Real-Life Ghost Stories

17 Real-Life Ghost Stories That Will Prompt You to Sleep with the Lights On

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There is something about the paranormal that is so intriguing yet terrifying. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, these real-life ghost stories are sure to freak you out. So sit back, hit those lights, and check out these seventeen real-life ghost stories gathered from all around the Web.

Terrifying Real-Life Ghost Stories You Should Never Read Alone

1. The Facebook Ghost

Receiving a message from a departed loved one may sound like a plot taken straight out of a Stephen King book. But for this Reddit user, it became a heartbreaking reality. In the “No Sleep” subreddit, Nathan shared how his late girlfriend Emily contacted him through Facebook.  

Emily passed away after a fatal car crash in 2012. When the messages began pouring in, Nathan thought it was nothing but some bug on the social media site. Then things turned eerie, not only was “Emily” recycling her old messages, but she was also tagging herself in pictures he took.

Creepy Story

At first, Nathan presumed that Emily’s mother, Susan, was behind the messages. But when she denied the allegations, he decided to change the account’s e-mail and password. Apparently, this did not stop who or whatever was messaging him.

Then something incredibly hair-raising happened, giving birth to one of the most heart-wrenching real-life ghost stories on the Internet.

Nathan received this chilling message:

Spooky Convo

According to Nathan, the line “just let me walk” was related to Emily’s accident.

“In the collision, the dashboard had crushed her. She was severed in a diagonal line from her right hip to midway down her left thigh. One of her legs was found tucked under the backseat.”

Her last message gave him several nightmares. Nathan would often wake up from a dream involving Emily locked in an ice-cold car while he pleaded for her to let him in. To this day, the Facebook account has been quiet, and no more messages from beyond the grave were ever sent to Nathan.

2. The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

On lists of the most horrifying real-life ghost stories, there’s always the name of Anneliese Michel.

Remember the popular horror movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose? The titular character in the film was actually based on Anneliese Michel, a young German woman who was the subject of an exorcism that eventually led to her death.

When Anneliese was only sixteen, she experienced an epileptic seizure. She later suffered depression as she entered her twenties and was admitted to a mental hospital. The doctors were initially confused about what the girl’s symptoms were trying to tell but proceeded to prescribe anti-psychosis pills as part of her treatment.

Anneliese reportedly began hearing voices telling her to “rot in hell.” Her symptoms became worse. She later started to attack family members and even drank her own urine. But the strangest of all had to be Anneliese’s fear of religious objects.

The Michel family finally contacted priests to perform a series of exorcisms on their daughter. From 1975 to 1976, Bishop Josef Stangl and Father Arnold Renz performed a total of 67 exorcisms, many of which were recorded and can be found on the Web today.

3. The Bizarre Death of Elisa Lam

The death of Elisa Lam is one of the most famous unsolved mysteries ever known. What makes it even more terrifying is the fact that the last moments of her life were all caught on surveillance video.

It all started when Elisa, a Canadian student, traveled to the United States for what she called her West Coast Tour. Elisa was alone the entire time, and during her stop in Los Angeles, she checked in the Cecil Hotel where she was last seen alive.

Elisa was reported missing by her family on January 31, 2013. She had frequently kept in touch with her parents, and the lack of communication that day prompted them to call the police. Two weeks after her disappearance, the LAPD released an unnerving elevator surveillance tape recording the young woman’s strange behavior.

The two-and-a-half-minute footage provided more questions than answers. Elisa can be seen anxiously checking outside for anyone following her. She then starts to frantically press the elevator buttons, but they prove to be faulty and don’t budge.

Elisa’s body was discovered by authorities after hotel guests began complaining of an unusual smell from the water taps. An employee was sent to the roof to investigate only to find Elisa’s lifeless body floating face up in one of the tanks. What people thought was just another case of disappearance turned into a heartbreaking event and now one of the most haunting real-life ghost stories.

To this day, there is no concrete explanation as to why the beaming young woman was acting that way or how she ended up in the water tank located on the hotel’s rooftop later that night. Many suggested that Elisa was hiding from an invisible entity as the Cecil Hotel has always been a notorious hot spot for paranormal activity.

4. The Amityville Horror

The Amityville case was given public interest after paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren documented their experience while investigating the large house in 112 Ocean Avenue. The sinister history of the estate began on November 13, 1974, when Ronald Defeo Jr. was found guilty of murdering his whole family.

Defeo initially denied the allegations and claimed he was not home during the time of the murder. But when police came across the murder weapon in his room, Defeo later confessed to the heinous crime, and the house was eventually put on sale.

Less than a year later, after the grisly murders, a new family moved into the Amityville home. George and Kathy Lutz and three young children from Kathy’s previous marriage were the unlucky family that was subjected to unimaginable terror over the course of 28 days.

George would wake up at 3:15 in the morning, which was reportedly the same time Defeo murdered his whole family. Kathy also began having vivid nightmares about the murders, and later they discovered the order in which each member of the Defeo family was killed. The family dog, Harry, was terrified of a certain room, which was later dubbed as The Red Room.

