Ghosts in the White House? 10 Chilling Ghost Stories That Will Haunt Your Imagination

Published on February 4, 2024

Credit: Cederic Vandenberghe

Told quietly around a campfire, or whispered before bedtime, stories of the supernatural have always been an important part of human culture, captivating our imaginations and sending shivers down our spines. From ancient folklore to modern tales of the unknown, ghost stories continue to intrigue and terrify us.

Join us on a chilling journey through some of the best ghost stories out there. But beware, some of these might linger in your thoughts long after reading this article.


The Gray Lady

Credit: Sayan Ghosh

Hampton Court Palace in England boasts a chilling resident: the Gray Lady . Legend has it that she is the ghost of Sybil Penn, an English courtier who was a nurse and teacher to Edward VI of England and personal attendant of Elizabeth I of England. After her monument at St Mary's Church in Hampton was moved in 1829, several stories regarding her figure became popular in the area. It was said the noise of a spinning wheel was heard at Hampton Court, and that soon after a closed-up room with a spinning wheel was discovered. Visitors have reported glimpses of her ghostly figure, dressed in gray, wandering the hallways and even crossing the palace's famous Haunted Gallery.


The Bell Witch Haunting

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Originating in the early 19th century in Tennessee, the Bell Witch legend tells of a vengeful spirit tormenting the Bell family from 1817 to 1821. Mysterious noises, physical attacks, and eerie whispers plagued the household. According to the Bell family, the otherworldly entity was able to speak, shapeshift, and even be in more than one place at a time, akin to the poltergeists of German folklore. The haunting became so infamous that it is said that even President Andrew Jackson visited. After witnessing an excessively boastful "witch slayer" get beaten and humiliated by the entity, he allegedly exclaimed: "By the eternal, boys, I never saw so much fun in all my life. This beats fighting the British."


The Tower of London

Credit: Nick Fewings

The legendary Tower of London is not just a fortress of stone and history—according to popular tradition, it is also home to several spectral inhabitants. Being a place with such a grisly history, its walls bearing witness to countless murders and executions, this should not come as a surprise. Guards and visitors have reported sightings of many ghostly apparitions that correspond with historical figures who suffered gory fates within the Tower, like a headless Anne Boleyn or the tortured screams of Guy Fawkes. Some claim these apparitions bring an ominous forewarning of impending tragedy.


Residual Energy at Gettysburg

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The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the American Civil War, and its echoes reverberate beyond the pages of history. Many visitors have reported eerie occurrences—apparitions, phantom sounds of battle, and ghostly soldiers. Some believe the intense emotions of the battle left residual energy etched into the landscape. The bloodiest portions of the battlefield are said to be especially haunted, and spots like the macabrely named Slaughter Pen and Devil’s Den are mentioned again and again in stories about ghostly apparitions in the area.


The Brown Lady

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Raynham Hall in Norfolk, England, is home to the infamous Brown Lady, whose spectral figure has terrified onlookers for centuries. Legend has it that Lady Dorothy Walpole (sister of the first British Prime Minister), accused of infidelity and locked by her husband in the family home until her death, roams the halls to this day. In 1936, photographers allegedly captured her ghostly image descending the grand staircase, solidifying her bone-chilling legacy.


The Okiku Doll Curse

Credit: Aimee Vogelsang

The Okiku doll, residing in the Mannenji temple in Japan, is not an ordinary children's toy, at least according to modern Japanese folklore. Legend has it that the spirit of the deceased original owner of the doll—a little girl also named Okiku—resides within it. The hair on the doll is said to grow mysteriously, and those who look into her eyes can get a glimpse of the girl’s tormented soul.


The Ghosts of Versailles

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The history of French royalty is ripe with macabre tales that delve into the darker side of human behavior. So, it should not come as a surprise that the opulent Palace of Versailles, once home to monarchs and courtesans, harbors more than just royalty gossip. Visitors and staff have reported ghostly encounters, from the restless spirits of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI to the spectral echoes of the French Revolution. There’s even a claim of time travel! In any case, the sumptuous halls of the palace hold far more secrets than they seem.


Spectral Presidents

Credit: Tabrez Syed

The White House, the epicenter of U.S. politics, is rumored to host more than just the living representatives of the American people. Past presidents and First Ladies have reported ghostly sightings, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and William McKinley. A particularly frightening case happened during the Taft administration when the ghost of an unidentified 15-year-old boy—called the "Thing"—instilled terror among the domestic staff. According to a military aide, the ghost often materialized as "a slight pressure on the shoulder, as if someone were leaning over your shoulder to see what you might be doing." Eventually, Taft himself intervened, threatening to fire anyone who repeated stories about the haunting.


