16 Unsettling Real-Life Stories That Actually Happened To People
I'm alarmed at how many people have seen ghost children in their house, TBH.
It's almost Halloween time, so naturally a Reddit thread popped up this week asking, "What are your creepiest, spookiest, most inexplicable, supernatural/horrifying life experiences?"
Here are some of the best responses:
1. This toddler's conversation:
"My wife had a miscarriage at 20 weeks. It was a girl and we were going to name her Samantha. A couple days later, my wife hears our 2-year-old talking in her room in the middle of the night. My wife goes up and asks her what she's doing and she says, 'I'm talking to Samantha. She's on the ceiling.'"
2. The night terror hallucinations that may have been something more:
"I get night terrors sometimes or sleep paralysis. Sometimes when people would talk to me when I'm in that half-sleep phase, and I responded, I would always respond with plural pronouns. 'We're almost up,' or, 'We're still in bed,' that sort of thing. When people then ask me why I'm using those pronouns I'll say something like, 'We're all together,' or, 'My friends are here.'
I'd start to see people, or figures maybe, right at the edge of my peripheral. They'd look like people I knew. But their faces were always a little bit blurry or very severe looking, like they had been awake for a few days straight. The creepy thing though is they'd always start in my peripheral vision and then began to loom closer.
The next time I was home, I told my dad about my weird half-dreams. He got very quiet, and told me he got them too. Almost every night, if he didn't go right to sleep."
3. And this recurring sleep paralysis that feels a little too real:
"I sleep on my stomach and I still get sleep paralysis.
I start to feel a creepy demon thing slowly crawling up the bed towards me — the mattress feels like it's being pressed down by something's legs and arms.
Then the bedsheet starts to slowly get pulled down my back, and I'm lying there unable to move or see what's happening.
Every single time it happens I manage to convince myself that this time it's actually real and I'm not asleep. Eventually I'll manage to blink myself awake and the blankets are always halfway down my body."
4. This horrifying story of a home intruder:
"My parents’ bedroom is at the front of the house, immediately at the front door. My mum goes out maybe once a year, and one night she came in at maybe 2 a.m. from her annual girls' night. She took her shoes off and headed upstairs to my and my siblings’ bedrooms to say goodnight. My dad sleeps like a log, but for some unexplained reason, he was aware that the front door opened for a second time. It took him a few seconds to make it to the front door, and my mum was halfway up the stairs, but a random man was standing inside the house. Seeing my dad's shocked face, he said, 'The house a couple doors down is being robbed, I was trying to tell someone,' and then RAN OUTSIDE and down the street.
The chances that this man happened to catch my mum on the rare occasion she went out, and basically the unheard-of occasion she didn’t lock the door behind her, and my dad manages to protect the family. I have screamed bloody murder and he hasn’t stirred. I can’t imagine what would have happened and this guy was any luckier. My mum maybe never would have made it up the driveway, or we all could have been in danger."
5. The car wreck that almost got worse, but didn't:
"I was in a major car accident over a decade ago. My car was hit by another car in such a way where I lost control of the car and somehow went in a full circle on the highway. I T-boned a jersey wall, completely destroying it and cracking the next two in line, and I bounced off that onto an off-ramp, with my side of the car facing traffic.
I am about to exhale when I hear, 'Hey kid. When I start counting you have eight seconds to move your car or you're going to be hit by an 18-wheeler. Do you understand? Eight...seven...six...'
The voice didn't have to tell me twice, I threw my car into drive and got onto the shoulder. At 'one,' an 18-wheeler drove by the spot my car was parked on.
I should have died, according to the cops surveying the crash site later, but I walked away with a few bruises and I needed a root canal a few days later. I probably imagined the voice, but damn I'm believing it was something otherworldly."
6. This inexplicable parenting moment:
"Small apartment, new wife, first kid. In order to get into the kitchen from the living room you had slalom past the couch, a computer desk, and into the doorway. For an adult, this is fine. For a child who was just learning to run and a computer desk that was at the perfect 'make sure your kid eats crayons and can only count to spaghetti' height, it was a nightmare.
I was tired, positioned on one end of the couch and trying to watch TV. I had just worked a million hours at the factory and just wanted some peace.
ZOOM. My daughter runs by me at 'I can't wait to wear a helmet' speeds and I catch her before she bonks off the desk.
I tell her to stop running to the kitchen and go back to dozing in front of the TV.
ZOOM! She tries it again, giggling, thinking it is now a game. I turn her around, yell at her more sternly, and repeat this game about three more times while my wife watches TV on the other end of the couch.
Then, half asleep, I watch in horror as a little blonde head zooms past me, and into the kitchen.
I lose my shit.
I jump up, yelling, and stomp into the kitchen just in time to see the cupboard under the sink close.
'What in the HELL are you doing?!' I yell.
'What...what in the hell was that?' my wife asks behind me, wide-eyed and pale, my young daughter mostly asleep in her arms.
We never, ever looked, and moved soon after."
