Scariest true ghost stories

Scariest true ghost stories DEFAULT

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 s, 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 s, 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.

Sours: https://www.outsideonline.com/culture/essays-culture/real-ghost-stories-for-campfires/
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Sours: https://www.npr.org//08/16//click-if-you-darefavorite-horror-stories
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The horror genre is not for everyone. Assuredly, plenty of people don't understand why some actually seek out the feeling of being afraid. And that's perfectly fair, but this list is not for those people. This is for the people who can't get enough of the creepy crawlies and heebie jeebies—the ones who want to know more about things that go bump in the night.

If you're looking for a thrill and you're pressed for time, there's no shortage of horror movies that will do the trick. There's nothing like a good jump scare, for sure, and contemporary scary movies will certainly leave you with nightmares. But, there's something to be said about a scary book. As books do, it requires more of an investment from you, the reader. With that comes more of a build-up, more tension and therefore, more of a payoff. The word "page turner" is thrown around a lot when discussing books, but when it comes to horror books, no word could be more suitable. With Halloween right around the corner, there's no time like the present to dig into a terrifying tale.

No matter what flavor of fright you seek—from mysteries to books with a twist, and from demons to the real life stories behind some of America's most wretched killers—there's a scare for every type of horror fan. If we may lean on the beloved Goosebumps tagline, "Reader beware, you're in for a scare." In no particular order, here are 27 of the best horror books of all time.

1The Haunting of Hill House

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If you're one of the many who binged Netflix's series based on this Shirley Jackson novel, you already know how compelling the storyline and characters are. If you haven't seen it, just know that the tome is widely regarded as one of the best haunted house stories ever written. 

2It

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Obviously, this list could not exist without several mentions of Mr. Horror himself, Stephen King. The first of a few King books you'll find on this list, It is one of his most well-known books, and killer clown Pennywise is arguably the most famous monster to spring from King's mind. 

3The October Country

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Not sure if you can handle a deep dive into a spooky read? Ray Bradbury's The October Country is a collection of short stories, and is said to be some of this best and most frightening work. 

4Ghost Story

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Does anyone truly get away with murder? That's the question treasured writer Peter Straub explores in this bestselling tale of four men whose pasts are coming back to bite. 

5The Exorcist

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Before audiences couldn't look away from Regan on the movie screen, readers couldn't put down the book. Although demonic possession storylines are a dime a dozen nowadays, Blatty's classic is required reading for anyone who fancies themselves a fan of the genre. 

6House of Leaves

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It begins as so many scary movies do: a family moves into a house that ends up being no ordinary house. But in this highly regarded tale, the first thing the family notices is that the house is larger on the inside than it appears on the outside. How could that be? And what else is this house capable of? House of Leaves developed a cult following, and after reading it, you'll understand why. 

7The Stranger Beside Me

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As they say, the scariest monsters are those that live among us, and Ted Bundy might be the best example of that. This telling of his story, which has been haunting the bedside tables of true crime readers since its release, is unique in that author Ann Rule knew Bundy personally as one of co-workers. 

8The Shining

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You might not know this, but the film version of The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick, actually strays quite far from King's source material. Although the movie is undeniably a classic of its own accord, the original story is one of King's most legendary for a reason. 

9The Elementals

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When you think of horror, what do you picture? Some place dark and creepy, right? Probably not a sun-drenched beach town in the summer, which is just one of the things setting The Elementals in a league of its own. McDowell, who wrote the screenplays for Beetlejuice and The Nightmare Before Christmas (convinced yet?) has been handsomely praised for penning this novel, considered by many to be one of the genre's best. 

10Dracula

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Forget Twilight. Forget The Vampire Diaries. The predecessor to those, and the entire vampire craze, is Bram Stoker's Dracula, first published in Even if Edward Cullen wasn't your cup of tea, Stoker's story might just surprise you with its creepiness. 

11Rosemary's Baby

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Considering you're reading this list, it's probably safe to assume you're familiar with the story of Rosemary's Baby, which experts credit as one of the tomes that spurred the horror genre's heyday. The Roman Polanski film starring Mia Farrow launched this deal-with-the-devil tale into mega fame, but we'd recommend checking out the origin text by Ira Levin. 

