While there is no shortage of ghost stories about spectral children or a wailing woman in white, this collection of ghosts with the scariest origin stories stands out as the creepiest of the bunch. What's more, these gruesome and macabre tales - especially the paranormal stories about children - are all the more frightening in that they are largely true.
It is said that ghosts are often created when a person's life ends in a state of extreme fear or pain - like ones from tales of plantation hauntings. If that's true, then it should come as no surprise that the events chronicled here led to hauntings. And while some iconic ghost tales are more interesting than terrifying, these are some of the scariest ghost stories you will ever come across.
The sad story of 12-year-old Marion Parker began when 19-year-old psychopath William Edward Hickman her from her Los Angeles school in 1927. His intention was to ransom her back to her wealthy father, banker Perry Parker. Hickman sent a series of cryptic notes to the Parkers, demanding gold certificates in exchange for Marion. Despite Parker's attempts to get his daughter back safely, Hickman choked Marion and then preceded to cut off her arms and legs with a razor blade.
Still intent on getting his ransom, Hickman powdered Marion's face, combed her hair, and sewed open her eyelids. He put Marion's torso in the back seat of his car, covered it up to the neck with a blanket. Hickman then drove to the rendezvous and quickly made the handoff, but Parker soon discovered that what he had paid for was not his daughter, but her corpse.
Hickman was eventually caught and convicted, meeting his end in 1928 at the end of a hangman's noose. Marion, however, lingers on. Her presence has been reported multiple times, still residing at her childhood home at 1631 S. Wilton Place in Los Angeles, California.
In 1832, Dr. Louis and Delphine LaLaurie were renowned socialites in New Orleans. They surrounded themselves in finery and threw the most elegant social gatherings. However, the slave workforce that enabled this luxury was horribly mistreated, even by antebellum standards.
In April of 1834, a fire broke out in the kitchen and quickly spread through the house. When firefighters put out the blaze, they found the cook chained to the stove in the kitchen. In the attic, the firefighters found a secret, barred door. Behind the door, they found a dozen slaves in a state of squalor. Some were chained to the walls, some trapped in cages, and others were strapped to makeshift operating tables. Strewn about the secret room were body parts, and human heads and organs were piled into buckets and jars.
The LaLauries fled, never to be seen again. The house was ransacked by an angry mob and lay vacant for years in a state of disrepair. It changed hands many times over the years, but no one stayed very long. Today, screams of pain can still be heard coming from 1140 Royal Street, and the apparitions of slaves have been reported walking on the balconies.
Prince Süleyman was a Turk whose hedonism knew no bounds, earning him the nickname "Sultan." His abode at 716 Dauphine Street in New Orleans gained the moniker "The Palace," and in the 1860s, raucous partying could be heard through the walls at all hours.
Süleyman claimed to be an actual sultan (or former sultan) of a non-specific Middle Eastern country, which he used as justification for his harems, orgies, and other unsavory behavior. The "Sultan" had a retinue of wives, family members, servants, and slaves, and it was rumored that his harem consisted not only of women but of young boys, as well.
One morning, a neighbor noticed that "The Palace" was unusually quiet and that there was blood dripping from the gallery above. The police arrived to uncover a grisly scene. Body parts were strewn about the house, which was soaked floor to ceiling with blood. Everyone was slaughtered: men, woman and children alike. Reaching up from the dirt in the yard was a single hand - that of the "Sultan," who had been buried alive.
At the time, police blamed the carnage on pirates, but it is more likely that the "Sultan" was actually the brother of real royalty, and he might have stolen quite a bit of his brother's money, too. He fled his own country, where he would have been executed, but eventually, his brother's men tracked him down and exacted a heavy price. In any case, the sounds of partying can still sometimes be heard at 716 Dauphine Street, and some have seen the "Sultan" himself make an appearance.
On June 11, 1912, a brutal deed occurred in rural Villisca, Iowa. The Moore family was sleeping quietly when an unknown perp raised an ax and ended Joe Moore with one blow from the flat end of the blade. The same sad fate met Joe's wife, Sarah, all four of their children, and two visiting neighbor children.
What's more, the culprit then proceeded to beat the heads of the bodies into a bloody pulp with his ax. He then covered the bloody heads with clothes, covered every mirror and piece of glass in a similar way, and washed the blood from his hands. After that, he took out a two-pound slab of uncooked bacon from the icebox, wrapped it in a towel, and laid it on the floor next to a short piece of key chain that did not belong to the Moores.
The case has never been solved, but one theory links this case to several other ax-related occurrences that took place across the country during this period. The location is believed to still be haunted by the victims of that tragic night. Several ghost investigations have occurred at the house, all gathering compelling evidence that this haunting is real.