The best-known ghost story from ancient Egypt is known, simply, as A Ghost Story but sometimes referenced as Khonsemhab and the Ghost. The story dates from the late New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1570 – c.1069 BCE) and specifically the Ramesside Period (1186-1077 BCE).
An excerpt from W.K. Simpson’s The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry:
Then the High Priest of Amun Khonsemhab said to him: “Please tell me your name, your father’s name, and your mother’s name that I may offer to them and do for them all that has to be done for those in their position.” The august spirit then said to him: “Nebusemekh is my name, Ankhmen is my father’s name, and Tamshas is my mother’s name.”
Then the High Priest of Amun-Re, King of the Gods, Khonsemhab said to him; “Tell me what you want that I may have it done for you. And I shall have a sepulcher prepared anew for you and have a coffin of gold and zizyphus-wood made for you, and you shall [rest therein] and I shall have done for you all that is done for one who is in your position.”
The august spirit then said to him: “No one can be overheated who is exposed to wintry wind, hungry without food… It is not my desire to overflow like the inundation, not…not seeing my tomb… I would not reach it. There have been made to me promises…”
Now after [he] had finished speaking, the High Priest of Amun-Re, King of the Gods, Khonsemhab, sat down and wept beside him with a face full of tears. And he addressed the spirit, saying, “How badly you fare without eating or drinking, without growing old or becoming young. Without seeing sunlight or inhaling northerly breezes. Darkness is in your sight every day. You do not get up early to leave.”
Learn more about the origins of this ghost story and read the story’s full transcript at A Ghost Story of Ancient Egypt.