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11 Best Scary Ghost Stories

11 Best Scary Ghost Stories That Will Scare Your Socks Off

What's Halloween without scary stories to tell in the dark? Sure, you'll want to watch (or rewatch) your favorite Halloween movies and see all the witches and vampires, but you'll also need a dose of creepy in these 11 scary ghost stories from around the country (just as scary as one of these spooky ghost towns—field trip anyone?). They're sure to add a thrilling scare to your Halloween season for everyone from teens to adults, and they are all a short read too.

Venture to St. Francisville, Louisiana, and you just might sight a ghost named Chloe on Myrtles Plantation. Head north to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where the Crescent Hotel is alleged to be haunted by ghosts, and then over to Abbeville, Alabama, for the haunting of Huggin' Molly. Up on the East Coast in New York City, the Crying Lady has been reported to have been seen in The Dakota.

Get ready to read these scary stories or save them for after dark to read dramatically with dim lighting and some eerie music in the background for full effect. They're sure to spook any friends and family you invite to listen—beware!

Sloss Furnaces | Birmingham, Alabama

Buyenlarge//Getty Images
Buyenlarge//Getty Images

Five years after the Civil War, Birmingham, Alabama, was founded. With its birth in 1871 came the need for tons of pig iron to fix the U.S.'s crumbling infrastructure, so Colonel James Withers Sloss began to build Sloss Furnaces. A year later, the company opened its doors to hundreds of employees, according to its official website. Jobs on blast furnaces were advanced but also dangerous, and many workers started falling to their deaths in the furnaces.

By the early 1900s conditions had worsened with a cruel foreman, James "Slag" Wormwood, who took dangerous risks to increase production, according to Reader's Digest. During his tenure at Sloss, nearly 50 employees died on-site, and many others were involved in terrible accidents. Allegedly, his workers threw him into the furnace in retaliation in 1906.

Today you can still walk the grounds of Sloss Furnaces, if you dare. You may even hear Slag's voice yelling, "Get back to work!" and witness other paranormal experiences.

The Crying Lady in the Dakota | New York, New York

Since its opening in 1884, The Dakota apartment building has been home to many rich and famous residents of New York City. Among them were John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who moved in in 1973. John was also assassinated outside the building in 1980. Before that fateful day on December 8, though, John said he say a "crying lady ghost" walking the halls, and afterward Yoko, who still resides there, claimed she saw John's ghost sitting at his piano and that he said to her: "Don't be afraid. I am still with you."

The Bell Witch | Adams, Tennessee

If you're a scary-movie lover, you might actually know about the Bell Witch. The films An American Haunting and The Blair Witch Project are both based on the story. Way back in the early 1800s, a man named John Bell moved his family to an area in Tennessee called Red River, which is now known as Adams, Tennessee. After they had settled in the new home, some peculiar things started happening. The Bell family began hearing some bizarre noises, including dogs barking, chains rattling, rats chewing, and a woman whispering. Soon, that woman became known as the Bell Witch, and many people believe she's the ghost of a former neighbor of the Bell's, Kate Batts. Batts and the Bells had a dispute over land, and she had sworn vengeance on the Bell family before she died. Later on, Bell died from poisoning, and it's rumored to be the work of the Bell Witch.

The Ghosts of the Crescent Hotel | Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Spend the night in the haunted Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which opened in 1886. (During construction, a worker named Michael was killed, and his ghost reportedly still haunts room 218.) The hotel came under the ownership of known medical fraud Norman Baker in 1937, who fancied himself a doctor. He turned the hotel into the Baker Cancer Hospital, claiming to have the cure for the disease (he did not, obviously). Patients who died under his care were buried right in the hotel's basement, which served as a makeshift morgue. He was arrested in 1940, but his patients' spirits are said to still remain. Because the hotel is still open, guests often say they see apparitions and hear noises during their stays. SyFy's Ghost Hunters even has footage of something moving in the basement.

Huggin' Molly | Abbeville, Alabama

It's best to stay home when the sun sets in Abbeville, Alabama, if you want to avoid Huggin' Molly's chilly embrace. As the legend goes, beginning in the early 1900s, an oversize figure clad in all black began roaming the streets at night looking for unsuspecting victims. Once she fixates on someone, she hugs the person and screams loudly into their ears. Many people have recounted stories of being chased by what they believe was Huggin' Molly. Local parents have even taken advantage of the story to keep their children in line. The town embraces its nighttime warden, proudly calling itself the "home of Huggin' Molly." There's even a family-friendly restaurant named after her!

