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16 Creepy And Mysterious Incidents That Happened On Movie Sets

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16 Creepy And Mysterious Incidents That Happened On Movie Sets

It’s always fascinating to hear behind-the-scenes stories from our favorite movies since most of us will never have the chance to visit a movie set while it’s in production. All we ever see is the finished product, edited and perfect, just the way the director wants us to see it. Obviously, things behind the scenes aren’t always as glamorous as they would have us think or that we would imagine them to be. From actors and actresses not getting along, to accidents, to anything one could imagine, every movie faces its challenges in one way or another.

What’s really interesting, though, is that there are countless horror films (and even a few from other genres) whose behind-the-scenes stories are just as scary as the films’ plots themselves! Lots of film sets have been plagued with the paranormal in various ways. And the strangest part is that the overwhelming majority of those have been the sets of horror films in production as if to confirm that yes, we should be very afraid — and not just because of a fictional horror story being brought to life.

These stories are utterly creepy, bizarre, and downright unexplainable. And the following 16 real tales of ghostly activity on movie sets will have you believing more than ever that we’re really not alone when it comes to the paranormal.

16. Return to Babylon

The 2013 movie Return to Babylon was full of strange happenings. Some of the cast, including Debi Mazar and Jennifer Tilly, reported feeling “otherworldly, oppressive entities” lurking around, and in a few cases, actors and actresses said they were grabbed out of nowhere by unseen hands. In the negatives, the editors were also noticing creepy things, like mysterious figures and weird shadows. According to weekinweird.com, “The negatives revealed frightening and grotesque changes to the actors. Their hands appeared stretched, mouths twisted in agony, and faces hideously distorted. Entities appeared out of thin air and disappeared completely, none of which were present on set while the movie was being filmed.” Now that is freaky.

15. The Omen

The 1976 movie The Omen is about a little boy who is adopted at birth by a well-to-do family. But his parents, soon after bringing him home, are plagued by strange deaths because their new baby is the Antichrist. But in real life, evil lurked just around the corner as well. Some of the paranormal instances even halted production for a time! The screenwriter’s plane crashed, and Gregory Peck, who played little Damien’s father, canceled his own flight at the last minute, and it went on to crash, killing everyone on board. Director Richard Bonner’s hotel was bombed by the IRA. On the very first day of filming, some crew members were in a head-on car collision, and further proof that this movie was haunted is that dogs hired for the film attacked their trainers, and an animal handler was eaten alive by a lion after the lion scene was through filming.

14. The Conjuring

This movie is based on the Perron family and their experience with the paranormal in their home in the 1970s. When this movie was being made, some of the Perron family members actually visited the set, and once when they did, a strong wind swirled around them, even though the nearby trees remained still. The mother of the family had not been willing to visit the set but said that at the same moment of the others’ visit, she felt a strange presence around her. Then, she fell down and had to be hospitalized.

But this is only the beginning. The hotel that the cast and crew were staying in caught fire, and one night, the director’s dog wouldn’t stop growling at something that apparently only he could see. Vera Farmiga, who played the investigator in The Conjuring, was troubled even just reading the script, and one night, when she opened her laptop, there were three slashes across the screen.

13. The Amityville Horror

This horror film is sadly a true story. It tells the tale of a real family that was shot and killed by their oldest son, Ronald DeFeo. In the 2005 remake of the original 1979 film, Ryan Reynolds reported that he and other cast and crew members would wake up every morning at 3:15, which was the exact time that Ronald had killed his mother, father, and four siblings. Plus, a dead body actually washed up on shore near the film set. But there were also freaky instances in the original version, such as the fact that actor James Brolin only took the role in the first place because he felt there was “something to it” after his pants fell off a hanger right when he got to an extremely intense part of the novel, causing him to jump out of his chair in horror.

12. Rosemary’s Baby

Everyone knows that Rosemary’s Baby is a horror tale about a woman who’s pregnant and believes her baby’s father is Satan after discovering her husband made a deal with a religious cult. As if all that weren’t creepy enough, there were some strange events surrounding the set of the movie that made it even eerier. First of all, the apartment building used in the film was the same building that John Lennon was shot and killed in, and it’s known for having paranormal activity. One producer on the film, William Castle, received death threats after the film was released, and before he died of a heart attack in the hospital days later, he shouted, “Rosemary, for God’s sake, drop the knife!” Most disturbing of all, though, was the quintuple murder of director Roman Polanski‘s wife, Sharon Tate, along with four others. Tate was eight months pregnant and stabbed 16 times, and she and the other victims were killed in a ritualistic manner by a mass-murdering group led by Charles Manson. That’s a lot of death for one movie production.

