Tell Us Your Extremely Local Ghost Stories!

Question for author Eric Grundhauser…have you ever had any type of ghostly/supernatural experience you couldn’t rationally explain? Sounds like you haven’t.

I’ve certainly experienced my fair share of unexplained phenomenon, but nothing that would prove that ghosts are out there haunting the world. But hey, no one would be more excited than me to be proven wrong some day! In the meantime, I’m just enjoying reading ghost stories!

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Good documentary featuring lots of London tube ghost stories (and possible scientific explanations for para-psychological phenomena).

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Continuing the discussion from Tell Us Your Extremely Local Ghost Stories!: In July of 2019, our beloved dog Sable died of kidney failure. In the weeks before she passed she was my constant companion in the house or the garden studio where I make jewelry. Ultimately we gave her a burial fit for a Celtic Princess: shrouding her in a fine wool blanket and interring her with her favorite toy, pearls, turquoise, a bit of silver, and one of my husband’s socks. (She’d buried its mate in the yard). Then we covered her with flowers and earth, beneath our terrace table where she could always be at the party and beg for scraps. I cried every day for weeks. Then one night, very late when I was out beading in my studio, our cat scratched at the door to ask for kibble. He’ll only come in and eat if I leave the door open, so I left it ajar and went back to concentrating on a string of corals. Presently I was getting cold, and assuming the cat had eaten and left, nudged the door shut without looking up from my bead board. After a few minutes I distinctly felt something brush against my leg. Thinking I’d shut the cat in or perhaps a possum had entered, I looked around–and found that I was quite alone.

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Great topic and stories. I’ve always enjoyed ghost stories and thought I would share one of my own with you, specific to Capitol Hill in Seattle, where I lived for a year from 1998 to 1999. Hope you enjoy. Terra Incognita Americanus: A True Seattle Ghost Story

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You were not alone. Sable was there visiting you.

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Loved the story ! , very well written and the ending succeeded in making me laugh , damn sonny the ferret though for his mulestid mischief

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I just read this scientific report on infrasound waves caused by electric appliances as causal factors in paranormal experiences( was written by the researcher featured in documentary I posted above).

I highly recommend it, a very interesting to read and to keep in mind when thinking about “ghosts” and “poltergeists”.

http://www.richardwiseman.com/resources/ghost-in-machine.pdf

I live on the edge of the west Everglades and this area was prime Calusa Indian territory. I was on a history tour at night on Marco Island. We stopped at Otter Mound which is a huge Indian mound. If you’re u are not familiar, mounds are made of shells and other organic matter that the Calusa’s stacked up. While there our guide said to stay on the path, do not venture off of it or the spirits will get angry. I was wearing jeans and closed toe shoes…an important detail. While on the main trail I felt tons of biting on my calves and feet. I thought this is not good, all these bugs are biting through my jeans and shoes. Really annoying. When we all gathered back at the entrance our guide said when the Calusa’s get upset they attack from the knee down.

I knew nothing of this previously, nor ever been to Otter Mound. I was officially scared out of my mind. It was not painful just annoying like bitty bites. Anyone in the area should check it out but stay on the trail at night. There is no charge to go there on your own. There is also an old house where previous owner still visits the area in the spirit from. You can actually feel his cold spots outside.

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Thank you @Monsieur_Mictlan, I am glad you enjoyed it and that it gave you a chuckle. I have since warmed up to ferrets a good bit, but they do always make me think of Sunny.

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Great story and I can relate. I too live in Florida (Tampa) and have been to many shell mounds around here. I’m not a big believer in the supernatural, but if ever there were places that seem to give off spiritual energy, it’s those for sure. Haven’t been to Otter Mound yet, but I’ve put it on my list. Old Spanish Point has some similar night-time history/ghost tours through the swamp - well worth a visit if you make it up north a bit.

It certainly did. I genuinely didn’t see the ferret gone AWOL coming , very well written story and also I loved your metaphor of the bipolarity of Seattle as being a mix of a bohemian and mugger too.