7. The doll that definitely moved on its own:
"I went to Argentina a few years ago to go see my mom's side of my family. I had tons of fun in Argentina except for when I had to sleep at night. The guest room was right next to the storage room which had this strange, creepy doll that my mom got as a kid. I knew something was off about it.
Fast forward to about 2:30 a.m. and I hear this loud THUMP in the storage room. Another thump follows. This threw me and my mom awake, and we went to see what was going on. The doll somehow got out of the chair and hit the door. I couldn't sleep for the rest of the night."
8. This tale of a guy's conversations with his dead relatives:
"I grew up in Northern New England just north of the White Mountain National Forest — there’s a strange energy here that’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it. Nonetheless, most people I know that have lived in the area for some time have at least one or two good ghost stories.
I’ve experienced things my entire life. When my great-grandmother passed, my mom would find me on the floor of our den having conversations with her empty rocking chair — completely alone — in the middle of the night. Whenever she’d find me, she’d ask who I was talking to — well Nana, of course! This happened for years and I have no memory of these times, I can only tell you that I was a super soft lil' dude and I wouldn’t have wandered into a dark room without a compelling reason."
9. This kid who met his namesake...before he was even born:
"We have a picture of my wife's late grandpa on our glass table. My (then) 2-year-old who was named for him walks past it one day points to him and says, 'I met him before I was born, he was really nice to me.' It's a really nice story, if a bit creepy."
10. This ghost story that involves a Pikachu magnet, of all things:
"I lost my mom to cancer a couple of years back. Well, a couple of years after, my brothers and I were visiting my dad in their house over the December holidays. It's a small place, so since there wasn't much sleeping room, I (being the youngest) was to sleep in the lounge area.
The front of the apartment was open plan and connected to the kitchen. And in the kitchen, on the fridge was/still is this little Pikachu fridge magnet which, when you press its belly, would say 'Pikachu.' It's more than 15 years old but still working. I was a Pokémon fanatic as a kid.
So in the middle of the night, with everyone asleep, this thing starts going off like crazy. At first I thought it's gotta be my brothers playing some stupid trick on me, so I sit up straight and look over to the fridge (which I can see from my mattress) but there's nobody even near it.
Get up to go check it out, but as I come close it stops. I'm still groggy so I'm like whatever and head back to bed. I fall asleep, but after a while after I'm woken up by the sound again.
This time though, as I sit up, there's the white figure of a woman wearing a night gown standing at the foot of my bed. One just like the one my mom had. And an icy cold hanging in the air. Like almost burning my face cold.
She looks at me and in a confused voice says, 'This is my house, right?' which makes sense because she was very confused during her last couple of months. Her personality deteriorated very fast.
I completely froze, but at that moment I hear footsteps from the hallway's side and she vanishes. As I'm sitting there trying to process what just happened my brother walks into the room, turns on the light, and sees me pale as the ghost I just saw.
I apparently asked him if he and his wife were trolling me or something, but he actually got up to investigate the sound too. His wife was fast asleep.
Now, being the logical guy I am, I did kind of figure out a scientific explanation for what happened. See, my other brother's kids had been over that day too, and they played around with the Pikachu. Also all this went down in the summer, while it was very hot outside during the day, but when the sounds started at night it was cold as all hell. So maybe that Pikachu's belly expanded during the day and then shrunk to a point where some switch inside was making contact. As for momma, we were spring cleaning that day and put up her favorite curtains that I remembered from when I was a kid. ... So there's no doubt she was in my mind a lot and I might have just been very groggy. But you know what? It just doesn't feel like one big coincidence."
11. This coincidence that couldn't have been a coincidence:
"I awoke one evening back in 2015. I remember waking up really thirsty and going for a drink of water in the kitchen. I kept thinking 'dag gum' for some reason. Like, 'get the dag gum cup, pour the dag gum water,' which is weird because I don't say that. Ever.
So anyway, fast forward to the next morning. I get up and drive across town to meet my father-in-law to help him move a refrigerator and on my way I drove through the scene of a bad car/motorcycle accident.
The rider on the motorcycle was on the ground on his stomach and as I passed by, my blood ran cold when I saw the little license plate on his bike that read 'DAG GUM'.....
12. This horrifying moment caught on CCTV:
"I was a security coordinator for a large electric company and had access to like 80+ of the facility's CCTV infrastructures. I was doing a maintenance check on some random train station at like 3 a.m., panned a camera as far to the right as possible to check that it was functioning, and saw this dude on all fours eating a deer in the middle of the tracks. Watched him for like 10 minutes and went to get the other guy on shift, when I came back, the dude was gone. Rewound it, and the dude stopped munching on the carcass, wiped the gore off his face, and walked into the woods like he didn't have a care in the world."
