Author MB Forde compiled a list of some of the world’s most terrifying unexplained phenomena, weird places, and strange photos.
Below are a few of his creepiest stories handpicked by us.
The Enfield Poltergeist
There was all kinds of phenomena reported and witnessed by the family, neighbors, police, journalists and investigators in 1977 and 1978.
Furniture would move around, seemingly without the aid of human hands; knocking sounds were heard, the sources of which were never found; people were allegedly thrown into the air; Janet was seen levitating above her bed—witnessed by a person outside the house through a window; electrical equipment broke down, with batteries draining inexplicably; teleportation; the list is almost endless.
One of the strangest things about the Enfield case is that the ‘thing’ behind it all seemed to be sentient. In fact, it could use knocks to communicate and audio recordings exist of it ‘speaking through’ Janet with a voice most incongruous to an 11-year-old girl.
If I remember correctly, the voice identified itself as a previous occupant of the house: Bill Wilkins, an old man who had died of a brain hemorrhage in a chair downstairs.
Toys ‘R’ Us in Sunnyvale
Since the 1970s, weird stuff has happened at this toy store. The more common strange events involve staff hearing their names whispered, cold breezes and objects moving of their own accord.
Taps would turn on by themselves in the women’s bathroom, and many of the store’s female employees experienced something unseen playing with their hair.
The photograph above was taken with an “infrared sensitive camera” during a séance at the store during the filming of a TV show documenting the haunting. The single standing figure at the back remains unidentified, and is strangely translucent in places. Nobody present remembered seeing anyone standing during the séance, and other cameras shooting the same view all failed to capture the figure.
The cause of the paranormal mischief is supposedly Johnny Johnson, a Scandinavian immigrant who used to work the old farm that the store has been built upon. In 1884, while chopping wood, Johnny accidentally struck himself with the axe and bled to death alone on the site.
SHC is a weird one, and, as far as I know, it remains totally unexplained*. There have been hundreds of cases reported, most with similarities. Usually, the victim’s torso has burned away entirely, with only a small area of charring to the surroundings. Often, limbs also remain, scorched at the end but intact otherwise. Just a couple of cases:
In 1986 retired firefighter George Mott’s remains were discovered in his New York apartment. According to some sources, all that was left of him was “a leg, a shrunken skull and pieces of his rib cage.”
Mary Hardy Reeser spontaneously combusted while sitting in a chair in her Florida home. Upon discovery, all that remained was the burned seat springs, some bones, a shrunken skull and one foot that was still wearing its slipper. Again, the burning was localized.
The Cooper Falling Body
The details are pretty thin on the ground and are really just a couple of sentences. About half way through the last century (judging by the clothes), the Cooper family moved into a new home somewhere in Texas. They took a photograph to mark this occasion and this thing appeared in the left of the frame upon development.
And that’s it. I’m told that the original snap has been cropped, which explains why the family is now not centred, as one would expect them to be. However, there is some degree of vignetting, which points towards the photograph being uncropped.
Another possibility is that a doll or something was being dangled in front of the camera to make sure the boys looked into the lens, but would anyone really let an object into the frame so much? Surely it’d be just as easy to dangle the doll above the lens.
The Moving Coffins of the Chase Family Vault
When the wealthy Chase family bought a vault it was already some eighty years old. The vault was partially underground and hewn out of the compacted coral that makes up much of the island’s foundations. Despite its age, it had only ever housed a single occupant: one Thomasina Goddard. The head of the Chase family, Colonel Thomas Chase, decided not to disturb Goddard—and she was soon saved from her lonely prostration when the young Mary-Anne Maria Chase joined her in lead-lined eternity.
Two more deaths followed in the years after. Upon reopening the for Thomas Chase’s body it was seen that, somehow, Dorcas’ coffin had moved from its original position and now rested against the far wall “standing on end, with its head downward”. Blaming vandals or thieves, the funeral party replaced the coffin, slid the marble slab back over the entrance and left. From then on, every time the vault was opened the contents would be in disarray—including Thomas Chase’s heavy casket which, according to sources, took eight men to lift.