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I live near Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire which is meant to be very haunted. A few years before moving nearby we went for a visit and guided tour of the castle. When we entered what used to be the chapel, I got very dizzy, queasy and had to leave the room and sit down. As soon as I walked out, the feeling went away. 5 years later we became locals and went back to the castle with friends and went on the tour again. We walked into the the chapel and before and it happened again but not as instensely. Just as I was edging out of the room, the tour guide said that she had worked there for 17 years and that room was the one that affected visitors the most. People saw ghosts, heard things, passed out, felt sick etc… At least I was in good company.

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In Auburn, Alabama, there is a single grave in the middle of the expansive Grand National golf course, part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The headstone bears the name of “Mary Dowdell,” although I don’t remember the dates. The headstone was discovered when the pine trees were being cleared away to build the golf course, and finding an old grave in the middle of nowhere is not unusual around here, according to the local genealogical society. An old marked grave like this, in a Deep South state, was often surrounded by the graves of people enslaved by the family (and the Dowdells were a prominent family). Those graves might be marked only by a stone, but they always faced east. For that reason, a wide area around Mary’s grave was left undisturbed. Nevertheless, really weird things have happened at the golf course. The people who work there always say, “Mary’s unhappy” - and they really believe this. The few things I have seen written about this supposed ghost are completely wrong, but a lot of people think she is absolutely real.

In Columbus, Ohio, there is Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery. A young woman, dressed in grey Civil War era clothing, would be seen wandering among the graves looking at the headstones. Legend has it that she was searching for her lost love who was suppose to be buried there. Over the years, however, she seems to have gradually disappeared.

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College Hall, the flagship building of Vermont College of Fine Arts, has long been home to a ghost named Anna. She was shot in a scandalous love triangle by another woman who was in love with Anna’s fiance in the late 1800s. Anna knocks clocks and pictures off walls when we work into the night, and bars entrance to doors she doesn’t want opened. She’s said to be based in the now empty glass-encased bell tower that tops the 1868 iconic brick building.

Because her existence is so widely accepted by our staff and students, and because we have such affection for her, we named our campus cafe Cafe Anna.

One of my colleagues did some digging into her backstory, and you can read more about it here: The Story Behind VCFA's Resident Ghost - Vermont College of Fine Arts

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It was in '63 when I was working for the sheriff’s department down in Presidio. I was a new deputy in the department. I had night duty, and that meant I just drove around to see if there was trouble out on the roads. Kids would buy cheap wine or tequila over in Ojinaga, a Mexican town just across the border from Presidio, and raise hell in their daddy’s car. Sometimes there’d be some bad wrecks, but usually just a car with drunk kids that run through a fence.

One particular Friday night in late October I was over on state highway 67, between Presidio and Marfa, when I saw this old yellow school bus chugging down the grade from Marfa. I pulled up alongside and saw a bunch of kids in the bus and they looked like football players because I could see some standing and talking with football jerseys on. The bus had “Shafter ISD” painted on the side. Like I said, it was an old-looking bus. I followed it for a while, mostly because I had nothing else to do but then I wondered if it was going to make it up the next hill. After a while I passed and waved at the driver and went on back towards town.

A few days later I was in Shafter and stopped at a gas station for coffee and to stretch my legs. Just making conversation I asked the kid at the station about the high school football team, if they were having a good season. He shrugged and said “They used to have a six-man team here but not in a few years, I don’t think.” That puzzled me but not much since that old school bus could have been sold to another district and never painted so it could have been some other team I saw. But after I finished my coffee I went over to the school just to see, since I was curious and being curious is part of a deputy’s job.

I walked around but didn’t see any school bus even though classes were going on. The whole school didn’t have more than about 80 students, brought in from the ranches and a few who lived right there in Shafter. After a while I saw an old guy painting and stopped to kill some time with him and just be known around town. When I asked him about the football team he said “Who told you there was any football team here?” I told him I’d seen the team on the bus just a couple of weekends before. He stopped painting and gave me a real funny look. “Deputy, we ain’t had no team here in years, ever since the accident.” About that time I felt this kind of chill run up my back.

