A quick scan of this site alone is enough to tell us that if there’s one thing that’s a common element among cultures, it’s the universal enjoyment of sharing a ghost story. Whether or not you actually believe in ghosts yourself, there are very few people who can say that they haven’t experienced some kind of supernatural or unexplained phenomena firsthand. Whether they saw strange lights in the sky, heard footsteps where there was no one, or experienced something altogether stranger, everyone has their story.
It is a natural human trait to try to make sense of the unknown, to give it a familiarity, to understand it. So often, sightings that could be explained away as mists or birds or other completely natural phenomena are explained as ghosts. People love to share their ghost stories, and it seems that celebrities are no different. Here are ten celebrities who have had offscreen brushes with the unknown.
10 Fairuza Balk
Fairuza Balk has a pop culture association with the occult. She played Dorothy Gale in 1985’s Return to Oz, which was a (terrifying) sequel to The Wizard of Oz. She also played a witch in The Craft and was arguably the best character in the movie. Fairuza practices Wicca, also known as Pagan Witchcraft, but she is absolutely not of the dark persuasion.
On the popular television show Celebrity Ghost Stories, Fairuza tells the story of staying in a rented house and waking up to hear footsteps outside her room. She initially thought the footsteps belonged to her companion in the house but soon discovered that no one was walking in the hall. Together, Fairuza and her companion crept down the hall to the kitchen to see hanging pots and pans swinging violently in the kitchen and a sinister shape, like a coil of dark smoke, taking form inside the house. Witch or not, Fairuza was terrified.
When questioned by the actor and her companion, the owners of the house admitted that they had previously rented the house to a couple who had been horribly murdered there.
9 Joan Rivers
The late Joan Rivers was known for her quick-wittedness and sharp tongue even more than she was known for her youthful glamour and plastic surgery. Her New York apartment itself was worthy of a lot of screen time and was simply amazing. When she died in 2014, she left a hole in showbiz that her daughter Melissa has since being trying to fill.
Joan told the story of going to visit a new apartment back in the 1980s. She had just been widowed, and she was using all of her money to renovate the run-down apartment.
Popping into the unfinished apartment at nighttime just to check it out, Joan was stymied when her dog refused to go in. Joan suddenly realized that the temperature inside the apartment was much colder than anywhere else on that warm summer night. Noticing that the walls seemed to have been covered with strange writings, Joan questioned the elevator operator, who commented that perhaps it was a particular ghost known to him, Mrs. Spencer, the niece of J.P. Morgan.
Joan then started showing the former owner respect, pleading for her to let her have the apartment and leaving her flowers. They became friends of a sort, and if Joan is to be believed, they communicated regularly.
8 Joan Collins
Joan Collins is 84 years old and has packed a lot into those 84 years—writing as a columnist, authoring many books, and also working as an actress. She is currently on her fifth marriage and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. She even released a UK Top 10 record in 1963.
It can therefore be assumed that the lady would know what’s what when it comes to supernatural phenomena. She’s been around the block; she’s nobody’s fool. It might be fair to assume that she would be quite skeptical in the face of “paranormal activity.” So for Joan Collins to have been “terrified” of a ghost is pretty significant stuff. She doesn’t seem to be the type who scares easily.
Joan was at a dinner party when a poltergeist started playing increasingly dangerous tricks, first making the outline of a body on the floor with almonds and then throwing a knife and a giant urn across the room, narrowly missing onlookers. The butler connected these activities with the death of a woman killed by her husband in that very room, who did not want anyone else going in there and was trying to scare the guests away. He indicated the portrait of the murdered woman, which had been sitting in the room for many years.
7 Jerry Stiller
Jerry Stiller is the father of Ben Stiller and, along with his wife Anna Meara, has been working in show business since the 1960s. While Anna died in 2015, Jerry is still at large, now aged 90. He is a household name, most famously playing opposite his own son in Zoolander.
Despite Jerry’s long and respectable career, even if it has been eclipsed somewhat by the stellar career of his own son, it seems that Jerry’s father never gave him the praise and admiration that he craved. When Jerry found out that his father had died, he quite logically assumed that that he would never hear the words of approval that he so longed for. Much to his surprise, his father had one last message for him.
