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Quotations about Ghosts & The Paranormal


Related Quotes      Night      Imagination      Past      Fear      Reality


I've been able to expand my collection of ghost and paranormal quotes by spending hundreds of hours browsing old gems from centuries past on Google Books, what a fantastic resource! So please enjoy the quotations, but don't get too scared... or as they say, Mwahahahhaah! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g, January 2013


The stars was shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to whisper something to me and I couldn't make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over me. Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest easy in its grave and has to go about that way every night grieving. ~Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn


Because, as we are told—a sad old joke, too—
Ghosts, like the ladies, never speak till spoke to.
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


All a skeptic is is someone who hasn't had an experience yet. ~Jason Hawes


A person terrified with the imagination of spectres, is more reasonable than one who thinks the appearance of spirits fabulous and groundless. ~Joseph Addison


...Lovers are
Like walking ghosts, they always haunt the spot
Of their misdeeds.
~George H. Boker, Francesca da Rimini


One night, then, ever partial to society...
Went to a Club—I should have said Society....
Here they would oft forget their Rulers' faults,
And waste in ancient lore the midnight taper;
Inquire if Orpheus first produced the Waltz,
How Gas-lights differ from the Delphic Vapour,
Whether Hippocrates gave Glauber's Salts,
And what the Romans wrote on ere they'd paper—
This night the subject of their disquisitions
Was Ghosts, Hobgoblins, Sprites, and Apparitions.
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


An idea, like a ghost (according to the common notion of ghosts), must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself. ~Attributed to Dickens in Many Thoughts of Many Minds by Henry Southgate, 1862


Nature is a Haunted House—but Art—a House that tries to be haunted. ~Emily Dickinson, 1876


Yet man dies not whilst the world, at once his mother and his monument, remains. His name is lost, indeed, but the breath he breathed still stirs the pine-tops on the mountains, the sound of the words he spake yet echoes on through space; the thoughts his brain gave birth to we have inherited to-day; his passions are our cause of life; the joys and sorrows that he knew are our familiar friends—the end from which he fled aghast will surely overtake us also! Truly the universe is full of ghosts, not sheeted church-yard spectres, but the inextinguishable elements of individual life, which having once been, can never die, though they blend and change, and change again for ever. ~H. Rider Haggard, King Solomon's Mines


[H]e had a strange sense of being haunted, a feeling that the shades of his imagination were stepping out into the real world, that destiny was acquiring the slow, fatal logic of a dream. 'Now I know what a ghost is,' he thought. 'Unfinished business, that's what.' ~Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses


Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts. ~Brian Aldiss


The meagre lighthouse all in white, haunting the seaboard, as if it were the ghost of an edifice that had once had colour and rotundity, dripped melancholy tears after its late buffeting by the waves. ~Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit


Deeper beneath the oaks the shadows grew...
[I]n the upper calm
The pulses of the stars began to beat:
The fire-flies twinkled...
And the dark land lay silent and content....
He heard, with me, the tongues of perished leaves:
Departed suns their trails of splendor drew
Across departed summers: whispers came
From voices, long ago resolved again
Into the primal Silence, and we twain,
Ghosts of our present selves, yet still the same,
As in a spectral mirror wandered there.
Its pain outlived, the Past was only fair.
~Bayard Taylor, "First Evening"


If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl. ~H.L. Mencken


"Go to the d—l!" said the disappointed ghost-hunter. An hour—two—rolled on, and still no spectral visitation... and when the turret-clock sounded at length the hour of three, Ingoldsby, whose patience and grog were alike exhausted, sprang from his chair, saying— "This is all infernal nonsense, my good fellow. Deuce of any ghost shall we see to-night..." ~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Spectre of Tappington," 1837


I don't believe that ghosts are "spirits of the dead" because I don't believe in death. In the multiverse, once you're possible, you exist. And once you exist, you exist forever one way or another. Besides, death is the absence of life, and the ghosts I've met are very much alive. What we call ghosts are lifeforms just as you and I are. ~Paul F. Eno, Footsteps in the Attic


The moon is hidden behind a cloud...
On the leaves is a sound of falling rain...
No other sounds than these I hear;
The hour of midnight must be near...
So many ghosts, and forms of fright,
Have started from their graves to-night,
They have driven sleep from mine eyes away:
I will go down to the chapel and pray.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Neighbouring Nunnery"


Must be a rule in the ghost handbook—if in danger of evaporating, make sure you're in the middle of a dire pronouncement. ~Kelley Armstrong, The Reckoning


