There's something unsettling about a museum. Perhaps it's the presence of so many antiquities from around the world, or maybe it's the sensation that the eyes of the portraits follow your every move. And then there are the buildings themselves - many museums were once historic homes or plantations where terrible acts occurred. It's no wonder there are so many scary stories about museums.
Museum ghosts are said to haunt the corners of many cultural institutions. At the Cleveland Museum of Art, one haunted painting takes on an eerie life of its own. Mummy artifacts housed in the British Museum are rumored to carry a dreadful curse. And then there's a museum in Australia - visitors report feeling ghostly touches on their shoulders.
Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, these creepy museum ghost stories are sure to send a chill down your spine. Who knows what you might see on your next visit?
Cold Spots Plague The Minneapolis Institute Of Art
The neoclassical Minneapolis Institute of Art has stood for over a century, and apparently has a number of active ghosts. But rather than directly contact the living, they create very cold spots in otherwise warm rooms.
Over the years, several paranormal experts have been brought in to determine the source for the cold spots. No rational explanation was found, and the spirits have yet to reveal themselves.
Annabelle Terrifies Visitors to The Warrens' Occult MuseumPhoto: Allan Adduci / via YouTube
It's no surprise that the Warren's Occult Museum is supposedly haunted. Founded by paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, it was designed to hold a collection of frightful - and often possessed - items.
The museum's showpiece is Annabelle, the doll whose malicious exploits figured in The Conjuring. According to the museum's owners, an exorcism was performed on the doll before it was placed in its glass box. However, it reportedly continues to move around and snarl at visitors.
At least one person is said to have died as a result of contact with Annabelle. Supposedly, the man taunted the doll, telling her to "do your worst" to him. Right after the man left the museum, he was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Ghosts Flock To Stratford Hall
Stratford Hall is an imposing brick fortress that stands tall above a river in the Northern Neck of Virginia. It was home to the Lee family, who produced two signers of the Declaration of Independence, a famous Revolutionary War general, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Today, it is a museum and working farm open to the public.
It's also rumored to house ghosts. One of these is supposedly Elizabeth McCarthy Storke, who reportedly had an affair with Henry Lee at age 14. To this day, she defends her virtue. A medium who visited the site claimed Elizabeth told her, "I didn't do it!"
Another paranormal expert detected activity in the basement. Supposedly, the spirits of slaves who witnessed a murder remain there. Another spirit, that of a nanny named Madeleine, is said to linger in the nursery.
A Cursed Mummy Coffin Transfixes Guests At The British Museum
The British Museum houses one of the most reportedly potent cursed artifacts in history: the stunning, hand-painted coffin cover belonging to a priestess of Amen-Ra.
The Egyptian artifact's deadly reputation preceded its arrival to the museum. It was purchased by a man named Thomas Douglas Murray in 1889, but he didn't keep it for long. After a string of horrific tragedies - including the loss of Murray's arm to gangrene - he gave it to the museum. Once there, the coffin continued to wreak havoc, inflicting terrible luck on anyone who came into contact with it. It was even supposedly connected to the sinking of the Titanic.
Museum employees claim that the artifact has rarely left its collection, and that the stories about it are untrue. But the piece is still known as "The Unlucky Mummy."