The world is filled with ghost stories and urban legends. From encounters with shadow people to contact with the ones who have passed through the veil, these are the most spine-tingling tales from the crypt that are guaranteed to keep you awake at night.
Nightmare-Inducing Ghost Stories and Creepy Encounters
1. Eerie Encounters with the ‘Shadow People’
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According to paranormal folklore, a shadow person is the perception of a humanoid entity that is believed to be the presence of a restless spirit. This man’s short but creepy encounter with a shadow figure at his parents’ house could either be a figment of his imagination or maybe something even more sinister.
“I was visiting my family, and my sister and I had just turned the light off to go to bed. I was lying on my back, and after my eyes adjusted, I looked toward the closed door and saw a shadow darker than the dark walk across the door. I clearly saw what looked like legs walking. I just closed my eyes and turned onto my side and tried to fall asleep as fast as I could. It freaked me out since it was in my old bedroom, and I used to have weird stuff happen to me in there when I was in high school. I get nervous whenever I stay at my parents’ now.”
2. The Haunted Morgue at Waverly Hills Sanatorium
The reality television show Paranormal Challenge traveled all the way to Louisville, Kentucky, to visit the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. There, they managed to gather unsettling evidence of the unknown. On several occasions, the crew felt an instant temperature drop in temperature. They also heard unnatural sounds coming from the walls, and a rusty metal chair began moving in the corner as if someone was sitting down on it. Upon checking the chair, it appeared empty.
But perhaps the most terrifying experience happened when the group conducted an electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) session. Disjointed voices mentioning the names of dead patients were caught on tape. At some point, the investigator’s camera began to malfunction, so she questioned if this was the spirit’s doing. As if on cue, a voice coming from the recorder replied with an eerie “Yes.”
3. Contacting the ghost of Marilyn Monroe
There’s no list of ghost stories without a creepy conversation with the dead. A clairvoyant named Norma Jeane claims that she has connected to, of all people, Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe. Norma gets a lot of specific details about her life pretty well including how Monroe must have felt when she was told she could not bear children.
4. The Spirits of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia has gained a reputation of being one of the most haunted areas in the United States. The site is shrouded with apparition sightings, unexplained sounds, and other paranormal activity. It is basically a playground for paranormal investigators, with people from famous TV shows like Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and Paranormal Challenge paying the asylum a visit.
Thousands of patients have been housed in the asylum, and unfortunately, many met their untimely demise there. One of the most controversial treatments was transorbital lobotomy, a procedure that involved driving through the orbital socket of the eye causing permanent damage to relieve severe symptoms. Violent deaths caused by inhumane treatment are the likely reason the restless souls of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum continue to haunt the place.
5. The Wandering Ghost
When paranormal investigator Gretchen Upshaw led an investigation at the Old South Pittsburgh Hospital, she never expected that one spirit would continue to cling to her beyond the abandoned institution’s four walls. During her investigation, Upshaw was touched, spoken to, and haunted by the presence of sinister spirits. This was normal for the veteran investigator until the unthinkable began to happen when she reached home.
A man named Simon haunted her in her dreams and later made his presence known in the real world. He was said to have died in a horrible motorcycle accident and would later go on to haunt the hospital where he met his demise.
6. The Ghost of Yukon the Dog
At a local supply shop in Willoughby, Ohio, the shopkeeper would often receive complaints over a foul-smelling dog in some of the stockrooms. It turned out that a black Labrador named Yukon inhabited the shop with his owner before the new tenants came in. The poor dog later met an accident and died at the shop’s doorstep. To this day, a lot of ghost stories involve the sightings of the poor dog. It is believed that he continues to haunt the area and has even shown himself to unsuspecting guests.
7. Cold as Ice: A True Ghost Encounter
When paranormal expert John D. Mimms investigated a tuberculosis sanitarium, he managed to capture the photo of a little girl using his thermal camera. She appeared to be dancing and had a temperature reading that was several degrees colder than that of the room. When Mimms headed over to the spot where she was, the first thing he noticed was that it was extremely cold.
Several months after their initial investigation, Mimms headed back to the location only to find out that the little girl was still there. This time, he whipped out his recorder for an EVP session and recorded the girl’s voice on tape.
8. A Life-Changing Out-of-Body Experience
Out-of-body experience involves a feeling of floating outside one’s body. It is often said to be premonitions of death and a sign of traveling clairvoyance. This individual’s firsthand experience with the unknown will make you wish it wouldn’t happen to you.
