Not every story is your typical run-of-the-mill footsteps heard in the dead of night ghost story. There are stories about everything from shadow people, doppelgängers, Bigfoot or other cryptid sightings, banshees, ghostly animals, to Ouija board sessions gone terribly wrong and phone calls from the dead.
The following mysterious tales were told by audience members at my virtual lectures. They are transcribed exactly as they were told to me apart from some minor grammatical corrections. I give lectures year-round, so this is an ongoing, ever evolving project with new stories added monthly.
I'm sure you will enjoy this collection of true, creepy, otherworldly short tales told by regular, everyday people like yourselves. If you have a story of your own that you'd like to tell, stop by one of my free virtual lectures. The schedule is on my homepage, and on the Events Calendar.
So turn off your lights, sit back, and prepare to be scared.
"Little Dude" - An Ouija Board Story
When I was in middle school in the early 80's, someone gave me an Ouija board as a birthday gift. I guess it was considered to be a game at the time, so that was one of my birthday presents. As soon as I got it, my friend Kim tried using it a bunch of times, but absolutely nothing happened. The planchette was moving, but it was clearly one of us moving it around to the answers that we wanted to get out of it.
Now fast-forward several years. I was away at college, and my brother was in high school. One night he and three of his friends decided to use the Ouija board. When they were using it, something happened that scared them so much that to this day he refuses to tell me about it. The only thing he will tell me is that they contacted the spirit of a little kid who they referred to as "little Dude".
Whatever it told them freaked them out so much that they ended up throwing the Ouija board in the garbage. After they threw it out, they swear that it came back to the house a few days later. It just showed up in the house one day. After that they drove far away from the house and left it somewhere, but it came back again. They did this several times, but it kept coming back. Finally, they set it on fire. That must have worked, because it never showed up in the house again.
Possible Bigfoot Vocalization - Shaftsbury, Vermont
This wasn’t a Bigfoot sighting, but I might have been lucky enough to hear a Bigfoot just a few months ago in October of 2020. I was “primitive camping” on a farm in Shaftsbury, Vermont which is just outside of Bennington in the foothills of the Green Mountains. I was there for that reason. I wanted to start doing some field research. I’ve been interested in this subject for decades now, but I hadn’t started to do actual research.
I thought primitive camping would be a good place to start. It was a remote area, and I wouldn’t be around a lot of people. Also, I went during the week in October in the mountains, so there was even less of a chance that there would be many people there. In fact I had the entire mountain to myself.
At night, there were a bunch of coyotes around. There was a whole pack, and they were all around. I was dozing, but I heard them hunting and yipping and going off all night. I even had a recorder with me, but of course I didn’t have it on at this time. To the east of me, down by where there was a big lake, I heard this very low sound that glided up in pitch. It sounded like something doing an imitation of a wolf. It was really weird. It went up into a wolf howl, then glided back down into a “woo” sound. There was no barking or anything like that. But the coyotes went nuts after they heard this. It sounded like they were all excited. I thought, that has to be like a big dog or something. But it was so strange sounding, and it was just the one sound.
The next day I asked the farmer if he or any of the neighbors had any big dogs. There were a few houses scattered around here and there, so I thought maybe one of them might have had a big dog. But he said, “No, there are no big dogs that I know of.” I thought that was pretty neat. Of course, it could have been something else, but it sounded just so strange. It could have been a dog or something else, but it sure didn’t seem like it. It was very unusual.
I almost got the impression from the way it was doing it that it was trying to set the coyotes off. It was almost having fun with them. Or maybe it was trying to get them to shut up because they were going off all night long. It was very strange. I’m going to keep primitive camping, because that was just one night that I was up there and that’. Now, it could have been a dog or something else, but it sure didn’t seem like it.
Little Girl Lost
I was at my friend Mike’s house in Cooperstown, New York. I had never been there before. My son walked in the house first, and in my mind’s eye I saw a little girl playing and running around my son. It was like I was watching a movie. She looked very happy to see another young child. I could tell from the style of her clothes that this little girl was from another time period, maybe the 1800s’.