One learned gentleman, "a sage grave man,"
Talk'd of the Ghost in Hamlet, "sheath'd in steel"—
His well-read friend, who next to speak began,
Said, "That was poetry, and nothing real;"
A third, of more extensive learning, ran
To Sir George Villiers' Ghost, and Mrs. Veal;
Of sheeted Spectres spoke with shorten'd breath,
And thrice he quoted Drelincourt on Death.
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it. ~Samuel Johnson, quoted by James Boswell


 
 
Whatever its origin, a belief in spirits seems to have been common to all the nations of the ancient world who have left us any record of themselves. Ghosts began to walk early, and are walking still, in spite of the shrill cock-crow of wir haben ja aufgeklärt. ~James Russell Lowell, "Witchcraft"


"Whence, and what art thou, Execrable Shape?"
Nick might have cried, could he have found a tongue,
But his distended jaws could only gape,
And not a sound upon the welkin rung...
He sat upon his haunches, bolt upright,
And shook, and grinn'd, and chatter'd with affright.
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


But then there was that talk about a spectre cat. I ain't frightened of much that I know of. Put a man before me, or a dog, or a horse, and I'm ready to tackle 'em, one down and other come up, or altogether if they like; but when you come to spectres, I ain't ashamed to say I'm not up to 'em.... Anything that's alive I don't give way to; but when it comes to ghosts and spectres, I take a back seat, and I don't care who knows it. ~B.L. Farjeon, The Mystery of M. Felix, 1890


But, soft; behold! lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blast me.—Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me...
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark


Blackened skeleton arms of wood by the wayside pointed upward to the convent, as if the ghosts of former travellers, overwhelmed by the snow, haunted the scene of their distress. Icicle-hung caves and cellars built for refuges from sudden storms, were like so many whispers of the perils of the place; never-resting wreaths and mazes of mist wandered about, hunted by a moaning wind; and snow, the besetting danger of the mountain, against which all its defences were taken, drifted sharply down. ~Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit


Ye who, passing graves by night,
Glance not to the left nor right,
Lest a spirit should arise,
Cold and white, to freeze your eyes...
~James Russell Lowell, "The Ghost-Seer"


The worst of a modern stylish mansion is, that it has no place for ghosts.... It had no proper garret... only a sealed interval between the roof and attics, where a spirit could not be accommodated, unless it were flattened out.... There was not a nook or a corner in the whole house fit to lodge any respectable ghost... ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Poet at the Breakfast Table


Lost in his own horrific contemplations...
When at the bed's foot, close beside the post,
He verily believed he saw—a Ghost!...
From every pore distill'd a clammy dew,
Quaked every limbe—the candle, too...
The room was fill'd with a sulphureous smell,
But where that came from Mason could not tell.
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


In such cases the imagination is undoubtedly its own doppelgänger, and sees nothing more than the projection of its own deceit. But I am puzzled, I confess, to explain the appearance of the first ghost, especially among men who thought death to be the end-all here below. ~James Russell Lowell, "Witchcraft"


Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth....
[W]hat can we bequeath,
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?...
[N]othing can we call our own, but death...
[L]et us sit upon the ground,
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:—
How some have been depos'd, some slain in war;
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd...
~William Shakespeare, King Richard the Second


Nature keeps herself whole, and.... suffers no seat to be vacant in her college. It is the secret of the world that all things subsist, and do not die, but only retire a little from sight, and return again.... Nothing is dead: men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new and strange disguise. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nominalist and Realist"


He stood looking after them... as though he had perceived that they had come back accompanied by a ghost a-piece. ~Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit


I think the reason people investigate the paranormal is because we are trying to overcome the mystery of death. That in and of itself is something that lives within every living person, everybody. We all experience death and we are forced to find out if that is just the end, which it is not. So what we do is, when we are experiencing a situation that maybe scary, it's almost now a sense of relief. ~Zak Bagans, "Ghosts Adventures - An Inverview with Zak Bagans, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin" by Jeri Jacquin


'Twas now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards groan, and graves give up their dead,
And many a mischievous, enfranchised sprite
Had long since burst his bonds of stone or lead,
And hurried off, with schoolboy-like delight,
To play his pranks near some poor wretch's bed,
Sleeping, perhaps serenely as a porpoise,
Nor dreaming of this fiendish Habeas Corpus.
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man woke in the night. ~J.M. Barrie, The Little Minister, 1891


The paranormal, you can't pick and choose. It's all or nothing. ~Zak Bagans, Darkness Optional: The Holy Truth


"Be hole, be dust, be dream, be wind,
Be night, be dark, be wish, be mind,
Now slip, now slide, now move unseen,
Above, beneath, betwixt, between."
Something huge touched him, brushed him from head to feet, and he shivered. His hair prickled, and his skin was all gooseflesh.
~Neil Gaiman, "The Witch's Headstone," The Graveyard Book


