Killer Ghosts

MrRING

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#1
Assuming my meaning of "ghost" to be the spirit of a former human who died, has there ever been a ghost who actually killed someone?

It's such a classic idea used in stories, but I was suprised to see that I couldn't think of a single killer ghost story proported to be true...
 
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Anonymous

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#2
All I can think of this late at night is the Bell Witch poltergeist case. That was supposed to have poisoned the father.
 

MrRING

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#3
The only thing about the Bell Witch is that it seems to fall into the realm of non-human spirit rather than a ghost of a human who lived before....
 

fluffle9

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#4
there was a story (ostensibly true) in a book i had as a child about a man being responsible for the death of another, who came back as an icky skeleton-ghost and killed the first guy. i can't remember the details though.

i guess the problem is that the optimum situation for a murder is when the prospective victim is alone, so that others can't help him, and if you are murdered by a ghost when you are alone who is going to tell the tale? :)
 
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Anonymous

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#5
It's tricky to say what counts as the spirit of a former human - identifying alleged ghosts is often speculative to say the least. Scotland has tales of grey pipers and grey ladies that herald the death of a member of a family, as have Ireland with their banshees, but whether these are ghosts of the dead is unclear. I remember a tale, allegedly true, by Elliott O'Donnell, about a bogel, a North of England/Scottish spirit that heralds death and, in the tale, actually pursued a man who later died. Of course, whether these apparitions cause death or predict it is open to debate. In Africa, and possibly India, I recall there are stories of people wasting away through believing they are haunted (due to a curse they have incurred).

In terms of a physical assault by a ghost or something of that nature, I don't recall any genuine stories, though I've read that many that there must surely be one. Then again, as fluffle says, if seeing a ghost is rare, then witnessing one murdering another person must be...well, LOTS rarer.
 

chockfullahate

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#6
i vaguely remember a story i read when i was young of a house in london somewhere, were someone was challenged to stay the night in a haunted house and was found dead in the morning.
 

James_H

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#7
Not a dead ghost as such, but in Sardinia (I think) there are certain people alleged to have the power to become animals in their dreams who herald or cause the death of others (they appear as what they are dreaming of). This rings bells of Astral Projecting, Shapeshifting or Living Ghosts.
 
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Anonymous

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#8
chockfullahate said:
i vaguely remember a story i read when i was young of a house in london somewhere, were someone was challenged to stay the night in a haunted house and was found dead in the morning.
BUGGER!! Yes. Oh bugger...I can't remember now.....is it above a printer's shop or something? It was an apartment over a shop, wasn't it? Two sailors or soldiers or otherwise macho guys agreed to take the dare. One jumped out the window and died afterwards. The other was found dead inside, twisted in agony with rictus sardonicus plastered across his face.

Oh bugger. I've got that address somewhere...

Bean Sidhe and Black Dogs etc generally foretell death, not actually cause it. At least, that's my understanding.

I've just remembered a story my Grandad used to relate. He worked in a mental hospital, which used to be a manor house. It was set in the middle of fields, surrounded by woodland, farm land, with a huge drive way, and a nearby lake. The story was that a woman would be driven up the drive at midnight, in a carriage of headless horses (I think headless, I might be gilding the lily there) and anyone who saw her would die within 3 days. Grandad never saw her, but he said there were times when it would go deathly cold and quiet at midnight, and you would hear what sounded like a carriage pulling up outside in the gravel drive. He also had some patients who claimed to have looked and seen her, who died within the three day limit. He said they always looked terrified.

So he reckoned it was better to be safe than sorry, and never looked outside when he heard the gravel crunching at midnight! :D
 

James_H

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#9
that's of the real "classic ghost stories", and versions vary a lot. It seems like some kind of myth to me.
 

shellac7

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#10
would the two sailor story be from the house in Berkley Square?(sp?).
I'm sure i have some very dubious info on it in a book around here,i'll try to dig it out
 

sixty10

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#11
chockfullahate said:
i vaguely remember a story i read when i was young of a house in london somewhere, were someone was challenged to stay the night in a haunted house and was found dead in the morning.
Ah yes, the Nameless Horror of 50 Berkeley Square.

I've always found it chilling and I think it spawned the oft-used story of a man spending the night in a haunted room with only a bell to ring if he needs to. Inevitably the bell is rung and, once help arrives, he is alone but dead. Or mad. Or both.

