Short paranormal stories

Short paranormal stories DEFAULT

Horror works most effectively in concentrated, intense bursts – which is why the short story has always been its great literary medium. The horror short story flourished in great anthologies, often containing unforgettable works by forgotten writers, or by familiar writers straying into unfamiliar territory, as well as by established genre titans. Here are 10 of the best – stories which have haunted me for years, which I can’t get out of my head. Think of them as doors into secret gardens, or haunted attics, or forbidden cellars. Go and search them out - if you dare.

Robert Aickman –Into the Wood (1968)
Margaret Sawyer, the wife of a prosperous Manchester building contractor, is bored and unsatisfied with her life. She travels to Sweden on a business trip with her husband, where she finds herself staying overnight at the Kurhus, a sanitorium for insomniacs, some of whom have not slept for years (there is a young girl who has never slept in her life). Insomniacs, she is told, are unearthly and mysterious, and often seem to acquire foresight; they are like trolls, like lost souls, like witches, like vampires. Sleepers cannot live with them for long, and drive them out. And so they find themselves in the Kurhus, where they wander the labyrinth of paths in the wood all night. This is horror for the connoisseur. Aickman was a magnificent writer of short fiction at its most unsettling and uncanny – in the Freudian sense of not being at home with oneself. Caught in the right mood, his stories are unforgettable. Faber recently did the world the inestimable service of bringing many of his books back into print.

Conrad Aiken – Mr Arcularis (1931)
A middle-aged Harvard professor, recovering from surgery, takes a voyage to Europe on a ship which, he learns, is also carrying a corpse home to Ireland. The ship is fogbound, surrounded by icebergs. Mr Arcularis begins to dream that he is walking through the stars, and starts sleepwalking. He is constantly cold. On board the ship, he meets people who remind him of other people: a travelling companion who looks like a woman he met at the hospital; a doctor who looks like his father. He encounters a chess-playing clergyman. He keeps hearing the same piece of music over and over again. Conrad Aiken’s dazzlingly literary story is in a tradition of metaphysical sea-stories, from Poe to Melville to Conrad. Aiken was a distinguished poet and a friend of TS Eliot, with whom he shares a Modernist sense of contemporary humanity as the walking dead. Profoundly frightening (especially for middle-aged professors) and unbearably sad.

Sir Andrew Caldecott –Branch Line to Benceston (1947)
A London music publisher travels by train to a non-existent seaside resort called Benceston, where he kills his hated business partner, and is found guilty of murder. Back at home with his friends, he awaits the appointed hour of his execution in what he thinks is an alternate reality. Andrew Caldecott took to writing fiction late in life, after retiring from the colonial service – he was governor of Hong Kong and then of Ceylon in the 1930s and 1940s. What’s striking about Branch Line to Benceston is not just its uncanny sense of the possibility of living two different lives in two different realities at the same time, but also its contemporary postwar setting of city commuters and Green Belt suburbanisation. Could it be that what’s really terrifying here is not the unreal branch line but the real main line, whose commuters all take the same train every day for the rest of their lives?

Oscar Cook – His Beautiful Hands(1931)
“Mr A”, a celebrated concert violinist, is irresistibly drawn to a Paulina, a Javanese manicurist, who cares for his fingers like no one else. Paulina becomes his lover, and gets pregnant. One by one, Mr A’s fingers start to get infected. Then they start to rot. Then they fall off. Oscar Cook was a kind of pulp Conrad, using his decade running a large chunk of Borneo as the basis for a series of memorably gruesome and ghoulish tales of colonial horror, generally featuring cannibalism, sexual revenge or unspeakable rites. This is a seriously nasty and perverse little number. You’ll feel like washing your hands afterwards – but maybe it’s best not to.

Amelia B Edwards –The Phantom Coach (1864)
A honeymooning lawyer, out walking on the Yorkshire moors, gets lost in a snowstorm, and takes refuge in the house of a reclusive scholar. As he is shown the way to the post road, he hears the tragic story of a mail coach accident nine years previously, in which all six people on board were killed. Out of the night, he sees a mail coach coming . . . Edwards’s classic ghost story is a staple of anthologies, one of the best of a great tradition of Victorian women’s ghost stories. But what lingers in the mind here is not the phantom coach itself (we could all see that coming), but the recluse, a white-maned magus living alone on the moors, whose walls are covered in occult symbols, and who seems to summon up the story’s supernatural apparition.

Stanley Ellin – The Specialty of the House (1948)
A businessman takes a colleague to Sbirro’s, “the restaurant without pretensions”, where the clientele is very select and the food irresistible. The house speciality, Lamb Amirstan, is rarely served, but is the most delicious meal ever created . . . This is the best story ever published in Herbert van Thal’s long-running Pan Book of Horror Stories series, and was brilliantly filmed in 1959 for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, with Robert Morley as the hapless diner.

WF Harvey – August Heat (1910)
On a stifling day, an artist draws a picture of a man on trial. He goes for a walk, and finds himself at the workplace of a monumental mason. The mason has the face of the man on trial – and he’s working on a gravestone with the artist’s name on it. Is there anything scarier than precognition –the uncanny sense of being haunted by the future, or that you have been here before? Harvey’s startling little masterpiece is the best story of its kind.

Marghanita LaskiThe Tower (1955)
Driving through Italy, a woman happens upon the Tower of Sacrifice, a high tower standing alone outside Florence, reputedly built by a Renaissance Satanist. Rather against her better judgement, she stops the car and decides to climb the tower. Laski was a brilliant, chainsmoking journalist, intellectual, biographer and lexicographer who somehow found time to write fiction as well. Best not to say too much about The Tower, as the pleasure’s all in the reading. It’s a strong contender for the scariest story ever written.

MS Waddell – The Little Girl Eater (1964)
A man is trapped by a falling girder under a pier on a beach. The tide is coming in. He sees a little girl, who goes for help – but her mother’s lover tells her that this is the Little Girl Eater, who lives under the pier. This seriously mean-spirited and unpleasant tale is a bit of a curio. It’s credited to “Septimus Dale”, but seems to have been written by the Belfast children’s writer Martin Waddell (who borrowed the pseudonym from a character in Leslie Charteris’s Saint novels). One of the nastiest stories ever written. It’s sensational.

