15 Real-Life Paranormal Encounters That Will Make You Shriek

Get in the Halloween spirit by reading about 16 people's insane paranormal stories.


Oct. 9 2018, Updated 12:44 p.m. ET

askreddit paranormal
Source: istock/distractify

If you're counting down the days to Halloween, we've got you covered. We've written about controversial kids' outfits, costumes that should have never been made, debunked superstitions and even terrifying text messages from the dead, so we can assure you it's one of our favorite holidays too.

Today, we bring you some real-life scary stories. These redditors shared the creepiest, most inexplicable paranormal things that happened to them, and honestly, we might never sleep again. Or at least we'll leave the lights on.

Scaredy-cats, beware.

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1. "What friend?"

Source: istock
My brother and I were home alone one night watching TV. My mother was working a night shift and father was out.
Father came home and pushed the door ajar and poked his head through to say hello, we both turn around and say hello back, father closed door.
Thirty seconds after, another man opens the door to say hello, we both turn around and say hello back, man closes door.
We assume a friend of my father has come back to the house too.
Anyway about five minutes later I head into the kitchen where my father was, making dinner or whatever and I’m expecting to see his friend again. I see that he’s alone making dinner and assumed his friend was upstairs in the bathroom.
I ask my father who his friend is.
My father looks at me and asks me, “What friend?”
I reply, “The guy who came back with you”
Dad looks at me thinking I’m some sort of weirdo.
He says “I came back home on my own”.
Biggest whaaaaaaaaaaaat?! I’ve ever experienced. My brother was freaked out to the max.
Remembering the man's face, he was pale looking and bright white hair.

- ZPM89.

2. You know, just a casual day after class.

Source: istock
One afternoon in college I came back from classes and decided to sit on the couch and have a snack. After that I just passed out. I had a nightmare of some bloody faced demon-ish thing screaming in my ear at the top of its lungs. Woke up and went about the rest of my day. 
My roommate comes back later that night and goes into his room as I’m sitting in the main living area. At some point he lets out this random startled scream, which leads to me running down the hall too see what’s going on. He looks at me and goes, “I swear to god someone with a bloody face just walked from your bedroom into the bathroom.”
I never told him about my nightmare I had earlier in the day. I didn’t sleep for two days. Nothing ever happened again.

- CrispyConan

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3. Officially never sleeping in a house alone again.

Source: istock
When I was in college I house sat for my parents. I’m a bit of a scaredy cat so I locked every door leading up to the bedroom when I went to bed at night. I had the weirdest dream that someone unlocked each door and turned on every light, I felt cold and woke up to my dog barking. All of the lights in the house were on and every door open and unlocked. My dog wouldn’t stop barking at nothing in the hallway. I sat in the shower with my dog and a phone the rest of night scared to death.

- bajashrimpwithmango.

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4. Classic Grandmother House Smell

Source: istock
My grandmother's house had a very distinct smell. Nothing bad though, just a grandmother's house smell. Anyway, when she came to visit us she always used to sit in a specific chair in the living room. Shortly after she passed away my father, my older sister, and myself came home and when we walked into the living room and we all smelled her. My Dad said "Hello Ethel" and the smell disappeared. I would be skeptical if just one of us experienced this but it was all three of us.

- WorldWideDarts

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5. Simultaneous dreams are nice, simultaneous nightmares... Not so much.

Source: iStock
My boyfriend and I woke up in separate parts of the house in hysterics, naked and covered in sweat. When we both finally calmed down and talked, we realized we had the same dream of being surrounded by a group of black and white people with no mouths.

- beestingers

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6. "Help Me!"

Source: istock
A lady’s voice coming from my closet asking for help. My closet door was cracked and she said, “Help me. I see you through the cracks.” Every synonym for the word scared was coursing through my body. I went and checked to see if there was a woman in need of help but nothing was in there but my clothes and shoes.

- delirium_3

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7. Date with a ghost?