The Surrency House Ghost | Surrency, Georgia

The Surrency clan began experiencing paranormal activities in present day Surrency, Georgia, in the 1870s. Family members reported witnessing objects soaring across rooms, hearing laughter and crying, and seeing red eyes staring into the house. Food was thrown from their plates and utensils twisted into unusable shapes. The townspeople speculated that these occurrences were cries for help from spirits who thought the family would be able to save them. On the day the family decided to finally leave the house, a fire iron allegedly floated up and started hitting one of the sons on the head. No one was ever brave enough to live in the house again, and the building went up in flames in 1925.

The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge | Marianna, Florida

Karsun Designs Photography/Flickr Creative Commons
Karsun Designs Photography/Flickr Creative Commons

For a taste of true haunting love, travel over this spooky bridge in Marianna, Florida, which has several ghost legends surrounding the structure. In the 1830s, Elizabeth Jane Croom Bellamy married local politician Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy. On their wedding night, her dress accidentally caught on fire, which covered the young bride in horrible burns. She initially survived, but eventually passed away. Elizabeth was buried along the banks of the Chipola River, and it was said that her love for her husband was so strong, she couldn't rest. The deceased newlywed, dressed in white, can allegedly be seen wandering the banks from the vantage point of the bridge (which was built after she died). It's said that she appears on fire either walking through the swamps or diving straight into the river, as if to douse the flames, or somberly walking along the side of the river.

The Ghost of Deer Island | Biloxi, Mississippi

Back on May 20, 1922, Anthony Ragusin, aka Mr. Tony, relayed this tale in a column in the Sun Herald. He writes that in the early 1800s, two fishermen spent the night on Deer Island off Biloxi's coast. They heard noises that they ignored until it became impossible to do so. When they went to see what was causing the ruckus, they claimed they found a headless skeleton that ran after the pair. They immediately made a beeline for their boat and got off the island immediately. It's said that the bony frame belongs to a pirate who had his head chopped off by his captain, and his body was left behind as a ghastly guard to watch over buried treasure.

Zombie Road | Wildwood, Missouri

Outside of St. Louis lies Zombie Road, a hotbed of ghostly activities. There are many scary stories stemming from Lawler Ford Road (its actual name), from sightings of Indigenous spirits wandering the stretch to victims of train accidents (there used to be active tracks there) like Della Hamilton McCullough, who was struck by a passing train. In the 1950s, it became a popular late-night teen hangout spot, with various murders happening in the area, too. It's also been rumored to be the home base of a murderer named Zombie, who escaped a mental asylum. These days, the stretch has been rechristened as a nature trail, but it's closed once night falls (with hefty fines for those who dare to trespass).

Dead Woman's Crossing | Weatherford, Oklahoma

This one's a regular murder mystery turned ghost story, according to Atlas Obscura. In the early 1900s in Weatherford, Oklahoma, Katie DeWitt James left her home with her baby after she filed for divorce from her husband. She planned to move in with her cousin, but her family never heard from her. After an investigation, it turned out that she moved in with local prostitute Frannie Norton. She was last seen leaving the house with Frannie and her child in a carriage. Frannie returned with the child, who was covered in blood, but without Katie. Her body was found later, along a nearby creek, with her head cut off. It was rumored that her ex-husband had her killed with Frannie's help, but Frannie claimed she wasn't involved in Katie's death. But on the day she was supposed to be questioned by the police, she poisoned herself. Katie's still around though. She allegedly appears as a blue light floating around town, and people have reported hearing a woman looking for her baby and the rolling sound of wheels.

The Myrtles Plantation | St. Francisville, Louisiana

Of the numerous spirits haunting this plantation, built in 1796 in St. Francisville, Louisiana, the most known entity is Chloe, according to the official website. It's said that plantation owner Clark Woodruff carried on an affair with an enslaved person, Chloe, which he ended abruptly. She began to eavesdrop on his conversation, and he caught her. As punishment, he cut her ear off. She then poisoned the rest of his family with a birthday cake, leaving him alone. The other enslaved people knew what she had done and hanged her. She supposedly still remains on the property, with a photograph from 1992 where her spirit is reportedly visible.

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