Spooky homes for sale

MSN Real Estate

What if every day was Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at your house? Some homes have creepy pasts, and a few owners think it’s really cool to live among ghosts. (Homes with sordid pasts: Creepy, but great bargains.) With the help of MSN Real Estate’s listings partner, Realtor.com, we tracked down homes where Halloween happens throughout the year.

Kimball Castle (© Realtor.com)

Kimball Castle

Railroad baron Benjamin Ames Kimball spent two years (1897-1899) and the princely sum of $50,000 constructing this tormented-looking castle. The five-bedroom, three-bath, 3,980-square-foot pile of stone overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford, N.H. In its glory, the 23.5-acre property was ringed with stone walls and English gardens. Today, it’s filled with ghosts, the owners say. Mary Jodoin told The Laconia (N.H.) Citizen, "There was doors opening and closing as well as seeing a figure in the living room." Her husband, David, tells of hearing sounds of horses near the old stables. That was enough for "Ghost Hunters," a Syfy Channel show, to film an episode on Kimball Castle. Townspeople are hoping a developer will rescue the $995,000 property and make it a five-star resort and restaurant.

The House of Dark Shadows (© Scott Myhre, Leading Edge Realty)

The House of Dark Shadows

This old home in Byron Center, Mich., south of Grand Rapids, was the "House of Dark Shadows" 40 years ago. The 154-year-old home — 4,416-square feet, with seven bedrooms and three bathrooms on 5.3 acres — was perfect for the role. But haunted-house impresario Jim Westra tangled repeatedly with authorities over permits and zoning. He eventually moved on, starting a new attraction, "The Haunted Mill," in nearby Greenville. Westra died in prison earlier this year at age 80, convicted of burning down the mill after trying unsuccessfully for years to sell it. His brother told The Grand Rapids Press that haunted houses were Westra’s way of supporting his real passion: nature and wild-life preservation. When the house, at 9320 South Division Ave., sold recently, the asking price was $365,000.

Bring on the Headless Horseman (© Realtor.com)

Bring on the Headless Horseman

The original American ghost story, set in 1790 in the village of North Tarrytown, N.Y., stars a skinny schoolmaster who is chased through the midnight countryside by a crazy, headless creep on horseback. The village changed its name to Sleepy Hollow in 1996. Buy this big five-bedroom, 3½-bath colonial house for $1.2 million and rise at midnight to hear ghostly galloping. A few blocks away are the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where the story’s author,Washington Irving, is buried, and the Old Dutch Church, where the Headless Horseman still resides.

House on Haunted Hill (© Realtor.com)

House on Haunted Hill

It’s not likely famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright had horror films in mind when he designed the Ennis house in 1923. Back then, the few scary movies — all silent, of course  —  included "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1919) and the first vampire movie, "Nosferatu" (1922). Instead, this imposing 6,000-square-foot edifice (four bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms on 0.85 acre) was notable as one of the first homes made of interlocking, precast concrete blocks. The intricate designs look a lot like Mayan architecture. But fate had other plans for this amazing home. It starred in movies (including "Blade Runner," "Rush Hour," "Black Rain," "The Glimmer Man," "The Karate Kid, Part III" and the 1975 classic, "The Day of the Locust"), and the exterior appeared in the horror classic "The House on Haunted Hill." No, not the 1999 remake with Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen and Taye Diggs. We’re talking about the 1959 original. Vincent Price was a rich man who throws a party and offers his guests a small fortune to spend the night locked up in his haunted house. But you — you can spend every night in this place: $7.5 million gets you in. See more photos at the Ennis House Foundation website.

Ghosts of vigilante justice (© Realtor.com)

Ghosts of vigilante justice

Squint and you’ll see victims of vigilante justice swinging from spectral ropes in Virginia City, Mont., "the most haunted place on Earth," as one believer puts it. The boardwalk, saloons and historic buildings all seem frozen in the 1870s. But the gold miners, gunslingers, tribes and Indian scouts (Calamity Jane lived in town for a while) are mostly gone. It’s primarily ghosts and tourists today. In the 2000 census, only 72 households remained. In the 1940s, Sue and Charles Bovey started buying and restoring dozens of old buildings, including this, one of the first "stick-built" homes in Montana Territory. The nicely restored two-bedroom, two-bath house ($249,000) was built in 1864. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places along with much of the rest of town.

Get out (© Realtor.com)

Get out!’

