Many people in the United States believe in the paranormal.
According to an October 2019 YouGov poll that was appropriately timed for the spookiest month of the year, many Americans–more than four in 10–believe that ghosts and demons exist.
Interestingly enough, the same poll found that not as many Americans believe in the existence of vampires, so it's kind of funny that Americans are so selective about their otherwordly beings!
While many scoff at the paranormal and have worked to convince people to turn away from a belief not shrouded in evidence, there are cases of former skeptics who've done an about-face, as we were reminded once Redditor barbexaclone asked the online community,
"People who used to not believe in the paranormal but do now — What experience changed your mind?"
"Until one day..."
"I always wanted to believe but never had any experience of my own to allow me to. Until one day I was home alone and as plain as day heard someone stomp up my basement steps to the floor I was on. I was sitting maybe 12 feet away from the steps and I was frozen as soon as I heard them."
"I was watching closely and the sound got all the way to the top of the steps, but no one was there. My cat was sleeping on the couch adjacent to me, he woke up suddenly and stared right at the stairs too. He heard it too. So that's how I know I wasn’t crazy. It wild to experience."
But was it really the paranormal?
"I was working at a pharmacy..."
"I was working at a pharmacy that was in an old building downtown. We kept our records upstairs. The second floor was used for several different things over the 100+ years it has been around, but it had not been renovated in decades."
"Anyway, I went upstairs to file some paperwork and while I was squatting in the hallway, putting the papers away (we had shelves built in the hallway to store banker boxes) I heard two loud, and I mean LOUD stomps only feet away from me. There was nobody else up there."
Old places make all sorts of noises, though, no?
"I know without a doubt..."
"I wouldn’t say I didn’t believe but I wasn’t a full believer, I was middle ground."
"Then a few years ago I moved into my now house, I’m in my mid 40s so I’ve essentially gone my entire life with zero paranormal experiences."
"It started out as a weird, huh I think ghosts live here? But I never felt they were harmful they were just there. I couldn’t even give a specific example but I just knew I wasn’t alone."
"Then my dog started acting weird. At night he’d start looking at the ceiling like there was something there, happened a few times a week. Then I’d be in bed and I’d feel something walk across the bed. Thinking it was the dog but nothing was there."
"This happened all the time. Doors would close strangely, lights would flicker but the constant was the foot steps across the bed."
"For the first year or so I never said anything to my husband, I for sure thought he’d think I was crazy. Then one night he bolts up in bed and was like “DID YOU FEEL THAT” it was the footsteps. We both realized we’d been experiencing the same thing and both thought we were crazy."
"The clincher for me though was when my dog woke me one night to go for a pee. I let him out and was watching him through the peephole in the door. I very clearly saw a man and a woman dressed in Victorian era clothing standing together looking at something in my hedges."
"It was like 2 a.m. I took a step back and was like whoa I was obviously half asleep and I did just see that. Then went back to look again and sure enough they were still there. I’ve never seen them again since but I know for sure they were there."
"I know without a doubt there is some sort of spirit in this house but I also feel like it’s friendly so not worried about it. Now when something weird happens my husband and I are like oh the ghosts are active tonight!"
If you were half asleep, did you not think you could have imagined it? I think I would have had the opposite reaction?
"Until the day..."
"Old building, renovated into something new. Had a few previous staff mention they've seen a woman in white at the top of the stairs or walking through the kitchen, I'm like yeee, whatever."
"Until the day everyone was in bed, one staff upstairs, one at the table with me, and I turned around and very briefly saw a face in the dark conservatory. My heart could have leapt out of my chest. I made someone check with me JUST in case it was an intruder."
"Nothing. Doors locked, no one's there. 100% first thought was not omg ghost, it was omg intruder we have meds and vulnerable people. So when I say we checked, we CHECKED."
Okay, that's pretty unsettling. I'll totally give you that, especially if several people were there and they were all checking.
"Nothing else has really happened since..."
"I was also walking out of the kitchen another time and I felt someone tap my shoulder. When I turned, there's literally no one behind me, or even in the room."
"Nothing else has really happened since, though some pm/night staff did report a few strange sightings but not for a while. I'm not like... Early day Ryan Bergara carrying holy water in a water pistol and screaming at a torch believer (not a dig, I'm a huge fan of the ghoul boys), but it has made me believe it's possible."
"Because I cannot explain these events."
I can see why this would change your mind about the existence of the paranormal.
I think we're in different camps, however.
"One day I was lying in bed..."
"One day I was lying in bed and the whole bed starts jumping and shaking like the Exorcist scene. I think I was half awake? Very confusing experience."
A nightmare, no? You'd be surprised what you'll experience the second you fall asleep!
"I would often find..."
"I have had various things happen to cause me to question how straight forward what we know of our world is, but I lived in what felt like a haunted house. It's a bit a long, sorry."
"I lived for a while in a very old house. It was the oldest house in the area, and had started off as a small cottage, with various extensions and developments throughout it's history, but even the newest sections were still at least 100 years old."
"It is a detached house. For some of the time I lived there alone, and had up to three other friends living there at other times."
"One time I was sat in the living room, at this point no one else lived with me, and I heard my bike fall over in room next door. I kept it inside, leaning on a wall near the back door. Initially I thought nothing of it, thinking that the handlebars had turned and it slid over."
"When I came to find my bike it was a couple of meters from the wall and on it's side as if it had been flung away from the wall. Months later I spoke the the owner of the house about it and he had had the same thing happen to him with a motorcycle wheel from the same wall."
"I would often find lights and taps left on that I was sure I had switched off, they never turned themselves on when I could see them though, so I could never be sure it wasn't me."
"I would often hear noises in the house even when I was the only one there."
"I slept in a room at the top of the house (three stories) and I would get home from work before my housemates. Often I would be up in my room and clearly hear one of them come home and run up the stairs. I would shout downstairs to say hello, and get no reply. Then explore only to discover the doors still all locked and no one but me in the house."
"My friend woke up feeling himself pinned into his bed at night, he said it felt as if a person was holding him down by his arms. He has not experienced "night terrors" before or after living in this house."
"We looked after a rottweiler dog for a while there, it was a fearless and to be honest dangerous dog, or at least fearless until it lived there. Sometimes she would cower in a corner or press up against us for comfort whilst staring at something we couldn't see. Sometimes her stare would be following this invisible thing moving through the room."
"There were all sorts of odd happenings in this house, a lot of them easily written off as nothing due to the fact there were four of us living there, but I am convinced that house is haunted, as is the landlord (I only spoke to him about this after having moved out, it's not like he planted the idea.)"
"Oddly though it wasn't actually that scary. The noises of non existent people didn't bother me, but the bike and the dog was pretty freaky."
The noises of nonexisting people didn't scare you?
Horror movie characters always say that.
So what do you think?
Does the paranormal actually exist or could all of this be explained away pretty easily?
It's pretty interesting to see how harshly divided people are on this matter.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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Life can be freaky and we all see and experience things from time to time that we have no rational explanation for.
Today's burning question from Redditor Angellic_Reaper: "Skeptics of Reddit, what's something you have seen that you cannot explain?"
Buckle up, kids. Things are about to get weird.