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Gay Ghost? 11 Ghosts You Didn’t Know Were Gay (But Now You Will)

We’re here, we’re queer, and…we’re dead! 

Alfred Kinsey claimed that one in ten people is gay.  Since gay people go to the other side just like everyone else, that must mean one in ten ghosts must be a gay ghost also, right?  Well, since it’s so rare to see a ghost, it’s easy to assume your chances of seeing a gay ghost are as rare as a snowy day in June.  That is, unless you stick to the locations below, which are reportedly haunted by ghosts of people believed to have been gay during their lives. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, these stories are sure to intrigue you.


Lizzie Borden’s gay ghost

On August 11, 1892 Lizzie Borden was arrested for the violent axe murders of her father and stepmother in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. Lizzie was tried and found not guilty, but many believe she literally got away with murder. The murders left Lizzie and her sister as inheritors of their parents’ wealth. Lizzie never married and, later in life, she had a close and long-term relationship with stage and silent screen actress, Nance O‘Neil, who was known to be lesbian. Many say this supports the theory that Lizzie Borden was lesbian. Over 120 years later, gay ghost of Lizzie Borden and her dead parents are reported to haunt what is now the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum. the Borden house. Muffled voices are heard, unexplained images appear in photos and footsteps are heard throughout the house. The historic house has been investigated by numerous psychics and ghost hunting teams including the casts of Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters.


Silent Film Star, Ramon Novarro

This dashing star of the 1920’s silver screen was known in Hollywood to secretly be gay. In the 1960’s and many years after he retired from Hollywood, he invited over two male hustlers who brutally tortured and beat the star to death. His ghost is said to haunt the place where he died. In the 1980s, a local TV show hosted by Connie Chung filmed at the house. Several film crew members refused to enter the house, citing an eerie feeling hit them as they began entering the Novarro home. When a crew member entered the bathroom, a wave of fear hit them, forcing them to leave the home.


King Edward II and his lover, Piers Gaveston 

The ghost of King Edward II is said to haunt the location of his murder: Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England. King Edward II had a number of alleged homosexual relationships with men in spite of being married and fathering several children. Among his favorites was Piers Gaveston of Gascony who Edward met in his youth before marrying Isabella of France. King Edward II’s father (Edward I) was strongly opposed to the relationship and had Gaveston exiled from England. Gaveston ultimately was sentenced to death in 1312. He was stabbed with a sword and beheaded. His headless gay ghost haunts Scarborough Castle in England.  King Edward II reigned until 1327 when he was deposed by his estranged wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover. Tortured and then murdered in 1327, King Edward II’s ghost is said to appear annually at Berkeley Castle on the anniversary of his death to let out the same screams of agony heard at the end of his life.


The gay ghost of the homosexual medieval priest

Built in 1450, Fitz Manor Bed & Breakfast in Shropshire, UK  is considered by many to be one of England’s most haunted sites. It was constructed on a medieval site, most likely a hall from the Saxon period. It has been in the hands of the Baly family since the 1700s and today runs as a bed and breakfast that is home to both the living and dead. According to legend, among the many ghosts said to haunt this bed & breakfast, is that of a priest who was brutally murdered for being a homosexual. By the medieval times, homosexuality was regarded as sodomy and therefore punishable by death. The priest is believed to have been crucified in the corner of the dining room. Members of the family and their guests have heard ghostly groans and weeping coming from that section of the dining room. The British television show, Most Haunted, filmed in the Fitz Manor during 2003.


Silent Screen Star Rudolph Valentino 

He was one of the first film stars to cross over to become a huge sex symbol during the roaring 1920’s. Known as the ‘Latin Lover’ of the silver screen, Rudolph Valentino had several ‘lavender marriages’ with women who were known to be lesbians. Rudolph Valentino also is reported to have had relationships with several men, including gay film star Ramon Novarro. He died at early death (age 31) in 1926 in NYC. His ghost is quite the traveler, having been spotted in 14 different locations but most often at Falcon’s Lair, which is his former Beverly Hills mansion. His wife, Natacha Rambova, claimed to be in contact with his spirit and stated that Rudolph refused to accept that he was dead. Subsequent owners and staff of Falcon’s Lair also claimed to encounter Valentino’s gay ghost. One caretaker is reported to have run into a fully-formed apparition of Valentino. His apparition has also been seen in the horse stables petting the horses.

