Graveyard Shift

The 12 Most Convincing Real-Life Ghost Stories

"Real-life ghost stories?" OK, allow us to clarify. Ghosts may, in fact, not be real. Having said that, the following stories comprise some of the most convincing evidence, possibly proving that the spirit world occasionally intermingles with our own. These famous or infamous ghostly encounters include hauntings of famous places, ghosts photographed in creepy haunted houses or cemeteries, curses and folklore, and more.

The fear of ghosts - usually classified as undead souls or spirits who can appear or engage with living people - has been a part of human culture since the beginning, particularly evident in early religious practices, and the notion of ancestor worship was popular among a number of pre-literate human tribes. It's an appealing notion, the idea that death may in fact not be the end of life, and that some shadow or essence of a person is left behind when they die.

Our contemporary idea of a "ghost story" comes largely from the Victorian period in England, when a number of classic authors in the popular tradition of "gothic fiction" wrote stories that informed the way we currently view the afterlife. This includes Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, particularly in its depiction of the tormented Jacob Marley, forced to wander the Earth in chains as penance for a life of greed and avarice, as well as Henry James's Turn of the Screw, where a governess discovers that her two young charges may be possessed by an evil spirit.

Are ghosts real? The following anecdotes and videos purport to reveal contemporary ghosts currently haunting a variety of locations. When possible, I will include information about the debunking of these stories - or at least the skeptical view of what might be actually happening. So read on, if you dare...