Spoiler Alert! The following story contains spoilers from these episodes of Netflix's Haunted, so stop reading now if you haven't watched yet!
TV shows featuring real people telling their ghost stories are a dime a dozen these days, and it's easy to see why. Who doesn't like to get a little scared in the safety of their own home? The fact that the stories are said to be true just adds to the decadence. Haunted, which recently released its third season on Netflix, brings its offering of the genre in an enjoyably unique way.
Instead of a talking head telling their story to a producer, Haunted puts the narrator/storyteller in a sitting room surrounded by family and friends, not unlike gathering around a campfire. In some cases they're telling their story for the first time. In other episodes, the retelling seems to serve as validation of what they've been through, and possibly a chance to move on. The terrifying tales are accompanied by intense re-enactments, and Haunted uses the old adage of "show, don't tell" to its full advantage. Take a look at the six episodes I've chosen as the scariest of the three seasons currently available on Netflix.
6. The Mimic (Season 2, Episode 1)
After Becca and Jared moved into a new house, they began to be haunted by an entity in the basement, dubbed The Mimic, that could take on the voice or likeness of their friends. Their buddy Brandon, who had moved into the basement, tells of a night when the entity came into the basement in the likeness of Becca, seducing him. As they started kissing, The Mimic disintegrated right in front of him. They all moved out of the house after a nasty tentacled monster crawled out of the basement and attacked Becca.
Scariest moment: Brandon pulling rotten flesh out of his mouth is not a moment I'll soon forget.
5. Haunted by Henry (Season 3, Episode 2):
As kids, Wyatt and Jessica were haunted by the ghost of Henry Croft, who used to run the town's mining business. Both children saw the ghost, who would smoke a cigar and lure Wyatt into dangerous situations. The ghost pushed him down a staircase and caused him to step on fishing tackles, which had to be surgically removed. One night when the kids were at the house with some friends, Henry's ghost trashed the house, overturning furniture and throwing plates as the children tried to run to safety.
Scariest moment: During the interview, a technical difficulty caused all the lights in the studio to go out, clearly rattling the siblings, particularly Jessica, who was describing the guilt she carried after her friend died in a car accident that night after witnessing what happened at the house.
4. Spirits From Below (Season 2, Episode 4)
Elle told a story about a tall man, an old woman and little girl haunting her family's home. Elle's parents wouldn't allow her to talk about the spirits, saying, "If you don't look at it, it won't scare you." The children could hear their dolls laughing, and the girl ghost set their house on fire, burning down half of it. As Elle grew older, the haunting continued, and the spirits tried to drown her toddler nephew and got her to attempt suicide. Elle moved out after she became possessed and tried to kill her husband.
Scariest moment: Elle's mother had known of the evil spirits all along and their intent, as she told Elle before she died, "Too bad they want to get you," as she looked up at the three ghosts standing at the top of the stairs.
3. Gift of Evil (Season 3, Episode 3)
Emily got a music box and locket as birthday gifts from her godmother that were haunted by the ghost of a little girl, also named Emily, who had been killed. The rotting corpse ghost started appearing to Emily, once trying to drown her in the bathtub and another time biting her in her sleep. When Emily moved in with her boyfriend and his daughter, they also started feeling the effects of the music box ghost, and the daughter was attacked, causing her boyfriend to end the relationship. A medium told Emily the ghost doesn't want to leave her.
Scariest moment: The creepy warped song from music box that signaled the ghost's arrival, and the little girl hanging from the ceiling watching Emily.
2. Born Cursed (Season 2, Episode 6)
Oscar's mother was a believer in black magic, but despite a cleansing when she was pregnant with him, there was an evil entity that followed him. "The Hangman," as Oscar called him, would sit in Oscar's room every night and watch him, which kept Oscar from sleeping. As he got older, the situation got worse. The Hangman started beating him in his sleep and threatening to kill his brother. Oscar attempted suicide, after which the haunting seemed to stop. But lately, Oscar said, his children have been starting to see things.
Scariest moment: On a family vacation in Mexico, a troupe of clowns was run over at a parade. One was a creepy Twisty-like clown with a wide grin, who revealed himself to be The Hangman. The clown later appeared to Oscar, his brother and a cousin at their grandparents' house, chasing them and killing their dog.
1. The Woman In White (Season 1, Episode 1)
Jason's family moved into an apartment when he was a kid, where just a week earlier, a woman had killed her two children and hanged herself in the closet. The woman began appearing to Jason, jerkily crawling out of his closet with the noose around her neck every night for six years. After they moved, the haunting stopped for a while. But then the Woman in White appeared when Jason was riding his bike with a friend, causing him to get hit by a car. They rushed back to his friend's house to get help, and the ghost had inhabited his friend's mom, who told Jason, "You're supposed to be dead."
Scariest moment: A few days before coming to film the show, the Woman in White was standing by Jason's bed when he woke up, and he had to tell his family that he can't evade death much longer.
Most of the stories in Haunted focus on ghosts or possessions of some sort, though there are a few episodes that tackle aliens, an evil cat and even gay conversion therapy (i.e. torture). But whether it's the subject matter, the format or a combination of things, the show always left me super weirded out. After you're finished with Haunted, be sure to check out our list of Netflix TV shows to find a new binge, and keep up with all of your shows with our summer TV schedule