Ten Books Based on Real World Hauntings

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Best Horror Books Best Of Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore

This summer finally sees the release of the latest entry in a surprisingly successful cinematic franchise. 

No, I’m not talking about Loki, or Black Widow, or any part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m talking about The Conjuring universe, which stretches to nine films with The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do ItThe Conjuring franchise succeeds where so many other cinematic universes have failed not just because of their strong filmmaking and compelling performances. Many people love the Conjuring films because they tell true ghost stories

Based on the case files of ghost hunters Ed & Lorraine Warren (portrayed by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), the Conjuring movies are part of Americans’ long history of fascination with real-world hauntings and paranormal experiences. But before they were blockbuster films, these stories were successful books, which captured victims’ encounters with the mystical in the written word. 

If you just can’t get enough of real-world hauntings, here are ten other collections, sure to keep you up at night. 

The Haunted House – Walter Hubbell

One of the earliest non-fiction haunting novels, The Haunted House set the standard for the genre. Published in 1879 and written by actor/amateur sleuth Walter Hubbell, The Haunted House adapts a diary kept by the author during a summer spent in the Teed House in Nova Scotia, Canada. Hubbell was drawn to the location after learning about teenager Esther Cox, who began undergoing unexplainable phenomena after escaping sexual assault. Even before Hubbell arrived in the town, local witnesses saw the moving furniture and threatening messages left by malevolent forces. The novel captures all these details, which served as the basis of a lecture tour Cox embarked upon after finally escaping the ghosts’ thrall. 

The Amityville Horror Book Cover

The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson

Ghost stories have been around longer than the United States itself. But the modern American version starts with The Amityville Horror. Not only did the story launch one of the longest-running film franchises, but it set the standard for 20th century haunted house stories. The book follows the 28 days in which the Lutz family stayed in their Long Island house on 112 Ocean Drive. A year earlier, young Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six members of his family, reportedly driven to act by demonic voices. Combining strong reportage with powerful prose, Anson brings the reader into the horror that the Lutzes endured during their month of dread. 

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The Haunted – Robert Curran

When Jack and Janet Smurl moved into their new Pennsylvania home in the summer of 1986, they expected a few pests. But nothing could have prepared them for the demon occupying the house since 1974. Written by journalist Robert Curran and based on case notes from the Warrens, who were called upon to investigate the house, The Haunted is one of the classics of true American ghost stories, rivaled only by The Amityville Horror. Curran captures in vivid detail the Smurl’s harrowing experiences, from the ghastly smells that filled the house to the inexplicable pounding they had to endure. 

the world of LORE Dreadful places book cover from he LORE podcast

The World of Lore: Dreadful Places – Aaron Mahnke

Started as a mere experiment in marketing, the podcast Lore by Aaron Mahnke quickly grew into a sensation, spawning two television series and several books. In many ways, the show’s success is no surprise, as Mahnke does diligent research to bridge the gap between creepy folklore and true facts, often revealing that actual history is far more terrifying than anyone could make up. The World of Lore collects some of the best stories that Mahnke has uncovered, from hauntings in Colorado’s Stanley Hotel, the same place that inspired the Overlook Hotel in the Stephen King classic The Shining, to specters floating along the streets of New Orleans. 

The Demon of Brownsville Road Book Cover

The Demon of Brownsville Road – Bob Cranmer and Erica Manfred

When Bob and Lesa Cranmer got a deal on their Pittsburgh dreamhouse, they thought it was just a stroke of good luck. The previous owners were ready to sell and accepted Bob’s lowball offer with no more negotiation. But shortly after the Cranmers moved in with their four children, they understood why the previous owners wanted to leave. Paranormal instances of lights turning on themselves developed into full-on mental attacks on members of the family, forcing them to reach out for help from the Catholic Church. Working with editor Erica Manfred, Bob Cranmer talks not only about his family’s ordeal but traces the evil through the years to 18th-century violence. The Demon of Brownsville Road is available at Horror Hub Marketplace.

