Regardless if you believe in ghosts, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t enjoy a good scare every once in a while. Whether you’re a fan of horror flicks or have fond childhood memories of sitting around a campfire and doing your best to frighten your friends, it’s an inescapable aspect of our culture that has carried on for generations.

While some of these stories are complete fabrications, many of these legends are based on actual events that had taken place in the past. Today we’ll be looking at five examples of ghost stories that were based on real murders.

The Black-Eyed Kids

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In the early days of the internet, Brian Bethel is credited with creating the first “creepy pasta.” In his story, Bethel tells of a frightening encounter with children who seemed to be from another world. This story went viral and would later inspire other people to claim they too had encountered the mysterious children. But even before the internet, there were stories of black-eyed children roaming the forests of Cannock Chase.

In the 1960s, a number of young girls disappeared from the Birmingham-area. Their bodies were later unearthed in and around Cannock Chase. After two other girls came forward claiming that Raymond Leslie Morris had attempted to kidnap them, Morris was able to be charged with one of these murders. Some say that the black-eyed kids are the spirits of the young girls whose lives were tragically cut short.

Cletus Reese

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By all verifiable accounts, Cletus Reese had bludgeoned multiple people and buried them on his family’s farm. When investigators received a report about a Mr. Patton who had last been seen in the area of the Reese Farm, Cletus was taken in for questioning. It was then they had discovered that it wasn’t the first murder Reese had committed and one-by-one the bodies were unearthed. Reese was later sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.

Today, the land where the Reese farm once stood is known as Murder Ridge. Legend has it that the ghost of Cletus Reese still roams along the byway of Route 36 in search of his next victim. Teens looking for a good scare often drive down the road at night hoping to catch a glimpse of one of history’s most obscure serial killers and others have reported peculiar phenomenon within the area.

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

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The grounds where the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park once stood has been a hotbed of paranormal activity for centuries. The legend begins with the Clay Family, who had been some of the first European settlers within the area. The family was embroiled in a fierce battle with the native Shawnee Indians and most of the family died or were buried on the land. When the plot was purchased in order to construct an amusement park in the 1920s, the owner soon learned about the land’s history and erected a monument in honor of the family.

It wasn’t learned until much later that even before the Clay Family had met their tragic end, the area was used as a Native American burial ground. This bloody history, combined with several tragic accidents that had occurred within the park in more recent times, have made the area a popular spot for ghost hunters.

The Murder of Zona Heaster

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Mary Jane Heaster had never cared for the man her daughter Zona had married after only a short time of knowing him. When Zona mysteriously died several months into her marriage, Mary Jane knew that Trout, Zona’s husband, had to have been behind it.

Whether it was a story fabricated by Mary Jane to have investigators take a closer look at the case or if she really had been visited by her daughter, Mary Jane never swayed from her original story. According to Mary Jane, Zona had visited her in her sleep and told her that Trout had murdered her. It was the first and possibly the only case where a ghost’s testimony had been used to open a criminal investigation.

Ted Bundy’s Ghost

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In a story originally published in the satirical newspaper The Weekly World News, after serial killer Ted Bundy’s execution, inmates had been claiming that they had spotted the ghost of Bundy howling through the prison halls. The headline was a hit and before long the tongue-in-cheek story began making its rounds in paranormal circles, rehashed as a true ghost encounter.

The paper responded by publishing a follow-up story so outrageous that no one would believe it. In spite of the satirical nature of the article, many do believe that Ted Bundy’s ghost continues to haunt the Florida prison where he was put to death for the murders of multiple college women.