Skip to main content

Spooky Stories From World War 1 and 2 - The Ghosts of War

WW1 and 2 were dark times in history. Its no wonder sometimes Ghosts or Spirits would appear to the fallen or wounded.

Ghosts of WW1 and WW2

Ghosts of WW1 an WW2

Ghosts of WW1 an WW2


Soldier Ghosts

Amongst the blood and terror lay friendship and brotherhood. The First World War was possibly the most horrifying time in history. But there in the fields of France and Belgium, something strange was happening.

The soldiers, under so much duress began to see things that didn't seem possible. In fact if they were mentioned back in Blighty (Britain) on a hot summers day they would have been laughed at.

But here in the killing fields of war, in the trenches, these ghostly apparitions and haunted spaces became, if not quite the norm, then pretty close.

Ghosts roamed no mans land. That stretch of ground between the two warring countries. Across trenches, barbed wire to catch soldiers unaware, and mud, some of these lost men didn't realise they were dead.

So they kept helping.

Of course it can never be proved now. But at the time? These young men knew what they saw and heard.

And it was amazing.

War Stories

world war 1 was he a spirit?

world war 1 was he a spirit?

the Spirit with Cold Hands - Private Rex Cook

One of the most chilling ghost encounters comes from the first world war at Mons France.

It concerns a Canadian soldier Private Rex Cook.

The story goes that on the day when the platoon of men were walking away from the lines after days of fighting, the lieutenant who was leading his men noticed one of them lagging behind. The officer went over to tend to the pale looking soldier and offered him some food.

The man took the food and as their hands touched the lieutenant noticed that the soldiers hands were icy cold.

After he returned to camp, the lieutenant couldn't find the 'ill pale man' and asked around the camp to see if they knew where he was. The lieutenant knew it was Private Rex, as he knew all the men by name. And the fact that they had shared the most appalling of times in the trenches.

The lieutenant was shocked to hear that Private Rex had been killed in action a few days earlier and the man he was asking had attended the funeral!

Did Private Rex not know he was dead?

A very chilling true tale!

WW11 Ghosts

Scroll to Continue

My Brother woke me....

Dead soldiers saves brother

Dead soldiers saves brother

The Ghost with Warm Hands

A memoir written by Canadian Will Bird, a veteran, was written in 1968.

In it he states,

'I was sleeping in a dugout (trenches) when I was awakened by the ghost of my brother Steve, who had been killed two years before. He was holding my hands.'

He goes on to say,

'Steve grinned and released my hands before placing his warm hand over my mouth as I started to shout my happiness! Steve then said, 'Get your gear,' and then gestured for me to follow him.

We walked up onto the battlefield and suddenly he was gone. Disappeared completely! When I went back to the trench I saw to my horror that where I had been sleeping had been hit by a shell. It was completely wiped out. My brother had saved my life!'

An amazing true encounter that saved Will Birds life.

Freddy Jackson the most famous Ghost photo


Freddy comes back.

One of the most famous of real life ghost stories comes from 1919 just after the first world war had ended. This amazing photo shows Freddy Jackson standing with his Royal Air Force comrades in possibly one of the first RAF photos ever taken.

Nothing seems to be amiss apart from one dramatic twist.

Freddy had been killed two days before in a propeller accident!

Freddy's funeral had taken place the day before, so his face was still firmly imprinted on his friends minds.

When the photo was developed, the members of his Air Squadron all identified him straight away!

Freddy mustn't have known he had died and wanted to have his photo taken for posterity.

His face can be seen top row fourth from the left.

Amazing story. And sometimes there is no other explanation.

World War 1 Ghosts

Flying Ghosts

ghost world war 2 planes

ghost world war 2 planes

Phantom Fighter Planes.

At such a time when emotions were being played out so strongly, there were bound to be other sightings and spooky goings on.

Sightings of ghost planes were a common occurrence specially after the war had ended. Which is much more unusual because in times of peace there wasn't the stress of battle. Here's an extract from one account by a girl named Kelly who said she heard this from her father.

In the early 80's her father was working for a construction company. As it was a cloudy day he was glad when the sun came out, so he looked up to get some warmth on his face.

He suddenly spotted a group of old World war 2 planes flying in formation overhead. He noticed they were a mix of B-17's, B-24's and many others including US army air corps planes.

He could hear the sounds only slightly, but could see them heading out towards the sea. This went on for at least half an hour. Later when he discussed it with his co workers they said they never saw anything. And there wasn't an airshow!

Kelly said her dad was still distressed about it, and wondered if anyone else had seen it too.

Memories and ghosts

Memories and ghosts

Our World and the Next

If there is or was a reason for ghosts to come back, then war is possibly the main reason. All the fear, hope and disaster, emotions and grief can and must cause a rift in between this world and the next.

There are many ghost stories out there of the two world wars and some can be dismissed as fake caused by tiredness,fear and injury.

Others? Well judge for yourself.

More Ghostly Tales

The Ghost of Elizabeth Hoby

The Grey lady of Bisham Abbey near Marlow. She has been seen many times, even by my mother when she as stationed there at the end of the war!

The Haunted Hospital

I was born in the Canadian Red Cross Hospital. But soon afterwards it was closed down. But still there could be heard strange noises and banging doors, lights and strange sounds.

Ghosts of Marlow and High Wycombe

Real life spooks as told by me and the residents of Marlow and High Wycombe!

