Bizarre And Deadly Crimes With Apparent Ghostly Perpetrators

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 22, 2020
Last Updated
October 3, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
Supernatural, Ghosts & Hauntings

Finding the masterminds behind most crimes is a difficult and nuanced process when those perpetrators are living. When those crimes are committed by those seemingly from the other side, then getting to the bottom of such matters becomes even more complex.

A picture of Death on mystical background

Can ghosts commit crimes, even murder, from beyond the grave?

As we shall see, the cases we will examine – which represent only a small number of such accounts on record – are all open to several explanations, both extraordinary and mundane. And it is this grey area that we are left with which makes these incidents all the more alluring.

Can a ghost kill a person from beyond the grave? And a spirit force a person to kill? And can just the mere thought that an entity is in one’s home, or even stalking entire communities be enough to elicit such a response that it literally frightens the person to death? Or might the claims of entities from other worlds reaching into ours with very real consequences be exactly that?

We will begin our look at these apparent crimes from the great beyond with several incidents from the twenty-first century. Several cases that took place in small villages in the far east.

The Thai Widow’s Killing Sprees

Perhaps one of the most recent of these ghoulish crime sprees occurred in Thailand in 2013 [1] and five years later in 2018, when several men were seemingly murdered by the alleged “Widow Ghost”.

The first outbreak of unexplained deaths attributed to this murderous entity occurred in January 2013 in the village of Tambon Tha Sawang in northeastern Thailand. The strange manifestation is said to prey on healthy males in the village, and according to local reports at the time, was responsible for ten deaths.

Even stranger, when the autopsies were performed on the dead men, it was discovered that each had died from respiratory failure. And what’s more, none of the men who died had any known health issues. In fact, all were considered extremely healthy.

Desperate to find an explanation, and indeed a solution to the outbreaks of strange deaths, the villagers sought the help of a specialized medium. Villagers were told by the medium that they should “hang a red shirt outside their homes to repel the evil spirit”. Even more ominous, families with only one son were said to be more at risk of the entity visiting them.

In June 2018, it appeared as though another spate [2] of Widow Ghost killings were unfolding, this time in the Nakhon Ratchasima Phimai district. On this occasion, two men died, and upon consulting with a medium in the area, villagers were told that the Widow Ghost wished to kill four men in total, meaning she was looking to take the lives of two further men. Once more villagers would hang red shirts outside their doors for apparent protection.

Whether these outbreaks of death were due to an infectious disease is perhaps open to debate. The short video examines this a little further.

The Truly Strange Tale Of The Hammersmith Ghost

Perhaps one of the earliest of such haunting criminal activity occurred as far back as the early-nineteenth-century in Hammersmith in London’s West End. In fact, the case of the Hammersmith Ghost is perhaps important as it would alter how such cases of a person being liable for their actions would proceed in law in the future.

Beginning in December 1803 several residents of the Hammersmith district of London began reporting sightings of a strange ghostly figure dressed in white. Local legend suggested that the apparition was the spirit of a local man who had taken his own life. Whether accurate accounts or the product of hearsay, it was claimed that so ghastly was this manifestation that several Hammersmith residents had died from fright. One local man would even abandon his wagon and horses when the specter put in an appearance one evening.

A sketch of the Hammersmith Ghost

A sketch of the Hammersmith Ghost

By the opening days of 1804, a vigilante-style group of local men would begin patrolling the streets of Hammersmith. And should the ghost put in an appearance, they would take no chances by holding back an attack. Such a mindset would prove deadly on the evening of 3rd January 1804.

Francis Smith, who had by all accounts spent the majority of the evening in a local public house, would witness a figure dressed in pale clothing while patrolling the area. With his perspective possibly skewered slightly due to the alcohol he had consumed, Smith would call out the strange figure. No answer came back. Not taking any chances, Smith pointed his gun at the strange entity and opened fire. However, when he went over to the now fallen ghost, he would discover it was, in fact, a local man, Thomas Milwood, a local bricklayer.

Then, the twist took an even stranger turn.

One Of The Most Bizarre Criminal Trials In History

Smith would immediately hand himself in to authorities where he would ultimately be arrested for the murder of the bricklayer. Milwood, who had been wearing his pale clothing that he would normally wear while working had been mistaken for the “ghost” by Smith.

Despite this, Smith was found guilty of Milward’s murder and sentenced to death. However, after looking at his case again and the truly strange and mitigating circumstances, he was ultimately pardoned and released from prison.

In a further twist, a local shoemaker would “confess” to being the ghost who had been stalking the people of Hammersmith. He would state in his confession that he had become increasingly fed up with many of the locals telling his children ghost stories and frightening them. He would, to teach them a lesson, dress as a ghost and proceed to stalk the area. No official record tells of any punishment given to the shoemaker, and it is assumed he was simply released.

The case, one of the most bizarre in history, would set a precedent as to whether a person was always liable for their crime, and that mitigating circumstances should be taken into account.

