10 Creepy Cases of Violent Poltergeists and Ghosts


When it comes to dealing with ghosts, a lot of them are pretty harmless. They may moan, walk around and even slam doors, but rarely do they act violently. Then there are some cases where the spirit, be it a poltergeist, ghost or some other type of spirit, let their presence be known through destruction and even violence.

10. The Colosimo Family Haunting


In the summer of 1986, the Colosimo family moved into a house in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Shortly after moving in, they noticed that their young daughter’s bedroom had an unusually cold draft and nothing they did could fix it. A neighbor of the Colosimos suggested the house may be haunted and told them to hang a rosary in the room. The Colosimos, who were devout Catholics, hung up the rosary and then went a step further and had a priest come to bless the house.

About a week later, things got much worse in the home; books would fly off the shelves, a door was torn off its hinges and a rosary was thrown across the room and the crucifix part of it was embedded in the wall. After these violent disturbances, the Colosimos brought in a psychic, but the psychic failed to drive the spirit away. Two weeks later, they had a witch come in and she said the spirit was the ghost of a 16-year-old Confederate soldier. She said that the ghost had been invited into the house by a child who had previously lived there. She also said that the attempts to drive the ghost away had actually frightened it, which is what caused all the problems around the house. After the witch communicated with the teen soldier, the strange disturbances around the house came to an end.

9. The Great Amherst Mystery


In 1879, Daniel Teed lived in a large home in Amherst, Nova Scotia with his family, his two sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law and his brother. One of those sisters-in-law, a young girl named Esther, was the target of a seemingly violent spirit. It started one night when her body unnaturally swelled up and her bed sheets flew off the bed. When family members tried to fix the sheets back to the bed, they’d fly off again. The next night, they asked the doctor to check on Esther. He sat in the room and waited for Esther to fall asleep. A little while after she did, he saw her pillow start to move. He tried to hold on to the pillow, but it was yanked out of his hands by an invisible force. Then he heard a weird scratching noise and when he looked to the wall, an invisible hand had carved the words “Esther Cox, you are mine to kill!”

Following that incident, every so often a number of small fires would sporadically start throughout the house. Also, the spirit somehow communicated with the family saying that it would burn down the house unless Esther left. So for the safety of the family, Esther went to stay at a local inn, but the ghost apparently followed her there. While she was staying there, a knife flew out of the hands of the innkeeper’s son and into her back. The infection from the stab wound nearly killed her.

After recovering from the infection, Esther met a man who created a sideshow around her and her paranormal problems. Perhaps predictably, when Esther sat on stage, nothing happened and the show failed. The next job she got was with a shipping clerk. A few months into the job she was arrested for arson; a barn caught fire on a property where she lived. She was convicted and given four months in prison. Once she was out of prison, Esther married, had a family and died in 1912.

8. The Red Palace Haunting


In May 1908, a French diplomat living in Constantinople, Turkey, identified only as M. Constans, asked to be brought back to France. The reason, according to sources, was that he and his wife were being terrorized by a ghost in their summer home called the Red Palace. The ghost was apparently that of Prince Ypsolanti, who had hanged himself in the Red Palace years before.

Constans, who was described as a very large man, said that one night he had been pushed out of his bed, but there was no one around. Another time, something was holding up his bed to the point where it was almost perpendicular. Constans’ wife was also victimized, but in a much more violent way. One time she was pushed down the stairs by an invisible force. Another time she was out in the garden when a black goat-looking creature attacked her. It rammed her, knocked her over and she was injured in the attack. Not even people at the embassy where the ambassador worked were free from the possibly cursed palace; they had four mysterious deaths within the span of a month.

Ambassador Constans claimed he was not superstitious; he was just tired of Turkey and dealing with their ghosts.

7. The Flat Rock Haunting


In November of 1954, the Parson family of Flat Rock, Newfoundland and Labrador, started experiencing a weird rash of objects spontaneously combusting around their farm. The first was a dictionary that was in a wooden box and there were other flammable objects around it, but the only thing that burned was the dictionary. A few days later, the Parsons could smell smoke and when they looked around the house, they found that a bag of sugar was on fire. When Mike Parsons touched the bag, the fire immediately went out. Other objects that burst into flames included a doll, a Bible and in a room with no electricity or a fireplace, fires started in the corners. The Parsons gave the press a tour of their house and they took pictures of burn marks scattered throughout the house. A short time later, a priest was asked to bless the house and this seemed to appease whatever was causing the fires because they stopped after that.

Skeptical minds may believe that the Parsons were setting the fire themselves, but the Royal Canadian Mounted Police didn’t believe this to be true. Their farm wasn’t insured and it is doubtful they would have started fires that could have destroyed their livelihood. As a result, the fires on the Parsons’ farm officially remain a mystery.

6. The Oldnall Road Haunting


In the West Midlands area of England, there is a short country road called Oldnall Road. Inconspicuous at first, the short stretch of road has an unnaturally high amount of car crashes. While it is presumable that the road is just dangerous, there have been some weird sightings that seem to suggest that it is haunted. For years, drivers claimed that the reason they swerved was because in the middle of the road, there was a young girl who was wearing clothes from the Victorian era.