When Mike came in with the luggage I asked, “Was there a little girl that lived here at one point?” He said “No, we’ve owned the house for many years''. While Mike was out getting more luggage from the car, the name “Emily” suddenly came to me. When he came back in, I asked him again if a little girl might have lived in the house years ago. “No, not that I know of," he said.
That afternoon Mike took us to where the house had originally stood. It was up on a hill, and there was a family cemetery there. It hadn’t been visited in years, so it was very overgrown. I said, “It’s a shame that no one is taking care of this place,” and I started taking away some branches. As soon as I moved the first branch, I saw that it was covering a little headstone. On it was the name “Emily”. In those days, they would put the age of the person who died, and this one said that the girl had been two-years and eleven-months-old. I showed it to my friend and said, “This is the little girl that I saw downstairs in the house.”
The next day I felt a presence walking up and down the hall on the second floor. When we sat down for breakfast, I told my friend what I had felt. He said, “Oh, the colonel! I feel him too in the house.” I said, “He seems to be confused. He walks down the hall and right up to the window, but he feels trapped.”
Mike showed me the original blueprints for the house, and it turns out that the staircase was originally on the opposite side of the hall. I guess this spirit was going down the hallway expecting to find the staircase, but he kept coming to a wall instead. I think he was remembering the house as it was in his time.
A Ghost at Gettysburg
I don’t have any ghost stories of my own, but everyone I talk to I ask if they’ve ever had any ghostly encounters. I filter them out based on the believability of the storyteller. The ones I tell you are from people who I consider to be 100% reliable.
I’m a board member at a library in Connecticut. I was talking to one of our older librarians, and of course I asked her if the library was haunted, and if she had seen anything. She said, “No, I’ve never seen anything in the library, but I did see a ghost down in Pennsylvania.”
She said that about ten years ago, she and two other adults were escorting a group of high school students on a trip to Gettysburg. They had rented a van and that afternoon they were driving around the battlefield. It was getting toward the end of the afternoon, so it was near dusk, but it wasn’t dark. They decided to drive on a dirt road out to Devil’s den which is one of the areas out on the battlefield. People had pretty much left for the day, so the battlefield was pretty much empty. There were not many people around at all.
As they were driving down this dirt road, they came into a field and they saw a man walking up ahead of them on the right side of the road. He was heading in the same direction as they were driving, so they saw the gentleman’s back. He was a fellow that looked like a Civil war Confederate general with a hat on, a sash, and they could see his insignia on his shoulder. He was clearly a Confederate general. He was walking along in front of them, and then they passed him and drove on for about twenty feet or so.
They decided to stop and ask him where he was going, and about the events that were going on there in Gettysburg, so they stopped the car and rolled down the windows and opened the doors. Of course, you know the end of the story--there was nobody there.
This took place in a big, open field. There was no forest nearby, no rocks to hide behind, no structures, no nothing, and all of a sudden the person is just gone. Everyone in the van had seen this gentleman as they drove by him. They thought it was a real person. It wasn’t a wispy looking figure or anything like that.
Again, this story comes from a very, very believable older librarian. When she told me the story, there was no snickering or anything like that, and there was no reason for her to make this story up.
Don't I Know You?
This isn’t exactly a doppelgänger story, but all of my life people come up to me and say, “Hello! How are you doing?” These are people I’ve never met before, but they insist that they know me. I always just laugh and say, “I have a familiar face”. This has happened to me for my whole life, ever since I was a child. I’m sixty-nine years old, and it’s still happening. It happened just the other day as a matter of fact. Because of Covid, I was wearing a mask, so you couldn’t see half of my face. I went to get my eyes checked and as I was waiting for my appointment a woman said to me, “I’ve met you before.” I told her that she didn’t, and it was only later that I thought about the fact that she could only see half of my face, yet she thought she knew me. I was wondering if it might be an energy thing, like something in me is familiar to people.
