Scary Halloween Stories

Ghosts and ghoulies and the devil come out to play in this collection of the scariest stories published on American Folklore. Great for Halloween!

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Halloween ghost stories and spooky podcasts; getting scarier each week until Halloween! Read a spooky story below or check out our Halloween stories & games page for more spooky fun! Scary ghost stories are retold from American Folklore by S.E. Schlosser, author of the Spooky Series. Browse Halloween stories from previous years in Countdown to Halloween 2007-2013.

Story: Amber
Oh, you hear the stories about how dangerous Ouija boards are, but hey—it’s just a game. Mary waited until midnight to begin our little game, and the four of us—Sarah, Jessie, me, and, Mary, started by asking all kinds of silly questions. It was a strange-looking board, covered with letters and symbols. There was a plastic pointer that was supposed to move across the board at the behest of the spirits. The instructions called it a planchette.

Fan Video: Storm Hag
She lurks below the surface of the lake near Presque Isle, her lithe form forever swimming through the weeds and the mire. Pale and green of skin, her yellow eyes shine luminously in the dark, and her thin long arms wrap themselves around the unwary...

Story: Bloody Mary Quite Contrary
“Mary, Mary…” the half-heard whisper woke her in the darkness before dawn. Darkness. How appropriate. These days, it seemed as if her whole life was in darkness. It had not always been this way. She was born at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, England on February 18, 1516. As the eldest daughter and only surviving child of King Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, Mary was baptized a Catholic shortly after her birth...

Fan Video: Black Magic
Mad Henry was a hermit who lived alone in a decrepit mansion at the edge of town. Rumors were rife about the wild-eyed man. Some folks said that he was a magician who called upon the powers of darkness to wreck havoc upon his neighbors. Others called him a mad doctor who could restore life to foul corpses from the local cemetery. No respectable citizen in town had anything to do with Mad Henry...

Story: Dancing with the Devil
The girl hurried through her schoolwork as fast as she could. It was the night of the high school dance, along about 70 years ago in the town of Kingsville, Texas. The girl was so excited about the dance. She had bought a brand new, sparkly red dress for the dance. She knew she looked smashing in it. It was going to be the best evening of her life.

Fan Video: The Shrouded Horseman
When the Civil War ended, Jeremiah Jones, found himself a free man. Eager to make a new life for himself, he made his way north to Milwaukee. For several years, he worked odd jobs until he earned enough money to buy himself a big white horse and a dray—a low, flatbed wagon without sides. Shortly thereafter, he was hired on as a drayman with the Phillip Best Brewing Company.

Story: Don't Sell My House
Life seemed perfect to Mark when the widower brought his new bride Lisa home to the lovely two-story cottage he had build for his deceased first wife. Things were very happy for about a year, and Mark was ecstatic when he learned Lisa was expecting twins. The house was rather small for a double addition to the family, so Mark and Lisa put the cottage up for sale and started searching for a bigger house. That’s when the problems began.

Video: Sifty-Sifty San
There was once a beautiful old house right on the edge of a lake, surrounded by woods. But no one would live there because a spirit calling itself Sifty-Sifty-San drove everyone away. In desperation, the owner of the house went to the big city, looking for a man or woman who would be able to banish the spirit of Sifty-Sifty-San...

Top 10 Scary Stories

The Spooky Series

Axe Murder Hollow

Susan and Ned were driving through a wooded empty section of highway. Lightning flashed, thunder roared, the sky went dark in the torrential downpour. “We’d better stop.” Said Susan. Ned nodded his head in agreement. When he stepped on the brake, the car started to slide on the slick pavement. They went off the road and slid to a halt at the bottom of an incline.

Bloody Mary

She lived deep in the forest in a tiny cottage and sold herbal remedies for a living. Folks living in the town nearby called her Bloody Mary, and said she was a witch. None dared cross the old crone for fear that their cows would go dry, their food-stores rot away before winter, their children take sick of fever, or any number of terrible things that an angry witch could do to her neighbors.

Bloody Mary Whales

When the Civil War ended slavery, it was a disaster for Old Man Whales, who no longer had a profitable source of income to supplement his farm work. And then his beloved wife died childbirth. Overnight, Whales fell to pieces. He hated the child – a little girl named Mary - that had killed his wife. He neglected her, dressing her in rags, making her do all the farm choirs and half-starving her...

Burnt Church

She was sophisticated, poised, and cultured. In retrospect, this should have made them suspicious. A teacher like her should be presiding over a girl’s school in London or New York, not seeking a position in a small town in Georgia. But at the time, they were too delighted by her application to ask any questions.

Don't Turn on the Light

She commandeered the room in the basement of her dorm as soon as she realized she would have to pull an all-nighter in order to prepare for tomorrow’s final exam. Her roommate, Jenna, liked to get to bed early, so she packed up everything she thought she would need and went downstairs to study . . . and study . . . and study some more.

The Face

The medical student toppled into love as soon as he set eyes on Sheila, the beautiful new transfer student. She had masses of long black hair and eyelashes so long they got tangled in her curls when she leaned over her desk. The medical student had a withdrawn nature, though not by inclination. He’d learned the hard way that people avoided him when they heard about his insane father; locked away in an asylum.

No Trespassing

Peggy and her boyfriend Tommy were driving down a lonely stretch of highway at dusk when a thunderstorm came crashing down on them. Tommy slowed the car and they crept their way past a formidable abandoned house. Plastered all over the fences and trees were NO TRESPASSING signs.

The Handshake

Polly was the sweetest, prettiest girl in Goldsboro, yes sir. All the local boys were chasing her, and quite a number of the fellows from the surrounding countryside were too. All the girls were jealous of Polly ‘cause they didn’t have no sweethearts to take them to the local dances. They all wanted Polly to choose her man so things could go back to normal. But Polly was picky. None of the local boys suited her, and neither did the fellows from the back country.

Hatchet Man

There were warnings all over campus about a Hatchet Man who was supposedly abused and killed a woman in Bloomington. All the girls were warned to walk in pairs and to stay in brightly lit areas if they had to go out at night.


When the samurai warrior Kane first came to California from Tokyo, be brought his new wife, the beautiful Ishi. She was an ideal wife: gentle, attentive, and a wonderful cook. Kane was the envy of his new neighbors. But he was a proud man. When a wealthy family moved into the neighborhood, Kane cast his eye upon their lovely daughter, Aiko, and desired her...

White Wolf

She snapped awake out of a deep sleep, screaming aloud in terror. In her nightmare, a large white wolf had been chasing her around and around the house, gaining on her with every step until it finally pounced on her and ripped out her throat. She lay shaking for hours, unable to sleep after such a terrifying dream.

You can read more ghost stories on our
Halloween Stories page.

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