Ghost stories and tales of hauntings are common in nearly every culture. The ghost story is ubiquitous across all cultures from oral folktales to works of literature. While ghost stories are often explicitly scary they can serve other purposes from comedy to morality tales. Ghosts often appear in the narrative as sentinels or prophets of things to come. Belief in ghosts is found in all around the world, and ghost stories are passed down orally or in written form.

Ghosts appear in literature as early as Homer's Odyssey, which features a journey to the underworld and the hero encountering the ghosts of the dead. Also, in the Old Testament when the Witch of Endor summons the spirit of the prophet Samuel. Ghosts appear in several of Shakespeare's plays such as Macbeth and Julius Caesar. King Hamlet is among the better known of the Bard's ghosts and plays an integral part in Hamlet. Hamlet may be the central character in the play named after him, but without his father's ghost, there would be no story. King Hamlet appears three times in the play, each time during the night. The ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his treacherous brother Claudius, and asks Hamlet to avenge his death.


In folklore, a ghost is sometimes known as an apparition, haunt, phantom, poltergeist, shade, spectre, spirit, spook, and wraith. Descriptions of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic lifelike visions. A ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person who appears to the living. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy or in Spiritualism as a séance.

The belief in the existence of an afterlife, as well as manifestations of the spirits of the dead is wide-spread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in preliterate cultures. Certain religious practices: funeral rites, exorcisms and ritual magic are specifically designed to rest the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary, human-like essences, though stories of ghostly armies and the ghosts of animals rather than humans have also been recounted.

If one is to accept that human consciousness is outside of the body, and is the product of the soul that is encased in a spirit body then the idea of a ghost is certainly feasible. Their are two types of ghosts those that remain earthbound and haunt a specific place, and those that come to the earth plane in a temporary visitation. An earthbound ghost in every case that I have investigated died unexpectedly and in a violent manner. Since most people are ill prepared to survive physical death and a sudden violent death is the cause for confusion, unfinished business and even revenge that causes the ghost to remain attached to a particular place of the Earth. Help can be offered by other spirits and in time the ghost can be released and take up residence in the spirit world.

In the case of a visiting spirit who appears as a ghost whilst returning to the Earth often it is because something was unsaid or undone. A spirit can also serve as what is known as a ‘spirit guide’, for the purpose of helping usually a loved one through the trials of life. Spirits also go down to the earth plane to heal people, to teach and to generally help to advance civilization. Many inventions, cures and music has originated from spirits. However, with anything paranormal the consensus of science is that ghosts do not exist.


Countless haunting stories have been told throughout the centuries and ghosts are believed to haunt particular locations, objects or people that they were associated with during their earth life. Hauntings are categorized into two groups ‘classic hauntings’, whereby spirits interact with the mortal living world by rattling windows, turning doorknobs or appearing briefly as a misty figure. ‘Residual hauntings’, are when a spirits seem oblivious to the mortal living world as they reenact a traumatic scene (usually their death) repeatedly, as though they were caught up in a bad movie that is playing over and over again.

Haunted Houses

Murdered Peddler

Perhaps the most important haunting ever recorded was that of the murdered peddler Charles Rosna. His demise came in 1848 at the hands of a Mr. Bell living in a small cottage in the tiny hamlet of Hydesville, New York, whom he intended to sell his housewares. This was surely an unexpected and tragic death in that the peddler left behind a wife and five children who knew nothing of his demise. In a frantic effort to make contact with his family Rosa produced what has become known as the ‘Hydesville Rappings’. The noises drove the Bell’s out and the unsuspecting Fox family moved in. Contact was established through a code system which lead to the establishment of the religion of Spiritualism, which is still practiced today. The murdered peddler is the only ghost whose presence is known to have started a religious movement.

Amityville House

The house at 112 Ocean Ave., in Amityville, N.Y., is perhaps the most famous haunted house in the world. Known to countless horror fans as the setting for The Amityville Horror. The ghost story began in 1974, when six members of a family were killed in the house by their youngest son, Butch DeFeo. The house was sold the following year to George and Kathy Lutz, who moved in with their three children. Soon after, the Lutzes said they encountered terrifying supernatural forces. A ghost ripped doors from hinges and slammed cabinets closed, noxious slime oozed from the ceilings, and demonic faces and swarms of insects threatened the family.

