Roundtable: Our Spookiest Real Ghost Stories

For much of the year, it’s a little weird to be the person who tries to make fun group conversation about whether anyone has any ghost stories. Not so during October! We hope! Everyone who loves reading those maybe-made-up Reddit threads of true ghost stories and Jezebel’s scary stories threads, this is our time to shine. These are our very best honest-to-goodness true spooky stories; share your own in the comments!


television with a noose flickering

KaeLyn, Staff Writer; Oswego, NY, 2005 and 2006

I need to tell you, first of all, that I’ve always had little weird things that I thought were ghosts. I grew up in an old farmhouse that backed up to our small, local cemetery. Shit was weird. My CD player would turn on and off by itself. I heard a voice whisper, “Hi,” to me on the stairs to my room. Maybe it was the power of persuasion because I lived right there next to so many dead people’s graves, but I always felt like ghosts were around me. I’m not here to talk about my hometown, though. My two most chilling ghosts experiences happened in my college town of Oswego, NY.

One night, I was sitting in my room in my dormitory suite. My roommate and I were on our respective sides of the room doing homework or something. Out of nowhere, we hear this loud noise like a huge bell or gong ringing that sounds like it’s coming from our common room. We looked at each other like, “Did you hear that?” because it was a totally unusual noise. We both got up and went into the common room and I SHIT YOU NOT WE BOTH SAW AN IMAGE OF A NOOSE ON THE TV. Like, on the TV picture is just this weird, dark, staticky, soundless image of a dangling noose. We screamed and turned the TV off and huddled up together in her twin bed and pulled the blankets around us. We must have rehashed it, like, 100 times. My roommate didn’t even believe in ghosts. She also didn’t believe in cuddling. WE WERE SO FREAKED OUT. We went through every possible scenario. Maybe we left the TV on and a horror movie came on? We looked through all the TV listings. No horror movies. We called the campus TV station to see if they had been showing a scary movie or program. Nope. We went back and turned on the TV. No creepy show. Maybe we were imagining things? BUT WE BOTH SAW IT AND HEARD THE NOISE AT THE SAME TIME?!?! Then, Erica remembered that our mutual friend has posted on Facebook about it being the one-year anniversary of her hometown friend’s death. Our friend used to live in our suite, but had recently moved. I don’t know how we came to this conclusion, but we decided it could have been her dead friend looking for her. We called and asked if we could come over. Get this, folks, it turns out she had called her friend’s old phone number earlier that day to leave a voicemail AND her friend’s death was the result of suicide. THE NOOSE. THE GONG NOISE. It’s giving me chills right now thinking about it. We decided it was her friend looking for her in her old dorm suite and we were thoroughly creeped, but it was somewhat of a relief to know it was a…known ghost? And then we, like, never talked about it again because my roommate still really didn’t believe in ghosts and this left us both, like, SHOOK.

Ghost #2 is only a year later, when I was working full time at a women’s shelter. I used to work alone a lot of shifts and that safe house was literally the creepiest place. The touch lamps would randomly turn on and off by themselves at night and all the staff complained about it, but the managers said it must be an electrical issue. There was this one door, the door to Room #1, that would never stay shut. It would shut completely and latch (unlocked). Then, a little while later, it would be ajar again. This one resident tried to put her things in front of the door so it wouldn’t swing open overnight. IT STILL OPENED. A little girl was staying with her mom in Room #1 for a while and the door kept opening even though they shut it before bed. One morning, the little girl comes up to me and says she saw a shadowy man’s face in the doorway. AHHHHH. One night, when I was all alone at the shelter on an overnight—no residents and no other staff—I was standing in front of a large cabinet (in the room across from Room #1, no less, when all of a sudden I smelled, distinctly, a waft of men’s cologne. It couldn’t have been anything else. And just as soon as I smelled it, it was gone again. I went in the office and locked the door and closed all the windows until morning and tried to convince myself it didn’t happen. I never told anyone else about it. One night, around midnight, I got a call on my cell from one of my coworkers. She was flipping out about how creepy the house was that night. She was telling me how creeped out she was and then I SHIT YOU NOT she told me that she smelled men’s cologne! Standing in the exact same room I was standing in, like literally the exact same situation. She smelled it briefly and then it wafted by and she couldn’t locate where the smell was coming from. Literally all of the staff were convinced the house was haunted, but the managers (who only worked days) never believed us.


heather's ghost cat

Heather Hogan, Senior Editor; Astoria New York, 2013-Present

I think we have a ghost cat. No, I’m serious! Independently of each other Stacy and I came to the conclusion that there was a friendly ghost cat romping around our house. Sometimes we would see what seemed like a cat doing cat stuff out of the corner of our eyes (sometimes at the same time, even, we would see it) or we’d feel a cat brush up against our legs but it wasn’t any of our cats (or, like, a corporeal cat at all). We sense it run up and down the stairs most often. What I like about the ghost cat is he’s very chill about the number of cats we have, unlike our first cat Quasar who has been ready to murder both us and the feral kittens we rescued from the moment we brought them inside. Our ghost cat is a real pal!


chair with spotlight going dark

Mey, Trans Editor; Los Angeles, 2017

I’m Mexican. I’ve believed in ghosts my whole life without needing any proof. It’s just how we are. I once did a very scientific twitter poll asking how many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans believe in ghosts and over 90% of people said yes. But still, I never had a ghostly encounter until just this fall. So, my grandpa died eight years ago, but we had never buried his ashes, they were just sitting in the house those eight years and his cemetery plot was sitting empty. As a way of acknowledging that he was still in the house, we always left this one light on over his seat at the table, even at night, even when no one was home. Then, the night before we buried him, when my grandma took his ashes downstairs and put them there on the table so that we could bury him in the morning, the light bulb at his seat went out. That was the first time in eight years I had seen my grandpa’s light go out. It felt like he was saying goodbye, he was letting us know that he was going to go rest, and it really helped me to feel okay about his death.


