The Most Unsettling Child Ghost Stories That Have Been Said To Exist

In every culture, there are stories of ghost children that haunt hotels or the ruins of ancient civilizations, forever doomed to repeat their final moments on this mortal coil. The most famous child ghosts have established a reputation of being helpful sprites who do their best to keep people from committing the sins that saw them lose their lives, but some of the creepy kids are famous for being harbingers of doom to any and all who see them.

Depending on where you stand on the idea of ghosts, they’re either spirits tasked with walking the Earth for eternity, another dimension bleeding into our own, or just stories meant to scare. But whatever your opinion, these stories of spooky children are sure to give you the creeps.

Much like Elm Street, every small town has their own ghost story about a creepy child. These pre-Internet tales of woe are interesting in their similarities, and they either show off the magnificent hive mind that humans have, or they prove that there are a lot of dead children walking around the planet. 

  • The Ghostly Children Of New Orleans

    The Ghostly Children Of New Orleans
    Photo: David Paul Ohmer / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    New Orleans is basically Mecca for ghosts, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Big Easy is filthy with specters. In the French Quarter sits the Andrew Jackson Hotel. In the 19th century, it was a boy's home, and even though there are varying stories of a fire that wiped out a group of children (researchers don't know when the fire would have occurred), plenty of people have had sightings of child-like ghosts roaming the hallways and playing in their rooms. 

  • San Antonio's Railroad Children

    One of the biggest (if not the biggest) urban legends in Texas concerns a group of children who perished in a train mishap and whose souls are now forever connected to the particular track. Supposedly, if you park your car on the specific tracks and spread flour on the bumper, your car will be pushed safely off the tracks, and you'll find children's fingerprints on the back of your car. The linked story says the haunting occurs "just south of San Antonio," but  literally every town you visit with a set of tracks has a version of this story.  

  • The Sobbing Child Of Little Moreton Hall

    The Sobbing Child Of Little Moreton Hall
    Photo: Christine-Ann Martin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    The only thing worse than a crying child is a crying child who's also a ghost. At Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, England, stories of a child sobbing in the hall's chapel have kept many a visitor awake at night. As if we needed one more reason to stop going to church. 

  • Crybaby Bridge

    Crybaby Bridge
    Photo: othompsonski / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    There are a few Crybaby Bridges around the country, and they all have some kind of local legend about the sounds of a weeping child coming from them late at night. 

  • The Radiant Boy

    The Radiant Boy
    Photo: Spideman / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Ghost children are never good. Even if they're not malicious, you know that something atrocious happened to them while they were alive and that's simply depressing. But radiant boys are probably the worst kind of child ghost to run into as they are a portend of the destruction that follows a great rise.

    The most famous radiant boy story comes from Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, who saw a radiant boy when he spent a night at the Corby Castle in Cumbria. Basically, The Marquess of Londonderry woke up in the middle of the night and saw a glowing form of a boy float across his room and disappear up a chimney. Years later, he would take his own life with a penknife. 

  • Ghost Children Caught On Camera

    Ghost Children Caught On Camera
    Video: YouTube

    Pen-Y-Lan Hall in North Wales just looks like it's crawling with ghosts, and in early 2016, a group of ghost hunters photographed two spooky children walking the halls of the Hall. The photos caught two youngling apparitions: the first of a young boy peering out one of the windows, and the second photo features the eyes and face of a young girl.