james whale gay ghost

James Whale, the British movie director

James Whale best known for his 1930s films: Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. Openly homosexual, he had a 20+ year relationship with his partner, David Lewis. His health took a turn for the worse in his old age. A fictionalized account of his final years is depicted in the Hollywood film, Gods and Monsters, which stars Sir Ian McKellen as James Whale and Brendan Fraser as his gardener and love interest. In 1957, James Whale committed suicide at age 67. He drowned himself in the pool of his home in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. His restless gay ghost did not cross over and his home was deemed one of the most haunted in the area. Poltergeist activity in the home began to manifest including mysterious banging and the sound of footsteps. An exorcist was brought in who identified the culprit as James Whale. Whale’s spirit was removed and the haunting is reported to have stopped. However, his ghost is seen to continue to manifest itself – this time on Twitter. A spoof account calling itself @jameswhaleghost periodically tweets thoughts from the distinguished director.


The Jimani ghosts

In 1973, a madman tossed lighter fluid and a match at a second floor gay bar, The Upstairs Lounge, located at 141 Chartres Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The 20 minute fire left 32 people dead. To this day, this remains the deadliest attack against gay people in U.S. history.  The police department and public was apathetic if not homophobic. Bodies remained unclaimed and churches refused to offer services to the victims because they were gay. Although the second floor is closed to the public, visitors to the first floor bar, The Jimani, have reported seeing black apparitions that appeared looking like charred bodies. Moans and screams have been heard coming from the second floor. The voices of restless souls have shared their names with psychics and other paranormal investigators. In 2012, an episode of Ghost Hunters filmed an investigation at The Upstairs Lounge and the Jimani Lounge during which the confirmed that the location was indeed haunted.


The Ladies of Llangollen 

Plas Newydd in LLangollen, Wales is a historic 18th century estate that is home to the ghosts of a reclusive lesbian couple. Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, also known as ‘the Ladies of Llangollen’, lived in the stately home from 1780 – 1829. They moved there to escape the pressures of their society, which included the expectation that they each marry a man and bear children. During their time at Plas Newydd, the Ladies wore top hats instead of a lady’s bonnet and they slept in the same bed. Their refusal to confirm with societal norms caused scandal and intrigue, but it also attracted visitors to their estate and gave the Ladies the space to live as they wished. It appears that their ghosts have never left Plas Newydd. Visitors are touched by invisible hands at nighttime and the sound of footsteps are heard from empty rooms that have been locked. From time to time, ghost hunters descend on Plas Newydd to investigate. One notable visit is one by the UK show, Most Haunted.


Pianist Jesse Shepherd

Jesse was a renowned pianist who toured Europe and played at royal parties including some for the Czar of Russia. A Spiritualist, Jesse claimed his music came from the channeled spirits of Mozart and Chopin.  In 1887, the “psychic pianist” built and settled in Villa Montezuma in San Diego with his male partner and long-term secretary of 40 years. Today, the Villa is known by locals as “The Spook House”. Apparitions of a gay ghost appear in the window, a presence is felt and ghostly piano music is sometimes heard


Actor Clifton Webb’s gay ghost

His body is buried at the Hollywood Forever cemetery but his ghost has been seen in his home in the heart of Beverly Hills. Clifton was a homosexual on the DL and a matinée idol sporting two Oscar nominations. After his death, the new owners of his home began seeing a transparent shadow figure matching his description.  Their dogs howled whenever his old movies were played.  A seance was held and his spirit is said to have moved on.



Ok, you’ve definitely heard of him in life, but had you heard he was a ghost? Even freakin’ Debbie Gibson has seen his ghost!! The flamboyant pianist passed away in 1987. Soon after, his ghost is said to have moved to Carluccio’s Tivoli Gardens in Las Vegas, a building which he owned. Not only have objects moved and lights turned on and off by themselves, but he’s been spotted in the form of “a giant sparkling cape”. Perhaps Liberace wasn’t kidding when he sang his famous song, I’ll Be Seeing You: “I’ll be seeing you / In all the old familiar places / That this heart of mine embraces /All day through.

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What is a ghost?

What is a ghost? According to Rob Wlodarski, founder and president of the International Paranormal Research Organization and author of numerous ghost books:

Ghosts are disembodied spirits or energies that manifest over a period of time, generally in one place. A ghost is the surviving emotional memory of someone who has died traumatically, but is unaware of his or her own death. A ghost can be a recordable occurrence of persistent impersonal energy.

What is a ghost, a spirit and an apparation?

