We asked a load of bands to tell us their spookiest real-life stories...and the results will keep you up at night

Bands infront of graveyard in edited image
(Image credit: Press)

As the nights grow darker, it's only natural for our attentions to turn to spookier delights. Whether its by watching gruesome horror films or listening to/telling spine-chilling ghost stories, wandering into the cold, black abyss of the supernatural is a shared pastime for many of us wanting to learn more about the things that lurk in the shadows and go bump in the night.

With Halloween finally upon us and the veil to the otherworld supposedly at its thinnest, we thought it would be the perfect time to flash a torch-light under the faces of our favourite rock and metal musicians and discover what hair-raising stories they have to tell.

So light a candle, grab a blanket, fill up a cup with your finest cocoa and settle in for the night as we uncover some chilling tales that include everything from coming face to face with terrifying entities, running into serial killers and visiting haunted music venues and hotels. Read below...if you dare.

Metal Hammer line break

Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale

"There's a venue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin called The Rave and it is notoriously haunted. Every time we go there something happens, the lights turn on or take on a life of their own. We thought it was a crappy system or something, but one of the employees who takes the night shift told us ‘No, there is definitely a haunting going on there.’ 

"We got to see some footage of the place being shut down, nobody there apart from a guard for security purposes, and the lights will turn on and there will be a light show. I was like ‘Oh my god!’ that freaked me out.

"So, the next time we played there we went looking for ghosts, there are all these tunnels there because it used to be a club for these elder stately men, they all went into the city, and you can go and explore them, and we freaked ourselves out so hard. We were taking these pictures and seeing these weird orb things."

Municipal Waste’s Nick Poulos 

"Tallahassee, Florida, 1978. My dear mother Jeannie was out of college and working as a waitress at a cute popular diner close to the FSU campus. On one particular morning she served a simple plate of eggs, bacon, and toast to an average looking, mildly handsome slightly dishevelled young man. He had a strange presence and didn’t say that much to my mother. After he finished his breakfast and coffee he made his departure, and to her surprise left a pretty decent tip.

"Less than a month later, my mother showed up for her usual morning shift, punched in her timecard and was greeted by the FBI as she entered the main dining room. They asked her a slew of bizarre questions about a mildly average, good-looking guy who she may have served previously, and right away she knew who they were inquiring about.

"It turns out that the man was none other than Ted Bundy. On the run from multiple police departments for heinous crimes committed across the country. He escaped from prison in Colorado and had made his way to Florida, where in a berserk psychotic state, brutally bludgeoned, strangled and killed two female FSU students. Then [he] proceeded to enter another dorm injuring three more female students. His last murderous rampage took the life of a 12 year old girl before being captured, just days after eating at my mom’s diner. The FBI continued to tell my mother she wasn’t in any danger, as they had caught Ted. He killed those poor girls then had breakfast. Unreal… He was eventually executed by means of electrocution in Railford, Florida in 1989. My mom always morbidly joked that he wasn’t interested in her as she was a redhead and didn’t have big boobs. Love you mom!"

Parkway Drive surrounded by shattered glass

(Image credit: Dave LePage)

Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall 

“We were playing a gig in Tulsa on the Ire launch tour, at an old music hall called Cain’s Ballroom. You walk in and the entire ballroom has these old portraits of cowboys and cowgirls around it. Creepy as fuck to begin with. To start with, my wife is on tour with us, and she was like, ‘I’m gonna stay in the bus because this venue creeps me the fuck out.’ 

"We’re halfway through our set and I feel this pull on my t-shirt. At that point, it meant ‘Your mic has blown out. You’ve killed the mic,’ because I go through three mics a night. Generally there’s someone behind me with a microphone. I feel a pull on my shirt and there’s no one there. Keep playing, another song, pull on the shirt, turn around, no one’s there. Our drum tech comes out and swaps mics with me later and I’m like, ‘Are you shirt pulling?’ [He replies,] ‘No, I’m just swapping the mics.’ It was really weird.

