From the spirits of famous female historical figures, to the girlish ghouls of urban legend, female ghosts are some of the scariest spirits out there. In fact, stories about female ghosts can be found across the globe, and many of these international tales of terror have chilling similarities. For instance, why do so many places have stories about women in white, or vanishing hitchhikers? These connections make us wonder what universal trauma or shared truth has made these stories take root in our collective consciousness.
Regardless, we know one thing for sure: these female phantoms are capable of chilling us to the bone. Step aside, ghost bros: these lady wraiths are redefining the scare game.
First Lady Dolley Madison played an influential role in making the White House the social center of politics in early America. Legend has it that she continues to take her duties as First Lady seriously to this day—her ghosts reportedly frightened gardeners away when they were trying to make changes to a rose garden Dolley had planted.
Hauntings and poltergeist acitvity are nothing new, and the lore of paranormal research holds countless examples. Yet, every once in a while a case will truly bubble up from the rest to present an extremely strange and strong account. Lying within the country of England is an unassuming, normal looking house, which nevertheless has managed to go on to accrue a reputation as one of the most haunted locations in the nation. Here at this abode we have a rather volatile, frightening, and violent entity that has come to be known as the Black Monk.
The year was 1966, and a family consisting of Jean and Joe Pritchard and their two children, Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, moved into a quiet house on 30 East Drive, in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, England. It was not long after they had settled in that strange things began to happen around the home, starting, as these things tend to, rather innocently enough. The first main incident started on September 1, 1966, when the son Philip was staying at the home with his grandmother, Sarah Scholes, while the rest of the family was away on a trip to Devon. One day they they felt a strange gust of cold wind pass through despite the summer heat, shortly after which they witnessed what seemed to be a white powder or mist snowing down from the ceiling as the sounds of footsteps echoed from above. When they went to investigate, along with Scholes’ sister Marie Kelley, there were found to be inexplicable pools of water spreading on the floor of the kitchen, and even as they stared at this new development that bumping noise continued from the next floor up and that dust rained down upon them.
Southern Texas Haunts
I have received a request to do an article about haunted
places in southern Texas. Not one to disappoint my followers I have found three
bone chilling haunts located throughout this region.
Sarah Jane Road, Port
Neches: Located in the southeastern portion of Texas is a stretch of road
known as the Sarah Jane Road. There are several legends surrounding this
location. Most of the legends state that there was a woman named Sarah Jane who
hid her baby in a wicker basket in the river after either bandits or Union
soldiers were heard near her home. When she went back to retrieve her baby, she
found it was missing. Another version of the legend has that Sarah was crossing
the bridge of the canal when she accidentally dropped her baby in the water.
The baby drowned and the distraught Sarah subsequently hung herself from a
nearby tree. Whichever version is true, Sarah Jane can now often be spotted
standing in white on the side of the road at night. If any approach her, she
The Tremont House
Hotel, Galveston: This historical hotel in Galveston Texas is home to many
different spirits. The first commonly seen ghost is that of a Civil War
soldier. This ghost haunts the first floor lobby, bar, dining, and office
areas. Visitors and staff will often hear the marching of boots walk around the
floor only to find that no one is there upon investigation. His apparition has
also been seen walking this area from time to time. Another spirit to haunt
this location is known as Sam. During his life Sam was a gambler with a severe
limp who one night had an extremely lucky evening. After collecting his
winnings he headed back to his room in the former Belmont Boarding House,
located where the building stands today. While he slept, someone came into the
room and murdered him in order to steal all of the money he had won. Now
visitors have reported that their rooms will shake followed by a large pound.
Others have reported hearing a one-footed stomping followed by a distinct
dragging noise in the hallway. Another spirit is that of a little boy named Jimmy
who haunts the lobby and elevators. Those who have seen him report that they
will see a little boy out of the corner of their eye. When they look he is
gone. One time a front desk clerk was helping a man check in when she saw a
little boy playing in the lobby. She assumed that the boy was the mans son,
however when the man left the little boy did not follow. When she looked to try
and find the boy again, she saw he had disappeared. Later that night when she
saw the same man she asked him about the little boy and he said that he had not
seen the child and that he had no children of his own. Little Jimmy is also
known to push glasses off of the bar. A fourth spirit is believed to have been
a victim of a severe storm in the 1900s since the activity becomes worse during
storms. On the 3rd and 4th floors people have heard
knocking, moaning and crying. Ceiling fans have been turned on and off and as
well as lights and televisions in both occupied and vacant rooms. People have
also seen shadow figures darting around.
