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12 Real-Life Ghost Stories That Will Scare You Tonight

These stories are not for the faint of heart. #WhatAreYouAfraidOf?

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"I used to live in a really old duplex in Louisiana that had been turned into a house. One particular night, I was freezing and having the hardest time falling asleep. I kept rolling incessantly, so I decided to sleep in my sister's room.

"I lay down next to her and, as my mind was finally starting to relax, I VERY CLEARLY felt 'something' touch my ankle, then another 'thing,' then another thing. Whatever was 'touching' me felt like fingers...and then the worst happened: What felt like a hand completely gripping my ankle pulled it really friggin' hard. I IMMEDIATELY jumped and started bawling frantically, shaking my sister and telling her to wake up. I told her what had just happened. She said, 'Oh, this happened to me last week, and I thought it was you, so I screamed for you to get out of my room.' She said she got up and turned the lights on, and since I wasn't there, she just prayed and went back to sleep.

"Fun fact: Two weeks prior, my sister had visited the home of a recently deceased couple and stolen a few of their pictures to bring home with her. I never slept in that room again."

—Leslie R.

"When I was younger, I was spending the night at my cousin's house, and we had been telling spooky, made-up stories to each other all night. They insisted that their house was built on some kind of burial ground or that soldiers had been killed there — anything to get a scare. But then, right before bed, one of the window roller shade coverings flew up without anyone touching or going near it. Even my cousins were freaked out. Needless to say, none of us got much sleep that night..."

—Dan T.

"My family was new to a developing neighbourhood just outside of Richmond, VA that was built on what appeared to be the site of a small Civil War battle. Construction crews used cranes to remove remains from people's yards before building foundations. They never removed any from our yard.

"Throughout the years, a sinkhole began forming in our front yard that was in the distinct shape of a body. During this time, both my mother and brother would wake up during the night having heard someone saying their names in their ears.

"One night, I was alone in the kitchen when I saw what I thought was my brother sneak around the hall. I was convinced he was hiding there waiting to scare me. I said, 'Cory, stop it! I hate when you do this.' He didn't appear, so I went to confront him. Lo and behold, he wasn't there at all. I sprinted upstairs and jumped into bed with my parents, where I proceeded to cry hysterically."

—Colleen S.

"One year, my family was staying at my aunt's house in Cape Cod. My sister and I were on the ground floor, and we needed to go down to the basement to get beach chairs. There were two bedrooms and another closet just beyond the basement door. We were running toward the door when the shadow of a grown man ran from one bedroom to the other. My mom screamed at us to stop and placed herself between us and whatever the hell just ran by. She cautiously moved into the room the man just ran into — warning him to come out the entire time. But, not only was there no one in the room, but also all of the windows were closed.

"We talked to the neighbours, and they told us the man who'd owned the place before my aunt had had rambunctious kids when he first moved in, but was living by himself by the time he died in the bedroom where we couldn't find anyone."

—Chris D.

"A friend of mine was watching her nephew at her parents' house. She put him down for a nap and headed back down to the kitchen. A few minutes later, she heard him talking to someone upstairs. She went up and opened the door to find him sitting on the edge of the bed talking to an open closet door. She asked him what he was doing, and he just smiled and said, 'I'm talking to the big Indian Chief in your closet. Say hi.' She said she felt a cold chill and was so scared she refused to walk in the room and get him. She made him walk out in the hallway to her to go back downstairs.

"Kids be cray."

—Julie R.

"When I was 12 years old, my parents left me babysitting my 10-year-old sister while they went out for the night. We went to bed a little later than usual, and a few minutes after lying down, I heard my parents come home. They opened the front door, walked through the kitchen and down the hallway, and then stopped at the door to my bedroom. I decided to play possum and kept my eyes closed.

"A minute passed.

"I opened my eyes. The door to my room was open, but no one was there. I grabbed a bat that I'd stashed beside my bed and threw the lights on. I searched every possible space, but found no one. Frustrated in my search, I went to check on my sister. I opened her door slowly, which cast a stripe of light into her room until it rested onto her face. My little sister was awake and looking at me. Before I could say anything, she spoke:

"'James?' she asked. 'Did you hear those footsteps?'"

—James L.

"I was house-sitting for my aunt once. Her house is huge and creepy, so I tried only to be there during the day and drive to my place to sleep at night. One night, I decided to be brave and actually stay over. I locked myself in my cousin's room with my aunt's cat and fell asleep with the lights and the TV on.