ghost cat

Carolyn, NSFW Editor and Literary Editor, Ottawa, ON, 2011–2013

When I lived in Ottawa I lived on the sunny top floor of a beautiful old house with no right angles in it whatsoever, and it just felt like a ghost cat lived there, too. I work from home, and I would be working and not really paying attention to anything around me and suddenly feel like I had company and also like that company wanted to play. I’d see part of a tail out of the corner of my eye, or smell a kitten smell, or notice I was thinking something like “it’s weird the cat is over there,” even though there was no physical cat around. Sometimes it would curl up on my desk, one time it curled up on my feet. When we adopted a (in Heather’s words) corporeal cat, I would be totally convinced that the kittens were playing together. And when, a little over a year after I moved out, I visited to cat-sit the corporeal cat for a few days, it felt like I was being very lovingly and actively ignored by something the way only a cat lovingly and actively ignores you. (The corporeal cat just curled up on my keyboard and refused to move.) My now-ex partner, who still lives there, was and remains skeptical of the ghost cat, but she is also skeptical of ghosts generally, and at least in this case I want to believe.


red axe

Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor; New Falls, MA, 2011

A few years back, a friend invited me and a bunch of her other friends I barely knew to celebrate her 30th birthday by spending it at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast in New Falls, MA. For the uninitiated, this is the actual house in which Lizzie Borden (allegedly) murdered her parents, and it’s been restored to look and feel as close to the original as possible. I don’t personally believe in ghosts, but I also love spooky shit so I was 100% on board for this adventure.

Our stay began with a tour of the house and a detailed retelling of the Lizzie Borden legend. Let’s start off by saying that this place is cheesy as all heck, lots of hatchet-themed decorations and for any rooms not directly associated with the murders, our host made up some random extra ghost stories for good measure. The room I was staying in had apparently hosted a bunch of children who drowned? I don’t know. The birthday girl and her boyfriend were staying in the room Lizzie Borden’s stepmother was murdered in, which lent itself to some excellent joke photography. The innkeepers expect you to be in bed by like 10 PM because breakfast and checkout are super early, so obviously we all got wasted and started poking around the house, trying on clothes we found in the closets, messing around with a Ouija board we found somewhere in the living room.

At one point, we were all sitting in one of the bedrooms, trading spooky stories (as one does). I was wearing a top hat and tails I’d found in a closet, sitting in a wooden coffin someone had carried up from the basement, sipping bourbon and listening politely. Suddenly, we all heard a distinct heavy breathing coming from inside the room. We all traded nervous glances, and those of us who were wearing actual clothing items from the house removed them immediately. Like I said, I don’t particularly believe in ghosts, but after a couple of drinks I’m certainly open to suggestion. We heard the odd creepy noise here and there over the remainder of the night, to the point where one of the girls I was sharing my room with was terrified to even go to the bathroom by herself.

When I woke up in the morning, my roommates told me that they’d heard cackling coming from the hallway in the middle of the night. They’d gone out to investigate and found… a phone loaded with a bunch of creepy noises. The background was a photo including one of the girls in our group. When we confronted her about it, she laughed and told us we wouldn’t have had such a great time if we hadn’t been a little scared, and I have to admit she was right. I still don’t believe in ghosts, except for those rare occasions when apparently I do.


rocking chair

Reneice, Staff Writer; Norwalk, CT, 1988-90ish

Okay. Sadly I have yet to have a ghost encounter that I was old enough to remember and I am impatiently waiting for my day to come. My mother however once told me that I had a ghost nanny when I was a baby. Apparently it was a common occurrence that she would put me in my crib for naps or to sleep for the night and I would wake up crying, cause babies are the worst. Before she could drag herself out of bed and get to the room to soothe me I would suddenly stop crying but she would still come to check on me. Once she opened the door she said the rocking chair was always just slowly rocking, empty, by itself and I’d be trying to turn my head towards it and cooing/laughing, or just be falling back to sleep. I guess given being a single mother of two and cherishing her sleep more than pretty much anything else she didn’t give too much thought to my room being haunted and was just grateful that she had help with newborn me. As I got older in that room weird things would happen every once in awhile. When I was around three I jolted awake and realized I’d been sleeping with my eyes open which terrified me cause I’d been having a dream in which a sweet but creepy old lady who I assume was the ghost nanny told me that bad things happen when I sleep with my eyes open. After I blinked a few times and my vision normalized I looked to the left and the entire window/wall of my room was swarmed with a hive of bees. I ran screaming out of the room, my mom and my aunt charged in with shoes in their hands and I guess beat the bees to death? I don’t know. We moved pretty soon afterward.


bullets pattern

Erin, Staff Writer; Riese’s house, Ypsilanti, MI, 2017

I have written twice about personal run-ins with ghosts on Autostraddle, and yet I have another for you. Earlier this year I said out loud, “I’m a little offended a ghost has never haunted me.” This was a mistake. A ghost heard that was like, “Girl, let me come through!” This ghost, as I illustrated with a picture in the second link above, first made her (literal) mark when she left a handprint on my blanket while I was away. Riese and I both tried to recreate the handprint and it was no dice on the size or the shape. (I was primed to be more suspect of the handprint based on the lights that kept turning on by themselves and the unexplained noises I’d experienced in the weeks prior.)

A few weeks later, Riese away on a trip, while I was on the couch in the middle of the night after accidentally falling asleep, I heard a gunshot just outside the living room window. I sat up, my dog started barking, and then there was another gunshot on the opposite side of the house. I assumed the house was surrounded and pretty quickly accepted my impending death by just sitting very still on the couch. Then I heard another gunshot outside the same living room window. Back and forth this went for – no exaggeration – 30 minutes. It was so long that I went from experiencing fear, to acceptance, to amusement, to then being pretty chill with it. Just a fury of opposing gunfire like the house stood in the way of two armies holding their lines. Never in the 30 minutes did I see flashes from the gunfire; it was all auditory, and was loud enough that it immobilized both me and my dog.