After they got out of the car, the girl had vanished. Authorities are baffled by the appearance of the girl, but believe the drivers swerved because the road was frosty. However, the drivers claim that the roads were dry when they were on them.

5. The Fire Spook of Caledonia Mills

Caledonia Mills is a rural community in Nova Scotia, Canada and it was home to an oddly violent ghost that started haunting a farm sometime around 1900. One night in January, Janet MacDonald yelled at her elderly mother that she hopes that the devil comes and takes her away before 9:00 the next morning. Unfortunately, her mother was dead by morning and that is when odd things started happening around the house. Objects would disappear from the home and they would be found on the property line. Other times farm equipment would be moved and even occasionally the tails of a horse would be braided.

The most terrifying night happened in January 1922. During a blizzard, 16-year-old Mary Ellen MacDonald went to her neighbor’s house for help. When she and the neighbors returned to the house, they found that there were burn marks around the house and other objects would burst into blue flames. There were 38 fires in total. That night caused the family to flee the house and they never returned.

Some have speculated that Mary Ellen was the target of the poltergeist, but others believe Janet’s dead mother left a curse on the house. In May 1971, the house mysteriously burned to the ground.

4. The Bell Witch Haunting


John Bell, his wife, his 12 children and his slaves had been living near Adams, Tennessee for about 13 years when strange things started happening to the family. It began with strange noises and the faint sound of an old woman singing, but not loud enough for anyone to hear the words. Then, while hunting in the woods, John Bell came across a strange animal that had the head of a dog and the body of a rabbit. John went on hunting expeditions looking for it, but he couldn’t find the animal again.

As time progressed, things in the house only got worse. At times, there were loud banging sounds coming from outside. John’s daughter Betsy, who was a constant target of the spirit, was attacked in her sleep and it would leave her with bruises and bite marks. When a neighbor came to witness the disturbances first hand, he saw objects flying around the house. The voice also got louder and they could hear it clearly. It was a woman, nicknamed Kate by John Bell, and she quoted scripture, and she also started addressing family members by name. One message the voice got across was that she was going to kill John Bell.

Besides the Bells, other people witnessed the strange phenomenon as well. A notable visitor to the homestead was General Andrew Jackson, who visited the Bells in 1819. The three eldest sons had served under Jackson and he came to visit because he had heard of the haunting. When his horses approached, they stopped and couldn’t be moved closer to the house. That’s when Jackson was addressed by the ghost and she told him to leave the horses behind. Jackson and his entourage entered the house and had planned on staying a week, but they left in fright the following day.

In 1820, John died at the age of 70. When his family looked around the room, they found a small vial with some liquid in it. Deciding to experiment with it, they fed some to a cat who promptly died. After the cat was dead, Kate claimed she finally killed John. During his funeral, she laughed and sang. A year after his death, John’s widow was addressed by Kate, who said she would haunt her for another seven years. True to her word, Kate was last seen in 1828, where she addressed John Jr. and she predicted the Civil War. Today, the Bell’s farm and a nearby cave are tourist attractions.

3. The Jaboticabal Poltergeist


Starting in 1965, the Ferreira family of Jaboticabal, Brazil, was apparently victimized by an incredibly violent spirit. It started off with bricks falling from seemingly out of nowhere in their home. After a short time, it became apparent that the spirit was focusing its attention on 11-year-old Maria Jose. To chase the spirit away from the girl, the family had a priest perform an exorcism, but that only seem to make things worse. More bricks started flying around the house, then eggs and even furniture. But where this story gets terrifying is that it became violent with Maria. She was often attacked by an unseen force that left bruises and bite marks on her. One time while she was at school, her clothes began to smolder and then they caught fire while she was with a group of other students. Finally, needles were mysteriously embedded in her skin. One time, 55 pins were removed from her ankle.

This went on for a year and then the family contacted a medium. The medium said Maria was being haunted by a vengeful ghost. Apparently Maria had been a witch in another life and in that life she had killed the person who became the spirit. The medium also said that the ghost would never relent.

Sadly, five years after the haunting started, Maria took her own life by poisoning herself and there were no other reports of ghostly disturbances in her house after her death.

2. The Cursed Grave of Carl Pruitt


The story of the curse of Carl Pruitt’s grave goes back to an afternoon in 1938, in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Pruitt returned home after a day of work and expected to find his wife in the kitchen. Instead, he found her in a bedroom with another man. Enraged, Pruitt grabbed a chain and started to strangle her and her lover used the opportunity to flee the scene. After she was dead, Pruitt committed suicide.

Pruitt’s wife’s family refused to forgive Pruitt, so he was buried in a different cemetery in a different town. Visitors to the cemetery that came across Pruitt’s grave noticed something odd going on. There was some discoloration that looked like circles, and then they started to link together, making it look like there was a chain on the tombstone. The odd discoloration drew the attention of some people, including a young group of boys who rode their bikes over to the cemetery about a month after the chain had formed. To impress his friends, one boy threw a rock at the tombstone which chipped it. As the boy rode home, there was a freak accident and the chain came off his bike and wrapped around his neck, strangling him to death.

