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 internet was a scary place in 2019. (Photo: Getty Images, design by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)
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.
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.
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.
Paranormal investigators in Ireland say they played with the spirit of a little girl during a ghost hunt at a private home.
According to Sharon Rectory’s Facebook page, a double murder took place at the residence in the 1700s, and Paranormal Investigators Ireland also believe a little girl who witnessed the crimes was killed. Hoping to engage the spirit, whose voice can allegedly be heard throughout the home, they brought a child’s ball to the property.
Ghost hunter Kerry Malone tells Yahoo Lifestyle that while the family who resides in the home is lovely, there is a “heavy” and “hostile” energy in the space. “Normally when we get to a location, the team disperses to set up equipment for the investigation,” she says. “However, in Sharon Rectory, we agreed that no team member should ever be alone for their own safety.”
After placing the ball at the top of the stairs, the crew watched it bounce down the steps on the live footage. When they rushed to the stairs, they felt a “threatening presence.”
Emma Tully, 30, whose parents have lived in the home for 22 years, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that after her parents moved into the home, “Doors slammed and pictures fell off the wall.” Even now, after periods of silence, “all hell breaks loose.”
According to psychic mediums who have visited the home, the spirit girl’s age is estimated as 8. Tully says there is a “demonic energy” attached to the girl’s spirit and visitors are always cautioned.
“The girl has been seen by many in the house, including my sister Victoria and mother,” says Tully. “On many occasions, we have all heard a young girl talking in the house when no one [else] was there. Both myself and my mother have been called ‘Mama’ by something unseen. This happens quite a lot.”
Other spirits who allegedly live in the home, says Tully, are “the Blue Lady,” the spirit of a former occupant, and “the Tall Man,” whom Tully describes as a threatening, seven-foot-tall shadow figure “who appears at night and stands at the end of your bed.” She also alleges that her family has been restrained in their beds “by an unseen force.”
Tully resides in a guest house on the property with her husband and two children, while her parents stay in the main home. The most common question asked of Tully is, of course: Why haven’t her parents moved out? Tully says her parents learned about the severity of the haunting after purchasing the home. “They spent their life savings here so they can’t just leave,” she says. “My parents don’t want to be scared in their own home — they’ve been through a lot.”
In April, Baton Rouge couple Brandon and Taryn Hunt reportedly visited Myrtle’s Plantation in St. Francisville, La., known as “One of America’s most haunted homes.” The 1800s bed-and-breakfast is allegedly haunted by a “slave girl” named Chloe, first photographed in 1992. The couple filmed on the property and, during a playback, saw what resembled three pairs of translucent feet walking across the floor.
“We were freaking out when we saw the video. It was totally surprising. We didn’t know what it was or what to expect, or how that could have happened,” Brandon said, according to the Daily Mail.
Hester Eby of Myrtle’s Plantation tells Yahoo Lifestyle that children have died on the property from yellow fever, poisoning or natural death. “There are spirits here — our ghost children sometimes play with or touch guests to wake them up, but nothing here means harm,” she says.
When young souls are afoot, flowery fragrances, allegedly worn by their mothers, can be detected in the house. “The spirits are where the heart is,” says Eby, adding that rainy weather can draw them out.
“In the South, we welcome spirits,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We’re glad when guests can capture them on video.”
Rob and Becky Moss of Oxford, Mich., turned on their baby monitor this summer to see a white object floating around their 1-year-old son as he slept in his crib. “I said, ‘Rob look at this orb,’” Becky tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Filming the monitor with a cell phone, the couple watched the orb approach the boy. Suddenly, his leg and lower body were lifted into the air, as though he were being yanked.