Now, given the time (3:30am) and how loud it was (AF), you would think this would have alarmed neighbors and prompted at least one of them to call the cops, (I wasn’t going to do it and have my phone glow and give it away that someone was inside) except no one did. You would also think, given the number of shots fired (one every three to five seconds for 30 minutes), that SOMETHING would have gotten hit with a bullet, and also that there would be a million shells on the ground. The morning after proved neither.

This ghost concocted the most intense war zone ever, but just audibly, to scare me and my dog for her own personal amusement.


careens grandmothers

Carmen, Staff Writer

I don’t know if I believe in ghosts in the ways that others have described them here, but I definitely believe in spirits. I believe that the spirits of my ancestors and family members guide me, protect me, make sure that I am never alone.

My ghost story isn’t spooky or scary; it’s not even silly. Much like Mey mentioned up-thread, growing up Latina for me has also meant believing in the supernatural from a young age. I draw comfort from the fact that the people in my life who I’ve loved and have left this world, have never left me.

I was named Carmen Laura after both of my grandmothers. As life would have it, both women passed away before my 10th birthday. But, I have never wanted or missed for their love. I talk to them when I’ve had a bad day or celebrate when I’ve had an especially good one. I pump fists with my grandfather whenever the Yankees win the World Series. I dance salsa and make mixtapes with my Uncle Rei. Sometimes I skip a proper dinner and opt for an ice cream sundae instead; a silly secret I keep with my nephew who passed away far too young. These small rituals keep their spirits close to me. It reminds me of the cycle of life, but also that saying goodbye to someone physically does not mean saying goodbye to them forever.

I get very into Halloween, I revel in the darkness of nights and my teeth ache from too much candy- a habit I was probably supposed to grow out of, but never did. I watch scary movies. For a phase in college I wore all the skimpy outfits I could muster. However, my favorite part of the season is November 1st. That’s when I honor Día de los Muertos. I light candles and say prayers; lay out food and mementos on my ofrenda. The wall between this world and the world beyond always feels thinner to me that day, and I bask in time spent with those members of my family who I cannot see, but always feel.


winchester mystery house, the door to nowhere

Nora, Fashion & Beauty Editor; San Jose, California, 1884 (but probably more like 1994 for me)-Present

I’ve been super into ghosts since I was little, and continue to be terrified of coming into contact with one, even though I never have and science (which, hey, I believe when it comes to climate change) says I never will. But fuck it, it’s October, let’s do this; I’m going to let you in my favorite ghostly thing ever, which is the Winchester Mystery House and which I thought until recently that everyone else already knew about because they too routinely emptied Barnes & Noble of its “ghost stories for kids” books in their respective youths, but apparently that was an erroneous assumption.

The Winchester Mystery House combines the supernatural with two of my other big interests: architecture and design, and the trope of the hysterical woman. Construction on the house began in 1884, and (apocryphally speaking) continued 24/7 until the 1922 death of its owner/designer Sarah Winchester. Winchester was the widow of firearms magnate William Wirt Winchester, and according to legend was told by a psychic that the ghosts of those killed by the eponymous rifle were coming after her; thus, she attempted to outsmart them by commissioning a labyrinthine house with stairs to nowhere, doors that opened to multi-story drops, and other unusual features, where she could sleep in a different bedroom every night. I recently started reading a book that questions these claims, but haven’t finished because it wasn’t nearly as fun as the original story. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.


teresita basa

Rachel, Managing Editor

I regret to inform you that I have never experienced a ghost or haunting firsthand; trust me, no one is more disappointed about this than I am. I have had a lot of night terrors, which feel a LOT like being haunted but are actually just you freaking out everyone else in the house for no reason. I wasn’t going to contribute to this because I told everyone else that secondhand stories didn’t count but Laneia said I had to because this roundtable was my idea so here we are! I did get to interview the Queer Ghost Hunters of Ohio, honestly one of the highlights of my career with Autostraddle. In the middle of writing that story, I went to a bar with some friends and was catching them up on some of the ghost anecdotes when my friend EJ shared one from her own family.

In 1977, Teresita Basa was murdered in her apartment in Chicago. The detectives on the case ran out of leads and the case was starting to grow cold until the homicide department got a strange call. A Dr. Jose Chua contacted them to let them know that his wife Remebios — my friend’s aunt! — had begun talking in her sleep, seemingly in a trance state, saying she was speaking as Teresita Basa and giving clues to her own murder. The police were skeptical, but Remy-as-Teresita named someone that she said was her murderer, explained what he was doing in her apartment that night and that he had stolen jewelry; she also said her murderer had given the jewelry to his girlfriend and named people from Teresita’s life who could identify the jewelry as hers. All of the details checked out, the jewelry was identified exactly as she said it would be, and the person Remy named was arrested; the trial ended in a mistrial but the defendant plead guilty while awaiting a new trial. Remy did work at the same hospital as Teresita while Teresita was alive; some people think that Remy just picked up on or figured out all these details on her own without supernatural help, but my friend telling me the story was insistent that the women were barely acquainted and that Remy had no idea why Teresita had chosen to talk through her. A ghost story with a satisfying ending!


red cat eyes

Kayla, Staff Writer; Brooklyn, NY 2017

I have always believed in ghosts even though I don’t have many specific stories of ghost interactions. I can’t remember anything specific a ghost has ever said to me or done in my presence, but I have always understood there to be certain otherworldly presences in just about every home I’ve ever lived in. A big part of why I know there have been ghosts around is because I’ve always had cats, and all cats see ghosts. My childhood cat Piper who now lives with my grandparents in Virginia always seemed very invested in staring at a particular wall in my childhood home, and I know some Stranger Things shit was going down in that wall.

