How many people take their kids to the park or the playground at least once a week? I know for our family it is a regular spot that is associated with a feeling of fun, but if you visit some of these haunted playgrounds, the predominant emotion might be abject terror. Playgrounds are apparently a popular place for the dead to hang out.
Across the world, there are tales of tortured spirits who gather at one of the last places they enjoyed, the last place they saw a loved one or in the last place in which they drew a breath.
Apparitions play on climbing frames, and ghosts take turns on the slides. Phantoms swing back and forth day and night and tortured spirits wail throughout the night, unable to move on from either the playground or their grief. They cry for the pain they felt in life or the pain they felt when they died. A few even attempt to connect with the living by brushing a cold ghostly hand across a face or by showing themselves, no matter how faintly, in the dark.
Some of the stories are more sad than horrific, and some are almost guaranteed to keep you awake at night. So read on at your own risk.
15Phantoms In Foxridge
These are the swings in . The ghost which haunts this playground is said to be one of a six-year-old boy who was killed by a drunk driver. The story goes that the little boy was run down on a nearby road and as Foxridge was the nearest park, this is where he ended up.
The little boy is said to play on the swing late at night.
Some people claim that at around midnight you will be able to see one of the swings start to move and if you are brave enough to stay and watch, you can see it move back and forth for some time.
Others claim you can see the boy sitting on the swing, but he likes to be left alone. If you look him in the eye, he is said to turn from a sweet little boy into a demon and then instantly vanish.
The Railway Park Playground in Clovis, California, is divided into two age specific areas. The toddler's area is spirit free but the older kids area, although unremarkable during the day, is said to be a veritable hotbed of paranormal activity once the sun goes down.
The most peculiar aspect of the haunting of Railway Park is that the playground is not haunted by children or bereaved parents, it is said to be haunted by angry, creepy old men.
The park is deemed “safe” during the day when apparently the men like to sit and watch the kids play. They are lurking but not interacting until the sun goes down, that is when you have to worry.
Human-like shadows can be seen speedily fleeting between the partially lit playground equipment and cold air will envelope unwanted guests. There are even reports of angry male voices. The fact that this can happen at several points at the same time is what convinces the locals that there are multiple spirits.
One local said “The children’s play area, so happy and fun during the day, becomes horrifying and aggressive at night: the swings get pushed and pulled violently, the zip-line moves back and forth, and the Tic-Tac-Toe board pieces spin like crazy, all of this felt like it’s done by at least half a dozen men… Or the whatever is left of them there, anyway,”
13Screams In The Sunshine At Sunland
On All Children's Way in Orlando, Florida, there stands a playground, set back from the roadway and surrounded by a short metal fence. The playground is nothing remarkable to look at, it could be any playground, anywhere in the world, but this playground is built on a site that has a horrific history.
This is the site of the Sunland Hospital. Built in the 1950’s as a tuberculosis hospital, the buildings use was changed to be a treatment center for people with mental and physical disabilities after a vaccine for TB was discovered.
The Sunland was the subject of multiple complaints and inquiries over severe neglect and appalling abuse of the disabled patient, many of whom were children, and it closed in the early 1980’s. After the buildings were finally demolished and in their place parkland and a playground were created.
It is said that the ghosts of the many people who died in the hospital under horrific conditions haunt the site and that ghostly children pace the playground. If you listen carefully enough, you can hear their pain filled screams.
Dadipark in Dadizele, Belgium began as a small playground for the children of pilgrims visiting the nearby basilica. While visiting the impressive gothic basilica parents would stay in the diocese, and the local priest built a playground, so the children had something to amuse them during their visit.
The playground eventually evolved into an amusement park with simple attractions such as huge slides, merry-go-rounds, and climbing equipment. However, after a boy had his arm torn off on a water ride the park struggled and finally closed in 2002.
Visitors to the park sometimes reported the sound of weeping at the original playground site; it was thought to be caused by the ghosts of several children who disappeared in the area. None of the children were locals; all were on family pilgrimages to the basilica, so the theory is that they were murdered and, not knowing where else to go so far from home, they returned to the last place they were happy, the playground.