The USS Lexington, Corpus Cristi: Having served through
almost every major battle in WWII and with more than 300 crew members killed
while serving aboard her, it is no wonder that the USS Lexington, now a museum,
is known to be extremely haunted. Visitors have reported hearing strange voices,
screaming, and crying throughout the
ship. Near the kitchen area, the strange smells of food cooking are also
sometimes present. Apparitions of men in uniform have been seen walking the
ships corridors. One woman reported seeing a spirit with no eyes and a scarred
face that lunged at her. The most famous ghost aboard the ship is named
Charlie, who haunts the engine rooms. Visitors have reported that while in the
engine rooms they had the most wonderful tour guide who wore an old navy
uniform. The only issue is that all the tours on board are self guided; there
are no tour guides available on the ship. Earlier this year, a family touring
the ship caught some ghostly activity on camera. The link to the news story
covering this video can be found here: http://www.kgw.com/news/local/uss-lexington-ghost-possibly-spotted/424922588.
One of the many prevailing mysteries of the Earth are Dark
Days. As the name suggests, a Dark Day is a time when the sun fails to shine
and the surrounding area is plummeted into darkness. This darkness can be
anywhere from gloomy to total blackness.
Although some Dark Days have natural causes, such as dust from a volcano
or the sun simply going behind a cloud, there are some rare instances in which
the sun seemingly goes dark for no apparent reason.
According to a Portuguese historian, the Sun became dim for
a period of several months in 934 AD. Eventually there were many flashes of
lightening and the sun was restored to its original brightness. In the 1800s
there was a total darkness in Amsterdam for several hours. During this day many
people drowned by accidentally falling into the canals. One of the most famous
Dark Days occurred on May 19th, 1780 in New England and parts of
Canada. It is said that if you woke around noon you would have thought it was
midnight. Candles were required throughout all hours of the day and at night
the moon turned as red as blood. Being deeply religious at the time, the
inhabitants of these areas were convinced that it was the end of the world
brought on by humanities sins. There was no eclipse that occurred at this time,
nor was there any volcanic activity. Scientists are still trying to figure out
what occurred on that day, although it is thought it could be a combination of
a forest fire, a thick fog, and cloud cover.
Although there are typically natural causes behind Dark
Days, the Days which cannot be readily explained are sometimes attributed to
more supernatural claims. These explanations include a wormhole being opened, a
temporary rip in time and space, and alien activity.
During the late 1800s there was a paranormal investigative
society known as the Society for Psychical Research, or SPR. This society investigated
over 700 incidents which they compiled into a study. The following case was one
of their most interesting encounters.
According to the case notes, there was once a girl named
Ellen. Ellen was in love with a disreputable young man whom her family did not
approve of. In order to ensure that she would not marry this man, Ellen was
sent to Brighton, which is on the southern coast of England. One night, Ellens
mother and young brother were sitting outside in their garden. All of a sudden
the brother exclaimed “Look mother there is Ellen!” Sure enough Ellen was seen
dressed in black walking at the edge of the garden. The mother told the brother
to go and see what she was doing there, however due to a sprained foot the
brother was unable to run towards her. Instead they called in the house to have
the youngest sister come out and run to her. They wanted to bring Ellen back
before her father saw her and there was an unpleasant scene. The youngest
sister ran across the lawn yelling Ellens name. Ellen did not respond. She
simply continued walking down the pathway away from the house. When the young
girl finally caught up with her sister she asked where she was going. She went
to grab her sisters arm when her hand passed right through her. She ran back to
her mother and told her what she had seen. The next day the family learnt that
Ellen had thrown herself into the sea and drowned at the exact same hour she had
appeared to them in the garden.
Source:The Complete Book of Ghosts by Paul Roland
Most Spooky Hospital (2017): Clark Airbase Hospital,
The winner of this years Most Spooky Hospital award goes to
Clark Airbase Hospital. Not only is this location eerie because it is
abandoned, but it is also incredibly haunted. This hospital was featured in
National Geographic’s series “I Wouldn’t Go In There,” and was reported by
Ghost Hunters International to be one of the most haunted places in the world.
Clark Air Base was previously a United States military
facility from 1903 to 1991. During WWII and the Vietnam War it was used as a
hospital for injured and dying military personnel. Now it is thought that many
of these personnel never left. Those who have visited the facility have
reported seeing the apparitions of soldiers walking throughout the halls. Strange
orbs will often float by and doors will open and slam shut by themselves.
