The freakiest, scariest, most meta haunted TV and film sets in history
Even though Halloween is over, you can’t help but enjoy a good ghost story. People flock to the theater all year ‘round to get scared by horror movies or binge the latest horror show for good reason. Of course, those are just stories. When it happens in real life, things get a lot more creepy.
There are legends within the film industry of haunted soundstages or ghosts of stars long past. Then there are stories of film sets at which rumors of supernatural occurrences and curses run rampant.
No matter where you fall on the debate whether ghosts are real, the stories you’re about to read promise spooky tales of mysterious happenings on film & television sets. Unsurprisingly, most of these are shows or films that deal with the supernatural in one form or another.
Read our roundup of the weirdest on-set hauntings below with the lights off – if you dare.
The tales from the set of the 1973 thriller are well known in circles of horror fans and aficionados of the paranormal. A mysterious fire ravaged the set of the MacNeil home, but the room of possessed little girl Reagan (played by Linda Blair) remained totally untouched by the blaze. Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) was thrown back by Reagan, which unfortunately resulted in a real-life broken back for Burstyn.
Several deaths are linked to those who worked on the film, such as Jack MacGowran, whose character also died in the movie. Coincidentally, MacGowran died a week after The Exorcist was released. Other deaths related to the rumored The Exorcist curse are Linda Blair’s grandfather, a special effects technician, and a night watchman.
The Exorcist (2016-2018)
In 2016, a television series also named The Exorcist set in the same world as The Exorcist movie began airing on Fox. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, some actors shared some strange on-set occurrences while filming the series.
Hannah Kasulka, whose character Casey Rance was possessed in the show, recounted: “When we were shooting the pilot, occasionally we would be in the elevator and it would take us to the 13th floor. I would never press that button.”
And Geena Davis, who starred in the first season, reported that a priest came to bless the set. If he hadn’t done so, who knows what further problems the production might’ve had?
The Ghost Whisperer (2005 – 2010)
While the show contained tense moments, CBS’s The Ghost Whisperer was more tearjerker melodrama than genuine horror. Even though Jennifer Love Hewitt’s character Melinda Gordon dealt with spirits on the regular, it wasn’t a series you might associate with hauntings.
Hewitt, however, told in a 2007 interview of incidents on the set that couldn’t be explained. “There were energies in and around places. We were filming in a certain part of a lot and there was this building I was walking out of to start a scene, and there were seven crew members who went inside this building and had very strange experiences. “
Hewitt went on to explain that she and crew members felt their clothing being tugged. No one could explain who was doing the tugging.
Coronation Street (1960 – present)
This long-running British soap opera is known for its strong characters and depictions of a working-class community. As many people of the UK can tell you, there are ghosts all over the place in the British Isles. The set of this long-running popular series is no exception.
Apparently things have gotten so bad on the Corrie (as its known to fans) set that the producers had to call in an exorcist to clear the place out. How bad was it? The actors threatened to quit if something wasn’t done about the malevolent spirits.
The spirits haunting Coronation Street are said to have once been Victorian dock workers, as the set is situated near a shipping canal. One spirit connected to the show is that of Pat Phoenix, who played Elsie Tanner and died in 1986. Phoenix was dying of lung cancer and kept it a secret from those around her.
In 2019, Julia Goulding (who plays Shona Ramsey) recalled another ghostly encounter. “We were doing a take and the sound operators had to stop the take because there was a lot of whispering over the booms. So then, , ‘Everyone, please be quiet!’ – that kind of thing happened. And nobody had been talking at all. It was completely silent. All of the crew, everybody watching on the monitors, everybody was silent.”
Fans of those reality shows in which people recount their brushes with the paranormal already know Ed & Lorraine Warren. The pair of demonologists has travelled the world in order to combat dark entities and help families tormented by the supernatural.
Needless to say, it wasn’t a huge surprise when some of the cases turned to their own franchise. The events on The Conjuring’s set would be enough to call the Warrens in – if they were still living that is. (Ed Warren passed in 2006; Lorraine Warren died in 2019).
Joey King, who played Christine Perron in the 2013 film, was covered in bruises despite not doing stunts or having any accidents on set. Vera Farmiga, who plays Lorraine Warren, noticed three claw marks appear on her skin as bruises. Director James Wan had pictures from Insidious appear on his iPad despite never putting the images on there.
The solution? Every film in the franchise from Annabelle to The Conjuring 2 has carried out a set blessing.
Publicist James Ferrera revealed to PopSugar, “We’ve done a set blessing on all of the films beginning with The Conjuring 2. On The Conjuring 2, we had an exorcist that was recommended to us by Lorraine – a friend of hers who’s sanctioned by the Church to exorcise buildings, but not people. Apparently there are different levels of sanctions for exorcisms.”
The Enfield Haunting (2015)
One of the most famous hauntings in the UK, the Enfield Poltergeist provided the basis for the story of The Conjuring 2. Taking place between 1977 to 1979, the bizarre event was well documented and recorded. (Seriously, people can listen to these things and they are reportedly horrifying.) Whether or not you believe the Hodgson family is up to you, but the evidence in this case is very scary either way.
For this Sky TV miniseries, the cast of The Enfield Haunting listened to these tapes in order to under their characters and get into their mindset. So they were already on edge for anything strange to happen on their set. Executive producer Jamie Campbell described camera troubles the entire time filming.
“Every time our photographer came on set his camera broke. It annoyed him, but terrified the rest of us.” We’d be terrified, too.