A decent account by historian Richard Jones can be found here:

"The plain Georgian exterior of 50 Berkeley Square belies an interior that still retains much of its 18th century grandeur. Sweeping stairs, high plaster ceilings, over-mantle mirrors, and marble floors and fireplaces, lend the building a decidedly Dickensian air. For over fifty years it has been the premises of Maggs Bros, Antiquarian Booksellers, and the ceiling high rows of heavy mahogany bookcases that line the walls are stacked with shelf after shelf of leather bound tomes by long dead men of letters - some famous, many forgotten. Yet there is nothing in the yellowed pages of the thousands of books on display that comes close to matching the sinister happenings that were once an everyday occurrence within these walls. Happenings so terrifying that, for much of the 19th century, 50 Berkeley Square was known simply as “the most haunted house in London.”

Charles Harper in Haunted Houses, published in 1907 stated that “… It seems that a Something or Other, very terrible indeed, haunts or did haunt a particular room. This unnamed Raw Head and Bloody Bones, or whatever it is, has been sufficiently awful to have caused the death, in convulsions, of at least two foolhardy persons who have dared to sleep in that chamber…” One of them was a nobleman, who scoffing at tales that a hideous entity was residing within the haunted room, vowed to spend the night there. It was agreed, however, that should he require assistance he would ring the servants’ bell to summon his friends. So saying, he retired for the night. A little after midnight there was a faint ring, which was followed by a ferocious peeling of the bell. Rushing upstairs, the friends threw open the door, and found their companion, rigid with terror, his eyes bulging from their sockets. He was unable to tell them what he had seen, and such was the shock to his system, that he died shortly afterwards.

As a result of its dreadful reputation, no tenant could be found who was willing to take on the lease of “the house” in Berkeley Square, and for many years it remained empty. But its otherworldly inhabitants continued to be active. Strange lights that flashed in the windows would startle passers-by; disembodied screams were heard echoing from the depths of the building; and spookier still, the sound of a heavy body was heard being dragged down the staircase. One night, two sailors on shore leave in London, were seeking a place to stay, and chanced upon the obviously empty house. Breaking in they made their way upstairs, and inadvertently settled down to spend the night in the haunted room. They were woken by the sound of heavy, determined footsteps coming up the stairs. Suddenly the door banged open and a hideous, shapeless, oozing mass began to fill the room. One sailor managed to get past it and escape. Returning to the house with a policeman, he found his friend’s corpse, impaled on the railings outside, the twisted face and bulging eyes, grim testimony to the terror that had caused him to jump to his death, rather than confront the evil in the room above.

Many theories have been put forward to account for the haunting of 50 Berkeley Square. Charles Harper reported that the house had once belonged to a Mr Du Pre(ED ACCENT NEEDED OVER THE e AUTH) of Wilton Park who locked his lunatic brother in one of the attics. The captive was so violent that he could only be fed through a hole, and his groans and cries could be heard in the neighbouring houses. When the brother died, his spectre remained behind to chill the blood and turn the mind of anyone unfortunate enough to encounter it. Another hypothesis holds that a Mr Myers, who was engaged to a society beauty, once owned the house. He had set about furnishing the building in preparation for their new life together when, on the day of the wedding, his fiancé jilted him. The disappointment undermined his reason, turning him into a bitter recluse. He locked himself away in the upstairs room and only came out at night to wander the house by flickering candlelight. It was these nocturnal ramblings that, so the theory goes, gave the house its haunted reputation.

Whatever the events, tragic or otherwise, that lie behind the haunting of 50 Berkeley Square, there is no doubt that the building has a definite atmosphere about it. Indeed, it is said that the fabric is so charged with psychic energy that merely touching the external brickwork can give a mild shock to the psychically inclined. Nor are the ghosts, as is often claimed, consigned to the buildings past. Julian Wilson, a bookseller with Maggs Brothers, was working alone in the accounts department, which now occupies the haunted room, one Saturday morning in 2001, when a column of brown mist, moved quickly across the room and vanished. That same year a cleaner preparing the house for a party, felt the overwhelming sensation that someone, or something, was standing behind her. Turning round she found that that the room was empty. A man walking up the stairs was shocked when his glasses were snatched from his hand and flung to the ground. In October 2001 I was asked to appear in a BBC documentary on Haunted London, and we were fortunate enough to film inside 50 Berkeley Square. Part of the programme entailed the soundman and myself having to stand in the dark in the haunted room for about five minutes, waiting for the signal to switch the lights on and off. Although nothing actually happened, I can honestly say that I found it a truly frightening experience, and we were both glad to be able to rejoin the rest of the crew in the street outside.
"

Brr.
 