Barry: I was wondering the same thing, but you have to keep in mind that they are reacting visually, so you want to think about that first. If we consider the possibility of reincarnation, people may be recognizing you from one of their past lives. Maybe in a past life you knew a lot of people, or you were connected to these people somehow, and it makes them feel that they know you in this life.
One Last Goodbye
I'm friendly with a couple here in town. They’re a little older than I am, and they are very staid, respectable individuals. They’re very, very believable. They have no flights of fantasy, no weird beliefs, nothing like that. Just good people.
One of their children developed brain cancer when he was in his early twenties. I offered to help, and they asked if I could help with the transportation, so I went over and picked him up a few times and took him to his treatments. So, I knew the son and I know his parents.
Unfortunately, the son took a turn for the worst and he passed away. A little over a year later I ended up getting together with that same couple for dinner at a restaurant. I asked the wife, the boy’s mother, something about her son and told her how sorry I was, and what a great boy he was. There were a lot of people at the table, so the two of us were leaning over and talking to one another. She said, “I saw him. Two weeks ago was the anniversary of his death. I was very very sad the whole day.”
That night, she woke up in the middle of the night, and she swore to me that she was awake. She wasn’t dreaming or in a semi-conscious state. She was on the right side of the bed, and she sensed that there was somebody standing beside the bed. She looked over and she saw a solid black figure. She couldn’t make out any facial features, it was just black, but she instantly knew that it was her son. She said, “I can’t tell you why, but I knew that that was him.”
She said, “He looked down at me in silence, then turned sideways to me, and he put one hand up at a 45 degree angle. Picture the way Superman would put his hands when he was about to fly.” She said that he proceeded to float in the direction that his hands were pointing. He floated up over to the corner of the room and through the ceiling. He just disappeared into the ceiling. She said that he didn’t say anything at all to her. There were no mental words that came into her mind, but she was overwhelmed with the feeling that he was safe and happy and OK where he was. So she took it that she needed to let her know that he was OK. And she looked over at her husband who missed the whole thing. She swears that she was 100% awake, and that that’s what happened.
The Gade House Ghost
In Southbury, Connecticut there’s an historic park. Inside of the park is the Glade House. That was an old house where the minister in town used to live. Glade used to be a term that you gave the minister to stay alive. There was the house he had to live in, and then there was the Glade field that was given to rent out to get some income so he could keep his family alive. So, the Glade house is this historic building that’s been maintained by the town in this historic area. They have a fancy garden out front, and they give tours of the house.
A few years ago I was there for a cemetery tour, and I spoke to an older woman who was one of the volunteers there at the house. She took care of things around this historic house, and taught classes. I asked her the question I always ask everybody, “Is this place haunted, and have you seen any ghosts?” She said, “Well, Yes!”
To understand the story, you have to know the layout of the house. It’s a typical old, one-and-a-half story colonial house, and there’s a breezeway that connects it to another small building which they now use for classes. The woman said that she was there by herself at night cleaning up after a class. There was no one else in the building at all. She was one hundred percent sure of that.
She walked through the breezeway to the classroom side, and as she was cleaning up over there she happened to look out the window. The window faces a garden, and on the other side of the garden is the main Glade house. So, she would have been looking across an area of garden that was ten or fifteen feet between the two buildings.
As she was looking across she saw a silhouette, head and shoulders, of a person walking past the window on the inside of the building. Then there was a pause, and that same silhouette walked past the next window, there was a pause and that same silhouette walked past a third window. So, she saw this silhouette three times walking past three windows, but there was nobody in the house.
The woman got a little nervous and she got out of there. Now, I consider her to be a very honest, believable person. She had no motivation for making up a story. She didn't know me from a hole in the wall. She was just a very, very believable lady.
The Haunted Painting
I’m Irish, and I’m French Canadian. We have a painting that originated from Ireland that’s been in the family for ages, a painting of a horse. My great-grandmother, God rest her soul, always said that from the time that she was a little girl until she died, this horse in the painting would neigh, and it would run in the field. It would also come close to the edge of the painting and it seemed like it wanted to talk to her.