“I was born with a congenital heart defect and flatlined after heart surgery ten years ago. I specifically remember floating above my hospital bed and being able to hear the nurses talking to one another saying to ‘grab the paddles.’ It went on for what seemed like a minute, and I felt calm the whole time, just observing while the nurses worked frantically. Then it just ended, and the next thing I knew, I woke up in my hospital bed with my dad and my girlfriend there. I talked to a nurse later and told her what I’d seen, and she kind of chuckled and said this was actually really common among cardiac patients who flatline. I was your classic gruff atheist who didn’t believe in that kind of stuff, just so you know where I’m coming from. So this was pretty hard to explain or understand. I’m still not religious, but I definitely know that there’s something going on in the universe that’s bigger than me. I just don’t know what it is.”
9. A Friendly Encounter
Not all ghost stories are sinister in nature. In an old antebellum house in Virginia, author Katherine Neville shared her home with Esme, a ghost thought to be from the 1800s. Luckily, Esme was a friendly spirit and would only play with the house owners by misplacing their jewelry. Neville and her family learned to live alongside Esme, and she would later reward the family by handing out priceless artifacts from the attic.
10. The 3:00 AM Encounter
This person’s harrowing experience in the middle of the night is one the most terrifying ghost stories you’ll ever read.
“The only one I have is when I was in 4th grade. When I was little, I would always sleep with my door open. I went though a faze where I would wake up between 3:00 and 4:00 AM every night, and every single night, I would hear footsteps walking up my stairs, around my living room, through my dining room, across my kitchen, and down my hallway. They would always stop right before my doorway, then turn around and go back into the basement. But one night, they didn’t stop, what I saw was a shadow of a little girl/boy (couldn’t tell) walk right in front of my doorway, look at me for a few seconds, then it walked away, back down the stairs.”
11. Chilling Ghost Stories: Encounters with “Bloody Mary”
The legend of Bloody Mary is probably one of the most popular ghost stories around. Its origin stories have varied over the years. Some say Mary was a woman who met a horrible accident, while some folklore suggests that she was a witch that was burned at the stake. Either way, those who have done the ritual have equally terrifying encounters with the spirit, giving birth to ghost stories that range from totally scary to unbelievably terrifying—just like this one:
“I was nine when me and my friends tried doing Bloody Mary at my house one weekend. There were five of us and we carried my mom’s candles in the upstairs bathroom and all five of us were chanting Bloody Mary. We saw an old woman with cuts on her face and chains around her neck and shoulders looking out of the mirror out at us. Then the shower curtain went up in flames and we ran out of the bathroom. An older boy ran into the bathroom and, luckily for us, got the fire put out. We all got in big trouble for it, and the parents thought we caught the shower curtain on fire with the candles, but we had the candles at least six feet from the shower curtain when it suddenly went up in flames. I know for a fact that we did not touch that shower curtain with a candle.
“I’ve always thought about it, and I know that we saw Bloody Mary, but I’ve never been tempted to do it ever again. I was 25 this year, and I remember it like it was yesterday.”
12. The Block: A Paranormal Playground
A large Victorian factory sits among the streets and houses of Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire, United Kingdom. The structure looms over the city, and many are not aware of the sinister history that lies behind its four walls, a past that would become the subject of one of the scariest ghost stories ever.
The structure is comprised of a variety of offices, a warehouse, and attics, all of which were abandoned back in the 1940s.
A paranormal group decided to conduct their investigation in The Block. The crew would immediately be subjected to torment done by the restless spirits and bad energy that plagued the building. Many had to be taken out due to chest constrictions, and the smell of smoke was a little too overwhelming. Still, many members chose to carry on. The remaining few heard several footprints and even saw the apparition of soldiers that were housed in the area during the war.
13. A Sinister Haunting in San Antonio
Paranormal investigator Gretchen Upshaw developed a penchant for the unknown after being tormented by spirits as a child. Upshaw grew up in San Antonio, Texas, a city riddled with ghost stories. But the presence that haunted her family caused Upshaw a lot of physical and emotional harm. At one point, the animals she brought home would all die violent and senseless deaths, prompting her to believe that something sinister was truly after her. The relentless spirit would even take the form of her brother. It tried to lure her into the dark, but Upshaw knew better than to acknowledge its presence. Who knows what would have happened if she had responded?
Now Upshaw is relieved to have left that home. She says that while the activity may not have disappeared, it has certainly lessened throughout the years.