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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
My town’s old Paramount Theater (now known as the Paramount Arts Center) has a permanent resident that’s well known throughout the area as Paramount Joe. The story is that a few decades back work was being done on the stage via scaffolding. Joe stayed behind a little to finish up his work as the other workers left one night. The next morning they returned to find he’d fallen from the scaffolding and died on the stage.
Ever since he’s been a prominent presence in the building. He’s well know for turning on the light at the bottom of the basement stairs for female employees (the only location of a switch thus saving them a trip down into the dark) and seems to favor the small cafe/concession area. It’s common practice for visiting performers to leave him autographed pictures which are then hung in the cafe. They were all removed once during a redecoration and replaced with pictures from around town. When the theater opened the next day the new pictures had all been knocked off the walls. I suppose he didn’t want his autographs removed.
I personally haven’t seen Joe but I’ve felt his presence many times in the lobby and cafe, both by myself and with others. While I’m sorry that he’s stuck there I’m glad that he’s appreciated.
Joplin, Missouri was a kinky town that had explosive growth during the late 1800s. The city rose to prominence within the region and was even well known in the wealthiest areas of the country. Fortunes were made mining and smelting lead and zinc and most of that money passed through joplin. There were numerous large and elegant homes and buildings, including the nationally renowned Connor hotel.
Brothels and saloons were everywhere. The Frisco bottoms w as a place that was shunned by all but the worst of people, and police were prohibited from risking their lives down there. Even now, the bottoms is regularly the site of grim discoveries and haunts are seen by some of the fearless few who brave the black of night or a pale moon in search of a thrill.
The Nelson building downtown is rumored to have housed a brothel during these violent, lustful,decadent years. Any brothel that operates for decades will have a tragic history, and the history of the Nelson building is worse than most.
A prostitute who mocked an ore wagon handler was knifed, and rather than expose the deed, she was left in that room and cared for. The miner was dragged to the street and clubbed to death, then the body was abandoned several blocks away near a competing enterprise.
The prostitute, who went by juliet, died days later and she was likely disposed of in the mining operations somewhere.
The hotel changed hands many times, and during the fifties, the owner followed an impulse to decorate the windows. An artist painted pictures in profile on two Windows with black paint. The silhouettes were of a man and a lady in period garb.
To this day, the portraits survive. If the glass becomes damaged, the new glass is also painted.
The room is always lit, the painting are always visible. Several times a year, a passerby will glance up to the window, and find that the murder is being reenacted. A brief struggle will be seen before the window goes dark. When the lights are restored minutes later, the black silhouettes of a lady and a gentleman will have returned.
We gathered the local ghost stories from Floyd County, Virginia and wrote a book about it. What I love the most is when people who have never heard of a place being haunted wind up having the same sorts of experiences there. There’s one house right in the town of Floyd on Old Hensley Road, and the girl that lived there told me of a whole bunch of experiences they had when they rented the house. They would hear someone walking around upstairs when they knew no one was there. The dog wouldn’t go upstairs but would just bark and growl at the base of the staircase. The scariest was when her little sister asked her in the morning, “Who was that man standing over you last night? He scared me. He had no face.” But on top of that, she went back as a young woman and saw an old fellow out sitting on the front porch, so she went over to speak to him. She introduced herself and said she used to live there. Entirely unprompted he asked, “When you moved, you didn’t by chance leave some ghosts behind, didja?” She said, “No, sir! They were here when we moved in and we didn’t take them when we left.”
No, it was a hallucination…according to this article “ghosts don’t exist.”
There is very little sculpture to be enjoyed in the small of Kosciusko, Mississippi, but in the City Cemetery there stands, in a small gated enclosure, a life size statue of Mrs. Kelly, hand resting upon the handle of a … shovel? Axe? No one knows for sure, but of course local legend says it is an axe, with which she murdered her entire family. There’s a circle of graves inside the fence.
Another story about the same statue, claims that Mr. Kelly was away from home on business, his wife died from a disease (not sure which one). They had not been married long, and his heart was so broken, he sent a photo of his beloved off to Paris to have the sculpture in her memory. These things took time in the late 19th century, so by the time the work of art returned to Kosciusko, Mr. Kelly had remarried. The first wife’s likeness was erected in the city cemetery, which Mr. Kelly could see from the turret of his home.