My great-grandmother said that this wasn't her imagination, and it didn't just happen to her when she was young. She saw the horse in the painting move right up until the time that she passed away.
Ghostly Woman in the Stacks
We had a fire at the library I work at, so we’re now in a temporary location; but the story I’m about to tell took place in the original library before the fire. Back in the 1800’s, the building was a manse for the Presbyterian Church; so, it was where the minister used to live. It was a regular house until 1977 when it was renovated and made it into the library.
I’ve worked at the library for seventeen years, and after the first several years I started seeing what looked like a woman from the Victorian era walking around the library. She wasn’t always in the same place or even walking in the same direction, but it always seemed to be the same person. I saw her about five or six times, and she didn’t look solid like a regular person. I’m pretty skeptical about things, but I also know what I see.
I didn’t see her out of the corner of my eye, I saw her straight on. I’d catch her in the corner, and then she’d turn. The first couple of times it was a corner view. It got to the point that when I saw something I would immediately turn, and I did catch it twice head-on. She wasn’t looking at me or anything, she was just walking around. It was really cool.
So, I kind of had to start thinking about it. I would share the story with people here and there, and they said, “Well, it could be possible. It’s a very old building.” The room where my desk was had originally been the kitchen when it was a house.
A couple of years later, some paintings were found up in the attic and we decided to hang them in the library. After this weird things started happening in one particular aisle in the library. I think it was around the 700’s in the non-fiction section. We would find books that had been turned around, and when our shelver would walk in, random books would fall off of the shelves on different sides of the aisle. He said that he got a weird feeling whenever he walked in that part of the library.
At the end of the aisle in this section was one of the paintings. It was a portrait of a woman. The funny thing was, she looked Victorian because she had on a high collar, and her hair was up in a bun, but she wasn’t from that era. Her name was Virginia, and she had been the town historian during the 1940s and 50s. Once I saw the painting, I realized that that’s the woman who I had been seeing.
We had some paranormal investigators come in. We camped out at night, which was really cool, but we didn’t really get much of anything. After a couple of hours of hanging out in that same isle we were getting pretty antsy. At around midnight, all of a sudden we started hearing somebody shushing us, like a very loud librarian “Shush!” The investigators actually got it on tape.
Like I said, we had a fire, so we’re in a temporary location now, but the firemen were able to save some of the paintings. One was the painting of Virginia. Now she’s in a temporary place where I can keep an eye on her, right in front of my desk. It’s been pretty quiet, but I’m kind of curious when we get back over there. I wonder, is it related to the building? Is it related to the painting? So far she hasn’t done a thing when the painting was in the temporary place.
A Haunting in Bergen County
In the early 1980s grew up in a house in Bergen County, New Jersey. The house was on a hill, and it was the highest point in the area. From what I understand, it’s an area where a lot of indigenous Native Americans lived, and they used this hill as a sacred burial ground. My parents didn’t tell me this at this at the time, but the house was built on a sacred Native American burial ground.
We had a lot of paranormal incidents happen in that house, but I didn’t find out about some of them until I was older. My mother didn’t want to share the stories with us because she didn’t want to frighten us.
I experienced feeling extremely cold in certain rooms of the house. Once, I saw a male figure floating above me. I couldn’t identify this figure, but it spoke to me. I was completely frozen, so I couldn’t respond. It wasn’t a solid figure, just the vague figure of a man floating above me. I don’t remember what he said to me, but it scared me and I cried. I was in high school at the time.
One thing that’s really interesting is that when I told my mother about it, she asked me a ton of questions about what I saw. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was going through a period where she was being bruised in the middle of the night. She would wake up in the morning with bruises on her body.
The refrigerator doors used to open for no reason, blankets were taken from one place and thrown on the floor. When my brother was around eight or nine years old, he said that there were people gathering around his bed in the middle of the night. This didn’t happen just once. He said that they were talking to him consistently.