"Relieved nothing creepy had happened, I finally woke up around 8am and went to get ready in her bathroom — a particular spot that had always given me crazy chills. I started putting on makeup, the cat chillin' inside a sink, when I heard footsteps (LOUD footsteps) approaching the bathroom. I wasn't scared yet and just thought it was a neighbour or something so I said, 'Hello?' I stepped out of the bathroom and realized the house alarm was still on, which meant NO ONE could have come in without it going off.

"It wasn't the neighbour who had come in — it was a ghost."

—Leslie R.

"On my last night of sleepaway camp, I planned on sneaking out with my friend. This wasn't fancy camp — there wasn't any electricity in the cabin, so we always had to use flashlights at night. I wrangled my friend Claire to come with me, but my other friend Hallie was a lame-o and said no way. Claire and I looked at the corner of the cabin and saw who we thought was Hallie, so I was like 'HEY!! Let's party!!!' Claire then started talking to the corner of the cabin as well, being like, 'Yeah! Get your shoes on, dummy!' Hallie then woke up from sleeping in her bed, nowhere near the corner of the cabin. In the corner, there was what looked like a girl in a big white T-shirt just standing there.

"Days later, I found out that someone put a grave rubbing from a young girl's tombstone from a nearby cemetery underneath our cabin."

—Anne Louise S.

"I was downstairs one night, looking for scissors in a kitchen drawer. Against my better judgment, I had only turned on one light, so it was mostly dark, and I had this dreadful feeling that someone was outside. As I searched through the drawer as quickly as I could, I heard the backdoor handle jiggle violently, as if someone were trying to get in. I bolted faster than I've ever moved in my life into the closet under the stairs.

"Unfortunately, the door to the closet opened up to face the backdoor, which was made entirely out of glass and wasn't covered (i.e. the potential ghost/murderer/demon could see me). I stayed in the closet for an hour, convinced that the moment I emerged was when who or whatever would burst in to kill me."

—Jessica C.

"I grew up in a house that was built in the 1930s in Raleigh, North Carolina. My mother would always keep a black-and-white television and a radio in the kitchen, which she would listen to while she made dinner. One night, when I was in 7th grade, I went downstairs to get a glass of milk. When I passed by the radio, it turned itself on and played what sounded like music-box music. I went to turn it off, and the radio turned itself off. At this point, I decided to skip the milk and bury myself in my bed.

"About a year later, I was taking a course in middle school called Tar Heel Ghosts and Folklore (yes, that exists). The teacher told us a story about a house in the Fairmont neighbourhood (my neighbourhood). In the 1940s, two twin boys had a birthday. Their parents left them in the care of the next-door neighbour while they went to get the cake, which was a bad idea, because the neighbour murdered them. Grief stricken, the couple sold the house. Future owners of the house would report that the radio would turn itself on and play 'Happy Birthday.'"

—Patrick B.

"I was watching a show about a murder on the sofa with my mom one night. I was already getting spooked and have always been convinced that some kind of terrible murder was going to happen in my neighbourhood. As we were sitting there, someone banged LOUDLY on our front door. My mom got up to answer it as I begged her not to. She opened the door, and no one was there. I was inconsolably scared, so my dad went out and also checked. I was SURE that someone had set up this trap so we'd come out and get killed. We never figured out who knocked that night, but I slept in my parents' bed for a week."

—Rachel B.

"One evening, when I was about 12, my parents went out, and I was left alone in the house with my two sisters. As the night went on, my small terrier started to get increasingly agitated. He began to pace, and I started to hear strange sounds outside.

"I casually flicked on the floodlights outside to see what was going on. Located millimetres from the window stood a man dressed completely in black with a bone-white mask. The man looked me straight in the eyes, and to my horror, burst into a peal of laughter. I sprinted to our living room. My sisters looked up at me, confused. In a ridiculous mimicry of some movie line, I coarsely stated, 'We're under attack,' before then screaming, 'There is a really creepy man, right outside Mom and Dad's room!'

"My younger sister grabbed our dog, as my older sister armed herself with two large knives. While I called the police and our neighbours, my older sister locked my younger one in a windowless closet with a bizarre deadbolt. (I now fondly refer to this as 'the panic room.') My neighbours soon pulled up in their minivan, and we ran into their car and were whisked away to the safety of their house."

—Dan C.

You better pull the covers over your head — Poltergeist is out in theatres May 22. #WhatAreYouAfraidOf?

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