Edith Wharton – Afterward (1910)
An American couple moves into a grandly dilapidated Dorset house that is haunted by a ghost which, they are told, you only recognise as one long after the fact. Edith Wharton is by far the best-known, most straightforwardly canonical writer on this list. But, like Henry James, with whom she is often associated, she was drawn to the ghost story, as well as to tales of American cultural encounters with Europe. Afterward is both. It’s another unforgettably uncanny tale of precognition, but it is also a politically thought-provoking story with a serious economic point of view. Ned Boyne, who has retired to Dorset from the US after making his fortune in mining, is writing a book on “the Economic Basis of Culture”, and may have come to his life of cultured leisure through a fraudulent business deal which had tragic consequences.

Darryl Jones is the author of Sleeping With the Lights On: The Unsettling Story of Horror (OUP, £10.99)


4 Spooky Short Stories Inspired by Haunting Images

In the spirit of Halloween, we asked writers to respond to photographs by Francesca Woodman, Gregory Crewdson and more, as part of our #TMicronovel series on Instagram.

ImageTodd Hido, “#2479-a,” 1999.


By Shelley Jackson, whose book “Riddance; or, the Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children” was published this month.

Marjorie had been preoccupied for some time with an activity the exact nature of which eluded her, though it took all her concentration. Then she looked up, if “up” was the word. It was the bruise-colored sky that gave it away. She was in the inside of her outside, in a sort of pouch or purse or pocket universe, having poured herself neatly out through her own mouth. Like a prolapsed glove, or light spilling out of a window. She was standing outside a house. Only “standing” was a misnomer, and outside was in, and the house was not a house but a storeroom filled with all the attention she had never paid. The heed, a better word: the e’s themselves were golden light between the strong uprights of h and d. Filling the clapboard frame, paying itself out the windows. In life, the heed you paid was always incomplete. You turned away too soon, moved on. But afterward, when you had more time, you could look at things the way light did, sufficient to every detail. Dee’s awful mottled face, the eyelash glued to her cheek. Beauregard, itchy and unimpressed, rocking the bed as he chewed the bald pink wet spot beside his tail. You held nothing back to rustle up a self with. Maybe that’s what light was: souls. Streaming over stones, over homes, over blown snow like fine, dry sand. Filling a house with heed. There was no important difference, then, between outside and in, then and now. The light pouring into her eyes was the same light leaving them.

When the Female Students of Mount Washington High School Didn’t Want to Go on the Class Tour of the White House

By Karen Bender, whose book “The New Order" will be published in November.

We were marching, the honors American history class at Mount Washington High School, through the White House. We, the five women in the class, were, unbelievably and against our will, on a required class tour. But our teacher said, our class participation grade. He said, “Or else.” We marched, stone-faced, through the halls. Blah, blah. This vase, that portrait. “Group photo!” said the photographer on staff. “Everyone, stand right here!” No. We said no. No evidence of us in this building. We marched on. “Everyone, over here! Big smile! Big!” Under my skin, a flickering. Dark, bright, endless. Then the sound of crinkling, of dry leaves. As we walked by, wallpaper crumbled off walls. Portraits slid down walls and smashed on the floor. The carpet disintegrated under our feet. There was the bitter, green odor of rot. Something weird was happening as we walked through the hallway. The building was coming apart. We, the women in the class, kept walking. Windows shattered. Glass scattered across the bare floor. “Duck!” someone shrieked. “Earthquake! Attack!” But this was not an earthquake. A vase exploded. Plaster chunks tumbled out of the wall. It was us, the women of our class. We glanced at each other. The more we felt what we felt, dark, bright, endless. The more we felt. We kept walking. Somehow, security knew. Each step I took: Holes opened up in the wooden floor, the walls. I started running. Where could I go? They were chasing me. What else could I do? I ran, my insides glittering, the building crumbling behind me. Then, somehow, easily, I felt myself vanish and slip through the wall.

No Judgments

By Jon McGregor, whose book “The Reservoir Tapes” was published in August.

In May, there was rain and the river was high and the hawthorn by the lower meadows was lamp-white in the mist. The cow parsley was thick along the footpaths and the shade deepened under the trees. The river rushed under the packhorse bridge. At the badger set in the beechwood after dark, the first cubs of the year came out. They stayed close to the adults. There was a cacophony of smells. The swallows returned in number and could be seen flying in and out through the open doors of the lambing sheds. There were nests high in the rafters. Work had paused on the Hunters’ barn conversions, and there were blue tarpaulins battened down across the roofs. Sean Hooper said he hadn’t been paid, although this would surely be temporary. The Hunters had never been known to be short of money. In the woodland by the river, the bluebells had been trampled. Eileen Tucker had another fall and was taken away from the house. The details were unclear, but they involved the bathroom. There had been a delay in the care workers arriving, apparently, and Francis had tried to transfer her himself. They’d both been trapped for an hour. The nests in the churchyard yews were thickly packed with goldcrest eggs. Les Thompson walked his fields and checked on the grass. The heads would be forming soon, and they were in need of a dryish spell. By the river, someone was seen staying in the old shack the Jackson boys had once built. It wasn’t known who he was, and the decision was taken to remove him. The materials would need clearing away. The weekend was forecast clear, and Clive went home to work on his garden. He made no judgments on those not doing the same.


By Idra Novey, whose book “Those Who Knew: A Novel” will be published in November.

She had wanted forest. She couldn’t recall wanting trees specifically, but the last minutes in the hospital had been so loud, all the beeping machines and those agonizing sounds coming from her mother. She remembered thinking, “Quiet,” the word forest surfacing and then something snapping inside her like a twig, a clean break — and she had done it, delivered herself from that horrible hospital scene into a forest. Now, here she was, feeling more like a tree every second. Her back extending, her legs stiffening and her head . . . what was happening to her head? Was it turning into a burl, wasn’t that the name for them, those raised lumps on the grain of a tree that looked like some kind of system of magic buttons? As a child, she loved running her fingers over those button-like lumps on the bark, imagining that if she pressed one just right it might grant her entry through a secret door into a tree’s inner chamber. And now she was a tree. With a tree’s sweeping shadow.

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ScoopWhoop: The Scariest Real Ghost Stories - Halloween Special

Top 10 ghost stories

Let’s start with the biggest problem for anyone writing a ghost story: does your ghost actually exist? Maybe there is going to be some other explanation: the person seeing the ghost is going mad, or being driven mad by someone else. Perhaps the ghost is a manifestation of grief, or being faked by a criminal who will be unmasked when you whip off the white sheet like Scooby-Doo? You can’t fudge this one.