They say that shadows of deceased ghosts
Will haunt the houses and the graves about
Of such whose life's lamp went untimely out,
Delighting still in their forsaken hosts.
~Joshua Sylvester


How, frequently, some murder'd man appear'd,
To tell his wife and children who had done it...
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost"


An author, ridiculing the idea of ghosts, asks, how a dead man can get into a locked room. Probably with a skeleton-key. ~G.D. Prentice


"We don't believe in ghosts, Mrs. Phipps."
"Don't matter if you believe in them or not. If they're there, they're there."
~Joan Lowery Nixon, The Haunting


To creep in by candle-light,
When all the world is fast asleep,
Out of the cold winds, out of the night,
Where the nettles wave and the rains weep!...
And light the candle and look round
The old familiar room;
To see the old books upon the wall
And lovingly take one down again...
And, or ever we go, we lift and kiss
Some idle thing that your hands may touch,
Some paper or book that your hands let fall...
To kiss and to cherish it, moaning our pain,
Ere we creep to the silence again.
~Alfred Noyes, "Ghosts," The Lord of Misrule and Other Poems, 1915


Our forefathers looked upon nature with more reverence and horror, before the world was enlightened by learning and philosophy, and loved to astonish themselves with the apprehensions of witchcraft, prodigies, charms, and inchantments. There was not a village in England that had not a ghost in it, the church-yards were all haunted, every large common had a circle of fairies belonging to it, and there was scarce a shepherd to be met with who had not seen a spirit. ~Joseph Addison, The Spectator, Volume the Sixth, No. 419, 1712


Sorrow itself is not so hard to bear
As the thought of sorrow coming. Airy ghosts,
That work no harm, do terrify us more
Than men in steel with bloody purposes.
Death is not dreadful; 'tis the dread of death—
We die whene'er we think of it!
~Thomas Bailey Aldrich, "The Set of Turquoise," 1858


Could such a many-chambered edifice have stood a century and a half and not have had its passages of romance to bequeath their lingering legends to the after-time?... It was a great happiness to have been born in an old house haunted by such recollections, with harmless ghosts walking its corridors, with fields of waving grass and trees and singing birds... ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Poet at the Breakfast Table


Men say, that in this midnight hour,
The disembodied have power
To wander as it liketh them,
By wizard oak and fairy stream,—
Through still and solemn places,
And by old walls and tombs, to dream,
With pale, cold, mournful faces....
~William Motherwell, "Midnight and Moonshine"


I am frightened and timid, because I am obsessed by the presence of ghosts that I never can get rid of.... I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts.... It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us. ~Henrik Ibsen, Ghosts {Gengangere} (Mrs. Alving), 1881, translated by R. Farquharson Sharp


Owen Glendower:  I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur:  Why, so can I; or so can any man:
But will they come, when you do call for them?
~William Shakespeare, King Henry the Fourth


As surely as you are a living man, so surely did that spectral anatomy visit my room again last night, grin in my face, and walk away with my trousers: nor was I able to spring from my bed, or break the chain which seemed to bind me to my pillow. ~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Spectre of Tappington," 1837


What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts to-night, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply...
~Edna St. Vincent Millay


At night, here in the library, the ghosts have voices.... The various qualities of my readings seem to permeate my every muscle, so that when I finally decide to turn off the library light, I carry into my sleep the voices and the movements of the book I've just closed. ~Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night


[T]he song.... was about a young girl who lived in the Hartz Mountains, and who had given up her life to save her lover's soul; and he died, and met her spirit in the air; and then, in the last verse, he jilted her spirit, and went on with another spirit... ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889


Death is not the end, it is simply walking out of the physical form and into the spirit realm, which is our true home. It's going back home.... We unzip the body, so to speak, let it fall to the ground and walk through the next door clothed in our spiritual form, which was always there inside the physical body. ~Stephen Christopher Dennis (spirit), Stephen Lives! by Anne Puryear


She had no recollections to make her fearful of the ghosts which might haunt those rooms; ghosts of happier days and unfulfilled hopes; ghosts which linger round the places where our happiest and saddest hours have been spent, where the commonest objects or the most trivial sounds carry us back to those bygone days, awakening our smiles or tears as we stand once more in the presence of an almost forgotten past. It may have been buried beneath other hopes and visions and cares and sorrows. Perhaps for a time we strewed its grave with flowers; perhaps we feared to pass the spot, and shrank from speaking of it even to ourselves: but yet it is not dead, and some day it may stand before us again, more near to us than the present, more comprehensible than the future, and clothed with immortality. ~E.M. Archer, Christina North, 1872