Ed & Lorraine Warren's Graveyard Book Cover

Graveyard: True Hauntings from an Old New England Cemetery – Ed Warren

“White Ladies” are one of the most popular genres of true ghost stories, tales about mysterious female figures who float along with fringe spaces in shimmering white clothes. In Graveyard, Ed Warren retells his own confrontations with a White Lady ghost who haunted Connecticut’s Union Cemetery. Although we can no longer see that footage that Warren claims to have shot of the Union Cemetery White Lady, we can read his detailed account of the events. 

Horror in the Heartland strange Gothic Tales from the Midwest book cover

Horror in the Heartland – Kevin McQueen

When one thinks of American horror, it’s usually the deep south or New England that leaps to mind. But in this academic book for Indiana University Press, Dr. Keven McQueen uncovers hauntings in the Midwest. Moving through states better known for their football teams and auto factories, McQueen describes spectral sightings in Wisconsin and unexplained phenomena in Ohio. Well-researched and thoroughly enjoyable, Horror in the Heartland reminds us that mysterious spirits can manifest anywhere. 

The Uninvited - True Story of the Union Screaming House

The Uninvited – Steven LaChance

Many of the books on this list come from ghostwriters or reporters who collected accounts of hauntings from the victims. But with The Uninvited, Steven LaChance shares his encounter with the supernatural. Told from a visceral and immediate first-person perspective, The Uninvited traces LaChance’s initial recognition of odd phenomena in his Union, Mississippi home to more horrific attacks, including murdered pets and even sexual assault. Although the story reads like a gripping paperback thriller, LaChance grounds it in his own life events, which only sharpens the terror. 

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Grave’s End – Elaine Mercado

Although undoubtedly intense, most hauntings tend to be fairly short. After all, who would stay in a haunted house for more than a month? But Grave’s End tells a different type of story, one not of escape but of endurance. Mercado relates incidents of spectral interference that happened to her and her two daughters over a thirteen-year period. Grave’s End features all the chilling detail you would expect from a ghost storybook, but it takes a unique approach, explaining how Mercado and her family found the strength to fight through the horror and make peace with the spirits surrounding them. 

House of Darkness real Haunted House book

House of Darkness/House of Light – Andrea Perron

This list could not be complete without Andrea Perron’s House of Darkness/House of Light, published in 2011. Perron’s account served as the inspiration for The Conjuring, describing the trials endured by her family in 1970. When the Perrons moved into a Rhode Island house, they quickly become inundated by attacks from a hateful spirit called Bathsheba, who targets Andrea’s mother Carolyn. Like many of the other books on this list, the story does involve intersession from the Warrens. But the real draw is Andrea’s perspective, who tells in her own words her family’s petrifying encounters. 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre True Story

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Featured Scary Movies and Series

Was There a Real Life Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

The obnoxious sound of Leatherface’s chainsaw slicing through the wall in a decrepit, bone-filled house off the beaten path will strike pure terror in anyone’s heart. In fact, it is possible that many people would drop dead of a heart attack right away if they actually saw Leatherface in real life. Chainsaws are most certainly real.  Masks of flesh are most certainly possible. And deranged cannibalistic psychopaths are absolutely possible.  So, did the Texas chainsaw massacre happen in real life, is there a true story behind it?

Was Ed Gein the Inspiration for Leatherface?

1974 horror movie poster for Texas Chainsaw massacre claiming it is based on a true story featuring a masked man with a chainsaw and a tied up woman
Original Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster hinting that the movie was based on a true story.

Movie Marketing at it’s Finest

As seen above in the poster, the marketing for Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s original 1974 release certainly made claims that it was based on a true story. “What happened is true. Now the motion picture that’s just as real” is the sub text of the movie title.

The Real Inspiration for Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Despite beliefs that Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by a true story, Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2003 remake were actually based only loosely on Ed Gein, who is suspected to have taken victims between 1954 and 1957. The most notable similarity is the house in the movies, whose grisly contents were similar to those in Gein’s home seen below.