12Something Wicked This Way Comes

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The name alone is enough to send a chill down your spine, don't you think? Like camps, carnivals are also a popular scene for horrific tales, like this one from iconic writer Ray Bradbury. In the suspenseful Something Wicked This Way Comes, one small town is woefully unaware of the sinister forces behind Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, which comes to town just before Halloween (how timely). 

13Ghostland

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Those who are fascinated by dark and macabre histories will devour this nonfiction book, in which Colin Dickey takes readers on a tour of some of America's most shadowy and storied locales. 

14The Shining Girls

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A house with truly transportive powers, a serial killer on a mission, and a girl who wasn't expected to make it out alive are the three ingredients comprising this compelling page-turner from Lauren Beukes. 

15The Other

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There's no bond like the bond between brothers—or in this case, identical twin brothers. As is expected, Holland and Niles Perry become increasingly different from one another as they grow up. But as mischievous Holland's pranks become more and more devilish, Niles is left to wonder if he knows his twin brother at all. 

16I'll Be Gone in the Dark

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You might remember when Joseph DeAngelo was arrested in for a slew of assaults, rapes, and murders committed throughout California throughout the '70s and '80s. But for decades, this violent perpetrator remained unidentified, known only as the Golden State Killer. Writer Michelle McNamara committed herself to uncovering who was behind this reign of terror, and this book tracks her findings. McNamara tragically died before DeAngelo was identified and apprehended, but her efforts are widely regarded as being crucial to the case. 

17Rebecca

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What starts as a whimsical romance novel about a beautiful young woman swept off her feet by a charming, handsome widow promptly takes a dark turn when she returns to his estate and finds that there might be more to him than meets the eye. 

18John Dies At The End

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For a humorous book that still gives readers a heavy dose of horror, pick up John Dies At The End, which follows two young men who are tasked with saving their hometown from evil forces and the grips of a mysterious drug. It spawned a movie in (with Paul Giamatti!), but the original text is truly an experience of its own. 

19The Devil in the White City

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This non-fiction work of true crime writing might first appear as a story about the World's Fair in Chicago, but readers will soon discover that it's actually the terrifying tale of prolific serial killer Dr. H. H. Holmes and his deadly murder mansion. 

20Reprieve

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Part hardcore haunted house, part escape room from hell, the Quigley House promises a sizable cash prize to any brave souls who can make it out unscathed. But the staged antics come screeching to a halt when an actual murder occurs, killing one of the contestants. Just one warning: don't read this before heading to your Halloween festivities, especially if your plans include a haunted house attraction.  

21The Conspiracy Against The Human Race

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This book is not for those looking for something on the fun side of frightful. Nay, The Conspiracy Against The Human Race is a truly dark read in which author Thomas Ligotti gives a brutally honest—albeit ultra pessimistic—look at the realities of humanity, which often yield the scariest truths of all. 

22Slasher Girls & Monster Boys

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Don't let the YA classification fool you—this collection of scary stories is poised to make even a lionhearted adult jump. An anthology that can only be described as unsettling, Slasher Girls &  Monster Boys is a great read that also offers a look into some of the genre's most promising up-and-coming writers. 

23Case Files of the NYPD

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Whether you're a true crime junkie, a history lover, or just a die-hard New Yorker, dive into this compilation of some of the most riveting cases that have passed through the NYPD precincts. it's packed with investigation notes, analyses, and more than photos. 

24A Head Full of Ghosts

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When year-old Marjorie Barrett starts acting strange, no one can figure out why. Is it just normal teenage girl antics? Scarier, could it be early signs of schizophrenia? Or could it be something demonic? The story only gets more grim when Marjorie's father brings a reality TV crew into the mix to film his daughter's plight. 

25My Best Friend's Exorcism

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Everyone knows '80s horror movies are some of the genre's finest. Set in the s, My Best Friend's Exorcism manages to capture the same feeling those films give while maintaining a truly harrowing nature. 

