Question of the Week: Any ghost stories in your family tree?

+16 votes

imageDo you have any ghost stories in your family?

Tell us about them with an answer below! You could also use the question image to share your answer with friends and family on social media.

P.S. Click the My Connections button in the Ghosts category to see if you are related or connected to any of them.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)

32 Answers

+9 votes

As being a member of WikiTree leads to a busy life, you'd think that there wouldn't be time to chase ghost stories.......but, as a descendant of the Loftus family, this one has been haunting me.  crying

by John Thompson G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
Try to explain that hole in the roof to the insurance adjuster! Thanks for another interesting story.
Joyce.....Haven't heard back from the adjuster since the report was turned in...........
+10 votes

Alas, no. There are wonderful stories about the Casket Girls, vampires in New Orleans, but after much research I found that none of them are my husband's ancestors.

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (119k points)
Interesting story, Joyce......just sent me back to check the 14 Filles du Roi ancestors of 3 of my (step)children......8th to 11th great grandparents.
+11 votes

I used to live in the immediate vicinity of the Black Hope Cemetery and could share numerous stories of strange events and hauntings my family and ancestors have witnessed...

Black Hope Cemetery was an old nineteenth century cemetery for African Americans, but today, the location has been covered up by a housing subdivision. The events surrounding the discovery and hauntings of the land and houses have been chronicled in books such as The Black Hope Horror: The True Story of a Haunting and the film Grave Secrets: The Legacy of Hilltop Drive starring Patty Duke, David Selby and Kiersten Warren.

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (518k points)
It seems that some ghost stories are tied to cemeteries!
+11 votes

Nothing really phantas-tical, but the home I currently live in was built by my great-grandfather, Alfred George Bell. On October 27th, 1958, he came into the house after hooking up the waterline, sat down at the table to eat a sandwich and suddenly had a brain aneurysm and passed away at the age of 72.

The home and 40 acres was left to his wife, Junella, who was 52 at the time. I was still in preschool when she passed away on January 6, 1994, en route to the General Hospital.

In the family auction, my father purchased the home and land and we've lived there ever since. Dad did a number of renovations (with the help of his uncles), adding a second story and a garage. Mom insisted on installing numerous large wall mirrors all over the place. We've had our own bit of spooks, things going missing and reappearing or randomly falling, doors opening, but most of it harmless. We chalk it up to grandpa and grandma.

One night I did have a singular sleep paralysis episode when I was younger and I swore the knob on my door moved, but I pushed through the panic and calmed down enough to fall asleep. I've also had misgivings about a porcelain doll my grandma (on mom's side) gave me when I was younger. Always freaked me out and I buried it first in my closet -- until I was having closet nightmares and I chucked the damn thing in mom's.

I do sometimes have misgivings about wandering the house at night (mostly about the stairs) and usually sleep with my door closed.

by Heather Kushion G2G6 Mach 1 (10.8k points)
edited by Heather Kushion

Spooky! laugh

Wonderful story.

We have a life-size doll that was my grandmother's.  When they were younger, my grandchildren would not sleep in a room with it.
I definitely don't blame them, Roger haha. Reminds me though, I did get one of those jumbo teddy bears for my first birthday from my uncle. He passed when I was three. It was my favorite toy to sleep with for a long time.
Great story!
This is bizzare but also kind of awesome. Makes you wonder if the dead really do walk among us
+14 votes

I have a ghost story - one about my 4x great-uncle, Joseph Buck.

He was a lock keeper at Winkwell near Hemel Hempstead and as a result was allowed to live in the lock keeper's cottage with his wife and whatever family chose to visit him.

The problem with this cottage, and arguably the lock in general, was that it was very close to Winkwell's pub, The Three Horseshoes. It meant that, on Christmas Day, when Joseph was thought to have been on his way home from a drinking when he fell and drowned in his own lock.

At the time the news of his death circulated as a 'space filler' in newspapers across England and after his death the legend emerged that he haunts the pub as a result of it causing his death - a legend reinforced by the fact that he is a bit of a local 'celebrity' - even being mentioned on the village's official information board.

by David Smith G2G6 Mach 6 (67.1k points)
Could use a bit of initial explanation there haha. Easy to see "lock keeper" and think metal locks on doors, not the locks of a canal.

That’s a good story! yes I found on Wikipedia the meaning of lock keepers cottage. I learn something new everyday laugh

No disrespect but who keeps metal locks? English canals have always had locks since their early construction. For the International community, these are large wooden gate like structures built in narrow man made waterways, which allow water levels to be equalised gradually on an incline.This allows boats to travel up or down hill in stages through the canal system.

