7 Tragic October Events That Created Ghosts

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Ah, October. A time for pumpkin patches, autumn celebrations, and of course, Halloween. But it’s not all fun and games this time of year. From a horrific fire to a tidal wave of beer, here are seven October events that created ghosts.

HMS Curacoa Sinking

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On October 2, 1942, the RMS Queen Mary accidentally rammed and sank her escort ship, the HMS Curacoa, as she carried over 10,000 troops to Europe. More than 200 men died in the collision, and now Queen Mary staff and visitors reportedly hear strange sounds coming from the ship’s bow. The eerie noises include rushing water, tearing metal, and anguished screams.

Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe

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On October 7, 1849, renowned author Edgar Allan Poe died four days after he was discovered deliriously wandering the streets of Baltimore. No one knows how Poe got in that condition or what caused his unexpected death.

Though Poe might be gone, some people believe the author still lurks around his former home at 203 North Amity Street. Several people have reportedly felt taps on the shoulder but saw no one when they turned round. One guest was spooked when a window sash appeared to fly across the room and land at his feet.

Great Peshtigo Fire

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On October 8, 1871, the deadliest wildfire in recorded history swept through Peshtigo, Wisconsin. Strong winds stoked what was initially a controlled burn, creating a firestorm with super-heated flames reaching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people fled to a nearby river, but died of hypothermia in the frigid waters. Those left behind burned alive. All in all, between 1,500 and 2,000 perished in the flames. Legend has it they haunt the area today.

Locals tell stories of shadowy figures that drift across streets and roam across the lands that once made up Peshtigo. Other tales speak of glowing red lights in the cemetery where many charred victims were buried. At times, a thick blue fog also blankets the area. Paranormal investigation teams have collected several EVPs near the old cemetery. In one, an anguished voice seems to scream “It burns!”

Marie Antoinette Executed by Guillotine

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After a two-day trial, French queen Marie Antoinette was convicted of high treason and guillotined on October 16, 1793. Legend has it the infamous Antoinette now haunts the Palace of Versailles.

In 1901, two sisters visiting Versailles claimed to have wandered away from their tour group and traveled back in time. One woman reportedly saw Antoinette sketching in a garden, and the women’s time-traveling tale soon became known as the Moberly-Jourdain incident. However, Marie didn’t just appear to the sisters. Several other visitors have claimed to see the queen’s ghost in the palace gardens. Strangely, the erstwhile monarch has also been spotted at a home in Maine.

London Beer Flood

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On October 17, 1814, enormous vats ruptured at London’s Meux and Company Brewery and sent nearly 1.5 million liters of beer gushing into city streets and nearby homes. The wave of beer killed at least eight people, and rumor has it one of them still lurks around the area today.

In January 2012, this photo surfaced on the Internet. The couple took the photo at Dominion Theatre, which now stands on the site of the old brewery. The two speculate that the pale woman behind them is the ghost of Eleanor Cooper, a young barmaid who drowned in the beer flood.

Lynryd Skynryd Plane Crash

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On October 20, 1977, a plane carrying rock band Lynryd Skynryd crashed in a remote forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The accident killed three band members, including lead singer Ronnie Van Zant. But is Ronnie really gone?

Legend has it Van Zant haunts Freebird Live, a bar and live music venue owned by his widow. According to an article in the Florida Times-Union, a staff member left a full bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey on the counter one night but returned the next morning to find it empty. Jack Daniel’s was one of the musician’s favorite drinks. Kristen and other employees believe Ronnie drank the liquor to show them he was still around.

The Death of Jane Seymour

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King Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, gave birth to a much-longed for son on October 12, 1537. Sadly, she died just 12 days later, on October 24, 1537. Now the former queen reportedly haunts Hampton Court Palace, searching for the infant she left behind.

Jane’s former apartments aren’t open to the public today. However, some visitors and staff say they’ve seen the queen’s ghost ascending a set of stairs on the anniversary of Edward’s birth. During these annual appearances, Jane reportedly wears white and clutches a candle as she climbs the stairs. The ghostly queen doesn’t interact with the living or seem aware of their presence in any way. She simply walks up the stairs and disappears.

Do you know of any other October hauntings? Talk to me!