He told me back in 1948 there was a six-man high school team that played some of the other little schools around, like Marathon and Fort Davis and Valentine, but that was the last year. He told me about the accident.

The Shafter team was returning home from a game in the school bus, getting close to home out on 67. The best anyone figures they topped a hill and began the downgrade, but something must have happened to the brakes or the steering because at the big curve right where 67 crossed Cibola Creek at the edge of town the bus went off the road and down a drop off into the dry creek bed. Every one of them was killed.

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Northwest of Gig Harbor, Washington, in the hamlet of Olalla, is the ruins of the Institute of Natural Therapeutics, made famous in Gregg Olson’s book Starvation Heights. Said to be haunted and still a deeply creepy place. A friend (who used to run haunts and still reviews them) went on a private tour a couple of years ago on Halloween and had to leave… it gave even a professional haunter the creeps.

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I used to belong to a paranormal group in San Diego who went out and did paranormal investigations headed by this woman Sally. She always told us she could see mainly animals who had died…not so much people…but we’d never experienced it with her. So this one day we were investigating this Italian Restaurant late at night after they closed (the manager was there) which was rumored to be haunted. Sally happened to look out the side door…and she goes “Oh there’s a dog sitting there at the door!” I looked out and trust me…there was no dog out there! Then she started to describe the dog and the we looked over at the manager who had a strange look on his face and tears in his eyes and he said “You are describing my dog who I had to put down yesterday. He was very sick. He always used to get out of my truck and wait for me at that door.” Sally said, “Well looks like he’s still there. He probably has not moved on yet. Too soon. They stick around sometimes because they want to make sure you are okay.” That was it for the manager who burst into tears. So yes…Sally could actually do what she claimed. It was a little freaky! BTW- In this group we actually did hear (recordings) some things and felt cold spots. Never saw an actual human ghost though. But they are here. Some just do not want to move on. Some are afraid. They do not know what is on the other side and are afraid to go (especially if they have done bad things here) and that Jesus is not going to want them. We got that on a recording once where we heard a guy claim just that. “Jesus doesn’t want me.” Kind of sad.

