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Hair-Raising Ghost Stories and Their Spooky OriginsBy Shane Addinall Oct 22, 2022Halloween is around the corner, and to get ourselves ready for some blood-chilling celebrations, we dive into horrifying ghost stories from various parts of the world. Discover the fact and fiction that led to these six stories.
Halloween is one of the best times to get together and tell terrifying ghost stories. Whether it is a tale dreamed up by someone's vivid yet twisted imagination or a recollection of someone's experience with supernatural forces, ghost stories are a part of all cultures.
Some stories have been around for ages, and many tell them without thinking about where they all started. Here are six of the most famous ghost stories and their possible origins.
✓ Bloody Mary
Most of us heard the legend of Bloody Mary as young teens when someone told us how a person facing a mirror, holding a candle, and standing in a dark room (preferably a bathroom) chanting her name a set number of times, might encounter the terrifying ghost.
The story mostly differs in how many times a person should chant ‘Bloody Mary’ and what happens afterwards. Some tell how the mirror drips with blood and how the participant will see the reflection of a bloody female standing behind them. Others say she will inflict harm on the participant by scratching them, attacking them, or trapping their souls in the mirror for eternity.
As one of the most universal urban legends, the story of Bloody Mary has many variations and historians trace the story’s origin to multiple events from previous centuries. Some say its roots lie in the story of the first queen of England, Mary l. Others tie it back to Mary Worth from the Salem witch trials.
The most horrifying story tied to the urban legend tells how a young girl was buried alive and tried to claw her way out of her grave. Her parent's realised the mistake too late, and after they unearthed her bloodied corpse, they checked for life by holding a mirror under her nose. Legend has it that although she was lifeless, there was fog on the mirror, but only because her spirit became trapped in it. Enjoy terrifying spins with Apollo Games and its horror slot game, Red Evil.
✓ Sleepy Hollow
This fictional tale is one of the most enduring horror stories and one of the favourite choices among Halloween observers. Where did the story of the headless horseman come from, or was it merely a figment of Washington Irving's imagination? First published in 1819, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells a story of a Dutch settlement near modern-day New York and how a headless horseman haunted the area.
Two hundred years ago, Irving fled a pandemic of yellow fever rampant in his native region of New York and took refuge in the small town on the Hudson River, Tarrytown. This is also where the tale of Ichabod Crane and his untimely encounter with the headless horseman played out. Irving had a knack for dark comedy and dreamed up the legend of Sleepy Hollow, but it also spurred the belief in ghosts and the most famous Halloween story.
The headless horseman was a deceased Dutch soldier, killed by a cannonball blow to the head and haunted the area each night in search of his skull. Ichabod's encounter with the headless horseman was the last night anyone saw him in Sleepy Hollow, and this tale inspired many to follow. Disney, Tim Burton, and others brought the legend to our screens in their reimagining of the legend.
✓ The Bell Witch
The bizarre happenings recorded by the Bell family of Red River, Tennessee, between 1817 and 1821 remain unsolved. John Bell and his family lived a privileged life in Robertson County, Tennessee. Active members in their community and the local congregation, the Red River Baptists Church, and the Bells had a happy and successful life until 1817.
While inspecting his corn field, Mr Bell spotted a strange creature sitting in a corn row. Frightened by the look of this half-dog, half-rabbit being, he shot at it, but it vanished. Following this event, the haunting of the Bell family started. Escalating from beating sounds on the outside walls of their log home to physical beatings on the children, the Bell family endured horrible events for the next three years.
Friends and even a military General visited the Bell residence during the time of the hauntings to witness the family's bizarre claims of being haunted by a witch, and all came to the same conclusion. They never wanted to return or experience what they did at the Bell residence. Mr Bell became ill and eventually died. The story tells how he slowly withered and fell into a coma after the entity haunting them claimed to plot his demise.
Shortly after his death, the haunting stopped, and the entity said it would return in 7 years. Records about encounters between John Bell junior and the Bell Witch, precisely 7 years later, include philosophical and religious discussions, and these were published approximately a century later. Enjoy bewitching spins on the new slot by R. Franco Games, Witches South.
✓ The Lost Colony of Roanoke
This is not just a ghost story; it is one of the most prolific unsolved American mysteries in history. It also made recent waves in pop culture with a version of it told on the famous series American Horror Story. The events play out in 1587, during part of the Tudor reign in England, when Sir Walter Raleigh established the first British settlement on a small island off the coast of North Carolina.
The community of approximately 107 included John White as the governor and his wife, daughter, and grandchild, but White's stay was interrupted by what should have been a brief visit to England for supplies. While in England, White got caught up in the Anglo-Spanish war for three years, and on his return to Roanoke, everyone vanished. The only thing left in the village was the fence that surrounded the now vanished buildings. White found one clue, though, a single wooden post with "Croatoan" carved into it.
A nearby native American tribe, called the Croatoans, were not too thrilled about the English settlement and some argue that the village people were killed and buried the Roanoke residents. Others believe the villagers faced a drought and left the area for greener pastures. Some even debate that they must have taken to sea and got lost along the way. No one traced a single member of the lost colony, and centuries later, the events baffled investigators.
✓ Baba Yaga
This terrifying creature comes from Slavic folklore, and the stories depict Baba Yaga as an elderly female with iron teeth. Baba Yaga has been the object of many Slavic children's worst nightmares, and the ogre-like being inspired many other horror characters.
For those who do not know Baba Yaga, it may be easy to mistake her many portrayals as that of a witch. She has a deformed, pronounced nose, grey hair and a severely aged face. She lives in the Slavic woods in her hut that stands on chicken legs, and the door only reveals itself after a secret phrase is spoken. The fence surrounding the cabin has human skulls on top of it to scare off anyone that dares to come into her woods.
Stories tell how many Slavic adults scared children by convincing them that Baba Yaga eats children with her long teeth. According to the ancient lore, Baba Yaga can fly in the giant mortar she steers with the pestle. According to folklore, Baba Yaga has two or three sisters, and she frequently accompanies Death on his travels to harvest souls and devours it.
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✓ The Pontianak
Talking about creepy female creatures lurking out of sight, Indonesian folklore features many nightmarish tales about ghosts and spirits. One of the culture's most prolific beings is the Pontianak. Most Southern Asian cultures see swamps as places where lost souls may get stuck; the most notorious is the Pontianak.
According to legend, in Western Kalimantan, where the Kapuas and Landak Rivers cross, Pontianak spirits used to haunt the area. These vengeful, dark spirits take the form of a beautiful woman and lure men, children, and vulnerable souls as prey. Many believe these demonic beings are spirits of a woman who died in childbirth or violent death. Most agree that Pontianak are Indonesia's and Malaysia's most powerful evil spirits, as these vampire-like creatures eviscerate their victims with their long nails and then dine on their organs.
The tales of these water monsters have inspired many movies in the Asian region and are also the reason many locals don't leave laundry out at night. It is said that the scent of drying laundry attracts Pontianak, and one can distinguish the presence of one through the smell of rotting flesh.
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Tagshalloween ghost stories spooky the pontianak baba yaga witch sleepy hollow bloody mary witches south red evil
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