On the anniversaries of her death, and his second marriage, it’s said that if you go to the cemetery, you can see the statue cry.
sgrowe56, The prompt was for ghost stories; I responded with one, appropriately enough. Please be kind to strangers who’ve had experiences you haven’t.
Thank you for your validation, tuthebeach.
Our family’s weekend getaway, a very rustic log cabin in the woods, sits at the top of a hill on a winding gravel road, with the tiny Mt. Nebo church less than a mile away. It had been for sale for a long time because an old off-the-grid couple would scare away people who came to look at the cabin if they didn’t like them. However, they took a shine to my dad and welcomed us, but warned him that that there was a “haunt” nearby. Despite that story and the lack of modern conveniences, my parents bought the place. No one saw anything more than bats or owls at night until one of us had an upset stomach and went out to the porch to get some fresh air. That’s when the weird lights began to appear in odd places, but mostly on the road, and only to whoever was ill or unhappy. We finally compared stories and figured out the lights had to be the “Mt. Nebo ghost” that we were warned about and that my mother had discovered in an old newspaper article. Said to be the spirit of a local young woman who was recently engaged to a city boy, she was walking on her way to the little church for a revival, but was struck and killed by a car on the pitch-dark road. Her “haunt” would appear only to the locals, who said she was searching for her fiancé, who was not with her when she needed him so desperately. My sighting was on an ill-advised, very late night trip, when my boyfriend and I got lost because I couldn’t see the usual landmarks to guide us there. After too many hours in the car, we had just turned onto the gravel road when I noticed an odd blue light that followed right behind us, although there was no one else around. The light disappeared exactly as we pulled into the cabin’s driveway, to our great relief. There were various other sightings over the years, until a shaman friend of ours offered to put her to rest by sending her to the Land of the Dead, and no one never saw her again. We were actually a bit sad to lose her, but glad that she was at peace after all those years.
There’s a small patch of ancient woodland near the village of Bradley in Lincolnshire, England, known as Bradley Woods. For generations people have witnessed the ghost of a pretty young woman dressed in a black cloak and hood that hides her hair but reveals a mournful, pale, tear-soaked face. Recently motorists driving past the woods have seen her stood by the side of the road. She has never harmed anyone but is said to be a pitiful and unnerving sight. It is thought she once lived in a cottage in the woods with her husband, a woodsman, and their baby son. During the Wars of the Roses, an English civil war of the 15th century, the woodsman left his family to join the army of the local lord. After many months with no news of her husband the woman would walk to the edge of the woods with her baby awaiting the sight of him coming home. One day enemy soldiers marched through the area on their way to attack Lincoln. The woman was set upon by three horsemen who raped her before snatching the baby and riding away. Heartbroken and humiliated, the young lady wandered the woods in vain searching for her child and husband. After her own death nearby villagers continued to see her spectral image wandering the woods carrying on her never ending search. The ghost is known locally as the Black Lady of Bradley Woods.
I grew up in Annandale, VA very close (less than .25 mile) to a Civil War mansion (Oak Hill) and there was a ghost story we would tell during sleepovers way, way back in the 70’s about that house and the Civil War.
The story goes that it was owned by a southern woman who secretly aided northern soldiers by hiding them in the false floor of the attic. The Confederates slowly became aware that something was afoot. So on one particular dark and stormy night (of course, it was dark and stormy), a few Union soldiers found their way to the house for a reprieve from the rain. Shortly thereafter, a few Confederate soldiers also found their way to her home for shelter. She apparently hid the Union men in the attic; maybe they made some small noise, maybe they were seen entering the house, regardless the Confederates searched the house inside and out, upstairs and down. They found no one. One, though, had thought. He started ramming his bayonnet into the ceiling below the attic floor. The others followed. A dark red stain slowly spread across the area. The Confederates had found the Union soldiers.
The ghost story element is that it is said that to this day, when it storms the blood red stain reappears on the ceiling.