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 I live quite close to an amazing abandoned mental asylum, the Peoria State Hospital. You say "haunted mental asylum", and your mind automatically goes all American Horror Story on you, and you assume that there was pain, and fear, and abuse. It is my privilege, and my great joy, to tell people about the true history of this particular asylum. This was a place of safety for the patients, a place where they could find help and refuge from the confusing world outside.
 Early on, a patient was brought to the Peoria State Hospital because he'd had a nervous breakdown at work. His breakdown was so total that he was rendered mute, unable to tell the intake nurses his name. All anyone knew about him was that he had worked in a factory, binding books. His name, therefore, was written down in the intake ledger as A. Manual Bookbinder. He became known familiarly as "Old Book".
 Bookbinder was encouraged, as were all the able-bodied inmates, to find useful work to do at the asylum to keep his mind and body occupied. It became Book's duty to care for the cemeteries on the hilltop. This included grave digging detail.
 At the first funeral Book attended, he was standing next to the grave, and his shoulders began to hitch. Tears leaked from his eyes and tracked silently down his cheeks. A sob escaped him, and he walked over to the large elm tree that stood in the middle of the cemetery. There, he leaned against the trunk of the tree and wailed, crying as if his heart was breaking. When the short service was over, he collected himself and came back to fill in the grave. 
 Old Book did this at every funeral he attended, and he attended every funeral that was held on the hilltop. Once, when he was ill, he saw a hearse passing by, with a body that was destined to be put on the train to be returned to a family for burial in a family plot. Book became quite agitated at the thought that he might be missing the chance to wail at a funeral, and Dr. Zeller, the superintendent, had to quickly assure him that the body was headed elsewhere, and not to a hilltop grave. Old Book became such a fixture at asylum funerals that he became an urban legend of sorts. If a patient felt that they were on their deathbed, they would snag a passing nurse and request, "Please make sure Old Book cries for me, else I won't get into Heaven."
 In 1910, Old Book himself passed away. (He may have died of tuberculosis, but there was also a pellagra epidemic raging through the asylum at the time, so that may have been the cause of his death.) Old Book was a well-known and well-loved character at the asylum, so his funeral was very well attended.
 What happened next comes to us from the memoirs of Dr. Zeller himself. He said that the mourners had just finished singing Rock of Ages, and were preparing to lower Book's coffin into the grave. Four men grabbed the ends of the ropes that were slung under the coffin, and heaved to lift it so the boards underneath could be slid out. The coffin, though, bounced up into the air as if it weighed no more than an eggshell.
 And just at that moment, everyone in attendance heard a wailing and crying coming from the Graveyard Elm. They turned in horror to look -- and there was the ghost of Old Book, leaning against the tree in his accustomed place, moaning and carrying on as if his heart was breaking.
 Astonished nurses fell to their knees, or scrambled to get away. Dr. Zeller ordered the coffin opened. Someone grabbed a crowbar and jimmied the lid off. As soon as the coffin lid was raised, the wailing stopped, the phantom vanished -- and there lay Old Book, in his coffin. He was undeniably dead. Dr. Zeller wrote, "It was awful, but it was real. I saw it. One hundred nurses and three hundred spectators saw it."
 The story of Old Book doesn't end there. After about six weeks, the old elm tree started to die. Workers poured buckets of water on it -- no one wanted to see Old Book's tree go -- but the tree kept on dropping leaves, and soon it was obvious that the tree was dying. Dr. Zeller was a very safety-conscious guy, he didn't want a limb coming down and injuring someone, so he sent a work crew out to chop the tree down.
 The crew came back less than an hour later, with a terrifying tale. They said that at the first stroke of the axe, they'd heard a wailing coming from the trunk of the old elm -- a wailing that sounded a lot like the voice of Old Book.
 Dr. Zeller sent out a fire crew to burn the tree down. The crew piled kindling around the dying tree's trunk, poured a bit of kerosene on it to get it going, and touched the match to it. But in the smoke that began to curl up, they swore they saw the face of Old Book, drawn with sadness. And in the crackling of the flames, they heard Book's sorrowful cries. They threw water on the flames and came running back to Dr. Zeller, saying they didn't want any part of destroying Book's tree. 
 So the old tree was allowed to die on its own. And legend has it that when the tree did finally fall, it fell right between the rows of gravestones, and didn't damage a single stone as it fell. Groundskeepers rolled the carcass of the big tree into the ravine that borders Cemetery Two, where it returned to the earth, just as Old Book had done.
 Is it a cool story? Darn right. Is it true? Well ... okay, no, it's not.
 You see, Dr. George Zeller was known to his peers as "the Ruydard Kipling of America". And THE Rudyard Kipling (of England) wrote to Dr. Zeller complimenting him on his short fiction.
 After Book's death, some supervisors of other institutions began to write to Dr. Zeller, telling him that they'd been hearing of a ghost story being told about his asylum, and was there any truth to the tale? Dr. Zeller eventually gave in and 'fessed up. He wrote a blanket letter, which was published in several journals to which he was a contributor. (It even appeared, oddly enough, in the Journal for Psychical Research, the well-known newsletter for paranormal studies.) In this letter, Dr. Zeller said, in effect, "We have a lot of many wonderful characters at our asylum. Sometimes, some of them make it into my fiction."
 Was there a patient at the Peoria State Hospital named Manual Bookbinder? Yes, there was. Did he dig graves on the hilltop? Yes, he did. Did he cry at every funeral? Yes, he did. And Dr. Zeller thought that it was a shame that no one would cry at Old Book's funeral.
 So he made it happen.
 (I've written a few books about the history and hauntings at the Peoria State Hospital. If anyone's interested, please feel free to check them out on Amazon. Titles include Fractured Spirits, 44 Years in Darkness, and the brand-new book, Fractured Souls.)