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Anonymous

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#12
That's the one! That's a relief. I couldn't find it yesterday. It's been bugging me. I thought it was Berkley something, but then my grasp of geography is only slightly worse than my grasp of quantum mechanics!
 
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Anonymous

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#13
I've got a reference here (unfortunately I didn't make a note of the source) to a Rev. Thomson, who was killed by a ghost he was attempting to exorcise in 1718... :eek:
 

CodenameThrow

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#14
Berkely Square was touched on in a story by MR James, can't remember which one - I think it may have been A School Story. Other supposedly "true" stories of "lethal" ghosts include the one about the creepy little dwarf Fanchon Moncare, and I seem to remember reading a book which purported to be only filled with true stories in which a cannibal victim took his GHASTLY REVENGE on the men who ate him (it was, to be honest, about as true as I am an orang utang but we're talking stories here, not hard facts). And the Croglin Grange beastie, of course. I can't remember whether or not it was supposed to have killed her, but it certainly had a go. Isn't there a ghost ship off the coast of Portsmouth that's supposed to bring doom to anyone who sees it? The cursed sarcophagus that was supposedly on board the Titanic? Franz Ferdinand's cursed car? Any curses, in fact, apart from those which have been proved to be mosquito bites or poisonous tomb air.

What about road ghosts that cause people to swerve into ditches? or water spirits that lure people to their deaths? Then there's the idea that paranormal forces were behind the deaths of the crew of the Ourang Medan. In the absence of any facts, we have to rely on the veracity of the story, or at least how true it sounds - it seems to me that an account of a ghost which walks into a room, points at a skirting board, tinkers with some cutlery and then vanishes is a bit less fanciful-sounding than one which kills people, and as a result they're the ones which tend to be more believable.
 

CodenameThrow

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#16
A dwarf who dressed up as a little girl (her real name was Ethel or something) and used to ferry precious stones all over the place. She ended up being stitched up by a love rival and went to prison where she hanged herself in her cell, the story is that she then went round to said rivals house (Magda something) and bludgeoned her to death with the head of the doll (hairs were found in the poor woman's mouth). Probably about as much basis in fact as the Mr Men books, but a good yarn nonetheless. It's got it all. Scary kids, evil dwarves, precious stones, a love triangle, doughty American c. 1900 cops who no doubt have red faces and handlebar moustaches and shout "Ah, flapjacks!" a lot, and a woman called Ada (the accomplice). Brill.
 

CodenameThrow

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#18
Only on yahoo groups (I googled "fanchon moncare"). There used to be a French site which it was on, but it told the story pretty much as I remember it verbatim from the book (except translated into French, obviously).
 

fluffle9

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#20
Throw said:
What about road ghosts that cause people to swerve into ditches?
there is supposed to be one on dartmoor, isn't there? something like a pair of hairy disembodied hands that grab the steering wheel.
 
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Anonymous

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#21
The Hairy Hands on Dartmoor. Yes. Freaked me out considerably as a child, that did! Especially the story of the couple in the caravan, when the woman was awoken by hands scratching against the window and door, trying to get in! :eek!!!!:
 

CodenameThrow

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#22
And a bus, I believe, which used to run people off the road. And that nun with the skeletal face who jumped up and grabbed the cab of the lorry on the Chippenham/Bath road.
 

MrRING

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#24
Most of these seem to be more spirits rather than ghosts... still, I managed to find a killer ghost story attributed to a specific death....

THE KILLER GHOST OF
EASTERN KENTUCKY

In 1938, stories of a "killer ghost" began to be told in eastern Kentucky. Even though no one ever saw this malevolent apparition, it was said to have caused five very similar and unexplained deaths.

In June of that year, a man named Carl Pruitt came home from work one night and found his wife in bed with another man. After her lover escaped by jumping out of a window, Pruitt strangled his wife with a small piece of chain. Immediately after, perhaps having just realized the depth of his madness, he committed suicide. He was buried in a separate cemetery from his wife.

A few weeks after he was buried, visitors to the cemetery began to notice the pattern of a chain that was slowly forming on Pruitt’s gravestone. The "chain" was caused by an unusual discoloration in the stone and slowly, it gained links until it formed the shape of a cross. At that point, it stopped growing. A number of local residents suggested that perhaps the supernaturally marked tombstone should be removed from the graveyard and destroyed, but officials scoffed and nothing was done about it.