Edward Theodore Gein Born August 27, 1906 – July 26, 1984, also known as the Butcher of Plainfield or the Plainfield Ghoul, was an American murderer and body snatcher. Gein’s crimes, committed around his hometown of Plainfield, Wisconsin, gathered widespread notoriety in 1957 after authorities discovered he had exhumed corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. Gein also confessed to killing two women: tavern owner Mary Hogan in 1954 and hardware store owner Bernice Worden in 1957. – Wikipedia

Gein was initially found unfit to stand trial and confined to a mental health facility. By 1968, he was judged competent to stand trial; he was found guilty of the murder of Worden, but he was found legally insane and was remanded to a psychiatric institution. He died at Mendota Mental Health Institute of respiratory failure, on July 26, 1984, aged 77. He is buried next to his family in the Plainfield Cemetery, in a now-unmarked grave. – Wikipedia

The Texas Chainsaw movies undoubtedly inspired by Ed Gein. Furniture that has been made out of bone and flesh, Leatherface’s masks made from the flesh of human faces, and a truly unkempt home are all parts of the movies that were inspired by Ed Gein. Still, there are real life examples of home decor, furnishings and masks found made by Ed Gein that show this type of corpse and body mutilation is more than possible, psychologically.  There are many documented cases of human cannibalism, some close to home in the past and some abroad in third world territories still occurring today. Obviously there are murders all the time. 

And thus, yes it is more than possible for a corpse mutilating, murdering cannibal to exist. Yes, it is possible for a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre to happen. YES, it is possible for a real life Leatherface to exist.

What Would a Real Life Texas Chainsaw Massacre Be Like?

There are many components of a true Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.  Here are some of the most commonly found attributes which make a Leatherface movie, a real Leatherface movie.

Unsuspecting Victims

Unfortunately for the victims, most do not realize what is happening until it is already too late. Leatherface may be really scary, but he usually does not show up right away. Instead, his family first begins interacting with the victims, almost as though they are normal, contributing members of society.  The victims usually have an ultra low guard by the time they are any where near Leatherface himself.

Tow Trucks and/or Immobile Vehicle Graveyard

A lot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre films feature tow trucks that respond to victim car crashes, and/or a full-on vehicle graveyard.  The vehicles in this graveyard are always immobile and appear as though they may have been there for a long while.

Gas Station and/or Rest Stop

The Leatherface movies almost always start out on the road somehow, and the victims almost always end up stopping at a gas station or a rest stop of some kind for one reason or another.  Usually, it is for gas. Sometimes, they get directions.  It is always unwise to follow those directions…but they usually do!

Blood

There would be lots and lots of blood in a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Sawyers (or Hewitts, depending upon which part of the franchise you are watching) are cannibals and furniture artists…and they prefer human-only parts!  This means being fully comfortable with cutting, slicing and dicing up human flesh and body parts. Not to mention the actual murders themselves.

Human Flesh and Bone Furnishings

Leatherface and his family love crafting the flesh and bone of their victims into furniture.  Their house is absolutely decorated with human body parts. There are human face lamps. There are chairs made of bone.  And a variety of other furnishings and horror decor.

Fun Fact: Did you know you can actually BUY Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Leatherface Inspired Horror Decor?

Yummy Dinner

Leatherface drags victims through his house and into his room for butchering, collecting parts for use in his family’s famous cannibal soup.

From Ed Gein to…???

leatherface ed with cleaver illustration

The funny thing about people like Ed Gein (only a grave robber and corpse mutilator) and serial killers is that normally they are discovered after the fact.  This means, unfortunately, if there could be a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that it could be happening already.  So be careful out there on those Texas highways…and never take any unfamiliar detours not on your GPS!!  As one simply never knows when a real life Texas Chainsaw Massacre could be taking place off the beaten path, on some dirt road somewhere!

Check out Surprising Facts About Leatherface and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movies to learn more!

