13 Abandoned Mansions With Pasts So Scary They’ll Make Your Toes Curl

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There’s something inherently creepy about abandoned areas. Mainly abandoned homes, which were at one point a family’s most private and intimate area. Do you know what’s most mysterious of all? Deserted mansions. Although they used to be valued at millions and reflect elegance and riches, the villas depicted here today sit vacant in decay. And I’d wager my night lamp that most of these still have plenty of ghostly denizens prowling around… even if no mortal people are strolling the big halls anymore. Ahead, uncover the most intriguing abandoned homes throughout the world and be ready to get profoundly scared out by their backstories


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We’re starting strong with this doozy. Lennox Castle in Scotland was erected in 1812 for John Lennox Kincaid Lennox. He was a distant relative of the Clan Kincaid, who were ancestors of several of the renowned historic Earls of Lennox. Long tale a bit shorter, the Castle was home to a significant Scottish family—until it was transformed into an institution for the mentally ill in the 1930s and a hospital during WWII when the existing sick mentally people were relocated to other buildings on the grounds.

Supposedly, fighting among the patients was widespread, and in one especially nasty brawl, many of the staff (along with uninvolved patients) rushed from the facility. Yet the rioters were stuck inside, and, in the end, they seriously destroyed the ward. The hospital was evacuated during the 1980s and formally decommissioned in 2002. There’s no talk of transforming the building into flats.


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Ah, how the mighty have fallen. To say Lynnewood Hall is vast would be an enormous understatement. It’s the tenth giant historic mansion in the U.S. It contains a stunning 110 rooms (including a ballroom that can hold 1,000 visitors) built in neoclassical style. It formerly hosted the country’s most significant private art collection of European classics.

Naturally, it’s from the Golden Era. It was erected in 1900 for Peter Arrell Brown Widener, a businessman who grew wealthy by investing in public transit and meat manufacturing, among other things. He had three kids (one died on the Titanic) and resided in the house until he departed in 1915. His son Joseph inherited the mansion and remained there until he died in 1943. No remaining members of his family, including his children, wanted to take on the responsibilities of the estate. By 1945, Widener’s fortune was valued at $98,368,058!

A developer then sought to sell Lynnewood, but the sole taker was a fundamentalist preacher, Carl McIntire, who acquired the mansion in 1952 for $192,000. It fell into foreclosure in 2006 when the McIntire group couldn’t pay the mortgage.



Constructed in the 1920s by David T. Abercrombie, the co-founder of Abercrombie & Fitch, this Ossining, New York home lies on a massive 50 acres. Abercrombie’s wife, Lucy Abbot Cate, was the architect behind the mansion, and she opted to name it after their four children, Elizabeth, Lucy, David, and Abbott. Immediately after it was built in 1928, a succession of disasters hit the family: First, their daughter Lucy perished in an accident at her dad’s shop, and then the patriarch himself passed away from a rheumatic disease at home, at which time Lucy Sr. resided with her eldest daughter until she died in 1955.

Left alone, Elda gradually fell into decay. Oddly enough, part of it was meant to seem like the remains of a Medieval castle. The majestic mansion may have a mind of its own and is destined to fulfill its fate as a deterioration site. Little is known about the property’s history between then and today, although numerous previous owners sought to rebuild the home to its former splendor before falling on bad times themselves. This invites the question: Is it cursed? Probably not, but you never know!


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On the exterior, this 11,000 square foot Memphis, Tennesse faux castle appears to have a past similar to Elda’s. And its earlier history is identical: A rich man, Robert Brinkley Snowden, erected the property in 1896 for his family and christened it Ashlar Hall. They stayed there, enjoying its eight bedrooms, six bars, five baths, and indoor pool until he died in 1942. After approximately a decade of arduous care, the family decided to transform it into a place of business, running it as a restaurant. At some time after that, Ashlar Hall and the surrounding property were acquired by speculators who erected skyrises around it and allowed it to deteriorate.