A month or so after the chain stopped growing, a group of boys were riding their bicycles past the cemetery one afternoon. One of them, a boy named James Collins, decided to throw a few stones at Pruitt’s "cursed" gravestone, probably just to prove that he wasn’t afraid and had little use for spooky stories. Whatever the reason for his actions, the hurled rocks managed to chip several spots from the stone. As the young men started home, Collins’ bicycle suddenly began to pick up speed, to the point that he could no longer control it. It veered off the road and collided with a tree. Then, in some unexplained way, the sprocket chain tore loose and managed to wrap itself about the boy’s neck, strangling him. Rumors quickly spread about this remarkable occurrence, especially after an examination of the Pruitt tombstone revealed that no marks or chips marred the surface of it. The other boys knew what they had seen however and their breathless accounts only fueled speculation about a vengeful ghost.

James Collins’ mother was especially heartbroken over her son’s death. Less than a month after his accident, she went out to the cemetery and destroyed the Pruitt gravestone with a small hand axe. She pounded and hacked at the stone until it lay in dozens in pieces. The following day, she was hanging the family wash on the line. Ironically, the clothesline was made from small linked chain rather than the usual rope or wire. Somehow, she slipped and fell and her neck became entangled in the chain. She twisted and tried to get free, but it was no use and she strangled to death. The legends say that after she died, the Pruitt tombstone showed no signs of destruction!......


READ THE REST HERE
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#25
This came close:

Angry 'ghost' rips worker's arm off

June 30 2004 at 07:39AM

Hong Kong - A fire extinguisher sprung a leak and shot 12 storeys into the air, taking off a construction worker's arm in a freak accident that prompted his co-workers' prayers to appease angry spirits, local media reported on Wednesday.

The accident occurred in a building many believe is haunted after a fire eight years ago killed 40 people and injured 81.

Workers were demolishing the Garley Building to make way for a shopping mall when the sudden leak in the fire extinguisher propelled it into the air on Monday.

The 36-year-old man who lost his arm, identified only by the surname So, remained in hospital in a serious condition on Wednesday, government officials said.

Newspapers and television footage showed workers in safety helmets praying on Tuesday in front of a small altar full of incense and food amid the rubble at the demolition site.

Ghost-appeasing rituals, once common in traditional Chinese society, are rare in modern Hong Kong
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=79&art_id=qw1088573941866B252
 

Sarah_P

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#27
Helen said:
The Hairy Hands on Dartmoor. Yes. Freaked me out considerably as a child, that did! Especially the story of the couple in the caravan, when the woman was awoken by hands scratching against the window and door, trying to get in! :eek!!!!:
Don't forget the one where something started jerking a man's steering wheel against his will (when he was near Two Bridges, natch) and he recited the Lord's Prayer repeatedly till it stopped.

Heh, Hairy Hand was always my favourite local legend. (I grew up in Plympton). I've always been terrified every time I've been near that place. Some friends and I toyed with the idea of doing our own Blair Witch in the area, but we were all too damn scared when it came down to it :D

Wasn't it believed that it was a Monk's spirit, as it was near the Abbot's Way? I guess there were a lot of explanations.
 

SniperK2

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#28
There was a story - I'll have to try and find it now, too many books!! - about three sailors who were cast away on a boat, since they were starving two killed the third one and ate him. They were eventually rescued but allegedly the unquiet ghost of the eaten man ( and who can blame him!) persued his erstwhile companions and killed them.
 
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Anonymous

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#29
I thought it was the unquiet hands of some murderer/thief/rapist, wot 'ad 'ad 'is 'ands lopped off as punishment fer 'is unnatteral crimes, like. An' the 'ands 'aunted the area ever since, causing mayhem an' mischief, an' things wot men shouldn't 'ave wot of.

I believe they've been accused of yanking bike handlebars, car steering wheels, scrabbling against tents and/or caravans - all kinds of unpleasant behaviour. Terrifies me, anyway.
 

Sarah_P

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#30
Helen said:
I thought it was the unquiet hands of some murderer/thief/rapist, wot 'ad 'ad 'is 'ands lopped off as punishment fer 'is unnatteral crimes, like. An' the 'ands 'aunted the area ever since, causing mayhem an' mischief, an' things wot men shouldn't 'ave wot of.

I believe they've been accused of yanking bike handlebars, car steering wheels, scrabbling against tents and/or caravans - all kinds of unpleasant behaviour. Terrifies me, anyway.
Ah yes, I heard something like that too...there were a lot of local theories anyway. Some said it was the hands of Satan himself :D
 
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