Paranormal experiences and brushes with the world beyond our understanding seem to happen to people from all walks of life, all levels of education, and all ages. There is no real certain group of people who are more or less likely to have such experiences, and accounts run the gamut across the board, often coming from very reliable people. Of course the reports we most pay attention to are those that come from our favorite actors, musicians, and other celebrities, and some of these are just about as strange as you’re likely to find. From ghosts, to witches, to meetings with beings from another world or dimension, here are some of the oddest reports from the famous that show that the paranormal does not care whether you are a celebrity or not when it makes an appearance, and that sometimes these larger than life personalities are just as susceptible to the strange and frightening as anyone else.
Many strange celebrity brushes with the world of the paranormal involve encountering various ghostly phenomena, and there is a surprisingly large number of such cases. Famous Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher had some bizarre experiences in the time after her close friend R. Gregory Stevens died of a drug overdose at her Beverly Hills home. She claims that in the days after his death she heavily felt his presence lurking everywhere, as well as had the sensation of being watched and even touched by an unseen presence. Even spookier was that lights and electronic equipment would turn on and off for no reason, and she would describe her experiences with Vanity Fair in 2006, saying:
Lights would go on and off and I had this toy machine that when you touched it, it would say, ‘F–k you! Eat s–! You’re an asshole!’ And it would go off in the night by itself, in my closet. I was a nut for a year.
Sticking with actors for now, actor Matthew McConaughey found that a new home he had purchased was haunted shortly after moving in. The spirit is described as a middle-aged woman dressed in blue, which he calls Madame Blu. One evening, he claims that he heard anomalous noises downstairs in the middle of the night and no one was there, and she was apparently glimpsed or heard rummaging about the home on several occasions. On another occasion, he got so sick of her antics after hearing her making a ruckus in another room that he actually confronted the spirit, of which he would say:
I was not even under the influence and she was there. She wasn’t that happy, it didn’t seem like she was going to be much fun to hang around or have in my house, so I went ahead and stood my ground. I opened the door and said, ‘You can move around all you want but I’m not going anywhere.’ For weeks everyone that came to the house said the same thing: ‘There’s someone down in that hall, there’s somebody down in that hall.’
Another Hollywood megastar, Keanu Reeves, has also related a rather surreal paranormal experience he once had as a kid. The very strange incident supposedly happened just after having moved into a new apartment in New York, and involved seeing a disembodied suit flying around through the place with no one in it one evening while he was home alone with his nanny at the time. Reeves has explained of this incident:
There was a doorway, and all of a sudden, we’re looking over there and this jacket comes waving through the doorway, just empty — there’s no head, there’s no body, there’s no legs. It’s just there, and then it disappears. I was a little a kid, so I thought, ‘That’s interesting.’ And then I looked over at the nanny. It was her shocked face that made me realize what we had just seen was real.
Another actor with quite a strange tale to tell is the esteemed cinema and theater actor Patrick Stewart, who saw an apparition at the notoriously haunted Theatre Royal Haymarket while performing Waiting for Godot with fellow thespian Sir Ian McKellen. As they were in the middle of performing Act 1 of the play, Stewart alleges that he saw off in the wings a man standing alone in a beige coat and twill trousers, who stared and then proceeded to just vanish. It was all so startling that Stewart was actually flustered and missed a line, and when McKellan asked him during the interview what had happened, Stewart simply said, “I just saw a ghost. On stage, during Act One.”
It would soon become apparent to them after talking to stagehands and the theater director that the theater had a long history of being haunted by the alleged ghost of a Baldwin Buckstone, who had been an actor himself, as well as a playwright and eventually the manager of the establishment back in the 19th century, before dying in 1879. Ever since then, the spirit of Buckstone has been seen from time to time by both actors and stage hands alike. In an article in The Telegraph, the modern director of the theater, Nigel Everett, said of Stewart’s sighting and the haunting:
Patrick told us all about it. He was stunned. I would not say frightened, but I would say impressed. The last time an actor saw him would have been I think Fiona Fullerton, playing in an Oscar Wilde, 10 or 12 years ago. The ghost tends to appear when a comedy is playing. I think Buckstone appears when he appreciates things. We view it as a positive thing.