The Lutzes told their story to a writer named Jay Anson, who published The Amityville Horror, A True Story, in 1977. It quickly became a best-seller, then a hit horror film that spawned nearly a half-dozen sequels. It's a scary story that spooked millions of people. Researchers who double-checked claims made by the Lutzes and Anson found numerous holes in the Amityville story. Still, the Lutzes stuck to their story, and reaped tens of thousands of dollars from the book and film rights. Eventually Butch DeFeo's lawyer admitted that he along with the Lutzes, created this horror story over many bottles of wine. The house was never really haunted the terrifying experiences that the Lutzes described, were later embellished by Anson and other writers. The house has since been remodeled so that the signature quarter-moon windows are no longer there. They have also changed the house numbers to thwart annoying curiosity seekers, so the infamous address no longer exists.

Drury Lane Ghost

There are many theatres in the Covent Gardens district in London's West End, where plays have been produced for over 300 years, and some of the world's greatest actors have appeared there. Yet one theatre is better known more for its ghost than its productions. There is actually more than one ghost said to haunt Drury Lane's halls and wings, including those of several actors. The most famous, however, is a Man in Grey seen as a nobleman carrying a sword. Any theater worth its salt reputedly have a resident ghost treading the boards, and the Drury Lane ghosts carry on their part of theatre tradition.

50 Berkeley Square

A reportedly haunted townhouse on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, Central London, in the late 19th century became known as one of the most haunted houses in London. The four-storey brick townhouse was constructed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Until 1827 it was the home of the British Prime Minister George Canning, who is commemorated by a plaque on the house today. An eccentric known as Mr Myers acquired the house in 1859. He was a recluse who never went outside and answered the door only to receive food from his servant. It is suspected that he was Thomas Myers, the son of a Member of Parliament.

The legend about the house varies, but most versions state that the attic room of the house is haunted by the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide there. She purportedly threw herself from a top-floor window after being abused by her uncle who is said to be capable of frightening people to death. The spirit is said to take the form of a brown mist, though sometimes it is reported as a white figure. A rarer version of the tale is that a young man was locked in the attic room, fed only through a hole in the door, until he eventually went mad and died. Another story is that the attic room is haunted by the ghost of a little girl who was killed there by a sadistic servant.

From 1859 until the early 1870s Mr Myers, who had been rejected by his fiancée, lived in the house. It was said that he locked himself inside and slowly went mad. During his residence in the house it fell into gross disrepair and its reputation began to develop. Myers died in 1874. It is alleged that in 1872, on a wager, Lord Lyttleton stayed a night in the attic. He brought his shotgun with him and fired at an apparition. In the morning he attempted to find the apparition, but could only find shotgun cartridges. The following year the local council issued a summons to the house's owners for failure to pay taxes, but it is claimed that they were not prosecuted because of the house's reputation for being haunted.

In 1879 a piece in the Mayfair Magazine alleged that a maid who stayed in the attic room had been found mad and had died in an asylum the day after. It was also alleged that after a nobleman spent the night in the attic room he was so paralysed with fear that he could not speak. In 1887 it was alleged that two sailors from HMS Penelope stayed a night in the house. By morning one was found dead, having tripped as he ran from the house. The other reported having seen the ghost of Mr Myers approaching them aggressively. Modern interest in the site was spurred by its inclusion in Peter Underwood's book Haunted London (1975).

Tower of London

Anne Boleyn was beheaded in 1536 for treason against Henry VIII; her ghost supposedly haunts the chapel of St Peter ad Vincula, where she is buried, and has been said to walk around the White Tower carrying her head under her arm. This haunting is commemorated in the 1934 comic song With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm. Other reported ghosts include Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, Margaret Pole, and the Princes in the Tower. In January 1816, a sentry on guard outside the Jewel House claimed to have witnessed an apparition of a bear advancing towards him, and reportedly died of fright a few days later. In October 1817, a tubular, glowing apparition was claimed to have been seen in the Jewel House by the Keeper of the Crown Jewels, Edmund Lenthal Swifte. He said that the apparition hovered over the shoulder of his wife, leading her to exclaim, "Oh, Christ! It has seized me!" Other nameless and formless terrors have been reported, more recently, by night staff at the Tower.

