Posted by: Kate | October 16, 2008

Creep Me Out

Yesterday, while hanging out at home, waiting for the phone to ring, I watched a Travel Channel show, called The World’s Creepiest Destinations.  A countdown show mixed with ghost stories?  Sign me up!

I take a certain perverse pride in having visited four of their Top Ten destinations: I’ve flown through a corner of the Bermuda Triangle (rank #10), lived in Salem, Massachusetts (rank #4) and spent a weekend in the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, Massachusetts (rank #1).  I’ve been to New Orleans and visited a cemetery or two, some voodoo shops, and a psychic (who was totally wrong, by the way), though I didn’t actually take the tour suggested by the show (rank #5).  And we’re likely to visit the Winchester Mystery House, Roswell and the Mütter Museum at some point.

Nothing remotely unusual happened during my plane flights between Miami and Jamaica in March or during the two years that we inhabited Salem – at the foot of Gallows Hill, no less – but I did hear a ghost in the Lizzie Borden house, which thrills me to no end.  I recognize the fundamental illogic in the concept of ghosts, but in the absence of available people to create the sound of footsteps on the back hallway, then Occam’s Razor demands the simplest answer, no?

I’m not ghost-obsessed to the point where I take billions of photos to try to get weird white spots in the pictures, leave a tape recorder on at night, or generally hang out with crowds who can converse knowledgeably about seances and the afterlife.  But I won’t shun the chance to visit an eerie spot or two, just in case.  If we ever travel to London, you’d better believe I’ll be spending time at the Tower of London and taking the Jack the Ripper tour.  Likewise, I’ll consider any trip to San Francisco incomplete unless I can take the nighttime tour of Alcatraz.  It’s just a hobby o’ mine, and it has always disturbed my mother greatly.

Got any ghost stories or creepy spots that you’ve visited?


  1. My husband took me on a Ghost Tour of London once. Very creepy and sounds perfect for you. 🙂

  2. Ghosts! My daughter and I watch Ghosthunters obsessively! It’s gotten so bad the other morning I swore I heard something like what they pick up on their digital recorders!

    I have been visited, though, in this house, on more than one occasion. Someone I knew and at least one other presence is here. Picked up on them elsewhere, too.

  3. Yeah, Ghosthunters is my guilty pleasure. I like Paranormal State, too, because they set it up to be creepy, but it’s on too late for me!
    I’ve had a few odd things happen to me, but nothing that would convince a skeptic. Do I believe in ghosts? Oh, yeah. Do I know what they are or why? No.
    I only switched from Ghosthunters to the debate last night because my husband made me. I love your Borden House story, btw.

  4. A friend of mine toured the Lizzy Borden house (she lives in Somerset) and sent me a magnet. I love it! I watched a show on (I think the History channel) the other night about Jack the Ripper. I love creepy stuff like that. I even went online to find photos of the victims since the show didn’t show them, citing them as “too graphic”. I didn’t think so once I saw them.

    One of the first “gifts” my husband gave me when we were dating were an extra set of autopsy photos he had taken while in the Air Force. I knew right away he was the guy for me!

  5. I love the scary. I’ve done the voodoo shops (but I haven’t gone into the ‘back rooms’ where the ‘real’ stuff is), I’ve been to Alice’s Grave, which is known only to the locals here (Alice was supposedly a black prostitute who was buried alive and clawed her way out of the wooden coffin, so now she’s in a cement crypt with metal straps holding down the lid — if you lift the lid ‘just so’ you can peer in and see the coffin.) More well known nationally is “The Myrtles”, a haunted plantation near my house.
    The scariest overnight there is supposedly on Halloween. Anyone want to join me?

  6. my grandmother’s house is haunted. after she died my parents lived there and now my sister lives there.
    if no one is in the kitchen you can hear silverware tinkling. or doors closing in other parts of the house & what sound like footsteps when no one else is there. more than one guest to the house has seen the shadow of a tall man walk in the side door through the kitchen. my sister has seen a man standing over her at night while in her bedroom when visiting my grandma when she was younger (she won’t sleep without a light on even now).
    it’s not creepy, in the day time. but the last time i remember spending the night my son was a baby (6 months maybe) and we were sleeping in the bedroom that my sister had seen the man. and my back was to the door and my son was staring at the door like he was seeing someone/thing. but i was too scared to turn around because i didn’t want to see what was there.

  7. In college, one old building was reportedly haunted. I was on staff at the student newspaper, and one Friday night three of us got special permission to spend the night in the building. We made a pact to always stay together, so as not to misinterpret one of our own noises for that of a ghost (bathroom trips were fun since I was the only female). Two strange things happened:

    1) An exterior light kept going on and off … which could be attributed to any number of things except it seemed to coincide with our proximity to that part of the building. 2) When we were on the first floor, we repeatedly heard something above us that sounded an awful lot like footsteps. And the really creepy part was that we’d hear them go in one direction, but never the other. As if something was “walking” up the hallway … but never back down it. We heard this one several times.