11Specters At School
When a tornado hit , Illinois in 1925, the 300 plus children who attended the De Soto school and their teachers, took refuge in the school basement. While they were hiding in the safest place available to them, the roof and floors collapsed and killed everyone in the basement.
The school was rebuilt on the same spot, with the basement intact and both staff and children have reported seeing children and adults in “old fashioned” clothes in the hallways and in the school playground.
If you listen carefully you are said to be able to hear the laughter and giggles of children in the playground and, on rare occasions, visitors have witnessed ghostly children playing on the playground equipment watched over by ghostly adults. If you are not lucky enough to witness the ghosts themselves, you may see the swings move back and forth as the tornado victims live out their eternity on the playground.
The playground that currently sits in is supposedly haunted by a wide range of ghosts. The reason for the multiple, unconnected hauntings is simple; the playground is built on a site that was once a cemetery.
The local residents believe that when the bodies were relocated, the work was done without reverence and was incomplete, leaving bodies at the site and disturbing the spirits of those who were once buried there.
As a consequence, the playground is now the center of multiple haunting stories. One story is of a woman who was following the Mormon Trail, which had a camp at this site before the cemetery. The woman's daughter died there, and now she can be seen walking the playground at night, weeping for her lost daughter. Also, the town founders who were buried in the cemetery haunt the playground as they are unhappy with being uprooted from their resting place in the center of their township. Finally, there are untold numbers of stories of random ghosts sitting or lying on the playground benches, following people at night and just generally being damn scary.
9The Scary Spirit Of The San Benito Slide
Way back when, San Benito was just a tiny blip on the map where a family of eight children scraped a living off of the land. The father of the family died, their home was taken from them, and the mother struggled for a long time until she could finally cope no more.
The mom is said to have killed all of her children and buried them before throwing herself into the sea. The woman now haunts this playground, forced to watch children playing as punishment.
Sometimes, if you climb the slide at night, you can hear her children laughing and her baby crying. The sound builds as you climb and then suddenly stops as you reach the top. Then, as you descend the children start screaming, the mom will appear at the base of the slide, and you will pass right through her freezing cold, ghostly form at the bottom.
8Haunted Hanging Rings
Pupils at St Ignatius School in Winnipeg, Manitoba play happily on the playground equipment, but few will risk trying to cross the red monkey rings. It is not that the rings are too high or in some other way dangerous, it is because of the ghost of one of the past pupils of the school.
The story goes that a young girl was playing on the red monkey rings one day when one of her friends playfully tugged at her legs. Unfortunately for all concerned, the girl on the rings lost her grip and fell, banging her head against one of the blue support bars on her way down. The injury was too great, and she died.
Now, if anyone tried to cross the red rings they feel tiny hands on their legs, tugging them downwards but when they look down, there is nobody there.
7Not Just A Clever Name
The charmingly named Dead Children’s Playground in Huntsville Alabama is located in a peaceful spot in the middle of Maple Hill Cemetery. Surrounded on three sides by a rocky cliff, this peaceful place is beautiful in the daytime, but when night falls, the hauntings begin.
It would be easy to assume that the sound of crying children, the giggles, and laughter or the mournful wailing was coming from the residents of the cemetery but the story behind this haunting is different.
It is said that during the 1960’s several local children were abducted and their bodies were dumped here and that it is these little ones that haunt the spot today.
Locals say the haunting is getting stronger as the activity is no longer restricted to the darkest hours. Now, on occasion during the day, you can see the swings move by themselves and small clouds of dust puff up from the ground underneath them as invisible feet kick the ground.
6The Playground Atop A Cemetery
If a playground in a cemetery isn’t odd enough for you, how about a playground on top of one? The Weccacoe Playground in Philadelphia, PA was built on a city owned plot of land in 1910, but it wasn’t until recent renovations were planned that a local historian discovered that the town had purchased the property from Mother Bethel AME Church. The church had used the plot as a burial ground from 1810 to 1864 because African Americans were not allowed to be buried within the city of Philadelphia, they were also not permitted burial in “white” cemeteries.