Haunted White House

The home of the American chief executive has been the site of so much intense life it seems only appropriate that from within its walls come stories and legends of presidents and first ladies who linger after life.

The Rose Room is believed to be one of the most haunted places in the White House. It contains Andrew Jackson’s bed, and if we are to believe testimony of those who have felt his presence, ‘Old Hickory’ himself still dwells in his former bed chamber. Twenty years after Jackson’s death, Mary Todd Lincoln, a devout believer in the spirit world, told friends that she’d heard him stomping through the White House corridors swearing. Perhaps, still settling old scores?

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States (1861-1865), is remembered for his vital role as the leader in preserving the Union during the Civil War, and beginning the process that led to the end of slavery in the United States. He is also remembered for his character, his speeches and letters, and as a man of humble origins whose determination and perseverance led him to the nation’s highest office.

On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate forces to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The Union had held, but a weary President Lincoln would not live to see the triumphant march of the Army of the Potomac through the streets of Washington. Just five days later, on April 14, 1865, he was shot by a Southern sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, in Ford’s Theater and died the next day.

Psychics believe that President Lincoln has never left the White House, that his spirit remains to complete the business of his abbreviated second term and to be available in times of crisis. For seventy years, presidents, first ladies, guests and members of the White House staff have claimed to have either seen Mr Lincoln or felt his presence. The melancholy bearing of Lincoln himself, and several instances of eerie prescience on his part, only add to the legends of the Great Emancipator’s ghost.

Grace Coolidge, wife of Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president, was the first person to report having actually seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. She said he stood at a window of the Oval Office, hands clasped behind his back, gazing out over the Potomac, perhaps still seeing the bloody battlefields beyond.

A train bore Lincoln’s body home to Springfield, Illinois. That solemn procession has given rise to another presidential legend surrounding Lincoln. Each year, on the anniversary of that journey, so the story goes, two ghost trains slowly travel the rails between Washington and Illinois. Aboard the first train a military band plays a funeral dirge. Before the smoke of the locomotive clears, a second steam engine follows silently behind, pulling a coach bearing a coffin containing the body of President Lincoln, oddly the ghost trains never reach Springfield.

The ghost of Lincoln was seen frequently during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, when the country went through a devastating depression then a world war. When Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was a guest at the White House during that period she was awakened one night by a knock on her bedroom door. Thinking it might be an important message, she got up and opened the door. The top-hatted figure of President Lincoln stood in the hallway, and the queen fainted. When she came to she was lying on the floor, and the apparition had vanished. If one were to believe in ghosts, one would have to believe that the benevolent spirit of Abraham Lincoln, a great president, still watches over the nation that he fought so gallantly to preserve.

Haunted Hollywood

Hollywood is one of the most haunted places in all of the US. Many believe that it is because of the number of suicides, murders, and unfortunate events that have surround the film stars. There ghosts and spirit manifestations still haunt some of the most popular Hollywood places. So many of the town's ghosts, are film stars such as Rudolph Valentino, Carole Lombard and Marilyn Monroe. Some of them even haunt more than one location, and they tend to prefer hotels.

During the years that I lived in Hollywood, I had an aspiring actor friend who happened to live in a house in the Hollywood Hills where the movie The Spiral Staircase was filmed. My friend confided in me that there were nights he could not sleep because of a loud knocking noise that kept him awake. He investigated thoroughly, inside and out for the source, but without result. He made inquiries and learned that during the 20s and 30s there was gambling at the house and a person was killed. My friend had no other course than to believe that the ghost of the murdered man either lives at the house or visits it and produces the knocks.

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

The glamorous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel opened in 1927, right in the heart of Hollywood and, as such, has a star-studded history. It was often used for movie premiere after-parties, and it hosted the first Oscar Awards. The Roosevelt's clientele and striking Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture helped shape the image and myth of Hollywood as a place of glamour and luxury. Not even death can keep many of those stars away. Marilyn Monroe, the busiest ghost, supposedly haunts her old room #1200, where she lived as her fame grew. It is rumored that her first filming took place at the Roosevelt's pool. A maintenance worker told The Hollywood Reporter that the apparition of silver-screen star Montgomery Clift has been blamed for patting guests' shoulders and watching maids in room #928, where he stayed for three months while filming From Here to Eternity. Also, the ghost of Carole Lombard has also been spotted floating around the upper floors.