Source: istock
I went on a Tinder date a couple of years ago. Everything started out relatively normal. We met at a nice downtown restaurant for dinner. She was even prettier in person and the conversation was flowing. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize she was a super private person. For example, she would not tell me her last name, where she worked, or say anything about her family. She made it clear that she was protecting herself, and honestly I don’t blame her. I shrugged it off and the date continued.
She took great interest in the fact that I was in seminary studying to be a pastor. That was nice because usually that’s a deal breaker for most women, at least in my experience. Towards the end of our meal, she confessed something to me. “I have something to tell you,” she said, “but please don’t think I’m crazy.” I braced myself for whatever she was about to say.
She explained that she recently moved into a new apartment. She lived alone, which was also a new thing. Though she couldn’t put her finger on it, she was convinced there was a presence of a sinister and paranormal nature in her apartment. She had hardly slept since she moved in because she was plagued with constant nightmares and strange occurrences. I could see the fear and exhaustion in her eyes. She seemed quite sincere.
“I can tell you’re a good guy,” she said. She elaborated that I seemed trustworthy and had a calming presence. “I know how this sounds, but would you PLEASE come home with me tonight? Honestly, I’m just scared to go back there alone. I am NOT looking for sex.” I was really taken aback by this. It’s not every day I get asked to spend the night with a beautiful woman whom I just met. I figured she was either telling the truth or she picked a really odd way to initiate sex. Either way, the night would be interesting.
We talked for a bit longer and I agreed to spend the night with her. I followed her home, and when I walked into her apartment I was immediately struck with bad vibes. There was just something ominous about that place. I didn’t want to freak her out, so I kept these feelings to myself. I said a quick prayer, and followed her to the bedroom.
She wasn’t kidding about the sex. I tried my luck, but was met with swift rejection. We kissed and cuddled for a bit, nothing too crazy, and then she fell asleep. I just laid there for a while in the silent darkness, lost in thought. Some time later, I 100 percent heard someone walking down the hallway outside the bedroom. The door was closed, however, so I couldn’t see anything. I was definitely frightened, but my curiosity got the better of me so I went to investigate.
Slowly I opened the door. I looked to my left, then to my right. Nothing. I walked downstairs to check out out the rest of the apartment. Nothing. I went back upstairs to check the bathroom and the guest bedroom. Nothing. When I walked out of the guest room, which was right across from my date’s bedroom, I looked to my left and right again. At the end of the hallway, I saw a black, humanoid body standing there perfectly still. It was almost like a shadow, but I could discern that it was a three dimensional figure. This figure was large in stature; there’s no way it could’ve been my date. She was maybe 5’1 at best.
I hauled back into my date’s room. To my horror, she wasn’t in bed where I left her. I called out her name, but there was no response. I had just walked through the entire apartment, so it literally made no sense to me that she wasn’t there. The bed was low to the ground, so she couldn’t be under it. The closet was opened too, and it was packed with boxes so I knew she wasn’t there either. The window was shut tight, plus it was the second story. It was as if she vanished. I grabbed my wallet, keys, and cell phone and ran out of the apartment in nothing but my underwear. The shadowy figure was gone. I jumped in my car and sped away.
I never heard from her again. Her Tinder profile was deleted the next day, and she never responded to any of my texts. Till this day, I have no idea WTF happened that night. I also never went back to her apartment, mostly because I’m horrible with directions and she lived in the next town over. This was easily one of the most terrifying, inexplicable things I’ve ever experienced.

- wid89

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8. Grandpa never said you could sit in his chair.

Source: istock
My grandfather passed away when I was 8 and my little brother was 2 or 3ish. He had this big lazyboy chair in the living room that he always planted himself in. Everyone knew this chair was "grandpa's chair."
Anyway, we went down to my grandparent's house in Florida for a long weekend to attend the funeral, etc. We're all chatting the first night there in the living room, and my mom was sitting in the lazyboy chair.
My little brother goes up to my mom and says "Grandpa wants his chair back." My mom asks him where grandpa is, thinking he probably didn't understand death, to which he responds, "He's right behind you."
My mom BOLTED off that sofa immediately.

- dasuberblonde

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9. We always knew hotels were creepy, but this...

