows that stood in the backyard of the house, where criminals were executed including notorious thief James “Yankee Jim” Robinson. Visitors claim to hear or see spirits on tours of the house, and she has appeared in all kinds of “ghost hunter” shows, including appearances on SYFY and Discovery.
If you’re brave, you can now visit the site under new management: Old Town Trolley Tours, which will offer self-guided tours during daylight hours and evening guided tours from 5pm to 10pm – when things get really scary.
You can visit the day tours with or without a reservation and pay $14 for adults and $10 for children. Reservations are required for evening tours, which are “PG-13 rated,” and cost $18 for both adults and children (people under 12 need someone to accompany them, and this is not recommended).
“The home has been closed since March 2020, allowing Old Town Trolley Tours time to bring in a team of designers and artists to bring much needed touches into the home while maintaining the style and feel of the historic home from 1850,” the company said in a press release. “We want to share with guests the full story about Whaley House… the good, the bad and the haunted.”
The tales behind the house’s “stalking” stem in large part from the series of misfortunes that befell the house’s name: Thomas Wylie, a San Diego pioneer.
Museum staff explained: “Over the years many descendants of the Wally family have lived and died in the house, including Thomas and Anna and their children Lillian, Thomas, Violet and Frances.” “Child Thomas, who was the first to die in the family, always remained near him, as reported by many who visited the house. They could hear little footsteps, the sounds of his crying, even laughing when there was no one in sight.
Others have reported seeing a young woman stuck on the second floor of the house, thought to be poor Violet, still consumed in grief. She appears to remain close to the second floor where she spent most of her time after her divorce before committing suicide. The areas inside the house are said to become very cold and feel having it all over the house.”
You can learn more and buy tickets on the Historic Tours website.