The terrifying experiences went on and on, but perhaps the eeriest one involved the “friendship” between the youngest of the children, Missy, and a pig-like creature named Jodie.

After sensing that something was terribly wrong with their house, George carried out a house blessing of his own. While reciting the Lord’s Prayer with Kathy in the living room, a chorus of voices shouted back, “Will you stop!”

The family finally decided to leave the house that same month, leaving all of their possessions behind. They have since declined to give a full account of the events as they were “too frightening” to tell.

5. Unexplained Real-Life Ghost Stories: Resurrection Mary

Resurrection Mary is one of Chicago’s most famous real-life ghost stories. Since the 1930s, men who have found themselves driving along Archer Avenue between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery have reportedly been picking up a female hitchhiker.

According to several accounts, the woman, who goes by the name Mary, is typically dressed in a white party dress and is said to have blond hair and blue eyes. She is often spotted with her thumb in the air, signaling the drivers that she would like a ride.

Resurrection Cemetery

Those who have supposedly picked this young woman up said that Mary has one simple request: to take her to the cemetery. When she arrives at her final destination, Mary vanishes into thin air only to be seen again by another driver.

Legend says that Mary was a young woman who spent the night dancing in the Oh Henry Ballroom. After getting into an argument with her boyfriend, she stormed out and was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking down the dark path.

6. The Exorcism of Roland Doe

Somehow, a lot of real-life ghost stories involve demonic possessions, and the story of Roland Doe is one noteworthy example.

A 14-year-old boy was reportedly a victim of demonic possession back in the 1940s. Roland Doe (real name withheld to protect his identity) was born to a German Lutheran family. The whole family later moved to Cottage City, Maryland, where Roland’s aunt would introduce the young boy to the Ouija board.

Due to his aunt’s dabbling with the occult, his family experienced a series of horrifying events. But it was Roland who suffered the most, and his parents were prompted to contact a Catholic priest to save the boy’s life.

The exorcism took place entirely at the Georgetown University Hospital. Firsthand reports have said that Roland acted like a wild animal the entire time. He displayed extraordinary strength for his size and ferociously attacked one of the priests in charge of the exorcism.

Roland survived the entire ordeal and is now a 78-year-old living a peaceful life. His story caught the eye of young William Blatty, who penned the famous horror novel The Exorcist.

7. The Skeleton of Hampton Court Palace

“Skeletor” was the name given to grim-like creature caught by the Hampton Court Palace CCTV back in 2003. According to HRP.org:

“On three consecutive days, palace security staff were called to close one particular fire door near the palace’s Introductory Exhibition.

“On the first day, CCTV footage showed the doors flying wide open with great force, but there was nothing to reveal why.

“On the second day, the same thing happened, but this time a ghostly looking figure in period dress suddenly appeared on the screen and closed the doors.”

Hampton Court Palace

8. The Black-Eyed Ghost of Cannock Chase

Cannock Chase is located in the countryside of Staffordshire, England. The Cannock Chase case isn’t one of those inconspicuous real-life ghost stories. Since the nineteenth century, the area has been plagued by sightings of werewolves, UFOs, and black dogs that are often thought of as omens of death. Other than these paranormal beings, black-eyed ghosts were also spotted around Cannock Chase, and they were said to be the restless souls of young victims of a grisly crime.

In the 1960s, Raymond Leslie Morris was convicted of the murder of three young children. The girls, who were between the age of 6 and 10, were sexually assaulted and left for dead by the heartless killer. It was reported that their souls never left the area and are believed to be haunting the woodland at night.

Check out the footage of the ghosts below.

Paranormal investigator Tom Buckmaster took the haunting video. He describes the spirits as clothed in white and can be clearly seen moving in the woods. Other sightings of the black-eyed spirits have been reported over the years. Some say they can be heard giggling while others swear they hear the children begging for help.

9. “The Devil Made Me Do It” Case

Arne Cheyenne Johnson‘s case was one of the most controversial cases in American history. It was the very first trial where the defense cited demonic possession as a reason for murder. The year was 1981 and Johnson was involved in a heated argument with his landlord, Alan Bono, in Connecticut. The argument led to Johnson fatally stabbing Bono. The latter died of his wounds, and Johnson was arrested for first-degree murder.

Johnson’s lawyers argued that his actions were a result of a demonic possession. The alleged demon came from a malicious entity that had possessed David Glatzel, the 11-year-old brother of Johnson’s fiancé. Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren were even called to rid the young child of the demon, which manifested itself in Johnson for years.

Arne Cheyenne Johnson

Ultimately, the judge rejected the defense, and Johnson was found guilty of first-degree murder. However, his sentence was reduced to just five years instead of twenty.

10. The Myrtles Plantation: More Real-Life Ghost Stories

The Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is touted as one of America’s most haunted homes. It is said to be the unending purgatory for twelve ghosts, many of which were slaves during the nineteenth century. One of them was Chloe, a young slave owned by Clark and Sara Woodruff.

