We'd prefer that creepy, supernatural incidents remain confined to movies, television, and novels.
They do not.
People everywhere have a story: a thing moved, an inexplicable presence was felt, other witnesses confirmed it.
A brush with the paranormal sticks with a person.
They might simply shiver at the thought, pushing the memory away reflexively.
Or perhaps they turn over the possibilities for years. They consider pragmatic explanations as well as ghostly dynamics. But they don't ever get to the bottom of it either way.
A recent Reddit thread made a safe space for these real-life spooky stories. They might make you check behind the shower curtain tonight
Distasteful_T asked, "What are some Cryptid/Ghost/Unexplained stories you'd be willing to share?"
A Call From Beyond
"When I was 7 years old, my grandma was in the hospital dying. At the time my family was strapped for cash and my mom was pregnant, so only my dad went to California (where she lived) to see her before she died."
"The day that she died, we got a phone call from her with her wanting to talk to each of us saying how much she loved us. A few hours later, we got a call from family members saying that she had passed away."
"When we told them that we had just received a call from her a few hours prior, everybody was in disbelief, saying that she had been laying unconscious in the hospital bed all day and she could have never called yet alone been able to articulate her thoughts to us."
"To this day we have no idea how she called us and I don't think we ever will."
"Do UFO stories count?"
"Fayette County, TN. I can't remember exactly when, but it was after Cobain died and before I changed schools, so either spring of 94 or during the 94-95 school year."
"A yellow-orange, football shaped UFO was over a field across the road from my house. I watched it from my bedroom window while on the phone with a buddy. He used his mom's line (pre cell phone days lol) to call the local little airport, but they said there were no helicopters or anything weird on radar."
"After a while, it headed east towards Somerville and I couldn't see it anymore."
"The next day at school, a bunch of other kids had either seen it or their uncle did, or whoever."
"Seriously, I would love it if anyone from that area remembers this."
An Underwhelming Finale
"One day, when my dad was at home alone, he was going to eat one more thing before showering. He got some ulam (food in Filipino, because my dad is Filipino) and began eating. Then, there was a blackout."
"So he got a candle and continued eating. He saw something white to his right. He looked to his right and saw nothing. He continued eating, but it was still there. He got a bit nervous and began eating faster. It was still there. He ate even faster. When my dad finished, he quickly put the bowl in the sink, and looked in the mirror."
"He then noticed there was a piece of rice stuck next to his eye."
An Ex Using the Password, or GHOSTS
"Couple years ago our TV started behaving really weirdly. It started with just pausing, fast forwarding and rewinding what we were watching, flicking through channels or changing the volume by itself."
"Then it gradually stepped up to putting horror movies on and entering the pin normally required for films rated above PG by itself. We changed the pin and then we would see the pin being typed incorrectly three times."
"Then it started flashing random pictures on the screen; one it did a lot was cats eyes, don't remember the rest. Have no idea how it got access to the pictures either, I doubt these random pictures would be stored anywhere in the TV."
"We called out the TV company multiple times and they thought we were crazy, until they came out and saw it for themselves. No one could figure out what it was, they kept recording what it was doing and sending it around and nobody knew what was causing it or how to fix it."
"In the end we had to get a new box. Not had anything like that happen since and still have no clue what caused it but it was terrifying at the time."
"My freshman year of college I stayed on the top floor of my residence hall. Everything was normal until about mid November when my roommate and I would hear what sounded like someone messing with our door knob and lock, but when we looked out the peep hole no one was there. It was weird but we brushed it off."
"But one night while I was in my dorm room alone (of course) I was studying for finals when the lights flickered, I heard a loud bang down the hall and my roommates tv turned on by itself."
"Turns out a girl who lived in the dorm many years ago jumped from the top floor and the legend goes that every year around the anniversary of her suicide she goes around and messes with the residents. Sounds silly but the sh!t was crazy."
"It was a rainy winter morning. My father and I were pulling out of the driveway headed to school. We both saw a glimpse of a girl in a white dress, barefoot, blonde, maybe five years old run around the corner of our home and out of sight."
"We both looked at each other and acknowledged that we witnessed the same thing. He got out of the car and ran around the house to look for her. When he came back he said he couldn't find anyone but called my mom to let her know that a little kid might be running around the yard."
"We thought it was weird but not much was said of it. And there weren't any missing kids in the area."
"A few months later we were remodeling our basement and found a photo album hidden behind the drywall.. it was full of photos of a little girl with blonde hair in a white dress. The photo album was from 1922. The family that originally lived in the house died of tb..."
Retaining the Energy
"About a decade ago, I was visiting a graveyard to pay my respects (this was back in my family's home country). I was feeling absolutely fine throughout the day, but come time to leave the graveyard, I suddenly felt like I couldn't walk by myself."
"My shoulders were extremely heavy, my body was drained, and my legs felt like they were being anchored down by weights - more specifically, hands. It was as if I had multiple hands grabbing me by the ankles, so I couldn't keep walking."
"I actually felt quite panicked, so I told the family member I was with that I'm literally feeling like my 'life forces' (for lack of better translation) are being sucked out of me, to which they nonchalantly replied, 'well, THEY probably want your young, lively spirit.' "
"In the end, I had to be carried out of the premises."