Apparitions are the super-normal manifestations of people, objects, and spirits. Apparitions of the dead are sometimes called ghosts. Spirits are the observable energy of a person who has died in the physical sense, whereas what is a ghost may or may not be the actual conscious energy.

What is a ghost haunting?

A ghost haunting is any activity that is considered to be unexplainable paranormal phenomena. Among the total reported cases of hauntings, of those investigated, only 10% turn out to be genuine. The other 90% can be explained away by reasonable factors. Both people and places can be haunted, though the majority of the cases are places, be it land, buildings, ships, airplanes, or furniture. There are different types of hauntings that can occur.


The Different Types of Hauntings:

1. Residual Haunting
2. Spirit Haunting (Interactive or Intelligent)
3. Portal Haunting
4. Thought Forms
5. Poltergeist

1. Residual Haunting: A residual haunting is like seeing the same scene play out repeatedly as if on a video tape recorder. This usually occurs in an area where intense emotions have left an imprint in the earth’s magnetic field. These emotions can include either love, fear, hate, anger, or any emotion that is strongly emitted. Ghosts found on battlefields are usually contained in this category. What is a ghost is seen as transparent instead of as a solid figure. It can be considered a residual haunting. There is no interaction between the ghosts and the observer. These are not actual spirits that the observer is seeing, but the situation and/or environment that the person experienced just before transpiring.

Photo: Karen Burke
What is a ghost? One kind is a residual haunting. Photo: Karen Burke

2. Spirit Haunting (Interactive or Intelligent): A spirit haunting is called interactive because it is how most people view a haunting. It is called intelligent when the spirit is actually interacting with the living in a conscious manner. The latter type of haunting is much less common, yet is usually how most people will identify it. What is a ghost in this instance is an entity can either appear solid or transparent, or sometimes invisible, when their presence can only be sensed. Many times their presence will be accompanied by a distinct odor, abrupt temperature change, or inexplicable noises. The ghost of Elma Sands is an example of this.

3. Portal Haunting: A portal haunting occurs at a specific location. It can be considered the opening of a doorway, where spirits from different dimensions pass through. This could pose at the local of a common field or cave, hallway or closet.

4. Thought Forms: A thought form is not an actual haunting because there are no intelligent spirits involved or active residual energy left behind. Thought forms are created by residual mental or emotional debris left over in an environment. These can be either positive or negative. This could occur where excessive drug, alcohol, or physical abuse is prevalent. Mental illness can also generate these thought forms. This is not the same thing as poltergeist energy.

5. Poltergeist: Poltergeist is a German word meaning “angry ghost”. Anytime there is a physical activity it is called poltergeist. It is usually residual energy, and can range from the harmless hiding of an object to more deviant behavior that inflicts physical harm. There is controversy over what poltergeist energy actually is. Some say it comes from people, and others that it comes from what is a ghost. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Certain researchers agree that it can come from both. Each poltergeist case must be analyzed individually based on its own merits to formulate an educated conclusion.

What is a ghost? Poltergeists are a residual energy form. Photo: magaz
What is a ghost? Poltergeists are a residual energy form. Photo: magaz

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Can dogs see ghosts?

Animals have an extraordinary ability to perceive things that we humans don’t even notice.  For example, animals can not only tell that an earthquake is nearby but, in the case of dogs, they can even tell if a person is speaking the truth or lying. Don’t you wish you could do that?

Even if you haven’t been through an earthquake, you’ve probably heard stories of dogs that begin to howl with anxiety before an earthquake hits.  There are also reports of other animals that start to manifest strange behavior such as: fish jumping out of the water water, rabbits that leave their burrows or hibernating animals that begin emerging from their hiding places before an earthquake hits.

But many of these behaviors might have an explanation: the five senses (taste, smell, vision, hearing, and touch) of animals are oftentimes much more developed than those of humans.  We often can’t sense things that your dog or cat notice clearly.  

For example, dogs have a sense of smell that is 10,000 to 100,000 times sharper than our own. While they have to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, we only have about six million.

Dogs also have a deeper sense of hearing. It doesn’t hurt that they have 18 muscles in their ears that permit them to move their ears around and in the direction of any sound. Dogs can hear higher pitched sounds than humans. They can detect sounds from 67 to 45,000 Hz; Humans, by comparison, can detect 64 to 23,000 Hz sounds.

