Hauntings of any kind are already scary enough as it is. No one wants to runs into a ghost or other apparition, and even when the paranormal activity itself is rather innocuous it can be a jolting experience that can scare and baffle. Yet some cases take it all up a notch, to evolve into something far beyond just creepy or eerie, to become infused with violence and malicious intent, and launch themselves into the realm of truly scary encounters. Here is a selection of some of the most intense and violent sinister hauntings there are, involving paranormal forces reaching out with intent to harm and maim.
The earliest violent hauntings we’ll look at here date all the way back to the 17th century, and one of these occurred in the country of Scotland. Here there lived the Mackie family, and in February of 1695 their world would be turned upside down by one of the most intense hauntings on record. It was then that members of the Mackie family, including the father Andrew and his wife and children, began to experience odd bouts of being absolutely assailed with various flying objects such as stones, logs, furniture, and other objects, which would come flinging out from all directions out of nowhere, and with enough force to on many occasions leave welts and bruises. Scared of what was going on, they called in a minister named Alexander Telfair, who was also assaulted by flying objects, and a force that he explains, “threw stones and divers other things at me, and beat me several times on the Shoulders and Sides with a great Staff, so that those who were present heard the noise of the Blows.”
This would all graduate to even more intense episodes, with the family’s children being attacked by unseen hands that left red marks and scratches, and the mysterious force at times would actually drag people kicking and screaming through the house. The hurled objects would also become more dangerous, with knives and other heavy instruments thrown with clear intent to harm, such as was the case with the house blacksmith apparently being almost beheaded by a tossed trough and plowshare. To add even more to the mayhem were numerous odd fires that would spring up all over the place, and there was a hulking shadow apparition that would appear on occasion around the home.
It is not surprising that the family took this all to be the work of demons, and they would go about many attempts to have the house exorcised by clergy, with every one of them being thwarted by flying objects and some of the ministers even being picked up and thrown through the air themselves. Ministers continued their efforts and things got even weirder when a disembodied voice proclaimed “Thou shalt be troubled 'till Tuesday.” True to its word, the paranormal activity ceased on that day, but not before the entity appeared one last time as a gigantic spinning black cloud that flung clods of dirt and mud at the witnesses before fading away. It’s hard to know if this was the work of ghosts or demons, or why it suddenly decided to leave after defying exorcism attempts, but it was definitely violent.
From around the same time period, just a few years before the Mackie case and also in Scotland, we have the story of the English torturer and war criminal Lord Advocate Sir George Mackenzie, who carried out fierce punishments on Presbyterians during the efforts of King Charles II to bring the country of Scotland under one religion. Many of the sadistic tortures and executions Mackenzie carried out were done at a decrepit, spooky cemetery called Greyfriars Kirkyard, which had been turned into a sort of makeshift prison called the Covenanters Prison. Shockingly, by the time Mackenzie died in 1691 he had been responsible for the deaths of an estimated 18,000 people over a period of just 8 years, making him a true monster and also making it ironic that he would be buried at the same cemetery where he had carried out a good number of these atrocities and where hundreds of his victims were also buried. He was buried in a specially designed tomb that was called the Black Mausoleum, a fitting name for such a tyrant. You see where this is going, right?
Yes, the cemetery is haunted. Quite spectacularly, malevolently so. Interestingly, the tales of hauntings at the cemetery wouldn’t really take off until hundreds of years later, when in 1998 a homeless man purportedly was wandering about the area when he fell through a crumbling section of the Black Mausoleum and tumbled to a chamber within. The man would supposedly emerge from the gloom driven mad by whatever unspeakable things he had seen down there. In another case not long after, a woman was walking by and curiously peering through the rusted iron gates when she was allegedly forcefully thrown back by a blast of cold wind, and yet another woman was found on the premises unconscious and with bruising around her neck, suggesting that someone had tried to choke her to death. The victim could remember nothing of the incident.
After that the bizarre attacks would continue, with scores of people claiming that they have been brutally attacked by an unseen force on the grounds, which quite often leaves cuts, scratches, bruises, broken bones, and burns behind, and severe nausea and blackouts are not uncommon here. This led to an official exorcism attempted on the cemetery in 2000, carried out by a Colin Grant, who said he could sense hundreds of tormented, angry souls lurking there. It ended up being too much for him to bear, and he would end up mysteriously dead of a sudden heart attack just a few weeks later. Whatever resides at the Greyfriars Kirkyard is mean and pissed off, whatever it is.
Moving on through the years to 1908 we have the case of a witness only known as M. Constans, supposedly a French diplomat living in Constantinople, Turkey at the time. He would claim that he and his wife had been relentlessly tormented by some sort of vile supernatural entity during his stay there, at a place called The Red Palace. The instances of violent paranormal activity experienced by the couple are many. On one occasion the diplomat says he was pushed over by an invisible force that sent him sprawling to the floor, and this same force was also reported as lifting his bed clear off the ground at times. His wife was also pushed down the stairs and attacked by a strange black entity reminiscent of a goat as she was working in the garden. The activity was so ruthless and vicious that he and his wife would leave the premises, never to return.
