If you’ve heard a lot of ghost stories, you may have noticed a few themes among the creepy tales. Here are the eight most common types of ghosts and links to stories featuring these prevalent spirits. Have you encountered any of the spooks on this list?
The Rejected Woman
A staggering number of ghost stories involve a woman who commits suicide after a man rejects or betrays her. The infamous Anna of Savannah’s 17Hundred90 Inn, for instance, reportedly leapt from a third-story window after her lover left town. Susie Carithers, of the Thomas Carithers house, is said to have hanged herself in the attic after her fiancé stood her up at the altar. Emily, of the Emily’s Bridge legend, also lost her life to the noose after a man did her wrong, and a maid at Oklahoma City’s Skirvin Hotel jumped from the 10th story after a lover abandoned her.
The Grieving Mother
The grieving mother also appears in many true (and fictional) ghost stories. One of Charleston’s most famous ghost pictures shows a transparent figure kneeling at a child’s grave. The ghost is reportedly Sue Howard Hardy, a woman who gave birth to a stillborn child in 1888 and died six days later. Legends about a ghostly grieving mother also surround Beaufort’s Old Sheldon Church, as well as many other sites around the world.
Who hasn’t heard a creepy tale about a child haunting an old home or historic building? One reader wrote in about a ghost boy who collected locks of hair, while another reader is certain the spirit of a murdered child sought her help. Maine’s Jameson Tavern is reportedly haunted by a little girl named Emily, and a ghost boy is said to lurk around Disney Land’s Haunted Mansion ride. Stories about invisible wailing babies and giggling children are also common. What region doesn’t have a cry baby bridge story?
The Accident Victim
Many ghost hunters believe accident victims haunt the site of their demise. Legend has it a man named George died during the construction of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean and haunts the ride to this day. Photos depicting eerie white figures, presumably victims, at the site of a fatal accident are also common. Additionally, many regions are home to a “gravity hill,” a site said to be haunted by the ghosts of children killed in a bus accident.
The Murder Victim
Many murder victims, like men and women killed in accidents, reportedly haunt the site of their death. Legend has it ghosts walk the halls of the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts, and New Orleans’ LaLaurie Mansion is reportedly haunted by the spirits of slaves tortured and killed on the property.
The Tragedy Victim
Legend has it that people killed by war, fire, disease, natural disasters, and other widespread tragedies frequently haunt the place of their death. Ghost stories surround the World Trade Center site, as well as cities destroyed by the catastrophic tsunami in Japan. Cities and towns once devastated by disease reportedly harbor the ghosts of those struck down by the illness.
Many stories of the paranormal involve a relative who appears to a loved one to offer comfort, deliver a message, protect a family member, or just hang out. Familial hauntings are extremely common in ghostly tales, and chances are good you or someone you know is certain a relative has paid a visit from beyond the grave.
The Stickler for Routine
Some spirits lurk around a particular property because they spent a lot of time there in life and are a stickler for routine. Often, the site of the haunting is the departed’s former place of work. Legend has it a former projectionist named Fink haunts the Tampa Theatre, while an old wine master spooks waiters at New Orleans’ Brennan’s Restaurant. Similar ghost stories exist throughout the world. Historic homes, hotels, and restaurants are particularly prone to restless spirits who can’t break out of mortal routine and move on.
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