Yet the inside looks radically different today, conveying a considerably less traditional narrative. In the 1990s, when Robert Hodges, a.k.a. the self-proclaimed Prince Mongo, converted it into a nightclub, The Castle. Mongo believes he is an alien envoy from the mythical planet of Zambodia and famously sports steampunk goggles, a long white wig, and rubber chickens about town. Among several strange actions, he covered the parking lot with sand as a “beach” to take the party outdoors when the fire marshal shut down the nightclub due to frequent overcrowding concerns.

The most recent owner, property developer Juan Montoya, purchased it in a tax sale for $59,000 and hoped to renovate the property into an event facility.


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Bannerman’s Castle is on an island in New York’s Hudson River. Francis Bannerman VI, whose family created a military surplus company after Civil War, purchased the island in 1900 to serve as a storehouse (they bought 90 percent of the weaponry the U.S. military recovered from the Spanish during the Spanish-American War, for example) (they bought 90 percent of the weapons the U.S. military captured from the Spanish during the Spanish-American War, for example). He also erected a smaller dwelling house nearby, but development ceased with his death in 1918. A few later explosions harmed the firm further.

As regulations changed in the 20th century, sales dramatically fell, and then a storm wrecked the island, wrecking the ferry people used to access there. It remained largely vacant until the late ’60s when the state purchased it. It was available to the public for excursions for almost a year until another fire damaged it, but the Bannerman Castle Trust began offering tours again.


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Constructed in 1929 in the Baroque style, the Minxiong Ghost House (called the Lui family house) is a frightening location with a terrible past. Situated in the Taiwanese countryside, it’s been abandoned since the 1950s when the family departed unexpectedly. Like many intriguing locales, there’s plenty of history about the family and why they left the once-beautiful site.

Legend has it that the family’s maid was having an affair with her boss, Liu Rong-yu, and when the secret became public, she perished after plunging a well (although because she did not survive to speak to the tale, it’s hard to know precisely what occurred). A few years later, the property was occupied by members of the Kuomintang of China (KMT), many of whom were also assumed to have died of suicide, which aggravated its image as haunted.

Of course, there are other, far less grim storylines—like the concept that a new company necessitated the family moving closer to downtown.



Much more stunning in narrative and architecture than any other featured homes, Villa Sperimentale is an abandoned brutalist treehouse in Fergene, Italy, a seaside hamlet west of Rome. It’s a remarkable cluster of geometric forms rising among the trees. It was created in the late 1960s by Giuseppe Perugini, his wife Uga De Plaisant, and their son Raynaldo Perugini as a holiday house and an experiment to discover if it was a living construction. It’s accessed by a drawbridge staircase to make it feel utterly secluded from the rest of the world.

Little information is known concerning its abandonment, although it presumably likely fell into decay when the architect went away.


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Deep in Missouri’s Ozarks stands the Ha Ha Tonka Mansion. Others think the state park’s name means “laughing waters,” which may be wonderfully cheery or downright scary, depending on how you perceive it. This shell of a home was the fantasy of wealthy businessman Robert Snyder. He started to work erecting a European-style castle on his private lake in 1906, but he soon perished in one of Missouri’s earliest vehicle accidents.

His sons continued development until the home was completed in 1920. One resided there until he ran out of money owing to a spate of land rights battles. Ultimately, Snyder’s son was forced from the land, and it functioned as a hotel and resort in the mid-20th century. Ultimately, the hotel was devastated by a fire and they finally closed down shop. The remnants are now a popular destination, which you may visit if you grow weary of waterskiing and trekking.


Mudhouse Mansion

Situated in Fairfield County, Ohio, until recently, the Mudhouse Mansion had a poor reputation. Nobody can agree on when it was erected, although it dates back between the 1840s and 1900. Unlike the other abandoned mansions on our List, you regretfully can no longer visit it, since the property was demolished in 2015 after not being occupied since the 1930s. The last occupant (at least legally speaking) was Lulu Hartman-Mast, and the land’s current owner is her relative, Jeanne Mast.

