Something Strange in The Neighborhood
Halloween or “All Hallows Eve” is approaching, and while many spent the month looking for the perfect costume, stocking up on candy to give out or eat, and thinking of all the horror movies they can binge watch and not feel weird about, I have been thinking about the ghosts whose secrets are waiting to be spilled. Besides, who doesn’t love a good ghost story? So, I thought it’d be cool to talk about some ghosts stories from around the world.
Halloween is when all the ghouls and spirits come back to play. All the slashers, killers, and random messages from an unknown person wait for you to answer them when you’re at your most alone and vulnerable. While some want to relish in the gore and bloodshed, I prefer a more paranormal approach—all the things that are unsettling or the things that go bump in the night and creep you out. Think of an item that was moved from where it was before or the eyes you feel watching you but you can’t see.
Some of these places have strange happenings, which begs the question, was it a ghost? I decided to pick five places known to be haunted and tell some of the stories passed on to me from other people. Let me break down five creepy ghosts stories from around the world.
1. Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York
The Morris-Jumel house was built in 1765 by Roger Morris, a British military officer. He served as the Executive Council of the Province of New York. He lived here for ten years with his wife Mary Philipse Morris until 1775, which is when the American Revolution began. As he was a British loyalist, Roger went back to England when the war started. His wife Mary, who was born in America, stayed in her family’s estate in Yonkers. Roger would go to England with his family in 1783 permanently. The house would later be seized, as Roger and Mary were loyalists.
This house also served as a temporary headquarters for General and the First President of the United States George Washington as he was forced to evacuate Brooklyn Heights by the British Army. He stayed there from September 14, 1776, to October 20, 1776.
In 1810, Stephen Jumel, a rich immigrant from France, bought the house for himself and his wife Eliza Bowen Jumel—his former mistress. There was talk of Eliza’s involvement with Stephen’s death. She remarried Aaron Burr, the former Vice President to Thomas Jefferson. Burr is also known for being the man responsible for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804.
Eliza divorced Aaron and lived there until her death in 1865. By that point, it was said that Eliza was insane. The land was purchased by New York in 1903 and would become a landmark in 1961. This house is one of the last remaining landmarks of the Battle of Harlem Heights.
Now, it’s been said that many people have seen Lady Jumel. The most known story is the story of a group of children in 1964 seeing her appear in a violet dress telling them to shut up. Another is a few teachers seeing the ghost of a Revolutionary story.
My very first book signing as an author was on the grounds of Morris Jumel. I got to see the grounds and tour the museum where everything is left almost as how it was left when Lady Jumel died. I was there in 2015. There was a woman at the signing who told me the story, and another author said she saw a woman with an old-fashioned dress. She actually refused to stay at the event after that. While I didn’t see it personally, I do remember feeling a bit creeped out by what she said.
2. Clinton Road, New Jersey
Clinton Road is a road that stretches about 10 miles. It is one of Jersey’s most haunted locations, with many unsettling occurrences and a host of paranormal activity on this stretch of road. There are a few gruesome stories, such as hitman Richard “Iceman” Kuklinski. He killed a man there, and the body was discovered by a cyclist who spotted vultures circling it. He was convicted, but he also said he dumped many bodies there.
According to some stories, two park rangers who were killed in 1939 and still walk the grounds. Some have claimed to see them there. Another story is about a girl who was speeding down the road in her 1988 Blue Camaro Chevy, and her car slammed into the cement divider, where she died instantly. It’s said that if you tell the story while on that very road, you will see the Blue Camaro Chevy.
The most famous story is of the boy who hangs under the bridge. He is known to haunt the area, and if you throw coins, sometimes he’d throw them back.
A few years ago, a friend of mine told me an experience she had on that road. Now, she had no idea beforehand about it being haunted until she was in the car with her partner at the time. She said for some reason, the car started to act up, and it just stopped. The car wouldn’t start for a few minutes, even though nothing was seemingly wrong. With some consideration, she got out with her partner, and they heard laughing…weird laughter echoing on an empty road. She said she got so scared, she got back in the car and refused to get out. The car started about five minutes later, but she said she would never go back to that road again.
3. The Tower of London
The Tower of London, also known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and the Fortress of the Tower of London, is a castle on the bank of the River Thames in Central London. The castle was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror, and it also served as a symbol of oppression. This castle is filled with history as it was used for many things. It was a prison from 1100 to 1952. The tower was important in London’s history as it was seen that if you controlled this tower, you controlled the country. It was a treasury, an armory, a public record office, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, and the home of the Crown Jewels of England.