The video, nearly two minutes long, shows the toddler sitting up, seemingly disturbed by the motion, before falling back toward the mattress. When the Mosses walking into their son’s bedroom, he was sleeping and stirring awake. “I was holding the monitor and we could see the orb on the screen, but not in the room,” Becky tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Becky says their son has no medical condition that would cause his body to jerk upward in his sleep. There have not been disturbances since — or so they believe — however, Becky says that a few weeks later, while watching the living room camera monitor, she saw an orb drop from the ceiling and make a sharp left, headed toward the bedrooms.
“Something might be in our house but we aren’t fearful and it doesn’t seem negative,” she says. “People have told us to use sage and hire a ghost team, but we don’t want to stir up more activity.”
One evening in March, former Market Basket baker Christiania Bush was icing a cake at the Wilmington, Mass., branch of the New England supermarket chain, when she looked up and saw a ghost-like woman.
Bush, a ghost skeptic, described the figure to Today. “She was old. She had short curly grandma hair, like every grandmother’s haircut. And she [was] in this white dressing gown and had a white hair cap and she wasn’t wearing shoes. I thought it was really strange she wasn’t wearing shoes.”
In a split second, she says, the woman evaporated. “And when I turned around to bring the cake back to the counter, I saw the lady in the background — she was staring right at me,” Bush told Today. “I looked down for a second because it didn’t register and when I looked back she was gone.”
Bush posted her sighting to Instagram, asking, “This is going to sound really strange… but has anyone seen a ghost in the Wilmington Market Basket?” The post created ghost hysteria, with rumors reaching the Wilmington Police Department, who shared a Facebook video featuring comical “proof” of the haunting (above).
Eventually, Market Basket corporate officials released a statement: “As far as we know all of our stores are ghost-free. But if there’s anything to it, she’s probably attracted to our Victorian-era prices.”
Bush, who no longer works at Market Basket, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the figure, which stood 15 feet away in the frozen aisle, disappeared when she briefly looked away. “I have never experienced anything like this,” she says. “…I definitely saw her.”
Since Bush’s departure, she’s heard rumors of “weird stuff” occurring at the store, however, no one has stepped forward with proof. Representatives of Market Basket did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for further comment.
Zak Bagans’s Haunted Museum in Las Vegas regularly draws ghost believers. According to the museum’s website, the 1938 building houses freaky artifacts such as a wine cabinet that contains a “malicious spirit” that allegedly inspired the 2012 film The Possession, while a “black-cloaked figure” has been occasionally seen on tours.
In June, a woman visiting got so spooked by an alleged “ghost orb” that she fainted to the ground in security footage.
Tour guide Earle Brown told news station KSNV in June, “A spirit orb, spirits can manifest in these orbs of light. A lot of times, when spirits touch you, they can drain your energy and it can happen quite quickly. When that happens, you literally can go down.”
Brown also said he doubted the object was a bug, due to its speed and movement.
Bagans, the star of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, who reportedly just purchased the Los Angeles home where two people were murdered by Charles Manson’s followers, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that guests often get spooked during tours.
“This is actually a very common event at the museum,” says Bagans. “A week later, another woman got touched by a ball of light and had the same effect of being knocked off balance and falling, which was also captured on video.”
When a 1-year-old girl in Michigan woke up with purple scratches on her face, her parents checked the baby monitor and reportedly viewed a ghostly presence walking by the crib, startling their daughter, Lily.
“It was chilling,” father Joshua Higgins told WXYZ. “It was literally a chill down your spine. Like that ‘what if’ factor — Is this what I just saw?’”
Heather Brough, Lily’s mom, said, “It’s almost like she sees something that we don’t.” She added that whatever allegedly scratched their daughter came for her, too. “It scares us that it could do something else,” Brough told WXYZ. “I mean, there was a morning I woke up and I felt like someone’s hands were around my neck.”
According to the Daily Mail, Brough has heard “screaming, stomping and laughing” in the home. “There have been times where me and my fiancé would wake up in the morning and I would hear an angry male voice — like someone had stubbed their toe,” she reportedly said. The couple lives in a guest house belonging to Higgins’ parents, reported People.
