15 Ghost Facts for Fans of the Paranormal!
Here are some seriously spooky facts to give your Halloween a terrifying twist!
Without ghosts, Halloween would generally be just a group of strangers going from house to house asking for free sweets. To celebrate these Halloween heroes, here are 15 of the spookiest facts we were brave enough to research!
1. WHAT IS A GHOST?
Simply put, a ghost is a vision of a dead person who appears to the living in an often recognisable form (but not always, as you'll find out in a moment)...
2. DIFFERENT TYPES OF GHOSTS
There's not just one typical ghost. Poltergeist – noisy ghosts – can make things move around in your house. Funnel ghosts are usually found in old buildings and can be a shape of light, trying to visit a loved one. The same goes for orbs, which are balls of light. Some ghosts are like mist or 'whisps'. As far as we know, there are no 'bedsheet' ghosts. That's just a helpful way of illustrating them or giving people ideas for fancy dress at Halloween.
3. THE TOWER OF LONDON IS FULL OF GHOSTS!
The Tower of London is nearly a thousand years old, and it's had plenty of time to build up a big roster of spooks! Spectral guests include the ghost of Anne Boleyn, wife of Henry VIII, Lady Jane Grey, the nine days queen, and even a ghostly bear! There's been lots of grisly happenings in the tower, including murder, torture, beheadings and more, so it's no wonder these ghosts feel like hanging around! It also used to have a zoo, which explains the bear! Have you ever seen one of these spectres?
4. WHAT TOOLS ARE USED TO TRACK GHOSTS?
Fans of the paranormal will know that ghost hunters use things like electromagnetic field detectors, which can apparently detect otherworldly visitors. They also use temperature guns to look for cold areas in houses, which is said to be a sure sign that ghosts are nearby.
5. WHERE DOES THE WORD 'GHOST' COME FROM?
The word comes from an Old English word, gast or gost, which meant spirit or soul. It's also linked to geist, which is a German word for 'spirit'.
6. A CHICKEN'S GHOST WANDERS AROUND LONDON!
It's believed that a ghost of part of a chicken wanders around Pond Square in Highgate, London. This, ahem, fowl apparition is thanks to Sir Francis Bacon, who wanted to test his theory that meat could be kept from going off by keeping it cold. In 1626, he stuffed the chicken with snow and he himself, caught a chill and passed away. The chicken's ghost, meanwhile, is reported to have been seen flapping around the square.
7. SOME ROMANS BELIEVED IN GHOSTS
When ancient Romans wanted revenge on someone they didn't like, they believed that they could get a ghost to do it for them. They did this by scratching a curse on something called a curse tablet and putting it into a grave. Absolutely fiendish and a bit mean, really.
8. WITCHING HOUR
As the name suggests, this is time during the night where supernatural and paranormal happenings are more likely to happen. Ghosts and demons are said to be at their most powerful during the witching hour. And witches, obviously.
9. HAVE YOU SEEN A GHOST?
According to a recent poll of 2000 people, three in five of those interviewed believed that they have seen a ghost. Two in five said they think their pet had witnessed one too. So next time you see your cat sit up and stare for no particular reason, it could be a ghost!
10. DAY OF THE DEAD FESTIVAL
In Mexico, there is a colourful two-day event called Día de los Muertos, where people celebrate the lives of their ancestors. It takes place during the first two days of November.
11. ARE GHOSTS PECKISH?
They must be. In Hong Kong, there's an event called 'Yue Lan' which translates to 'Festival of the Hungry Ghosts', during which fires are lit and food and gifts are offered up to all those angry spirits!
12. WHERE DID THE WORD 'SPOOK' COME FROM?
The word is Dutch, meaning ghost. It's similar in other European languages. German speakers say 'spuk’, in Danish it's ‘spøge', in Swedish it's ‘spöke’ and in Norway, they say ‘spjok’.
13. YOU'LL PROBABLY SEE A GHOST AT HAMPTON COURT!
It is said that Hampton Court Palace in Richmond-upon-Thames is home to several ghosts, including two of Henry VIII's wives! His second wife, Jane Seymour, is said to carry a candle on Silverstick Stairs, while his fifth wife, Catherine Howard – who was executed at the Tower of London – walks the hallways and screams.
14. AND THE WHITE HOUSE, TOO!
Apparitions of former American leaders are said to roam the halls of the Presidential house. But there have been sightings of Abraham Lincoln – the chinstrap-bearded 16th President – which have led to nickname as The White House Ghost. Some people just can't leave the office, it seems.
15. WHAT'S THE BEST FILM ABOUT CATCHING GHOSTS?
The answer is, and always will be Ghostbusters.