The Lapham-Patterson House Is A Direct Effect of Severe Pyrophobia

When Charles Lapham was 19, he barely escaped the Great Chicago Fire. Since that event, he developed severe pyrophobia that followed him for the rest of his life.

When Lapham was able to build his own home, he made sure that it would be easily escapable in case of a fire. He exceeded the normal fire precautions by miles…

There are at least 50 fire-safe exits in the home. There are 24 exterior doors for the 19 bedrooms, and all 53 windows expand from the ceiling to the floor so they could be easily broken and climbed through.

The house is also asymmetrical due to his own superstition. Lapham believed that the lack of right angles would bring on spiritual balance and harmony.

He tried to quell his severe anxiety through spiritualism. He and his wife, Emma, were Quakers, but also practicing spiritualists. Lapham believed that if he conversed with the spirits and kept them happy, he would live a long, happy life.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. He and Emma had five children, but more than half of them faced horrible fates. Their daughter, Lydia, died from an illness in 1886, and two of their other children were put into sanatoriums for intellectual disabilities.

Emma and Lapham separated, but didn’t divorce. Emma died in 1917 due to a fire…

Lapham died in 1919 in San Diego after selling the home.

The home is now opened as a National Historic Landmark. Those who work there are convinced that it’s haunted, which would make sense… Those seances invited spirits more than a hundred years ago, and they most likely stayed in the countless rooms of the home…

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