As many as 5,000 people were buried here, stacked on top of each other and around one-third were children under two which might account for the haunting.
Swings are said to move on their own, children crying can be heard at night, and the silhouettes of several people have been seen both during the day and at night. Not surprising as the 2010 archaeological dig found intact human remains just 2 and a half feet beneath the surface of the playground.
5Angry Apparitions In Lakeland
In Florida’s Lakeland Park, there are two playgrounds. The first is the bright, fun place you would expect and the second is an abandoned spot of rusted swings, a sagging zip-line and a sense of foreboding.
This playground was slowly abandoned as more and more people reported high levels of anxiety and discomfort just setting foot within the boundaries. Finally, people stopped using it at all, and it became a place of ghosts and ghost hunters. One such group said of their visit:
“A freezing breeze started and, with it, everything in the playground began to move violently as if they were trying to hit us. We began to hear whispers in the wind of mad, angry voices.”
This is not unusual. Although nobody is clear who the ghosts are, locals agree they are the spirits of angry men who do not want anybody, or anyone with a body, on their turf.
4The Playground Poltergeist Of Argentina
Many stories of playground hauntings include tales of a swing that might be moving if you look carefully, and end with “it’ probably not just the wind.” The story of the playground in Firmat Argentina is much more interesting.
Locals claim that one particular swing in their playground is haunted and has not stopped moving for five years, even when people have tried to stop it moving. The swing set contains three swings and the center one is said to be the haunted one. It is believed that the ghost of a small child, who died on the construction site that was to become the playground, sits in the middle swing and plays.
A few Youtube videos of this exist but it not only the center swing that moves in them. Sometimes it is the left, and sometimes it is the right.
3The Phantom Fisherman Of Sweet Shade
Irvine, California has a spot called Sweet Shade Neighbourhood Park where there is a playground divided in two. The main playground, for older kids and a smaller sandy area with a playhouse, sandpit and a pirate ship that is rarely used.
The story goes that a local fisherman was forced to give up the open seas by his wife who was left alone too much. The fisherman bought a small boat and went day fishing with his son, but one day they went out and never came back. Since then the fisherman has haunted the playground boat, asking the children who dare play on it if they have seen his boy.
Children have said they see a man in wet clothes watching them. His face is blue, and he has big, scary eyes. He approaches the children and when they do not know where his son is he gets angry with them.
2Something Wicked In Woodglen Park
A more modern spirit lurks at Woodglen Park playground in Thornton, Colorado. Besides the playground, there used to stand a men and women's bathroom building. In the early 1990’s a group of youths locked a young man in the bathroom block, and he was unable to escape. Stories differ over whether or not this was supposed to be a lighthearted prank between friends or a cold blooded murder, but either way, the building burned down with the young man trapped inside and his blood-curdling scream could be heard as he was burnt to death.
Now, late at night, you can still hear the boy screaming in agony as the flames eat his flesh and a dark shape appears in the cottonwood tree that now stands on the spot. Locals also report the feeling of being chased from the playground at night, as if the young man is trying to go after those responsible for his death.
1Ghastly Ghosts In St. Cloud
The small town of St. Cloud, Florida, has left more than one or two visitors with the impression some dead people didn’t want them there.
Dogs exhibit odd behavior around the playground, whimpering and howling at individuals who are not there. The four legged friends also refuse to go near the slides or the swings. The swings suddenly start moving faster with kids on them, and the zip line stops randomly while in use.
Playground visitors have reported seeing five Albino men walk among the playground equipment. One mother even tells the tale of seeing her son talk to himself and when she asked what he was saying the little boy said he was talking to the strange white men. When she went to drag her son away and found scratches and marks all over his arms that had not been there moments before. He said the men left them there when they grabbed his arms and tried to drag him away.
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