Goodbye, July. Hello, August! Brush up on your haunted history with these 7 August events that caused hauntings.
University of Texas Shootings – Austin, Texas
On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the Tower at the University of Texas and gunned down dozens of people, killing 14 and wounding 32. Some say he’s still there. Tower security guards report lights that go and off at night, when the offices are closed and the tower is vacant. In some instances, the lights switch on and off several times in one evening. On one occasion, an irritated security guard yelled at Charlie to knock it off, and the lights switched off and stayed that way.
Lizzie Borden Murders – Fall River, Massachusetts
On August 4th, 1892, someone took an axe to Andrew and Abby Borden inside their Fall River home. Though police suspected Andrew’s daughter Lizzie, a jury acquitted her of the crime. The gruesome murders made international headlines and inspired the famous rhyme:
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.
Given the gory history of the Borden home, it’s hardly surprising the building has a haunted reputation. Strange events at the property include the sound of a woman weeping, muffled conversations in empty rooms, and shoes moving across the floor. One maid reportedly quit after seeing the indention of a body on a bed in Abby’s room.
Tate Murders – Los Angeles, California
On August 9, 1969, five members of the Manson family murdered actress Sharon Tate and four others at Tate’s Los Angeles home. Now, at least one homeowner near the former Tate residence believes the murder victims haunt his property.
“I’ve had many esteemed psychics and mediums here, and they all say that the spirits of those that were killed have unfinished business and they will not crossover until the murderers are also dead,” the homeowner told LA Weekly.
“I’ve seen infrared video footage of balls of light and shadow figures on many occasions and my figurines that stand in a very active room fall over without any help, often. I know it’s them.”
Salem Witch Trials – Salem, Massachusetts
Following the Salem Witch Trials, villagers executed five women and one man on August 19, 1692. Now, nearly 325 years later, ghosts of the wrongly accused still walk the historic city. Sightings include spectral cats, a ghostly woman in white, and apparitions hanging from trees, not to mention spirits from other time periods. These spirits include pirates, sea captains, and men and women from the Victorian era, among others.
Hurricane Katrina – New Orleans, Louisiana
Hurricane Katrina roared over the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, destroying homes and triggering a catastrophic levee failure in New Orleans. Over 1,800 people died, making Katrina one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history.
Just 17 days after the disaster, members of the National Guard spoke about a ghostly child they encountered at an evacuated school in New Orleans. In 2013, the crew of Ghost Adventures investigated a former bordello in New Orleans. Host Zak Bagans believes a Katrina victim spoke through the ghost box, naming the storm as his or her killer. That same year, the owner of a New Orleans burger joint claimed a Katrina ghost brought bad luck to his business. Are victims of the storm still around today? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time. Catastrophic natural disasters like Katrina often trigger widespread hauntings that last for years.
The Battle of Bosworth Field – Leicester, England
On August 22, 1485, Henry Tudor defeated and killed Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the Plantagenet dynasty and ushering in the Tudor era. Richard’s body was hastily buried on the battlefield, but historians weren’t exactly sure where he lay until archaeologists discovered his body under a parking lot in 2012. However, the area has long had a reputation for being haunted.
Visitors at the Bosworth Battle Heritage Centre have encountered hooded figures and/or heard the sound of a battle raging around them. Others have seen the apparition of a headless spirit roaming near the battle site. Some believe the headless man is Richard III himself who returns on the anniversary of his defeat.
Jack the Ripper Murders His First Victim – Whitechapel, London, England
Sometime in the wee hours of August 31, 1888, the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper murdered his first victim, 43-year-old Mary Ann Nichols. Cart drivers discovered Nichols’ lifeless body on Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), and legend has it Mary Ann’s ghost still appears there. They say her crumpled body appears late at night, glowing green and laying exactly where she fell the night Jack the Ripper slit her throat.