The PHW Hit Old Town San Diego!

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Here we are in front of the Whaley House! We had our monthly business meeting, followed by dinner in Old Town, a visit to the cemetery, and a tour of the Whaley House. The Whaley House is reputed to be the “most haunted house in America”, so we are looking forward to organizing our own paranormal tour of the Whaley. First impressions? There is energy and heaviness in the back rooms both up and downstairs: the dining room, the downstairs bedroom, the bedroom where the older children slept and the nursery. Unfortunately, most rooms are not open for investigation, but that doesn’t stop the eeriness of the place from affecting you. Even with people in the house and their renovations, you can’t help but feel deeply affected by the story of the “courting couch,” where the eldest daughter died in a pool of blood after shooting herself. That couch is still there in the parlor (reupholstered, of course). The Whaleys seem like a sorrowful clan, marked by persistent tragedy.

Granted, it took a long time for pictures to be developed in the 1800s, so I didn’t expect everyone to be smiling. However, this is the definition of what it means to look haunted.

The Whaley parlor: the couch you see here is not the infamous “courting couch” where the eldest Whaley daughter bled to death. It is located on the other side of the room, where it’s very difficult to take pictures. A courting couch, for those who don’t own one, has two large parlor chair connected by a long expanse of sofa, so that the two lovebirds are not close enough to touch. I assume the chaperone would sit between them, rendering intimate communication impossible. The story goes that the unfortunate girl married a much older man (she was 19, he as 48) who left her after two weeks of marriage. She never recovered from the emotional trauma of it, attempting suicide at least once before her successful attempt with her father’s shotgun.

The following are images from the cemetery in old town, where a diverse assortment of people were buried, some well-known in San Diego, others no one can identify.

Since the City of San Diego wanted a wider street by the old cemetery, they had to move bodies around. Apparently, however, some of the less important citizens of the town were left under the sidewalk with a small, metal circle (stating only “grave”) that indicates where their bodies were (are?). I assume that these graves under the sidewalk mark unknown remains.

More pictures/comments/blogs to follow.

–Kirsten A. Thorne

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