My family is a big, loud and festive family of Italian descent. When I was around ten and my great-grandparents were alive, we used to gather everyone at holidays and birthdays. Then my Great-grandfather would start telling stories of his youth, when they lived in the country. Those stories always gave way to his more... Paranormal recollections.
1# The Horseman
It was harvest and each and every person that lived in the farm were in the fields. They had been gathering the sugar cane for a few hours when one of the workers came riding a horse at full speed, galloping down path from the main house, telling everyone, "Fire! Fire! The main house is on fire!"
The people at the fields gathered and went to the house. When they put out the fire, and things had calmed down a little, my great-grandfather realized that the worker who gave the warning had died a few weeks past - cracked his head falling from a horse!
This one was always my favorite. And I truly believe it was real, as my Great-grandmother (I'm tired of writing it over and over. I'll just call them grandpa and grandma) also saw him.
2# Feather Skeleton
My Grandma was a "Benzedeira". I don't think there is a word for that in English, but it's a wise woman who can cure small problems by praying and doing small rituals. And my Grandpa had been having nightmares, ugly ones. He got to the point he dreaded sleep.
She decided to seek what was causing it, as praying alone wasn't solving the problem. Then the first thing she did was to look the bed. Nothing there. Then the pillows. At that time, most pillows were made of goose or chicken feathers. Opening the pillows, there were a lot of feathers, obviously, but she noticed something strange, like some of the feathers were weaved together. She dumped the contents of the pillow on the floor, only to find out a skeleton the size of a newborn made of weaved feathers! She burned it down, and my grandpa bad dreams stopped.
She always said she thought it was the doing of another woman, who was dumped by my grandpa (it was an open secret that sometimes he had affairs with other women).
This was the story I always found scariest, until #4 happened.
3# The path to the main house
Every day, my grandpa and the workers went down to the fields and returned only a bit after sunset. That evening, my grandma was waiting for him on the porch. She saw him walking up the path with a man she did not know. When they reached the workers' housing, they went separate ways, and my grandpa met my grandma at the main house.
"I didn't knew we had hired a new worker," she said.
"We didn't. Why you ask?"
"Then who was walking with you? If he came for business, why didn't you invite him to dine with us?"
"What are you talking about!? There was no one with me!"
There are a few others he used to tell, but I don't remember enough to write them down. Now this is the last one that happened with them.
4# The Girl
My Grandpa had already passed away, and my Grandma looked like she was withering. I remember thinking she looked like those old trees when they begun to wilt. We didn't go back to their house as much as we did when Grandpa was alive. We didn't want to. It was too sad...
It was night, and I was watching TV in the living room. My parents were at the kitchen, on the other side of the house (that house was giant), and the caretaker was in her own room.
My Grandma's room was just out of the living room, and she was sleeping. Or so I thought: She started saying loud, "Get down from there, you are going to get hurt! Get down from there."
I went into her room to see what was happening, and saw nothing but her, sitting on her bed, the lights on. "Grandma, what happened?" She explained that there was a girl perched on the top of the wardrobe.
Later her caretaker said she did it fairly frequently. I don't know if it was actually a ghost or the ravings of a mind that is slipping away, but what I can say is that that house always gave me the chills. Plus, me and my cousins found a crack on the floor just outside her bedroom and we, being children, poked it with a stick and never reached the bottom. (We tried it later with a thin, long metal rod ~1,5 meter, and still did not reach anything). I still think there may be a hidden room there. That house is old and enormous.
Someday if you get the chance, please explore the floor crack and let us know if you find anything. Ghost stories and mysteries are both exciting!