Ghost Soldiers

© 2018 Nell Rose


Nell Rose (author) from England on September 04, 2019:

Thanks so much Viryabo, glad you liked it.

viryabo from Lagos, Nigeria. on September 03, 2019:

Thank you for this article Nell. I have always had an interest in the mysterious and sometimes wonder if I am a reincarnation.

Stories about ghosts equally fascinates me.

Nice read.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 30, 2018:

Thanks so much Dale, nell

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on December 30, 2018:

GREAT article. Had me right from the very start. Bravo.

Nell Rose (author) from England on December 29, 2018:

Thanks Lawrence, in these circumstances its not surprising they see ghosts, thanks as always.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 27, 2018:


These were fascinating, I've personally experienced something similar, though I tend not to talk too much about it as no one really believes what you're telling them.

Guardian Angels do exist, and at times they can take on a form we recognise.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 26, 2018:

Thanks Peggy, yes very spooky! whatever they were they definitely helped the men, which was great!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 26, 2018:

Those are certainly some interesting stories and must have been really mind-boggling for the men who experienced those ghostly apparitions in person.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 19, 2018:

Thanks Eric, they saw things we will never know, and I am glad about that. thanks to them we are here.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 19, 2018:

Really hair raising tails. On these phenomenons I just ask "Why not".

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 19, 2018:

Thanks Zulma, yes it must have been terrible, thanks for reading.

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on November 16, 2018:

A fascinating read, Nell. None of this surprises me. That much death, despair and terror are bound to resonate in other dimensions. Perhaps enough to draws spirits through.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 16, 2018:

Thanks as always Chitrangada, I am so glad you liked it.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 16, 2018:

Thanks for sharing these interesting stories. Your articles always have that nostalgic feeling attached to them and this one is no different.

What beautiful and rare pictures!

Thanks for sharing this well written and thought provoking article!

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 15, 2018:

LOL! you could phone me anytime you'd like! that would be great Paula! and don't have nightmares!

Suzie from Carson City on November 14, 2018:

Nell.......You share so many of this type of "thriller'/ spooky stories, It's clear you're very much into the paranormal. This one gave me super goosebumps, girlfriend! Probably not my smartest choice just before bed! I'd never heard of these WWI tales, so you've really piqued my interest. Lucky for you I don't have your phone number because if I have nightmares, I'd call you and wake you up!! Nah....just kidding. Another great article by you, Nell. Peace, Paula

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 14, 2018:

Thanks Flourish, good to see you!

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 14, 2018:

Very entertaining! I’m open that maybe it’s true. Very haunting stuff!

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 14, 2018:

Thanks Linda, glad you liked them, nell

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 13, 2018:

Thanks for sharing these interesting stories, Nell. They are certainly thought provoking!

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Thanks Shauna, you know me, I love my ghostly stuff! lol!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 13, 2018:

Spooky stuff, Nell! Especially the story of the soldier being saved by his deceased brother. I'll have to check out some of the other links you provide. This topic (ghostly encounters in general) has always interested me.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

LOL! trust you Bill! and thanks as always.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Hi Mike, I haven't heard of that play? and I would love to hear about your ghost experiences.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Hi Mary, thanks for reading. Yes I grew up with ghost stories too.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 13, 2018:

How about this: when I die, I'll let you know if ghosts are for real? Deal? lol Until then, I'll keep an open mind.

Readmikenow on November 13, 2018:

This made me think of a play by Irwin Shaw called "Bury the Dead." It's an excellent play. It's about a group of soldiers who are dead but refuse to be buried. They all give their reasons why they shouldn't be dead. It's pretty good. I have had ghost experiences. I'll leave it at that. I enjoyed reading this article and found it very interesting.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Thanks so much Tim, yes I do believe that time slips are one answer, but when your dead brother tells you to move, you darn well move! LOL!

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Thanks Pamela, glad you liked it. Ghosts always fascinate me, whether war ones or even modern.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Thanks John, yes these ghost stories always made me fascinated. Specially the photo.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Thanks Jackie, for some reason the amazon ads were taken off! so I added a new one, lol!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 13, 2018:

Nell, we also have heard many stories of ghosts from WW2. I have not experience myself but when we were children, we loved to hear the stories over and over again. Maybe, one day, we will understand all these.

Nell Rose (author) from England on November 13, 2018:

Hi Dora, thanks for reading. Yes strange things definitely happened, but we will never really know.

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on November 13, 2018:

Thanks, Nell,

This was really a great article. I think Rex spooked me the most, but seeing your brother out in the middle of a war zone, that's a very scary situation.

F. Jackson showing up on that photo would have made me never want anything to do with combat again.

I like the fact that you mentioned these appearances are probably related to "time slips." You are probably right.

Loved the videos, too.

Much respect and admiration.

You always expand my awareness and consideration of possibilities with your well written, well researched, and thought provoking articles, Nell.


Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 13, 2018:

Nell,These ghost stories are creepy for sure. This was such an interesting article. Really liked it!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 12, 2018:

what an enthralling article, Nell. I had never before heard about the Ghosts of WWII but I had seen the Freddy Jackson photo and story from WWI. I enjoyed this immensely.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 12, 2018:

Wow, I think I coul love some of these books, had no idea they existed! I am sure there are always those who like to push a good ghost story but I imagine there could be these spirits lost and searching the grounds where they lay dead.

Great spooky writing as usual Nell!

Still keeping my eye on the new parents to be. So exciting.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 12, 2018:

I have no personal reason to believe in ghosts, but I've listened to many ghost stories, and yours are very intriguing. "Did Private Rex not know he was dead?" Really funny! What can we say about the one in the photograph?

Related Articles