"We finish the gig and I go to the front of house to talk to George, our sound guy. I’m like, ‘How was the gig for you?’, he says, ‘I left after three songs and got the fuck out of the venue. I was mixing at the sound desk, someone pulled my shirt and there was no one there. I had my hands on the faders and I felt hands on top of my hands, moving them up and down. Then something pushed me over the sound desk.’ He spoke to the venue staff and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, this place is haunted.’ There’s a ‘lady in red’ that walks around and pulls on shirts to ask for help. Look the venue up on Wikipedia and it’s one of the ten most haunted places in the US.”

The Rasmus’ Lauri Ylönen

"I am like a magnet for all supernatural things. Maybe because I’m curious and always willing to get a thrill. Many of these encounters have happened in my hotel room while being on tour with the band.

"I have a big sister and her ghost has come to me in different forms multiple times. Usually, she’s in the form of a child just sitting on my bed on her knees with her face turned down. She’s maybe like 5 years old but I can recognise it’s her. It’s a very calm and not scary moment at all. She just sits there quietly and I try to make it last as long as she finally disappears.

"I haven’t been able to talk to her ’cause I can’t get a word out of my mouth while she’s there. I have a feeling she is trying to tell me something. Once she appeared to me as a white paper thin creature, almost like lace, that moved around in the ceiling for a few minutes and then disappeared behind the curtains. She has been an important person in my life. She introduced me to all the bands in my youth, like Nirvana, RHCP, Beatles, Doors, and so on. She was the one who persuaded me to start singing in a band a long time ago and for that I’m obviously truly thankful for her!"

Kid Bookie

"I was like six years old, living above a flat that Samantha Biset was murdered in by Robert Napper, a local murderer who did a gruesome crime underneath, and man I felt that area was dark, even as a child. The older I got, the weirder shit became; I would be in the house, looking down the hallway and there was there massive crow-like figures just snarling at me. I have done my fair share of acid and shrooms, being six, I was not high at all.

"Sometimes they would point and stare, and I would shut the door, wait, open it then they were gone. I never got anyone's attention because I was scared as fuck, but I did tell my mum that there is some creepy shit going on and they just passed it off as dreaming, but that memory sticks with me. I genuinely felt some evil, like if I got to close I would just be transported to some hell like state just under the crow man's tyrannical orders, fuck that crow for life."

Witch Fever's Amy Walpole

"My old university house in Manchester was so fucking creepy and horrible, it had a really weird, uncomfortable vibe. It was just not a nice energy. And one time I was in London, warming up my voice for a gig. My housemate then texts me and asks 'Are you in the house? I thought you were at a show?'. And I replied, 'No, I'm in London. I'm about to get on stage soon.' And she said that she heard me doing scales in my bedroom, when no one was there..."

Green Lung’s Scott Black

"We played our first gig at The Bird's Nest, a punk pub in Deptford, South London. Across the road stands Frankham House, a post-war council block built on the site of an old cemetery. In 1973, several flats in Frankham House started to experience poltergeist activity – some disturbances were so violent that two young families had to flee. At the time, a dual carriageway was being built which ran directly over the site of the old cemetery. The activity only stopped when a local priest exorcised the building.

"Recently, friends from the Bird’s Nest have told us the lights have been flickering strangely during late-night lock-ins, and cold spots have appeared in the basement. We thought it was probably just the result of DIY wiring and a battered heating system, but then we heard that in 2021, roadworks began once more outside Frankham House, where those old bones still lie…".

Sam Ryder

"I was 18, and me and my friends were in an abandoned psychiatric hospital, near where we used to live. It’s as terrifying as it sounds - massive grounds and it was totally dilapidated, like falling to bits. We were in there one night, and we heard this massive bang that just sounded like someone dropping a bath or something on the floor. There was a real hollow ring to it, and it came out of nowhere. It was terrifying being in there, there's dripping from all the old pipes and all the wallpaper and ceilings have fallen down…and then you hear this noise and I was like, ‘Get me the hell out!"