    When the security guards let us in the building for the night, they told us, “Ya’ll are crazy for doing this. There’s no way I’d spend the night in this building.” So I think it must have been more than just general campus lore, though the things we experienced weren’t conclusive proof either way. Still, it was a fun story to write!!

  8. Oh, we did a ghost tour of Williamsburg, VA, once. London it was not …

  9. I did the Tower of London, but saw no signs of ghosts.

    I believe in ghosts, our family story is that the day my great granny died, my grandfather who was at the time serving with the British Army awoke to find his mother sitting at the end of his bed. She said “Everything is going to be all right, Tootsie” (her nickname for him when he was little). Later that day he found out she had died.

    I saw my own ghost when I was about 6, she was an old lady standing in my room.

  10. Ooh! Ooh! This is RIGHT up my alley. I love Ghost Hunters… and as a RI’er, there’s always the chance that we’ll bump into them somewhere, and it’s a definite that someone we know is one of their cousins, or went to high school with them or something like that, because that’s how RI works. I’m waiting with baited breath!!
    I have lots of good ghost stories, but my most recent is from this summer. The three of us rented a little cottage, and one night after our daughter was asleep, hubby John was out on the porch reading as I sat and worked on something at the kitchen table. A tall man with light hair walked right past the door to the kitchen toward our bedroom, dragging a big duffle bag across the floor (like a sea bag). I figured it was John, so I waited 10-15 seconds for him to come back out. When he didn’t, I called to him, and he answered from the porch, where he’d been the whole time. John was all freaked out, but I thought it was great!!

  11. make that “bated breath”. *eye roll*.

  12. Creepy alright although I don’t believe in ghosts, I do like creepy shows on telly. We have a ghost tour of the old Quarantine Station in Sydney which I’m planning to take a visitor on when he comes out in January – he on the other hand, isn’t too keen on the idea! Clearly a believer! I’m surprised you didn’t go through the catacombs in Paris!

  13. Oh, I certainly did go to the Catacombs – they’re just not reputed to be haunted, to my knowledge, and weren’t on this particular show. (It said “World’s Creepiest” but really should have been called “Some of the Continental US’s Creepiest.”)

    Catacombs photos and blog here:

  14. Funny you should write this today – I spent last night on a candlelit graveyard tour in Annapolis Royal during my retreat. There are just over 200 headstones, but over 2000 bodies buried there. The oldest headstone (1710)marks the grave of a 37 year old woman and is reputed to be the oldest marked grave in North America. There were many interesting stories and I would recommend the tour to anyone who visits NS. Alas, no ghosts out last night…

  15. They think the Mutter Museum is creepy????? I _LOVE_ that place!!!!

  16. Oh Kate I want to do that too. Big ole Steve is scared of ghost and things that go “bump in the night!” 😉 There are several places here in rizona particularly in Jerome that I would love to visit but Steve refuses to take part in any “hocus pocus” type stuff.

  17. I believe in and have experienced some pretty freaky stuff.
    The first house the husband and I lived in together was haunted. We lived there along with two other young couples; at least 2 other people can confirm the paranormal events we witnessed.
    One of them happened in my friend’s room; we were in there listening to Alice in Chains. A song called “We Die Young” came on, and we got the first obvious physical proof we had ever seen in the house as a result. My friend’s stereo system was set up in such a way that the speakers were on 2 separate tables about 4 feet away from the main stereo on either side. We weren’t blaring the music, either, so there wasn’t a noticeable vibration on the main table. The cassette cases of the tape we were listening to and another, cassette still inside, were sitting on top of the main stereo. All at once, both my friend and I watched those two cassette cases go flying – FLYING – across the room, strike the opposite wall, and fall to the ground.
    After that, one of the couples moved out and my friend moved downstairs. We took over her old room. One night the husband and I were lying in bed in the dark talking about everything and nothing and the subject came around to what it would be like to be a ghost, stuck in the same place forever. Just after the husband said, “I think it would be COOL,” our bedroom door, which was secured closed by a hook-and-latch, flew open and banged against the wall, then slammed closed again; then the bathroom door caty-corner to our bedroom door flew open and banged against ITS wall, then slammed closed again. We were pretty weirded out, since it wasn’t really a drafty house at all.
    And then, a month or so later, we were again in bed talking, when the husband reintroduced the topic of being dead, being a ghost. We heard a loud THUD right at the foot of our bed.
    When we turned on the light, we saw that a hunting knife he’d stuck into the opposite wall had come out of its niche and flown roughly five feet across the room and landed, point first and upright, in the (shag-carpeted) floor at the foot of our bed.
    I have a million tales to tell about that damn house. I’m glad that, shortly after we moved, the house was torn down and rowhouses were built in its place.

  18. Do you read Somewhere On The Masthead? He has October Moment stories that will send chills down your spine, all the more so because they’re true.

  19. My grandparents’ old house was haunted. It was awesome. I’ll blog about it sometime for ya.

  20. I totally think my last house was haunted with some sort of intelligent haunt.

    My sister took a tour of the Portland underground (where people were shanghaied). She experienced a few crazy things.

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