The boy’s mother was obviously devastated and decided to take it out on the tombstone. She took an ax and whacked at it a number of times. The next day, she was hanging up laundry when the clothesline somehow wrapped around her neck and strangled her. When her death was investigated, the ax was found with rock dust on it and it was dented, but Pruitt’s tombstone remained intact. A short time later, a farmer was riding in a horse drawn cart with his family past the cemetery. For some foolish reason, he decided to fire his pistol at Priutt’s tombstone. The gunfire spooked the horses, causing them to speed up. The farmer’s family jumped from the wagon, but the farmer stayed on until he was thrown from the carriage and a rein wrapped around his neck, strangling him.

Next, two policemen, who were convinced the curse was non-sense, went to the cemetery and took pictures of themselves in the area of Pruitt’s grave. As they drove away, a bright light started following them and they tried to speed away. This led to them driving off the road into a fence and the officer in the passenger seat was thrown from the car, but survived. His partner, on the other hand, had been nearly decapitated by a chain between the two fence posts.

By the time the 1940s rolled around, most people were staying away from the cemetery out of fear of losing their own life. But not everyone did. One man went into the cemetery and started to smash the tombstone with a hammer. People could hear the hammer bashing against the tombstone and then that was replaced by blood curdling screams. The townspeople investigated the cemetery and they found the man dead at the gates. Apparently he was frightened by something and ran away. As he got to the exit, the chain used to lock the gates somehow wrapped around his neck and strangled him to death. After that death, bodies were exhumed from the cemetery and a stripping company removed all the markers, including Pruitt’s wrathful tombstone.

1. The Death of Elisa Lam

On January 26, 2013, 21-year-old university student Elisa Lam traveled by herself from her home in British Columbia to California. After spending some time in San Diego, for reasons unknown, she checked into the historic Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles’ skid row on January 28 and was scheduled to check out on February 1. She was last seen alive three days after checking into the lobby of the hotel.

While in California, Lam had kept in touch with her parents every day and after they hadn’t heard from her, they called the police. The police investigated the disappearance and a few days later they released a surveillance tape from the hotel’s elevator, in which Lam is seen acting incredibly odd. She is seen pressing buttons and she sticks her head out of the elevator a number of times, as if she is looking for someone. She also walks in and out of the elevator a few times and she even appears to be talking to herself.

Two weeks later, there is still no trace of Lam. That is until residents of the hotel started complaining about black water coming out of the faucets and a lack of water pressure. An employee went to the roof and found Lam’s naked body in one of the closed water tanks on the hotel’s roof. Unfortunately, people had been showering and drinking the water in that tank. An autopsy was performed and she had drowned. There were no recreational drugs or alcohol found in her blood. It was ruled accidental.

Ghost enthusiasts believe that Lam was actually possessed by some malevolent spirit or being influenced by a ghost. They point to the fact that a lot of tragedies are linked to the hotel. There were two active serial killers that stayed at the hotel – Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez and Austrian prostitute slayer Jack Unterweger. Elizabeth Short, the victim of the infamous Black Dahlia Murder, was also seen at the hotel on the night she died. And those are just some of the sensational deaths attached to the budget hotel; there have been plenty of other murders and suicides there.

As for evidence that Lam was possessed, people point out that it is unclear how Lam managed to get to the roof. There are two ways to access it – a fire escape that sets off an alarm or through a door that was always locked. Also, the locked door was actually in a spot that only long term guests (like a ghost) or hotel employees would know about. Then, once on the roof, Lam, who was a slight female, somehow managed to open the heavy door and close it behind her. Skeptics don’t believe Lam was speaking to a ghost or that she was possessed. Instead, they believe her death stemmed from the fact that Lam had bipolar disease.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, follow him on Pinterest or visit his website.

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  1. Charles Campbell on

    I looked all over Find A Grave for Carl Pruitt”s gravesite in Kentucky…no info whatsoever!

  2. I was eating dinner when I thought my son came beside me because out of the corner of my eye I saw a black mass. I thought it was the top of his head because he had a mop of dark brown hair. Well it happened fast and the black mass swirled went against my cheek to behind my neck which lifted my hair. My ears popped like I was experiencing going up in elevation. My sister had recently passed away. I was eating her favorite food, I don’t know what it was but I cant explain it either. My mom was sitting next to me and witnessed the whole thing. She was in shock.

  3. These are all pretty much unsubstantiated claims from the past or by so called psychics and mediums. I call bullsh$t. I just don’t believe in ghosts or spirits but would welcome any occurrence to prove me wrong, good or bad. The only story that gave me any hint of possible reality would be #2 but only if the folks involved were actually harmed as in the story.

    • LOL…unlike all those those other “real” ghosts. All ghost stories are bull because ghosts aren’t real.