26The Troop

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Camps have long been the subject of many spooky ghost and serial killer stories. This is true of The Troop, which tells the story of a Boy Scout leader who takes his troop to camping in the Canadian wilderness. Before you assume the campground theme makes it contrived, know that Stephen King recommends the book and even said it "scared the hell out of him." 

27American Predator

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Israel Keyes was known as a trusted construction worker and devoted father living in Alaska. That is, until he became known for the other life he was secretly leading—the one in which Keyes would stash "kill kits" all over the country, traveling to access them and commit murders before returning home to life in Alaska. For more than a decade, Keyes got away with his horriyfing double life. American Predator tracks his story, containing information garnered from FBI case files and countless interviews with with law officials and those who knew Keyes.  

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Sours: https://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/g/best-horror-books/
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A terrifying movie or book or show gets your blood pumping in the moment of consumption, sure—we covered our eyes in Squid Game with the rest of the world. But for the most part, you rest easy afterwards knowing that what you've witnessed is fiction, deliberately spun up to creep you out. When the real world gets eerier than anything Stephen King could dream up, that's when you have every right to get a little scared of the dark.

Once in a while, a story of a dreadful disappearance, demonic possession, or devil worship will land in the local paper instead of a pulpy old paperback. We've rounded up the most unnerving real life tales below. In honor of spooky season, here are ten we can't stop thinking about.

The Axe Murder House

The Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa is a well-known tourist attraction for ghost hunters and horror lovers alike. The site of a gruesome unsolved murder, in which six children and two adults had their skulls completely crushed by the axe of an unknown perpetrator, was purchased in , restored to its condition, and converted into a tourist destination. It costs $ a night to stay at the old haunted home, where visitors always report strange paranormal experiences, such as visions of a man with an axe roaming the halls or the faint screams of children.

But in November of , the haunting took a darker turn. Robert Steven Laursen Jr., 37, of Rhinelander, Wisconsin was on a regular recreational paranormal visit with friends when true horror struck. Per VICE:

His companions found him stabbed in the chest—an apparently self-inflicted wound—called , and Laursen was brought to a nearby hospital before being helicoptered to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said Laursen suffered the self-inflicted injury at about a.m., which is around the same time the axe murders in the house began.

Laursen recovered from his injuries, but has never spoken publicly about what occurred that day. For Martha Linn, the owner of the home, the incident was very upsetting. "It's publicity, but it's not exactly the kind of publicity you desire to have. I don't want people thinking that when they come to the Villisca Axe Murder House something's going to happen that's going to make them do something like that.” The house remains open for tourist visits and overnight stays today.

The Haunted Doll

When you think of haunted dolls, it’s likely the creepy old Victorian-looking porcelain kind that springs to mind. None of which you probably have laying around. Still, don’t get too comfortable around any kids toys too soon, though: a Disney’s Frozen Elsa doll that was gifted for Christmas in the Houston area made headlines earlier this year when it seemingly became haunted.

Per KPRC2 Houston News:

The doll recited phrases from the movie Frozen and sang “Let It Go” when a button on its necklace was pressed.
“For two years it did that in English,” mother Emily Madonia said. “In , it started doing it alternating between Spanish and English. There wasn’t a button that changed these, it was just random."
The family has owned the doll for more than six years and never changed its batteries. The mother says the doll would randomly begin to speak and sing even with its switch turned off.

The family decided to throw the creepy doll out in December of Weeks later, they found it inside a bench in their living room. “The kids insisted they didn’t put it there, and I believed them because they wouldn’t have dug through the garbage outside,” Madonia told KPRC2 Houston News.


At that point, Elsa ceased to sing the English rendition of “Let It Go” altogether, speaking only Spanish when pressed. The family then double-bagged the bizarre doll and placed it at the bottom of their garbage which was taken out on garbage day. They went on a trip shortly after, but when they returned, Elsa too had come back, and was waiting in the backyard of their home.

This time, the family mailed Elsa to a family friend in Minnesota, who taped the haunted doll to the front bumper of his truck. It doesn’t seem to have made its way back to Houston yet, as per Madonia’s latest February Facebook update on the creepy doll.

