This time last year, The Oracle wrote about the most spooky moments in sports that would give anyone chills, from a Notre Dame football player still plaguing around campus to a horrific hockey accident. But one paranormal activity stood out this time around, specifically the most haunted arenas and stadiums in sports.
St. Mary’s Stadium in Southhampton, United Kingdom
Starting off strong, this location was recommended multiple times during research, popping up on multiple websites including ESPN.
With 103 years at The Dell under its belt, the Southampton Saints Football Club moved to a brand new stadium in 2001. This new arena, St. Mary’s, was named after a church that helped the team in its earliest days. Although the state-of-the-art facility nearly doubled its fan capacity, there was a problem with it: the team could not win a single game playing at it.
Obviously, many fans looked for a reason for this new losing streak, some going as far as wrapping up paranormal investigators and expert grave-diggers into the mix. According to Wessex Archeology, a centuries-old Anglo-Saxon cemetery was found directly under the football pitch. Graves, gold, weapons, and fine jewelry dating back to the seventh century were discovered, and soon the team brought in a pagan witch named Cerridwen “DragonOak” Connelly to get rid of the curse. In 2005, Connelly chanted a spell and waved her broomstick in front of the stadium, and as the mystics would have it, the Saints finally won a game.
Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan
Located in eastern Kabul, the Ghazi Stadium is mainly used for soccer matches, but in the late 1990s, the grounds of the multi-purpose arena were used as a place for public executions by the Taliban government.
According to Culture Trip, it is said that “the souls of those who lost their lives inside the stadium still haunt the ground.” Very few Afghans still venture to the stadium after dusk, believing that the victims who fell to the Taliban’s brutality roam in the dark.
Although the goalposts have been coated with fresh paint, people still remember where the Tablian used to force convicts to kneel before them and execute them. Or when they hung the severed arms or legs of thieves, reported Reuters.
“Too much blood has flown here,” stated former State Minister of Home Affairs of Bangladesh, Mohammed Nasim. There was so much spillage on the field that the soil had to be dug up and replaced. “We put a new layer of soil so that players would not be stepping on to the blood of so many people,” Nasim said.
Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City, United States
In February 2016, back when Kyrie Irving still played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he removed himself from a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder after just nine minutes of playtime with “flu-like symptoms.” Irving later clarified to ESPN, the real culprit was nausea from numerous bed bugs he endured during the team’s stay at the notorious hotel — where multiple NBA stars like Tim Hardaway Jr., Eddy Curry, or Metta Sandiford-Artest, have sworn they’ve encountered paranormal activity.
As stated by the Player’s Tribune, shooting guard for the Dallas Mavericks, Tim Hardaway Jr. swears that the hotel is haunted. “I can say off the top, upon walking into the Skirvin, there’s definitely a creepy vibe,” he said, referring to it as something straight out of Scoopy-Doo. “Just as I started getting comfortable and was almost asleep, I heard something outside my room. It was the sound of footsteps. But then I also started hearing this loud screeching coming from the walls and these little voices… And that’s when I started to get pretty freaked out.”
Legend has it, owner and builder oilman W.B. Skirvin had an affair with a chambermaid named Effie during Prohibition. As soon as the maid conceived, she was locked in a room on the top floor to prevent a potential scandal. The isolated girl soon became depressed and jumped out of the 10th-floor window along with her baby. After the oil burst in the 1980s, the hotel closed in 1989 and sat as an abandoned, decrepit building for almost two decades until it was renovated in 2007.
“Now most teams stay at a different hotel in OKC,” stated Hardaway Jr., “and when teams do book the team at the Skirvin, a lot of players will pay for their own room at another hotel. If my team still stayed there, I’d do the same.”
The hotel itself might be the cause of the Thunders’ best standings at home. According to New York Times, “the Knicks blamed creaks and groans for a sleepless night before a loss. A Bulls player could not explain why his bathroom door slammed shut. A member of the Phoenix Suns woke to find his bathtub filled with water.”
Since then, numerous guests have reported hearing a baby’s incessant crying during their stay. Effie is the most notorious apparition that resides there, but others have seen spirits that look like Skirvin, or his daughter, Perle Mesta, who became the American ambassador to Luxembourg under President Harry Truman in 1949. As stated by the Washington Post, NBA guard Lou Williams was so spooked by its aura that he refused to stay with his team, the Los Angeles Lakers, when they played the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2015.