Source: iStock
The very first hotel that I worked at, I started at the front desk and worked 3pm-11pm shift. There was someone there with me from 2pm-10pm, so I always had a little more than an hour where I was alone at the desk. Our kitchen closed at 10pm so usually by 10:15pm, it was only the bartender and I still there. One night, it was almost 11pm and there was a huge noise that came from the kitchen area. The bartender and I ran back there and saw that every single pot, pan, ladle, spoon (everything else that was hanging from the ceiling racks), were on the ground. After our shift, we watched the camera back and there was NO ONE in the kitchen when it happened. I have no explanation for it other than it was one of the scariest things that has ever happened to me and I could not get out of there fast enough.

- Alejsays

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10. "My cello's D string was plucked 3 times"

Source: istock
I was sleeping in my basement (pretty much my bedroom) and I woke up at some random time in the night for no reason. Rolled over and saw a black figure, probably around 5’ 10” and typical male physique, standing at the side of my bed. It was standing between the bed and the stairs so there was no way to nope out, I just rolled over and straight up started praying. I rolled back over and it was gone. The next morning I was in the shower (also in the basement) and the curtain was pushed to the side, not like all the way but it noticeably moved. Then when I got out of the shower my cello’s D string was plucked three times then rung out (which was laying against my chair in the basement). Then I went upstairs and my brother had a hand print that reached across his neck and cheek, it was too big to be his hand but he was perfectly fine and he slept through the night uninterrupted.

- TheMoose2240

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11. What were they drinking?

Source: istock
I dropped my mug onto the floor accidentally.
Heard no noise when it hit the floor, go to pick it up and it's gone.
I honestly went to bed and pondered what happened and slept feeling incredibly uncomfortable.

- The_Quial.

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12. *I* was the ghost

Source: istock
As a child I moved around a lot (Army Brat) and I insisted that every house I moved to was haunted. Nothing major ever happened, just weird noises, opening doors things being in places that makes no sense. It wasn't until my second year at Uni that I clocked on that I was haunted (not the houses), after my housemate suggested it.
Anyway, last year I was on the way to my uni house from my job at a bar at about 3 a.m. To get into the house you have to walk down a privately owned alley way. Just as I reach the entrance to this alley a man runs up behind me and spins me around. He's clearly had a bit too much to drink and starts trying to grab me, touch me up and convince me to remove my t-shirt.
Naturally, I'm very uncomfortable and scared. I remember that the window to the house had an alarm that went off if the window was hit. I figured if I could get down the alley and hit the window, my two male housemates would wake up and help. Only issue, every time I walked down the alley he'd grab me again. After maybe five minutes of a struggle the man hit me. Next thing you know, the alarm on the window goes off, waking up my housemates and scaring off the man.
Next day the police were called. We gave them access to the CCTV footage at either end of the alley (the man was caught on tape but, since most of the incident occurred in the alley, there was not enough evidence to charge). Later that day, my housemates and I decided to check the footage to see what caused the alarm to go off. There was nothing. No bird, cat or any other animal. The alarm just went off. This had never happened before and didn't happen anytime after either.
I'm convinced it was my ghost. It used to freak me out but I'm kinda glad it's around now.

- TheLumpyPumpkin97

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13. Low-key never going to Disney again.