A Deadly Exorcism

In August in North London, year-old Kennedy Ife began acting strange and aggressive following a pain in his throat. He reportedly bit his father, threatened to cut off his own penis, and complained of a python or snake inside of him before his family restrained him to a bed with cable ties and excessive force.

As the BBC reported:

“The family then set about attempting to ‘cure’ Kennedy through restraint and prayer over the next three days, the court was told.”

His brother, Colin Ife, told police:

“It’s clear that thing was in him, what we believed was a demon because it was not natural. It was clearly trying to kill him,” he said.
“We had to restrain him for himself. It was clear if we didn’t restrain him, he could have tried to harm people in our family.”

Kennedy Ife had been bound to his bed for three days without medical attention when his brother called emergency services, explaining that Kennedy Ife was complaining of dehydration. He appeared to have developed breathing issues, and was pronounced dead at a.m.

As The Independent reported:

While police were at the house Colin Ife allegedly carried out an “attempted resurrection” by chanting and praying for Mr. Ife.

All seven of Kennedy Ife’s family members were accused of manslaughter, false imprisonment, and causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult. A post-mortem examination revealed over 60 wounds including a possible bite on Kennedy Ife’s body, and his father, Kenneth Ife, along with four of his brothers, sustained injuries as well.

The BBC reported:

Kenneth Ife told jurors he ordered his sons to take shifts and use "overwhelming force" but denied that an "association with cults, occults and secret societies" played any part in the death.

After a four day jury deliberation, all seven family members were cleared of charges on March 14,

Hulton Archive

Dead Animals in the Walls

When the Bretzuis family decided to insulate their home in Auburn, Pennsylvania in , they discovered that it had already been—with scores of dead animal carcasses.

As Fox reported:

The dead animals were wrapped in newspapers from the s and 40s and were among half-used spices, and other items.
After removing the items they sent hundreds of artifacts and carcasses to an expert in Kutztown.

The expert attributed the rotting animals in their walls to Pow-wow or Dutch magic, a ritual originating in the culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch to treat ailments and gain physical and spiritual protection. The Pennsylvania Dutch were a group of German-speaking settlers to Pennsylvania in the and ’s, and are often of Lutheran, Mennonite, or Amish faiths.

The Washington Post notes on the magic:

Many of the spells deal with the care of livestock, finding water, or the treatment of minor ailments, reflecting the conditions and concerns of early American settlers.
But powwow also has within it a tradition of darker spells, and even of such things as conjuring demons.

One notable ritual in their tradition is this hex to create loyalty in a dog:

To attach a dog to a person, provided nothing else was used before to effect it: Try to draw some of your blood, and let the dog eat it along with his food, and he will stay with you.

The mold found on the rotting carcasses in the Bretzuis home has caused illness among the family members, and they say that the odor hasn’t gone away.

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Florida Devil Worshipping

Friends noticed that Danielle Harkins, a year-old schoolteacher near St. Petersburg, Florida, started acting strangely in June of , developing an interest in demonic rituals.

Soon after, she was arrested for abuse of seven of her former students, as the Tampa Bay Times reported:

Danielle Harkins told the kids they needed to rid their bodies of demons as the group gathered before dusk Saturday around a small fire near the St. Petersburg Pier. They should cut their skin to let the evil spirits out, police said she told the children. Then, they needed to burn the wounds to ensure that those spirits would not return.
When Harkins held a lighter to one teen's hand, wind blew the flame out, police said. That prompted her to douse his hand in perfume before setting it on fire. The boy suffered second-degree burns, police said.
Another teen was cut on the neck with a broken bottle, police said. Harkins used a flame to heat a small key, which she then used to cauterize the wound.

The police were notified because a friend of one of the students who participated in the ritual raised alarms. However none of the students themselves told their parents about the event or would comment following the arrest of Harkins for aggravated battery and child abuse.

NBC reported:

Investigators said they've spoken to Harkins, but she didn't spell out what type of religion would require such drastic measures.
"She hasn't informed us exactly what she was trying to accomplish with this," Puetz [of the St. Petersburg Police Department] said.