Sources

Wikipedia

The 10 Scariest Podcasts Out There

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Best Horror Podcasts Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

It seems that podcasts are a dime a dozen these days, but fortunately for horror fans, the quality quite closely matches the quantity. We have scoured the web to find you the scariest podcasts. Also, quite luckily for the fans of the horror genre, the popularity of podcast creation is still on the rise. Like audiobooks, horror podcasts have turned into a popular form of entertainment because it only requires that we listen. We can listen to music, an audiobook, and even a scary podcasts while we’re doing our daily routine–when we’re getting ready for work in the morning, while we’re working out, while we’re commuting to or from work, and when we’re taking a relaxing bath… With horror podcasts, we especially enjoy allowing these creepy stories into our brains during the relentlessly sleepless nights, when an audio-only creepfest entitles us to retreat to the safety of our comfiest blanket while the darkness envelopes us entirely. Check out the ten scariest podcasts below.


10. Ghosts in the Burbs

Ghosts in the Burbs is a podcast made by a children’s librarian, who interviews her neighbors in Wellsley, Massachusetts about stories that no one would ever want to tell children. While she doesn’t bring all the special effects of music, special editing, or anything extraordinary, it’s her content that drives the creepy content of her podcast–while the stories don’t need to be heard in any particular order, we still recommend that you start at the beginning so you can get the full experience that Liz brings us with her dark tales that lurk in the otherwise sunny Wellesley.


9. The NoSleep Podcast

If you follow the NoSleep subreddit, then you’re probably not a stranger to the NoSleep Podcast, but if you’ve never heard it before, then give it a listen–there are so many plausible horror short stories that are a variety of styles as well as perspectives, but the one thing that they all share is the quality of scares. You’ll be consistently spooked by the stories told by NoSleep and you can thank us later.


8. PseudoPod

It seems like PseudoPod is kind of a horror-household name, they have amazing narrators, read some of the best horror short stories, that have come from some of the best authors around. There is something for everyone with this insanely simple and blood-curdling story-telling experience, it stands to reason if you don’t like one you should try another one, you’ll find something that you’re bound to enjoy.


7. Knifepoint Horror

Where other podcasts have an amazing track, or melodious narrators with voices of angels, who can emote through their presence of voice alone, Knifepoint Horror seems to only use the strengths of the narrator voices as well as limited sound effects somehow makes it feel like you’re there in the room with the characters. It makes you feel as if you might be the one that will next fall victim to the horrors that the characters are made to face. We highly recommend this horror podcast if you want something that will make your skin crawl at its best points and intrigue you at its slowest parts.


At number 6 in our scary podcast recommendation list is a self-proclaimed modern take on the Twilight Zone, it doesn’t fail to deliver with its eclectic collection of author contributions as well as narrators along with stellar audio effects make this an immersive experience, but what really makes this podcast special is the agonizingly spooky and mysterious nature of these short stories. The variety available with The Other Stories is perhaps one of its most attractive qualities of this horror, sci-fi, and thriller fiction show–but there’s also the themes that they tackle with each chapter. We even came up with a list of our favorites, so take a look at this podcast, we guarantee you won’t regret it!


5. Limetown

This horror mystery podcast gives the feeling that there is something real going on, it has the depth of a real news story–kind of like a forensic crime documentary. There is something wonderful about the production value of this particular podcast, as it features a fictional host of the fictional American Public Radio who is trying to solve the mystery of several hundred people vanishing from a town in Tennessee a decade ago. The interesting thing about this particular ongoing story is that there are moments where, despite being reminded that it’s pure fiction, that you can’t really be sure of whether or not it’s real. What’s more, there are moments where you might entertain conspiratorial beliefs about it being an elaborate cover-up. Regardless, it smacks hard of the Orson Welles’ adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds as a radio broadcast that convinced many people that the world was being invaded by creatures from another planet.


4. Video Palace

So if you were to stumble upon Video Palace without any previous knowledge of what they were about, you might think that the narrative was a true story–it starts when the narrator’s girlfriend wakes him up after he began sleep-talking in a non-existent language. They decide to do a full investigation into what could be causing this and what they end up finding is something of a mystery that needs to be solved. The thing that really makes this fictional podcast feel all-the-more real, is the real-life writers, bloggers, and filmmakers that have their own history in the horror genre.


