These spine-chilling stories from real-life
ghost hunters will have you hiding under your covers.
One of the first
investigations Greg Newkirk, a professional paranormal investigator, ever did
still haunts him today. “I had taken a documentary film director to an
abandoned church long-rumored to be haunted,” he says. “We’d only been in the
building for half an hour before a loud knocking drew our attention to the
church’s ten-foot-tall pulpit. For five minutes, we watched a thick, forest
green fog manifest on the pulpit’s spiral staircase, before it slowly crept
toward us.” That’s when, all of a sudden, the director Newkirk had brought with
him began to frantically gasp for air as if he were choking. “Sure enough, he
had two bright red hand prints wrapped around his throat. They almost looked
The community of Modesto, California, prides itself on
being fairly active. As a result, many running and hiking trails have
been created through the town and surrounding county. But some trails are more
well-known than others.
The Dry Creek Running Trail is quite popular, but not
necessarily for its scenic views or level of difficulty. Many routine
joggers and cyclists use it (or avoid it) because they believe it to
be haunted. Some say the spirit of a teenage boy lingers on this trail—at
the bridge on Claus Road in particular.
“Dan,” of Barstow, California, had a very
disturbing encounter with two Shadow People in early 2011 (the Shadow People
being silhouetted figures that terrify and taunt people in the dead of night).
A no-nonsense, tough biker, Dan is hardly the kind of person who is easily
intimidated or scares. But, the shadow-things that intruded on his sleep—as he
slept in a tent on the slopes of Mt. Rainier, Washington State in the summer of
2011—had Dan in a state of near-hysteria. An enthusiastic outdoorsman, Dan
spent four days hiking around the huge, 14,000-foot-plus high mountain. He
would live to regret doing that. It was around 3:00 a.m. when Dan woke with a
start and with an unsettling and intense feeling of being watched very closely.
He lay still, holding his breath and clenching his fists. Something was
definitely afoot; of that much he was sure. That’s an understatement. In
seconds, Dan was “rushed” by two spindly, shadowy monsters that were
humanoid in appearance.
A Nykur is a
mythical beast of Scandinavian folklore. It’s often depicted as an aquatic
monster that takes the shape of a gray, horse-like creature with inverted
hoofs. The Nykur generally appears on the lakeshore, with half its body in the
water, and looks to be quite tame to its unsuspecting victims.
On the island of Vágar in the Faroe Islands, a silver
statue of the mythical Nykur rises from the northern tip of
Lake Sørvágsvatn. The statue was created by local artist Pól Skarðenni,
and appeared in the waters of the lake in 2017. Nearby, a plaque tells the
legend of this sinister beast.
While some are strong believers and others slightly
skeptical, there are a few known homes in Florida that have experienced a
“haunting” series of unexplained events. Whether these homes are
being plagued by paranormal activity, or are just victims of old legends and
tall tales, their stories are truly appreciated during the approaching Halloween
In Marianna Florida, lives a haunted landmark with quite
a history. Visitors of The Russ House have seen ghostlike
figures show up in their photographs, floating objects drift down hallways and
have even heard cries for help echoing throughout the home. The home’s original
owner supposedly committed suicide just after the stock market crashed in 1929.
Since the home is built upon an old civil war battlefield, it is also thought
to be haunted by ghosts of deceased soldiers. Either way, this southern charmer
seems to be haunted by spooky spirits.
Of the many forms of paranormal photography, faces
sometimes found in photographs of turned off television screens seems to be the
most unusual. In spirit photography, the presence of an “extra” or apparition
in the photographic frame is consistent with the concept that we who are still
in the flesh are providing sufficient energy (perhaps ectoplasm) with which the
entity can become visible to the sensitive film or digital circuitry. In
Photographic ITC, faces and other features that can sometimes be found in the
optical noise of photographs is consistent with principles thought to be
involved in Video ITC and EVP. But the presence of a face on a television
screen, as if it were a photograph cut out and glued to the screen to be
photographed, does not agree with any of the hypotheses presented thus far.
Maybe it’s the black background, but the feathery
ring above has an eerie vibe to it. A ghirlanda—Italian for garland—like
this one would have smelled “extremely
nasty,” at least at first, according to one report. Woven among the
feathers, there would be bone, hair, even old teeth, and it had
a sinister purpose. Hidden in a person’s bed, it was supposed to cause them
to fall ill and die. “Everyone believed I had bought the ghirlanda in
order to get rid of my husband!” wrote an English historian living in Italy, in
a letter to a friend who’d asked her to procure one—purely for research. (Or so
the friend said.)
The ghirlanda above is just one of the
objects associated with magic and witchcraft featured in a new exhibit, called Spellbound,
at the University of Oxford’s Ashmolean
Museum, which is dedicated to art and archaeology. The aim, according to
the museum, is to “show how, even in this skeptical age, we still use magical
thinking.” Astrology is such a booming trend right now that almost seems
self-evident. The magic of the past, though, could be a bit more gruesome.
Even before the Einstein theorized that the time is relative and flexible, humanity had already been imagining the possibility of time travel. In fact, science fiction is filled with time travelers. Some use metahuman abilities to do so, but most rely on a device generally known as a time machine.
Now, two physicists think that it’s time to bring the time machine into the real world — sort of.
The Flatwoods Monster has not hissed at boys in the
little village of Flatwoods, West Virginia, since Sept. 12, 1952.
People grin about it now—and take Monster souvenir money,
from hundreds of Monster tourists every week. But it scared people plenty back
then, including the eyewitnesses: six boys aged 10 to 17, a dog and a Mom.
“One of the boys peed his pants,” said John Gibson, a
high-school freshman at the time, who knew them all. “Their dog (Rickie) ran
with his tail between his legs.”
The encounter made the local and national news, scaring a
wider swath of people. Then it prompted a U.S. Air Force UFO inquiry, part of
an initiative called Project Blue
Book that dispatched a handful of investigators around the country
to look into such claims.
It also became a local legend, a Southern spook story
that defined the tiny village of less than 300 people for more than six
decades. To this day, tourists come out of their way to Flatwoods—secluded in
the low, timbered Appalachian hills of central West Virginia—to visit its
monster museum and buy Green Monster tchotchkes and T-shirts.
At the height of the Irish famine in 1847, thousands of
immigrants arrived aboard coffin ships, seeking refuge at the Port of
Montreal. Six thousand of those died of typhus and were buried in mass
graves and nearly forgotten.
Of those that survived, many settled in nearby
Griffintown, a shanty town on the banks of the Lachine Canal, where many found
work on the docks or in the associated industries that grew up around the
canal. When St. Ann’s Church was built in 1854, 1,300 Irish families were
settled in Griffintown and within a half-century, the community numbered
60,000, in addition to the Irish, many Italian and Ukrainian immigrants as well
as working-class Quebecois.
In 1963, the area was re-zoned as “Industrial” and a
project to build an expressway through the middle of the neighborhood hastened
its demise. By 1970 the population of Griffintown was under 1000.
St. Ann’s Church was demolished and the community was
littered with abandoned factories, parking lots and rubble. Today the
neighborhood is populated with upscale condominiums and Griffintown has receded
into distant memory.