7. A Forest Of Witches
My mum told me this story about the village where she grew up in Scotland.
The village’s earliest known settlement is from 3000BC, so it’s old. It’s been home to the Picts and the Romans. Nowadays there is a small woodland and the rest of the surrounding land is farmland. The woods used to be much larger, they are what survives of a large forest that almost completely surrounded the village. Legend says the forest was home to witches.
When the forest was being cleared for expanding farmland a lone witch came out of the forest to tell the villagers to stop. She said the trees would not forgive man for their destruction and if the villagers did not heed her words then all of their land would become infertile. And all the women.
Frightened, the villagers agreed but asked for a small part of the forest. A deal was made that this, and only this, land could be cleared. The witch also said that for every harvest of every crop grown there, one sack of produce must be taken to the edge of the forest and left.
This practice was followed for hundreds of years until the villagers abruptly tore down much of the remaining forest to grow wheat and build a mill. Again a strange woman came from the forest into the village and threatened the villagers. She said they had broken the promise and would suffer. This time the villagers took the woman and hanged her. Her last words were that the price was now three sacks.
The man who built the mill was scared and after the first harvest he took three sacks into the woods. Unlike his neighbours his crops did not fail and his wife became pregnant. Always he paid the woods their due and before long he was the richest man in the village and had three beautiful, healthy daughters.
Unfortunately the man grew greedy and thought he’d no longer pay his three sacks. The next morning his youngest daughter went missing. The whole village came to help look for her but the man asked that his men run the mill as normal so he didn’t lose any money. There was soon a commotion at the mill, some of the workers had fainted others were crying, some were shouting. The man came to see what was happening. A horrified worker told him they had started up the mill as normal, but blood had poured from between the stones. They had found his missing daughter.
Distraught the man sold his land and fled the village with his family. The mill was torn down and years later a silo was built there. By the 1960’s the silo was ancient and crumbling. It was also rumoured to be haunted either by the farmer, his daughter or the witch. Sometimes all three.
This part is my mum’s story. One day she and her friends had a bet to see who could spend a night in the silo. One boy who was always boasting of his bravery volunteered. Between them, my mum and her friends conspired to keep this a secret from their parents by lying about camping in each other’s gardens. That evening the boy, John, climbed the silo loft and mum and her friend gave him a bag of food, a blanket and a torch. They told him they’d be back in the morning but were actually planning on coming back later to frighten him.
They had waited a few hours and snuck back to the silo and alarmingly they could her John sobbing and crying for help. They found him quite a way from the silo pulling himself along on his stomach. John had jumped out the silo loft and broken his ankles. He was carried back to his parent’s house and taken to hospital. After the inevitable week of punishment my mum was allowed to visit John. She said he still looked as terrified then as he had that night. She asked him what happened. He said he told his parents and the doctors that he fell but the truth was he saw something. Not long after he was left on his own he could hear something shuffling around in the loft. He used the torch to see but there was only empty grain bags. He tried to ignore the noise but finally it sounded like it was moving toward him. When he shone the torch on the grain bags again he saw that they were crawling, dragging themselves along the floor towards him. Thats why he jumped.
The silo’s long been demolished but they’ve built homes there now.
8. Nora The Nun
There’s a woods local to me in Wales with an old 12th – 13th century castle where it’s rumoured she lived. There’s been so many sightings by different people and there’s apparently even been car crashes along the road outside the woods in result of people swerving to avoid the nun they saw standing in the middle of the road. I can post some links to reports and pictures if anyone’s interested.
There’s hundreds of different stories about who she was and why she haunts the woods but this is my personal favourite:
Nora was a nun at the castle where she met a castle guard who got her pregnant, after giving birth and her ‘sin’ was discovered she was to be executed for going against God. Nora ran from the castle with her baby and hid him in a tree trunk with the intention of coming back for him after she had lost her pursuers. She eventually managed to lose them but when she went back for her baby she couldn’t find him. Nora searched the woods day and night until she eventually died. It’s said Nora cannot pass over until she finds her baby.
9. The Monster On The Top Floor
In my town, there was always talk of a monster/ghost/whatever living in the top of our primary school. There was always signs, but they were brushed off as things that you would usually find in a school; half-eaten food, damaged tables, etc.
But then weirder things would happen some the ceiling panels disappearing or noises. I totally get why people would see this as a red-flag of something bad happening, but the school was always getting work done on it so I think even the teachers assumed it wasn’t anything too serious. This went on for around 2 years and whilst we we’re on a 6 week break (luckily) it turned out that a guy was living in the ceilings of the classrooms, and he must’ve been coming down for food out of the canteen regularly when it was quiet enough for him not to get caught.