It was said many executions happened here with both World Wars. It is also said that King Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, also known as The Princes in the Tower, were murdered here as they disappeared and were never seen again. Most famously, this was the site of the beheading of Anne Boleyn. She was one of Henry VII’s wives in the 1530s and the Queen at the time. After she failed to bear Henry’s sons, he had her falsely trialed for treason, incest, and adultery. She was beheaded in 1536. It is said that Anne still haunts the tower she was buried in, walking with her head under her arm.
There have been other things seen here, such as apparitions that have scared people, including staff that worked there.
4. The Story of Kuchisake-onna, Japan
Another creepy ghost story is the legend or folklore about the “Slit-Mouthed Woman” or the Kuchisake-onna. She is a malevolent presence in Japanese legends which say that she is a woman whose face is partially covered with a mask and that she carries a sharp object. It’s said that she is a beautiful woman with long, straight black hair. She asks her victims if she is beautiful, and if they say no, she kills them. If they say yes, she cuts their mouth from ear to ear to look like hers.
This story stems from an adulteress wife who was punished for her infidelity by having her mouth sliced from ear to ear.
It is said that going back to the late 1970s, people had sightings of her and that she was hunting children. Police presence was increased in Japan, and many children would be walked home in groups.
Now, while I know this is a legend, I do tend to believe there is always some truth to the stories that are passed down. Details may change, but the story came about for a reason. How’s that for a creepy ghost story?
5. Glamis Castle, Scotland
Glamis Castle, located in Angus, Scotland, was made in the 14th century. The first part was built in 1372. The castle was the home of the Bowes-Lyon family.
King James V of Scotland called Glamis Castle his home for a bit. James had a grudge with the Douglas family, and he took it out on Janet, accusing her of witchcraft. She was convicted and burned on July 17, 1537.
This leads to the first ghost story of this castle. While Janet died on Castle Hill, it’s said she haunts Glamis, and she can be seen in the family chapel.
One of the ghosts of the tongueless maid. It was said that this maid found out a secret, and it was so dark, it was ordered that her tongue be removed. Her tongue was caught off, and she escaped. It is said she was then caught and killed. There have been stories of a woman in the courtyard with blood gushing from her mouth.
There is also said to be a Black man who was a servant who was cruelly murdered by Earl Beardie and a pack of dogs. The story goes that you can see his ghost running in panic. According to some stories, Earl also haunts the castle.
In the castle, there is a room called the Hangman’s Chamber. The story goes a butler hung himself in that room and haunts it to this day. Other people have reported cold spots, knocking sounds, banging, faces appearing in the windows, and an old woman who wanders the courtyard.
There was a story told that a man who worked in the castle was one day led to an unfamiliar door, and he was taken to a passageway he had never seen before. He said he saw something at the other end and left immediately. He was told by the Earl to leave, and he went to Australia, a trip paid for by the Earl.
Pretty creepy ghost stories, right?
Something Personal: A Bonus Story
Here is a personal ghost story that I experienced. I lost my first husband in 2011 to brain cancer. Outside of the fact that I was devastated, I was adamant that I did not want to see his ghost or spirit after several people reported to me that they saw him after he passed away.
I know how that sounds, but as someone who has already seen strange things, I believed that he wanted to say goodbye. Anyway, after about three years, it was coming up on the anniversary of his death, and I was looking for something specific that for the life of me I couldn’t find. I knew where it was, but when I needed it, the item was MIA.
One day during that time, the thing I was looking for ended up open and on some items of his that I still had, partially showing his name, which was Corey. I was so spooked by that, that I didn’t open the closet for a month afterward because I knew it was him trying to reach me. Normally, he would just pop up in a dream around the time his anniversary comes up, but this time he was doing stuff in my space. I cleansed the apartment, but I made it clear that I didn’t want him doing that again. I didn’t want to see someone I saw die.
There have been other little things that were odd, such as items disappearing and ending up in places it shouldn’t be possible for them to get to…another reason I cleansed the apartment. Needless to say, I prefer my ghosts to be only in the movies.
I hope you were able to get a little taste of spooky as you made it to the end of my piece. With these five creepy ghost stories plus a bonus, this was just a small taste of some of the spookiness floating around the world. Until next time. Happy Halloween!