Setting plays a crucial role in any story (which is the only reason I can think of why no one wanted to buy my adaptation of Downton Abbey set in a garbage dump). Nowhere does setting play a more important role than in Halloween: Things are spookier when they take place in a dark, quiet and notoriously unkempt location. Which is why it's so mind-boggling that the following innocent location somehow garnered a ghostly legend (or, even more bizarre, that a ghost would actually want to haunt any of the following pedestrian locales). Let's begin!
A Large Puddle
In Romania lies a patch of water about 5 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep, affectionately known as "Witches Pond." Legend has it that the volume of water never changes... even when it rains! I mean, if this is all it takes to confirm a haunting, then the puddle of oil in my driveway is haunted: It never gets smaller, and my car, which has been parked over it for years, is always breaking down (obviously due to mysterious ghosts of the haunted oil spill).
The Hollywood Sign
The letter `H' in the giant sign is haunted. This proves that, like Sesame Street muppets, ghosts love alliteration. Visitors report seeing a despondent blonde actress floating around, which is the same kind of thing you can see on Hollywood Boulevard everyday, but somehow less depressing. In the 1940s, this very same letter `H 'fell over under mysterious cirsumstances, provided you consider wind to be mysterious.
Toys `R' Us
The only thing more unsettling than a screaming ghost is a screaming child. Which is why employees of the Sunnyvale, California Toys `R' Us have doubly hard time keeping calm. This is totally the real deal y'all: Baby swings have been seen moving on their own. Which, I know, is totally what most baby swings are deisgned to do, but this time its different! In addition, employees can't explain the pervasive smell of fresh flowers in one aisle.
An Oak Tree
What's the best way to determine a suspect's innocence? A jury of one's peers? A lie detector? Of course not, everyone knows that the optimal way to test a person's guilt is to see if their chest can spontaneously grow a tree. This attitude is reflected in the legend surrounding an oak in Mobile, Alabama. In 1835, a man named Robert Boyington was executed for murder. Before being put to death, Boyington declared that an oak tree would grow out of his heart as proof of his innocence, which is probably the worst superpower of all time. Tourists claim they hear whispering sounds and crying when visiting the tree at night, just like the mysterious crying noise I hear everytime I'm alone in the dark.
The Hockey Hall of Fame
The premier place for enshrining famous Canadian guys who punch good sits on a streetcorner in Toronto. It's apparently haunted by a patient and adaptable ghost: In 1953 a bank teller died at a branch situated where the Hockey Hall of Fame is now. Rather than moving on to the afterlife, her spirit decided to haunt the place, even when the bank was torn down forty years later and replaced with the Hall. Reports include things being moved on desks, cold spots, and "feeling a presence." We also suspect that a "ghost" is creating excessively drafty air conditioning that moves papers on desks and creates temperature differences throughout the rooms.
Errol Flynn's Yacht
In 1945, Australian actor Errol Flynn bought a luxurious 100-foot yacht, because he needed a relaxing place to drink and do heroin. He passed away 13 years later (which is like 130 in non-heroin-addict years), but his ghost allegedly still haunts his ship. Residents of the French village where the boat was stored reported hearing glasses clinking, and seeing Flynn walking around his deck. Which, I suppose, is more visibility than any Australian actor could hope to get 50 years ago.
A Football Field
Pop quiz: You're renovating a dilapidated Arizona middle school into a state-of-the-art high school when you encounter one common snafu: Digging for the football field is hampered because coffins keep popping up like prairie dogs. Do you take some of the $22 million earmarked for the school's construction and move the field a quarter mile over? Of course not, the correct answer is to build the field so that only part of it is constructed on top of a burial ground. We assume winning the coin flip to choose a side of the field to defend is the most important part of football games at Lee Williams High School in Kingman, Arizona, lest your star fullback get tackled by a decomposing hand reaching out of the ground.