The Death of Elisa Lam

Elisa Lam was last seen on January 31, in the lobby of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. She was vacationing through the West Coast, documenting the trip on her blog, and checking in with her parents every day. On January 31 those calls stopped. Lam had vanished. Soon the police were involved and her parents arrived to help with the search.

They had nothing. That February, LAPD released elevator surveillance footage of Lam before her disappearance. The footage shows Lam behaving strangely in the elevator, appearing to talk with invisible people, peering around the corner of the door, crouching in the corner, and opening and closing the door. But what exactly is going on in this video raises more questions than answers. Theories range from psychotic episodes, to demonic possession, to unknown assailants just out of the camera's view:

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Around that time, hotel guests started reported weird things happening with the Cecil Hotel water supply. As CNN reports:

"The shower was awful," said Sabina Baugh, who spent eight days there during the investigation. "When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal."

The tap water "tasted horrible," Baugh said. "It had a very funny, sweety, disgusting taste. It's a very strange taste. I can barely describe it."

But for a week, they never complained. "We never thought anything of it," she said. "We thought it was just the way it was here."

On the morning of February 19, a hotel employee climbed to the roof and used a ladder to investigate the hotel's water storage tanks. That's where authorities found the decomposing, naked body of Lam, whose personal items were found nearby. After an autopsy, her death was labeled accidental. NBC Los Angeles reported at the time about the strange circumstances in the hotel's past:

The tank has a metal latch that can be opened, but authorities said access to the roof is secured with an alarm and lock.
The single-room-occupancy hotel has an unusual history. "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez, who was found guilty of 14 slayings in the s, lived on the 14th floor for several months in And international serial killer Jack Unterweger is suspected of murdering three prostitutes during the time he lived there in He killed himself in jail in
In , a female occupant jumped out of one the hotel's windows, killing herself and a pedestrian on whom she landed.

In February , a Netflix doc called Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel explored Elisa's tragic case and the history of the "cursed" Cecil Hotel.

An Exorcism in Indianapolis

Last year, the Indianapolis Star published a lengthy report on a family terrorized by three children allegedly possessed by demons. The account of Latoya Ammons and her family tells disturbing stories of children climbing up the walls, getting thrown across rooms, and children threatening doctors in deep unnatural voices. It would seem like something straight out of a movie–a work of fantasy, except all of these accounts were more or less corroborated with "nearly pages of official records obtained by the Indianapolis Star and recounted in more than a dozen interviews with police, DCS personnel, psychologists, family members and a Catholic priest."

One of the more chilling sections of the report includes a segment about the possessed 9-year-old:

According to Washington's original DCS report—an account corroborated by Walker, the nurse—the 9-year-old had a "weird grin" and walked backward up a wall to the ceiling. He then flipped over Campbell, landing on his feet. He never let go of his grandmother's hand.

Another segment of the piece reads:

The year-old would later tell mental health professionals that she sometimes felt as if she were being choked and held down so she couldn't speak or move. She said she heard a voice say she'd never see her family again and wouldn't live another 20 minutes.

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Utah Murder-Suicide

In September of , a Utah teen returned to his home to find his parents and three siblings dead. "In a notebook, a 'to-do list' had been scribbled on the pages The list looked as if the parents were readying to go on vacation—items such as 'feed the pets' and 'find someone to watch after the house' were written," The Salt Lake Tribune reported. It appeared to be murder-suicide, but there was no suicide note, no prior indication that they would do this, no explanation. Police could not figure out why two parents would kill themselves and three of their four children.

For a year, no one knew exactly what happened to the family, or what would drive the parents to do something so unthinkable. In January, police released more chilling details in the case. According to accounts from family members and an investigation by police, the parents were driven by a belief that the apocalypse was coming and an obsession with a convicted killer. As the Washington Post reported:

Friends and family told police that the parents were worried about the "evil in the world" and wanted to escape a "pending apocalypse." But most assumed they just wanted to move somewhere "off the grid." Investigators also found letters written by Kristi Strack to one of the state's most infamous convicted killers, Dan Lafferty, who was convicted in the fatal stabbing of his sister-in-law and her 1-year-old daughter. According to trial testimony, he killed the victims at the order of his brother, Ron Lafferty, who claimed to have had a revelation from God. The story became a book called "Under the Banner of Heaven."

