We all know what a haunted house should be. It's the old mansion on a hill; effectively any 'murder house' where there are almost certainly a few body parts residing under the floorboards; and any disused or abandoned sanatorium.
These stock images make Halloween decorations easy and also help us sleep at night, safe in the knowledge that our normal home definitely could never be haunted. Right? The truth, however, hits much closer to home.
These are examples of haunted places that might make you want to sleep with the lights on, so eerily normal do the locations otherwise appear to be.
Toys 'R' Us
When you think of haunted toy shops, images of china dolls and ventriloquist dummies probably come to mind. Toys 'R' Us doesn't. Unless you're in Sunnyvale, California, that is, where the ghost of farmhand, Johnny Johnson, who died in the 1800s after an accident chopping wood, is said to reside. As it turns out, this particular Toys 'R' Us was built on the site of a former plantation where Johnny used to work. Staff and customers have reported weird messages coming in over the intercom (including quotes of Bible verse), stock moving independently off the shelves and numerous sightings in the girls' toilet.
Supposedly the happiest place on earth, there are a number of urban legends surrounding Disneyland, not least of which is that the theme park is home to a number of lost souls. Considering that the park is a choice spot for people scattering the ashes of loved ones, to say nothing of the guests that have died on the rides before, this is hardly surprising. What is more surprising is that the 'Small World' ride is one of the haunted spots.
Edgar Allen Poe Italian restaurant
The master of horror himself resides in the frankly urbane setting of an Italian restaurant in New York. Apparently, the Il Buco Restaurant's wine cellar inspired Poe to write his famous short story, 'The Cask of Amontillado', which makes the possibility of a haunting that much more credible. New York's restaurants are home to more than a few such tales.
Said to be the most haunted 'educational institute' in the world, the Ohio University has been home to a number of ghostly and supernatural encounters, with a number of students reporting strange occurrences.
The Enfield Poltergeist
A seemingly normal council house in Enfield, London was the site of a haunting in the 1960s, when 11-year-old Janet Hodgson appeared to be possessed by the ghost of a former resident who had died in the house several years earlier. Over 30 witnesses, including a policewoman, attested to seeing objects moving through the air and furniture pushed across rooms, while Janet levitated and went into often violent trances. To this day, no other plausible justification has been offered to explain the events.