Spooky folklore is told all over the world. Many places have fascinating stories to tell. While some just plain spooky, others more gruesome. Take a look at some of the most famous ghost stories from each continent.
Africa – the Ghosts of Karoo National Park
Karoo National Park in South Africa is home to countless ghosts. Here are some of the most well-known ghost stories.
The waterspooks are known to cause a thick, dense fog at odd times of day and night, through which you can make out a few derelict unmarked graves. This is to allow them to sneak around, undetected, and drown unsuspecting livestock.
The mountain ravine of Seweweekspoort is host to the toll keeper’s ghost. Known colloquially as the Smuggler’s Route, it was the main trail for smugglers, thieves, and outlaws. A toll-house was erected in the effort to deter the unlawful use of the ravine. The remains of the old toll-house are still there, along with the ghost of the toll-keeper. People have been flagged down by him, telling them that they need to pay the toll, or warning them of an impending storm. But, as soon as they get close to him, he vanishes.
The Uniondale ghost is one of the most famous ghost stories of the region. A young man and his fiance were driving around Uniondale to go and tell her parents of their engagement, when he suddenly lost control of the car. He sustained serious injuries, and she was killed on impact. About eight years later, a female hitchhiker started to be spotted on the side of the road near where the car crash had happened. People stop their cars to allow her in. After she takes a seat, they turn to ask her where she wants to be taken, only to find that she has disappeared. She is now known as the Uniondale Hitchhiker.
Antarctica – Scott’s Hut
Despite its remote location, Antarctica is known as one of the most haunted places in the world. Scott’s Hut is a small house that was erected by Robert Falcon Scott, a Royal Navy Antarctic Explorer. It was built in 1911 as his base for the Terra Nova Expedition, which failed. The expeditioners reached the hut, and Scott, along with two companions, set out to explore Antarctica further. Unfortunately, they hit nasty weather on the way back, and all three perished.
Nearby the hut is a large cross to mark the graves of the explorers. It is said that their ghosts still haunt the cabin, but they’re not the only ones. It seems to be like a magnet for the ghosts of other explorers, and it is common to hear voices, footsteps, and see mysterious figures. Many people report feelings of dread and have seen wandering spectres around in the tundra. Needless to say, the ghost stories in Antarctica abound.
Australia – the Ghosts of Port Arthur in Tasmania
Port Arthur is the historic site of an old convict settlement on the Tasmanian Peninsula. It didn’t just house convicts, but also their families. It has a very dark past and is known as one of the most haunted spots in Australia.
There have many ghost stories told here. One of the most frequent is the Lady in Blue. She is known to wear a long blue hoop dress and a bonnet. She is thought to have been the wife of an accountant who worked there. The story goes that she was pregnant and fell or was pushed down the stairs to her death, and that she has not left because she is looking for her unborn child. Many people have also said that they’ve heard a child laughing or lying on the floor with a broken arm.
People have also said that, on quiet nights, they’ve heard children playing outside. They play hopscotch and sing songs. Some tourists have even gotten pictures with ghostly figures looking out of windows.
Some more frequent ghostly encounters include strange odors, soldiers, convicts, and a disembodied head.
Asia – the Pontianak of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore
Out of the murky swamps of Southeast Asia emerges the Pontianak, or Kuntilinak. These are vengeful spirits that take on the form of lovely women, with pale skin, red lips, and flowing black hair, wearing a white dress stained with blood. She lures her victims towards her with the sounds of soft laughter or a baby’s cry. When they are met with their human prey, they transform into hideous vampires to feast on human organs, using their long, sharp nails to tear a body apart.
They are thought to be the souls of women who died in childbirth and often take the form of a pregnant woman. The way to conquer a Pontianak is to drive a nail into the hole in the nape of her neck, which turns her into a subdued and charming wife, until the nail is removed. Pontianak are said to be attracted by the smell of clean laundry, so many people avoid hanging up their laundry at night.