In the case of Platform Seven, I answered that question right at the start by having the whole novel narrated by a ghost – that of a young woman who has died on Peterborough railway station and finds herself trapped there until the mystery of her death is solved. That created other problems, though – what could my ghost do? Could she move objects, pass through walls?

It’s surprisingly hard not to make a narrator-ghost appear twee. The minute your ghost talks about whisking from one place to the next, or floating along a pavement, they sound like Casper. Suddenly, there are a lot of verbs that can only be employed with the greatest of caution. The very best ghost stories get you to suspend your disbelief because whatever the nature of their manifestation the rationale for that ghost existing is entirely convincing: here are some of them.

1. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
This great testament to the horrors of slavery opens with a haunting. “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children.” In the Nobel prize-winning author’s most famous book, the ghost of a baby killed by her mother to save her from slavery is a malicious sprite but also a metaphor for the way in which the great evil of slavery haunts its victims after abolition, haunts the history of America and should haunt us all. To write it “was to pitch a tent in a cemetery inhabited by highly vocal ghosts”, Morrison said, talking of the “the chaos of the needy dead”. When Morrison’s death was announced at the beginning of August, many commentators cited Beloved as one of the greatest novels of all time. If you haven’t read it yet, what’s wrong with you?

2. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (1898)
No list of ghost stories could exclude this Victorian classic set in a remote country house. A governess has care of a young boy and girl, two orphans, who she comes to believe can see the ghosts of a man and woman maliciously haunting the house. One of the intriguing aspects of reading this unresolved story is that, seen through modern eyes, its ambiguities offer themselves up as metaphors for child neglect and sexual abuse within the home.

3. Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan (2015)
Ghost stories from different nations provide a cultural barometer of sorts. Ghosts have a strong presence in Indonesian culture and the white tiger that inhabits this story is not only the phantom inside the young murderer Margio but also a literal tiger that can be seen by the villagers. This short, intense and beautiful book was selected for the Man Booker International longlist, making Kurniawan the first Indonesian author to be nominated. Is it really a ghost story? Who cares?

4. Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry (2017)
This award-winning non-fiction account of the 2011 tsunami that claimed tens of thousands of lives in Japan isn’t strictly a ghost story either, but it’s a stunning account of how the living are haunted by the need to reclaim their dead. Parry concentrates on the tragedy of Okawa primary school, which lost all but two of its children. Many of his descriptions will haunt you: for me, it was the bereaved parents training themselves to operate mechanical diggers so they could excavate silt and mud for the bodies of their children long after the official search had given up.

5. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (2017)
This polyphonic tale of multiple ghosts won the 2017 Man Booker prize – not bad considering it was Saunders’ first novel, although he was already a highly acclaimed short story writer. It concerns the grief of President Abraham Lincoln for his young son William and is an entertaining and heartbreaking reminder that grief afflicts the poor and the mighty in equal measure.

6. Dark Matter by Michelle Paver (2010)
This wonderful adult novel from the author of the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness proves what an endlessly inventive writer she is. It opens, like many another ghost story, with the discovery of a journal, in this case written by Jack, a wireless operator on an Arctic expedition that takes place in 1938 as the clouds of war are gathering in Europe. The group set up camp in a remote bay, but as the polar winter and endless night close in around them, they realise they are not alone …

7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)
This story from the afterlife narrated by the ghost of a 14-year-old murder victim was an instant bestseller when it was published, and was made into a mawkish but still affecting film by Peter Jackson starring Saoirse Ronan. Susie Salmon watches from her own personal heaven as her family grieve and the police fail to catch her killer. In lesser hands it could have been sentimental but such is Sebold’s skill and observation that you go with the flow and are desperate for young Susie to find peace and justice for her family.

8. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (2009)
A doctor is called to Hundreds Hall, the dilapidated mansion belonging to the Ayres family. Have they simply fallen on hard times like so many aristocratic families of the postwar era, or is there something more sinister going on? Waters takes her intimate knowledge of Victorian gothic and combines it with all her usual skill to create something both knowingly traditional and utterly modern in its portrayal of family secrets and class.

9. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (1983)
One of the most famous modern ghost stories thanks to its hugely successful stage and film adaptations, Susan Hill’s novel has lost none of its shocking gothic power. Set in the sinister Eel Marsh House, cut off from the world entirely when the waters rise over its causeway, a solicitor called Arthur Kipps tries to unravel the affairs and deadly history of the house and its owner, the deceased Mrs Drablow. But the woman in black will haunt him forever.

10. Hotel World by Ali Smith (2001)
Five narrators haunt this joyous and inventive book, beginning with the ghost of a young woman working as a chambermaid who dies after climbing into a dumb waiter on the fourth floor just to prove she could fit. The cord snaps and down she goes and her descent is an apt beginning for a novel that rushes headlong through an investigation of grief with a glorious shout of “Woooo-hoooo” (its opening phrase). This is a novel that proves that ghost stories can go anywhere and be anything: enchanting, poetic and even funny. It is truly the most malleable of forms.

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty is published by Faber and Faber. To order a copy, go to Free UK p&p on orders over £15.


Paranormal stories short

We’ve given up so much outdoor recreation this year. Not that we’re mad about it. Saving lives matters more than backpacking trips andsummer marathons. But as the days get warmer, I feel myself craving the smoke-in-my hair smell from a campfire. I miss the sound of owls, the dwindling supply of beer in the cooler, and the way time suspends as you wait for the flames to die. 

Mostly, though, I miss the stories. There’s something about the light of the fire in the backcountry darkness that makes you lean in and listen a little closer. And, of course, a few sips of whiskeynever hurt a good tall tale. 

We can’t bring back your spring campfires with friends. We can, however, bring our favorite campfire stories to you. Save these three for retellingwhen things return to normal—or tell them now over a Zoom call with your friends.

The Ghost of Oxford Milford Road

The storyteller: Writer and editor Brad Culp

When Brad Culp was a student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, there was a rumor that the town was one of the most haunted places in America. When Culp started an on-campus magazine, he couldn’t wait to write about several of the area’s most famous phantoms. Not long after his story published, though, he kept finding himself thinking about one ghost in particular—the ghost of Oxford Milford Road. 

As the story goes, many decades ago, probably sometime in the 1940s, there was a young man courting a young woman in a rural part of town. Because the woman’s parents didn’t approve of the match, each night he visited under the cover of darkness. After her parents went to bed, the young woman would sneak out of her farmhouse and flash the lights of her parent’s car three times. Then her young suitor would ride his motorcycle down the road. 