Visitors have also heard screams and voices emanating throughout the abandoned
facility. Some of the ghosts are also known to be violent as visitors have
sometimes been pelted with items by an unseen force.
Hauntings truly run the spectrum of the weird. You have some that merely involve moving objects, others that entail roving apparitions of some type, and still other more malevolent case that have reports of physical violence and assault revolving about them. Then you have the truly frightening accounts that involve all of the above. One of the most terrifying hauntings in history seems to have settled down on one very unfortunate family in the 1970s, involving a group of specters with an inclination for violence, mayhem, and even rape, and which would go on to become one of the most ghastly incidents of paranormal activity on record.
The story of one of the most frightening and violent hauntings of all time starts in 1974, with a single mother by the name of Doris Bither, who lived in in Culver City, California, with her four children. The family had moved here from Santa Monica in order to try and start a new life after a string of abusive relationships that Doris had been in, and to try and escape her demon of alcoholism. It was a rough time of things, as Doris had barely enough to raise her four children, all born of different fathers, and they were a broken family living in dirt poor conditions, but things would soon get worse still, when something decidedly dark and paranormal came calling.
It started rather creepily enough, with an elderly woman who came over one day shortly after they had moved in to tell Doris out of the blue that she had once lived in the home and that it was evil, before wandering off to never be seen again. So far, so eerie, but it would prove to be almost prophetic. Not long after this, there would be instances of classic poltergeist activity, such as lights turning on and off, objects moving on their own, and anomalous noises, all of which were witnessed by all of the family members. Then things graduated to the more frightening when apparitions would start appearing.
At first it was just glimpses, a shadow figure moving across the living room here, a movement in the periphery of the vision there, but it got steadily more intense, and even neighbors began seeing these things around the house. The figures that were seen started to take shape, appearing as fog-like humanoid shapes that would move about or merely sit in the corner and simply watch. In an interview with Ghost Theory, Doris’s middle son, Brian Harris, would describe them thus:
It was never clear. When they would make themselves known, it was always like a fog. Like a human…but not quite. It was like a sculpture. Like a chiseled body. Not a full figure, but at times we could see some of it. At times, it would be annoying. We would be watching television and these things would walk by. Like nothing. We were so used to the poltergeist, that we just got to a point were we wouldn’t even care.
It became increasingly clear that there were more than one of the entities as well, either 3 or 4 of them, depending on who you ask, although Harris has said that there were 4. This spooky paranormal activity, although at first scary but mostly harmless, would not stay that way for long, soon becoming increasingly terrifying. Not content to just mill about and cause mischief, the entities began to lash out at the family, pushing, shoving, hitting, and even clawing or biting them, and this would happen at all hours, even in the middle of the daytime. Harris would say:
We all experienced some form of attack. There was the pushing, biting and scratching being done to us. There were about 4 entities in the home, and they made themselves known by appearing all the time….I think it took a lot of energy for them to do that. It was as if they [the four entities] showed themselves whenever they felt like.
Although he said there were four of the specters, Doris herself would later claim that there were only three, but the true number was- too many. Even more terrifying still was that the entities began to actively target Doris the most vehemently, and it went from simple pushes, scratches and bites to full on assault, with the ghosts even allegedly holding her down and raping her with abandon. This would often happen in the next room while the terrified children listened to the bangs, thuds, and their mother’s desperate screaming as they cowered in the shadows, but it also sometimes happened right in front of their eyes, and Harris has described these spectral attacks thus:
The whole rape thing was real. My room was right next door to my mother’s. I would hear the attacks happening. Things being thrown, her screaming. Then she would come out of the bedroom and have all these bruises. On her legs, her inner thighs. There were times were we would see it happen in front of us. It was like if a man was standing in front of my mother and would start to beat her. Imagine a woman being beaten. You could see her being picked up and thrown around. Sounds, slaps…but there was no one there to actually do it. We all felt it too. pulling, biting and scratching…we were all attacked.
These viscious attacks and sexual assaults went on unabated, with the apparitions appearing without warning practically every day and night, and it got to the point where the family was desperate for anyone to help them. The biggest of the entities even gained a creepy nickname for himself, “Mr. Whose-it.” Doris took it upon herself to approach paranormal investigators and parapsychologists Kerry Gaynor and Dr. Barry Taff, who were intrigued by her harrowing tale to say the least, and went about arranging a full investigation into the claims. They would not be disappointed.