Police said Kristi Strack became friends with Dan Lafferty, and she and her husband even visited him in prison.

The Phone Stalker

In , ABC news documented a series of cell phone calls to families with terrifyingly specific death threats. The unidentified callers knew exactly what families were doing and what they were wearing.

The families say the calls come in at all hours of the night, threatening to kill their children, their pets and grandparents. Voice mails arrive, playing recordings of their private conversations, including one with a local police detective.

The caller knows, the families said, what they're wearing and what they're doing. And after months of investigating, police seem powerless to stop them.

This went on with the Kuykenall family for months, who reported a caller with a scratchy voice threatening to slit their throats.

When the Fircrest, Wash., police tried to find the culprit, the calls were traced back to the Kuykendalls' own phones -- even when they were turned off.

It got worse. The Kuykendalls and two other Fircrest families told ABC News that they believe the callers are using their cell phones to spy on them. They say the hackers know their every move: where they are, what they're doing and what they're wearing. The callers have recorded private conversations, the families and police said, including a meeting with a local detective.

"The Watcher"

After moving into their $ million dream home, a New Jersey family started receiving creepy death threats from someone who identified themselves as "The Watcher." As CBS News reported earlier this year:

Since moving in, the owners said they have received numerous letters from the mysterious person. "The Watcher" claimed the home "has been the subject of my family for decades," and "I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming," Castro reported.

The new owners have several children, and other letters asked, "Have they found out what's in the walls yet?" and "I am pleased to know your names now, and the name of the young blood you have brought to me."

The family was forced to flee from their home and later filed a lawsuit against the previous owners.

Matt MillerCulture EditorMatt Miller is a Brooklyn-based culture/lifestyle writer and music critic whose work has appeared in Esquire, Forbes, The Denver Post, and documentaries.

Lauren KrancLauren Kranc is an editorial assistant at Esquire, where she covers pop culture and television, with entirely too narrow of an expertise on Netflix dating shows.

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Ghost stories true scariest

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

As if that weren't enough tragedy for one place, in , 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.

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2The Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca, Iowa

On June 10, , 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 $+ 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 , 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.

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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 , 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

But wait—it gets creepier. In , 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, 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 s and Unlike the other abandoned mansions on this list, you sadly can no longer visit it, as the home was demolished in after not being occupied since the s. 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.

A 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 A 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 —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 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.”

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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 , 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 $/night.

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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 , followed by a long string of similar deaths in , , , , , and

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 , and the pattern of suicides continued into the '60s. In , 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 , 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 s, Austrian serial killer Jack Unterwege lived there. Other weird things kept happening but the weirdest is definitely the disappearance and death of 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 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 s 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, 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 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 , 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 , 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 s, and an avalanche in wiped out all the houses in the area except this one. Spooky.

13The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

In , 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.

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14Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, Nevada

In , 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.

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15&#;The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was designed to house patients when it opened in Fast forward to the s, when the facility reached its peak and had more than 2, patients living in overcrowded and inhumane conditions—with some even kept in cages. In , 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 p.m. to a.m., or a minute day tour.

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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 years, and the last family occupant was Gertrude, the youngest daughter, who died in the home in 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 , 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 , Miss Mary Lake’s former office, have woken up to find their blankets closely tucked around them in bed or their clothes unpacked.

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18Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts

In , 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.

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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 piano.io

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7 TRUE Haunted Horror Stories - SPINE CHILLING STORIES

Super-scary ghost stories aren't for everyone. Even people who get a thrill from Halloween movies and love to curl up with frightening books about witches or vampires will get some goosebumps from these creepy tales! You may even live near one of the haunted places that inspired these stories; after all, they're set all over the country. And after reading through this roundup, you might be inspired to visit one of the spooky ghost towns talked about here.