What I find fascinating about this tale is that I heard a boy who grew up 20 years after me in the adjacent neighborhood tell virtually the same story 10 years ago when he was in 4th grade. I suppose when a ghost story is good (and true?), it stands the test of time.
When they were building a movie theater as part of a strip mall, Tom was killed. He was often seen backstage. When it was transformed into a Bed Bath & Beyond he was seen and felt often, even by myself. When BB&B moved out and Dunham’s moved in, I asked several employees if they had had seen or felt him. I couldn’t get any confirmations. I still think Tom is there and they don’t want to admit it.
Stacey, Rocherster Hills, Michigan
Sure, I’ll talk about my experience. Let me start this off by saying that I’ve had a few experiences throughout my life when it comes to “ghosts” and “spirits.” I’ll tell two different stories.
1st story: In 2013 or 2014, I was at my apartment in Loma Linda, CA where I was going to grad school. I had gotten a dog recently and he used to bark at my upstairs neighbors. One time, my dog was barking at the ceiling but it was totally quiet. All of a sudden the hair on the back of my neck started to rise and I had this intense feeling of dread. I muttered under my breath “what are you?” before hushing my dog and going into my bedroom. A few days later, my girlfriend at the time and I were enjoying some post-coital netflix time. We were watching Netflix when all of a sudden the eyes of the main character turned pitch black, the sound was all garbled, and the mouth of the character looked like a “bottomless pit” (my girlfriend’s words). I was in a trance and then all of a sudden I snapped out of it when she said “What is wrong with the TV?” and then proceeded to change the channel and the image returned to normal. I feel that this was the first major incidence within adulthood where I saw something. (I had things enter into my dreams that as a child I thought was actually something else). Years later (recently) I got an “audit” of that spirit and apparently that person mentioned that it was a malevolent human spirit that was killed with Strychnine by a jealous mistress of her husband. Who knows if its true, but I saw what I saw and my gf (now wife) saw it too but says it was a TV glitch.
2nd story: So I had gone to LA and rented an Airbnb at a hostel. I started realizing that every time I was going into his place I was mentally preparing to go in. I would take a deep breath before going in. I would also be looking over my shoulder expecting to see someone but no-one was there. That was when the owner of the hostel said he “kept spirits” and a lot of other weird stuff that I wasn’t familiar with. He started mentioning psychic abilities and even told a story of how he met some conjurer who had a non-human spirit join him and that spirit helped him to see a variety of things. He would talk of seeing spirits and etc after that. Well after the seemingly weird story, he recommended some website where a conjurer would willingly have spirits join people (ones that were proven not to be evil) and I checked it out and saw that it was expensive.
I forgot about the experience for a few months and that guy emails me asking if I took the plunge. I eventually got around to purchasing that service (I was kind of suicidal at the time and suffering from major depression so spending a few hundred dollars wasn’t an issue for me at the time…) and got a female (non-human) spirit. I had to do some weird invocation ceremony so what I did was get special candles from bed bath and beyond, and even cooked dinner (with some good red wine) like it was a “date.” I even played my favorite classical music during that ritual (Paganini). Well I’m sitting on the floor cross-legged, and at the end of that ritual during the meditation portion of it I feel this warm hand caressing my right cheek from behind. It was like a right hand that was radiating warmth to my face and I even felt myself leaning into it. I enjoy the sensation and decide to end the meditation and head to bed. I wasn’t really sure what I had experienced. The next day I’m going to a group therapy that was mandated by the military (I was in the navy at the time), and then I saw something weird like dust swirling in the air. I almost asked the person leading the session to open the window but then my brain started wondering why there was dust swirling when there was no A/C blowing and no draft. Then I started to wonder what those particles were. My line of sight followed the source and it seemed to come from two people in the group circle that was right in front of me. I looked in between them and saw a visual distortion not unlike what you would see above the asphalt on a hot Texas summer day. That was when something seemed to shift in my vision and I saw what I think are auras. The guy on the left had something that looked like a blue mist rising to the ceiling and the guy on the right had something that looked like black smoke billowing towards the ceiling and black fire seeming to shoot out of his left knee. So yeah, I think that spirit showed me what I was capable of in some way and yes I think spirits do exist now along with a lot of other things.