A Lock keeper was employed to help the waterway traffic to navigate the locks safely and help open and close the main gates and sluice gates. This allows water levels to increase or decrease within a short narrow length of the canal in which a canal boat is in. The Lock keeper lived next to the lock/locks he maintained.
+15 votes

My seventh great grandfather was Hugh Jones. He was part of the Puritan Great Migration, and he must have come to a mysterious end, since four years after he died he was brought into the the infamous Salem Witch Trials as being a ghost. 

"During the Salem witchcraft trials in 1692. Elizabeth Booth deposed that the uneasy ghosts of four murdered people appeared to her, and the spectre of Hugh Jones assured that Mrs. Elizabeth Proctor killed him because he had a pot of cyder which he had not paid her for."

This is a public domain lithograph by Joseph E. Baker of the trial.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (446k points)
Moral of story: always pay for your cider.
Thank you Joyce, you have such a great sense of humor
+10 votes

I'm pretty sure I've told this once before and I'll tell it a million more times. 

After my grandmother, Olympia, passed away in 2002 we thought we heard her voice as we were selling the house she lived in up until the day she died. Well, my dad decided to put it to the test and see if there was a ghost in the house.

He put a Hershey's candy bar on the kitchen table and we left for the day. We came back and there was the wrapper all crumpled up. Beside it was a crumpled up tissue. There was no sign of a break-in or anything!

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (466k points)
+11 votes

Unfortunately no real spookiness in this one, but my great-great grandparents would have thought so!

My great-grandfather, their son Leonard joined the Royal Navy and subsequently served in Australia and then New Zealand before deciding that he didn't want to return home, essentially going AWOL and settling in Wellington (NZ) c.1903. At this point, he couldn't contact them and all they knew was that he was serving somewhere in the Pacific.

While he was working as a seaman, eventually boarding a ship home back to England. He arrived at his family home in Norwich during mass, and was waiting at their doorstep when they arrived home. His mother nearly fainted! Why, you might ask? Because shortly before this, several soldiers in the Navy had been killed in battle in Papua New Guinea and they had assumed he was among them. They had even asked for his name to be read at the service they were returning from!

Eventually, Leonard again left England and returned to New Zealand, where he remained. But I don't doubt that his parents thought they were seeing a ghost when he turned up on their doorstep!

by Amelia Utting G2G6 Pilot (187k points)
+10 votes
During an extreme illness period while convalescing at home I experienced a supernatural event: I wasn't delirious or on unusual prescription drugs with which to influence my senses but during this illness it felt like my mind was barely rooted in objective reality. In any case late one night while walking down a dark hall I felt compelled to stop at a black and white portrait of my mother who had died 30 years earlier. Gazing intently at her face I realized she was glowing, simply glowing, a white-golden color of light shining forth all around her head like a halo and the unbidden thought filling my mind was "She's happy, she's brilliantly happy!". Whereas due to illness she iived her last few years in misery. The experience was mystifying but fuzzy brain syndrome returned so I went back to bed.

My brother called the next day to let me know my mother's only sibling, our beloved Uncle Wayne, passed away unexpectedly that previous night. He was 81 years. Mom and Uncle Wayne shared a strong bond but Mom died when she was 49 so she had to wait awhile to see him again. Based upon my experience I'm certain she has and I was happy for her. On the other hand my brother had no idea how to react to my story let alone know what to believe. That's OK, I wasn't embarrassed. It's not like I was claiming to be deducted by UFO's. Still, I know what I saw and what I thought by way of reaction to it.
by Leigh Anne Dear G2G6 Mach 6 (69.9k points)
+8 votes
My ghost story isn't that exciting but it certainly was to me as a child.  I lived with my grandparents and the Jones Chapel Methodist Church was 4 doors down from our home. He told me before he started dating my grandmother that he was on a hayride.   A team of mules or horses and bales of hay to sit on in the back of the wagon.  The men were all flirting with the girls and they were being let off at their own homes and it was about midnight.  They drove past the church and everyone saw a light on inside.  He jumped off the wagon to go see who was in church as it was always unlocked.  He said the light was coming from behind the alter, and he ran up to see what or who it was.  It only took him a few seconds to run up there but when he arrived at the alter, no one was there.  There were a few boys and girls standing at the back door to see also what was going on, and no one had run past them, they couldn't find anyone else in the church and they did this twice going back to the wagon, but still no one was there.  The driver of the wagon told them no more, or they'd all have to walk the rest of the way home.  My grandmother's story is that the men had probably been drinking and had imagined the entire thing but he swore to it his entire life.   He claimed that since he was not a religious man, he thought it was God or Christ trying to get him to come in and pray.  He always said it scared the "britches off of him".  He did need saving and needed to be shown the way.  My grandfather was Orville Read.  It happened on Bass Ridge Road on the boarder of the Taylor & Casey County Line in Kentucky.  My grandfather married my grandmother -Imogene Sanders - Read, a few years later.  They raised me until my grandmother died when I was only 14.  I miss them both so much.
by Cherita Perkins G2G1 (1.5k points)
Cherita, thank you for sharing this touching story, which is also funny. I wonder if anyone has altered his or her beliefs after seeing the light in church. (pun intended)
+11 votes
My parents lived in a seventeenth century house on the village green.  On the wall at the top of the stairs was a painting of a young relative, Kate Bishop, from my great grandmother's side of the family.  Kate was a poet whose poetry was published in newspapers under the pseudonym K.B.  I have a book and some newspaper clippings of her poems, other than those about her family most of them were quite dark. She committed suicide when she was 23.