13. This horrifying warning from a family's dogs:
"I live in the deep mountains. I'm talking a 45-minute drive to the nearest small town. We are nearly completely isolated, and surrounded on all sides by thousands of acres of national forest. It is not uncommon for large predators to roam through our property: grizzlies, lions, wolves, etc. To help combat this, my wife and I have several large shepherd dogs that roam the property. If something goes bump in the night, either the dogs freak out, or they don't. After a while, you learn interpret their barking and growling, from batshit panic when a bear is outside, to yapping when a raccoon gets in the trash.
One December evening my wife and I were watching Planet Earth. My shepherds love to watch the television and see all the cool animals. We had watched several episodes and they never made a peep when they saw sharks, elephants, komodos, hyenas, blah, blah. Then came the mountain episode, and they cut to a night vision scene of a mountain lion stalking in the dark. The dogs all lost it. Nearly knocked over the TV trying to attack it. It was unnerving to say the least. We get lions around here, but to see how keen the dogs were on just a clip of one really demonstrated not only the fact that they were intimately familiar with the threat, but that they instinctively knew what one looked like prowling in the night. It was an inherent threat and they were scared to death of it. We had watched hundreds of hours of shows with them and never once got that reaction before.
Here's the shit-your-pants scary part of the story. I really don't even like writing it, because the whole thing still freaks us out to this day.
We are again all inside on a cold winter night. My wife and I plop down to watch some TV, and the dogs gather around intently. I decide to throw on a stupid alien documentary my friend recommended. The dogs watch closely, but seem normal. Then the documentary shows some supposed pics of greylings lurking in the night. THE DOGS FUCKING LOSE IT. Worse than the mountain lions. Holy shit, we have to turn the TV off to stop the dogs from destroying the house and even then they are all super freaked out, tucked tails, whimpering, the works. Again, we watch TV with them all the fucking time and nothing has ever got them riled up, let alone in a full panic, except for these two instances...
After we calm the dogs down, my wife and I sit in silence for a long while as the horror slowly wash over us. That 'what if' when you hear the dogs freaking out in the middle of the night apparently could be aliens. Not. Fucking. Cool."
14. This chilling moment that three siblings all experienced at the same time:
"It was about midnight and I was chillin' in my room, watching some show with the volume on low as one does when it's nighttime and the house is quiet. I'm minding my own business when I get this sudden chill up my spine and my stomach drops. Before I can even be like 'huh, that's weird,' I hear this piercingly loud sound of a woman screaming with her mouth closed...only the sound is both directly in my ear and also coming from the living room directly outside my bedroom door. It lasts for maybe two seconds before the house becomes silent again.
At this point, my heart is beating out of my chest and I'm sweaty and, despite my hand now being on the doorknob, I'm wrestling between the ideas of 'this is how people die, you dumb bitch' and 'I have to make sure it wasn't my mom or sister.'
So family wins out and I begrudgingly open my door to the dark. A few seconds later, both my brother and sister come out of their rooms having the same wide-eyed look. After seeing that our parents are fast asleep, all doors and windows are locked, the street is empty, and everything is unchanged, we confirm we all heard the exact same thing: a disembodied scream coming from the center of the living room and directly next to us, despite us being on opposite ends of the house at the time.
Still no explanation for it and it's not the only weird thing to happen in this house."
15. This story of a baby who recognized "the man":
"My mom used to tell me that when I was a little young'un still in the crib, I'd point at the popcorn ceiling in my room and just say, 'The man, the man,' as if there was something there. One day my mom took me to my cousin's house a state away, where they had family photos along the wall. She was carrying me and pointing out different family members, and I pointed at one and said, 'The man, the man!' the man being my great-grandfather whom I share a name with and died before I was born. My mom said this would have been the first time I'd seen my great-grandfather in a photo."
16. And finally, this ghost story with a happy ending:
"My grandma had a neighbor/friend who unfortunately lost her husband when she was young, about 40 or so years ago. This woman was so upset, because for a couple years after his death, she couldn't dream of her husband. For some reason it really bothered her that she couldn't experience a dream with him in it. It's almost like she wanted it for the comfort.
Some time passes, and this woman is preparing to sell her house and move closer to her kids (they lived a state over). Suddenly, she gets her wish. She starts dreaming, and her husband is in them. In every one her husband wakes her up, sits down on the bed, and starts speaking to her. However, his speech horrifies her. It was described to me as 'backwards' or 'garbled.' I imagine it to be something similar to the way Twin Peaks characters speak in the Black Lodge. So yeah, pretty goddamn creepy. She can't make a single word out.
A few days before she's about to move out for good, she goes to bed and dreams of him again. The dream is the same, except she understands ONE word he says. He grabs her in the dream and repeatedly says 'rafters' — almost seeming panicked. She wakes up rattled, but returns to sleep.
The next day, as she's finishing up packing in the basement, she looks up and sees the rafters. She remembers the dream, and is compelled to reach into them. She does, and pulls out thousands of dollars worth of WW2 bonds her husband had purchased without her knowledge. She swears he never told her about them. So he appeared in her dream to tell her so she wouldn't leave all those bonds behind when she sold the house.
Story still gives me chills today."
Some submissions have been edited for length or clarity.