When I lived in Ripon, I had a neighbor who lived in a haunted house. We would be out in the yard and see a shape that looked like a child, but without features, run into the space between the houses. When we would go to take a look, there was nobody and nothing there. Sometimes we'd hear kids playing when there was nobody around.
One night, my neighbor opened up a closet that had been closed ever since she bought the house. Inside of the closet, she found a box. Inside of the box was a small dress, like one that a very young girl would wear. As soon as she saw the dress, she was frightened, but didn't know how to react. When her husband came home from work, they talked about it and about the child-like figure that they had seen around the house, and both became more and more frightened as the evening went on.
Finally, they decided to burn the dress. They started a fire, and threw the dress in. As soon as the dress hit the flames, they heard a baby crying, and the crying continued until the dress was completely gone.
Commentary: This is another of the stories that I grew up with. One of the women in my neighborhood would tell this story, or some variation on it (it was always changing) to us kids. She loved to spin ghost stories for us, mostly because she seemed to like to entertain children, but also partially because ghost stories seemed to reinforce her particular religious view of the world.
As a kid, I bought this story, and asked for it many times. However, as I got older, the inconsistencies started to bug me, and I saw the stories of the neighbor for what they were: fun entertainments told by a genuinely warm and caring person who simply wanted to provide the children with fun in a safe environment, but not factual accounts.
I still love her stories. She told me the most memorable version of the Ouija Board Urban Legend that I have ever heard. And I have very fond memories of her as a neighbor and community member. So, in the end, her stories have done her credit, and I think that she would be happy to know that.
I was unsure how to classify this story. It clearly is a campfire story - a story told to entertain with a scare - based on the fact that the details were constantly changing and she didn't seem to much care how coherent the story was most of the time. It is centered around both a house and an object, so should it be considered a haunted house or a haunted object story?
To the haunted house story, I say no. It was always linked to some generic house, with no identifying details given, and the house seemed to be more a setting than an integral part of the story. A haunted object? Well, yes. The dress is certainly important to the story, and is clealry supposed to be the focus of the haunting.
Sources: Personal Account