My girlfriend and I recently adopted a new kitten named Paulson, and this cat sees hella ghosts. She’ll become fixated on something only she can see, and I’ll look for dust or bugs only to realize that she’s most definitely looking at/following a ghost. Sometimes her cute kitten antics take on a slightly more supernatural vibe, like the time we woke up to her running upside down on the bottom of our mattress or the time she wouldn’t stop staring at something/someone directly over my shoulder. She even gets spooked sometimes, jumping and running away from some presence we cannot see. This is particularly disturbing when I’m home alone, which is often, because I work from home. But Paulson is a sweet cat, and I have a feeling that she’s interacting with sweet ghosts. Paulson loves attention and will probably even take it from otherworldly beings.


lanes victorian ghost

Laneia, Executive Editor; Lemoore, CA, 2002

I’m in the camp of I’ve Believed In/Experienced Ghosts From Like, Birth. My earliest ghost was a Victorian-era maid holding a large silver platter with tea service at the foot of my grandmother’s bed in the middle of the night when I was about 6. I slept with her when I’d stay the night because the only other room — I called it The Red Room because of the burgundy color scheme — was undoubtedly haunted and I wouldn’t step foot in there after dark. That night I woke up lying on my back and immediately saw this woman holding the tray. We looked at each other for a while. She was pale with chin length black hair that had been curled at the ends, and wearing a black dress with a small black bonnet and white gloves. I wasn’t scared at first, but the longer she didn’t move or say anything, the more creeped out I became. I whispered, “please go” and scooted down into the covers, which woke up my grandmother. She turned on the light before I could tell her to hide, and when I came out, the woman was gone. My grandmother never doubted there’d been a ghost, and told me it was polite that I didn’t scream.

This same grandmother would become my favorite ghost about 15 years later. She’d passed away a few weeks before and I was alone upstairs in my new house in California, going through boxes of old things she’d given to me before she died. And sobbing, of course. It was the first time I’d really broken down about her death and it was BRUTAL. At one point I choked out, “PLEASE COME BACK I don’t think I can do this without you!!” — this meaning raise a baby, be a mother, be a wife, make a family, etc — when a song started playing on the computer downstairs. It was “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” by The Police. I scrambled down and stared at the screen to see that Kazaa (a file sharing platform) was open and this song was playing, apparently from my library? But I hadn’t downloaded it, and I sure as hell hadn’t played it from all the way upstairs. So I went from confused, to stunned, to laughing, to dancing around my living room. It was her, and I knew it. I’d asked her to come back and tell me I would be OK, and she did. When the song stopped I went over to replay it, only to see that it wasn’t there. Nothing in my library, nothing even in the download queue. I searched for the file on my entire computer and found nothing. My grandmother had come back from the great beyond to play me a song and it was MAGIC.


old hotel bell

Carrie, Staff Writer; Outside San Luis Obispo, CA, Circa 1996

I wish I could remember the location more clearly, but as someone with only a passing interest in the paranormal I never let my memory really grab onto it. Here’s what I do know: we stopped at an old hotel for lunch on a family road trip and I really did not want to go to the bathroom alone. This wasn’t a typical habit — I just felt very strongly that I did not want to be alone anywhere in that place. The longer we stayed the more I wanted to leave. Nothing weird happened beyond my feeling unsettled, but we looked it up later and turns out that place was extremely, famously haunted. Surprise!


old teddy bear lying on the ground

Molly Priddy, Staff Writer; Wurtz Forest Service Cabin, Polebridge, Montana, 2010

The funny thing about living in Montana is that it all feels like a ghost town anyway, because there’s so much space up here and relatively few people. Homesteads sit and wear down under the wind and weather and become ghosts of times past. But specifically, I was staying at a Forest Service cabin near Polebridge, which is surrounded by 3 million acres of wilderness. The cabin originally belonged to the Wurtz family, who homesteaded the hardscrabble land and had many children (I want to say 8?). Apparently while the family was there, other people expressed interest in their children — they couldn’t have kids, so maybe the Wurtzes could just, like, give them a couple of theirs? This was a no-go. Then one night, when the 5-year-old daughter was supposed to be watching her two younger siblings (as you do), she wandered off to play with her doll or something (because she was FIVE) and a fire broke out. They never found the bodies of the two youngest kiddos, and there’s a theory that during the chaos of the fire, they were abducted into the dark forest. So take all that into account, then add like a century and a dozen of my friends and there I am, in the middle of the night, in this historic cabin. It’s silent as the grave — there’s no cell service, pavement, or powerlines up there, so it’s dead quiet. Then I heard the sound of someone rustling around, and I thought, OK it’s a drunk person. But no one was moving, I could see everyone sleeping upstairs. I closed my eyes again, my body super alert, and then I heard it — just the tiniest, lightest sigh near my ear, the kind a little kid makes when they don’t think anyone is listening. I smelled wood smoke, but we had banked the coals in the fireplace going downstairs, so that had to be it, right? Jolting up, I looked around for the sigher, or anything really, and it was just me. Everyone else was asleep. I don’t worry about ghosts too much, but I also know enough to know I don’t know everything, so I usually approach these situations like, “OK, hello, I want to respect your space and be peaceful here.” So I thought that, extra hard, and fell asleep again.


tarot deck

Raquel, Staff Writer

I feel like a no-fun fuddy-duddy, but I’ve never had a ghost experience, I assume in part because I don’t believe in ghosts. Do ghosts avoid people who don’t believe in them because, like, what’s the use? Or are they like cats and go straight for the person who’s allergic? Either way, I haven’t noticed.

However, when I was in senior year of high school and went on a trip to Europe, I was convinced that Switzerland was ruled by demons—in part because I’d read a terrible Christian Apocalypse-lit book that talked about how demons loved to hang out in the most beautiful places, and in part because I felt such an overwhelming sense of gloom when I sat alone in my hotel room. But in retrospect, I think that was just depression.

As for now, I don’t believe in ghosts, spirits, demons, souls, auras, or anything outside of science and I’m sorry. I believe in feeling awe for the intricate pattern of rule in nature that have created things so beautiful as trees and self-aware human minds and organs that can perceive visual information. I believe the scale of the macro and micro universes (Space! Galaxies! Skin Cells! Microorganisms!) can be spiritual in its contemplation. I think spiritualism is something deeply human, more human than spirit.

