Nobody can validate the existence of ghosts, but this year, the internet’s creepiest sightings have defied reason — from spirit children and demonic energy to homes that go bump in the night.
According to a 2018 poll by The Economist/YouGov, 46 percent of people say they’ve spotted a spirit. In other research, 42 percent believe that physical objects can hold spiritual energy, and 29 percent claim they’ve made contact with a dead person.
The scientific community says the laws of physics discredit ghost stories — crediting such “sightings” to the power of suggestion, hallucinations or other more common, reasonable explanations. Still, for believers, their spine-tingling clashes with “the other side” are absolutely real.
In the spirit of Halloween as it nears, we revisit the believe-it-or-not ghost stories that kept us awake in 2019, providing updates wherever possible.
Couple’s new home was “the stuff of horror movies”
After relocating from their Jefferson City, Mo. home because they were convinced it belonged to “hundreds of spirits,” a couple is now renting out the apparently haunted property on Airbnb.
In October 2017, Aaron and Erin Clark bought the 5,000-square-foot house, called “Hobo Hill,” so-named for the masses of homeless people that historically occupied the land. A few months after moving in, they claim, there were strange occurrences — displaced noises, footsteps and shadowy figures. “Every night at 11:15 p.m., I heard the same sound in the attic,” Aaron tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It was as though someone dropped a heavy box and was dragging it across the floor.”
The couple’s daughter, then 7, also began sleepwalking. “She walked with a shuffle and a tilted head, and spoke in tongues — the stuff of horror movies,” says Aaron. “One night, I found her sobbing at her bedroom window. Then, she turned around with the creepiest, widest smile, like she was possessed.”
The energy in the house was aggressive, says Aaron, a former police officer, even scaring the family’s pet pit bull, who refused to approach the stairs. “Every time I was in the basement, I felt like someone was jumping on my back,” he says. “And people who visited my attic felt a touch on their shoulder.”
The most profound evidence of a haunting: The couple kept seeing a man wearing a suit and a top hat near the stairway. “We saw him out of the corner of our eye and then he would vanish,” says Aaron. They were desperate to cleanse their home, consulting a priest for holy water and hiring paranormal investigators, who claimed hundreds of spirits lived in the basement.
“After seven months, we had enough,” Aaron tells Yahoo Lifestyle. To prevent another family from experiencing the same disturbances, the couple now rents the property through Evolve, a vacation rental platform that lists the home on Airbnb and other websites, attracting brave and curious visitors. “Guests have seen shadow people, orbs and one group was too scared to spend the night, checking out at midnight.”
The property was featured in an August episode of the Travel Channel’s The Dead Files.
Now the family has found peace in a new home and rarely visits, except for Erin’s mother, who is the caretaker. She claims that an invisible force knocked her off a stepladder while painting and while cleaning and that she heard footsteps in the attic. “My daughter calls it ‘the scary house,’” says Aaron.
Barmen allege thirsty ghosts showed up for last call
In July, two months after the opening of Milner’s Gate brewery in Idaho, two barmen captured what they believe to be ghostly patrons showing up for last call. In YouTube security footage, four barstools move out from under the bar, as if pulled by someone — or something — taking a seat. A second video, filmed days later, showed a ghostly light “dancing” in front of the bar.
General manager Chris Erke tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the Freemasons, a secret, worldwide fraternity, once met with regularity on the property. The timing, he says, was ironic.
“We found a clock that was stopped at the 11th hour, and our staff decided to continue a Freemasonry tradition in which every morning and night at 11, we ring a bell for a fallen member,” says Erke. Both ghostly episodes were recorded at 10:59 p.m.
Since the video, employees have heard voices and scraping sounds that mimic stools dragged on the floor. “My friend saw a man in a top hat standing behind me,” bartender Brian Rambur tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “And once, late at night, we heard a female voice say, ‘Hello?’ like she wanted service.” Recently, he claims, two frying baskets hanging over a cold kitchen stove did backward flips onto the floor.
The men believe their bar holds meaning for spirits and say paranormal experts have identified one as James, whose voice was heard on tape during an investigation.
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