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Catching up with a real spook to ask why ghosts haunt staircases isn’t something that’s too easy to do.  They are an elusive lot, don’t give a lot of interviews, write autobiographies or even post on social media (shock!).  But there is clearly some reason that ghosts haunt staircases because some of the most famous photos taken of the supernatural often feature a set of steps.

The practical explanation

Ghosts haunt staircases

Brown Lady of Raynham Hall

There could be a few practical explanations as to why so many haunted locations seem to have ghosts that hang around the staircase.  For starters, these are often a central element of the property so if they are doing a comprehensive job and wandering around the whole place, they are going to spend a good deal of time on the stairs.

The very nature of stairs also leads to a lot of misidentification that might mean there isn’t actually a ghost at all.  Stairs get a lot of use by the living and creaking is commonplace.  In older houses, the settling of the property or the resident cat can even cause them to creak and create the impression that someone was walking up the stairs.

That frequency of use could be another reason stairs get haunted the most.  The very floorboards of the steps, due to residents using them so much, could be more liable to pick up a recording of past events and replay them in a type of haunting known as a residual – a bit like a supernatural video projection of past events onto the modern environment.

Theories of why ghosts haunt staircases

Some think that the whole moving up through the levels could be why ghosts like staircases as a place to hang out.  This sees the staircase as a kind of substitute for moving on to another plane of existence that they are trying to do but have been unsuccessful for some

Another idea I read talked about Feng Shui.  According to these ancient principles, energy travels up and down straight lines such as staircases.  However, if there is a front door at the bottom of the stairs, bad energy can enter and head upstairs.  This is the reason that staircases and, to a degree, roads are often haunted – the bad energy or spirit gets in and can’t get out again.

Famous haunted staircases

There are some pretty famous examples of haunted staircases from around the world to add to the case.  Top of the list is the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall and the famous photo taken of her.  The property is in Norfolk, England and the photograph was taken by a Country Life magazine photographer back in 1936.  This wasn’t the first sighting of the ghost by any means though with sightings being recorded as far back as 1835.  The ghost was said to be Lady Dorothy Warpole, sister of Robert Warpole, the first prime minister of Great Britain.

Another famous ghost photo taken on a staircase is that of the Tulip Staircase Ghost.  Taken by a retired clergyman Rev. Ralph Hardy, in 1966, the picture was never intended to feature a ghost but merely to capture the elegant, spiral staircase in the Queen’s House area of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.  When developed, the picture showed the eerie white figure claiming the stairs, holding the banister with both hands.  Experts confirmed the picture was unaltered and there have been other sightings of the ghost since then.


There are hundreds of stories of ghosts that linger around stairs in buildings around the world.  Hotels are good examples where the ghosts seem to delight in walking from one level to another and spooking the guests.  But even normal houses can still experience something eerie passing up and down the staircase.  Have you ever heard a ghost on a staircase?