Tales of apparitions and ghost sightings have been around since the ancient times. These kinds of tales always fascinate people because you never really know what’s real and what’s fake. All over the Internet you’ll find urban legends, YouTube ghost-busting videos, and real stories from people who had their fair share of paranormal experiences.
Even though there are no scientific facts to back up these supernatural events, they have existed throughout history. Here’s a look at some of the most frightening cases.
The Ghost of Tu Po
Legend has it that Tu Po was a vengeful ancient Chinese ghost. Before his death, Tu Po was the minister to the Chinese Emperor Hsuan, who lived from 827–783 BC. After they had a disagreement, Hsuan had Tu Po murdered in 786 BC, despite being warned that Tu Po would come back to haunt him.
Tu Po did more than just haunting the emperor. Three years after Tu Po was killed, Hsuan was killed by an arrow fired by an apparition that looked like Tu Po. This was witnessed by an assembly of feudal lords.
The Boarded-up Bathhouse
Plutarch was a writer who lived from AD 45 to 120. He told a ghost story about a boy named Damon who had an admirer in a Roman military commander. Damon refused the commander’s advances, which annoyed him.
He knew he would be killed unless he put a stop to it, so Damon gathered a group together to ambush the Roman commander and his comrades and kill them. The city council sentenced Damon and his friends to death. After the announcement of the sentence, Damon had the council members murdered.
They went on a rampage and plundered the countryside. When he returned to his town, he was killed in the local bath house. After that, there were so many tales about hearing groans and phantoms coming from the bath house, that it was eventually boarded up.
The Aokigahara Woods
At the foot of Mount Fuji lies the Aokigahara Woods. Dozens of suicide victims have been found there in the past two decades. The place is very popular for Japanese citizens wanting to end their lives.
Today, there are signs around the forest that urge people not to end their lives and seek help instead. Along with the vast number of suicides that have occurred in the forest are many ghost stories and alleged encounters with the souls of those who passed on to another life.
The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall
A photographer taking pictures of Raynham Hall in Norfolk, UK, captured what seems to be a ghost floating down the stairs. This photo from 1936 is one of the most famous ghost photos ever taken, though some experts believe it was caused by double exposure.
Raynham Hall covers an area of 7,000 acres and has a long history of being haunted. The BBC says that the ghost may be Lady Dorothy Townshend, the wife of the second viscount of the estate. In 1726, she died under mysterious circumstances. She is said to roam the manor dressed in brown.
The Amityville Haunting
The Amityville haunting is one of the most famous ghost stories in America. Ronald Defeo Jr. was convicted of killing his mother, father, and four of his siblings in their home in Amityville, New York. The records show that there was no sign of struggle in the house, and the gun Ronald used did not have a silencer.
The house was bought at a discounted price by a new family, the Lutzes, in 1975. They lived there for less than one month. In that short span, they say voices were heard in the house, and their daughter developed an imaginary friend called Jodie. The house attracted swarms of flies, there was banging on the walls, and the furniture moved on its own.
Famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the property. They also said that they encountered supernatural forces there. Today, the house still stands, and although it’s new owners say the property is not haunted, there have been many movies made on the original Amityville haunting story.
The Ghost of Hampton Court Palace
There is a photogenic ghost in the Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, England. In 2003, CCTV captured an image of a figure dressed in old-fashioned clothing closing a door that had flung open. The ghost, which was nicknamed Skeletor, attracted a lot of media attention.
The security staff weren’t the only ones who saw the ghost. A visitor wrote in the log book, on the same day that Skeletor appeared on camera, that she had seen a ghost in the area.
One of Henry VIII‘s wives, Catherine Howard, was imprisoned in Hampton Court, and she haunts an area known as the Screaming Gallery.
The Exorcism of Roland Doe
In 1949, an exorcism was performed on a boy, only referred to as Roland Doe, from Cottage City, Maryland. The exorcism was done by a group of Roman Catholic priests.
There are different stories as to what Roland’s alleged powers were. Some claim he had supernatural strength or that he could speak in ancient languages or that he could move or levitate that mattress he was lying on.
Many investigators have disputed these claims, and they provided evidence showing that Roland was a psychologically troubled boy who hated school. The exorcism took place and inspired a 1971 novel called The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty.
The Tower of London
Britain has been civilized for hundred of years, so there are many ghost stories about its ancient buildings. The Tower of London, for one, has many ghost stories. It’s considered one of the most haunted locations in the city.
Among the specters haunting the place is Arabella Stuart, the cousin of King James I. She made the mistake of marrying against the king’s wishes and was sent to the tower. Her ghost still haunts the place.
There are even tales of a phantom bear haunting one section of the building called the Martin Tower. A guard supposedly saw the bear and dropped dead from shock. The Tower of London used to be a menagerie, and a variety of animals were there, including bears.
Chained Man in Ancient Athens
Pliny the Younger was a Roman senator who died in AD 113. He told a ghost story that still survives to this day. The story was that there was a large house in Athens that no one could live in. At night, loud noises of chain rattling could be heard. There was also a ghost of an old man who looked very thin and dirty with long beard and messy hair and had chains on his hands and feet.
When a philosopher called Athenodorus heard the story, he rented out the house and confronted the ghost. The ghost appeared, rattled his chains, and then vanished. Athenodorus marked the spot where the ghost disappeared and had the spot dug up the next morning.
When they dug up the ground, they found the skeleton of a man in chains. After being given a proper burial, the ghost disappeared, and the house was no longer haunted.
Ghost Story from Ancient Egypt
Egyptologist Gaston Maspero published a translation of an ancient Egyptian ghost story in 1915. The story was found on four pieces of pottery. In the story, the ghost of a mummified man tells a high priest of the god Amun about his condition.
“I grew, and I did not see the rays of the sun. I did not breathe the air, but darkness was before me every day, and no one came to find me,” the ghost says (translation by Maspero).
Maspero wrote, “The ghost seems to complain of some accident that has happened to himself or to his tomb, but I cannot make out what is the subject of his dissatisfaction.”
The ancient Egyptians had a strong belief in life after death, and they even have a series of spells compiled in The Book of the Dead to help them reach the afterlife.