Source: Disneyland
I work at several attractions for the big Mouse that has tourist destinations in Orlando and Anaheim. When I first started working for the Mouse, I learned that most of the buildings were haunted in one form or another. Generally, I take this stuff with a grain of salt. Show me the science or prove it to me, then I'll believe. I've had two separate encounters with two ghosts in two different attractions, and let me tell you, I believe a hell of a lot more now.
Experience one: In a slow-moving journey through time, you come across a scene where a famous painter is lying on his back, painting the ceiling of a building. There is a ladder going up to that scene, and the rumor was that a maintenance guy had a heart attack during his shift one night and dropped at the base of the ladder. No one found him until the next morning, and he was already dead. It became a tradition upon closing the ride for the night to tell him good night, or else havoc would come down upon the ride the next day. Silly, I know, but we all played along. I never really believed in it, everything seemed very circumstantial.
On one particularly slow day, I was riding through the attraction when all of a sudden it stopped in that scene I mentioned earlier. Now, if you've ridden this ride, you'll know that it's basically a train car with two rows. Well, as far as I could see ahead of me, there was no one. As far as I could see behind me, there was no one. The ride system is pretty sophisticated: when someone hops out, there are pressure sensitive mats on one side that trigger the ride to stop and show on our ride display screen exactly where it is. On the other side of the ride vehicle, there are photoelectric beams that also give the exact location of this intrusion, as we call them.
Now we stop this ride pretty often. Someone takes too long to get into the ride vehicle, stop it and then start it back up again. Well, in this case, they started speaking over the intercom into the entire ride. That usually means someone is out of a vehicle somewhere on the ride. A few minutes into sitting there, I start to hear keys jingling, two sets headed in my direction. I'm completely alone, and here come my fellow Mouse employees, looking rather concerned. "Irridescentsong, did you jump out?" Of course, I hadn't, to which I told them. They look at each other, and back at me, both looking from the opposite directions they've come from. "Did you see anyone?" I hadn't. It was just me. "The mat and the eyebeam were both triggered in this scene." We all sort of stare at each other and sort of whisper the ghost's name at each other. They leave, and within five minutes, we are moving again, but I never rode alone again.

- irridescentsong

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14. Dad says it's time for bed.

Source: istock
March 2015. My father passed a month or so earlier. I wasn’t sleeping well. I would be up later and later at night. My father used to always give me s--t for staying up so late because it’s ruining my sleep schedule and affecting my work, standard parenting stuff.
It’s about 2:30 a.m. and I’m watching YouTube on my PS4. Power in the house flickers. I check the window, no rain or wind or anything. I figured somebody hit a pole somewhere. Couple minutes later. Power goes out for a second, comes right back on. Nothing was affected. Which is weird because when power goes out, electronics reset. Check the window again, still nothing happening outside. A couple minutes later, power goes out for almost a whole minute. From the couch, I can see the street light outside is still lit, as well as the other houses on the street. Power comes back on and EVERYTHING is still as it was. Video continues where it left off, clocks haven’t reset, nothing. It’s now 2:37am. I audibly said “ok” and went to bed.
Next morning I wake up for work. The clock on the oven says 11 something am. My phone says 7:23. It was around 11 when my father left the house the day he passed.
Fast forward to January of this year, three year anniversary of my father's passing, I can’t sleep. I’m upstairs of my NEW home, watching Netflix. Power flickers and goes out. I immediately said “ok I’m going to bed." Power comes back on. Next morning, getting ready for work, oven clock says 11:41am.
Dad doesn’t like when I stay up too late.

- battlerazzle01

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15. Reading about this haunted apartment makes me want to live in my house forever.

Source: istock
On Halloween I took a pendulum to an old battlefield with my friends to try to communicate with spirits or whatever. All in good fun. After that night, crazy s--t started happening to me at my apartment.
The first sign was my keys continuously went missing. I'd unlock the door, set my keys down, go about my business, and then they would just be gone. Even when I was alone in the house. I enlisted my friends once to search the entire house. We looked under my mattress, moved all the furniture, dug around in the couches. I had about four sets of keys go missing.
Then my door started slamming. I'm a skeptical person, so I tested everything. I checked the hinges, opened and shut the front door to see if the airflow triggered it.... nothing. My bedroom door would just slam shut on me every so often.
I left for a week on vacation. When I came back, my picture of Jesus I kept on my dresser was on the floor, face down. There were stabs all over his face, like someone just poked holes all through it.
I took a storytelling class. Our assignment was to tell a ghost story. So as I was practicing in the dining room, alone, a full water bottle that was sitting on the island flung itself off the table violently.
I had a friend move in with me, and after that, all the weird stuff stopped.
Epilogue It was my final day at my apartment. I had all my friends over as a final farewell to the first year of college. One of my friends was like, "What's this? There's something in your couch?" And he pulled out a set of my keys. Everyone immediately started feeling around the couch and every set of missing keys was in my couch. It's like my poltergeist was saying goodbye as well.

- LoftyFlapmouth

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