Incidentally, it was claimed at the trial that Milwood’s wife had warned him to change his work clothes at night. She further revealed that he had been mistaken for the “ghost” on several occasions previously. Even more intriguing, following the shooting, his body was taken to the Black Lion public house, which he is said to still haunt today.

The short video below looks at this most unusual case.

The Ghost Of Campo Lane

Around half a century after the strange occurrences in Hammersmith, another intriguing incident would unfold in England, this time in South Yorkshire. Various write-ups of the account exist online, as well as in several books. Perhaps one of the most detailed can be found in the book by Dr. David Clarke, Scared to Death, which looks at that and many other accounts in the Sheffield area in the Victorian era.

According to the reports, a Mormon couple, the Rallinsons, would move into new accommodation on Campo Lane in Sheffield. Hannah Rallinson would quickly become friendly with a local woman named Harriet Ward and would consequently begin spending time with her.

A ghostly face on a black background

There are many accounts of alleged crimes committed by ghosts

One day, however, while Harriet was in the cellar of the building, she suddenly returned screaming in fright. She would claim that she had witnessed a frightening old woman who was covered in blood. In fact, she would see the presumed spirit several times during the day.

At this stage, only Harriet had seen the woman. However, news of the sighting would soon spread. And with it would come a drastic course of action that would cost Hannah Rallinson her life.

A “Sudden Death” Caused “By Fright!”

As news of the sightings leaked out into the local populace, particularly among the Mormon community, much debate began to take place as to the identity of the apparent spirit. Reasoning that it was likely the spirit of a murder victim who had been buried in the cellar, a group would begin attempts to remove the stone floor and see what was underneath. During this process, Hannah would decide to place a blind at the cellar window to avoid onlookers. It would be a decision that would prove to be fatal. As she began down the steps, she saw something so frightening that it caused her to faint and fall down the steps.

She would recover temporarily, claiming that the ghostly woman was still there in the room, looking over her. She would even claim that the spirit was indeed a murder victim, a lady once named Elizabeth Johnson. Her murderer was her nephew, William Dawson according to the information passed to Hannah by the woman. The woman had allegedly begun in Hannah’s direction as soon as she began down the cellar steps.

In a truly harrowing turn of events, Hannah passed away the following day. The cause of death was officially registered as being “sudden death” which was “caused by fright”.

The short video looks at the case a little further.

The Real Case Of The Entity

Without a doubt one of the most disturbing cases of crimes committed from beyond the grave is that of Doris Bither, whose story was told in the 1982 movie, The Entity. In the movie, Bither’s name is changed to Carla Moran. She is subject to physical attacks from an apparent invisible presence, including her claims of being raped by the spirit.

The incident took place throughout the summer of 1974 and would become so intense and frightening that she would seek the help of paranormal investigators from nearby University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). The investigators, Barry Taff and Kerry Gaynor would spend several months with Bither.

During this time, they would conduct several experiments and even themselves witnessed increasing levels of paranormal activity. As well as strange floating orbs and items around Bither’s home being moved, they would also witness a green fog-like substance in the shape of a large adult male.

It would ultimately be theorized, in some quarters, that the ghost was that of an old boyfriend of Bithers. However, others state that the spirit was already present in the house when the unfortunate woman moved in. This claim is perhaps accurate. Especially when we realize that upon moving into the property, a mysterious woman arrived at the door to warn Bither that “something evil” lived in the house. The woman would claim she had once lived there when she was a young girl and she urged Bither that she “had to get out!”

What perhaps makes the case even more interesting is that Bither would often experiment with Ouija boards in her youth. Might this have somehow connected her to a spirit that then tormented her years later?

The short video below looks at this strangest and most disturbing case a little further.

A Connection Of Worlds With Deadly Consequences?

Is it possible for a spirit from the other side to physically harm or even kill a living person? The truth is that we simply do not understand enough of such things as hauntings, ghosts, or manifestations of energy to give a solid answer one way or the other.

Most would suggest that other, more reasonable explanations will shed light on some of these mysterious incidents. For example, might the unfortunate men in the villages of Thailand have been struck down by a mystery infection? Might just the thought that a ghost was stalking you be enough to result in someone literally being frightened to death?

What should we make of the Campo Lane ghost, for example? Had Hannah Rallinson merely imagined the ghostly spirit rush toward her and so causing her mind to, essentially, melt down? By all accounts she was a healthy mentally stable young woman? Or might she really have witnessed something so ghastly that it caused her body to shut down, causing her death?

Like many of the strange and unsolved mysteries that we examine, only further study of these and other similar cases that might surface in the future will unleash the truths that will one day shine a light on the aspects of our reality that we have yet to understand.

Check out the video below. It looks at some of the most intriguing ghostly crimes on record.


1 Unexplained Deaths Attributed To A ‘Widow Ghost’, Ghost Theory, January 18th, 2013
2 ‘Widow’s ghost’ blamed for mysterious deaths in Thai village, South China Morning Post, June 12th, 2018

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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