“One night he took the turn right before her house a little too sharp,” says Culp. The motorcycle went one way, he went the other. His injuries were so severe that he did not survive. Rumor has it, however, that his lovestruck ghost still haunts this stretch of Milford Road. 

Curious, Culp, his girlfriend (now his wife), and a friend decided to head out there one night to see if they could verify the tale. His girlfriend was worried she’d be completely freaked out. “She believes more in that stuff than I do,” Culp says. But he was mostly concerned that his suspicions—that none of this was actually true—would be confirmed. On this particular night, as Culp passed the abandoned farm, an idea came to him, and he pitched it to his girlfriend (how could she not say yes?). Though reluctant, she relented, and Culp turned a short way into the farmhouse driveway. 

He killed the engine and flashed his lights three times. “No joke, there was a single headlight that appeared three-quarters of a mile down the road,” Culp says. “You saw it start to come, going pretty slow. It kept coming and coming. My wife was freaking out. It was coming closer and closer.” As a collision seemed imminent, Culp turned on his car’s lights. He expected to see a kid on a bike, bailing out from his prank now that he’d been caught. “But there’s nothing there. The light is just gone,” he says. 

They got out of the car. They walked around, trying to figure out what it was they could have seen. “To this day, we still talk about it. I saw something I cannot explain,” he says. If you get him and his wifearound a campfire, they’ll swear up and down that the story is true. And if you’re ever in Oxford, Ohio, consider parking for just a few minutes on Oxford Milford Road at night to test your own nerve. 

Was It People or Was It Aliens?

Storyteller: Doug Averill, retired owner and manager of the Flathead Lake Lodge

Doug Averill grew up as one of eight boys on his parents’ sprawling dude ranch, the Flathead Lake Lodge, in rural Montana. As a teen, the Averill boys ran wild. “We rode around as a little gang of cowboys,” he remembers. They’d saddle up and head off to check cattle on the three giant tracts of land the family managed, which formed a triangle around some of the state’s most remote rangelands. 

One summer in the 1960s, the brothers came across a ghastly sight. There, on the ground, were three dead cows neatly arranged in a circle. No obvious wounds were visible, but their reproductive organs had been removed. “But there was never any blood. It was almost surgical removal,” Averill remembers. 

During this decade, America was obsessed with aliens, and write-ups in the local newspapers posited that perhaps this was the work of extraterrestrials. People mused that aliens had taken the reproductive organs for testing. But one day, Averill and his friends came across a lance in their path. Attached to it was a cryptic note with a threatening message. “That’s when we thought, It’s gotta be people doing this,” he says. 

Then things got really strange. Over the next few days, a series of odd events unfolded. First, the brothers stopped in at a local bar to grab a hamburger, leaving their horses in the back of a stock truck. The horses were packed in tightly, and the Averills were only gone for a few minutes. When they came back, the horse packed into the middle of the truck was mysteriously out—with no signs of a struggle. “We had no idea how they possibly could have gotten that horse unloaded without unloading all the others,” he says.

The next day, a new wrangler on the ranch fell off his horse and was badly injured. They’d all been riding together, but not a single other member of the crew saw the accident. “It was the weirdest thing,” Averill says. The man’s injuries were so severe that he was left permanently disabled. 

Finally, the last terrible thing happened. An old camp cook drove out to meet the brothers and ride for a day. But when he arrived, the tailgate on his stock truck had somehow gone missing, even though it had been there when he’d loaded up. His horse, Betsy, had fallen out of the truck and been dragged behind the vehicle for who knows how long. They had to put her down on the spot. “To be honest, it just killed him to see what had happened to Betsy. We probably should have put him down, too,” remembers Averill. “Those three events were just boom, boom, boom—three things in a row that were so weird all tied together, because they were right after we saw that spear,” he remembers. Three things: like the three dead cows left in a circle. 

Averill used to tell the stories from that summer around the campfire quite a lot. But over the years, he’s gotten new stories, and so they’ve been shifted out of rotation. Besides, they’re awfully grim. But he recently got a call about a downed bull, a buffalo. It was out in one of the most remote parts of his ranch. “A neighbor had seen a pack of 16 wolves, and normally, wolves don’t bother buffalo, but 16 of them? I thought, Well, maybe.” 

He went to investigate. There, lying in a snow-covered field, was the bull. But there were no bullet holes or teeth marks or gashes on its corpse. Even stranger, scavenging animals and birds hadn’t touched it. “Not even the buzzards, which is really unusual,” he says. One other thing was amiss: its reproductive organs were gone. And there wasn’t a single footprint in the snow around it—or anywhere along the mile-long walk into the ranch from the nearest road. 

Ask Averill whether he thinks he’s dealing with aliens or humans, and he’ll tell you he’s pretty sure it’s humans. “But I’d rather it was aliens,” he adds. After that summer back in the sixties, seeing what humans were capable of, he’d pick aliens any day.

The Ghost of La Parva Ski Resort

Storyteller: Drew Tabke, professional skier

Throughout Latin America, you’ll hear variations of the story of La Llorona, or the wailing woman. Sometimes she’s lost her husband. Sometimes she’s lost her children. Sometimes it’s both. But in La Parva, a ski spot in the Chilean Andes, the wailing woman is named Lola, and everyone in the area swears they knew her before she died. “A local restaurant owner said he dated her,” pro skier Drew Tabke says, adding that the ski patroller he heard the story from pointed at the exact hut where this tale takes place. 

The story starts on a nice day in peak ski season. Lolaand her young son planned to spend the day on the slopes. “As can happen in the Andes, a thick fog rose up from the valley, which often precedes the arrival of a real storm. The clouds enveloped the two as they were making their way down from the top of the mountain, and they lost contact with one another,” Tabke says. 

Desperate to find her son, Lola began screaming his name as she ranthrough the thick fog. Unable to see clearly, though, she stumbled down a steep slope and began sliding toward a rocky couloir. 

“By chance, a local lift operator who was returning to his cabin came across her body. He was afraid she was dead, but on closer inspection, he found she was still alive, just barely,” Tabke says.Her body was covered in lacerations from sharp rocks, and the only word she said—in the faintest whisper—was her son’s name. 

The lift operator worked to carefully pull her body to his cabin, which was just up the hill. He bandaged her cuts as best he could and then ran to fetch the doctor. Together the doctor and lift operator made their way back to his hut, the fog hanging thickly in the air. When they arrived, though, the bed was empty. Just the bloody sheets remained. 

“Neither the woman nor her son were ever found,” Tabke says. But locals report hearing her wail for her child whenever they’re near that lift operator’s cabin.