Does this mean Mey will kick me out of Witch Hunt? I hope not because I do believe that hexing someone evil does one good and and appreciating the beauty of nature, friendship, and hope is deeply healing, regardless of whether there is something truly mystical occurring. Also I believe in being a scorpio, and I believe in holding and keeping beautiful objects as talismans. I believe tarot readers have given me truths I didn’t know before. I believe magic is our own ability to create meaning and invent faith. I believe our own faith can make us bigger than we think, even if we have faith in nothing. What can I say? I contain multitudes ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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51 Comments

  1. Ahhhh! These are so great and spooky! I do a lot of driving for work and lately I’ve been listening to a paranormal podcast to pass the time. At first it was cute and entertaining, but now there are nights when I’m alone and legit scared of the dark. I’m almost 32.

    • Also, Nora, I love that you wrote about the Winchester Mystery House–a staple of my childhood. Admittedly, my last tour of the place was somewhat recently. I had a work meeting across the street that involved two margaritas. I’m not a big drinker so I took a tour to of the place to sober up before driving home. Navigating that labyrinth of steps was very special for two-margarita me. ?

  2. Despite not at all believing in ghosts, I love ghost stories! I put this down to my Dad attempting to convince me from an early age that any outdoor location that is dark and/or misty is prime haunting territory for headless monks.

    I can also vouch for the cool/crazy-ness of the Winchester Mystery House, and I am refusing to read any information that may debunks its origins because I choose to live my own reality.

    • okay fine

      I have some spooky stories, most of them have to do with weird religious shit. The one @internrachel requested is one from my catholic school years.

      So I went to a very very old like you know those like…very old architecture all girls Spanish boarding schools in movies set in like the 60s and 70s? with the huge gardens and all the secret rooms and tunnels and shit?

      That was basically my school, where this story takes place.

      The school was ran by very intense nuns. Their entire congregation lived there and also owned a property next door to the school. The house served as a free clinic for ‘the poor’, and a library and also people would go there for certain ‘healing services’.

      A very famous nun was part of this congregation, she performed most of the ‘healing services’. I think she was maybe 90 years old back then already. She was so famous even celebrities would come to see her. She was basically Jesus of the nuns.

      These services would be performed after school hours and at the house next door which we weren’t allowed to go to.

      One day, (I was maybe in 8th or 9th grade) we see these people come thru from the window of our classroom. There is this super shy little girl with them. She was clearly like…not herself, she was acting…odd. I don’t know how to pinpoint it, but it was very much so that our whole classroom was taken aback and literally staring from the window. We watched as she was received by ‘Jesus nun’ in the Hallway and ushered into the School chapel.

      Once they were in there a little while passed by, so we just went back to our desks.

      Suddenly, literally out of NOWHERE, we hear these VERY intense and LOUD screams and we all like STAND UP.

      We were freaking out and tried to go check it out but all the professors were told specifically to patrol the hallways and make sure we didn’t peek thru the windows or exited the classrooms.

      So we sat there…hearing these AWFUL screams that sounded like they came from SEVERAL different grown men and most definitely not from a child. It was SUPER scary.

      LATER ON, everybody was talking about it because we all clearly heard it, and this girl from the other section of our grade started telling us some shit. So the thing is this girl’s sister did a lot of assistance w nun related affairs because she wanted to be a nun herself, and she was IN FACT present in the chapel during the ‘service’. Apparently, it was a full blown exorcism. Our informer told us the child pissed herself in the chapel and that it was a whole thing.

      I honestly don’t know since I wasn’t in there. but I can say FOR SURE that I was in a classroom more than several rooms away from it and I heard the screams and it shook me forever. It was CREEPY and there’s no way those sounds came from a child.

  3. Well, that gave me goose bumps. I’m glad it’s still light outside, and I have plenty of time to forget all about this article before it’s dark.

    I’ve had some very weird experiences, but none that I have ever attributed to a ghost. Spirits, yes, actual Death personified, yes, but not things that once belonged on this plane. Which is weird, according to my mother who works in a haunted former insane asylum, seeing as my house dates back to at least the early 1700s. I’ve always responded that it’s because energy doesn’t store well in bare granite … which is total unverified personal gnosis, but all the spooky places I’ve been had things like interior walls and a proper foundation. Plus, we found animal bones in the walls, and still nothing spooky!

  4. I may have told this story before …but this is the one that comes first to mind:

    I had just been accepted to college in the north of England and my friend agreed to drive up with me to look at places to live.
    It was a long drive (by UK standards, probably round the corner by N.American standards), and on the way up we decided to stop at a B&B overnight.
    We took the next exit from the motorway and ended up in a village. Seeing a B&B sign on a large, old house we went up and knocked on the door. After a pause a window opened upstairs and someone leaned out and told us the owners were out but would come home in a bit.
    My friend and I went to a pub and phoned her mother to let her know where we were staying, leaving a message on voicemail.
    Later, we went back to the B&B and knocked again. The same youngish person answered and said that the owners still weren’t home, but that we could sleep in one of the rooms and settle up with them in the morning.
    It was close to midnight and we had nowhere else to go, so we agreed…going up to a small room. Being cautious we jammed the chair under the handle and settled down to sleep.
    The next morning we awoke and got ourselves together. We looked out in the corridor and downstairs, but no-one was around. We called out – still no answer. Then we saw a sign next to some stairs saying there was food downstairs. My friend and I looked at each other – we had shouted loud enough that if anyone was there they would have heard us. We KNEW we weren’t going downstairs. We left with the name of the village and B&B thinking we would call them when we got home – we could always pay them by phone afterwards.

    After going to the college and checking out places to live it was time to go back to London. We got back on the road, and thought we could drop by the B&B on the way home to settle up. I looked on the map for the motorway exit for the village.

    Nothing was there.

    I looked again – I must have missed it. I looked on the index – the UK is so small that everything is always on the map.

    Nothing in the index under the village name.

