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Top 10 Real-Life Ghost Sightings That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

July 1, 2023 People's Tonight 373 views

by Steve Etherwood
fact checked by Rachel Jones

In the stillness of the night, shadows flicker, and whispers echo that these are not figments of an overactive imagination. We’re about to tread a path less traveled, a journey into the realm of specters and phantoms. Prepare to step into the shoes of those who’ve encountered the inexplicable, with accounts so bone-chillingly real that it blurs the line between the living and the dead.

These ten real-life ghost sightings aren’t for the faint-hearted.

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10 The Tower of London

Who Killed The Princes in the Tower? | BBC Select

The Tower of London, a formidable fortress on the banks of the River Thames, is renowned as one of the most haunted places in the UK. Almost everyone has heard the story of Anne Boleyn’s marriage to King Henry VIII, which ended in her beheading at Tower Green for adultery, incest, and treason. But her story doesn’t end there; her decapitated ghost has been seen wandering the corridors since her execution.

And Anne Boleyn is not alone in her hauntings. The tower holds the secrets of the ill-fated “princes in the Tower,” young royals whose lives were mysteriously cut short. Legend whispers that King Richard III orchestrated their demise to claim the throne.

These ghosts are chilling by themselves, but then there’s the trapped soul of a massive grizzly bear near the Martin Tower. It’s been described as the devil himself in disguise. A night guard told the story of being attacked by the ghost hours before his death.

9 Eilean Mor Lighthouse Keepers

MOST SHOCKING real-life plot twist | The strange case of the missing Eilean Mor lighthouse keepers

The Isle of Scalpay Lighthouse is steeped in chilling tales. In 1900, Captain James Harvey, Joseph Moore, and William McArthur were keepers of the Flannan Islands lighthouse who vanished without a trace. Inside, they found an unlocked door, signs of a hasty departure, and a frozen scene of abandoned meals and overturned chairs.

Since that fateful day, they say eerie voices whisper in the wind, calling out the names of the lost men and haunting other keepers who dare approach the beacon. There are countless theories, from abductions to encounters, but the truth remains submerged beneath the waves and cliffs.

Visitors have reported inexplicable footsteps echoing in empty corridors, flickering lights, and a bone-chilling cold that cuts them to the core. At times, the air feels thick with an unseen presence, like you’re always being watched.

8 Popobawa of Tanzania

Popobawa // Zanzibar / Tanzania Folklore // Mythology Creature

Deep in the lands of Zanzibar, an unsettling presence lurks. Known as the Popobawa, this malevolent spirit, or shetani, first emerged on the Tanzanian island of Pemba around half a century ago.

Its origins are entwined with the island’s political revolution in 1965, beginning a series of hauntings.

The legend of the Popobawa gained momentum thanks to sporadic sightings throughout the 1980s. According to accounts, it takes a sinister interest in men, committing sexual assaults that left the local population gripped with fear. In response to these terrifying events, some residents resorted to desperate measures—sleeping in groups outside their homes or anointing themselves with pig’s oil, hoping to ward off the Popobawa’s advances.

One harrowing tale is that of Mjaka Hamad, a humble farmer who claims to have suffered an encounter with the Popobawa in 1997. While the Popobawa has remained elusive in recent years, its chilling legacy continues to haunt the people of Zanzibar.

7 Poenari Fortress–Romania

Poenari Castle. The real Dracula Fortress. Romania 2015

Now, this is certainly one of the bloodiest legends in Europe, that of Count Dracula and his castle in Transylvania.

Although Bram Stoker’s novel focuses on vampires and other fantastic creatures, the central character was indeed inspired by a historical figure: Vlad Tepes III, known as the Impaler. This prince of Wallachia, in the Carpathian region, imposed a rule of terror over his lands in the 15th century. Local legends say that he summoned all the villagers suspected of plotting against him and had them all impaled at the foot of his castle in Poenari. Honestly, if you’re looking for a more realistic retelling, you should check out the 2014 film Dracula Untold.

Since then, the ghosts of all these unfortunate people are said to haunt the ruins of the house, nestled on a hill.

6 Salem Cemetery–Ohio

Ohio Egypt Valley, Louiza Fox murder and burial spot. Salem and Old Egypt Cemetery.

The Salem Cemetery in Hendrysberg, Ohio, holds a long-standing reputation for being a site shrouded in eerie tales and ghostly encounters. Legend has it that the Salem Cemetery is haunted by the restless spirits of those who were buried here under tragic circumstances. One of the most famous ghostly tales revolves around a young woman named Louiza Fox, a 13-year-old maid in the house of the owner of the local coal mine. She was brutally murdered by Thomas Carr.

