They say that truth is stranger than fiction, so is it any wonder that our scariest ghost stories were inspired by real events? Well, the ghosts may be fictional, but the circumstances of their deaths are more terrifying than the supernatural aftermath. One concerns a historic house in Albany, New York, called Cherry Hill.
The trouble began when a worker at Cherry Hill named Joseph Orton (his real name, it later came out, was Jesse Strang; he’d changed it after faking his own death in 1825 as part of a scheme to desert his wife and four children) fell for one of the “upstairs” ladies who lived in the well-populated house. Elsie Whipple was related by marriage to the man who’d originally built Cherry Hill; she herself had gotten married at the tender age of 14, and her husband John had turned her inheritance into a growing fortune.
But that didn’t stop Elsie from reciprocating Jesse’s forbidden feelings, and the two began exchanging steamy love letters. The only way they could be together, they decided, was to do away with John Whipple. That would free Elsie from her marriage—and free her money, too. They concocted a scheme that included false sightings of strange men lurking around the property, culminating in John’s death on May 7 (Jesse shot him through one of Cherry Hill’s windows; the bullet hole is still there).
Jesse Strang was executed for the murder, and the ghost of John Whipple still haunts Cherry Hill. That’s just part of one of five real murders that became legendary ghost stories at io9. -via mental_floss