    We drove slowly past the area where we had turned off on the other side – no exit, no signs.

    We looked at each other, drove home and checked the voicemail she’d left – we had remembered the name right, but the village had vanished.

    To this day I am grateful we didn’t eat the food, because I am certain that we would still be there, perhaps answering the door to the next traveler looking for someplace to stay.

  5. This isn’t actually spooky at all, just another ghost cat kinda deal. When I still lived in parents house I would wake up a lot certain that there was a kitten living in my closet. Then I would remember that there wasn’t, but in my brain in the waking and falling asleep times it was a thing I knew to be true. No noise or anything, just a knowledge that it was in there because that’s where it lived. I thought of it as the Extra Kitten.

    But then again I really like kittens so maybe it was just wishful thinking. But I wasn’t a kid, this was when I was teenage/early twenties. Who knows. Anyway whether it was “real” or not I’m glad it was a kitten and not something scarier.

  6. OMG these are all so creepy.
    I have a ghost story to share too:
    The summer before college (2014), I went to Ireland with my family and we Airbnb’d this cottage in the middle of nowhere (the nearest town was a tiny one-road seaside village a solid 20 minutes away by car) for about a week. This place had no wifi, no cell reception, no TV, nothing. It was creepy as HELL. Doors would slam on their own for no reason, the lights would flicker (my parents blamed both of these on the weather) and every single night at 12:37 AM I would wake up in a cold sweat and see a shadowy figure at the foot of my bed, and hear something clawing/tapping at the window.
    And then on our last night there, I woke up at 12:37 again and instead of the figure at the foot of my bed I saw it hanging from the exposed beams of the ceiling.
    Looked it up when we left that house of horrors and returned to reality (i.e. a place that had wifi and cellphone reception) and lo and behold, there’s an obituary from 2009 about someone who i guess was the daughter of the family who Airbnb’d the place out, who hanged herself. If I were less of a weenie I’d look up the death certificate but I’m willing to bet time of death was 12:37 AM.

  7. I’m jealous? of a couple of these. If my grandfather is still hanging around, he’s just fucking with us. The only thing that’s happened at my grandparents’ house since he died is the entire roll of toilet paper unrolling on its own in 2 separate bathrooms and the fan above the stove turning on by itself when my mother cooks.

  8. I told this on the FOT last week, but we had a seance at a friends birthday party with a homemade Ouji board. We pretty much contacted a teen who lived in that building that died in the late 80s. He was a big fan of David Bowie and The Smiths and wanted to hear a song from Morrissey that wasn’t new(I think he wanted to hear something familiar?). The room felt a bit heavy when he was summoned or at least that’s how it felt to me. I think we also assumed he was not straight and/or cis as most of us, if not all in that room was LGBTQ.

    I also have felt some weird stuff in my room, not sure how much is in my mind, alcohol or cannabis(for those nights that it happens when I’ve partaken in either or both), and how much it’s ghosts/spirits in the house. I’ve woken up at least once grasping for air in the middle of the night with my curtains moving. It was the middle of winter in L.A., my windows were closed as it wasn’t warm outside. Told me friend about in the morning and he joked that the ghost was trying to dominate me. I dunno what it was, but I found the whole situation weird. I’ve also in a half sleep and half away daze felt stuff in my room. Recently tried out some pachuli and sage to see if that warts it off.

  9. I have to live vicariously through these spooky stories because I have NEVER been haunted. I know it’s for the best, but I’m still disappointed that I lived in a haunted house for two years and never got haunted. (That house was on a ghost tour–whenever I saw the camera flashes start up I would go stand in the window. I hope I helped.)

    One time I did hear the voice of my brother calling my name, but he was not in the state at the time, so nice job, knuckleheaded demon, you didn’t fool me.

  10. Well aside from Latinas, we Filipinos also grew up believing in the supernatural. Especially if you’re like me who’s from the province. We believe that if we are new to a place or like a house, we have to say “Tabi-tabi po” (literally “excuse me”) to give respect to the elementals we don’t “see” like we may accidentally step on them or something albeit unintentional. If you don’t, you’ll feel sick for no apparent reason. This has happened to me a few times when I was a kid – body weakness, my earlobes cold, and then I throw up.
    As for a spooky story – I have three. You know how they say churches and schools are usually the most spooky places? (I don’t have a third eye, just a heads up).
    So, I grew up actively joining youth activities in our parish church (Catholic and way before I realized I was gay AF). We were preparing for an overnight stay-in seminar and we set up a meeting at like 3PM in one of the upstairs old conference rooms in the church grounds, so we were there waiting, and I hear heavy footsteps in the wooden stairs and I look in anticipation and there’s no one there. It happened a few more times and one of our more “elders” told me to just leave it alone. I was then told that the downstairs space used to be where they hold wakes and true enough, I checked the cupboard and I see the ribbons used for the caskets and stuff.
    So the night of the seminar came (this was in the neighboring Catholic school) and 3 of us coordinators were patrolling the halls to make sure everyone’s sleeping and stuff at like 12 midnight and as we reached the last corner, we were greeting by a blast of cold air with a strong flowery scent and like a lit candle. We decided to go through instead of retracing our steps / back out and it followed us for a good 2 minutes.
    I have one more from when I was in college. I was sharing a room with my cousin (my host family, I went to a university in the city) and she was already asleep in her bottom bunk as it was already late in the night. I was reading Harry Potter (not sure which one, possibly the 5th book) in my cousin’s desk at the foot of our bed, and I climb up to my bunk and then I hear the book’s pages slowly being turned. I remember it was a hard bound book and that I had closed it. But there it was, being “read” by somebody. I was so scared that I lay there stunned, shaking, but also petrified I couldn’t move. Good thing I had my blanket over my head! But hey, that ghost had good taste!

  11. Friday night in college, and I’m hanging out in the living room with my roommate. It’s about 8pm, and I grab my laptop. It was not plugged in, and it was not on. I opened the lid to turn it on, and it starts talking. Like the a.m. radio talking, where is staticky but a voice was trying to come through.