Can dogs see ghosts? Pygmalion can! Photo courtesy Cheryl Edmond
Can dogs see ghosts? Pygmalion can! Photo courtesy Cheryl Edmond

Can dogs see ghosts or are they using a Sixth Sense?

However there is evidence that points to the possibility that dogs have access to a “sixth sense”.  We may notice that our dog is barking or howling at a fixed spot on our ceiling, in a closet or at a doorway. Many believe that animals have a sixth sense, a sense that allows them to see or sense the presence of a ghost is in a room. Even the cable channel, Animal Planet, has a TV series called “The Haunted” that features stories family dogs alerting their owners to presence of spirits.

In the 1960s, American parapsychologist, Dr. Robert Morris, used animals as “controls” in an informal parapsychology experiment. He was studying a house inhabited by ghosts and focusing on rooms in which murders had been committed.

He used a dog, a cat, a rattlesnake and a rat. According to his report, during the experiment when the dog got a short distance inside the room with the “bad vibes”, it began to growl on his own and went right back out the door. The dog also refused to enter again, indicating that dogs can see ghosts or at least sense them.

The cat was introduced in the room in the arms of his master. When it reached nearly the same distance in the room as the dog had, it immediately jumped on its owner’s back and dug in its claws (outch!). The cat then spat on a nearby empty chair in the corner of the room.

The rattlesnake immediately adopted an attack posture. Interestingly, it was directed against the same chair that had pissed off the cat.

The only animal that did not react was the rat. Strange.

When the four animals were brought to a room of the house that didn’t have a terrible history, they all behaved normally.

Interestingly, when humans entered the “bad vibes” rooms, they felt a major temperature drop. However, a thermometer used in the experiment didn’t record any temperature change. Based on this study, what do you think? Can dogs see ghosts?

Can dogs see ghosts? Brittany can! Photo courtesy Cheryl Edmond
Can dogs see ghosts? Brittany can! Photo courtesy Cheryl Edmond

When things go bump in the night, a dog can sense what humans can’t

We know that dogs are already used to sniff out bombs, drugs, and track down escaped prisoners. So why not use them to detect ghosts?

It’s not uncommon to come across a psychic as part of a team of paranormal investigators. Techies are also an integral part of most ghosting hunting groups. But how many ghost hunting team include a four-legged ghost hunter?  

In 2012, Jason Hawes and the SyFy Ghost Hunters team decided to add a dog to their team.  They picked Maddie, a beautifully speckled Australian Cattle Dog and German Shepherd mix that he found at an animal shelter located in Tennessee. She makes an excellent team member because she has canine intuition, is well-behaved and has heightened senses. And, as TAPS member Grant Wilson said, “She’s not bringing in any predispositions, she hasn’t made any judgments ahead of time, whether this place is haunted or not. You can’t get more honest than a dog.”

Maddie Hawkes, and her human, Jason Hawkes of Ghost Hunters
Can dogs see ghosts? Jason Hawkes of Ghost Hunters may think so. Here he is with ghost hunting canine, Maddie Hawkes.

The Ghost Hunters team aren’t the only ones to have ghost hunt with a canine. Paranormal researcher, Cheryl Edmond, has trained over 100 dogs for ghost hunts. You can ghost hunt with pretty much every breed of dog. However, the dogs bred specifically for hunting might make the best partners. For example, if there is a type of dog that can see ghosts, it is probably a  sighthounds. Sighthounds like whippets are great because they have such sharp vision and can detect movement quickly. They also have a really impressive range of vision that is wider than what we have: 270 degrees versus our 120 degrees.

Just don’t get this kind of dog: 

Can dogs see ghosts? This one can but he gets scared and runs away!


Tips for ghost hunting with a dog

Can dogs see ghosts? If you plan to ghost hunt with your canine, you need to train it on how how to contribute to your  paranormal investigation. Some tips:

  • Teach your dog to alert you through body language, not barking, growling or making other sounds that can disrupt your investigation
  • Your dog can point, pop up its ears or stare intensely to quietly alert you to the fact that it has heard sounds that might not be audible to humans, noticed high electromagnetic fields, phantom smells or shadow figures. Your human team members can then investigate the activity and either debunk ir or confirm that is paranormal in origin.
  • Never take your dog into unsafe places that you wouldn’t enter yourself.
  • Make sure there’s nothing on the floor that your dog can step on or eat.
  • Don’t forget to give your dog a treat afterwards to reward it for its help!

Can your dogs see ghosts? Let us know if you’ve been on a ghost hunt with a dog or have a photo to share.