Knickerbocker Hotel

The Knickerbocker Hotel built in 1920s, began its life as an apartment building. But it wasn't until it became a hotel that it became popular with the Hollywood set. Producer Louis B. Mayer, inventor/aviator/filmmaker Howard Hughes, actress Betty Grable, and singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer were all guests at one time or another during its heyday. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio supposedly came to the hotel's Lido Room bar for clandestine dates, and then, in 1954, spent their honeymoon here. It's alleged that Marilyn haunts the ladies' room; the bar is taken by the ghost of Rudolph Valentino. Mrs. Irene Gibbons dress-designer-to-the-stars threw herself off the eleventh floor of the Knickerbocker in 1962.

Haunted Battlefields

Battle Abbey

In 1066, the Battle of Hastings took place with King Harold II and 7,500 of his Saxons defending against the invading Norman conquest of William, Duke of Normandy. William defeated Harold, and an abbey was built on Senlac Hill with the high altar said to have been placed on the very spot where King Harold perished. Apparently, building an abbey on the site of that much bloodshed was a bad idea, considering that over the years there have been numerous bizarre reports. Most of the sightings are of ghostly monks rather than soldiers, with visitors claiming to have seen re-enactors dressed in robes wandering the grounds only to be later informed that there were no re-enactors employed at the time. There are some other claims, such as the high altar bleeding and a soldier marching through the Great Hall carrying a sword, but those tales are considerably less substantiated.

Haunted Marston Moor

The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on July 2, 1644 during the First English Civil War. Four-thousand members of the Royalist side were killed in what was a decisive victory for the Parliamentarians, with Oliver Cromwell leading the victors. Cromwell used the Old Hall in the village as a base of operations, and according to legend he’s there to this day, haunting the grounds. Besides, the spirits of the Royalists who were slain in battle still roam the area. There have been reports over the years of phantom soldiers marching in Marston Moor, including possible sightings in 1932, 1968 and 1992 when people reportedly observed long haired, finely dressed soldiers marching along the roads.

Battle of the Somme

The 1st of July 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, one of the deadliest battles of the First World War. Along with Verdun in France, and Flanders in Belgium, the Somme was the scene of one of the greatest losses of human life on the Western Front and the place where the British Army suffered its greatest number of casualties in one day. Although, relatively few ghost have been reported around the Somme, Verdun and the battle-fields of Flanders in the century since has long been something of a puzzle and a source of speculation and debate. Although, many have felt a sense of presence at these places which seems to intensify as the years go on.

Certainly at the time, World War I did generate an enormous number of ghostly experiences, though largely on an individual rather than collective level the story of the Angel of Mons has been discredited as simply a modern legend. Perhaps the most impressive visionary experience of ghostly figures claimed was that by James Wentworth Day of witnessing phantom French and German cavalry re-enacting a skirmish from the early days of 1914. Day witnessed this in November 1918 at Bailleul, Flanders, describing his experience in his Here are Ghosts and Witches (1954) and his last book on hauntings Essex Ghosts (1974). Given Day’s pronounced tendencies for weaving ripping yarns and his role as enthusiastic propagandist for ghostly folklore (sometimes dreaming up fictitious local characters for dramatic effect) one might be suspicious that this episode was an exercise in imaginative writing. But he named a fellow witness, a Corporal Jock Barr of Glasgow, and from the circumstantial details he provided it is possible to pin-point the location to a precise hilltop.


The American Civil War was an incredibly bloody affair to put it mildly. However, nowhere was this more evident than at the Battle of Antietam, which took place on September 17, 1862 on Antietam Creek in Maryland. The battle lasted four hours in this tiny area, and the casualties were astonishing. In that one small span of time more than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing in action. Today, the small road near Antietam Creek where the battle took place is known as Bloody Lane, for very good reason.