11. The Exorcist

Few things are more frightening than the possibility of evil spirits or being possessed by the devil, which is why The Exorcist is so scary. In this movie, a little girl becomes possessed, and it’s allegedly (loosely) based on a true story. But nine real deaths surrounded the making of this film, which is a large number. They were all cast and crew members. There was also a mysterious fire that was set when no one from the cast or crew was around, and this halted production for six weeks (pictured above is the only part of the set not affected by the fire). Religious zealots began to send death threats, and eventually, Linda Blair (who played Regan) had a mental breakdown and attacked Ellen Burstyn, who played her mother, giving her a permanent spinal injury.

10. The Possession

One of the stars of the movie The Possession was Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who, until then, had never experienced anything supernatural going on while filming a movie or television show, even though he was known for his role on a show called Supernatural. It wasn’t until he was working on The Possession that he started to lose his skepticism for the paranormal. Weird things began happening on set, such as lights exploding for no reason and random cool breezes inside closed buildings. And these things only seemed to happen when spooky scenes were being filmed. Then, the storage shed where all the props were kept caught fire and burned to the ground, and it couldn’t be blamed on arson or an electrical incident, making it even creepier. Needless to say, the cast and crew — Morgan included — were beyond creeped out.

9. The Ghost Whisperer

No, it’s not technically a movie but a television show. Still, a set must be used to film it on, and according to The Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt, theirs was most definitely haunted. One day, while filming, the crew noticed something moving behind Jennifer, but they couldn’t tell what it was. Replaying the footage, they saw what looked to be a ghost right behind her! In other instances on this same set, cast and crew members reported feeling a tugging sensation on their clothes at different times. Lights moved around on their own, and a few even exploded for no apparent reason. Additionally, different props and objects would disappear and then turn up somewhere else. Jennifer confirmed all of this and even said some guest stars were wary about appearing on the show for these reasons.

8. The Conjuring

This movie is based on the Perron family and their experience with the paranormal in their home in the 1970s. When this movie was being made, some of the Perron family members actually visited the set, and once when they did, a strong wind swirled around them, even though the nearby trees remained still. The mother of the family had not been willing to visit the set but said that at the same moment of the others’ visit, she felt a strange presence around her. Then, she fell down and had to be hospitalized.

But this is only the beginning. The hotel that the cast and crew were staying in caught fire, and one night, the director’s dog wouldn’t stop growling at something that apparently only he could see. Vera Farmiga, who played the investigator in The Conjuring, was troubled even just reading the script, and one night, when she opened her laptop, there were three slashes across the screen.

7. Poltergeist Trilogy

Many people believe the curse of the Poltergeist movies began when they decided to use real corpses in the pool scene for the simple reason that they were cheaper than plastic ones. But if they were really the cause of the haunting, I’m guessing that in hindsight, the savings were not worth it. Many strange deaths occurred surrounding these films. The two young actresses who played sisters died. Dominique Dunn was strangled to death by her boyfriend, and then, the young girl from all three Poltergeist films died of a septic infection while filming the third movie. Additionally, Julian Beck, who played the “bad spirit” died of stomach cancer, and a little boy actor almost died due to a mechanical malfunction on set. During the second film’s production, an exorcism was attempted to try and the rid the movies of the alleged curse, but it obviously didn’t work, and the man who performed the exorcism died less than one year later.

6. Annabelle

There’s a new Annabelle movie coming out in few weeks, and it’s called Annabelle: Creation. It looks every bit as creepy as the other movies about the demonic porcelain doll. But what’s also creepy is that the set of the 2014 movie was purportedly haunted as well. According to director John R. Leonetti, there was one instance in which there were “three fingers drawn through the dust along the window, and our demon has three fingers and three talons. The markings were being backlit by the moon.” But to make matters worse, the producer of both Annabelle and The Conjuring, Peter Safran, told this story: “We shot in this amazing, old apartment building near Koreatown, and we had some funky stuff go down. In particular, the first day that the demon was shooting in full makeup, we brought the demon up in the elevator. He walks out and walks around to the green room to where we’re holding the talent, and just as he walks under — a giant glass light fixture is being followed by the actor playing the handyman of the building — and all of a sudden, the entire glass light fixture falls down on his head, the janitor’s head. And in the script, the demon kills the janitor in that hallway. It was totally freaky.”

