15 Famous Ghosts To Get Freaked Out By

The who's who of famous boos.
15 Famous Ghosts To Get Freaked Out By

Who doesn’t love a scary story? And as far as they go, not many spooky tales can top the creepy simplicity of the ghost story. History and fiction alike are full of ghosts, both individually named and as a collective force. Even in today’s science-forward and wholly less superstitious world, the tales still spread, and multiple television shows count an impressive viewership over their attempts to track ghost activity down on video.

Today, let’s take a look at 15 of the world’s famous ghosts–specific specters well-known to the locals they share a territory with.

The Bell Witch

Public Domain

In Adams, Tennessee, a woman by the name of Kate Batts was executed on suspicion of witchcraft. Of course, in a somewhat ironic twist, executing someone for witchcraft is pretty much the world’s quickest way to make a ghost. The Bell family, years later, would start experiencing all sorts of strange phenomena in their farmhouse, including disembodied assaults on family members, as well as scratching and knocking sounds from their walls and doors. In fact, the patriarch, John Bell, after his unexplained death, was the only person in the United States to ever be officially recorded as “death by ghost.”

Resurrection Mary


Mary has got to be one of the most haunted names in history. Who knows why, but it seems, half the time that there’s a female-headed haunting, it ends up being attributed to a Mary of some description. Resurrection Mary, in Justice, Illinois, joins their vaunted ranks. The late Mary in question was supposedly killed while walking along the road by a drunk driver, and she remains on the road post-death. Beautiful and clad in a classic ghostly white, she flags down cars and requests a ride to the cemetery she was buried in, at which point she promptly disappears.

The Flying Dutchman

Public Domain

A ghost story so classic and seminal that it’s even made its way into the Spongebob Squarepants cinematic universe, the Flying Dutchman is the most famous ghost ship of all time by leaps and bounds. According to tales, a Captain van der Decken and his crew were caught in a storm, but he refused to take shelter, instead issuing a direct challenge to the dude upstairs to take his ship down. This challenge was very much accepted, and not only did the ship sink, but it and its crew were cursed to forever sail the seven seas without ever finding port.

The DeFoe Family (Amityville)

Public Domain

One of a handful of hauntings that’s made it to the silver screen is the haunting of a famous house in Amityville, New York. Even without the supernatural trappings, the house isn’t a particularly pleasant place, owing to a man named Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdering his entire family there. The house was then sold at a premium “recent murder scene” discount to the Lutz family only roughly a year later, and they didn’t make it 30 days before bailing, citing the house’s extreme hauntedness. My favorite detail from the Lutzes? Sightings of a pig-like creature with glowing red eyes staring at them through the windows.

The Grey Man Of Pawley’s Island


The ghost of Percival Pawley, known as the Faceless Grey Man, is thought to spend his afterlife wandering the island that shares his name, Pawley’s Island in South Carolina. Percival, though, has a much better reputation than pig-headed apparitions or rattling dinnerware. He’s actually considered good luck, a benevolent ghost that helps travelers avoid bad luck, like the kind that trapped him and his horse in a marsh and led to his untimely death.

The Brown Lady


You’re going to notice that a combination of a color and gender seems to be a popular ghost classification system. The Brown Lady, named for the color of her choice in incorporeal clothes, haunts Raynham Hall in Norfolk. Thought to be a woman named Dorothy Walpole who died under mysterious circumstances, she does have one thing that most ghosts do not: a headshot. A 1936 picture said to show the spectral tenant, shown above, is famous in its own right.

Huggin’ Molly


A hug is something you primarily want to receive from someone you’re already familiar with. And if you simply MUST receive a hug from a stranger, the least you can hope for is that the stranger in question is still alive. If you’re looking for the most unwelcome embrace of your life, head to Abbeville, Alabama, and do a little night wandering. If a black-clothed woman hugs you and screams in your ear, congratulations on meeting the famous Huggin’ Molly.

Abraham Lincoln

Public Domain

One of America’s most famous presidents is also one of its most famous ghosts. If you slept through all of elementary and high school, Abraham Lincoln’s death was less than peaceful, just the kind of thing to cook up a top-notch ghost. He also haunts a pretty important house: the famously white one located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The people who claim to have spotted him include Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, neither of whom would have taken particularly well to being called a liar.

Anne Boleyn

Public Domain

Another historical figure who met a grisly end is Anne Boleyn. Married to King Henry VIII, she ended up as so many kingly spouses did: in the ground, less their head. The same head is the one that some people claim to see her carrying, cozily cradled under her arm, in the Tower of London.

The Man In Grey (Drury Lane)

Public Domain

The second male grey ghost on this very list occupies the Drury Lane theater in England. Theaters are a common site for claimed hauntings, probably because the only thing actors enjoy more than spirituality is making a scene of things. Among other suggested spirits is the Man In Grey, a nobleman carrying a sword that’s said to stroll around the theater from time to time.

The Ghost Of Bellamy Bridge


This haunting occupant of Marianna, Florida, might be one of the easiest ghosts on this list to spot, since she’s known for appearing on fire and throwing herself into the river. Her identity is thought to be that of Elizabeth Jane Croom Bellamy, a woman who was killed after her wedding dress caught fire the night of the ceremony, covering her in burns and eventually killing her. General wedding tip: minimize open flames.

The Lady In Black


Boston is home to the famous Lady In Black, who haunts Fort Warren. Known as Melanie Lanier while alive, the latter days of her life were a pitch-perfect recipe for an unsettled spirit. While trying to spring her husband who was imprisoned in the fort, she ended up accidentally shooting and killing him. She was then put to death for treason in the black gown that she still wanders the place wearing.


Public Domain

The famous haunted doll now helms her own movie series, but she’s been the star of scary stories shared for years. Annabelle was a Raggedy Ann doll purchased from an antique store, who raised her owner’s eyebrows when she noticed that the doll was moving from room to room, something dolls are generally only supposed to do with direct human interaction. A medium brought in to assess the situation told the owner that the doll was possessed by the ghost of a girl named Annabelle, though later a different spiritualist would claim that it was actually a demon, who was just pretending to be a little girl. What a rascal!

Kate Morgan

Public Domain

A ghost given the courtesy of keeping her government name, Kate Morgan supposedly haunts the Hotel Del Coronado, in Coronado, California. The woman checked into the hotel expecting the arrival of a male companion shortly, but he never showed up. Five days into her abandonment, brokenhearted, Kate purchased and subsequently used a pistol to end her suffering. Sightings of her have been reported since.

The Daughter Of Hui Bi Hua


A ghost story that’s known not just by locals but by most of a nation is the Vietnamese legend of Hui Bi Hua’s daughter. Hui Bi Hua was a real estate magnate in Ho Chi Minh city, whose daughter contracted leprosy. Following the less-than-medical attitudes of the time, instead of being treated, her father and family instead locked her in a bedroom and claimed she had mysteriously died. She’d stay locked in that room, receiving food through a slot in the door, until she finally chose to take her own life. The house has since become the Ho Chi Minh City Museum Of Art, and its halls are still said to be occupied by her crying ghost.

Top Image: 

Pixabay/Public Domain

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