In 1965 we have a rather infamous case from the village of Jaboticabal, Brazil, wherein a 11-year-old girl named Maria Jose Ferreira was targeted by nefarious supernatural elements. There is a rather surreal air to the whole thing, with the activity starting out with rocks, stones, and bricks purportedly appearing out of thin air to go careening off to shatter furniture and smash myriad household items. Some of these rocks weighed up to 10 pounds each, and they always manifested within the home from nothingness. Furniture and other items were also tossed about with great force.
In addition to this, Maria was ruthlessly attacked by unseen entities, which would scratch, claw at, and bite her, and there were truly bizarre episodes of needles appearing in her skin out of nowhere, with dozens of them appearing at one time in some instances. When the girl went to school her clothes reportedly burst into flame, and this went on for over a year as the terrified family tried to figure out what to do. When she visited a psychic she was told that in a previous life she had been a witch, and that she was being attacked by a vengeful spirit of someone she had killed in that iteration. Maria would thwart this violent haunting by killing herself at the age of 16, ending the haunting once and for all.
Moving on into the 1970s we come to another notorious haunting, that of the Heath family of England, which would go on to become one of the most infamous and malicious poltergeist cases that country has ever seen. In August of 1972, the patriarch, Thornton Heath, and his wife were awoken in the middle of the night by a radio blasting some static infused transmission in a foreign language they didn’t understand. That Christmas, Thornton was in his living room checking on the Christmas tree when it began to shake violently and a figurine went flying across the room to hit him in the head hard enough to leave a mark and send him sprawling backwards into a chair.
New Year’s brought no respite, as the strange phenomena continued unabated. Loud, stomping footsteps were heard, doors flung open violently, lights would flicker, and their young son came to them screaming that a tall, angry looking man in “old fashioned clothes” had been standing over his bed. This would happen even when guests were over, and no one could figure out what the cause could be. The family went to a priest, who blessed the home, but this did little to staunch the strangeness, and indeed it seemed to get only worse. The family then went to a spirit medium, whom examined the house and told them that the spirit within it was a deceased former resident she called “Chatterton,” who saw the family as a threat.
Upon looking into it, it was found that a farmer had once lived there by the name of Chatterton, and that he had called this place his home in the 18th century. To make this even spookier still, another entity thought to be Chatterton’s wife began to appear, materializing as a disgusting, old, gray-haired hag and following family members about at all hours. It got so bad that the two ghosts began appearing even on the TV screen, and after 4 years of putting up with this sinister activity the spooked family moved away and the hauntings ceased. What did these amazingly active and violent spirits want? Why was this family targeted so intensely? We will probably never know.
Also form the 1970s comes a tale from England, from the files of the Society of Psychical Research, of a 17-year-old girl known only as Miss A. One evening Miss A and some friends passed through a graveyard and joked around as they knocked over some headstones, an act that does not seem to have been without consequence. A few nights later, Miss A woke up suddenly in the middle of the night to see the apparition of an old crone sitting in a chair near her bed, but she would later write it off as just a bad dream. This would prove to be anything but.
In the coming weeks, Miss A was followed about by the old, gray-haired entity, and she would see it pop up constantly. It didn’t seem to be particularly friendly either, as it began to display some rather ominous behavior. Miss A would claim that the apparition would pop up out of nowhere and yank objects from her hand, in particular boiling teakettles or other items that could inflict harm. Miss A’s mother also experienced this, when a vacuum cleaner was twisted with powerful force right out of her hands. There would also be strange water leaks that could not be explained and various anomalous bangs and thuds, as well as objects tossed with malevolent force.
Things got very odd when Miss A one day went into a daze and began babbling about some past life where she was the daughter of a French doctor, and as soon as she awoke she began displaying other oddities. She found she could psychically move objects or bend the tines of forks, and this was enough to send the family on their way. It is said that Miss A would return to the abandoned home some time later to find the back door broken. She warily entered the premises to discover the telephone still sitting there, and when she curiously piked up the receiver she says that something roughly grabbed her by the throat and began to try to choke her into submission. She managed to tear herself away and exit the premises, never to return.
These are certainly some very malignant and terrifying tales of entities that seem to go beyond the realm of mere hauntings to enter a domain of something altogether more sinister. We are left to wonder why these particular spirits were so brutal and held so much animosity. Why so much seething hatred? Was it some vendetta they held over from life? Is it some innate evil they already had? Why are they so powerful and able to extend this ill will outward into the physical world? It is all fascinating to contemplate, and questions for which we may never have answers, and they serve to show that hauntings can go beyond merely the creepy to escalate into full blown dangerous affairs indeed.