One evening when visiting from the US with my wife and 2-year old daughter Katy, who we sometimes referred to as K.B. (for Katy Bundle), We heard what sounded like Katy having a nightmare.  We went upstairs to make sure she was OK and she was sitting up in bed apparently quite happy.  She pointed to the picture on the wall and said "the lady in the picture came to visit me".

The house had a reputation in the village as being haunted.
by Tim Wood G2G Crew (530 points)
That's good and creepy!
+9 votes

I have two stories but they are not long past descendants.

1. My cousin loved butterflies.  When we were all filing past her casket (end of November and cold and windy) A butterfly landed on my arm and stayed there for quite a while as I was scattering dirt.  Many gasps were heard by those present and it has been a wonderful memory.  

2. My husband and I decided that whomever died first. would let the other know somehow they were alright.  a few years later, my husband died in my arms.  A week later on a very bright sunny morning his very shy cat that lived under the bed and only came out for him, suddenly appeared on top of the bed, meowing very loudly and jumping up and down as if she was trying to get something.  The room then filled up with the odor of a cigar.  This only lasted a minute and then it was all gone and Fiona Cat, went back under the bed.  I think this was my message that my husband was alright.

by Connie Volkman G2G3 (3.0k points)
That's beautiful. :)
Connie, your experiences are called "after-death communications" or ADC. They are more common than some people think. Friends feel comfortable describing theirs to me because they know that I will understand and not call them "crazy."

I had one and another family member had one as well. Mine was a symbolic ADC like the first one you described. I had a strange and unexplained visitation from the animal that was the favorite of my cousin who passed away not too long before.
Thanks for your reply, Marion.  I didn't know what these occurrences were called, but I think I also had a symbolic ADC.  Our favorite cat Jean Clawed was killed and a friend of mine told me she found me another cat so I went to check him out.  That night her deceased husband came to me in a dream and my cat, Jean Clawed was with him.  He said, well, how did you like the new kitty?  It was so real I jumped out of bed and tried to figure out what just happened.

Yes, it was beautiful. Other wonderful things have happened connected to my husband that always surprise me.
+6 votes

I do not have any that I know of in my direct line but I am 10 degrees from  John William Bell who was haunted what was known as the Bell Witch in Robertson County, Tennessee, USA my first cousin three times removed, Mary Lucille Walker Bell married Robert Harrell Bell who was John William Bell's 2nd great grandson thru his father, Robert Lee Bell and his 3rd great grandson thru his mother Sarah Elizabeth Bell it is through Sarah that is the closest connection of 10 degrees

by Janine Isleman G2G6 Mach 4 (43.8k points)
+6 votes
So many. I got this story on video, from my mother. Happened in Mexia, Texas. After work one evening, walking home, my mom, her parents, and a sibling seen a man on their roof smoking a cigarette. Nobody was home. They lived in an old Funeral Home. It upset my grandparents, because they thought someone was trespassing. They get inside the house, nobody. They go upstairs, nobody. And my grandparents can't figure out how anyone could get onto the roof anyhow. Later that night they hear more noises, that they can't explain. They move.
by Rhonda Smith G2G1 (1.0k points)
Yikes. We lived in a haunted house when I was a kid - doors opening, things moved around in the night, the blanket pulled off my parents' bed while they were in it, odd noises ... It wasn't fun. Like your mama, we moved.
+7 votes
My own personal experiences. Oyster Creek, Tx house. Laying on my bed, felt someone lay down beside me. Turn over, no one is there. Multiple times. Seeing a dark cloud floating thru our house, seen by multiple family members. Cabinet doors all open, door slamming shut. Hot Water Heater exploded, and flooded our house, I got burned. Me n my kids were gone to visit my parents. My spouse(att) was asleep and was startled awake by noises in the kitchen. He went in there and found all the drawers and cabinet doors open. He left immediately. And we moved, shortly to Rosharon, Tx. At that house, one night in 2008, I woke up to a woman and a man going thru our side tables, they were dressed old timey, I shook the spouse awake, and there was nobody there. Scared the life out of me! I checked all the doors and windows. Next time, it was just me n my teen daughters, we seen a woman in our open closet, she looked dressed up for a Mexican holiday. And in 2013 the house burned down, no one was hurt. In our current apartment in West Columbia, Tx, we've seen a young woman who looks like she's hauling butt thru the house but in slow motion, down thru the hallway going toward the door. And my mom passed here in 2020. I can't wait to move.
by Rhonda Smith G2G1 (1.0k points)
edited by Rhonda Smith
Geez Rhonda it sounds like you're being targeted. You and your family line must be really sensitive. I can relate to the types of experiences you describe although from the sound of it you've probably had many more of them than me. Stay calm and keep the faith.
+5 votes