The couple could not be reached by Yahoo Lifestyle for comment.
One of the creepiest moments of 2019 comes courtesy of a Colorado mom whose home security camera caught a ghostly figure hobbling down her driveway late one evening.
In June, Vivian Gomez shared the 11-second video, seen by 16 million viewers, on Facebook. It featured a small white figure exiting her house, casting a shadow on the fence, and flapping its arms like a chicken as it waddled down the driveway.
“So I woke up Sunday morning and saw this on my camera and am trying to figure out… what the heck??” Gomez wrote. “First I saw the shadow walking from my front door then I saw this thing … has anyone else seen this on their cameras?? The other two cameras didn’t pick it up for some reason.”
Skeptics cast the figure as Gomez’s 9-year-old son sleepwalking or dancing with underwear on his head. A majority said it resembled “Dobby,” an elf from the film Harry Potter, or an alien-ghost hybrid.“This wasn’t altered or photoshopped and no trick photography,” Gomez wrote on Facebook.
Gomez did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. When speaking to Inside Edition, Gomez said the figure was not her son Bobby. “No… I wouldn’t let him out at dark by himself,” she said.
The mother’s camera only recorded 10 seconds of footage, she told the website, but she believes the entity disappeared into a field across the street.
In June, Los Angeles mom Natalie Wallace checked her Cocoon Cam baby monitor, recording her sleeping six-month-old baby, and saw weird splotches on the screen. While the cam’s motion detector creates colored images indicating movement, Ruby was sleeping motionless, says Wallace.
“I joked to my husband, ‘What if it’s ghosts?’” Wallace tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I said aloud, ‘Spirits, if you’re here, give us a sign.’ And three red lines appeared on the screen.”
The next evening, Wallace’s husband replayed footage of their napping daughter and saw a pink-and-purple figure, shaped like a woman, floating over the bassinet. Other frames showed a group of human-like shapes watching over the sleeping baby.
Gary McMath, marketing chief at Cocoon, told the Wall Street Journal that poor installation likely generated the mysterious figures. “When the camera is properly installed, the computer vision would focus on the baby’s motions — waking, sleeping, even breathing,” he said.
McMath also said curtain movement can create the splotches (though, as the WSJ states, there were no curtains in the baby’s room). “We have gotten a few calls/emails asking about similar phenomena,” he said.
A company spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “Our product, Cocoon Cam, is intended for monitoring children when sleeping to ensure their safety and wellbeing. There are no other intended purposes for Cocoon Cam beyond this prescribed usage.”
Wallace, however, suspects that her home is haunted, which she says she confirmed with a medium. “She said the female figure is one of my grandmothers, who is benevolent,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The others are all connected to the home in some way.”
Since Wallace’s images went viral in a local Facebook mom group, she’s (politely) asked any spirits to leave and has considered calling a ghost-hunting group to investigate. “I haven’t turned on the baby monitor all summer,” she admits. “But I’m ready to look again.”
A 24-year-old woman caused panic in April by tweeting footage of her father allegedly sleeping with a ghost. “My dad has been feeling his sheets being messed with and someone sitting on his bed in the night so he set up a camera,” wrote Shyann Rachael. “This is what he saw. I’m freaked tf out.”
She wrote, “Look really closely to the sheets lifting in the beginning on the left of the screen. That wasn’t him! He was dead asleep. And if you look really closely something shoots out of the sheet when it drops to the right and then disappears. It’s gray and kinda looks like a head!??”
In Rachael’s footage, while her father sleeps, his covers are disturbed as if someone is getting into bed with him. Then, a figure appears to sit up and disappears, while blankets settle back down on the bed.
Rachael did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment. But she tweeted that her father used a motion-activated home security camera to capture his strange bedmate.
When asked how long her parents have lived in the home, Rachael answered, “Like 10 years but my parents collect antiques and weird old sh*t, so I think they brought something into the house with an attachment.”