In folklore, wells are believed to be passageways for Ghosts and spirits to enter the physical world. If a home or building is on top of a well, then it will be haunted. Covering the well is believed to exacerbate the haunting, for it will frustrate spirits seeking access to the physical world. They will clamour about looking for another access route.

Wells—and water in general—have a long history of supernatural beliefs. Lakes and rivers are the dwelling places of a host of water entities, gods and goddesses, monsters, dwarfs, undines (a type of fairy living in or by bodies of water) and other creatures, some of whom are guardians of the waters as well. Longstanding customs exist for propitiating the spirits with offerings tossed into the waters. Wishing wells and even cursing wells derive from these beliefs.

Water is believed to have spiritually purifying properties: evil things cannot cross running water. Many wells and springs are ascribed healing properties and are turned into holy shrines. Various wells also are known for their divinatory properties: one sees the future in the water.


  • Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. London: Reader’s Digest Assoc., 1977.
  • McElhaney, Judy. Ghost Stories of Woodlawn Plantation. McLean, Va.: EPM Publications, 1992.
  • Opie, Iona, and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.



The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley  – September 1, 2007

2 thoughts on “Wells”

  1. I do have one more question. Why would demonologist bring in a curse object? Apparently one came to help and he bought one. I don’t know what the point was but I’m not a demonologist and I just wanna make sure he wasn’t trying to make it worse

  2. I have more of a question than anything. I’m working on a case at the moment that started in GA and she said there were 3 wells on the property. Idk y but I saw them in my head and if you looked down they were set in spots to make a triangle . So, I asked and she said she’d never thought of it b4 but it did. So, now I’m looking for some type of meaning. Their house in GA was haunted and they were told a demon was one. They said it even tried to kill the little girl that for very good reasons was taken from her mom. Apparently she was the brunt of attacks. Now they live in KY and activity has started again. Not like before but at one point I heard the name Angela and later she started talking about her and I had to find out who it was. Well, it was the “little girl” who was always hurting the little girl. Even though they no longer live there I feel these wells play apart. I’m not sure in this belief system, although I try to learn all because it’s truly fascinating, is someone you put much in to so please forgive me if not but her mom was a bruha or something like that. So, I feel like there’s that generational curse there also. I don’t care what religion you are but I asked her because the only things she really hadn’t had done was a Catholic exorcism. I was going to suggest it, but tell her it’ll take a minute to get anybody out there. In the meantime, she tells me about her mom wanted her to learn all religions and the only one her mom wanted her to stay away from was Catholicism. It gave me chills how ironic it was and I am not even Catholic but it was worth a shot. Thankfully she was and is open-minded. So, now the hard work being. I know this is a long post but anything you could tell me would be amazing.

    Thanks so much!!

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