The creepiest thing about all this, isn’t that it was just childish rumours turned out to be true, or that he had been there whilst lessons were happening. It’s that the reason he was caught, was because he fucking died and the caretaker smelt something awful and went up there assuming it was rats or a pipeline leak.
Needless to say, parents were informed and a lot of kids didn’t come back to school after the break.
10. The Other Children
In Okinawa the was a house near the USO on Kadena Air Force Base that was abandon. A man killed himself and his family in it. It was said to be haunted. It was even part of the ghost tours they gave on base. Reports that the outside lights would turn on by themselves and creepy things happening. One story was that a woman could be seen washing her hair in the sink in the kitchen through a window. The creepiest thing by far, was that this house shared a chain link fence with the daycare building. My friends mom worked at the day care. Children, 4-5 y/o, would constantly throw toys over the fence. When asked why, they said they wanted to play with the children on the other side. All of the kids saw these other children, but the adults could not. It throughly freaked out anyone who worked there.
I lived right outside Pittsburgh, PA as a teenager, in a little, poor, town called Swissvale. The next communities over are Rankin and Braddock, which are steel production heyday ghost towns that have been plagued with poverty. A strip of woods, lined by a train track follow the river upon which our communities reside. Right next to the river looms the decrepit abandoned steel mill I believe once called Carrie Furnace. As teenagers do, my friends and I used to cut through the park, across the tracks, and to the river to drink, smoke pots, and hang out. Eventually, we started exploring the steel mill. I loved it. The graffiti and sculptural artists, the wildlife that randomly took over, the bums who made it home, etc all made it a worthwhile adventure. I became comfortable there.
Then my friends told me about an abduction and rape of a teenager whose naked and bloodied body ended up strung up on a set of city steps. The killer was an insane man who dressed as a clown with a horrid, bloodstained mask. “He lives in the woods and in the steel mill. He walks the tracks with a butcher knife he hasn’t even bothered to clean. Don’t come here alone.”
I got into a fight with a boyfriend one night and stubbornly decided to walk alone from the river – across the tracks, and through the woods. I got to the tracks, turned and looked at the steel mill. Further down the tracks I saw a figure. I couldn’t see a face, but the baggy pants were rather clown like. I ran like you wouldn’t fucking believe. I’ve never felt fear like that before. It was probably a bum. But who takes chances with an urban legend like that?
As a child, my dad and eldest uncles were told about an evil man who lived around the area, Daan. During the night, the man would catch travellers, roaming children and cattle, and slice them open with his tall scythe. He’d wait by the old oak tree for an unsuspecting boy, with a hat on his head, before revealing his face and digging into his prey. Naturally my eldest uncle knew this was just a scare tactic, but my dad still shat bricks whenever he had to go through the field at night to pick stuff up from the neighbour. Basically, one night he was sent out to get coal from the neighbour at midnight. It was storming and late. He darted, barefoot, through the wet grass to the little house. On the way he looked over to the oak tree, and saw a man with a scythe and hat. Queue bricks being shat x1000. My dad fucking SCREAMS as he runs to the house. As he arrives, the woman of the house, Mrs. Gelder I’ll call her, told him how a man named Daan lived on the plot. He took care of her and her land while he lived, until he was tragically dismembered in a freak accident on the field. His body was shredded into halves, and there was no hope to save him. He died in agony, although, he was actually a lovely man. Basically the legend started because he was very introverted, maybe a bit eccentric, essentially they were mocking him.
So, a few years later, my dad marries my mom, who is foreign. She’d never been told about Daan. My mom is into a lot of spiritualist stuff, voudou, all that. She started seeing a very small man, with curly hair and a hat. He’d wave his pitchfork and walk away. She was really confused and asked my grandma, who told her the story. So, after all these years of being “chased” by Daan, my parents made a little shrine for him. There’s a plaque in our front garden still, that says “In loving memory of Daan, a friend”. He has never been seen by anyone in the town again. As a child, I remember having an imaginary friend who was a farmer who loved cows (Daan worked a cow pasture) which my parents look back on very fondly. The plaque, also, despite all the years it’s been in harsh conditions, remains bright and shiny.
13. Dead Children’s Playground
Back when I lived in Huntsville my home was ~100 yards away from the “Dead Children’s Playground“. During the day it was just a place parents could drop their kids while they visited buried loved ones, but during the night it’s also a huge fog trap due to a giant rock wall around half of it. Supposedly swings move on their own and you can hear children laughing. We used to go out there at midnight all the time but apparently you have to go at “the witching hour” which I’m guessing is past my bedtime.