Celebrity Ghost Stories

If you thought ghosts and ghouls were mere movie fantasy, think again -- the homes of Hampstead and Hollywood are haunted with celebrity spectres.

And what better time than Halloween to go spook hunting.

Despite their fame and fortune, rock, pop and movie stars are powerless when it comes to the things that go bump in the night.

They all have tales to chill the blood -- it seems the imaginations of creative millionaires and millionairess are easy targets for the undead.

Take Nicolas Cage, for instance -- he refuses to sleep over at in his movie mogul uncle Francis Ford Coppola's home after he spotted a ghost in the attic.

The Oscar-winning actor admits he was terrified by the spooky sighting, which he initially mistook for a relative.

He recalls, "I was living in the attic, and there were bats there between the walls -- you could hear the scratching.

"One night I was not quite asleep when the door in front of my bed opened and there was this pitch-black silhouette of a woman with big hair.

"I thought it was my aunt coming to say goodnight. So I said, 'Goodnight,' and it didn't say anything. Then it moved towards me and my body froze up and I let out this bloodcurdling scream and threw my pillow at it.

"Then it disappeared. Now, am I saying I saw a ghost -- I still don't know. But I saw something that freaked me out."

Fellow movie star Matthew McConaughey has learned to love the kinky spirit that haunts his new Hollywood home.

The How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days star was freaked out the first time he came across the old lady who floats through his house, but the odd couple have become perfect bi-world buddies.

Feng-shui fan Matthew bought the 1969 three-bedroom house because "it has great lungs", but he quickly discovered the place was haunted while he was staging initiation ceremonies in his new bedroom.

He explains, "When I first moved in there I had a tent and I put it up on the floor of the upstairs bedroom with my sleeping bag and my dog.

"That's when I first saw Madame Blue. The first night I'm hearing noises, I'm hearing bass sounds, wood moving and coyotes, but then I hear this sound like a dime dropping from 10 feet off the ground onto a glass table.

"I popped up out of the tent and went, 'That's too much trouble man, that's man made, and that was not the house.'

"So, I get up out of the tent with my dog Miss Hud and I'm running around buck naked and I've got a bat so I'm gonna go an investigate. I go downstairs and there's nothing there. I now know it was here because I have seen her since.

"She has no qualms with me - we get along just fine. She's a cool ghost. Maybe me being nude all the time is why we get along!"

Singer Belinda Carlisle blames her spooky moments on her part-native American roots.

The superstitious Heaven Is A Place On Earth hitmaker is wracked by memories of fright nights and ghost attacks.

She thinks all her homes in London, France and America are haunted.

"Once in London I saw a misty shape towering over me as I lay in bed," she explains. "The room got colder and then this thing pinned me down.

"No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't move, scream or even breathe. I thought, 'So this is how it's going to end'. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, it disappeared."

It wasn't Carlisle's first experience with a ghost.

She adds, "There was another time I was alone in my parents' house in California dozing off in a chair when I felt something -- a presence beside me.

"Sparks started flying out of my body and I levitated. I was only 17 then and it was a really terrifying experience. I had to be treated for nerves for months afterwards.

"My mother has always been on a spiritual path, trusting in fate, destiny and a higher power and my father's half-American Indian and he's always had mystic beliefs -- I guess I'm a product of that and spiritually charged."

Ghosts can even terrify the movie tough guys - like Jean Claude Van Damme, who still shivers when he remembers seeing a ghost in a bathroom mirror.

The Belgian actor is still wary of brushing his teeth in front of the mirror after his frightening experience.

He recalls, "I suddenly felt very cold. I turned round and thought, 'I've had a vision or something'. It was blue and white and had a very smoky body. Since that moment I've believed in ghosts."

But ghosts don't always strike fear into the hearts of the stars -- sometimes they're there to help.

Take Mr Holland's Opus and Jaws star Richard Dreyfuss' encounter with a spook who helped him turn his back on a drugs hell early in his career.

Dreyfuss admits he still quakes when he thinks about the eerie spectre that helped him quit cocaine.

