The 8 Most Common Types of Ghosts

famous ghost picture

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.

The Child
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.

The Relative
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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Reader Submission: The Girl in the Bathtub

sad girl in bathtub

“My brother is a musician. His band played one venue out of town and part of the deal was a free stay in the apartment that was above the club. The show went well, and after it was all over everyone retired upstairs for the evening. Before going to bed, the owners of the club told them that they have a problem with their cats always trying to urinate and defecate in the bathtub. To fix this problem, they ran a little water in the tub and kept it standing at all times to discourage any cats from jumping in. They only asked that no one released the drain in the tub. My brother and his band mates thought this was strange behavior for cats, but they all agreed not to drain the tub and went to bed.

In the middle of the night my brother got up to use the bathroom. When he walked into the bathroom, he saw that water was filled to the brim of the bathtub and the toilet. The water was also swirling in both the tub and the toilet for no apparent reason. Feeling thoroughly creeped out, he used the bathroom and got out of there as quickly as he could.

The next morning, while everyone was sitting around the kitchen table eating breakfast, my brother related what happened in the bathroom. After he finished his story, his drummer spoke up and mentioned a dream he had had. In the dream, he walked into the same bathroom in the house and saw a girl sitting in the bathtub. The owner of the house asked him to describe the girl. The drummer did, and when he was finished the owner confessed that she looked like a girl who used to live in the apartment. Years before, the girl committed suicide in the bathtub.”

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Photo: Flickr/jox