The Creepiest Stories Of Child Ghosts

The only thing scarier than a ghost is a child ghost. No one's really sure why, though. Phantom kids are still just little kids, what are they going to do, leave their ghostly Legos lying around for you to step on? Call you a booger-face in some weird, sing-songy disembodied voice?  

Well, let's just say no one really needs a reason to think child ghosts are scary. Sure, it could have something to do with the creepy nursery rhymes and the creepy possessed baby dolls that say "Mama" when no one's around to pull the string, and the haunted swings moving back and forth by themselves, but even without all those things there's something 10 times more terrifying about a ghost that's half the size of a regular ghost. It's just a fact. So if you're one of the 45 percent of Americans (or 33 percent of British people, or whatever) who think ghosts are real (or probably real), then you may or may not want to read what comes next. Because these are stories of the creepiest child ghosts, and if you value a good night's sleep, well ... heck, just keep reading. You know you want to.

A kid with black holes where her eyes should be

Okay let's just dive right in with children with hollow eyes because if we're going to talk about creepy ghosts, we shouldn't be holding anything back. According to Huffington Post — and if it's in Huffington Post you know it must be true — this particular ghost hangs around a British forest called Cannock Chase, and evidently likes to lead unsuspecting people into dangerous situations. That's where you might be tempted to call bull poop, though, because most people who see a kid with black holes for eyes floating down the nature trail tend to walk in the opposite direction.

No one seems to know the identity of this particular spirit, though she's been around for a long time — at least 30 years by some accounts. Some people think she's connected to a series of child murders that happened in the area in the 1960s, and others think she's not a child at all but some kind of demonic force. Sometimes she giggles and seems playful, and other times she screams and runs away as if fleeing danger. Both personas seem designed to get good samaritans to follow. No one is really sure where, exactly, but it's probably not Disneyland. Incidentally, Cannock Chase is also the home of something called "Pig Man," so it's not actually clear why people continue to go there, like at all.

What's scarier than a child ghost? How about a whole field full of them

New Jersey's "Spy House" is so-named because its Revolutionary War-era proprietors used to cater to British soldiers, but then let rebel colonists hang around in the upstairs room and listen in on the enemies' conversations. According to Ghosts of Ohio, Spy House is now home to at least 20 different spirits, so clearly other stuff happened there, too. Evidently the house was once home to the infamous pirate Captain Morgan, and he murdered an entire family there, sooo...

The ghosts who hang around inside Spy House are primarily adults, or whatever you call adults who die and then are stuck floating around the halls of some dilapidated old mansion forever and ever. But visitors have also claimed to see the ghosts of children outside in the yard. And not just like one or two kids floating around doing the creepy nursery rhyme singing thing that child ghosts always seem to do — like a whole hoard of them. What's especially weird is that only a few of these ghosts seem to be associated with events that happened in or around Spy House. The rest of them just showed up, like maybe they got invited to Ghostly Timmy's Ghostly birthday party or something. Anyway, if you want to be super creeped out at the Spy House you evidently don't even have to leave the yard. Fun.

Then someone said, I know, let's build a playground next to a cemetery!

What could be more fun for kids than a play structure located mere footsteps away from buried corpses? On the other hand, it might be sort of genius because there's no way the kids who are playing at that particular location are going to be begging for "just five more minutes," especially if the sun is going down.

So yeah, someone in the town of Huntsville, Alabama decided that they should build a playground next to the Maple Hill Cemetery, you know, so kids could laugh and play in the most inappropriate way possible while the adults visited the gravesites of lost loved ones. Great idea. According to Atlas Obscura, this playground is now whimsically known as "The Dead Children's Playground," and the reason is because the swings have been seen moving by themselves, and ghostly orbs have been spotted there, too, along with the specters of children playing at hours when mortal children are usually hiding under their bed sheets worrying about monsters in their closets. So city planners, take note — if you build a playground in a cemetery, the only kids who are going to play there are the ones who haven't quite made it all the way to the other side, and now don't have a reason to because you gave them a stupid playground. Nicely done.

At least child ghosts can't touch you or anything ... oh, wait

If the postmortem singing and playing isn't terrifying enough, you can visit the William Kehoe House in Savannah, Georgia, though it seems only fair to point out that no one should visit this house ever, for any reason. According to Ghosts and Gravestones, the William Kehoe House is haunted by a bunch of different child spirits, including twin boys who were killed in a horrific climbing-down-the-chimney accident. Evidently there's a legend that the family just left the kids in the chimney and boarded it up, just in case you think that story couldn't be any more awful.

