Ghost Stories from Studying Abroad

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. ( Staff, 2009)

While the origins of Halloween are Celtic, ghost stories span the globe. We asked students if they’d ever experienced a ghost while they were abroad. Although we didn’t receive a lot of submissions, the two that we did receive, were good ones. We hope you enjoy these ghost stories from students who studied abroad. Happy Halloween!

This first story was submitted by Kristine M. who studied abroad in Wellington, New Zealand.

I studied abroad in Wellington, New Zealand. Down the street from my apartment was a very old cemetery, from the early 1800s. However, all the bodies had been removed due to an earthquake unearthing the bodies some years ago. I often walked past the cemetery late at night, but never got a bad feeling or felt scared. After a couple of weeks in my apartment, I would wake up at the same time every morning, around 3am. It wasn’t a dramatic wake up, I would just open my eyes. I would see the shape of a very tall man in my room. I could see how the shape blocked part of the light coming from the hallway under my bedroom door. Obviously this would be terrifying, but I felt calm and not at all scared. I would stare at the shape for awhile, and then eventually fall back asleep. This happened at least 10 times. I never told anyone, because it felt like a dream. But i knew it wasn’t a dream.

The second story was submitted by Rachel S. who studied abroad in Meknes, Morocco.

Exploring the mountains around Moulay Idriss, Morocco, we encountered some locals who lived in very rural shacks on the sides of the hills. While we were walking I saw a shoe sticking out of the dirt. When I stopped and looked around, I saw lots of dug up areas with piles of stones. It turned out we had accidentally wandered into an unmarked graveyard! Afterwards I felt really bad for disrespecting the sita and completely spooked by the experience.


For more information about these or any ISA program location, visit the ISA website. Staff. (2009). History of Halloween. Retrieved from

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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