Today, the sound of gunfire and smell of gunpowder is often reported at Bloody Lane, and visitors have claimed to have both seen and heard ghosts in the area. Virtually everything surrounding the Battle of Antietam has had reports of haunting, from Burnside’s Bridge, where Ambrose Burnside’s Union soldiers pushed back the Confederates and where the dead were quickly buried in shallow, unmarked graves, to the nearby St. Paul Episcopal Church, which was used as a Confederate hospital in the aftermath of the battle. According to the local legends, the floorboards of the church are so stained in blood that not even sandpaper will take it out.


If Antietam was the bloodiest single battle in the American Civil War, Gettysburg is the most famous and, over the course of several days, became one of its bloodiest with more than 50,000 men killed, wounded, or missing. Fought from July 1 through July 3, 1863 in the small town in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Battle of Gettysburg is viewed as the turning point for the Union in the Civil War. In the 140 some years since the battle was fought, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who visited Gettysburg that does not have some spooky story to share. At the Daniel Lady Farm, which served as the Confederate field hospital, it is believed that more than 10,000 deceased soldiers still haunt the grounds. Cashtown Inn, where the first soldier in the Battle of Gettysburg was killed, also has some bizarre tales, and the owners claim to have photographic evidence of ghosts on the premises, as well as guests reporting hearing knocking on doors, lights turning on and off, and doors locking and unlocking themselves.

Haunted Ships

Flying Dutchman

The world's best-known non-human ghost, is a seventeenth-century merchant ship, said to haunt the high seas. According to sea lore the ship, which often appears as a hazy image or a strange light is said to be a portent of bad luck and doom. The ship and its crew became eternally cursed when its Dutch captain refused to take safe harbor during a storm despite pleas from the crew and passengers. Instead the impudent Dutchman challenged God to take them down. The ‘ghost ship’ has been reported on the ocean from time to time, including appearing off the coast of South Africa in 1923.

Sarah Soule

Ghost ships, in the mythology of the sea, are almost as plentiful as barnacles on a rock. One of the most celebrated is the phantom schooner of Harpswell Maine, which was seen by many people usually in the late afternoon, fully rigged and under sail. This is said to be a breathtaking sight, though apt to vanish without warning in a shimmer of light or a sudden rising of fog. Two industrious young men, George Leverett and Charles Jose both in their early twenties set sail from Portland, Maine one day in 1812, with the intent to prosper in the Indies trade. At this time one could trade: cod, lumber, molasses and coffee for rum in the Indies and make a fortune in the process. Their destination was Soule Boatyard in South Freeport where they hoped to have their own vessel built. But during construction of their new ship the two men had an unforeseen event happen. They met Sarah Soule the boat builder’s daughter a local beauty. As fate would have it both men fell in love at first sight. Both George and Charles avidly pursued her but in the end Sarah preferred George. The two friends got into a heated argument with Charles trying to hurl George into a nearby river. Not surprising, this caused a rift in their friendship.

The two were now steadfast enemies. Charles disappeared and George waited for the ship to be finished. He named it after his fiancé, the Sarah Soule. This vision has been immortalized in the poem The Dead Ship of Harpswell, by John Greenleaf Whittier. His opening lines are as follows: What flecks the outer gray beyond the sundown’s golden trail? The white flash of a sea-bird’s wing or gleam of slanting sail?

USS Constellation

Sitting proudly at rest in Baltimore Harbor the USS Constellation emits an aura of peace of and security. Where once men died under the hail of grapeshot, children now walk. During her 175-year history, much blood has flowed over her wooden beams. So what or who, among the countless who have met death on her deck, was the ghostly apparition that was photographed in the forecastle in 1955? Lt. Cmdr. Allen Ross Brougham, USN, the man who snapped the photo, believes it is a captain returning to inspect his ship. Hans Holzer, a professional ghost hunter and author, says it could be any one of three spirits haunting the old ship. To a Catholic priest who came face to face with the ghost, it is an old salt, unwilling to leave the beloved sea. Legends of ghosts and other strange occurrences have long been told about the United States Navy’s first ship.