5. The Innkeepers

The 2011 movie The Innkeepers was actually based on a haunted hotel and shot on location at that hotel, so it’s no surprise that the “set” came with some questionable paranormal activity. There was all of the usual, such as slamming doors, flickering lights, and strange silhouettes at the Yankee Pedlar Inn in Torrington, Connecticut. Writer and director Ti West said of one of the movie’s stars, Sara Paxton, “would wake up in the middle of the night thinking someone was in the room with her.” The Yankee Pedlar Inn is reported to be truly haunted by several spirits. In fact, the story of The Innkeepers is that of two staff members who work there and are convinced their lodge is haunted.

4. Ghost

The 1990 movie Ghost was shot on Stage 19 of Paramount Studios, which is a place that’s said to be one of the most haunted places in Hollywood. It’s the same stage in which Citizen Kane and Happy Days were shot. Cast and crew members reported hearing the sounds of someone running in the rafters and also the sounds of a child laughing. Some people believe this child is the ghost of Heather O’Rourke, the little girl who was in the three Poltergeist movies as well as Happy Days, but who tragically passed away due to cardiac arrest at the age of 12. Since this was the set of so many big projects other than just Ghost, it’s hard to determine if it’s specifically this film that was being subjected to the paranormal or any movie filmed there. It probably doesn’t help that the movie’s title is Ghost, however, and as we’ve seen, it seems that scary movies are more prone to being haunted than things like Happy Days.

3. Behind the Candelabra

Matt Damon and Michael Douglas are two big names in Hollywood — and they’re two big names who swear that the set of their 2013 movie Behind the Candelabra was haunted. This movie tells the story of the famed pianist Liberace and his male lover. Michael played Liberace and Matt played his lover, Scott Thorson, who was also his live-in bodyguard. The two actors both felt that a male spirit was present on set, watching them work. One source said that “they swear they’ve felt cold damp air swish by, reeking of a potent men’s cologne.” Regarding Michael, who spent a lot of time at the piano where the presence was most intense, the source also said, “He actually felt someone caress his shoulder. He whipped around — but no one was there! Not only that, but on several occasions, prop lights flickered uncontrollably.” Most people believe it’s the flamboyant pianist haunting the set of his own movie.

2. The Crow

The movie The Crow was plagued by misfortune and bad luck, perhaps due to the set being haunted; what other explanation could there be for so much to go wrong surrounding one film? Here’s all that happened: one carpenter working on the film was burned and shocked by a lift as he was working on set, one stuntman accidentally fell straight through the roof in between scenes being filmed, a crew member accidentally stabbed his hand with a screwdriver, a truck unexpectedly went up in flames on set, a disturbed carpenter plowed through a plaster shop in his car, and most shocking of all, while filming, Brandon Lee’s life was taken by a live bullet unintentionally loaded into a prop handgun. Interestingly, the 28-year-old Brandon had believed his family was cursed, to begin with, because his grandfather had pissed off a Chinese businessman way back when, and in fact, Brandon’s father died young as well at 33, so maybe he wasn’t wrong.

1. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

The 2005 horror movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose is a story about exactly what it sounds like: the possession and attempted exorcism of a girl named Emily Rose. But like so many other horror movies, it, too, was plagued with the paranormal on set. The actress who played Emily Rose, Jennifer Carpenter, reported strange occurrences, like that her radio kept turning on in the middle of the night, playing the same song: “Alive” by Pearl Jam. Particularly, it kept playing the part that goes, “I’m still alive” over and over. Jennifer Carpenter believes she had been followed home from the set by an entity that wasn’t thrilled with the movie being made. This would make sense since the film was inspired by a true story, that of Anneliese Michel, who died after a battle with an evil spirit. Regarding all of this and particularly the radio songs, Jennifer said, “It stayed with me for a while.”

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