The d'Urberville family in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the d'Urbervilles was based on the mediaeval Turberville family of Bere Regis, Dorset. According to legend, a ghostly coach crosses the bridge by Woolbridge Manor near Wool, Dorset at night, but only those with Turberville blood can see it. One version claims the coach contains the ghosts of John Turberville of Woolbridge and Anne, the daughter of Thomas Howard, 1st Viscount Howard of Bindon on their elopement.

I would like to test my Turbeville blood by spending a night watching and waiting, but AFAIK I am at least 28 generations down from a Turbeville, so would I have enough Turbeville blood?

by Mike Jonas G2G Crew (440 points)
Why not try it and find out? It would be worth the trip even if you didn't see anything creepy.

+5 votes
Some members of our family have had impressive tales of the supernatural, but I can talk about some of the strange and "ghost"-like experiences in my family that happened to me.

1. I had a dream after moving into a new apartment. All the furniture was rearranged so that a sofa was blocking the entrance from the living room into the bedroom. I went into the bedroom from the living room. However, instead of moving the sofa or climbing over it, I simply walked through it. After all, you dream in your astral body and physical objects pose no obstacles to travel in that state of consciousness.

2. This may not be a real ghost story but it was more scary than some of actual encounters with the departed. When I was in Girl Scout camp, we used to tell ghost stories sitting around the camp fire. Sometimes, two or more scouts or the leaders would collaborate: one would tell the stories and the other would hide in the woods making scary noises. Then we would all sing songs. Now, I can see that the singing was supposed to get us into a better mood after being scared out of our wits.
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
+5 votes
My great-grandmother's story as related by my mother.

Jessie's Ghost : Accident or Suicide?
 Jessie [[Goodwin-4079]] was a socialite, the wife of a wealthy doctor, who suffered from depression. Her physician prescribed some form of laudanum, which was perfectly normal for the 1930s. She would take a small dose in the afternoon and sleep until dinner, waking calm and refreshed. On the last day of February, 1934, Jessie's daughter, Doris, was downstairs in their beautiful two-story home at 5810 Carlton Way, Los Angeles. The maid came in and told Doris that Mrs. Goodwin wasn't up yet. Doris told the maid to let her mother sleep. This act of kindness was directly responsible for Jessie's death. Jessie had taken her usual dose, but at some time that afternoon, she woke up and took more. When no one woke her, Jessie's sleep turned into a coma that deepened into death.

Family members saw her ghost from time to time. The children grew up and moved away, her husband remarried, and the big, beautiful home was sold to someone who ran it as a boarding house. Stories began to circulate among the boarders about the woman in blue who paced the second floor.

The home has been torn down and an apartment building is on the location. I wonder if anyone sees Jessie's ghost in the newer building...
by Claire Nava G2G6 Mach 1 (15.0k points)
+5 votes

My father told me a story about visiting Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church (Number 2) Cemetery in Little River, South Carolina. He went with a friend to visit the cemetery at night when he was younger. My father swore he saw ghosts in the cemetery; he was afraid of sinking into the ground. 

In Wilmington, North Carolina, apparently there are reports that the Bellamy Mansion was haunted. 

Haunted Bellamy Mansion

by Eileen Robinson G2G6 Mach 2 (21.9k points)
+8 votes
My mother told a story of a door that would not stay closed. When she was young, their house caught fire and burned beyond repair. Her father salvaged the front door and installed it on the new house he'd built on the same site. When it got quiet in the house, latched or not, that door would open, splintering the door jam. He set a board between the doorknob and a block of wood he'd nailed to the floor and scooted the kitchen table against it, determined to keep it closed for at least one night. When the house became quiet, the door opened, splintering the piece of lumber he'd set against the block, and shoving the table across the room. He took the door out and burned it. The new door never caused a problem.
by Roger Horn G2G Crew (440 points)

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