3. Unwell

There’s something very unwell about Mount Absalom, Ohio–even if everything about it screams hospitality. When Lily Harper returns home to Mount Absalom to look after her mother, Dot, she encounters all of the things she hated about visiting her mother during the summers. This podcast is amazingly done, with impeccable audio and a quirky sense of humor that doesn’t overwhelm the darkness and malice that lays beneath the facade of niceties. If you want to disappear into a story, then this is an incredible one to immerse yourself in.


2. The Magnus Archives

Another anthology podcast with a classical sense of tone, the cadence of the narration weighs heavily upon the mood that is delivered–there is something soothing, but utterly petrifying about the way the words are spoken. Something that we find wonderful about the Magnus Archives is the fearless nature in which it tackles each of the episodes–the eerie ability to pull you into a story–submerse yourself in the Archives.


1. Alice Isn’t Dead

There isn’t a way to describe this podcast without gushing like a complete geek–there is something in the production value of this podcast that truly pulls you into the story. We’re following a female truck driver as she searches for her previously thought-to-be dead wife through a desolate landscape of mystery, allure, and a darkness that is difficult to capture through words. With a stunningly capturing score, an entrancing voice actress who gives us a narrative that we don’t want to quit. Just take a listen and tell us you didn’t want to keep listening through to the end.

We hope that you enjoyed this discussion on horror podcasts–it’s an eclectic bunch of channels, but if you’re a horror junkie, you now have hours of content at your fingertips and all for the low-low price of your time and attention! The popular Lore Podcast did not make the cut here, as it isn’t fully horror-based, but we do have a list of some of the scariest Lore episodes you can check out. Let us know what you think about these podcasts and let us know if you feel we should include other horror channels in any future podcast discussions?

The 12 A.M. To Nowhere

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Featured Indie Horror Short Horror Stories
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This must be the hundredth time I have woken up on this damn subway covered in blood and body parts. If I have to spit one more ear lobe out my mouth again, I swear I am going to shit a brick.

Nothing changes.

It is the same thing over and over. There’s the red head over there draped across the seat. One of her green eyes is dangling out of the socket and her legs are gnawed off at the knees. Then there’s the douche bag looking bro dude with black hair and a trimmed beard. Well, what’s left of him anyway. He is splattered all over the car. At my feet are the police officers. One has his chest ripped open. The other has her organs over her face, and still another is missing his head.

I examine the car and see broken windows. It had crashed at some point. I walk down the aisle and see the mangled remains of men, women, and children. A crash didn’t do this. There is no way a wreck can take someone’s intestines and wrap them around the holding bar like a coiled serpent.

“Hello!” I yell. I say the same words every time. “Anyone there? What the fuck happened?”

I look down at my hands and they are dripping crimson. My eyes scan my body again and I am naked. Goosebumps are all over my flesh and there is skin underneath my fingernails. I hold my hands up and stare at them.

“What the hell…” Something crunches under my feet. I stare down at it and see a severed jaw.

The sinews and ligaments are wiggling and dripping blood. Then I remember Ronnie. He got on the subway with me. We were going to the movies because they were having a horror triple feature.

“Ronnie!” I call. “Where are you, man?”

I step over more dead people and go into the next car. I see Ronnie. The expression on his face is sheer panic. His brown eyes are gazing into me and he is missing his ears. Blood trickles down his neck and for some reason, all I can focus on are the drops which are on a few strands of his neck hair. His fingers are missing from his hand. They had been shoved in his mouth and he resembles a bad Dick Tracy character.

I sob and tremble. “Ronnie! Oh, God! Ronnie!” I grab him and shake him. The fingers spill out of his mouth and topple onto the floor. “Shit,” I mumble and step back.

I remember now.

I know what’s coming.

I have the same memory lapse for a while then when I get to this point it all comes back to me.

