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Real Life American Horror Stories

These are some real life American horror stories, some more real than others. But just because a ghost story might not be true doesn’t mean it isn’t scary!

Location: Savannah, Georgia

Amid the pristine oaks draped in Spanish moss of Georgia’s oldest city, spirits are said to linger among the living. The city has frequently been on many ghost-related television shows, including Ghost Hunters. The TAPS crew went to the Sorrel -Weed house, an elegant Southern home built in 1840 for Francis Sorrel. Tragedies are associated with this house: Sorrel’s wife jumped to her death in 1861 and a slave Francis was allegedly having an affair with took her own life in the carriage house. The basement, first floor parlor, and carriage house are allegedly haunted. TAPS caught an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) in the carriage house of a women sobbing “Oh my God, please help me” over and over. Numerous photographs of strange entities have also surfaced from guests and workers at the Sorrel-Weed house. I actually went there on a ghost tour for my best friend’s birthday (it’s a tradition). When standing the front parlor, my chest felt unbelievably heavy as soon as I walked in. During the tour guide’s story, she said that women are often affected in this room and feel nausea or chest pain. I really couldn’t believe it. After the tour, my friend says to me, “I don’t want to sound crazy or anything, but as soon as we went in the parlor my chest was hurting really bad.” No, I am not making this up.

For more information, go here.


Location: St. Augustine, Florida

The oldest city in the United States is bound to have a few spirits. And, indeed, they do (even the old city gates are thought to be haunted by the ghost of a girl who died of yellow fever!). But one of the most intriguing haunted locations in St. Augustine is Warden Castle, the site of the original Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. The castle was built in 1887 to serve as a winter retreat for William Warden, business partner of John Rockefeller, and stayed in the Warden family until it was renovated as a hotel in the 1940s. Robert Ripley, the man who began his legacy by writing his column (aptly named Believe It Or Not!), loved this hotel; after his death, his heirs managed to purchase the castle and converted it into the museum as it is today. If you’ve ever been to a Ripley’s museum, you know how crazy and creepy the oddities inside can be. But a chilling tragic tale turns this amusing attraction into a scary one. During the castle’s time as a hotel, there was a fire in which only two women died. This fire, however, was thought to be set to cover up the murder of those two women. Their spirits are said to haunt the castle, scaring workers and tourists alike. Apparitions, sounds of weeping, door slamming, footsteps, and other odd bumps in the night have been reported. Also, many artifacts in the museum are the remains of humans, such as a real shrunken head and a Rosary made of human bones. Many attribute some disturbances to these strange objects.

To learn more about these strange sightings, go here.

Location: Estes Park, Colorado

Maybe you’ve heard of Stephan King’s The Shining, a story about a hotel grounds keeper going insane and trying to murder his family while staying at a haunted hotel during off season (if you haven’t experienced it yet, at least watch the movie if you don’t have time to read the book). King got his idea for this epic thriller while staying at the allegedly haunted Stanley Hotel in Colorado. Founded in 1903, the Stanley Hotel has been in business for over a century, and has definitely accumulated horror stories. Freelan Stanely, the original owner, is one of the many spirits that are said to haunt the hotel. Furniture moves on its own, a phantom thief will appear and then objects will go missing, ghostly piano music will play with no one there, and the laughter of children is frequently heard in the halls (giggling ghost children are creepy!).

For more information, go here.


Location: Rampo, New York

This ghost story resembles more of an urban legend, but a creepy one at that. There have been many retellings, so if you’ve heard it before, this version could be different. Two high school boys, on the way to a dance, saw a hitchhiker on the side of rode (hitchhiker=major urban legend figure). Her name was Lavender, and she was trying to get to the dance as well. One of the boys was really taken with her, and danced with her the entire time and also offered to take her back home. On the drive back, he noticed that Lavender was very cold, and offered her his jacket. Though she told them her address, once they got to the bridge, Lavender told them to let her get out and walk the rest of the way. The next day, they realized that Lavender still had the jacket, which was their father’s, and needed to get it back. They went to the address she had given them the previous night, and an old woman answered the door.  A little confused, they asked if Lavender lived there. The old woman nodded, telling them she was Lavender’s mother. They didn’t believe it, because of the woman’s old age, until she showed them a picture. And, if you haven’t guessed by now, Lavender had died a long time ago in a car accident on her way to a dance on the very bridge they picked her up on the night before. The woman told them the cemetery where she was buried, and the boys, extremely uneasy, decided to check it out. It didn’t take them long to find her grave, because draped over the headstone was the boy’s jacket.

Katie is a sophomore studying English Literature and Anthropology at Mercer University. When not reading for her classes, she is still reading for pleasure! Katie is a major bookworm whose dream in life is to simply read all day (but, unfortunately, being a well-rounded reader doesn't pay the bills) or be a manatee princess...which isn't very realistic either. Other than books and manatees, Katie has a passion for song, piano, and nature. You can often catch her gazing at the clouds or looking up at tree branches. "The stars gleam, the poets dream..." -Jonathan Larson
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