The Greyhound Bus Museum
If you, like many of our readers, enjoy obsessing about trains and train schedules, consider branching out into the world of Greyhound buses. There is no better place to begin this hobby than at the Greyhound Bus Museum in glamorous Hibbing, Minnesota. Even the station's resident ghost displays obsessive rigidity, as many people have seen a spectral little girl stacking tools and opening/closing every window on the buses.
The Houston Zoo Cafeteria
The iconic Houston zoo was initially presided over by a charismatic zookeeper named Hans Nagel. However, things turned sour in 1941, when the now-retired lion tamer had the police called upon him for spying on three teenagers necking in a parked car. Rather than inquire what illegalities were being committed by the oddly-numbered, necking teens, the zoo policeman who arrived on the scene decided to confront Hans. Hans responded by pulling a gun on the officer, causing him to lose all of his zoo visitation privileges, and also his life because the policeman shot him.
Since then, diners at the zoo's commissary have reported odd shadows at night, a soft touch on their shoulder, and the delicate sound of pots and pans being banged together in an obnoxiously loud manner. One documented report claimed that a wooden pallet had mysteriously disappeared from underneath a large pile of zoo feed, no doubt so that Nagel's ghost could have something to stand on while peering over the wall of the monkey exhibit during mating season.
The American Idol Mansion
Careers aren't the only thing that ghost in the Hollywood Hills mansion which was once home to American Idol contestants. In 2011, several now-forgotten contestants witnessed a white bedsheet floating down an otherwise empty hallway. Admittedly, wearing a bedsheet and running around is something I would do if I were a Scooby Doo villain trying to scare those nosy American Idol teens away from a hidden treasure.
A little known pet peeve of witches is that, once their spell casting is done, what to do with all of their used ingredients? Naturally eye of newt and toe of frog can be dumped as long as one has the proper haz-magical materials permit, but you're left with all those virgin maidens that seem to be the main ingredient in every dark ritual. Old timey witches in Oregon must have had this problem: Malheur Butte, a dormant volcano in Oregon, is said to be haunted as a side-effect of clandestine witch meetings. Small shadowy creatures allegedly chase visitors who are silly enough to hang out on a mountain after dark, which strongly implies that mountain lions resemble shadowy ghosts when one is smoking pot.
A Hardware Store
While many want to leave a legacy to their offspring, it is even more desirable to haunt one's own legacy so as to reap the benefits for all eternity. Such is the perceived fate of W.L. Bair, who founded a Puget Sound hardware store in 1895. Upon his death, employees found a series of eerie encounters: Bagels turned out mysteriously burned, sauce bottles fell off shelves and broke on the floor, and other spooky happenings that could only be explained by ghosts (or an alcoholic service staff).
A Convenience Store
In South Australia sits a convenience store considered to be exceptional. For me, an "exceptional" convenience store is any one that lacks a constant crowd of lottery ticket buyers clogging up the front of the line, but in Australia it means "haunted by a ghost that hates fruit roll-ups." One night, security cameras in the South Australia store caught a fruit roll-up bar being thrown into the aisle... even though the store was closed! Since that fateful night, the store has borne the moniker of "haunted, presumably by some random boxer who died somewhat near the store."
A Mountain Peak
The Koh-i-Chiltan mountain peak in Pakistan is loomed over by tiny ghosts and one of the most nonsensical pieces of folklore in the entire world. As the story goes, a childless couple was desperate for offspring. They finally called upon the son of a cleric, and soon found themselves with 40 babies. This left them with one small thing left to do: Get rid of 39 babies. So they carried 39 babies to the top of the mountain, presumably to support the local eagle population. It turns out that 39 babies on a windy mountaintop can make quite a loud noise, which intrigued the mother. Apparently, she was delighted to see them all alive, which sort of undermines their motivation for leaving them there in the first place, but again this story makes no sense. Wanting to tell her husband the good news, she set her 40th baby nearby and ran down the mountain. Upon returning, all of the babies were gone. At night, these 40 baby ghosts can be heard wailing, presumably in a manner that differs ever-so-slightly from the normal wailing one hears from the wind of a high mountaintop.