If you live on the East Coast, you'll be especially interested in the Crying Lady in the Dakota, a famous apartment building located in New York City. John Lennon himself claims he saw the ghost roaming the halls of his residence. For those living in the Southern part of the United States, there are a handful of stories that originated there. Huggin' Molly, a haunted figure in Abbeville, Alabama, reportedly chases—and embraces—people around the town. In Eureka Springs, Arkansas, there's a property called the Crescent Hotel that's allegedly haunted by a number of ghosts. (We likely won't be booking our stay there anytime soon!) And in St. Francisville, Louisiana, a ghost named Chloe apparently haunts Myrtles Plantation to this very day.

That's just a preview of the terrifying tales listed here, but there's plenty more to read. Scroll through these scary stories (preferably during the day!) to really get in the spirit this Halloween.

1Sloss Furnaces | Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, AL, was founded in , five years after the Civil War, and with it, the need for tons of pig iron to fix America's crumbling infrastructure. To satisfy the demand, Colonel James Withers Sloss started construction on Sloss Furnaces. A year later, the company opened its doors to hundreds of employees, according to its official website. Working on blast furnaces was an advanced job, and it was also dangerous. That danger was soon realized as many workers started being incinerated in the furnaces and falling to their deaths.

Conditions only worsened in the early s after a cruel foreman, James "Slag" Wormwood, took a job at Sloss. According to Reader's Digest, Wormwood took dangerous risks in order to increase production. As a result, nearly 50 employees died on-site and many were involved in terrible accidents during his tenure. Allegedly, in retaliation, his workers tossed him into the furnace in

You can still tour the grounds today, if you dare. While there, you might just hear the voice of Slag telling his employees to "get back to work" along with other paranormal occurrences. Sloss even hosts a fright night every year around Halloween that's based heavily on the Slag story.

2The Crying Lady in the Dakota | New York, New York

The Dakota, an apartment building in New York City, has been home to many rich and famous residents since it opened back in John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into the building in , and John was also assassinated outside the structure on December 8, Before his death, John claimed he saw a "crying lady ghost" roaming the halls. Then, after John died, Yoko, who still lives in the building, said she witnessed John's ghost sitting at his piano. Yoko says John told her: "Don't be afraid. I am still with you."

3The Bell Witch | Adams, Tennessee

If you're a scary-movie lover, you might actually know about the Bell Witch. The films An American Haunting and The Blair Witch Project are both based on the story. Way back in the early s, a man named John Bell moved his family to an area in Tennessee called Red River, which is now known as Adams, Tennessee. After they had settled in the new home, some peculiar things started happening. The Bell family began hearing some bizarre noises, including dogs barking, chains rattling, rats chewing, and a woman whispering. Soon, that woman became known as the Bell Witch, and many people believe she's the ghost of a former neighbor of the Bell's, Kate Batts. Batts and the Bells had a dispute over land, and she had sworn vengeance on the Bell family before she died. Later on, Bell died from poisoning, and it's rumored to be the work of the Bell Witch.

4The Ghosts of the Crescent Hotel | Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Spend the night in the haunted Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which opened in (During construction, a worker named Michael was killed, and his ghost reportedly still haunts room ) The hotel came under the ownership of known medical fraud Norman Baker in , who fancied himself a doctor. He turned the hotel into the Baker Cancer Hospital, claiming to have the cure for the disease (he did not, obviously). Patients who died under his care were buried right in the hotel's basement, which served as a makeshift morgue. He was arrested in , but his patients' spirits are said to still remain. Because the hotel is still open, guests often say they see apparitions and hear noises during their stays. SyFy's Ghost Hunters even has footage of something moving in the basement.

5Huggin' Molly | Abbeville, Alabama

It's best to stay home when the sun sets in Abbeville, Alabama, if you want to avoid Huggin' Molly's chilly embrace. As the legend goes, beginning in the early s, an oversize figure clad in all black began roaming the streets at night looking for unsuspecting victims. Once she fixates on someone, she hugs the person and screams loudly into their ears. Many people have recounted stories of being chased by what they believe was Huggin' Molly. Local parents have even taken advantage of the story to keep their children in line. The town embraces its nighttime warden, proudly calling itself the "home of Huggin' Molly." There's even a family-friendly restaurant named after her!