I peek over my shoulder and remember Hannah. My beautiful, blonde angel who loved me like no other. She came with me because we both love horror movies. Too bad I couldn’t save her. She is sprawled out on a seat with her throat ripped to shreds. Her hip bones are missing too.

Who the hell can rip out hip bones?

You can The thought arose from the recesses of my mind. “Bull shit!” I yelled. “I did not!” I clasp my palms over my ears. “Shut the fuck up and get out of my fucking head!”

I spin in circles and scream. All I notice are the blood stains splattered on the car. I stop then grab Hannah and hold her in my arms.

“Who did this!” I yell. I fling my head back and cry. I pull a hand away from Hannah and wipe my eyes then blood mixed with tears stream down my cheek.

You did this, the voice in my head says again.

I throw Hannah’s corpse down in rage and glare up at the ceiling. I clench my fist and lift them towards the heavens. “I did not!”

Yes, you did.

“Bull shit! You liar!”

Then the events play through my mind. I killed all these people. I killed Ronnie. I killed Hannah. I killed those kids. The revelation is too much for me. My knees grow week and I fall to the ground. I can feel the warm blood on my naked butt. I pull my knees to my chin and bury my head into them. I weep and rock, smelling the copper scent of blood and organs.

I don’t know if this is hell.

I don’t know if this is reality gone mad.

I don’t know if this is quantum physics on hallucinogens.

All I know is I can sense the full moon even down in this subway and I am going to have my transformation.

And this shit is about to happen all lover again.

The Beleaguered Buckner Building of Whittier, Alaska

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Featured Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore

The Buckner Building stands in Whittier, Alaska—the gateway to Prince William Sound—as a relic to a forgotten past. It is tucked away in the hidden port town of Whittier, a town that can only be accessed by boat, plane, or through a single train tunnel that moonlights as a passage way for big rigs, and automobiles. The bay area that surrounds Whittier is solely deep-water ports that stay ice-free year round and the railroad port is one of two, all-weather ports that supplied Anchorage with military necessities and during times of war was of key importance in order for it to stay functioning and safeguarded. The climate that the port operates under is one of nearly constant cloud coverage, which is beneficial in the respect that it protects the port and its facilities from air strikes. With all aspects of this port town taken into consideration, Whittier was possibly the most perfect place to have a military base of this caliber.

The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska Photography by Mary Farnstrom
The Buckner Building in Whittier, AK
The Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
Photography by Mary Farnstrom

The Construction and Function of the Buckner Building

Early in the course of World War II General Simon Buckner, the commander of the defensive forces of the state of Alaska was highly concerned that the state would be vulnerable to air attacks. Buckner also believed that the best type of facility would be one that autonomous, with its own power plant, sufficient storage space, and bomb-proof. The Cold War began two short years after the end of World War II and in 1953, six years into the second red scare, the construction of the Buckner Building was completed, and having been cast in place by reinforced concrete on a bedrock of slate and greywacke the building was on stable ground not susceptible to seismic shifting from earthquakes, or from thawing of any remaining permafrost.

The building was once listed as one of the largest in the state, it stands six stories tall, is approximately 500 feet long and between 50-150 feet wide (depending on which part of the floor plan it is)—all of this adds up to around 275,000 square feet of space. This massive concrete building was built in seven sections, each section having been separated by eight-inch gaps—as a means to have the structural flexibility to ride out large magnitude earthquakes and concussive forces.

In its heyday, The Buckner Building once housed the entire city of Whittier, Alaska—within its walls were also all of the relevant services were located. There was a small hospital, a 350 seat theater, four-lane bowling alley, six-cell jail, church, bakery, barbershop, library, radio station, rifle range, photography lab, commissary, officers’ lounge, as well as a mess hall, and innumerable sleeping quarters for military personnel and their families.