When my sister was in middle school she had an experience one night where she heard very, very loud music. She couldn’t identify the music type, but she said it sounded like it was from another time period. It was the sound of clanging percussion instruments. The music kept getting louder and louder, and then she opened her eyes and saw a figure at her door. It wasn’t a solid figure, more like a kind of a shadow. Then the person pointed at her and the music got really loud. She screamed and everything just disappeared. That was really the most profound physical manifestation that anyone experienced in the house.
An interesting thing happened. One night our carbon monoxide detector went off and the police and the fire department came over to check it out. While they were there one of them said, “Uh, oh. Another haunting on your block”. Apparently the police had had calls about multiple paranormal experiences in this neighborhood.
When I was an adult, my mom told me that about five years after we moved in, she had a priest come in to bless the house to see if it would help stop the activity. She said that he went through the house and blessed each room with holy water.
We lived in that house for about fifteen years, but all of the strange activity happened over the period of four or five years. After the priest blessed the house, it seemed to have just stopped.
The Octagon House - Washington, DC
I was returning from an IT training session in North Carolina, and on the way back I stopped off at Washington, DC and spent the weekend there. In the lobby of the hotel was a pamphlet for a ghost tour, so of course I wanted to go on that.
I was the only one on the tour that night. It was just slightly before dusk, and the tour started at the Octagon House which was owned by Colonel John Tayloe III. Interestingly, the house actually only has six sides, but it was called “The Octagon'' by the Tayloes.
What supposedly happened there was that two of Colonel Tayloe's daughters died in the house under mysterious circumstances. One apparently fell down through the staircase, down to the bottom floor, and the other seemed to have been pushed down these same stairs. The house is rumored to be haunted by the two daughters.
We started the tour in the back of the building, which is kind of creepy to begin with. The tour guide mentioned that apparitions are sometimes seen in the windows, so I took out my phone to take pictures. Just as I was about to take a picture of the windows, and for the first time since I had that phone, it completely died. I kept trying to get it to go back on, but it just wouldn’t work. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
All of a sudden, I felt a hand wrap around my upper arm, just kind of squeezing it. It felt very energetic, and very static-like. I turned around and looked, but there was no one there. I said to the tour guide, “Does anything happen here?” He looked at me with a straight face and said, “A lot of things happen here John.” We continued on with the tour and suddenly the phone just mysteriously came on.
The tour ended at the White House, and by now it was dark out. As the tour guide walked away I thought, ‘I never got a chance to take those pictures in the back of the place. I’m going to go back.’ I went back to the Octagon House, by now it was really dark and creepy with only a couple of street lights off in the distance. I took out my phone to take the photos. Just before I was about to take the first picture, the phone died again. I just left!
If it had happened today instead of back in 2012, I probably would have handled it differently. I’ve since discovered that I’m a psychic medium, so I think I’m lit up to that kind of world when I go into these houses. A lot of things like that happen to me now. For example, a friend of mine purchased an old hotel. He didn’t know it was haunted until I started talking about things, and then things made sense to him. I was mentioning the energies and things like that.
Note: The following is from a Wikipedia article about the Octagon House.
The legend, which made its first appearance in a 1908 article run by the Minneapolis Tribune, has appeared on TV shows, and in numerous ghost books, and usually follows a story-line similar to this:
Two of Colonel Tayloe's daughters are said to haunt The Octagon. The first allegedly died before the War of 1812. Colonel Tayloe and his daughter quarreled on the second floor landing over the girl's relationship with a British officer stationed in the city. When the daughter turned in anger to go down the stairs, she fell down the stairs--or over the railing; stories differ--and died. Her specter is allegedly seen crumpled at the bottom of the steps or on the stairs near the second floor landing, and sometimes exhibits itself as the light of a candle moving up the staircase.
The other death, stories claim, occurred in 1817 or shortly thereafter. Another of Colonel Tayloe's daughters eloped with a young man, incurring her father's wrath. When she returned home to reconcile with her father, they argued on the third-floor landing. This daughter, too, fell to her death down the stairs or over the railing. Her shade is alleged to haunt the third floor landing and stairs between the second and third floors.