Europe – The White Lady of Berlin
In the 16th Century, King Joachim II of Germany took a mistress named Anna Sydow after his current wife suffered an injury that put a strain on their marriage. He and Anna grew very close, even daring to go out together in public, much to everyone else’s chagrin. He let her stay in the Jagdschloss Grunewald castle in Berlin, and they had several children together. Years went by, and Joachim’s health started to decline. Before his death, he made his son Johan Georg swear an oath to take care of Anna after his death.
Unfortunately, Johan was an unjust ruler, who imposed taxes on the poor and banished Jewish people from parts of the country. He locked Anna up in Spandau Citadel promptly after his father died. She died there four years later. Johan continued ruling, thinking that his encounter with Anna was done. But, eight days before his death, the pale spirit of Anna appeared, and he called her the White Woman.
Since then, her ghost has been sighted by many others. One of the most well-known ghost stories was when King Frederick William IV, the King of Prussia, came to visit. It was an unseasonably chilly night and a peculiar fog surrounded the castle. Sentries reported seeing the White Woman leading four headless men through a castle. The men carried a casket, inside of which lay a headless man, a crown placed where his head should be.
North America – The Skadegamutc
The Wabanaki are a Native American First Nation in Northern Main and parts of Canada. Of their most terrifying legends is that of the Skadegamutc. A Skadegamutc is an undead evil sorcerer who is lifeless by day, emerging only at night in the form of a ball of light. The only way for them to cling to immortality is by feasting on human blood and flesh. They hunt by night, stalking unsuspecting victims, and are known to prey on people who are vulnerable, such as when they are grieving or alone, having strayed from their group. They retain their magic while undead and can put curses on people.
There are several stories of those who have encountered a Skadegamutc. One such story is that of a native woman and her husband who were traveling. They stopped for the night to take shelter in a grove that happened to be the burial site of a deceased sorcerer. The wife was uneasy and wanted to find somewhere else to sleep, but her husband insisted they stay there for the night. The woman spent the night listening to a strange noise, like that of a person gnawing on food.
When dawn came and the sun was peeking through the trees, she went to wake her husband, but found that his entire left side and his heart had been eaten. She rushed to a nearby village for help, and told them what had happened. They did not believe her, but followed her back to the spot where she had spent the night. They found the body of the dead magician and saw fresh blood on his lips.
South America – El Silbón (The Whistler)
Latin America has many different, disturbing haunted folklore tales. One of the most famous ghost stories is that of the Whistler from Argentina. There was a very spoiled child who demanded that his father go out and kill a deer for dinner. When his father returned empty-handed after not being able to find any deer, the boy killed his father. He cut out his father’s heart and liver, and gave them to his mother to cook for dinner, claiming that they were deer meat.
When they started eating dinner, his mother noticed something wasn’t right because of how tough and chewy the meat was. She finds out what the meat really is and curses her son. His grandfather then tied him to a post in the countryside and whipped him until his back was a bloody pulp. The grandfather then poured alcohol and lemon juice on his back and sent rabid dogs after him after adding a second curse forcing him to carry the bones of his father for all eternity.
So, if you are in Venezuela and hear the sounds of whistling, you may be near to your death. The whistling plays the tune of the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B. If it sounds near, you’re safe, because it means that El Silbón is far. But, if it sounds distant, then it means that he is near. The only things that can scare him off are the sounds of whips lashing and dogs barking.
If it sounds distant, then it means that he is near.
There is a second version of this story, which says that he was not spoiled, but came home one day to find his father with a mistress, prompting him to murder his father. Those who believe this version say that El Silbón preys on womanizers.
In both versions, he is condemned to carry his father’s bones in a sack for all eternity. On some nights, El Sibón will come by a house, drop the sack on the ground, and count the bones. If the inhabitants of the house hear him, then they are safe. But, if they don’t hear him before sunrise, then a family member will be dead by morning.
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My name is Andrea and I live in Los Angeles, California. By day, I am an actor and by night I am working towards a degree in nutritional science.