Seven Horrific Hauntings Based on True Events

The Shining (1980)

There might not be a creepier haunting on film than that of The Shining. Stephen King visited The Stanley Hotel and stayed in the legendary Room 217 (yes, that of the waterlogged old lady) when the hotel was nearly deserted just before shutting down for an extended period of time. The result was The Overlook Hotel and The Shining, which Stanley Kubrick would turn into one of the most memorable horror films ever.

The Stanley Hotel was built by Freelan O. Stanley, who was co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile, and many feel that his wife's ghost is the one that can be heard playing piano. When individuals have investigated the sound, no one is sitting at the piano bench. The kitchen staff has reported hearing a party in the ballroom, only to check it out and find nothing. Guests have spoken of waking up to see ghostly figures standing in their room. Yikes! The Stanley Hotel was simply the original inspiration for the novel, and Kubrick actually filmed at a location entitled The Timberline Lodge in Oregon. In 1997 King returned to The Stanley Hotel to film the television mini-series version of The Shining.

Jack and the axe and Redrum are all images conjured up by King's incredible imagination, not actual reports from the hotel. But if I'm waking up in a hotel and seeing a spectral figure standing in my room, I feel sorry for the cleaning staff because they are going to have some severely soiled sheets on their hands.

The Amityville Horror (1979)

This 1977 film was the first of 10 movies inspired by the house at 112 Ocean Avenue, the location of the infamous DeFeo murders. Ronald Joseph DeFeo, Jr., murdered the six members of his family at this location (that's not a movie, that's the real deal), creating the back story for one of the most famous hauntings in recent memory.

The film, which is, of course, based on the book The Amityville Horror: A True Story by Jay Anson, follows the story of the Lutz family, who moved into the former DeFeo home just 13 months after the murders. Nothing like letting the dead settle. It's no wonder the house was talking to them and they had flies everywhere! I guess the housing market in 1975 wasn't any better than it is today, and you've gotta jump on a deal…bloodstained carpets or not.

The Amityville Horror is the most recognizable and memorable reportedly true haunting that would go on to become a feature film as it was accompanied by a large amount of press disputing the claims as well as lawsuits alleging invasion of privacy and fraud, etc. In 1979 the homeowners George and Kathy Lutz took a lie detector test about the supernatural events in the home, and both passed. This story will go down as a true mystery, but, fact or fiction, we did get a kick-ass movie out of it.

There you have seven standout examples of documented real-life hauntings that have found their way to the big screen to help you get in the mood for The Apparition, hitting theaters on Friday, August 24.

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moderator An American Haunting is one
Debi Moore's picture

An American Haunting is one of the worst movies ever made! I can't remember when I've ever been as angry at a film as I was at that one.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 4:45pm.
Terminal's picture

No one ever mentions the Smurls. I thought their story was much scarier than the Amityville story.

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 4:08pm.
moderator Agreed and a movie was made
Steve Barton's picture

Agreed and a movie was made about that one too. A very effective one at that. It was called "The Haunted" and it's ridiculously hard to come by. How I wish that was getting an official DVD or Blu-ray release.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 4:16pm.
Terminal's picture

You figure the re-emergence of Jeffery DeMunn with his stint on the Walking Dead would prompt a much needed Blu-Ray release. That movie scared the shit out of me as a kid.

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 4:19pm.
moderator Every now and again I can
Steve Barton's picture

Every now and again I can still hear an old woman's voice calling "Janet"

And the scene with the pillow! Wow was that crazy!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 5:07pm.
Terminal's picture

What about that fucking shadow? And the house going berserk when the family is camping? Sheesh!

Submitted by Terminal on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 6:25pm.
moderator That's the "Janet" movie?
Debi Moore's picture

That's the "Janet" movie? Yep, super-scary!

Submitted by Debi Moore on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 6:04pm.
Hakk Wylde's picture

When effectively told, these stories cut through to something inside us all. A good haunting tale is just so classic. Domestic hauntings point out our need to feel secure and safe behind our front doors while stories of possession remind us of the horrors of being personally invaded, body & spirit. Terrifying!
Very informative read! Now I wanna have a "haunted" weekend movie marathon! }:)

Submitted by Hakk Wylde on Fri, 08/24/2012 - 2:46pm.

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