Do You Believe In Ghosts? 10 Real-Life 1960s Ghost Stories That'll Keep You Up At Night

Culture | October 27, 2019

'Peeping Tom' of Ellicott City, Maryland. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Ghost stories of the 1960s involve hauntings, poltergeists, restless spirits from beyond the grave, and at least one headless murderer. Accounts of these spooky phenomena come from Appalachian State University; Stockholm, Sweden; the Knickerbocker Hotel in Los Angeles; and even Loretta Lynn's Tennessee mansion. The 1960s was a decade of transition, when the country was changing from the traditional 1950s to the freaky ‘70s. The ghost stories that came out of this decade have never been explained, some of them feature stars of the era, and a few of them feature poltergeists who really don’t like people. Turn the lights down low, get out the candy and get ready for these real ghost stories from the 1960s. 

The Knickerbocker Hotel In Los Angeles Has A Star Studded Haunting

source: pinterest

Celebrities have been staying at the Knickerbocker Hotel since it was opened, some of them have enjoyed their stay so much that they’ve never left. Most famously Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio made use of the hotel quite often, and they spent their honeymoon in the hotel. Following Monroe’s death in 1962, the blonde bombshell allegedly returned to the hotel to gossip in the lady’s room. But another haunting from the ‘60s is far more malicious. 

After dress designer Irene Gibbons flung herself from the 11th floor in 1962 her spirit supposedly returned to the building to harass the living. People who’ve stayed there have said that they’ve seen her shadow move around their rooms and that she opens and closes windows much to their annoyance. 

The Maltby Street Poltergeist Made A Huge Mess

source: mlive

Poltergeists have haunted entire houses before, but in 1961 in Michigan a poltergeist haunted an entire city block. According to local legend, on the evening of October 30 1961, the Lincoln family heard something stomping up the stairs of their basement accompanied by moaning and groaning. As it moved up the stairs their plates and kitchenware began flying off the shelves, and a can of shaving cream even flew through a window. The haunting didn’t end on the night before Halloween, and the Lincoln family had to endure a poltergeist that constantly wrecked their home, threw their things onto the lawn and into the street unitil they moved out of the house. 

Loretta Lynn’s Plantation Home Is Supremely Haunted

source: pinterest

Country singer Loretta Lynn makes no bones about how haunted her 19th century plantation home is. Located in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, Lynn first moved into the home in the 1960s, but it was so haunted that she had to build a new home to get away from the ghosts. Throughout the ‘60s Lynn and her family saw Civil War soldiers in their home, with one of them even removing his boots in the home’s “Brown Room.”

Lynn says that there’s a ghostly woman who walks the property, from the home to the local cemetery, mourning the loss of her child. The country star attempted to reach out to the ghosts with a séance one evening, but a spirit named “Anderson” showed up and angrily shook the table, later Lynn discovered that the original owner of the property was named James Anderson. 

The Silver Arrow, Stockholm's Ghost Train

source: wikimedia

Stories of ghost trains have been around for generations, but beginning in the 1960s one supposedly haunted train gripped Stockholm, Sweden in its brash silver grasp. Known as the Silverpilen, or the Silver Arrow, when this small fleet of bare, unpainted trains were introduced to Stockholm’s all green fleet people were put off from it completely. It was initially believed that these trains would be cost effective, but when they were introduced vandals quickly graffitied the inside, making them even less desirable.

Before long an urban legend began circulating about the trains that claimed anyone who rode the Silver Arrow would never make it to their destination. Christoffer Sandahl, the director of Spårvägsmuseet, the Swedish Tramway Museum explained:

[The train] is only seen after midnight. It stops only once every year. The passengers in the train seem to be living dead, with expressionless, vacant looks. A very common detail is that a person who just wanted to travel to the next station remained seated for one week in the Silverpilen. Many girls dared not enter trains which they believed could be Silverpilen.

The Ghost Of Appalachian State University East Hall

source: facebook

Founded in 1899, Appalachian State University not only plays host to eager young students, but to aggressive spirits and poltergeists. The hauntings in the East Hall can be traced back to the 1960s when a student committed suicide on the ground floor. Following that unfortunate death students have reported seeing shadowy figures watching them from the corner of their rooms and hovering through halls. Student Devin Perry said that he and his girlfriend:

...saw something in the corner. We both saw it at different times in the night – which was weird – while we were asleep. But it was standing right beside [my roommate’s] bed in the corner. She woke up the next day and was talking about this crazy dream that she had where some black figure was standing in the corner beside Matt’s bed, and I was like, ‘That’s weird, because I had the same dream.’