The Apparition paused, and would have spoke...
But then a neighbouring chanticleer awoke...
—'Tis known how much dead gentlefolks eschew
The appalling sound of "Cock-a-doodle-do!"
~Thomas Ingoldsby, "The Ghost," 1837


At first cock-crow
The ghosts must go
Back to their quiet graves below.
~Theodosia Garrison, "The Neighbors"


Are we not Spirits, that are shaped into a body, into an Appearance; and that fade away again into air and Invisibility? Oh, Heaven, it is mysterious, it is awful to consider that we not only carry a future Ghost within us; but are, in very deed, Ghosts! These Limbs, whence had we them; this stormy Force; this life-blood with its burning Passion? They are dust and shadow; a Shadow-system gathered round our Me; wherein, through some moments or years, the Divine Essence is to be revealed in the Flesh. ~Thomas Carlyle


"Oh! Duke... what has happened?... You look as if you had seen a ghost!"
"I have... the ghost of myself.... I am a doomed man, darling.... I have had the warning that must not be disregarded. You have heard of the German story of the Doppelgänger.... I have seen, night after night, the shadow of my own spirit standing before me, and from the first I knew it meant death..." ~Elizabeth Campbell, "Marmaduke's Double," 1889


Well. I don't suppose you have to believe in ghosts to know that we are all haunted, all of us, by things we can see and feel and guess at, and many more things that we can't. ~Beth Gutcheon, More Than You Know


The ship and all in it are imbued with the spirit of Eld. The crew glide to and fro like the ghosts of buried centuries; their eyes have an eager and uneasy meaning; and when their fingers fall athwart my path in the wild glare of the battle-lanterns, I feel as I have never felt before, although I have been all my life a dealer in antiquities, and have imbibed the shadows of fallen columns at Balbec, and Tadmor, and Persepolis, until my very soul has become a ruin. ~Edgar Allan Poe, "MS. Found in a Bottle," 1831


For night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,
And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;
At whose approach ghosts wandring here and there
Troop home to church-yards....
For fear lest day should look their shames upon,
They willfully exile themselves from light,
And must for aye consort with black brow'd night.
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream


Some places speak distinctly. Certain dark gardens cry aloud for a murder; certain old houses demand to be haunted; certain coasts are set apart for shipwreck. ~Robert Louis Stevenson


The weathercocks on spires and housetops were mysterious with hints of stormy wind, and pointed, like so many ghostly fingers, out to dangerous seas, where fragments of great wrecks were drifting, perhaps, and helpless men were rocked upon them into a sleep as deep as the unfathomable waters. ~Charles Dickens, Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son


I have now transformed into a sensitive; a person who is able to detect when spirits are present. It's a skill that's evolved over hundreds of paranormal investigations and has taught me that the human body is the best means of paranormal detection. I've become a fine-tuned instrument of spiritual sensitivity. ~Zak Bagans, Dark World: Into the Shadows with the Lead Investigator of The Ghost Adventures Crew


Those forms we fancy shadows, those strange lights
That flash on dank morasses, the quick wind
That smites us by the roadside—are the Night's
Innumerable children. Unconfined
By shroud or coffin, disembodied souls,
Uneasy spirits, steal into the air
From festering graveyards when the curfew tolls
At the day's death...
And wheresoever murders have been done,
In stately palaces or lonesome woods,
Where'er a soul has sold itself and lost
Its high inheritance, there, hovering, broods
Some sad, invisible, accurséd Ghost!
~Thomas Bailey Aldrich


[T]here were several young girls... sitting about the fire... telling stories of Spirits and Apparitions.... I seated my self by the candle that stood on a table at one end of the room; and... heard several dreadful stories of Ghosts as pale as ashes that had stood at the feet of a bed, or walked over a church-yard by moon-light; and of others that had been conjured into the Red-Sea, for disturbing people's rest, and drawing their Curtains at midnight.... I took notice in particular of a little boy, who was so attentive to every story, that I am mistaken if he ventures to go to bed by himself this twelve-month. Indeed they talked so long, that the Imaginations of the whole assembly were manifestly crazed.... I took the Candle in my hand, and went up into my chamber, not without wondering at this unaccountable weakness in reasonable creatures, that they should love to astonish and terrifie one another. Were I a Father, I should take a particular care to preserve my children from these little horrors of imagination, which they are apt to contract when they are young, and are not able to shake off when they are in years. ~Joseph Addison, The Spectator, No. 12



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