    My roommate freaked out and told me to make it stop. It took me a minute to close the lid and for the talking to stop. She’s a super science minded person, and the fact that she was a believer that night made me even more nervous!

  12. These stories are all sooo good! Definitely reminding me of one of my fave A-Camp memories, the fireside ghost storytime that happened at 7.0!!! Spooky queer content forever and always!

  13. I had a weird experience just a couple of weeks ago. I decided to go into work one Saturday to try and get a head of my work load for the following week. There were a couple of other people in the office but they were working downstairs in the shop.

    After about an hour or so of working I started to hear what sounded like someone walking up the stairs and when I didn’t hear them get to the top, I went to investigate but no one was there. I went back to my desk and continued to work when I saw a shadow move by the window in front of my desk, out of the corner of my eye and just laughed it off as possibly a bird.

    There are three banks of lights in my office and I sit directly under the last set and was startled when only my bank of lights went out. I went downstairs to ask if one of the breakers maybe tripped and one of the guys checked the electrical panel for me but all the breakers were on. He went back upstairs with me to check it out but all the lights were back on so I went back to work and he went back downstairs. A little while later, all the lights went out but really slowly starting a the farthest bank moving closer to mine. I sat there in the dark for a couple of minutes before asking if the ghost would turn the lights back on and the farthest bank of lights turned on immediately after I asked. My lights only turned on when I said I just wanted to finish what I was working then I’d leave but I remembered I needed to send an email about something else and as soon as I started typing up that other email my lights went out. That’s when I gave up and just went home for the day. I ended up getting a text from a coworker last week who ended up staying late one night saying the lights were turning on and off. She packed up and left shorty after they wouldn’t turn back on.

  14. I tried, but it becomes social studies lecture instead of spooky narrative because I have too much feelings and perspective on former plantation states. 🙁

    I might try again later.

  15. not so much a ghost story but paranormal nonetheless

    i was about 13 and i was staying with my friend and her family at their summer cottage. one night i suddenly woke up, the way you wake up from a nightmare, with a feeling that something terrible had happened to my neighbour (a sweet old lady and a dear family friend of ours). i was certain that it was true the feeling was so strong, but i didn’t know what to do and so after a while i went back to sleep. in the morning i brushed it off as a nightmare and forgot about it. until a few days later when i came back home from the cottage. i learned that my neighbour’s nephew had been staying with her for a while. and on that same night when i had woken up, he had committed suicide in her apartment by shooting himself. the sound of the gunshot had woken her up and she had came crying to my family’s apartment for help. i’m not sure if the “message” i got came from the neighbour or my mum who was there to help her.

  16. I’ve told this story at a few camp fires, but I’m feeling festive and want to share

    I was best friends with a ghost in college

    Well, best friends is an exaggeration. It’s more that we had a mutual understanding of mischief

    to back this story up bit

    I am an alum of a sorority. In my days as an undergrad I lived in a sorority house with 55 other women and one resident house ghost named Charlotte

    Charlotte was mostly harmless in terms of spookery- sometimes she’d turn on a random faucet. Or she’d hide all of our spoons. Or flicker a light. Knock things off shelves. Lightly shake someone’s bed. Harmless

    Sometimes she just wanted a laugh and you couldn’t really explain why you were at the other end of a Charlotte encounter, but usually if you felt her chill you knew what you did. Our spoons went missing bc we weren’t suppose to take dishes off the main floor. Duh. Charlotte was a biddy about house rules.

    Her post-mortem story is vague. The general tail is that she started spooking the house in the early 90’s. That a group of upperclassmen with a Ouji board started calling her Charlotte.

    Every year the Sorority creates a composite photo. A composite consists of the head shot, name, grade and officer position of everyone currently in chapter. Like a fancy, framed yearbook page. These are kept forever in a special section of our basement.

    I’m not sure how much I trust personally Ouja, but I can confirm that in the original 1927 composite, there is a missing photo for one Charlotte B.

    This is where my friendship with Char started

    Charlotte’s photo may have been missing from the 1927 composite, but if you are a nerd doing independent research on university history you can find the petition our early members submitted to the university to become a sorority.
    AND In this petition you will find a stunning picture of our Charlotte B rocking a bob and pearls.

    Ya’ll if anyone ever looked like mischief it was the person in this photo.

    So logically, I used it to make her a twitter account

    It was great – The Charlotte account would tweet ghost puns and sorority jokes
    People would tweet things like “ OMG the lights just went out”
    …..and Charlotte would favorite it.
    People FREAKED out.

    Charlotte left me alone to my mischief. Mostly bc I didn’t break house rules, but I also like to think that this was the kind of legacy she wanted.

    Well, she left me alone for the most part.
    I was also house manager at the time. One of my jobs was to close up the house when the school year ended. This required that I spend an extra night, by myself, in that house made for 56.

    That last night, between her creaking the staircase and playing Centerfold on a bathroom radio, I didn’t get much sleep.

  17. Laneia’s story made me cry and this part of Stef’s made me laugh out loud:

    “I was wearing a top hat and tails I’d found in a closet, sitting in a wooden coffin someone had carried up from the basement, sipping bourbon and listening politely.”

    I’ve had a few ghost encounters – some creepy, some just funny. My cousins and I messed around with a Ouija board one summer and every logical part of my brain wants to tell me it was all fake but it was always my cousin Alex and I on the board, and it was always facing me, and my cousin wasn’t/isn’t a strong reader/speller so I just really doubt he could have been doing all that on his own and I sure as heck wasn’t doing it. And once my dad, a skeptic, asked it a question, and it gave us an answer, and we looked at him to see if it was right, and he just walked out of the room. I still can’t be sure if the answer was true (it wasn’t a thing my cousin and I could have known) but based on his response it seems likely. O.O

  18. I’m going to try this one last time, see if I can do a narrative instead of a social studies lecture.

    Before I start there’s 2 things you need to know.
    First thing is Louisiana and all the former plantation states are haunted, there’s too many layers of misery and injustice for them not to be. Anyone who grew up here knows, and feels. May not admit, but will respect it in some way.
    It’s like moisture in the air, a humidity that hangs over everything If you grow up with you get used to it, feels normal. In some spots though it feels heavier.