The actor says, "I had a car crash in the late 1970s, when I was really screwed up, and I started seeing these ghostly visions of a little girl every night.

"I couldn't shake this image. Every day it became clearer and I didn't know who the hell she was. I had no kids, I was a bachelor.

"Then I realised that kid was either the child I didn't kill the night I smashed up my car, or it was the daughter that I didn't have yet. I immediately sobered up.

"I still don't get it, but, hey, it did the trick."

And to prove you never get used to a good spooking, Hollywood's scream queen Neve Campbell hasn't been able to avoid the ghouls since she starred in horror flick Scream.

Campbell believes it is living with a ghost in her own house in Hollywood that adds to her paranoia about the paranormal.

She says, "Someone was murdered in my house six years ago before I bought it. I had friends round and I left them in the living room to go in the kitchen and they both thought I had just walked back in again.

"But I hadn't, so what they saw was the women who was murdered.

"The previous owner had a exorcist come in, but I don't think it worked."

Rock star Sting admits he has always attracted the spirits -- ever since he was a child.

He swears supernatural Roman centurions walked the rooms of his childhood home in Station Road, Newcastle, England.

And he called in the ghost hunters when he discovered his home in Highgate, north London, was haunted.

The hitmaker still owns the historic house, and feels the spook chasers did their job -- because he can have a quiet night's sleep there these days.

He admits, "Ever since I moved there, people said things happened -- they were lying in bed and people started talking to them, or things went missing.

"I was very sceptical until the night after my daughter Mickey was born. She was disturbed and I went to see her. Her room is full of mobiles and they were going berserk. I thought a window must be open, but they were all shut. I was terrified."

The Shawshank Redemption star Tim Robbins didn't have the same luck with his homely spooks - they beat him and he had to move out of his Hollywood home.

"It was in Los Angeles, 1984," he remembers with chilling accuracy. "I had just moved into a new apartment in a converted church. I had two cats. I came home one night -- everything was still in boxes -- it was dark and the cats were terrified.

"There were clearly spirits in the room. Then I looked on the wall and there were cockroaches all over it. I moved out the next day."

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman have also been forced to flee from their dream homes by spooks they can't shift.

If Uma and Ethan had their way they wouldn't have left their plush 18th century family home in swanky Sneden's Landing, New York, but they were driven out by spooks.

The couple had only just bought the house in 1998 in the star-studded hamlet when they discovered it was haunted and fled back to their city apartment.

The pair are still too freaked out by their experiences to speak about them, but local historians can understand -- they claim all the houses in Sneden's Landing are haunted.

Keanu Reeves is also haunted by the memory of a spook from many years ago.

The Matrix star was woken by a vision when he was a child -- and what made the experience even more real for him was the fact that his sister and nanny also witnessed the phantom.

Reeves explains, "I was living in New Jersey when I saw and felt this ghost. I remember just starring at this suit which had no body or legs in it as it came into the room before disappearing.

"It was a double-breasted suit in white, and I looked at my nanny who was just as shocked as me. I just couldn't get back to sleep afterwards, and I still see the figure in my dreams and nightmares."

The Who rocker John Entwistle is sadly no longer with us, but the bassist was convinced there was an after-life following a supernatural encounter at his 188-year-old Gloucestershire, England, estate.

The Pinball Wizard star was convinced he had supernatural help from a spectre while he was creating the album for a now defunct American TV show called Van-Pires.

And his friendly spirit not only helped him with his musical career, it also kept unwelcome paparazzi away.

Speaking in 2001, Entwistle revealed, "A lot of weird things have happened in the 22 years I've been here. Among them are sightings of a lady in 19th century clothes walking the grounds, and the camera of an uninvited photographer falling apart.

"Most recently I was having trouble locating a recording of Keith Moon pounding out a never-used Who song, and so I asked my friendly ghost for a helping hand.

"A few hours later when I was about to give up the search, the tapes spontaneously fell off a shelf behind me revealing the Moon recording which had been hidden behind them. I used it."

Sticking with rockers, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl also had a terrifying experience at the hands of a ghost -- but he feels he brought it on himself by dabbling with the spirits.