One night at midnight, a spiritual force of some kind opened Jerry’s bedroom door and materialized into the shape of the man whose approval he so wanted. “You did good Jerry,” his father said, before disappearing forever.
6 Oprah Winfrey
If you don’t know who Oprah is, then you’ve been living under a big and very non-supernatural rock for the past couple of decades. Known for her emotive style of interviewing and for overcoming great personal hardship to become a very, very enthusiastic talk show host, everything Oprah touches turns to gold. Now in semiretirement and with more money than she could ever spend in a lifetime, Oprah is the epitome of the success story.
Oprah opened up about her own encounter with a ghost off-air at a taping of one of her TV shows. Luckily, the cameras were still rolling as she told the story to her audience.
Oprah was hosting her fellow The Color Purple actor Akosua Busia in her home in Chicago. One night, Oprah awoke to see a ghost leave the guest room next door and float through Oprah’s bedroom. Oprah got up to see if it was a trick of the light, praying silently, terrified. It wasn’t; it was a shape that Oprah could not identify or name. The figure passed through the room and exited through another wall.
The next morning, Akosua told Oprah that she had had a terrible night’s sleep and had been wrestling with a ghost all night, finally managing to push it away from her . . . straight to the bedroom of the sleeping Oprah! It’s safe to say that no one got a car that day.
5 Emma Stone
Emma Stone is the cute-as-a-button redhead who first made herself noticed in 2007’s Superbad and has since skyrocketed in the Hollywood stakes and is currently the highest-paid actress in the world.
But Miss Emily Jean Stone, for all her Oscar, BAFTA, and Golden Globe award-winning ability, is not immune to ghosts. She told David Letterman on his show in 2014 that she was being (adorably) haunted by her grandfather, who leaves her money, specifically quarters. Emma is a big believer in the paranormal and finds it unremarkable that a grandfather she never met would be leaving her money as a beyond-the-grave display of love.
4 Kendrick Lamar
When acclaimed rapper and activist Kendrick Lamar saw the ghost of the late, great Tupac Shakur, the Compton, California, musician was inspired to write a song about the paranormal experience.
The song, “Mortal Man,” was inspired by Kendrick being visited by the silhouette of Tupac in the middle of the night. The silhouette woke him up and said, “Keep doing what you are doing, don’t let my music die.” Kendrick sampled an interview between himself and Tupac in “Mortal Man,” and the legend of Tupac shows no signs of dying any time soon.
3 Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has experienced a lot of heartache in his life. While he seems to be linked mostly to Hawaii, he is actually Canadian and was born in Lebanon. He has suffered the loss of his only child, closely followed by a relationship breakdown and the death of his ex, the mother of his deceased child. He has also been deeply involved with his sister’s decade-long struggle with cancer.
As a child, Keanu was in the company of his nanny when he witnessed his own paranormal occurrence. At the age of seven or thereabouts, he was in his family’s new apartment in New York when both he and the nanny witnessed a disembodied jacket “walk” through the doorway and disappear into thin air.
2 Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has acted in the horror series American Horror Story, so it makes sense that she is someone who has an interest in real-life as well as reel-life experiences with the paranormal.
The petite New Yorker was apparently haunted all the way around the world on her 2010 tour by a very persistent ghost called Ryan. Ryan was, in fact, so persistent that she held a seance to rid herself of him.
It seems that Gaga’s ghost problems still continue, however, with reports coming to light only last year that she had not only purchased some real-life ghost-hunting gear but had hired some real-life ghostbusters to help her rid herself of unwanted ghost guests.
1 Laura Linney
Laura Linney is one of those underrated thespians who you know is always going to guarantee you a good performance. The multi-award-winning actress is an accomplished singer and acts on television, stage, and screen. She graduated from Julliard and has enjoyed a long and successful career.
It was when she was in a play at the famed Belasco Theatre in New York that she noticed the figure of a blonde woman in a blue dress standing in the inaccessible upper balcony, watching a dress rehearsal.
She didn’t mention anything until later, but when she did, she found out that the woman was most likely the ghost of a chorus girl who had died in the theater and who was doomed to turn up at every dress rehearsal for the rest of eternity. Unfortunately, she doesn’t write reviews.
Christy is an Australian author and professional writer who writes when she has something to say and no one to listen.