The Amityville Horror houseAIP Kobal REX/shutterstockAlthough the cover of The Amityville Horror says it's based on a true story, most of this tale is anything but. The story starts with a very real—and very grisly—murder: On November 13, 1974, Ronald Defeo Jr. shot and killed his parents and four siblings while they slept. But after that, the truth gets murky. According to the Lutzes, the family that moved in after the murder, the house was haunted. (Don't miss this account from a woman who stayed in a real-life haunted house.) People and furniture levitated and shape-shifted, gelatinous drops appeared out of nowhere, and Mrs. Lutz began having nightmares of the murder. Unfortunately for those who love a good ghost story, the claims are largely considered a hoax—and no family that's lived in the house since the Lutzes has reported any type of paranormal activity. These are the 31 scariest movies of all time.
The Anson Light highway ghostceliafoto/shutterstockDreaming up stories about haunted highways is as American as apple pie. But for the town of Anson, near Abilene, Texas, the jig is up. As the story goes, if you drive up to the local cemetery and flash your flights at the end of the road, a ghost light will flicker in the distance. According to legend, it's the light from a lantern held by a grieving mother looking for her son—apparently, they both perished in a Texas snowstorm. (You'll never guess what "Texas" is slang for in Norway.) A professor at the nearby Abilene Christian University had a differently theory, though, and guessed that the light was actually coming from traffic on a nearby highway. He recently tested his theory with a group of students armed with GPS trackers and a pair of binoculars. Turns out, it's case closed; the Anson Light is nothing but headlights in the distance.
The haunted H. HouseRazoomanet/shutterstockThis ghost story almost turned deadly—but not for the reason you might expect. After moving into a new home in 1912, the "H. family" almost immediately began experiencing depressions, poor sleep, apparitions, and phantom sounds. (These are the 8 haunted places you can rent on Airbnb.) Mrs. H wrote an account of the activity:
“On one occasion, in the middle of the morning, as I passed from the drawing room into the dining room, I was surprised to see at the further end of the dining room, coming towards me, a strange woman, dark haired and dressed in black. As I walked steadily on into the dining room to meet her, she disappeared, and in her place I saw a reflection of myself in the mirror, dressed in a light silk waist … On the night of January 15 we went to the opera. That night I had vague and strange dreams, which appeared to last for hours. When the morning came, I felt too tired and ill to get up. G told me that in the middle of the night he woke up, feeling as if someone had grabbed him by the throat and was trying to strangle him. He sat up in bed and had a violent fit of coughing, which lasted about five minutes ... G had always slept heavily, never hearing a sound and nothing disturbed him. Now he was continually waking, answering the telephone and the doorbell, which had never rung, and looking for burglars, who never materialized.”
The family had a right to be terrified, but upon further investigation it was discovered they were actually suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. (Here's how to protect your home from carbon monoxide.) H. house's furnace was faulty and was slowly releasing the deadly gas into the home. The result was the family's hallucinations and unexplained sickness.