Ghost stories are almost always scary because they deal with the final unknown - what happens after death. Some famous and popular ghost stories have an underlying scary message or warning about engaging in a particular activity, while others are just outright creepy. Whether the ghost stories are famous or lesser known, they all play on common fears that up the creep factor for all who hear them.
A Terrifying Tale of Summoning Spirits
by Karen Frazier
Imagine being a young, pregnant newlywed excited to move into your first home, only to discover you're not alone there. This true, eerie story happened to a young couple who had moved from the Midwest to a historic home in Southwestern Washington State. The names have been changed, but the events are true.
A New Life Together
Alyson and Mike were newlyweds expecting their first baby in about six months when Mike got a job in a small town in Southwestern Washington in 2003. A registered nurse, Alyson quickly found a job working in the local jail, and the couple bought a century old home in the heart of the historic town. The couple eagerly moved in and began renovating their home, preparing it for the upcoming birth of their first baby.
Strange Symbols on the Floor
The first sign that something wasn't quite right happened when Mike was pulling up carpet in a basement bedroom. Underneath the bedroom, he found strange markings on the floor including pentagrams and several strange glyphs. While the couple thought it was odd, they had more on their mind than some weird markings on the floor, so they recovered it with new carpet and went about their lives.
Eerie and Unexplainable Paranormal Activity
Things started slowly after the markings on the floor were discovered. When she was alone in the house, Alyson often saw shadows darting out of the corner of her eye but chalked it up to imagination. She also heard strange sounds, such as rapping, knocking, and what sounded like the distant mumble of voices.
Neighborhood Cats Overrun the Garage
It wasn't until after their baby daughter was born, however, that things really amped up. The first thing Alyson noticed was that the yard and garage were suddenly overrun by neighborhood cats. Every time she looked outside, there were at least a dozen cats hanging out near her garage, something she'd never noticed before. She also noticed that the family den had a distinct smell of sulfur, and the garage, which had never bothered her before, felt dark and foreboding. She soon grew fearful of entering the garage at all.
A Spirit Takes Aim at the Baby
There was also terrifying activity surrounding the baby. One day when Alyson was home alone with her daughter, the baby was sitting in a car seat firmly in the middle of the large kitchen island when Alyson said it looked as if an unseen hand gave the car seat a shove, and it flew off the counter with the sleeping baby still on board. Luckily, the little girl was startled but not hurt. These things all seemed to occur when Mike wasn't home; when he did come home, all activity seemed to stop abruptly.
The Consequences of Summoning Spirits
After the incident with the baby seat, Alyson sat Mike down and asked if he knew why this was happening. Grudgingly, Mike admitted that once he had discovered the glyphs on the floor in the basement, he had felt compelled to hold rituals there, such as playing with a Ouija board and holding seances. It appeared Mike had opened some long-closed door to invite something scary into the house. Worse, Mike didn't seem at all bothered by the activity and how it was affecting Alyson or the baby. He refused to stop with his basement activity. Fearing for the safety of her baby, Alyson moved out and initiated divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, a few months later Mike was found dead in the basement room of an apparent suicide. Packing up the house after his death, Alyson discovered he had pulled up the new carpet in the basement and added new symbols to the floor. She left, never returning to the house.
A Creepy Museum Haunting
by Karen Frazier
It's not uncommon for historical museums to be haunted because of the sheer number of artifacts they contain. One community history museum in the Pacific Northwest is well-known as a haunted hotspot, and it has antiques and artifacts from local Native American tribes, local businesses, and more.
The Haunted Hearse Arrives
One such artifact arrived at the museum just in time for a Halloween display. A local funeral home donated a horse-drawn hearse from the late 1800s that had carried many of the county's dead to their burial in local cemeteries. The museum director quickly found a place for the hearse, displaying it in the museum's main gallery.
Strange Events Begin
The museum had always had a haunted reputation, although it was never anything that felt malevolent. In the past, activity in the museum included seeing apparitions of people in period dress, capturing electronic voice phenomena, hearing phones that weren't hooked into any power mysteriously ringing, and hearing the sounds of roll-top desks, voices, and doors or drawers slamming when nobody was around. Museum employees were used to these events and considered them part and parcel of the museum's character. However, once the hearse arrived, things seemed to take a darker turn. The museum director noted that suddenly employees who were usually on good terms were snipping at one another, and she noticed dark shadows and heard strange voices she'd never heard before.
Concerned with the significant change in the activity, the director asked a local paranormal investigation team to come and check out the museum. The team was familiar with the museum, as it was a location they investigated regularly; they were quite familiar with all activity there, and they arrived curious to see what new element the hearse had created in the museum. Needless to say, it was a strange night for them.
Strange Lights and More
The team set up on a bench facing the hearse and looking down the long museum gallery. All night, they watched strange lights and flitting shadows. They noticed odd cold drafts whisking past them in the direction of the museum's front door at regular intervals. Then, everything grew quiet, and they thought perhaps the activity had ceased for the night.