One of the creepiest streets in America is Ocean Avenue in Amityville, N.Y. In 1974, at 112 Ocean Ave., Ronald "Butch" DeFeo Jr. shot six members of his family to death in their beds. What came next made Amityville a legend: A year later, George and Kathleen Lutz bought the house. They stayed just 28 days and fled, saying they’d been forced out by a demon. The Lutzes’ story was told in "The Amityville Horror." "Get owwwwwt!"  the demon famously commands a priest attempting an exorcism. It’s supposedly all a giant hoax, but spend $890,000 and decide for yourself, down the street from where all the madness ensued. This stately six-bedroom, 3½-bath Victorian at 34 Ocean Ave. was built in 1905. The big lot (260 by 60 feet) has a kidney-shaped swimming pool, 260 feet of waterfront, two boat slips and a separate two-bedroom cottage. The murder house itself sold in August for $1.15 million.

Retire among spirits (© Realtor.com)

Retire among spirits

Plunk down $1.2 million for a quiet life in this elegant, haunted bed-and-breakfast in Jerome, Ariz., which bills itself as "the largest ghost town in America." In the Roaring ’20s, Jerome was a booming copper-mining town with 15,000 residents. Today, it’s a National Historic District with 50 to 100 live souls, mostly writers, artists, hermits and gift-shop proprietors. Unearthly residents go uncounted, but they’re here, too. The B&B is known as the old Surgeon’s House. It was a nurses’ residence for an adjacent hospital, then home to the chief surgeon. Ghosts of Jerome’s storied past haunt the home, according to this article on examiner.com. There’s a maid called Alice, a spectral couple who dance by moonlight and a dignified spirit who enters wearing a suit and carrying a doctor’s bag, then changes into pajamas before fading into thin air.

Sanctuary amid the paranormal (© Realtor.com)

Sanctuary amid the paranormal

Find sanctuary from the ghosts of Bisbee, Ariz., in this 1915 home in the hills. It has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a built-in buffet, wood floors, decks, skylights, a hot tub and fine views. It will set you back $225,000. Once the most cultured city between San Francisco and St. Louis, Bisbee today is a genuine Old West ghost town. You’ll believe it after taking the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour, spending a night in the haunted Copper Queen Hotel (more than 16 spiritual entities) or reading about Bisbee in The New York Times. The Southwest Ghost Hunters Association investigated nine haunted sites in Bisbee. Among them: the Queen Mine, where three miners were murdered in a labor dispute in the 1890s; the Bisbee Grand Hotel, with its two resident ghosts; and the legendary Cochise County Courthouse, haunted by a headless apparition wearing a judge’s robe.

Spooky town (© Realtor.com)

Spooky town

Haunted houses not creepy enough? How about a haunted town? The town is Cuchillo, N.M. Artist Josh Bond — owner of several properties here, including the 180-year-old adobe Old Cuchillo Bar & Hotel — asked the West Coast Ghost and Paranormal Society to investigate mysterious whispers he’d heard. They collected 120 hours of video and audio recordings, which picked up unexplained growling, voices, clanking bottles and footsteps. They also smelled rose perfume and watched a shadowy black figure float from room to room. You’re close to all this creepy action in a sweet adobe-style house in Truth or Consequences, N.M., 15 miles from Cuchillo. The house, built in 1932, is in the Hot Springs historic district. It has three bedrooms, 1½ bathrooms, refinished hardwood floors and mosaic tile in the kitchen, bathrooms and fireplace. The cost: $159,000.

Haunted barn (© Realtor.com)

Haunted barn

This ordinary-looking ranch home in Olympia, Wash., isn’t haunted. But the big barn on the four-acre property is — occasionally, anyway. Haunted-house producer Kevin Noah, an electrician, has used the barn for a public "haunt" for several years. Not this year, though; Noah is taking a break and planning an even better show in 2011. Past spooky features included a bloody bathroom, flying vampires (on pneumatic lifts), a creepy clown that drops from the ceiling and bursts of air shooting suddenly from the darkness. One room was tilted, making it hard to walk in; another had moving walls that collapsed. The ranch house, built in 1984, has four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and is listed for $320,000.

Bodies in the garden (© Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee/ZUMApress.com)

Bodies in the garden

This two-story Sacramento, Calif., Victorian has a truly ghastly history. It’s the former board-and-care home where landlady Dorthea Puente reportedly killed tenants and stole their Social Security checks. After seven bodies were unearthed in the yard in 1988, the home changed hands several times. After a foreclosure in June 2009, it sold at auction in late August for $215,000. New owners Barbara Holmes and Tom Williams fell in love with the home and were undaunted when they heard its history. "My husband is an unpublished mystery writer. He was totally intrigued," Holmes told The Sacramento Bee. Built in 1930, the 1,834-square-foot duplex has three bedrooms and a bath upstairs and two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs.

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~ by mortgagecompliancecorner on July 22, 2011.

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