From the highly publicized court proceedings, it was discovered that Carr was a member of the Union Army during the Civil War Era and reportedly struggled with alcoholism and fights and even committed murders before being discharged. It was late afternoon on January 21, 1869, when 21-year-old Carr attacked Fox. He hid behind a fence post until she passed by, killing her, then finally leaving her body in a ditch on the side of the road. This is the area where many have reported seeing the ghost of the girl.

Countless reports of paranormal activity have been documented at the Salem Cemetery. Visitors have experienced unexplained temperature drops, flickering lights, and a feeling of being watched.

Some even claim to have captured ghostly apparitions in their photographs. Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, a visit to the Salem Cemetery is bound to send shivers down your spine and leave you pondering the mysteries that lie beyond the veil of the living.

5 Lui Family Mansion Taiwan

Old Liu Family Mansion (劉家古宅民雄鬼屋)

In southwestern Taiwan, you can find the Lui Family Mansion, also known as the Minxiong Ghost Mansion. Constructed in 1929, this three-story Baroque marvel once served as the opulent home for the affluent Lui family. They were esteemed merchants and prominent landowners of their time. However, the mansion’s reputation as one of Taiwan’s most infamous haunted locations has cast a shadow over its grandeur.

Legend whispers that the mansion is plagued by the tormented spirits of the Lui family, whose untimely demise remains shrouded in mystery. Some believe these ghosts seek retribution for past injustices. Others claim they are the restless souls of laborers who died during the mansion’s construction.

Visitors recount hearing whispers, witnessing ethereal figures, and experiencing an overwhelming sense of unease. A handful have even described feeling a touch from invisible hands.

4 The Greenbrier Ghost

The Greenbrier Ghost and West Virginia history

Now it’s time for one haunting enigma that unfolded in the heartland of West Virginia’s Greenbrier County in 1897—the Greenbrier Ghost.

At the center of this saga lies Elva Zona Heaster Shue. Initially presumed to have died from natural causes, Elva’s demise took a sinister turn when her mother, Mary Jane Heaster, proclaimed that the spirit of her departed daughter told her a secret. It claimed she had been murdered, implicating none other than Elva’s own husband, Erasmus Stribbling Trout Shue.

Initially dismissed, Mary Jane’s unwavering conviction compelled the authorities to delve deeper into the case. Exhuming Elva’s lifeless form, they uncovered a harrowing truth: her neck had been snapped. The damning evidence cast its pall over Erasmus Shue, who was sentenced to a lifetime of confinement.

From the home where Elva used to live to the nearby cemetery where she lies forever, ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena continue to stir up a past that refuses to be forgotten. The Greenbrier Ghost has woven itself into the very fabric of West Virginia’s history, inspiring books, plays, and musicals.

3 La Pisadeira Brazil


La Pisadeira of Brazil haunts the sleep of anyone who dares to indulge in a hearty meal before bedtime. Legend has it that this Brazilian specter prowls in the shadows, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

As the night falls and the unsuspecting victim goes to lie down, La Pisadeira makes her way into their bedroom. She sits on the sleeper’s chest, so they’re paralyzed and helpless. The person wakes up to a terrifying reality, their eyes only half open, and they panic.

Depictions of La Pisadeira vary, but many describe her as a gaunt crone, sporting unkempt hair, ragged clothes, and long nails. La Pisadeira’s actions take a distressing turn as she subjects male victims to sexual assault.

To evade the clutches of La Pisadeira, make sure you leave plenty of time to digest. .

2 Toni Jo Henry


Toni Jo Henry’s ghost is said to linger within the historic walls of the Calcasieu Courthouse in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Visitors have experienced a range of encounters with her spirit. Most of the paranormal activity seems to center around the courthouse’s third floor, the very place where Toni Jo was once held during her trial.

Witnesses have reported the distinct sound of footsteps echoing through empty corridors and the unexplained opening and closing of doors. There are mysterious cold spots that send shivers down those who dare to venture into the haunted halls.

Toni Jo’s ghost is typically said to be a young woman in a white dress. Numerous accounts of these sightings have captured public attention, with media outlets such as the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories and KPLC news featuring her compelling story.

For those who brave a visit to the Calcasieu Courthouse, be prepared to confront Toni Jo, forever tethered to the spot where she died.

1 El Sibon

El Silbón: The Deadly Whistler of the South American Grasslands| Monstrum

El Silbón, also known as The Whistler, is a haunting legend from Colombia and Venezuela, particularly in the Los Llanos area. Born from a tragic tale in the 19th century, El Silbón is said to be the vengeful spirit of a young boy who murdered his father after witnessing the death of his unfaithful mother by his father’s.

Carrying his mother’s bones in a bag, El Silbón roams the grassland plains, perpetually searching for new victims. His presence is often announced by a mournful whistle, a prelude to his attacks.

There are no known methods to defeat or repel El Silbón, although some sources suggest that he despises dogs. Descriptions of El Silbón depict him as a tall and emaciated figure, his haunting form forever etched into the nightmares of anyone who encounters him.