And here’s the thing: Tabke does not believe in ghosts. Something, however, changes when he arrives in Chile each winter. Maybe it’s the fact that, from La Parva, you can see up to Cerro el Plomo, an Incan child-sacrifice site. Maybe it’s because Tabke has simply read so many magical realism books by authors like Juan Rulfo and Gabriel García Márquez. But sitting alone in his cabin in the Andes, with the wind whipping and the candles flickering, he swears that every now and then he just can’t tell if what he’s hearing is a woman or the wind.

ScoopWhoop: The Scariest Real Ghost Stories - Halloween Special

Fair warning: Reading this collection of scary haunted house stories in the dark or by yourself is likely to keep you up all night (as was surely the case for me). Or, at the very least, send a chill down your spine—even if you consider yourself the bravest of the brave. Oh, is that a challenge? Why yes, it is. Without further ado, we invite you to read about the following 18 scariest real-life haunted house stories from the creepiest places around the country. In case you're feeling really fearless and ready to get freaky, you can actually book a stay at most of these places—and greet the ghosts yourself, so happy hauntings ahead.

To hear more spooky ghost stories, subscribe to our haunted house podcast Dark House on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you listen.

1The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, Missouri

Starting strong with a very scary house: The Lemp Mansion in St. Louis, which is known to be one of the most haunted places in America due to a tragic history.

The 33-room home was built in the 1860s by William Lemp, a successful brewery owner who ended up killing himself in 1904 after the youngest of his four sons, Frederick, died. A few years later, his wife also died of cancer in the house. Then, in 1922, William Lemp Jr., shot himself in the same room William Sr. killed himself.

As if that weren't enough tragedy for one place, in 1949, Charles Lemp—William's third son—shot his dog in the basement of the home and then killed himself in his room. That same year, the house was sold and transformed into a boarding house, where reports of hauntings began. According to Destination America, witnesses have experienced burning sensations and slamming doors.

Today, the Lemp Mansion is a restaurant and inn that also holds events. On Sunday night, the inn hosts a Murder Mystery Dinner.


2The Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa

On June 10, 1912, Josiah and Sarah Moore were bludgeoned to death inside of their home in Villisca, Iowa. Their four children—and two friends who were spending the night—were also killed, and to this day, the crime remains unsolved. Their home is considered one of the most haunted houses in the country, and guests are drawn to it. People even pay $400+ to stay for one night.

"Tours have been cut short by children's voices, falling lamps, moving ladders, and flying objects," says the Villisca Axe Murder House website. And, in 2014, a paranormal investigator stabbed himself after spending the night. "Skeptics have left believers," adds the website.

The full story of the Villisca Axe Murder House is featured in episode 2 of House Beautiful’s new haunted house podcast, Dark House. Listen to the episode here.


3Jean Harlow House in Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles is one of the best destinations for haunted-house hunting, and this Bavarian-style home in Beverly Hills has a particularly gruesome history. In 1932, it was home to the iconic actress Jean Harlow and her abusive husband, Paul Bern, who shot himself in the head while standing in front of the mirror. Their butler discovered him and called MGM instead of the police, so there were tons of rumors that it wasn't actually suicide. Many suspected Bern's ex-girlfriend, a suspicion exacerbated by her jumping off a boat to her death a couple days later. Jean moved out after his death but died only a few years later at the age of 26.

But wait—it gets creepier. In 1963, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring bought the home and lived there with his girlfriend, Sharon Tate, until she left him for Roman Polanski. They were still friends, and remained so until both of them were murdered by the Charles Manson cult. Tate was the same age as Harlow when she passed.

But back to when the couple lived in the Harlow House. Tate told several friends of creepy occurrences in the home and even mentioned it in interviews. For example, once, when she was sleeping in the master bedroom alone, she saw a "creepy little man." Her friends say she she believed it to be Paul Bern's ghost. She was so freaked out when she saw the alleged ghost that she ran out of the room and then saw a hanging shadowy corpse with its throat slit in the hallway. There are also stories about two other people dying in the swimming pool over the years.

4SK Pierce House

Massachusetts has no shortage of haunted mansions, it seems, and the SK Pierce Victorian is one of the state's eeriest. The original occupant, Sylvestor Pierce, had just started making his fortune in the furniture business when he built this home for himself, his son, and his wife, Susan. As a man about town, he hosted many notable people in his 7,000 square foot home throughout the years, including President Calvin Coolidge, Bette Davis, and Norman Rockwell.

Only a week after moving into the home, Susan fell ill and passed away from a mysterious bacterial disease. A year later, he remarried Ellen, a woman thirty years his junior, and had two more children. Years later, when both Sylvester and Ellen had passed away, his sons embarked on a fiery feud about the property as well as the furniture company, but the Great Depression swept in and made their choice easier since the company basically went bankrupt.

The youngest son, Edward, was given control of the home when he turned it into a boarding house. It became a hotspot for illicit activities (including the murders and sudden, tragic deaths of several occupants) according to local lore. As a result of these violent ends, guests have reported every kind of haunting imaginable, from visions of apparitions to flying objects, disembodied sounds, pressure, temperature drops, and more.

5Mudhouse Mansion

Located in Fairfield County, Ohio (until recently), the Mudhouse Mansion has a bad reputation. Nobody can seem to agree on when it was built, but it dates back sometime between the 1840s and 1900. Unlike the other abandoned mansions on this list, you sadly can no longer visit it, as the home was demolished in 2015 after not being occupied since the 1930s. The last resident (at least legally speaking) was Lulu Hartman-Mast, and the current owner of the property is her relative Jeanne Mast.

Because there's so little information about who lived here and when, and because abandoned places tend to ignite the dark side of the imagination, there are tons of legends around alleged atrocities occurring (and consequent hauntings). The sources don't seem to be very credible, though.

6455A Sackett Street

You never hear as much about haunted apartments as haunted houses, which is strange—considering that apartments have much more turnover, and therefore a higher likelihood of something (or someone) evil having lived there before you move in.

That was definitely the case with 455A Sacket Street in Brooklyn. One woman who grew up there writes about her firsthand experiences, including unexplained fires, seriously bad energy, family tragedies, personal suffering, and, here's the kicker: the body of a child discovered in the wall after several suspicious sightings of a similar-looking shadow child in the mirror.

You can read her full account here, as well as commenters who also lived there and corroborate these claims. I'll definitely not be requesting an in-person viewing for this place—private balcony or not—if this address ever pops back up in my StreetEasy feed.

7Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Arizona

The Hotel Monte Vista has numerous paranormal guests they can’t get rid of. The hotel, which opened as the Community Hotel in 1927—named after the townspeople who helped raised the funds for its construction—has a history of underground opium dens, speakeasies, and gambling. Today, the hotel is known for the paranormal activity that haunts some of the rooms and halls.

Guests who’ve stayed in room 220 have experienced the TV changing channels on its own accord, and some have said they felt cold hands touching them in their sleep. There’s also reportedly a phantom bellboy who knocks on doors and announces “room service,” but when guests get to the door, no one's there. One of the more popular—and possibly most disturbing encounters—is the sound of an infant crying in the basement. The hotel website reads, “Staff have found themselves running upstairs to escape the sound of the cries. Though the sounds are very real to those who hear them, there has been no information that has explained the phenomenon.”


8Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana

Rumored to be on top of a burial ground is the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, which is the home to at least 12 different ghosts. Built in 1796, ghost stories center around the tale of an enslaved woman named Chloe, who had her ear chopped off after she was reportedly caught eavesdropping. Seeking revenge, Chloe killed two of the master’s daughters by poisoning a birthday cake. She was then hanged by her fellow enslaved people, and today is reportedly seen wandering the plantation with a turban on to conceal her ear.

If you want to investigate things for yourself, you can stay at the plantation for $175/night.


9Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles, California

More cursed than haunted, downtown L.A.'s Hotel Cecil got such a bad rap that it actually changed its name to Stay on Main. If you're a true crime and paranormal super fan, you've likely already heard of it. Where to begin? So many bad things have happened here—there's literally an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to its violent history. The first recorded death by suicide is in 1931, followed by a long string of similar deaths in 1932, 1934, 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1940.

At some point in the '30s, one man was pinned to the exterior wall by a truck. A woman murdered her newborn in the building in 1944, and the pattern of suicides continued into the '60s. In 1962, a woman jumped from the ninth floor window and landed on a pedestrian, killing them both. It's worth noting that two of the women who died by suicide apparently jumped while their husbands were asleep in the room.

In 1964, tenant Goldie Osgood was brutally murdered, a crime which has remained unsolved. Next, in the '80s, the infamous serial kill Richard Ramirez (the "Night Stalker") stayed at the hotel and in the 1990s, Austrian serial killer Jack Unterwege lived there. Other weird things kept happening but the weirdest is definitely the disappearance and death of 21-year-old traveler Elisa Lam.

A few weeks after Lam went missing, her body was discovered in the rooftop water tank after visitors and tenants complained about a funky taste. They later found odd footage of her in the elevator from the night of her disappearance. It's difficult to make out what she's doing; it looks like she's either playing hide-and-seek with someone outside the elevator, or she's frightened and attempting to hide from someone but the doors won't seem to shut. Authorities ruled the death accidental drowning—but because you need a key to access the roof, many suspect foul play.

10Lui Family Mansion in Taiwan

Built in 1929 in Baroque style, the Minxiong Ghost House (aka the Lui family mansion) is a place with a heartbreaking history. Located in the Taiwanese countryside, it's been abandoned since the 1950s when the family fled abruptly. Like all mysterious places, there's plenty of lore around the family and why they left the once-beautiful place.

Local legend says the maid was having an affair with her employer, Liu Rong-yu, and when the secret came out, she jumped down the well to her death (but since she did not live to tell the tale, who's to say another family member didn't push her?). Then she came back to haunt the family until they finally left. A few years later, it was occupied by members of the Kuomintang of China (KMT), many of whom were also thought to have died of suicide, which exacerbated its reputation as haunted. People who visit report plenty of ghostly sightings.

11Los Feliz Murder Mansion in Los Angeles, California

During the mid 20th century, this large Los Feliz home was the (seemingly) happy home of Dr. Harold Perelson and his family, until the horrific night of December, 6, 1959 when he murdered his wife in her sleep with a ball-peen hammer and attempted to murder his three children before drinking acid to kill himself.

Fortunately, his eldest daughter let out a scream when he struck her in the head, waking up the younger children who then walked into the hallway to find out what was going on. During the commotion, they were all able to flee. Before the murder-suicide, he was a successful doctor who invented a new type of syringe after investing most of money into its research and production, but he got screwed out of the rights, leading investigators to blame financial problems. Other creepy details include a passage of Dante's Divine Comedy left open on his bedside table.

Two years later, it was sold to the Enriquez family, who used it as "storage unit," and their son continued to to do so until he sold it to a couple in 2016 who had plans to fix it up. But it seems to have scared them off because within a few years it's on the market again. Photographers also report a feeling of needing to "run away" from the house when they get close up to it.

12Villa de Vecchi in Italy

Villa de Vecchi is foreboding, alright. Just consider that looming fog blanket! Located near Lake Como, Italy, the "House of Witches" dates back to 1854-1857, when it was built as a summer house for Count Felix De Vecchi. The family was only able to spend a few years there, as their lives were mired in tragedy right after it was built.

First, the architect died a year after construction. Then in 1862, Count De Vecchi came home to discover his wife murdered and his daughter missing. When he could not find her after a year of searching, he died by suicide. His brother then moved into the home and his family continued to live there until WWII. It's been vacant since the 1960s, and an avalanche in 2002 wiped out all the houses in the area... except this one. Spooky.

13The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

In 1937, millionaire inventor Norman G. Baker posed as a doctor and turned the hotel into a hospital that he said could cure cancer. Have the chills yet? Baker, who had a fetish for purple, painted many sections of the hospital in the color, and today, the chimneys remain that same color. In addition to wearing purple shirts and ties, he drove a purple car as well. People came from all over with hopes of curing their cancer, and many who were "treated" died.

Eventually, Baker was exposed and run out of town, and today the property is an active hotel. It's said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a bearded man wearing Victorian clothing and a five-year-old girl.


14Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada

In 1907, Mizpah Hotel opened as one of the first luxury hotels in Nevada. With a rich history and elaborate decor, the hotel is best known for its legend of the “Lady in Red.” While the date remains unclear, the story goes like this: A woman was murdered in her room on the fifth floor. Some say it was a jealous ex-boyfriend, while others say the Lady in Red had been caught cheating by her husband and he killed her in a jealous rage.

Those who’ve stayed at the hotel say the Lady in Red whispers in men’s ears and leaves pearls from her broken necklace on guests' pillows. Guests can stay in the Lady in Red suite to experience it themselves, and if that’s too much for you, the Red Lady Bloody Mary at the hotel restaurant should suffice.


