In his 1998 novel Bag of Bones, Stephen King wrote, “The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited” -- precisely the sort of thing ghost-hunters love to hear. But the problem with hunting ghosts is that very often, supernatural experiences are too personal, meaning they aren’t shared with the rest of the world; that’s why catching something on video is the pinnacle of the chase.
When we tell our friends we’ve seen an apparition, we're often ridiculed or point-blank disbelieved, at least by skeptics; the same applies to alien sightings, yet have you seen how many experts believe in UFOs? Watching something other-worldly on video can turn even the staunchest opposition into true advocates of life after death.
A HuffPost/YouGov poll from 2013 showed that 45 percent of Americans “believe in ghosts, or that the spirits of dead people can come back in certain places and situations.” When nearly half the population believes that encountering a spirit is possible, you have to sit up and smell the coffee. This thing is real.
OK, nowadays with Photoshop wizardry, even the moving image can be manipulated, but we think we may have found 15 CCTV clips that are the genuine article and prove categorically the existence of ghosts. If you didn’t believe in the spirit world before reading this next piece, we guarantee you will afterward.
15 Pucketts Auto Lot, USA
After the roadside death of Oklahoma resident Tracy Martin on June 30, 2002, the truck she was driving was towed to Puckett’s auto storage lot close to the city center. Towards the end of July, the remains of her truck were moved to the front of the lot, so her insurance company could collect it. On the night of July 18, a worker at Puckett's noticed a lone figure walking around the lot in a confused manner.
The CCTV footage shows the figure wandering for several minutes, but it's oddly transparent and appears to float rather than walk. When the worker herself walked around the lot, she saw nobody. The following morning, the supervisor studied the tape more closely and considered that, in light of Mrs. Martin’s death, her family should be informed. Rightly so, it seems, because her relatives were convinced that Martin had made a reappearance.
14 Virginia, USA
A husband and wife in Virginia set up a CCTV system in their house for security. They left on vacation and asked their grown-up son, Tim Welty, to fix their computer while they were away. Welty’s parents had images from the house streamed back to them and saw their son arrive, begin to check over the house, then set to work on the computer.
As Welty sat down, his parents noticed on the live stream the apparition of what looked to be a cloaked woman, according to British newspaper The Express. Crucially, the house was known to have been built on a Civil War battlefield, and as Welty later recalled, “The picture looks like an old farm maid from the period.” The CCTV image shows an apparition “hovering over the sofa and the cocker spaniel looking up at her, with her ears pulled back in fear” (The Express, 2017).
13 Ghost Taxi Passengers, Japan
In March 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake hit Japan unleashing a deadly tsunami and killing around 22,000 people. One of the worst hit cities was Ishinomaki in the north-east of the country. Here, around 6,000 people lost their lives. Since the terror of that day, a strange phenomenon has been plaguing taxi drivers; it has captivated the world’s press and is evidenced in numerous videos.
To date, at least seven taxi drivers have reported a “phantom fare,” according to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper. This usually involves the driver stopping for a pedestrian who then gets into the taxi and disappears.
“They start the meter and ask for the destination, to which the customer gives a strange response,” reported The Mirror. “Either then, or sometime later, the driver turns around to address the man or woman -- but they have vanished.” In one video recorded on the taxi’s CCTV, a taxi door is seen opening and closing by itself.
12 Pocatello High School Staff, USA
In 2014, CCTV monitoring the interior of Pocatello High School, Idaho recorded something unusual. In a YouTube clip of the related video, the cameras flicker as if being hit by radio interference. Then, in a moment of light, a shadow can be made out wandering from class to class. The shadow is about the size of an adult human. This occurrence is not unheard of at the school, with students and faculty members reporting sightings, according to Live Leak.
A reporter for Live Leak said that in the opinion of local ghost hunters, the Pocatello ghost sighting is “the most authentic and 100% real footage that they have ever seen.” The sighting is one of a long line of happenings at the school, including disappearing equipment, banging on the floors, and a phantom piano player. Don Cotent, who was principal of the school for 14 years, told Live Leak he had “witnessed a number of things that were paranormal.”