He discovered his Seattle, Washington, house is haunted by the ghost of a native American woman, who murdered her baby more than a century ago, after holding a seance.

It was his ex-wife Jennifer's idea to make contact with the spirit world through a Ouija board after the couple had witnessed some strange goings-on in their home.

Grohl says, "Jennifer asked if there were any spirits in the house. The glass on the Ouija board spelled out, 'Y-E-S'. I was just looking at Jennifer and she wasn't moving at all. The glass was travelling without her pushing it.

"Jennifer then asked, 'What happened here?' The glass spelled out, 'M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D'. I asked who was murdered and got the reply 'M-Y-B-A-B-Y'."

Grohl has since found out that, according to local legend, a native American baby was murdered there during the late 19th century by its mother and buried in a well. The mother is said to haunt the area, waiting for her child to be given a proper burial.

Sometimes, it's the stars themselves doing the haunting.

In many cases, the stars from the past refuse to let their celebrity die with them -- coming back from the dead to haunt this world.

For instance, Bette Davis is said to haunt the Los Angeles apartment Hugh Grant owns in Los Angeles' Colonial Building.

He and other residents have heard the tortured spook wailing and screaming in the night whenever tenants move into her old apartment.

Meanwhile, Dan Aykroyd is convinced he has been sleeping with ghost of tragic Mamas & The Papas star Mama Cass Elliot.

The Blues Brothers star lives in the Los Angeles home once owned by Cass and says, "A ghost certainly haunts my house. It once even crawled into bed with me. I rolled over and just nuzzled up to whatever it was and went back to sleep.

"The ghost also turns on the Stairmaster and moves jewellery across the dresser. I'm sure it's Mama Cass because you get the feeling it's a big ghost."

Heavyweight Cass died after choking on a ham sandwich in 1974 at the age of 33.

Another tragic music star, Freddie Mercury, returns from beyond the grave in spirit form to help fans and pals get over lows in their lives.

The late Queen star insisted superfan Melina Richmond seek a psychic pal in a bid to prove he really was there for her -- just like a scene from hit movie Ghost.

Sceptical Richmond, a medical writer, refused to believe that Mercury had come back from the dead to chat with her until the psychic explained a few home truths.

Richmond explains, "I felt stupid but I agreed to meet this woman and that made me realise that I was in tune with Freddie -- maybe from reincarnation to reincarnation.

"I figured I'd known him in previous lives, and he has been a regular visitor ever since -- always courteous and intelligent. I can't conjure him up, he comes to me when he wants to. Normally when I need a friend."

Monaco's Princess Stephanie is convinced the ghost of her dead mother, tragic movie star Princess Grace, has helped her through her showbiz career -- and even wrote a song from the spirit world.

Stephanie was with Princess Grace when they lost control of their car and crashed down a ravine in 1982. Aged only 17 at the time, she was badly injured, while her mother was killed.

It was when she became a pop singer that Stephanie felt her mother's presence most strongly.

She recalls, "I found I'd written my own song and recorded it without really being present to the whole thing.

"Something was telling or guiding me to sit down and just write. I grabbed a pen and pad and the words came flowing out. I can't explain it, but I don't feel as if I wrote them. The words just came into my head as if someone on the other side was writing them down for me."

It wasn't the first time Princess Grace was there to guide her daughter from the grave. After her first French TV appearances, Stephanie said, "Without my mother's help, I could never have done it.

"I was so petrified that I couldn't speak. Yet as soon as I got in front of the cameras, I could hear my mum telling me to relax and to just remember everything that she had always told me."

And the mischievous spirit of murdered John Lennon is always present when The Beatles get together -- like they did for the recording of the eerie Free As A Bird in 1995, which featured Lennon's voice.

Sir Paul McCartney always maintains Lennon was in the studio with them throughout the recording -- fooling around.

He recalls, "There were a lot of strange goings-on in the studio -- noises that shouldn't have been there and equipment doing all manner of weird things.

"There was just an overall feeling that John was around."

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