The Earthquake of 1964

In March of 1964, Alaska was hit by the most powerful earthquake in the history of North America (second most powerful throughout world history)—registering at a magnitude of 9.2 and lasting a full four minutes and thirty-eight seconds, the Great Alaskan earthquake caused multiple ground fissures along south central Alaska, but it also collapsed structures and caused multiple tsunamis—all of this resulted in an estimated 131 deaths. Whittier itself was not immune to the natural disaster, with thirteen people dead and damages to private and federally owned property that were over five million dollars. The Buckner building itself was also slightly damaged, although the structural integrity was not compromised due to the foundation upon the bedrock—the rest of the town received considerably more in damages due to the unconsolidated sediment that it rests on.

The Abandonment of the Base

The building was in operation until 1966, when the military finally pulled out of the Port of Whittier, the building was then transferred to the General Services Administration; after being vacated by the military, however, the ownership of the building changed hands several times. At one point Pete Zamarello, a man dubbed as the “Anchorage Strip Mall Czar”, obtained ownership of the Buckner Building with ideas of turning it into the state prison—but his deal with the state fell through and it was purchased by the citizens of the new City of Whittier in 1972. By the 1980s, the building had fallen into disrepair, windows and doors were missing, so the building began to decompose—being exposed to the elements allowed water to begin accumulating, and the building itself being in a constant state of freeze and thaw.

By 2014, nearly every inch of the building, inside and out, had been vandalized—the floors were covered in at least an inch of water, and was riddled with asbestos, mold, and mildew—suffice it to say it was no longer a safe environment for people to go exploring in. The problem was, was that there was hardly any regulation in place to keep people out of the building—so they began to crack down on trespassers on the property.

The city of Whittier came under the ownership of the Buckner Building in 2016 when the building officially went into foreclosure, it was at this point that a fence went up around the building to keep trespassers out. While the Whittier Department of Public Works and Public Utilities has done work on the property, and the city continues to express their desire to maintain it in order to preserve history, the Alaska Department of Environment Conservation has recommended demolition. While there have been many discussions to demolish the building, it has been ruled as being cost-prohibitive—this is due to the sheer amount of asbestos that is in the building and that the only land route in and out of Whittier. This route is through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel, a two and a half mile railroad tunnel which allots thirty-minute windows for cars to travel through at certain times during the day—the only other option to remove debris would be on ships.

Having been abandoned for over forty years has taken its toll on the interior—where the ceilings are falling in, the light fixtures are and some parts of the exterior of the building which is tagged and degraded. The Buckner Building does still stand as of July 2020—it stands as a crumbling, darkened, cracked, and adulterated monument of an era of military and government ambition that has not since returned.

A Look Inside the Abandoned Buckner Building

Is the Buckner Building Haunted?

While this enormous abandoned building in Whittier looks incredibly spooky against the typically overcast, grey dreary skies of this hidden port town, there are also rumors of the building being haunted. While this writer’s personal investigation didn’t result in the capture of any evidence of the paranormal, other people have reported encounters and experiences that they have been more than happy to share. The Buckner Building is closed to the public, so going into the building itself is a no-go unless you want to risk health complications (mercury, lead, and asbestos poisoning is possible), injury, death, or–most likely, a hefty fine from the local police. Locals of Whittier are pretty vigilant to keep people away from and out of the building, but it doesn’t mean people haven’t ventured in to get an up-close and personal experience inside of these reportedly haunted walls. There are believed to be multiple presences within the building, although there are no records to explain these hauntings.

Due to the dilapidation of the building, the first basement is only accessible through a hole in the wall now, where the second basement is now only accessible through a hole in the floor. These two rooms are said to house an entity of “pure evil,” and people are warned to stay away from the area completely, especially the stairwell that has red, detached wiring hanging from the ceiling. Far southwest stairwell, the second corridor on the second floor, the jail, and the third floor are all haunted by apparitions–in particular, an entity that is witnessed hanging from water pipes on the second floor, and a little girl who is seen wandering the third floor crying. Room three to the right of the mental ward of the hospital, within the corridor right before the jail is reported to be especially haunted, to the point that the entity within will only allow certain people to enter the room. If this entity does not accept the person trying to enter, the door will slam shut before they can enter and seems to be locked from the inside.