Summer is the time for sunshine, warm breezes, BBQs, and campfires. Around those campfires, we laugh, make s’mores, and tell stories. My favorite stories? Why, ghost stories, of course! There’s nothing like getting goosebumps and a little thrill of wondering what went bump in the night. To help you become the best storyteller around the fire, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite ghost stories, so you can scare up lots of fun and see who’s really afraid of the dark.
1. Lavinia Fisher
My home state of South Carolina is rich in ghost lore, but none captivates us more than the story of America’s first female serial killer. A woman named Lavinia Fisher operated the Six Mile House with her husband and murdered wealthy men who traveled alone. Legend has it that police caught her when a potential mark didn’t drink his tea (which she had drugged) and returned later with the authorities. Eventually, investigators found the missing travelers’ bodies. Lavinia, who was hanged for her crimes, supposedly haunts The Old Charleston Jail. She certainly honors her last words: “Cease! I will have none of it. Save your words for others that want them. But if you have a message you want sent to Hell, give it to me; I’ll carry it.” Visitors report seeing a white apparition and orbs, as well as feeling cold spots. Come visit one of America’s oldest cities, and visit Lavinia if you dare.
2. Georgia Drownings
Our attempt to create Lake Lanier in the 1950’s left 60 square miles of the North Georgia mountains beneath the murky water. During the floods, we had to relocate over 20 cemeteries (and the souls buried there). Consequently, there are entire underwater ghost towns beneath Lanier’s depths. Disturbing sightings, unexplainable accidents, and mysterious drownings have been a fixture of the lake since its inception.Some people who’ve survived near-death experiences in the lake even claim that they’ve felt hands dragging them underwater. The lake is open for recreational use, so take a swim if you don’t mind some spooky company.
3. Good Night, Louisiana
Ever experience sleep paralysis? It’s a scary sensation without any paranormal activity, but if you live in Cajun country, they’ll have a ghostly explanation for you. A witch, the Cauchemar, visits you in the night, immobilizes you in your sleep, and rides you like a horse. Remember to say your nightly prayers, because if you don’t, she’ll come knocking. You’ll feel her crushing your chest, paralyzing you, but no one will hear you scream. You may also know her as the “night hag,” but either way, sweet dreams.
4. Music To Your Ears
In mid-1800’s Maine, a lighthouse keeper and his wife moved to Sequin Island. Because the island was a mere dot on the map, the family grew restless. To keep themselves entertained, the husband ordered a piano and sheet music so his wife could learn to play. The wife learned to play alright – she played the same song over and over again. After hearing hearing the same music every hour of every day, her husband went insane, axing the piano and his wife. After realizing his horrible crime, the man took his own life. Island visitors report hearing faint piano music and seeing the outline of a man carrying an axe. Are you brave enough to face the music?
5. Imaginary Friends
Seattle’s first full-service mortuary is no more, though the building still stands. In its place lies Kell’s Pub. One of the most infamous pub tales involves a playful young girl looking for a playmate. Her mother, who had come in for a job interview, instructed her to entertain herself while she spoke with the manager. The daughter appeared midway through the interview with a rag knotted like a dog, and her bewildered mother asked where she got her new toy. The daughter said that her “new friend with the red hair” helped her, but the manager and the mother did not see any other children in the pub and sent her back to her solitary playdate. After the interview, the mother found her daughter talking to her new friend, but no one else could see the little dead girl. I’m guessing that’s one job that Momma didn’t take.
If you’re looking forward to swapping summer bonfire tales with your friends, these spooky stories are sure to be a hit! So roast some s’mores, grab a flashlight, and gather ‘round, because your friends sure aren’t going to sleep tonight!
What’s your favorite scary story? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Photo by Ethan Hu on Unsplash.