While some students believe that the creepies that haunt the East Hall is nice, others have noted that they’ve seen pictures and dorm items flying across the room, which throws the whole idea of a nice poltergeist out the window. 

Victoria’s Black Swan Inn Has A Sad History

source: bad wolf

Texas is full of stories of rustlers and bandits; battles and abandoned towns, it’s a state that’s definitely full of ghosts. When Hall “Park” Street and Jolene Woods inherited the Black Swan Inn in the 1960s they had no idea that it had originally been owned by German immigrant Heinrich Mahler who passed away from a broken heart after his wife passed away in the 1860s.

Misfortune hit this couple hard when a deep depression fell over the house as Woods passed away from cancer and Street hung himself from their bed. Since their deaths, visitors to the hotel have claimed that they’ve seen up to eight ghosts moving throughout the inn, including that of a child who plays with the lights and bangs around the building. 

Blood Spills From The Walls Of 1000 Lombard In San Francisco

source: mistersf

Note to self: if there’s a tarot card reader at your house, don’t make them mad. Social columnist Pat Montandon didn’t follow that advice in the 1960s when he hosted a zodiac themed party and apparently cheesed off the tarot reader he hired so much that she cursed his house. That’s the exact opposite of what you want out of a performer in your home. Following the curses, Montandon experienced bleeding walls, freezing temperatures, and disembodied scream that could break out across the home at any time. With a haunting like that he likely wasn’t hosting any more parties. 

Phantom Sounds Echo Around The Whaley House

source: sohosandiego

It takes a lot of work to be known as the “most haunted house in America,” but the Whaley House is going for that title. Since it was constructed in 1857 its routinely suffered from ghastly moments that have only added to the haunting that’s occurring in this building. Locals believe that the oldest ghost in the building is that of “Yankee Jim” Robinson, who was hanged in 1852 from a gallows that stood on the property.

Thomas Whaley, the original owner of the house, saw Robinson’s execution and decided to purchase the property and build a house on top anyway, essentially ensuring that his house would be haunted. Families have claimed that they’ve seen ghosts throughout the ages, but when the house was converted to a museum in the 1960s visitors noted phantom sounds and even a ghostly dog running through the halls. 

The Original Owners Are Still In Pittock Mansion

source: wikipedia

Located in Portland, Oregon, this 22-room French chateau was constructed in 1922, and while there have only been two deaths on the property it’s become known as one of the most haunted places in the state. The mansion wasn’t open to the public until 1965, and that’s when the haunting began. Visitors say that they’ve seen an array of spooky sights ranging from ghostly women floating through the building, to windows opening and shutting on their own, and boots walking through the hallways all by themselves. A photo of former owner Henry Pittock has even been seen seen transporting itself around the mansion along with the scent of roses. No visitor has ever said that they’re necessarily afraid of the spirits, only that the sightings are jarring the first time you see them. 

A Headless Ghost Wanders Walker House

source: frightfind

Mineral Point, Wisconsin plays host to one of the creepiest ghost stories of the 1960s. The Walker House, built in 1836, first started garnering stories of paranormal activity in the 1960s when people started hearing the disembodied voice of William Cafe, a local man who was sentenced to death for murder who was supposedly decapitated when he was hung in front of the property. He’s been seen walking through the building in a gray suit carrying his head, which has to be unsettling. As he makes his way through the building Cafe has been known to jostle the knobs on the doors without actually opening the doors. 

Tags: Ghosts | Halloween | Loretta Lynn

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Jacob Shelton


Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based writer. For some reason this was the most difficult thing he’s written all day, and here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the funny part of that last sentence. As for the rest of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, baby. He’s obsessed with the ways in which singular, transgressive acts have shaped the broader strokes of history, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which means that he’s great at a dinner party. When he’s not writing about culture, pop or otherwise, he’s adding to his found photograph collection and eavesdropping on strangers in public.