I had just moved to San Diego when a friend, who knew of my interest in hauntings, told me about the Whaley House. What luck! Just about anything I had ever read on haunted houses always mentioned the Whaley House.
[See Fate, June 2000.]
For anyone who has not heard of this special place, I will give you a brief rundown of its characters. The house claims to have no less than four spirits attached to it. The first two spirits are Thomas and Anna Whaley, who loved their house so much they could not part with it, even after death. There is a little girl spirit, who, when alive, was a playmate of the Whaley children. She is often perceived by younger children around the house, and in the backyard. This child met her tragic and untimely death when she struck a low-lying clothes line as she was running. Last but not least is the spirit of Yankee Jim. He was hung for stealing a rowboat in the 1800s. Although this was before the Whaleys bought the house, Thomas was witness at the hanging. Yankee Jim’s spirit is at times seen walking from the upstairs room to the top of the stairs.
There are many other miscellaneous manifestations. Phantom footsteps are heard in the halls, and the apparition of the Whaleys’ dog has been spotted there as well. In the courtroom, noises are heard as though the room is still in use. In other rooms, there are chandeliers that swing, and on occasion Anna’s ghost can be heard singing.
To make a long story short (too late!) for over two years, I went there at least once a week to try to capture the ghostly goings-on on film. I used many different cameras, all different types of film, and never caught a thing.
The day came when my spouse and I had to move back east. I decided to go back one last time for a few shots. As I walked through the house, I could not help but feel a little sad. With the remaining film, I took a few last shots on my way out.
When we got to where we needed to be, I had my roll of film developed. After I sorted through the prints, I came upon one special picture. In my picture of one of the Whaley house mirrors there was an imprint of a face as if drawn with a pen of light.
I am not sure what it is or what it means. Maybe they were just happy that I was leaving and would not haunt them anymore, or maybe they were just trying to say good-bye. I would like to think it was the latter. Perhaps the lesson of this story is that good things come to those who wait.
Whatever the meaning, I sent the picture to the keepers of the Whaley House in hopes that they would put it out on display to let others know that there is more out there than meets the eye.
-Susan Paschal, Gansevoort, N.Y.