So redditor u/anonymouscarbonunit asked US military members, "What's the creepiest/most paranormal thing you have encountered during your service?" Our armed personnel and veterans provided some chilling insights.
1. "A friend of mine went to Afghanistan and got stationed in an area that was used as a base by the Soviets. He swears that sometimes when he was on sentry duty, he could hear whispers that didn't sound like English or the local languages. He's convinced he heard Russian."
2. "One time at an Air Force base in the Republic of Korea, we had a power outage at night. All of us walked out of our hangar doors to see what the problem may have been, and we saw a very, very large, triangular shape passing over our hangar."
"It was a clear, moonless night previously, and when we went outside to look around, we noticed the starscape being covered, then slowly uncovered. No sound associated with the event, other than normal sounds of the location. I'll never forget."
3. "This is my dad's story. After he was done in Vietnam, he was soon stationed at an Air Force base in Greenland. They often had bad blizzards there, and when they came through, the base shut down and every section of the barracks would take role call."
4. "US Navy photographer here. In the deepest parts of the ocean, you will often steam past small boats that are empty or seemingly empty."
"Sometimes they look like they got loose and no one looked for them. Sometimes they look disgusting, like someone lived in them until they couldn't. Sometimes it's obvious someone is still in them but they haven't moved for weeks."
5. "I’m not in the military, but I did read Hal Moore’s book We Were Soldiers Once...and Young, and there were multiple instances of North Vietnamese soldiers just walking straight up to US forces in the middle of combat."
6. "We wrote it off as some of the instructors messing with us, but while training at JWTC (Jungle Warfare Training Center), there was a blood-curdling scream in the middle of the night."
"Definitely sounded like a woman. The lieutenant in charge made us do a quick accountability check, then he started radioing the training center to see what the hell happened. The instructors went out from their compound and did some checks but didn’t find anything. They said it’s not the first time they had units out there calling in to report the same thing."
7. "Is a dude vanishing spooky enough?"
8. "Stayed in barracks the Germans used to house Polish prisoners of war. I'd regularly put things in places, only to find them in the middle of the floor after leaving the room."
9. "One of my drill sergeants actually has a creepy story from one of his Afghanistan deployments."
"He was infantry, so being in the field and out on missions for multiple weeks wasn’t uncommon. One night while sleeping in a fighting position he dug, he felt something nibbling at his feet. He woke up and kicked it off, and what he saw wasn’t any type of marsupial but a little humanoid figure he could only describe as looking just like Gollum. But being in the field with little sleep, he chalked it up to just seeing things. A couple of days later, he and another guy were on watch, and the other guy pointed out something and said, 'What the fuck is that?' and pointed at a stone wall in the distance. My drill sergeant looked through this binoculars, and crawling across the top of this stone wall was the exact little humanoid creature he encountered a few nights before."
10. "I was a military police officer, stationed in Germany."
"We would get calls every now and then of a woman and/or child screaming in the vicinity of the high school on post. When we would get there, nothing would be happening, and none of our German gate guards heard a thing.
"Occasionally we'd have to go search the high school to make sure nobody was in it after hours. Doorknobs were known to be spinning all the way around with nobody turning them. We'd also get calls about hearing screaming from a Polish POW cemetery on post, which was off a dirt road from an almost never-used area of the training area. We'd get there, and it'd always be foggy as shit, with nobody there."
11. "US Air Force here. Not allowed to say what I do, but my airframe flew in Vietnam and carried dead bodies back, and after Vietnam it was repurposed. All of the older frames from that era are supposedly haunted from dead soldiers."
"I've spent midshift (midnight to 7 a.m.) on these frames, and I've heard people scream out in pain; I've asked for a tool and had someone hand it to me, and then turned around and they were gone; multiple times you'll hear someone's name being called. I don't believe in ghosts, but those frames creep me the fuck out."
12. "When I was deployed, we worked out of this ancient dock from the Vietnam era. I worked graveyard, so there was never any people there at night except mission essential for any missions we were running."
13. "Back in 2012, I was lucky enough to be a private in the Army in Afghanistan. One night, we get this very weird transmission. It came in pretty strong, and we couldn't determine from what direction it was coming in. However, what truly made it odd was what was being said."
14. "I saw a UFO when I was in basic training at Fort Leonard Wood. I was walking from one building to another to start my fire watch shift when I noticed something as bright as a star make a zigzagging pattern at impossible speeds and then disappear over the horizon. I had never been more clearheaded and sober in my life, so I'm sure I saw something."
15. "In Okinawa, there are places on the island that the local national gate guards will not stand a post on during certain times of day because of dead Japanese soldiers during the war. There are also supposedly places where, again, dead Japanese soldiers will walk up and ask for a cigarette. Never saw it personally, but you never know."
16. "As a Marine, I used to have the graveyard patrol shift at the Beirut Memorial at Camp Lejeune. Oddly enough, I never got freaked out being completely alone in a remote cemetery, in the middle of the night, surrounded by dense woods on all sides."
"However, one night I was patrolling near the perimeter fence where some of the oldest headstones are, when I heard the sound of a woman humming. I followed the sound and noticed a light glowing through the vines and brush of a large tree. As I approached, I could literally feel my hair beginning to lift as if there was an electric current in the air.
"I pushed aside the brush, and what I saw nearly took my breath away. It was an old, weathered headstone with a large cross etched into the marble. Only the cross was glowing a bright, vivid blue, like a neon bulb. The humming was also suddenly much louder and had a weird plurality to it, like it was coming from hundreds of voices at once.
"Needless to say, I freaked the fuck out. I screamed like a scared little girl and sprinted back to the parking lot."
17. "I was by myself in the engine room of a submarine on the midwatch. I came down one of the ladders, and I swore I saw someone walk across the ship about 15 feet in front of me. I could hear his footsteps as he walked around a corner and out of sight."
"Three problems: 1) He was wearing utilities: an older, light-blue blouse and dark-navy slacks. Nobody had utilities anymore. They had been phased out three years earlier. 2) There was only one other person awake in the engine room that late at night, and he was standing at the top of the ladder behind me, waiting for me to come back up with an answer to his question. 3) He wasn't actually there.
"Fast-forward to four months later: I met a sailor (on a different submarine) who had previously served on my ship. After a few weeks of us standing watch together, he told me a story of a sailor who had committed suicide while on watch when he served on my ship almost a decade earlier. In engine room lower level. In his utilities."
18. "Used to be F-22 avionics for the US Air Force. At an undisclosed base, a light appeared above the flight line moving in odd ways and hovering. We called it in to our number one, and he called other AMUs [aircraft maintenance units] to ensure there were no sorties being flown that we didn't know about."
"Shortly after, F-22s and F-16s were scrambled and could not intercept the object. It disappeared into the night. We saw this go down from our flight line. Shortly after, we were informed that this never happened."
19. "Navy. I was roving the barracks at night. I had a UI (under instruction), so I was showing him the ropes. Well, on the second or third floor of the barracks, there is a recreation room with a TV and chairs and a piano. Mind you, everyone was asleep and it was 0200 (in the morning)."
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.