The LaLaurie Mansion

Credit: Martin Lostak

Considered one of the most haunted places in New Orleans, the LaLaurie Mansion has a dark past associated with Madame Delphine LaLaurie's gruesome crimes. Slaves and servants were tortured and killed within its walls, and historians suspect that she even abused and tortured her daughters. After the mansion was set ablaze in 1834, many of the atrocious crimes committed under its roof were revealed to the shock of the public, and Madame Delphine had to precipitously flee from the city.


The Crying Boy

Credit: Annie Spratt

A seemingly innocent mass-produced painting, "The Crying Boy," gained notoriety in the 1980s, after an Essex firefighter claimed that copies of the painting were often found among the debris of incinerated houses, unscathed. Rumors of a curse soon spread, leading many to believe that the painting brought misfortune and personal tragedy to its owners. Others even maintained that the eyes of the crying child followed them as they moved.


10 Words And Phrases Typed Using Just One Row On The Keyboard

Published on February 4, 2024

Credit: Luca Onniboni

Have you ever tried to see how many words you can write using just one row on the keyboard? Well, although you might have to squeeze your brain a little, it turns out there are a lot of one-row words!

But why stop at just words? Meaningful phrases can be constructed too, if you have the patience. After reading the ones we have come up with, try and see how many more you can find!



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Isn’t it ironic? Picture yourself in front of an old-timey typewriter, a gentle breeze coming from an open window on a summer afternoon. And then clack, clack, clack, you find out that you can write "typewriter" with just one row.

Also, did you know that the QWERTY keyboard layout most of us use today was first devised in the early 1870s? Some things are older than you think.



Credit: Ricky Kharawala

It sounds made up, doesn’t it? However, if you are well-versed in medicinal plants, you might already be familiar with this one. The smooth rupturewort, the common name of the Herniaria glabra , is a plant found in Europe and North America that is used for various medicinal purposes. Its name comes from the ancient belief that it was a remedy for hernia ruptures.

It is also considered a sturdy ground-covering plant, known for being resistant to droughts and thriving in poor soils.


Proper Prototype

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"A proper prototype, innit ?" This alliterative conjunction sounds like something taken out of a British sci-fi script. The longest word that can be written with the top row of a QWERTY keyboard is actually quite close: proterotype , meaning "a first or primitive type." Look it up in the dictionary, it’s there!


Write Your Poetry, Pier

Credit: Álvaro Serrano

Pier doesn’t feel like writing his homework poetry, and he needs to be reminded to keep his focus by his very stern mother. If you are so inclined or want to give Pier a break, try and write a one-row poem. They say creativity flourishes under limitations!


Trope or trite?

Credit: Ed Robertson

A trope can be a figure of speech, or, in literature, a common theme or cliché. Similarly, trite is something (an opinion, an idea) tired and overused. Many tropes can indeed be a bit trite, like the protagonist who needs to save the world, or the successful person who returns to their small hometown. However, one could argue that no trope is necessarily trite by itself, maybe it just needs better writing.


Alaska has alfalfa

Credit: Darla Hueske

Alfalfa prefers to grow in temperate climates, so this one must be a blatant lie, or so I thought. Apparently, a team of scientists back in the 70s engineered a variety resistant to the Last Frontier’s extremely harsh winters by crossing common alfalfa plants with Siberian species. Although the crop’s popularity never caught up with the industry, there are some plans to bring it back.

So, Alaska may have alfalfa, after all. Ahoy, and north to the future!


Algal salsa flask

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Maybe I will pass on this one. To be honest, algal salsa doesn't sound too yummy. That being said, a lot of foods are made with edible algae, and even soy sauce can be made of fermented seaweed instead of, well, soy. Kelp and other types of marine flora are harvested to make gel-forming products like algin, agar, or carrageenan, that end up in all sorts of processed foods, even ice-cream!


Sad gal salad


Our poor gal has started a diet, and she’s obviously sad because all she has now for lunch is a meager salad. Long gone are the fries and burgers, but don’t despair, salad doesn’t have to be lean and flavorless to be healthy. Also, in case you didn’t know, gal is not exactly a real word, but rather a phonetic transcription used in written English to represent the way certain accents pronounce the word girl .


Lads’ gala

Credit: Annie Spratt

The lads are back in town, and they are throwing up a special gala to celebrate the occasion. If you are not invited, worry not, you can still have fun with some etymology. The word lad can be traced back to Middle English ladde , meaning either "foot soldier" or "young male servant." It eventually evolved to refer to almost any young man or boy. Gala , on the other hand, is a borrowed word from Old French, meaning "merriment."



Credit: Bianca Ackermann

An onomatopoeia for the sound of a bee buzzing. This may be cheating, but try and come up with anything better with just the bottom letters of a QWERTY keyboard. A fun fact regarding this one: it is considered a cross-linguistic onomatopoeia, meaning it is replicated in a very similar fashion in different languages worldwide. And yes, that also means not all onomatopoeias are directly understood by speakers of different languages, despite the fact that they are all based on specific sounds.

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