"Once when I was in college and I was home for holidays, I was in the kitchen getting food prepared. I was home alone at that point and my brother was due home at any moment. I heard the front door open and close."
"I called out hello to my brother and heard nothing back. Then I saw a shadow pass by the kitchen into the hallway and I assumed my brother was being rude so I followed and kept calling hello. I saw the shadow again turning another corner toward my brother's bedroom."
"I saw my brother's door closing. At this point I was calling out about what a jerk he was because we hadn't seen each other in months. I pushed the bedroom door open and uttered some insults (haha) and the room, as well as the whole house was empty."
"That was super chilling. I REALLY had seen someone moving through the house!"
A Benevolent Figure
"My dad, his two brothers, and his parents (his father was the grandpa who walked by the haunted house), had their share of poverty at certain points in my dad's childhood."
"To the point where my grandpa ate shortening and cucumber sandwiches to save money. To the point where the family went fishing in the nearby lake so they could have dinner."
"Which takes us into our next story. They were fishing for a good while with no bites. Suddenly, this random man appeared with a tiny fishing box, set up right next to them, and started to fish. My grandpa would always emphasize how small the fishing box was because he'd say the man took out a bucket, bait, tackle, etc. from it, like he was Mary Poppins."
"He very quickly pulled in a lot of fish. Then, according to my grandpa, he pulled out a big knife and a board, cut and cleaned the fish, pulled out a big box, put the cleaned fish inside, gave the box to my grandpa, and just... left. They never saw him again."
"My grandparents and my dad think it was Jesus. I don't know what my uncles think, I've never talked to them about it. Not sure of the veracity of these stories, but at least with the second one there were three people who very earnestly told me the same story."
"Its quite short.
"I chose a stall next to a stall that was used by someone with brown leather shoes. I had no toilet paper so after some time i asked the guy next to me if he can send me a few. He moved his foot and handed it. His hand looked weirdly pale blue and was cold to the touch."
"I took the tissues and finished up and left the stall quickly. I was shocked to see that the stall next to me was empty. All that was there was a pair of brown leather shoes."
"I swear i have no explanation. I still think it was just a prank or something but i just don't know how."
Platform 9 3/4??
"One day I was with my brother and we both walked out our house and started walking down the street at about 11-12 pm. All of a sudden about 5 metres away from us, a woman in a white dress just straight up walked into the wall and disappeared."
"I had no clue to where she came from, and I didn't recognize who she was. I couldn't see her face as we saw her from her side profile but she had dark, long black hair. I was frozen still for about 2-3 seconds and then turned to my brother to ask him he just saw that."
"I looked over at him and he was also frozen and replied with a 'yeah.' We both just walked immediately back into our house and decided not to go out that night. Apparently, a few other people on my street have seen something similar but for me it was only that one time."
"When I was young, (mid eighties) I had a boombox and used to record radio shows on fm stations onto cassette tapes. I would hit record and let it run for 60 minutes and play with my toys or whatever."
"One time, while listening back to a show, there was a 20 second interruption in the recording. It sounded demonic. It was a low gutteral growl and it scared the sh** out of me."
"I played it for my mom and she made me throw the tape away. Never really thought about it for years until I watched the Michael Keaton movie about ghosts and analog tapes."
"I don't really know about ghosts and all that, but the house we lived in definitely had a negative energy. I would sleepwalk and have terrible nightmares there. Crazy stuff."
Using All That Ghost Power Just to be Annoying
"When I was younger, I lived in this house in upstate New York and if you got up in the middle of the night to use the toilet, as you went to sit down on it, the toilet seat would flip up and you'd fall into the water." -- PatrickReedSandWedge
"Gen z ghosts be like" -- smol_catto_
A Touching Ghost
"Once I went with my aunt to visit her husband's grave, he'd been a really nice dude, loved horror movies and playing pranks, this visit was a few years after he died. We're standing there and all of sudden I feel knocking under my feet. Like the ground is a door someone's knocking on it. I try to act cool even though this continues the whole time."
"Later that night me and my aunt were having drinks and she just knew, all of a sudden she said 'what happened at the cemetery, you looked weird?' So I told her and we had a good laugh about it because it was absolutely something he'd do."
Blue, Orange, and Not Quite Human
"A couple of years ago my wife and I chartered a boat out of key west to do some snorkeling and sandbar... sandbarring? Whatever."
"So we were 6 miles west of key west in about 3 feet of water shelling and picking up sand dollars. It's just me and my wife in the water and the boat captain for miles as far as we can see. Maybe 50 yards off to one side of us I notice a hard shadow moving slowly through the water."
"I watch it for maybe 30-45 seconds and it stops moving."
"I keep looking and a 'head' pops up and is looking at me. It's far enough away that I can't make out details but it's a blue and orange 'humanoid' head. We stare at each other for what feels like a minute but is probably 5-10 seconds. The head drops back under water and the shadow takes off underwater at unimaginable speed."
"Neither my wife or the captain saw it. Or if they did they didn't mention it. I didn't say anything to them about it. I never felt threatened. My distinct memory when 'face to face' with whatever it was is actually thinking 'nobody is ever going to believe this.' "
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/