In addition to film actors, some movie directors have had inexplicable brushes with the paranormal as well. Acclaimed director Peter Jackson, well known for his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies of fantasy films, has apparently had his own odd experience. At the time, the director had been staying with his wife in an apartment across from the St. James Theatre, in London, when one night he woke to find an apparition of a woman at the end of his bed, with a face that seemed to be frozen into a scream. The frightening entity then allegedly hovered across the room to disappear through a wall. When he told his wife what he had seen the next day, he said of her reply:
She asked ‘Was it the woman with a screaming face?’ We had never spoken about it. She had seen the same ghost two years earlier. So I do believe in some energy, a spirit or a soul. They say she manifests herself in the theater with a screaming face. Sometimes she’s seen — the same ghost. She needs to learn to smile a little.
Besides actors and filmmakers, there are plenty of famous musicians who have their own harrowing supernatural tales to tell. The very well-known pop singer Miley Cyrus apparently had a rather frightening experience with some sort of paranormal entity while staying in an apartment in London in 2009 during a concert tour. Things started with a scary encounter relayed by Cyrus’s sister within the flat’s bathroom, and Miley would also see the spirit, which seemed to take the form of a little boy. She would say of these events in an interview with Elle UK thus:
One night, my little sister — it sounds crazy to tell you — but she was standing in the shower and all of a sudden, I hear her scream. I run in there and the water had somehow flipped to hot but it was still…It wasn’t like the water had just changed, the knob had turned but she hadn’t turned it and it was burning her. She was really red. I thought I had seen a little boy sitting on the sink watching me take a shower so I felt really freaked out. I was sitting there the next night and maybe I’m crazy, but I could have sworn I could see this little boy sitting there on the sink, kicking his feet. We found out that there was this older man that owned it [the bakery] and his son lived with him there, and I guess the wife died or something, she had gotten sick. So it was just the son and the dad that lived there in the bakery, and then the dad died and the son took over the bakery, and I thought I was seeing the son. I’m not even kidding. I had to move. That’s not a lie. I will never stay there ever again.
Another famous pop musician, Ariana Grande, had an even scarier experience while visiting an old castle and cemetery in Kansas City, in the United States. While there at the notoriously haunted Stull Cemetery, Grande and friends came across what seems to have been perhaps an actual demon. It started as they were driving through the cemetery and she felt overwhelmed by an intense, unshakable feeling of pure dread and anguish, after which she smelled sulphur and saw a fly buzzing about in the vehicle. This was scary enough that she decided to leave, but not before apologizing to any spirits in the area and snapping some photos, and this is where things get really weird. Grande has said in an interview with Complex magazine:
Then I took a picture, and there are three super-distinct faces in the picture — they’re faces of textbook demons. The next day I tried to send [the picture] to my manager, and it said, ‘This file can’t be sent, it’s 666 megabytes.’ I’m not kidding. I used to have a folder called ‘demons’ that had pictures with all the screencaps in it, but then weird things started happening to me, so I deleted it.
She also said that a few weeks before the interview she had the most frightening demonic experience of all, claiming:
I had just gotten off the phone, and as soon as I closed my eyes, I heard this really loud rumble right by my head. When I opened my eyes, it stopped immediately, but when I closed my eyes it started again with whispers. Every time I closed my eyes, I started seeing these really disturbing images with, like, red shapes. Then I opened my eyes and got back on the phone and was like, ‘I’m really scared, and I don’t want to go to bed tonight.Then I scooched over to the left side of my bed, because that’s where the best service is in my room, and there was this massive black matter. I don’t know what it was… I started crying. I was on the phone like, ‘What do I do, what do I do?’ and they said, ‘Tell it to eff off.’ I thought, I’m not going to do that. It’s going to upset it, so I’m just going to chill and not feed into it, because all it wants is fear. It feeds on fear. I watched it move to the front of my bed, and then I fell asleep on the phone. I woke up, and it was gone.
It is all pretty intense, and one wonders just what to think of it all. She should make it into a song at the very least. Perhaps the most bonkers case of a celebrity’s experience with the paranormal is the bizarre odyssey of the weird undertaken by the famed late music artist David Bowie. For a large portion of the 1970s, Bowie was absolutely convinced that he was being stalked by a coven of witches, who he was quite sure were after his sperm. He was so terrified of these witches and the black magic spells he was sure they were casting that he took to carrying around an assortment of magical protective talismans and often obsessively lit black candles in an effort to ward off malicious spirits. As for why they wanted his sperm, writer Mark Spitz, author of the biography Bowie, has said:
Increasingly Bowie was convinced there were witches after his semen. They were intent on using it to make a child to sacrifice to the devil, essentially the plot to Roman Polanski’s 1968 supernatural classic Rosemary’s Baby.