15​The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was designed to house 250 patients when it opened in 1864. Fast forward to the 1950s, when the facility reached its peak and had more than 2,400 patients living in overcrowded and inhumane conditions—with some even kept in cages. In 1994, the asylum closed, and today, there are reports of paranormal activity, with souls of patients lingering and roaming the halls.

You can take an overnight ghost hunt tour from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the Asylum, a two-hour paranormal tour from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., or a 90-minute day tour.


16Merchant House Museum in New York, New York

Seeing as it's the only preserved and intact family home from the 19th century in all of New York City, it makes sense that this house has also been the source and subject of many ghost stories. The Tredwell family lived here for over 100 years, and the last family occupant was Gertrude, the youngest daughter, who died in the home in 1933. Staff, visitors, and even passerby say they experience weird, disembodied things here.

Don't buy it? Take a candlelit ghost tour of the museum to decide for yourself. And even if you don't catch an apparition out the corner of your eye or hear children playing and floorboards in empty rooms, you'll at least get the sense that you're intruding on someone else's space, in a completely different time, since it's virtually the same as was when Gertrude died.

17The Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco, California

In 1890, the Queen Anne hotel in San Francisco was an etiquette school for girls. Today, it has 48 rooms for guests, though some believe the ghost of Miss Mary Lake, the school's headmistress, still lingers. Folks who stay in room 410, Miss Mary Lake’s former office, have woken up to find their blankets closely tucked around them in bed or their clothes unpacked.


18Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts

In 1892, Lizzie Borden was the main suspect for the axe murders of her father and stepmother. Borden was tried and acquitted of the murders, and guests who visit Lizzie's house in Fall River, Massachusetts say she can be heard cackling about it. Others say that you can sometimes hear a maid screaming for help, and that Lizzie's slaughtered parents stalk the grounds. You can experience the paranormal activity yourself by visiting the Lizzie Borden House, which is now a museum and bed and breakfast.


Danielle TulloDeputy EditorI like pink, iced coffee, and long walks through the candle section.

Hadley MendelsohnSenior EditorHadley Mendelsohn is House Beautiful's senior editor, and when she's not busy obsessing over all things decor-related, you can find her scouring vintage stores, reading, or stumbling about because she probably lost her glasses again.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at


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11 Of The Scariest Ghost Stories From Reddit

It wasn’t a little girl

I was camping with my husband and his family at a small, remote lake in New Mexico. There were about 10 people in our group and another group of six people in the next campsite. It was nighttime and both groups were doing typical activities: making s’mores, having a few drinks and telling stories, when we all heard what sounded like a little girl yelling out for help. Neither group had children with them, but we were all positive we were hearing a little girl and decided to search the area we heard the noises from together.

There was a field behind our campsites, and we all saw a very tall, pure white figure standing maybe 100ft away from us in the field, making the noises. We all agreed this thing looked maybe 6 feet tall, skinny, and white as can be. We made our way closer to investigate, but whatever it was that we saw started backing off as we got closer, and it disappeared into the trees. All night we continued to hear a little girl calling for help as we tried to sleep.

The walking dead

I'm a psychiatric nurse and early in my career, I worked at a residential mental health facility. One of our residents was an elective mute, which means that he didn't/wouldn't/couldn't talk, but there were no medical reasons as to why. He had spoken earlier in his life and in fact seemed quite normal back then, with the exception of being close to seven feet tall. He'd been raised in the Deep South and joined the military when he was 19, but one night he vanished. He was declared AWOL, and eventually he was declared missing and dead.

Ten years later, a seven-foot tall man walked into a VA Hospital emergency room in my part of the Midwest and said to the receptionist: "My name is Marion Duchene (not the real name), and I've been dead for ten years."

Those were the last words he ever spoke.

He was covered with dust, and he was wearing the same clothes he'd been reported to be wearing the night he vanished. His social security number had not been used and he had no identification on his person. However, they were able to identify him, I guess via fingerprints. The family was notified but they said they had already grieved their lost man and that whomever was claiming to be him simply could not be. They demanded not to be contacted again.

Marion paced all day every day, moving his mouth that looked like talking or muttering, but no sound came out. He had an unnerving habit of throwing his head back with his mouth wide open as if he were laughing heartily, but not even a breath could be heard. If I talked to him, he appeared to listen, periodically throwing his head back in that laughter-mimicking way of his.

Various medications were tried, but they did not affect him either positively or negatively. Occupational therapy did nothing because Marion would just grin and unless told to stay put, he'd get up and start pacing again.

On my last day at that job, the last thing I saw was Marion, pacing in the parking lot, throwing his head back to "laugh." Later I wondered if all along I'd been dealing with a ghost. All these years later, I still don't know.

The unrest stop

I was driving across country with my mom and sister when I was 16 and my sister was 20. It was late, but we were well rested still and alert. We were driving along an interstate and needed gas and a bathroom break, so we stopped at the only rest stop in 200 miles. There was a van full of teenagers on a road trip at the gas station, as well as a small grey car parked at the pump in front of us with two young men standing still outside of it.

When we got there everything felt wrong. We'd been on the road for days and seen many rest stops at night and had never been afraid until then. My mom and sister went inside and I stayed in the car. I heard the teenagers say they were creeped out and couldn't get the pump to work, and they left in a hurry. I was watching the car in front of us, and the two men had not moved at all. Not an inch. They weren't talking. They weren't on phones. They were just standing there, still as stone.

My sister and mom came running back out to the car and when they got in, the two men slowly turned to look at us while not moving or pivoting the rest of their bodies, and I swear to fucking shit, we all saw the same thing - they had eyes dark as pitch and empty. Truly empty. Not black, not reflecting any light at all, just a void.

We sped out of there and didn’t stop until we were in the next city. The worst thing about the entire experience? We couldn't find the place on any map. We knew exactly which spot on the interstate to look, and we couldn't find it on Google maps or any paper map we had. We even asked locals about the creepy gas station out on that stretch of road and got only confused looks. We've traveled on that interstate since, and there is no rest stop.

It came for us in the graveyard

We were driving my friend’s really old beat up Subaru through a massive graveyard. We stopped and walked down a hill and came across a little pond. There was someone sitting on a rock on the other side of the pond. The figure was all black and we couldn’t make out any features other than the fact it looked like a man who was wearing some old-style top hat. We stupidly waved and shouted “Hi!”. He didn’t show any acknowledgement and continued sitting still on the rock. All of a sudden, he jumped to his feet, started running to us on the water and then vanished in thin water about halfway on the pond. My friends and I screamed and ran back to the car.