    The second thing is sugar cane.
    It’s harvested and processed(ground) in the early fall before certain weather conditions occur. If this isn’t achieved before that the whole crop could be ruined, a total loss.
    Even in the 21st cane harvesting is back-breaking, time sensitive, dangerous work done only by the best. In the past it was even more time sensitive and specialized of a job because grinding wasn’t done by machine.
    So historically this time of year is when slaves and free people of many colors would try to leverage for better conditions as training a new work crew before the weather turned would be impossible or more expensive than giving into demands.
    Sometimes this worked out in favour of the work crew, sometimes it did not.
    Really did not very violently did not.

    The year is 2005, the month is October. Katrina happened in August sending my family up and to the west into a more rural part of Louisiana near family. I’m 14, my brother is 13 and we’ve been at each other’s throats for years. I have scars on my body from his wrath.
    The house my parents have managed rented is too small to contain us, the neighborhood is maybe 30 years old. It was once all cane field.
    There’s still cane fields all over, I ride past them to school 5 days a week. I don’t care about them even though my mother takes pride in them because we came from cane workers, because local grown cane sugar is an export to be proud of.
    My brother hates everything, especially me. He calls me pig and calls, “sueeeeey” when requested to tell me it’s time for dinner. Night had always called to me, it was quiet only the small sounds of nature and not people. It calls to me even more that I share a room with my brother. I just want the darkness, the quiet, the lack of another human’s existence edging so harshly into mine. So I’d stay up late in listening to my walkman radio and sit outside or walk the cul se sac.

    This night something really put me over the edge, I can’t remember what but I really needed to walk it off or I was gonna blow and there wasn’t space or money for that. The air was cool I remember that clearly because the way it tickled at my under-dressed body made me feel strong and calmer.
    I remember the feel and sound of the dirt and shells under my feet as walked further than I had before and this feeling of being watched creeps up on me. People like me who grew up with other kids trying to tape kicks me signs on our backs and shit we know when we’re watched, we don’t discount that feeling. So I paused, listened for the sound of an animal or a person breathing. I didn’t hear anything, not a rustle or even the wind. I made a movement of some kind, still nothing.
    Then I feel it.
    This hot, burning all consuming wrath that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my eyes to tear. I have a temper, I’ve lived on anger and been hated before but oh god never have I felt such wrath; hatred has a vein of fear in it, loathing but this was pure un-distilled malevolent rage. As long as I live I never what to feel it again.
    I sobbed and choked while willing my body with everything I had to move just fucking move and ran.

    Every night after that until we left I felt a pressure outside the house at night and in the dark hours of the morning as we rode past the cane fields tendrils of that same malevolence. It got weaker after the post harvest burn. But it was still there and I wasn’t going to test it out.

      • Amazing…nah more like horrid.

        I’ve had room full of people,that picked on me for weeks, decide to up their game and throw things at me for a couple minutes before the teacher came back in.

        I’ve survived a flesh and blood person trying to kill me in a fit of rage.

        None of it was as horrid and terrifying as what ever the hell that presence was dude.

        What have you felt in old institutions and stuff?
        I did summer theatre thing and the costume department was in an old factory building and felt a sort of parental crabbiness when ever someone used the ladder.
        It was kinda funny.

        • The institutions were old mental hospitals, and equally old infectious disease quarantine hospitals.

          Parts of the mental hospitals were still in use but several of the very old wards were in serious disrepair or in part, closed off but still used for some storage. The quarantine stations were also old hospital wards, again in some instances, in partial use, but locked up and used as storage or wailing for conversion to new purposes.

          All of these places dated from the early C19th and were mostly convict built. By those under sentence of Transportation to New South Wales, for various misdemeanours from petty theft to rebellion.

          In one place in particular the hospital had cellars with cells that were used as an overnight security lock up for convicts being transported along the river system to more distant work sites.
          The cellars were pretty dank and nasty and there were still manacles attached to the walls.

          Needless to say the place was miserable but was opened up once a year as part of a fundraiser tour for the hospital fete.

          I was down there one year prior to fete day clearing up and putting up the odd exhibit from the hospital museum when quite suddenly I felt this sense of icy terror and panic, which mounted and mounted until I thought I was going to pass out. The panic seemed to still and then a very soft moaning started and I heard the sound of a whip flying through the air and then an overwhelming sense of rage came over me. I went ripping back up the stairs and out of there as fast as possible but the mixed feelings of fear, terror, panic, rage and a feeling of humiliation (not mine) are still somewhere in my muscle memory.

          This experience was the most vivid but others, mainly of deep sadness, anger or despair were around many corners, especially at night on the “one man” wards. I even adopted a stray dog and took him on rounds with me at one place. He seemed spooked too at times.

          • Dayum.
            Yep that comes near Deep South plantation station layers of misery alright.
            Hospitals are the woooorst, so much and many feelings from so many people.

            The only thing worse than manacles still in the basement is trying to erase that manacles were ever a part of things.
            There’s plantations still standing that converted the slave quarters to cutesty little servant cabins to go better with their bed & breakfast rebranding.

    • Yes, I know what you mean about the disrespect and the nastiness of making a profit out of the remnants of historical oppression and misery. Most of those hospitals were sold off by the state government to property developers, mainly because they were sitting on prime land with water views.Only part of one is still a Mental Health Centre now and the historic buildings are in serious disrepair. There is talk about restoration of the sandstone convict built parts but we’ll see I suppose.

      The rest of the hospitals and their huge park like grounds were turned into blocks and blocks of apartments. Driving past them now,only a few years after their conversion, many look like slums.

      I don’t know, I feel that some recognition should be given at least to the lives that were lived in those places and also to the people who built them.

      I suppose I’m too sentimental for my own good.

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