Bowie also turned to magical spells, pored over numerous books on white magic and psychic self-defense, and got into the habit of scrawling protective images and pentagrams all over his home in order to protect himself from the malevolent forces he felt were closing in on him from all around. During this dark time he also became convinced that his swimming pool was infested with demons, to the point that he would not go anywhere near it nor let anyone else go in it. In the end, out of desperation Bowie apparently turned to a white magician by the name of Walli Elmlark, who went about magically cleansing the pool and trying to cast out these dark forces. Spitz would say of this:
Elmlark quickly and successfully exorcised the pool. Angie (Bowie), who was living there at the time, noted that it started to bubble and smoke, and that it only rained outside David’s window while the rest of the L.A. sky was clear. Elmlark wrote a series of spells and incantations out for Bowie as he continued to wrestle with the forces of darkness.
Bowie would go on to credit Elmlark with saving him from the supernatural danger and salvaging his soul. It is important to remember that all of this was happening during a troubled time in the musician’s life when large mountains of cocaine and other drugs were the order of the day, so whether any of this was due to the being stalked by witches or the tripping of balls is anyone’s guess. Speaking of hard partying rockers, some other musicians have supposedly had encounters with something even more otherworldly than ghosts. One notable case was an experience supposedly had by none other than the legendary John Lennon, of The Beatles fame.
The account comes from noted magician and psychic Uri Geller, who was friends with Lennon and claims that the artist once relayed to him a very surreal and outlandish encounter that he had had. According to Geller, Lennon told him that one day in the early 1970s he had looked outside of his apartment after seeing an anomalous bright light, and that he had seen strange, bug-like creatures milling about outside, which repelled him with some invisible force when he tried to get closer. Lennon would reportedly explain of this:
They did something. But I don’t know what it was. I tried to throw them out, but, when I took a step towards them, they kind of pushed me back. I mean, they didn’t touch me. It was like they just willed me. Pushed me with willpower and telepathy.
The next thing Lennon knew, he lost consciousness and woke up in his own bed. It might have all been written off as a weird dream if there hadn’t been an alien mechanical metal egg sitting there in his hands. Lennon would purportedly pass it to Geller and say, “It’s too weird for me. If it’s my ticket to another planet, I don’t want to go there.” It is unclear what happened to this egg-like device after this, as far as I know. Almost as weird is an incident experienced by the “Red Rocker” Sammy Hagar, perhaps most well known for once being the frontman of the rock group Van Halen. He claims that in 1967 he was visited by aliens as he slept, which he says plugged him into some sort of complex machine and began pumping his brain full of strange numerical codes and information. Hagar would say of this:
I was just lying in bed when I felt something weird going on, like someone was tapping into my brain…I didn’t know how to fu***** explain it. But they were downloading or uploading – that’s the simplest way to put it. Oh, I could see them…they were playing with a numerical code but it wasn’t from our numerical system. And then, suddenly, this telepathic connection broke…It scared me nearly to death. It was an experience I couldn’t understand.
After this connection was broken, Hagar says he screamed and managed to pull away, after which he claims that he woke up and there was a loud popping sound, after which his room went entirely white. In the days after this mysterious event, Hagar became convinced that those aliens had uploaded some sort of important information into his head, and would even go as far as to credit them with his success later on in his career, saying:
My ego was telling me: They’ve programmed you to be a rock star! So I used it as a tool to write songs about outer space and the future…songs like “Crack In The World” and “Silver Lights”, which is about the second coming of Christ – Jesus coming back in a spaceship.
What in the world did these various famous people experience? Was there anything to this or is it just hallucinations, misunderstanding, and/or drugs in some cases? Although their celebrity status gives their accounts more exposure and perhaps weight, in the end it is no clearer with these cases than with anyone else whether any of this really happened or not, yet it is interesting to see that it is not always nobodies living out in the boondocks who have these weird experiences, and it indeed adds to the great big pile of weird that is the world of the paranormal.