The car wouldn’t start, and we heard something banging on the back of the car. It wasn’t a constant bang, but every few seconds or so we’d hear it. Nobody was outside from what we could see in the dark, but something was making a noise on the car. I opened my phone and started dialing my mom to come give us a boost, but I had no service. None of us had any cell service. The next 30 minutes were spent trying to get her car started. No banging was heard afterwards, but we felt this heavy pressure around us.

Finally, the car started and she hit the pedal to the metal. We sped out of the graveyard so fast. Immediately crossing the gates, all of our phones regained cell service. One thing I know for certain is that someone or something was out there, and it was not an animal or a human.

It was good to see an old friend

When I was 37, I went to my high school reunion. I flew into the nearest airport and rented a car. The distance was about 35 miles through a very rural and almost abandoned part of the country. About three miles outside of town I see someone on the side of the road, flagging me down. It turned out that it was one of the guys I had attended school with. Jim (not his name) gets in the car and we start talking. I had not seen him in twenty years, but he still looked the same, maybe a little older. We get to town and I ask him if he wants to come to the VFW and have a drink. He says "No, just take me home." Jim's parents had lived only a few blocks from my grandmother’s house, and I turned in that direction but he said to take him to the outskirts of town. There was a mobile home park out there, and I figured that is where he lived. When we reached the end of the turn off he said, "Just drop me here. It was good to see you again" and he walks off into the night.

I go to the VFW, met some of my old classmates, we start to talk. As we are talking about who is coming to the reunion, I mention that I had just picked Jim up three miles east of town and had dropped him off. Everyone gets quiet; even the guy singing karaoke stops and lays down the mike. My cousin goes white as a new t-shirt.

"Barb, Jim died on that curve eight years ago. Rolled his car. We were all at his funeral," I was told. I started to feel really dizzy, and I went out to the car to take some deep breaths. There on the seat is the local newspaper, printed eight years previous, containing Jim's obituary. I still have the paper.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

After we moved into our home, we were told a woman had died there at the hands of her abusive husband. She hated men. My dad would wake up with scratches all over himself, and whenever my brother was mean to my sister or I, he would have scratches on him as well. One day, my brother hurt our sister he hit her with something. When he woke up later that night he had a horrible bloody nose.

The day we moved out, my brother accidentally broke his twin’s arm trying out a wrestling move. He swears that he would have died that night if it wasn't our last in the house.

Death came for him

I was standing in my parents’ room, talking to my very sick dad at the time. He was dying of stage 4 esophageal cancer. I got the feeling something was behind me. I looked towards the doorway to the living room and something about 4'6 and fully black is peeking around the corner, with its hands on the door frame. I ran towards it, and it slipped back around the door. When I got outside the doorway, there was nothing. My dad was completely confused when I step back inside the room when I tell him. People who stayed at my house in my dad’s final days claimed to have seen it. My mom saw the figure on multiple occasions in multiple places until he passed away. We haven't seen it since.

My mother attracted evil

After my parents divorced when I was a teenager, I lived with my mother. I experienced lots of paranormal happenings. Several times when I was reading in my bed, the room would start to feel really “icy.” Next, it would feel as if something/somebody that hated me was staring at me. When I got that feeling, I would leave the room and come back an hour later. Sometimes during the day, I would see a shadow figure sneaking along my bedroom walls.

Something in the flat was pretending to be my dog. I went into my room and heard a deep growl from under the bed. My dog wasn’t capable of making a noise that deep. It sounded like either a really big dog or a man doing his best dog impersonation. Other times, my dog would whimper and pace in the room next to mine but wouldn’t come when called, as if he was afraid of something in the hallway.

When I moved in with my father, the paranormal activity stopped.

Evicted by a ghost

Shortly after college, I got married. We immediately moved into a basement apartment because that's all that was available within our budget. This place had a poltergeist, and my wife was terrified. Whatever resided there with us made it clear it wanted to live alone. Dishes, glasses, and other items would fly off the shelf. My wife was hit several times. There was always an ominous feeling like we were being watched. At night when we walked through the apartment in the dark, there would be insanely bright flashes of light that would illuminate the entire room.

One night while we were going to bed, as soon as my wife and I walked into the bedroom we heard a voice from nowhere say, "[My name], move." My wife looked at me, I looked at her...I said loudly, “you've got it, bud.” We moved out 2 days later and stayed with family. The old lady who owned the place died a few months later, and the house was torn down. It is still an empty lot to this day, nothing but grass and a tree. I still drive by it every now and again.

The Death March

My dad used to work as a corrections officer at a rural prison. He drove the perimeter of the property for his entire shift, where he would check empty buildings for runaway inmates. It was generally a boring job.

One night, my dad was parked on a hill reading a magazine when he started to feel a thumping in his body. He described it as the feeling you get when speakers are playing a song with really heavy bass.

He put the magazine down and checked his rearview mirror where he saw someone outside the truck. He grabbed his pistol and jumped out of the truck with his weapon drawn. Outside the truck, he realized it was a procession of Native Americans walking through the truck (and directly through his seat) only to disappear at the exact spot he was sitting. He said it was clear they were ghosts because many of them appeared injured. This went on for a few seconds, and then the whole procession disappeared.

He called the other perimeter guy on his walkie to try to explain, and the other guy almost immediately stopped communicating. Turns out the other guy had seen this happen before but didn't believe in ghosts, so he wouldn't talk about it.

The demon’s room

I worked as a forensic nurse in a hospital’s lock-up unit. We had one older lady who swore she was being haunted and abused by a demon she would call Tiberius. So many crazy things happened while she was on the unit. We’d go into the room, do normal care, leave, and seconds later she’d start screaming bloody murder. We’d run into the room to find her looking like she’d been in a fight with a boxing champ—bloody lip, black eye, markings all over her body. No one ever saw her doing this stuff to herself. Things would get moved around the room by themselves. At one point she was in protective restraints because the doctor thought she was hurting herself. There was no way she could have moved or done anything to herself while in these restraints, but new marks would always appear or her tray/cart would be across the room. The room was secure so there was no way someone else was doing this. When we asked her questions, she’d just say, “It was Tiberius.”

After she was discharged, we always had trouble with that room. If there was going to be a rapid response or code, it happened in that room. One night a guard reported lights blinking on and off. It was that room.


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