Anyway, today the Kehoe House is a bed and breakfast, because of course it is, and guests often say they hear the sounds of children running and playing in the halls, even when there aren't any children on the premises. And if you're lucky enough to stay in room 203, you might see a child ghost appear at the end of your bed. If that's just not enough of a paranormal experience for you, you might also feel a child touch you on the hand and kiss you on the cheek. Now feel free to go get yourself a glass of water or something while you try to forget you ever read that.

Those railroad track ghosts

This legend has been around for a really long time, but it's worth repeating here just to break up the monotony of terrifying child ghosts who lead you to your doom and/or touch your hand and stuff. These particular ghosts actually seem to be good samaritans, so that's a nice change.

If you haven't guessed already, we're talking about the San Antonio railroad children. These are supposedly the spirits of kids who were killed by a train when their school bus stalled on the railroad tracks. According to Legends of America, these child ghosts still hang around the tracks waiting for other cars to stall (or to be parked there in neutral) ... and they will helpfully push your car off the tracks if they sense you may be in danger. Don't believe it? Cover your bumper with talcum powder and tiny handprints will prove that ghosts were responsible, though frankly it should be enough that you parked your car on the railroad tracks and then it moved ALL ON ITS OWN. But hey the handprints make the story creepier, so whatever.

Not everyone believes this story — evidently, there are no records of any such accident actually happening there, and the ground at the spot is probably inclined in such a way that a car would naturally roll if left on the tracks. Sooo ... not super plausible, but timeless.

Let's not forget the creepy castle child ghost

Ghosts and castles go together like knights and armor, or like jack-o-lanterns and those flameless candles that you have to rebuy every Halloween because you forgot where you put them. Anyway, if you're scared of ghosts you probably avoid castles between the hours of, say, always and always, because lurking in every creepy hallway and on every rampart is a ghost.

According to Britain-Ireland-Castles, Charleville Forest Castle is near Tullamore, Ireland in "primordial oak woods," which loosely translated means haunted freaking woods, in case you were wondering. The castle was built in the late 1700s and was the home to various earls and ladies and the like until 1963, when it was abandoned. Today it's a restoration project, but new ceilings and a rebuilt chapel haven't scared off the place's only permanent resident, a ghost girl named Harriett. 

According to legend, Harriett, the 8-year-old daughter of the third Earl of Charleville, fell down the stairs and died in 1861. She's not a float-quietly-down-the-hall kind of ghost, either. She's noisy. Witnesses have reported hearing her sing, laugh, or scream in the middle of the night (because for some reason people actually go there in the middle of the night) and others say they've captured her misty apparition on camera. On the occasions that she does make an appearance, she's been described as a little girl in a blue and white dress, with blue ribbons in her curly blonde hair.

Or this creepy castle child ghost ...

And because Ireland is full of castles that are also full of ghosts, here's another one for you. Athcarne Castle in Meath, Ireland, was built in 1590 and is located just six miles from the site of the Battle of the Boyne. If you're not well-versed in British history, that's where James II got his butt kicked in 1690 (he fled to France shortly afterwards and never returned to England). James's ghost is one of many who haunt Athcarne — he slept there the night before the battle, and he evidently spends his afterlife there, too, wandering around the grounds thinking about all the things he could have done differently.  

According to Curious Ireland, James isn't Athcarne's only ghost. Witnesses have heard the screams of dying soldiers and have seen the phantom hanged man, but those aren't the sorts of ghosts you came here to read about. The most terrifying ghost at Athcarne is a little girl, who was seen in modern times by a laborer who described her as a "demented girl with blood-covered hands." It does sound like she's only been seen the one time, though, and let's hope it stays that way.

And this lunatic asylum ghost

We can all agree that lunatic asylums are best left in the past, and that no one should ever go near the ruins of one ever. Because these places didn't just serve as prisons for people with mental disabilities, they also served as prisons for children with mental disabilities, and that's just not even really worth pondering. It's no wonder these people are still stuck in the ruins of these messed up places.

A little girl named Lily haunts the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. She's not the only ghost there, but she's so well-known that an entire room has been set up for her in the eastern corner of Ward Four, and fully stocked with toys for her to play with. And she does, too ... there's a music box with a ballerina on top that sometimes plays on its own, and she will even roll a ball back and forth with certain visitors, you know, if she's in the right mood.

According to America's Most Haunted, Lily was a resident at the asylum, though there are two versions of how she got there. She was either dropped off by parents who didn't want her, or she was born to one of the patients. As far as ghosts go, though, Lily seems pretty polite and good-natured, so if you had to pick a spirit to run into in a dark hallway, you couldn't really do much better.