Four times over the following years would the marble slab be heaved aside and the sun’s light rush in to illuminate this weird danse macabre. By now, word had spread about the strange movements and members of the public and island officials began attending the burials in great numbers. It was decided that cement seals would be put in place to indicate tampering.
Eight months passed and the Governor and a party of men decided to check out the crypt on their own. The seals were found to be intact and no evidence of foul play could be seen until, upon reopening, it was witnessed that once again the contents were in disarray.
In fact, this time, it was a particularly chaotic scene that greeted the onlookers as ALL the contents had moved from their resting places. Mary-Anna’s coffin had come to rest against the left wall and a small chunk had been chipped off it, seemingly caused by the violence of its journey. The floor’s sandy coating was undisturbed and no sign of flooding or earthquake was apparent.
After this incident the story ends abruptly. The bodies were moved to other burial sites and the Chase vault left empty. It still stands vacant to this day at Oistins on the island’s southern coast.
Amityville Ghost Caught on Film
This is another striking photograph. Some say the young-looking figure peeking over the bannister is a demon with glowing eyes, others that it bears an uncanny resemblance to one of the young DeFeo boys that was murdered in the house by Ronald Junior.
After the story of the Lutz Family’s experiences of the Amityville house broke to the public an investigation was led by “infamous demonologists” Ed and Lorraine Warren in 1976. Photographer Gene Campbell set up a camera on the second floor to automatically take pictures at certain intervals. Amongst many uninteresting exposures, this one stood out.
I haven’t really researched this thoroughly, but it is worth pointing out that, in general, there is a huge amount of skepticism surrounding the Amityville saga. For instance, some have shown that the figure in this picture resembles one of the Warren’s investigators, Paul Bartz. They are certainly wearing similar shirts, but to me the match isn’t perfect, so who knows?
The Baltic Sea Object
Three years ago, a weird thing turned up on the sea bed off Sweden. Ocean X, a professional wreck-location and diving company found it using sonar. It is unusually circular in shape with curious grooves in its surface and appears to be on some sort of cleared section of ‘runway’.
All sorts of explanations have been put forward for it. Some claim it is a sunken alien spacecraft, while others have more rational ideas, saying it could be “a World War Two anti-submarine device, a battleship gun turret [or] sediment dropped by a fishing trawler.”
It could also be a perfectly natural, if unusual, formation of rock. But that kinda takes the fun out of it. Others like to point out its similarity to the Millennium Falcon.
The Ice Woman of Minnesota
In the December of 1980 (I think), 19-year-old, Jean Hilliard was out driving in northwestern Minnesota when her car slid off the road. It was bitterly cold weather and the engine refused to restart. Hilliard decided to walk to Wally Nelson’s home, which lay two miles away. She never made it, collapsing a handful of paces from the front door.
Early next morning, her body was found. She was literally frozen stiff. Within the hour she was taken to Fosston Municipal Hospital. Doctors couldn’t penetrate her skin with needles and her body temperature was so low it didn’t even show up on thermometers. Even her eyes were frozen solid and wouldn’t react to light.
Amazingly, after hours of slowly being warmed up by heating pads, Hilliard began to revive. After three days, she could move her legs again. After a month and a half in hospital, Hilliard was discharged. She has reported no ill effects at all since then, according to reports.
The Mystery of Elisa Lam
The Elisa Lam mystery stands out for a few reasons. Firstly, this is no centuries-old fireside tale with scant photographic evidence and super-dodgy sources. Secondly, the manner of her death has been debated furiously in some corners of the internet, with it appearing almost like a locked-door mystery. Finally, what happened with Lam’s body was truly the stuff of nightmares.
Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old tourist from Canada. On the 26th of January, 2013, the student checked into the 600-room Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles by herself. Five days later she was reported missing by her parents after her daily phone calls home stopped. About a month after these events, the Hotel’s management team began to hear reports of problems with the rooms’ supply of water.
Complaints included erratic drops in pressure, unusual coloration, little more than a trickle available and “a very funny, sweet, disgusting taste.” to the water when drunk. Investigation of these reports by the maintenance staff uncovered the unthinkable in one of the Hotel’s rooftop water tanks: it was Lam’s corpse.
Here’s the unsettling video
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