Haunted Graveyards

Highgate Cemetery

Opened in 1839, and sprawling across twenty grassy hillside acres Highgate Cemetery Swains Lane became the most sought-after burial spot in London. Fashion-conscious Victorians wouldn’t be seen dead in any other burial ground. By the dawn of the 20th century, tens of thousands of people had been laid to rest in its hallowed ground, and amongst them many famous and illustrious names. The monuments to the dead became ever more ambitious as families struggled desperately to outdo one another in providing more and more ostentatious resting places for their loved one’s.

As the dark days of World War 1 descended upon the capital, the cemetery’s fortunes saw a severe downturn and, by the 1960’s, the once proud necropolis had been abandoned. Decay and neglect crept unchecked amongst the tombs as the roots of advancing vegetation split apart the magnificent graves and left their twisted masonry sprawled across toppled columns. Rumours were soon circulating of sinister cults holding strange ceremonies after dark in the abandoned ruins. The local news-paper, the Hampstead and Highgate Express, began to receive letters from frightened readers telling of ghostly encounters around the cemetery. One man, whose car had broken down, was terrified by a hideous apparition with glowing red eyes, glaring at him through the rusting iron gates.

More letters telling of frightening encounters in the vicinity of Swain’s Lane continued to grace the pages of the local press. A ghostly cyclist, puffing his way up the steep incline had scared the life out of a young mother, whilst other unfortunate locals had witnessed a tall man in a top hat who would stroll nonchalantly across the road and then disappear into the wall of the cemetery. His nebulous stroll was, they said, always accompanied by a mournful tolling from the bells in the old, disused chapel.

A massive restoration project in the 1980’s by the enthusiastic “Friends of Highgate Cemetery” went some way to reversing the neglect of the previous decades. As they cleared the pathways and uncovered, once more, many of the spectacular tombs the ghostly activity began to recede.

St. Louis Cemetery

The oldest cemetery in New Orleans, is a grand European mixture of ornate marble tombs, crumbling memorials and narrow winding footpaths. Considered by locals, visitors and paranormal investigators world wide as the most haunted cemetery in the world and number one in the United States. Multiple ghosts are said to haunt this famous New Orleans, Louisiana cemetery.

Before the introduction of modern drainage, the high water table of New Orleans made burials impractical due to the marshy ground. The solution was to bury people above ground, in tombs and mausoleums. In doing so, the people of New Orleans created some of the most evocative, and hauntingly beautiful locations anywhere in the world. These sprawling and maze-like necropoli have been the home of many ghost stories, but one location dominates the Cemetery St Louis.

Some visitors have heard weeping and groaning from inside the crypts, while many have seen a range of spectral phenomena, from unusual mists to fully fledged transparent figures. An old male face is reputed to manifest on the walls of one particular tomb, but one ghost dominates all others - the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Although the truth of her life is firmly obscured by folklore, there most definitely was a Marie Laveau and a Marie Laveau II (buried in St. Louis Cemetery), ‘Voodoo Priestess'. Whether she really did live to over a hundred while retaining the lithe, sensual, body of a young woman is entirely open to debate, but this ‘Voodoo Queen’ certainly left her mark on New Orleans culture. People still visit her tomb to seek assistance in their hoodoo voodoo rituals, leaving small tributes and marking signs with powdery stone.

Pere La Chaise Paris

The largest cemetery in the city of Paris, France, and one of the most famous in the world is located on Boulevard de Ménilmontant. The cemetery takes its name from Père François de la Chaise (1624-1709), the confessor of Louis XIV, who lived in the Jesuit house rebuilt in 1682 on the site of the chapel. The cemetery was established by Napoleon in 1804. Cemeteries had been banned inside Paris in 1786, after the closure of the Cimetière des Innocents on the fringe of Les Halles food market, on the grounds that it presented a health hazard. Famous burials include: Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Alice B. Toklas, Countess Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry, Charles Messier, Yves Montand, and Sarah Bernhardt the famous French stage and film actress and Clarence John Laughlin an American Surrealist photographer from New Orleans, whose most famous published work was Ghosts Along the Mississippi.

Haunted Pubs

The Grenadier

Wilton Mews is a delightful hidden nook tucked away from the rush of modern London, and has a decidedly country village air about it. Colourful cottages line the cobblestones, and nestling within its tranquil serenity is one of London’s most enchanting pubs - The Grenadier. Reputedly, the pub’s upper floors were once used as the officers’ mess of a nearby barracks, whilst its cellar was pressed into service as a drinking and gambling lair for the common soldiers. It was here that a young subaltern is said to have once been caught cheating at cards, and his comrades punished him with such a savage beating that he died from his injuries. Although the year in which this occurred is not known, the month when it happened is thought to have been September, as this is when the pub experiences an onslaught of supernatural activity.