Twin Temple

(Image credit: Rise Above)

Twin Temple

"One night in San Antonio, our hotel room turned icy cold (though the heater was on). At one point the lights flickered, and the whole time we had the uncanny feeling someone was there, standing outside the door, listening in. We just couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching us. The next morning, we saw that Robert Johnson (one of our favourites) had actually recorded there, so we researched the hotel a little further.

"It turns out, the hotel hid a sinister secret: in 1965, a brutal murder took place. The detective who discovered the scene said it was the “bloodiest place they had ever seen.” The floors and walls were sticky, thick with blood, and the tub had a dark bloody ring all around it. They speculate that the woman’s body was butchered and drained in the tub. They never did find the body. Imagine our surprise when it turned out this took place in room #535… the very same room we stayed in. 666/666 stars, would stay again."

Heriot's Julian Gage

"Before my partner and I lived together, we used to alternate staying at each other’s parents’ houses. On the way to her parents' place one evening, I received a bunch of calls from a withheld number. The number left a voicemail which someone whispering my name repeatedly. When I called back the number (something you cannot usually do) it would call my girlfriend’s phone.

"That the same night I woke up to find what I thought was my girlfriend sat at the end of the bed. I asked what she was doing - at that point my girlfriend woke up and I quickly realised that whoever/whatever was at the end of the bed was not my girlfriend. I completely froze in shock, couldn’t speak and started dripping with sweat. The following morning my girlfriend asked about what had happened last night. I described what I saw (a girl with black hair, a block fringe wearing a white night gown) and she instantly burst into tears. It turns out that she had seen the same girl in her room a few times over the years. We never stayed at her parents again after the experience!"

Pallbearer's Joseph D. Rowland

"In college I used to work at a newspaper office, often totally alone. Many times, I would turn my back on something I was sorting, only to find it in total disarray only seconds later, or sometimes just completely gone. It happened so frequently that I finally asked some other employees if they had ever noticed anything weird. Turns out it was a unanimous yes. The previous Editor-In-Chief’s wife had passed over a decade earlier and there were numerous incidents seeing her fleeting likeness in the hallways, and other playful chaos much like I was experiencing. Not exactly chilling but certainly poltergeist-y".

Pallbearer's Mark Lierly

"When I was 23-25, I lived in a pretty old apartment in Little Rock that happened to be a few doors down from a dive bar we all used to frequent pretty heavily over the years. My buddy Clay and I moved into the upstairs and almost immediately started noticing a really strange array of sounds that would come from the ceiling and walls. Knocks and often at times, almost rhythmical tapping that would usually start up late at night. We talked about it and would generally just try to not worry about it, figuring it was simply squirrels or mice.

"However, about six months into living there we both started seeing a fast-moving shadow figure that would dart across the living room wall and down the hall towards our bedrooms. It was extremely creepy, and we’d often just quickly leave and walk up to the bar to settle our nerves and commiserate our unwanted guest. This happened several times but peaked one night as we were both sitting on our couch and had been talking about the weird happenings earlier. I remember we’d kinda whisper about it because we didn’t want it to hear us talking about it. This particular time, it showed itself but went very slowly across the wall. It was the first time I really saw it and noticed specifics. It was definitely a humanoid figure but just a dark shadow. It was tall and thin. I remember its arms and hands were long and gaunt. It was terrifying. We both hopped up and ran out. I moved out shortly after, but Clay lived there another year. I never have asked him if he continued seeing it, but I was glad to get outta there. I’ll never forget seeing it."

Architects in 2022

(Image credit: Ed Mason)

Architects' Sam Carter

"I was quite young. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, rolling over in my room and seeing these two orbs. I was like, 'Just go to sleep, roll back around and it'll be gone'. And I roll back around and they were still there. I remember waking up in the morning and fucking running out of the room. I dunno if that was because I was like super young or if I was having a fever dream, but it felt very sort of real to me at the time".

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.