Thursday, November 5, 2009

5 World’s Most Memorable Ghosts

The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman, the world's best-known non-human ghost, is a seventeenth-century merchant ship said to haunt the high seas. According to sea lore, the ship, which often appears as a hazy image or a strange light, is said to be a portent of bad luck and doom. The ship and its crew became eternally cursed when its Dutch captain refused to take safe harbor during a storm despite pleas from the crew and passengers. Instead the impudent Dutchman challenged God to take them down. The "ghost ship" has been reported on the ocean from time to time, including appearing off the coast of South Africa in 1923. Though never seen on land, The Flying Dutchman most recently appeared in movie theaters across the country in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.

Bloody Mary

"Bloody Mary...Bloody Mary...Bloody Mary..." With those words, many schoolchildren had their first experience with a ghost. According to folklore, Bloody Mary is a ghost of a woman who murdered her children long ago. If you want to see her, go into a bathroom (usually at school), turn the lights off, stand in front of a mirror, and repeat her name three times. While countless children (and surely more than a few adults) have tried to summon Bloody Mary using the prescribed method, to date few if any have actually succeeded. Most either stare at their scared reflection in the dark mirror or lose their nerve after saying the second "Bloody Mary" and run screaming from the bathroom in girlish giggles. An updated version of the Bloody Mary legend was made into a horror film series "Candyman."

The Ghost of Christmas Past

In Charles Dickens's famous novel "A Christmas Carol," cold-hearted miser Ebenezer Scrooge has a change of heart after being visited by several ghosts representing different eras of his life's Christmases (Past, Present, and Yet to Come). Ghosts are often associated with life lessons and morality tales, and these spooks are no exception. The ghosts aren't wasting time rattling chains or scaring kids; instead the Ghost of Christmas Past rehabilitates Scrooge by showing him visions of his past Christmases. Scrooge comes to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas-no, not holiday commercialism but friendship and goodwill.

The Vanishing Hitchhiker

"This didn't happen to me, but my friend, she heard it from her hairdresser, it happened to her parents. It seems that they were driving along a lonely country road one night'¦ it was really cold, maybe up in Minnesota, or Montana. Anyway, it was snowing and as they turned a corner they saw a barefoot young girl wearing a dress and a green shawl. Of course they stopped to help her, and she got in the back seat. She didn't say much, and when they asked her where she lived, she pointed to a farmhouse in the distance. A few minutes later, when they pulled into the driveway, she was gone! The couple were puzzled but got out of the car and knocked on the farmhouse door. A somber, grey-haired woman answered, and the couple explained that their mysterious passenger had said this was her house. 'That's impossible,' the woman replied. 'My daughter died near here twenty years ago, on this very night.' Just inside the door, on an old wooden peg, hung her daughter's green shawl!"


Slimer is the grotesque green ghost featured in the "Ghostbuster" films and cartoons. He's green, he's obnoxious, and he can spew slime... what's not to love? In fact, Slimer proved to be so popular with kids that he got a starring role in the spin-off series "The Real Ghostbusters." A reformed evil ghost that joined the Ghostbusters team, Slimer's voracious appetite and guttural burps make him among the most memorable cartoon ghosts.

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