11 Hopkinson Antiques, UK
What better place to open an antique store than in a building that’s 130 years old? Hopkinson Antiques is housed within a building widely regarded as a “treasure of the city [of Nottingham]” (Hopkinson Antiques). Back in May 2016, local electrician Liam Woodgates was re-wiring the shop’s CCTV security system. All alone, he busied himself to get the job done; in an old building such as this, late at night, he was understandably nervous. Once finished, he switched on the monitors to make sure everything was in working order and saw an apparition moving through the clothes rails on the shop floor below.
“Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something moving,” he said. “I thought there must be someone in the building; you hear all these stories of people hiding in shops and breaking out at night.”
10 Shaws Bay Hotel, Australia
Iconic Shaws Bay Hotel situated in East Ballina and next door to historic Fenwick house in New South Wales is a magnet for holidaymakers and locals. But in 2015, Australian newspaper the Northern Star reported on an altogether different patron. The hotel’s staff posted CCTV footage showing a mysterious shape moving around the bar. The figure appears to “float past a table in the centre of the camera's frame where it hovers for several seconds” (Northern Star).
While some have surmised that the figure is of a deceased local looking for his next drink, others have given a more plausible explanation to its identity. Back in 1887, the seven-month-old daughter of Captain Thomas Fenwick died in Fenwick House. She was commonly known as “little Sarah,” and according to a Shaws Bay staff member, she “used to live in the house when we were living there and move around in the cedar bar down stairs” (Northern Star).
9 Barnsley Antique Centre, UK
The Barnsley Antique center has been trading since 2015. A year after it opened, The Express ran with a story about unexplained goings-on and the possible capture on CCTV of a ghost. According to the report, the owner of the center, Danny Parker, “claims he has experienced 50 unexplained incidents in a year.”
"Most caught on CCTV and some truly bizarre happenings,” said Parker, “which our customers have witnessed and an even more bizarre unexplained figure witnessed by myself.” Although a self-professed skeptic, Parker is now surer than ever ghosts exist.
In one piece of footage, a framed picture is seen being nudged from a shelf before dropping to the ground. A moment later, a small orb of light is witnessed rising from the picture and disappearing to the right of the screen. According to The Mirror, “the supernatural goings-on usually involve displays being knocked over or damaged.”
8 Bassa Villa Pub, Shropshire, UK
The Bassa Villa is a charming and relaxing Bar & Grill set in the picturesque town of Bridgnorth, according to its website. Bridgnorth itself is a quaint little English town where you might think nothing evil could ever occur, but consider that Adolf Hitler had earmarked Bridgnorth for the site of the post-invasion Nazi HQ, and you soon realize that nothing is what it seems.
In 2015, The Express focussed its sights on Bassa Villa. Following claims of paranormal activity, the rag couldn’t resist doing a spread on the rumors. The story began when a staff member opened the pub on a Saturday morning to find smashed glass behind the bar. The anonymous source reviewed the overnight CCTV footage and was shocked by the discovery: “There was no-one in sight. The place was empty. And they [the glasses] just fall without explanation. Both of the glasses just go” (The Express, 2015).
7 Dreamwater Lounge, Cheshire, UK
The Dreamwater Lounge in Cheshire, England has only been open for two years but has already gained the label of a “haunted” bar by the British press. The reputation stems from compelling CCTV evidence shortly after it opened. A motion detector camera pointed down a corridor in the club is activated at around 2 AM and appears to show a full apparition floating away from the lens.
This is not the first supernatural occurrence, according to Simon Ellison, the son of the club’s owner. He claims to have experienced numerous events, including seeing faucets being turned on by unseen hands. Speaking to The Express, Ellison said, “I know that the building is not a pleasant place to be on your own. The staff have all complained of strange feelings or noises. I built the bar after my dad took over the property and have heard strange noises and banging.”
6 Cato Bar, Singapore
According to Tripadvisor, Cato Bar in the Chinatown area of Singapore is “an event venue, bar, & lounge that is an eclectic hotspot for music lovers and a refreshing alternative in Singapore's dynamic nightlife landscape.” Back in 2015, the Mail Online reported on a bizarre sequence of events that suggested reviewers could add “haunted” to their reviews.
