Tell Us Your Extremely Local Ghost Stories!

As much as the Halloween season might make us wish otherwise, ghosts don’t exist. But that shouldn’t take away from the allure and eerie mystery of a good ghost story! The best ghost stories are the ones that have just enough specific flavor and local cultural relevance that they can SEEM believable.

(Image: Patrick Tomasso/Public Domain)

I’ve mentioned the legend of Emo’s Grave, a grave in my native Salt Lake City, that is said to be haunted by the buried soul of some supernaturally vain person. As the story goes, if you peer into the small mausoleum structure that marks Emo’s grave, Emo himself will also appear. According to some of the more frightening tellings, Emo will also attack any curious visitors to his resting place. While Emo’s ghost is, of course, a myth, the grave is real enough, located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Now we want to hear your favorite extremely local ghost stories!

In the thread below, tell us your favorite local ghost story! Let us know where it takes place, how you first heard it, what local spot it revolves around, and if you’ve told or embellished it yourself. Your story may be included in a round-up during Atlas Obscura’s upcoming Spirit Week! Let’s hear those hometown creep outs!


Hi Eric!
Ghosts aren’t considered to be parts of our minds- my mind at least.
However, Emo’s Grave is totally surprising and interesting at the same time!
When you said ‘‘While Emo’s ghost is, of course, a myth, the grave is real enough’’ strange feelings invaded my body. lol :roll_eyes:
Thanks for informing me about this legend!

Memphis has a lot of ghosts, but my favorite has always been 12-year-old Mary, one of the Orpheum’s ghosts. No one knows for sure how she died – might have been in an accident on Beale Street, might have been in the 1923 fire that burnt the Orpheum down – but in 1928, when the theater was rebuilt, she was there, sometimes dancing in the aisles, sometimes playing (possibly also fixing) the new Mighty Wurlitzer organ, sometimes in her favorite seat on the mezzanine. I’ve never seen her myself, but there are a quite number of sightings recorded.


Ghosts aren’t real?


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!


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


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.


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


You were not alone. Sable was there visiting you.


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”.

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.


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.


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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