A solemn, silent spectre has been seen moving slowly across the low-ceilinged rooms. Objects either disappear or else are mysteriously moved overnight. Unseen hands rattle tables and chairs, and a strange, icy chill has been known to hang in the air, sometimes for days on end. Footsteps have been heard pacing anxiously around empty rooms, whilst every so often a low sighing moan has been heard emanating from the depths of the cellar.

Ancient Ram Inn

A former pub located in Wotton-under-Edge, a market town within the Stroud district of Gloucestershire, England. It is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country. The inn has been owned by many people since 1145 and is said to have been originally owned by the local St. Mary's Church when first built. The Inn has been investigated by many paranormal researchers, particularly for television shows like Ghost Adventures and Most Haunted. The inn was featured on Great British Ghosts and was also investigated by UK Paranormal Study Group led by Kieron Butler, which consisted of seven people, including photographers and mediums. The Ghost Club (the oldest paranormal research organization in the world) investigated the inn in 2003, but didn't register anything paranormal.

White Hart Inn

The White Hart Inn, 34 Grassmarket is central Edinburgh’s oldest pub, with parts dating as far back as 1516. One of its claim to fame is the rumour that Robert Burns was believed to have stayed here on his last visit to Edinburgh in 1791. Another claim is its 2005 award as the most haunted pub in Edinburgh. Over the years owners and staff seen and reported many strange happenings, with many emanating from the cellar area. One experience that is often reported is the sighting of a dark shadowy figure at the doorway heading down to the cellar. Upon investigation the cellar is always empty. There has also been the sighting of a detached pair of legs followed by a full figure in the centre of the cellar near the fridges.

When members of staff are checking food supplies in the cold room, they’re often greeted by the cold room door slamming closed behind them. Loud repetitive bangs are also heard coming from inside the cold room, as well as intermittent bangs coming from other areas in the cellar. Barrels in the cellar also get moved around from one place to another. This mischievous ghost is said to also be behind the regular problem with the beer taps not working.

Ghosts in Film

With the advent of motion pictures and television, screen depictions of ghosts became common and spanned a variety of genres: the works of Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde have all been made into cinematic versions. Noël Coward's play Blithe Spirit, later made into a film, places a more humorous slant on the phenomenon of haunting of individuals and specific locations, and The Ghost Goes West, a comedy in which a Scottish castle and its ghost are moved to Florida, was voted the best British film of 1935. Sentimental depictions were more popular in early cinema than horror, and include the 1947 film The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, which was later adapted to television with a successful 1968–70 TV series. Genuine psychological horror films from this period include 1944's The Uninvited and 1945's Dead of Night.

The 1970s saw screen depictions of ghosts diverge into distinct genres of the romantic and horror. A common theme in the romantic genre from this period is the ghost as a benign guide or messenger, often with unfinished business, such as 1989's Field of Dreams, the 1990 film Ghost, and the 1993 comedy Heart and Souls. In the horror genre, 1980's The Fog, and the A Nightmare on Elm Street series of films are notable examples of the trend for the merging of ghost stories with scenes of physical violence.

Popularised in such films as the 1984 comedy Ghostbusters, ghost hunting became a hobby for many who formed ghost hunting societies to explore reportedly haunted places. The ghost hunting theme has been featured in reality television series such as Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Hunters International, Most Haunted, and A Haunting. Children’s benevolent ghost stories became popular, such as Casper the Friendly Ghost, created in the 1930s and appearing in comics, animated cartoons, and eventually the 1995 feature film Casper. Also in children's television by such programs as The Ghost Hunter and Ghost Trackers. Ghost hunting also gave rise to multiple guidebooks to haunted locations, and ghost hunting how-to manuals. The 1990s saw a return to classic gothic ghosts, whose dangers were more psychological than physical. Examples of films from this period include 1999’s The Sixth Sense and 2001’s The Others.

Alan Ross