Investigation: Whaley House

In my previous post I wrote about fun investigations. Jeremy recently went on one while he was in San Diego for recruiting school. Sadly, I wasn’t there to go with him. This is definitely on my list of places I want to investigate bucket list. The Whaley House is someplace my dad and I talked about going to visit sometime. The history of the house intrigued my dad. Hopefully, I will get a chance to visit the Whaley House soon.

These are Jeremy’s notes on the investigation (as mentioned previously he prefers doing his notes in this style like they have him do at his work) and his pictures he took with his cell phone.

WHO- Jeremy Stillwagon and the Whaley House tour group

WHAT- Guided tour of San Diego’s Whaley House in San Diego, California.

WHEN- June 9, 2018 @ 2100 – 2211.

WHERE- Whaley House in San Diego, California.

WHY- Thomas Whaley moved into his house on August 22, 1857 with his wife, Anna Whaley, and their six children. Their youngest son, Thomas Whaley Jr. died of Scarlet Fever at the age of 18 months on January 29, 1858. After this the Whaley family store burned down and the family moved to what is now San Francisco. During this time Frank Ames was put in charge of all the Whaley assets in Old Town. After the store was rebuilt the Whaley’s moved back in the winter of 1868. In January of 1882 both Violet and Anna Whaley, Thomas and Anna’s daughters, got married in Old Town. 2 weeks into her marriage Violet’s husband disappeared and was later found out to be a con artist that was only chasing his dreams of taking Thomas Whaley’s wealth via marriage to his daughter. After this Violet was shunned by the community for being married, but alone. This later caused Violet to commit suicide in her father’s study by shooting herself in the chest with her father’s 32-calibre on August 18, 1885 at the age of 22. This traumatic event caused the family to vacate their home for over 2 decades due to not being able to live in the same house that his daughter and son died in. In late 1909 Thomas Whaley converted the house into a tourist attraction to show off historic side of the building and all the good it did for Old Town. Every member of the Whaley family passed away in San Diego and are still believed to be apart of the Whaley House.

In October of 1868 the upstairs bedroom was converted into a theatre on behalf of Thomas Tanner and approved by the owner Thomas Whaley. The Tanner Troupe would perform here every night by day and slept there by night. Thomas Tanner passed away in the theatre room just 17 days after renting out the room from Whaley.

The Whaley House served as San Diego’s courthouse in 1869 and was rented by the county for just $65 a month.

Shortly after the Whaley’s moved into their house they began hearing footsteps throughout the house. These are believed to be the footsteps of “Yankee Jim” Robinson, who had been hung on the property prior to the house being built for stealing a boat.

HOW- I purchased a ticket to tour the Whaley house on June 9, 2018. While I awaited my tour to start I did a walkaround of the property to watch the way the streetlights shined on the house and to check a few of the windows where sightings of the family members were said to be seen. While walking around the back side of the house I was watching the top left window of the backside when I saw a shadow walk across the lower right window of the house. I was unable to get photographic evidence of this encounter but there was no one around nor on the paths surrounding the house. We began the tour in what being set up as the courtroom that the county of San Diego rented in 1869. While there I was taking pictures of the judge’s chair and the jury area. While reviewing the evidence I noticed a shadow that appears to be sitting at the judge’s chair and in another is appearing to stand. After moving through the General Store and into the dining room area we were informed of a little girl, named Anita Gillis, who enjoys laying under the table in this room and can often be seen if you look through the chairs. While taking pictures between the chairs and the tables in a series of 4 the 3rdshot is blurry across the frame.* After finishing in the dining room, we went upstairs to the bedrooms and the theatre area where Thomas Tanner and his Troupe performed for roughly 2 weeks. The spirit of Tanner is said to wander this room. The image of Thomas Whaley and Thomas Tanner can be seen sometimes under the picture of Thomas Whaley in the second row far left. While waiting in the downstairs hallways I felt several cold chills all around me (the A/C in the house is non-existence due to the historical significance of the building) and heard light footsteps above me while standing to the left of the staircase downstairs.


*There is a logical explanation for this happening. I will address what caused this in Thursday’s (August 23rd) post. Until then I would like to hear your theories about what you think caused this to happen.

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