Since there’s so little knowledge about who lived here and when, and because abandoned sites tend to fuel the dark side of the imagination, there are loads of tales concerning purported crimes occurring (and resultant hauntings) (and consequent hauntings). The sources are not that reputable, though.



Villa de Vecchi is gloomy, certainly. Just contemplate that approaching fog cover! Situated in Lake Como, Italy, the “House of Witches” dates back to 1854-1857, when it was erected as a holiday villa for Count Felix De Vecchi. The family could only spend a few years there since their lives were immersed in sorrow immediately after it was completed.

First, the architect died a year after construction. Later in 1862, Count De Vecchi arrived home to discover his wife slain and his daughter abducted. When he could not find her after a year of looking, he died by suicide. His brother subsequently moved into the residence, and his family lived there until War. It’s been uninhabited since the 1960s, and an avalanche in 2002 washed away all the houses in the vicinity… save this one. Spooky.


Hegeler Carus

Hegeler Carus House in La Salle, Illinois, is one of the rarely abandoned mansions that was repaired and converted into a monument. It was erected for Henry. C. Hegeler, a zinc producer and publisher, by the same architect who created the state capital building and the famed Chicago Water Tower.

The Hegelers had ten children, but two of their daughters died in the same year, with another dying at age 23. His descendants resided in the seven-floor residence until the last one died in 2001. It was only briefly empty before being refurbished and transformed into a museum. Despite it bears the impression of a “haunted home,” it’s only ancient and really has a lovely, happy atmosphere, some claim.


And now for the one I find most fascinating: The Los Feliz Murder Mansion. Los Feliz is one of L.A.’s most excellent, livable neighborhoods, but it also has a dark past with some of history’s most horrible (and Hollywood-adjacent) murders. There’s the Sowden House, a Lloyd Wright-designed Mayan Revival mansion said to be the murder location of the Black Dahlia; the home of the Manson killings; and then there’s this place.

It was the seemingly comfortable house of Dr. Harold Perelson and his family until the horrible night of December 6, 1959, when he murdered his wife with a ball-peen hammer and attempted to murder his three children before consuming acid to kill himself. Thankfully, his eldest daughter screamed as he smacked her in the head, waking the younger children, who then came into the hallway to check out what was happening. Amid the chaos, they were all able to leave.

Before the murder-suicide, he was a successful doctor who created a new syringe after pouring most of his money into its research and manufacture. Still, he got scammed out of the rights (causing investigators to blame financial concerns) (leading investigators to blame financial problems). Additional eerie features include a passage from Dante’s Divine Comedy lying on his bedside table. Two years later, it was sold to the Enriquez family, who used it as a “storage facility,” Their son continued to do so until he sold it to a couple in 2016 who had intentions to fix it up. But it seems to have scared them off because, after a few years, it’s on the market again.


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If you’ve heard enough of horrible family killings, maybe stop around here.

In November of 1971, John List slaughtered his immediate family in their New Jersey home, including his wife, mother, and two children. He then saw his 15-year-old son play a soccer game, only to shoot and murder him when they came home. Next, he lined up all the bodies (save his mother’s) in the ballroom, which featured a signature Tiffany’s stained glass skylight valued at least $100,000 at the time, set the radio to a religious station, turned on all the lights, cut off his face from a family portrait, and left.

The deaths and murder scenes weren’t discovered until a month later when schoolmates, neighbors, and teachers started wondering where the family was. Meanwhile, List had established in Colorado under a false identity, working as a controller at a plant and organizing a carpool service at his Lutheran church. He met a woman there in 1985 and married her, and he wasn’t found and convicted until 1989. He never accepted full responsibilities. A new home was constructed on the land a few short years later, in 1974, after a suspected arson destroyed the old (although it honestly appears quite similar to the original and is just an eight-minute drive to the iconic mansion threatened by “The Watcher”) (but it honestly looks pretty identical to the original and is just an eight-minute drive to the infamous house threatened by “The Watcher”).


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