Chloe suffered tremendously at the hands of her relentless masters. On one occasion, her ear was cut after attempting to escape. She wore a green turban to hide her wounds and vowed revenge on the family.

Chloe baked a cake mixed with poisonous Oleander leaves and served it to Judge Clark Woodruff. But her plan backfired, and only Sara and her two young daughters ate it.

The Myrtles Plantation

Chloe paid a terrible price for her actions. She was hung by her neck and had her lifeless body thrown straight into the Mississippi River. While there are no historical records to back up claims of her existence, a photo taken in 1992 is said to show Chloe listening at the door. She is often featured in many real-life ghost stories in the area, with many eyewitnesses claiming that they have seen a woman with a green turban walking around the Myrtles Plantation.

11. The Disneyland Ghost

If you think Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, then think again.

CCTV footage of the famous theme park shows a spooky figure wandering around the grounds at the dead of night. It does not appear like it is human as people have noted how you can see directly through it.

Like all theme parks, accidents and even tragic deaths have occurred in Disneyland, which gave birth to countless real-life ghost stories. In fact, a majority of them have happened as a result of faulty park equipment.

12. The horrible story behind the 1982 film The Entity

The 1982 horror feature The Entity is often difficult to watch due to the graphic nature of the film. So it might be even more spine-tingling to find out that the events of the movie were all based on the true-to-life accounts of Doris Blither.

Doris was sexually assaulted by three invisible entities back in 1974. Because of her troubled history, many branded the young woman as a liar. But it was not until paranormal investigators Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor of UCLA decided to take on her case that they discovered the sinister truth.

The investigators were shocked at their discovery. They reportedly took several photos that showed light anomalies and entered rooms that had an unworldly smell. Doris and her family eventually moved out of the home, but she claimed that whatever was haunting her continued to bother her for the next five years.

13. The Haunting in Connecticut

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren took a special interest in this case, which tormented a family in their suburban home in Connecticut during the 1980s. Carmen and Allen Snedeker moved to the home with their daughter and three young sons.

Unbeknownst to them, the home was once used as a funeral parlor. The spirits who had lived in the house were unhappy of the family’s arrival and soon haunted the new homeowners.

A lot of the spooky events that occurred around the house involved one of the sons, Philip, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was reportedly taken to a mental hospital after attacking one of his cousins with a knife.

The Snedekers’ experience in the Connecticut home was later documented in the book In a Dark Place by horror novelist Ray Garton. A movie based on the book was also released in 2009.

14. The Enfield Poltergeist

A council house in Enfield became the site of one of the most famous real-life ghost stories in history. It was August 1977 when single mother Peggy Hodgson frantically called police, reporting that her children were seeing furniture move all by itself.

Several paranormal investigators came to the area after it began making front-page news. Among them were famous duo Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens witnessed several strange events happening, including hearing demonic voices, unexplained sounds, overturned chairs, and even levitating children.

The events that transpired in the Enfield house became the inspiration behind the hit horror movie The Conjuring 2. The film was based on investigations conducted by the Warrens during their time with the Hodgson family.

15. The Legend of the Bell Witch

The Blair Witch Project is a popular horror film, which is credited for bringing found-footage film making to mainstream audiences. But there is more to the 1999 blockbuster than meets the eye as it was actually based on a legend that haunted a small town in Tennessee for centuries.

Back in the 1800s, the Bell family were tormented by several paranormal activities. According to legend, John Bell saw an animal with a dog’s head and a rabbit’s around his house. After failing to shoot it, the activity began to grow increasingly violent.

The youngest of the Bell siblings, Betsy, was physically abused by the spirit. She was constantly slapped or pinched out of nowhere and would often find strange bruises appearing out of nowhere. Misfortune eventually fell upon the rest of the family and they would slowly succumb to terrible illnesses.

16. The Mothman Prophecy

The Mothman Prophecies were based on real-life ghost stories involving sightings of a gigantic moth creature seen in West Virginia in the years 1966–1967. The creature was said to be an omen for a tragedy that was set to occur in the town’s iconic Silver Bridge.

The alleged “Mothman” was described as a 7-foot-tall creature with two giant red eyes and no head. Sightings continued to plague down the town until the bridge unexpectedly collapsed during rush hour traffic.

The events inspired a 2002 movie starring Richard Gere. Thankfully, sightings of the sinister Mothman have stopped, but its story has continued to haunt residents of the sleepy Virginia town for years.

17. The Unexplained Stories of the Jamaica Inn

The Jamaica Inn is said to be one of the most haunted places in the United Kingdom, and the site’s dark history likely plays a huge factor to that.

According to legend, a man was enjoying a tankard of ale at a bar one night. That was apparently the last time he was seen alive as his corpse was found outside on the bleak moor.

Jamaica Inn

Many eyewitnesses claimed to have seen the man just outside the Jamaica Inn. What could be the story behind his violent death? To this day, his identity and cause of death remains a mystery and shall remain as one of the most interesting yet haunting real-life ghost stories ever told.