CCTV footage on the night in question shows two men sitting at the bar. As they talk, they're unaware that a nearby stool is beginning to move by itself. For a few seconds, the stool’s movement becomes more agitated until it finally drops to the ground. The men react, and as they do, a small figure can be seen running from the top of the screen off to the right. The Mail reported that the haunting vision amassed 50,000 Facebook views and 1,300 shares.
5 Ye Olde Man And Scythe, UK
Dating back to 1251, Ye Olde Man and Scythe in Bolton, England is the UK’s fourth oldest pub. The pub’s manager, Tony Dooley, was about to open the bar for Saturday custom when he spotted a smashed glass on the floor.
Reviewing the CCTV from the night before, he found that it had stopped working earlier that morning at 06:18; just before this Dooley notices a strange presence at the bar. Among the flickering lights, he saw the outline of a figure in what looked to be the clothes of a man from the days of the English civil war (1642–1651).
Dooley's apparition was the talk of the town. However, his enthusiasm for the ghostly image is marred by apprehension. “To be honest, I was a bit concerned,” he told The Telegraph. “I'm a bit of a skeptic, but you become more of a believer when you see things like that.”
4 Luton, UK
Jimmy’s is a line of restaurants operating across the UK. Jimmy’s World Grill and Bar is located in Luton near London. Back in 2013, some CCTV footage emerged of a ghostly visitation. A woman is seen sitting at a table nearest the camera. After she leaves, the footage shows events that some have speculated is paranormal. The napkins, chair, and plate move by unseen forces.
While some have accused Jimmy’s of staging a prank, the restaurant has denied any involvement in the video and claims it's genuine evidence of a poltergeist haunting. Speaking to newspaper Luton Today, Manager Rehan Anwar said at the time, “The incident was brought to my attention by a customer who was sitting a few tables away and heard a loud crash. When she turned around, there was nobody sat at the table, which baffled her.”
3 Colorado, USA
Last year, The Mirror ran a story about a man called Robert living in Colorado. Robert had set up at CCTV camera to monitor his basement, and he took to reviewing the tapes each morning. He found, on several occasions, a light anomaly commonly known as an “orb” floating around the room. The footage shows the bright ball of light darting across the frame, which, according to Robert, is only witnessed between 3 AM and 6 AM each morning.
As to the nature of the phenomenon, no one is quite sure, least of all Robert, but some consider orbs manifestations of spirit energy. Robert told The Mirror, “I’ve caught this about five times floating in my basement.”
Some observers have commented on its authenticity. One ghost enthusiast suggested it's “an orb entity checking out your place,” but another said it was a “spec [sic] of dust that is out of focus." (The Mirror, 2016)
2 Unknown Location, India
In 2017, British newspaper The Daily Star ran with a story from India suggesting a young boy had been attacked by a ghost. It’s quite a claim to make, but their report was backed up by credible CCTV footage of the attack.
A young boy walks along a wooded path, which is monitored by the camera. He then seems to be set upon by a shadow figure that knocks him off of his feet. Fortunately, the boy manages to scramble to safety and runs away but is left shaken.
India is renowned for producing stories of horrific paranormal events. According to the same newspaper, this year alone, “a terrified young mom claimed she had been forced out of her flat by evil spirits that scratched her” and footage emerged earlier in the year showing a man being dragged from his bed by what commentators believe to be a ghost.
1 Romford, UK
Back to Britain again, and we head for the town of Romford, north of London. The Brookside Theatre, according to its website, is “an award-winning 140-seat theatre within the historic Romford War Memorial buildings." Established in 2012, the theatre hit the headlines two years later when it released CCTV footage of the auditorium just hours after a mediumship performance by Roy Roberts.
The theatre is empty, and it's late at night. In the video, we see the first signs of movement in the third row from the front as one of the chairs shifts by itself. A large orb streaks across the frame followed sometime afterward by a table moving by itself. Psychic Roberts and others were excited by the video. Speaking to Live Leak, he said, “Now we have direct proof of the paranormal.” He believes the video could indicate a resident ghost at the theatre.
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, express.co.uk, liveleak.com