A Loud Crash
Just as the team was discussing packing it up for the night, there was a sudden, loud crash right by the hearse. It sounded as if someone had shot a bullet through one of the museum's window. As team members jumped up and scrambled to turn the lights on, one member spotted a black shadow next to the front door where the cold drafts had been heading all night. Another felt the firm touch of an unseen hand run right up his back from the base of his spine up to the back of his head. When they got the lights on, the team first checked every window to make sure none had broken. They walked around both the outside and the inside of the museum, but nothing was out of place except for one thing: a pen, which had been about 30 yards away at the front desk, was now resting on the ground near the hearse as if it had been flung by an unseen hand with great force. The team could only conclude something or someone unseen had hurled the pen at the speed of a bullet from the sign-in sheet towards where they were quietly sitting and watching the hearse. Later examination of voice recorders, which had been running at the time of the crash, revealed a male voice quietly saying "watch this" just before the crash occurred.
A few weeks later, the team was leading Halloween ghost tours in the museum's attic when suddenly a book landed at the tour guide's feet. Books were kept on the other side of the attic, and no one was there. The book was titled, Natural Law in the Spiritual World. Was this a message from the other side? That night on a later tour, the same tour leader was walking in the attic with another group when a pencil landed at her feet as well. Clearly, someone was trying to get her attention.
The Hearse Leaves the Museum
A few months later, the hearse left the museum for a new home in a different museum. Activity returned to normal levels: shadows, a murmured voice here and there, sounds of desks and footsteps, apparitions, but poltergeist style activity ceased, and to date, no reports of objects being thrown have occurred in the museum again.
3 Famous Scary Ghost Stories
Some ghost stories that became famous because they had some element of truth within their tales of horror. Others are lesser known but no less creepy.
Black Aggie: A Grieving Statue
The story of Black Aggie takes place in the Druid Hill Park Cemetery, located in Maryland. In 1925, Felix Agnus, the publisher of the Baltimore American, placed a creepy statue of a grieving angel on the Agnus family plot. The shadows created by the angel, especially on dark nights, gave rise to rumors that the woman whose grave it stood guard over haunted it. One night a local fraternity decided to make a visit to this statue part of their initiation ceremony. Stories had been circulating that this statue came to life at night and its eyes glowed red. It was believed that if you stood under the statue, its arms would reach out and grab you, crushing you to death.
On this particular night, the initiation was going according to plan when the two fraternity brothers conducting the initiation froze in terror. They believed they saw the statue come to life with glowing red eyes. They tried to get the initiate to walk away from the statue, but he wouldn't. The fraternity brothers ran away, screaming in fright. The caretaker of the cemetery awoke to the noise and went to investigate the commotion. He found a young man dead at the foot of the statue.
Whether this statue is really haunted or not remains a mystery. However, the Agnus family eventually donated it to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. It won't be making people die of fright anymore, at least not in that cemetery.
Screaming Jenny of Harper's Ferry
This tale began during the time when people started moving into the abandoned shacks left by the B&O Railroad during the depression. People who lived in these shacks often built fire pits within the sheds to keep themselves warm during the cold winter months. A woman named Jenny was one of these unfortunate people, forced to live in meager surroundings. One night as she warmed herself by the fire, her clothing caught fire from a stray spark. She ran from her little shed, screaming, and continued to run down the railroad tracks heading for the nearby station. Her running fanned the flames, and she became a ball of fire. An oncoming train saw the ball of fire and tried to stop, but it was too late; Jenny was run over by the train.
The body of Jenny was buried in a pauper's grave, and the incident was forgotten. One night another train came down the tracks, and the engineer saw another ball of fire. The train once again screeched to a halt, and the engineer looked for the person he was sure would be dead on the tracks, only this time there was no one dead on the tracks or under the train.
To this day, train engineers report the figure of Jenny, still screaming, on fire and on the tracks in Harper's Ferry.
The Lincoln Funeral Train
After his death, Abraham Lincoln's body was carried through New York on a train. This funeral train slowed down, or came to a complete stop, at many stations along the way. According to some, every April it still makes that journey, much to the shock and surprise of onlookers. As the story goes, the train will make an appearance along the same railroad tracks, and on the same day, each April. The train is described as having a blue light and draped with funeral bunting. The coffin of the fallen president is also visible, draped in an American flag. People who witness this train also mention the dozens of ghost soldiers who appear to salute the train as it passes. After the procession has passed by, clocks in the immediate area are found to be six minutes behind, apparently as a result of the stop made by this ghostly train at the local station.
More Frightening Ghost Stories
Every culture has ghost stories, and almost anywhere you go in the world or in the United States, you'll discover spooky tales of hauntings. Whether you're on a hike, touring a ship, or staying in a hotel, you'll hear ghost stories about people who have died but still remain long after their bodies have ceased to walk this earth.