The team moved in for their investigation on August 22, 1974, thinking at first that there would not be much to this all other than a seriously disturbed young woman. The first thing they did was take a look at the myriad bruises, scratches, and scars that she had all over her body, especially along her inner thighs, allegedly inflicted by the entities and which proved to be far more savage and severe than they had expected. She gave them additional information on the attacks by saying that there were 3 of them (despite her son’s claims that there were 4), and that the two smaller ones would hold her down while the bigger one raped her.
Intrigued, but not yet sold, the investigators set up their equipment in an effort to gather any evidence at all of a haunting. When this was done, they had Doris go into one of the rooms where the most activity had been occurring and told her to start yelling and cursing at the unseen entities, trying to draw them out. Almost immediately there was intense orb activity captured on the equipment, with spots of light flitting all over the place like angry bees. After this Doris was seen to be enveloped by a greenish mist, followed by the materialization of what appeared to be the upper torso of a man, which hovered there in the mist and was apparently so terrifying that one of the investigators fainted. This torso could not be captured on the equipment, but there is a photograph of Doris with a strange arc of light appearing over her.
This sort of intense paranormal activity would could continue virtually unabated for the next several months of the investigation, including apparitions, mysterious lights, temperature drops, horrific mystery odors, and moving objects. It was even noticed that the invastigators’ presence actually seemed to anger and irritate the entities, and it was also found that playing music by the metal group Black Sabbath also seemed to cause an uptick in activity, making it all stronger, but then it suddenly started winding down and stopping altogether for no discernible reason.
One of the photos taken during the investigation
In later years, Doris would move her and her family to other places on several occasions, but according to her each time the entities would follow her wherever she went, although somewhat weaker than they had been. She would even claim at one point that she had been impregnated by one of the spirits. Although her case had become quite well-known at the time, Doris herself would drop off the radar for years before finally succumbing to cardiac arrest in 1995, leaving us no further along as to what happened to her than when these supernatural forces first targeted her.
What exactly happened to this poor woman and her family? What sort of spirits or entities targeted them and why? That would depend a lot on who you ask, but according to Taff himself, it has nothing at all to do with ghosts or spirits as we imagine them. Taff is convinced that the phenomena were caused by the subconscious human mind lashing out to affect the world around it though psychokinesis, the ability to move objects with the mind. In his theory, this is all the result of various factors coming together to cause the mind of a victim to reach out to wreak havoc on the outside world, most often without their awareness that they are even doing so. So insistent is he that this is the case, and that such hauntings are caused by the projections of living beings rather than demons or the ghosts of the dead, that he has expressed disdain for these “paranormal” ideas, saying:
I don’t, for one second, believe this is the work of dead people throwing living people around. As there are no academic credentials required for anyone to go out and investigate the paranormal. Every new age groupie is out there looking for demons, emulating the garbage they’ve seen on cable TV paranormal shows. To fully comprehend the possibility that a living person’s subconscious mind can involuntarily generate such power as to manifest luminous anomalies, apparitions, and macroscopic psychokinetic events, is for me, far more compelling than if a discarnate intelligence was responsible.
The evidence and collected data suggests these effects are the result of what’s called Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK) There’s two types of psychokinesis (moving physical objects around without physical means). There’s microscopic, which works on very small scales, things like affecting random number generators, random event generators, and moving subatomic particles around. It’s usually electrostatic-based, fatigue in the individual is shown, as it’s done on a conscious level. And then there’s macroscopic, what we call ‘poltergeist,’ and that’s a whole different ball of wax. We’re talking about the ability of moving very massive objects, hundreds of pounds easily. It’s done on a subconscious level, as there is no fatigue seen in the person at the core of it. Like the microscopic type, it’s believed that the phenomena are generated by a living human agency.
Taff has used this explanation to explain a wide range of what are traditionally considered to be “paranormal phenomena,” which he has compiled into a book called Aliens Above, Ghosts Below: Explorations of the Unknown, which takes the approach of trying to explain all of these disparate phenomena with possible real world rational solutions. Others disagree, and say that this was some sort of demonic presence, a trio of ghosts up to no good, or just the delusions of a fractured mind. It has never been solved either way. Whatever the case is remains to be seen, but in the meantime the Doris Bithers story has gone on to become one of the most frightening and controversial accounts of a haunting on record. So famous and noteworthy is this mysterious case that it was made into a 1983 Hollywood film based on these events called The Entity, starring Barbara Hershey and directed by Sidney J. Furie, and which is loosely based on the real events. What was it that terrorized this family so violently? We may never know for sure.