True Haunted House Stories That Will Send Shivers

Borley Rectory

Haunted house stories inspire excitement, fear, dread, and awe. They have profound things to say about those who experience them, those whose lives are turned upside down, and those who seek to uncover their truths. Here are SpiritShack’s top five stories that are sure to give you the creeps.

Top 5 Chilling Haunted House Stories

1. Borley Rectory, Essex

Built in 1862 by Henry Bull, this Gothic-style house in Borley, Essex was famously described as the most haunted house in England by paranormal investigator Harry Price. He spent a year in the rectory with a team of observers.

This true story of paranormal disturbances began with unexplained footsteps in 1863. It wasn’t until 1900, however, that four of Bull’s daughters claimed to see a nun near the house who disappeared when they approached.

Over the next four decades, people saw the following phenomena:

  • A phantom coach driven by headless horsemen
  • A young woman’s skull found in a cupboard
  • Servants’ bells ringing despite disconnection
  • Thrown stones and other objects
  • Broken windows

The house was badly damaged by fire in 1939 and ultimately demolished in 1944.

As in many haunted house stories, there is evidence that people faked some of the paranormal activity in this house. This muddies the water for ghost hunters but, nonetheless, leaves many questions unanswered…

2. Hoghton Tower, Lancashire

Hoghton Tower is an impressive 16th-century house with a castle-like appearance near Preston in Lancashire. A one-mile-long driveway takes visitors to this dominating house with dark halls, underground passages, cellars, dungeons, and a mysterious black dog.

At one time, the house counted kings, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare as guests. Today, ghost tours at the house suggest that the weird things you might see, hear, and feel are truly disturbing.

Ghost stories surrounding the house include reports of a Tudor woman walking in the courtyard, the ghost of a little girl, a monk, and the sound of disembodied laughter.

The dungeons under the house are said to have been used during the Lancashire Witch Trials in 1612. In this notorious trial of 12 witches, one died in custody. Ten were tried in Lancashire, and nine were executed.

3. 50 Berkeley Square, London

This is one of those haunted places where people walk past the site every day, not knowing the terrible events that reportedly took place there. 50 Berkeley Square is a Central London townhouse with a terrifying attic.

The attic room was said to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide. She jumped from a top-floor window following abuse by her uncle. Since then, it is said that spending the night in there will drive you mad or literally frighten you to death.

According to this story, Lord Lyttleton spent a night in the attic. He had nothing to show for it in the morning except spent shotgun cartridges and the memory of having seen one or more shadowy figures. There are also stories of how a maid went into the attic room, went mad, and passed away in an asylum shortly after, and a sailor who tripped while fleeing the room and died.

While rumours and exaggeration feed the terror engine of haunted house stories, there is often an unsettling seed of truth. There probably is something disturbing about 50 Berkeley Square. Perhaps even something that could be discovered with the right attitude and ghost-hunting equipment.

4. 284 Green Street, London

The Enfield poltergeist has inspired books, a play destined for the West End, TV dramas, documentaries, one notorious mockumentary, and horror movies. The innocuous, suburban address is known to many as the Conjuring house since the 2016 horror film Conjuring 2 was based on the events that took place here between 1977 and 1979.

Real-life demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren believed the events had a supernatural explanation. As did paranormal investigator Maurice Grosse and writer Guy Lyon Playfair, who wrote the book “This House is Haunted” after his experience here.

When mother of four Peggy Hodgson complained of knocking sounds on the walls in 1977, little did she know that this one night would begin 18 months of paranormal activity. A police officer responding to the complaint couldn’t explain how a chair wobbled and slid across a room seemingly of its own volition.

The paranormal activity centred on Peggy’s daughters, Janet (age 11) and Margaret (13). Janet claimed to have been possessed by the spirit of an old man who used to live in the house.

The supernatural activity over the period included:

  • Gruff, disembodied voices
  • Janet speaking with the voice of an old man
  • Objects being thrown or overturned by an unseen force, including heavy furniture
  • Loud knocking noises
  • Spontaneous combustion
  • The children levitating

Talking about the family members, Daily Mirror photographer Graham Morris said: They didn’t have CGI … [they were] frightened to death, they didn’t understand what was happening, and they wanted it to stop.”

The current owner has transformed the look of the haunted house and has no complaints about any strange noises.

What separates this from many other stories of haunted houses is that there were so many recordings, photographs, and eyewitnesses. Many public figures and haunted house investigators are convinced that this haunted house story was real.

5. Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire

The story goes that, one night, the second Earl of Ducie had a party in the mansion to celebrate becoming his earlship in 1840. However, it was the last time he set foot in the place because he saw the ghost of his dad, the previous Earl, sitting in his seat at the head of the table!

William Leigh bought the northern part of the estate in 1845 with a plan to turn the house into a grand testimony to Catholicism. He later passed renovation work to architect Benjamin Bucknall, who worked with labourers for 16 years before the project was abruptly abandoned, leaving rooms in the house unfinished. Some say that a murder on site caused the mass exodus from the house.

Whatever happened, William Leigh’s son asked the architect for two quotes: one for finishing the project and the other for destroying it. Due to the cost of both, he simply abandoned the house to the ghosts.

During military exercises in the Second World War, troops working nearby drowned when a nearby bridge collapsed. Mediums in this story have since sensed the presence of military personnel inside the mansion.

Witnesses have also heard 1940s music in the old house, as well as singing, the smell of freshly extinguished candles, the silent ghost of a man who may have been a stonemason, and a little girl skipping up and down the staircase.

Honourable mentions

  • The Langham, London – This didn’t quite make the list because of a technicality: it’s a hotel rather than a house. However, it does have an impressively spooky, bed-trembling room where people fear to go (you can rent room 333), which is a feature in many of the best haunted house stories.
  • Sandhill Park, Taunton – This house became used as a hospital for disabled children until staff and visitors had their fill of unsettling paranormal activity.
  • Wentworth Woodhouse, Rotherham – This location comes with sightings of a phantom monk, footsteps, children’s laughter, and visitors feeling as though something had grabbed them.

FAQs

What haunted house is the most terrifying?

This depends on what features of haunted houses make you scared. Is it weird noises and footsteps walking across the hallway and standing outside the room where you’re sleeping? Or do you dread having things moved and suddenly turned over? Some would argue that one of the haunted houses above fits the bill for most terrifying.

Should I live in a haunted house?

People frequently live with ghosts or paranormal activity without life becoming a daily horror story. If you’re the current owner or occupier of a known haunted house, you may soon hear from ghost hunters and investigators!

Final Thoughts

We hope you had fun reading about some of the creepiest haunted house stories!

If you want to explore these houses yourself, don’t forget to pack your trusty ghost-hunting gear before you go out on your next paranormal investigation – if you dare…

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!