6The Surrency House Ghost | Surrency, Georgia

The Surrency clan began experiencing paranormal activities in present day Surrency, Georgia, in the s. Family members reported witnessing objects soaring across rooms, hearing laughter and crying, and seeing red eyes staring into the house. Food was thrown from their plates and utensils twisted into unusable shapes. The townspeople speculated that these occurrences were cries for help from spirits who thought the family would be able to save them. On the day the family decided to finally leave the house, a fire iron allegedly floated up and started hitting one of the sons on the head. No one was ever brave enough to live in the house again, and the building went up in flames in

7The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge | Marianna, Florida

For a taste of true haunting love, travel over this spooky bridge in Marianna, Florida, which has several ghost legends surrounding the structure, according to its official website. In the s, Elizabeth Jane Croom Bellamy married local politician Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy. On their wedding night, her dress accidentally caught on fire, which covered the young bride in horrible burns. She initially survived, but eventually passed away. Elizabeth was buried along the banks of the Chipola River, and it was said that her love for her husband was so strong, she couldn't rest. The deceased newlywed, dressed in white, can allegedly be seen wandering the banks from the vantage point of the bridge (which was built after she died). It's said that she appears on fire either walking through the swamps or diving straight into the river, as if to douse the flames, or somberly walking along the side of the river.

8The Ghost of Deer Island | Biloxi, Mississippi

Back on May 20, , Anthony Ragusin, aka Mr. Tony, relayed this tale in a column in the Sun Herald. He writes that in the early s, two fishermen spent the night on Deer Island off Biloxi's coast. They heard noises that they ignored until it became impossible to do so. When they went to see what was causing the ruckus, they claimed they found a headless skeleton that ran after the pair. They immediately made a beeline for their boat and got off the island immediately. It's said that the bony frame belongs to a pirate who had his head chopped off by his captain, and his body was left behind as a ghastly guard to watch over buried treasure.

9Zombie Road | Wildwood, Missouri

Outside of St. Louis lies Zombie Road, a hotbed of ghostly activities. There are many scary stories stemming from Lawler Ford Road (its actual name), from sightings of Indigenous spirits wandering the stretch to victims of train accidents (there used to be active tracks there) like Della Hamilton McCullough, who was struck by a passing train. In the s, it became a popular late-night teen hangout spot, with various murders happening in the area, too. It's also been rumored to be the home base of a murderer named Zombie, who escaped a mental asylum. These days, the stretch has been rechristened as a nature trail, but it's closed once night falls (with hefty fines for those who dare to trespass).

10Dead Woman's Crossing | Weatherford, Oklahoma

This one's a regular murder mystery turned ghost story, according to Atlas Obscura. In the early s in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Katie DeWitt James left her home with her baby after she filed for divorce from her husband. She planned to move in with her cousin, but her family never heard from her. After an investigation, it turned out that she moved in with local prostitute Frannie Norton. She was last seen leaving the house with Frannie and her child in a carriage. Frannie returned with the child, who was covered in blood, but without Katie. Her body was found later, along a nearby creek, with her head cut off. It was rumored that her ex-husband had her killed with Frannie's help, but Frannie claimed she wasn't involved in Katie's death. But on the day she was supposed to be questioned by the police, she poisoned herself. Katie's still around though. She allegedly appears as a blue light floating around town, and people have reported hearing a woman looking for her baby and the rolling sound of wheels.

11The Myrtles Plantation | St. Francisville, Louisiana

Of the numerous spirits haunting this plantation, built in in St. Francisville, Louisiana, the most known entity is Chloe, according to the official website. It's said that plantation owner Clark Woodruff carried on an affair with an enslaved person, Chloe, which he ended abruptly. She began to eavesdrop on his conversation, and he caught her. As punishment, he cut her ear off. She then poisoned the rest of his family with a birthday cake, leaving him alone. The other enslaved people knew what she had done and hanged her. She supposedly still remains on the property, with a photograph from where her spirit is reportedly visible.

Ashley LeathAshley Leath is the Copy/Research Editor for Country Living and Veranda magazines.

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