Schools and Churches
Illinois College was founded in 1829, and like many other historic spots in Illinois, the events of the past still come back to remind students and faculty members of earlier days. Most claims of paranormal activity are associated with Beecher Hall, a two-story building constructed in 1829. Witnesses claim to hear footsteps and the occasional moan. Years ago, Beecher Hall was a medical building and cadavers were kept in the attic. There are several tales of people following the sound of footsteps up to the attic and then smelling the stench of decaying flesh.
The most famous spirit on campus is that of the so-called Gray Ghost. A female student climbing the curved staircase at the Alpha Phi Omega Hall claimed she saw a man in gray standing on the landing. She quickly realized he was not a student or a security officer — nor did he have a face. Several other students reported seeing a similar phantom over the next few years.
New Hampshire's Colby-Sawyer College
The campus of Colby-Sawyer College in New London, New Hampshire, is reportedly haunted by a man wearing a black frock coat and a broad-brimmed hat. He is usually seen standing inside Colgate Hall. A former student claims to have seen the ghost twice, once in broad daylight and once at sunset. She didn't realize he was a ghost at first. His theatrical garb drew her attention, and she first thought he was a drama student on his way to rehearse a play. When the student paused for a moment and looked again, the man had vanished.
“I didn't think anything of it,” the student said. “He'd probably stepped into an office.” A couple of weeks later, she encountered him again. She approached him from the library, close to Colgate Hall. As she gazed at him, the man faded from sight. “It was as if I watched him evaporate slowly.”
Tenants in a Greenwich Village apartment reported seeing a figure wearing a black slouch hat and long cloak slinking from room to room. In the 1970s, one of the tenants looked into the history of the building and learned that the haunted apartment had been inhabited by Maxwell Grant, the author of hundreds of pulp novels starring “The Shadow” — a fictional character who always wore a black slouch hat and a long cloak.
York, England, is one of the most haunted places in all of Europe. It was inhabited by both the Romans and the Vikings, and as one of the most important cities in the British Empire, it has been the site of bloody battles and tragic deaths.
At the Treasurer's House, weary Roman soldiers trudge through a basement, cut off at the knees. They are still following the original Roman road that lies beneath the building's foundations. The headless ghost of Thomas Percy, seventh Earl of Northumberland, roams the city, apparently searching for his severed head. He was beheaded in York for treason in 1572 after he led a plot against Elizabeth I.
The apparitions of two women and a child have been reported to appear in a churchyard. One tale is that they are the ghosts of a mother, her child, and an abbess who were killed when Henry VIII's men occupied the church after the dissolution of the monasteries.
And then there are the children. The ghosts of countless children haunt the streets and buildings of York, crying for their mothers, begging for food, and grasping at tourists.
The Borley Rectory, Essex
The gloomy old building on the border between the counties of Suffolk and Essex has been described as the world's most haunted structure. Although the rectory itself burned down in 1939, its legends live on.
Poltergeist activity, full-body apparitions, disembodied voices, and ghostly chanting are associated with the rectory. Some claim that the spirits are those of a monk and a nun who were involved in a forbidden love affair. When they were found out, they suffered from the traditional punishment — the monk was decapitated, and the nun was buried alive.
When the building burned down, several witnesses claimed they saw a gray-clad nun slipping away from the inferno and a young girl standing at an upstairs window. When the ruins were excavated, a woman's skull and fragments of a skeleton were found buried several feet beneath the ground.