"The Priest" -- Peekskill's Theater Ghost
There are two theaters in Peekskill, New York. The big one called the Paramount, and the other is a small theater that used to be the old library. When I was in middle school, I worked in the small theater and everybody that worked there said that they had seen ghosts. There were two prominent ones, the tall one that everyone called ‘The Priest’ because he was all dressed in black, and the small one that everyone called ‘Danny DeVito’.
I was working at this theater one night, and I was closing the concussion stand down for the night. The concession stand is downstairs in the basement area. At the foot of the stairs were folding chairs. I looked over and I saw the ghost known as ‘The Priest’ forming in front of the chair. He was forming in front of the chair, but I could see the chair through him. As I looked at it, the figure was becoming more and more solid. I could see where the clothes stopped and where the skin began, and where the hands and face would be was a lighter grey. So, the figure was darker where the clothes would be, and where the hands and the face would be was a lighter grey. The whole time the form was getting darker and more solid looking, but I could still see the folding chair through this figure.
I had to go up the stairs to get out. Like I said, I was in middle school when this happened. When I saw this thing forming there by the stairs I almost yanked the light out of the ceiling. It was the old fashioned type of light with a pull-chain. I pole-vaulted over the bannister to avoid the bottom steps and ran upstairs.
Years later at the current Peekskill Library, there was a ghost lecture. I brought up the story and an older gentleman that worked at the library grabbed me afterward and started asking me all these questions. I’m kind of like, “I know what I saw. I’m not making money off of this. I don’t really care if you believe me or not.”
He took me upstairs and there was an oil painting of a gentleman. He said, “Is this the person you saw?” I said, “Dude, I didn’t stay long enough for the person to fully form.” He gave me the guy’s name, but I don’t remember it. He said, “He ran the children’s library. That was his office down where the concession stand was.”
The guy continued, “I didn’t believe you, which is why I asked you all of those questions. You answered every question correctly. You should have stayed around. He was a great person. If you didn’t know him, he always wore black so you would think he was a priest.”
After he showed me the picture and told me about this guy I was like, ‘Wow, it makes a lot more sense now. That was his office, and he always wore black clothing.’ He said that that was the part that really convinced him of my story. "If you didn’t know who he was," he said, "you would have thought he was a priest because of the way he dressed, and how he walked around town."
The Haunted Whaling Ship - Mystic, Connecticut
My wife and I went over to Mystic Seaport just this past Fall. It was pretty empty because of Covid, but it was a really beautiful day. We walked around and ended up on one of the whaling ships where there were a couple of tour guides showing people around.
As I always do, I pulled one of them aside and I asked, “Have you ever seen any ghosts here on the ships or in the buildings?” The guide said, “I’ve been here for about three years, and there was only one day that something happened that was very odd.”
He said that one morning after opening the ship, a woman came up to him and said, “Listen, I don’t want to bother you or anything, but I’m a psychic and I can tell you that there’s a ghost down in the first mate’s cabin. I didn’t see anything, but I definitely felt him and it’s there. I just wanted to let you know.” The guy thought, ‘Well, who the heck knows’ and thanked the woman and then kind of dismissed it.
That afternoon there were a number of different tourists on the ship, and all of a sudden there was a big hubbub downstairs from the foredeck. A French family came up the stairs. All of them were very excited, but the guide couldn’t figure out what was going on because they were speaking in French. He thought that someone might have had a heart attack because this family was helping an elderly man up the stairs.
One of the French tourists spoke some English, so the guide asked him, "Is everything OK. Do you need an ambulance?” The guy said, “No, my grandfather just saw a ghost down in the first mate’s cabin.” The guide couldn’t believe it because this was the exact same room in the ship that the woman earlier said was haunted.
The guide said that that was the only time in the three years that he had worked there that anything ever happened. I believe the guy’s story. He was just a stranger to me, and he had nothing to gain from telling me this, so I believe him.
Note: ABC news ran a story about the ghosts of the ships at Mystic Seaport. You can read the story by clicking HERE.