Don't look into the water at night because eek

All deaths are tragic but if every one of them resulted in a haunting then hauntings would be boring. You'd be constantly elbowing your way past spirits in line at Starbucks, shouting at phantom Priuses in rush hour traffic, and shooing black-eyed children out of your bathroom. Fortunately, it's mostly the people who die tragically who end up becoming ghosts, and the most tragic deaths of all are murders. And when it's the murder of a child, then you really can't blame that poor kid's spirit for not being able to figure out where to go next.

The ghost of May Hawes, for example, is still hanging around East Lake Park in Birmingham, Alabama. She was 8-years-old in 1888, when a pair of boaters found her corpse in the lake. Authorities later found the bodies of May's mother and sister in a nearby waterway. Her father had recently left town so he could get married to the woman he killed his family for, which wasn't at all suspicious at all. 

According to Ghosts and Ghouls, poor May still haunts the shores of East Lake, looking for her mother and sister. Witnesses have seen her, too, sometimes floating above the water and sometimes drifting just under the surface. She's so well known, in fact, that some locals will throw carnations into the water on Halloween to honor her spirit.

Ghost babies are also scary

This ghostly infant lives in — surprise — another castle but this one is in Scotland. Crathes Castle is on the banks of a loch, because of course a loch, though this isn't the famous one with the monster in it.

The phantom baby who inhabits Crathes Castle always appears with her mother, or the specter who is presumed to be her mother. Mum is called "the Green Lady of Crathes," and she evidently predates the castle itself. Legend says she inhabited the castle that stood on the shores of the loch before it was knocked down (or fell down) and its stones were used to build the structure that still stands today. Other legends say she was a servant girl or ward living in the newer castle back in the 1500s, but that's as close as anyone has ever come to guessing her identity.

According to The Scotsman, this particular ghost has been seen by a bunch of people, including Queen Victoria, so the story has some credibility. She always appears in the same room and she's always wearing the same thing: A green robe. She floats across the room and stops in front of the fireplace, then she picks up an infant and cradles it in her arms. In the 1800s, workers who were renovating the Green Lady's room found the remains of a woman and an infant under the hearth, which certainly does explain a thing or two.

Maybe we should just take the long way around

Somehow, disembodied voices are even scarier than apparitions. Well, maybe it's a toss-up, but let's just agree that disembodied voices are terrifying, especially when they are the disembodied voices of wailing children.

Nicknamed "Crybaby Bridge," the Van Sant Bridge in Pennsylvania is not the only bridge with this sort of ghostly reputation — so-called "crybaby bridges" appear all over America, but this one is especially creepy. According to Atlas Obscura, a young woman whose name no one remembers hung herself from the rafters of Van Sant Bridge, but not before she flung her newborn baby into the water. This was back in the days when having a baby out of wedlock was considered shameful, and she'd evidently been rejected by her family after they learned of the pregnancy. And murder-suicides are, as everyone knows, pretty much a shoo-in for a long-lasting haunting. 

If you want to experience this one in person (and who wouldn't!) just park your car in the middle of the bridge and roll down the window. Some witnesses say you can hear the cries of a distressed infant, and as a bonus, you can also hear the sound of the dead woman's toes brushing the top of your car as she swings back and forth on her phantom rope. To be fair, some people think the crying sounds come from red foxes. Though probably not the sounds coming from the roof of your car, soooo...

At least they're not missing anymore?

One of Britain's most famous mysteries has to do with the two sons of Edward IV — ages 9 and 12 — who were locked in the Tower of London and then murdered by their uncle, Richard III, or possibly by like 750 million other suspects, no one really knows. Anyway according to Exploring Castles, they were last seen playing in the garden in the summer of 1483, and then they vanished forever. More or less.  

In 1674, some workmen who were renovating parts of the Tower uncovered a box at the foot of a staircase that contained the skeletons of two boys whose ages seemed to match those of the missing princes. No one is 100 percent sure that the skeletons belong to Edward's sons, but there's certainly ample circumstantial evidence. The bones were moved to Westminster Cathedral, but the boys are still at the Tower — in spirit, anyway. Their two ghosts are common sights there. They've been seen floating down the staircase dressed in white nightshirts, and they're also occasionally heard laughing. Sometimes they're spotted playing on the castle grounds and battlements, but other times they're seen crying and clinging to each other, so it's not always a happy afterlife for the unfortunate pair.