Terrified People Describe Their Real Life Ghost Encounters

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Vote up the spookiest story on this list
Encounters with the paranormal don't just happen in books and movies, as these real ghost stories shared by Reddit users can attest. Perhaps you're a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural, but after reading these tales of hauntings, ghost encounters, and strange, creepy occurrences, you might become a believer - or if not, you'll at least read some great spooky stories.
Photo: Karl Thomas Moore / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

  • 1
    2,231 VOTES

    Photographic Evidence

    "I am a mental health therapist.

    One of my schizophrenic clients said he was seeing a girl in his room and he said she was talking to him. We believed it to be a hallucination, as he was living alone. The doctor I was with decided to challenge his delusion and had him take a picture of her so we could 'meet her'.

    During, the next visit...he brought a picture. And yes, she was there. To our astonishment and horror there was a picture of him on the couch with a strange creamy, ghost like image of a girl hovering behind him...shrouding him in white like wings or hair...very light in color, but subtle shimmering image! What was eerie was seeing him sitting on the couch with his head down, very depressed looking. She was literally haunting him.

    All our jaws hit the floor. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone examined the picture...and we could tell it was real. Dude was very low-functioning and could not have 'shopped it. Shit got real. WE were haunted.

    The doctor in utter amazement knew medication wouldn't treat this and said, 'I can't help you with this...you are going to need to see your clergy for this.'"

    2,231 votes
  • 2
    1,467 VOTES

    The Masked Old Man

    "Once I was staying over a friend's house and was sleeping in her bed. She had a large double bed pushed up against the wall, so we both slept in there. I slept with my back facing the room that night, with my friend sleeping next to me.

    About midway through the night, I start having a very elaborate dream about work. The dream wasn't anything significant, just something stupid. Then as it progressed, it became more ominous. A man wearing a mask (similar to a Japanese kabuki mask) was chasing me around my workplace, attempting to kill me. Then at some point, I began to wake up, as I felt someone standing directly behind me. The dream progresses again, and the man has found me. At that point, my wakeful state began to set in further, as I could feel someone gently stroking my hair. Terrified, I laid there, slightly disorientated, as I was still somewhat in my dream. Then I hear a gravelly voice from behind me say, 'Hello little girl," and a number of other things I can't remember, as well as the sensation of someone still stroking my hair.  

    I am fully awake at this point but lying still as can be, with my eyes pressed shut, fearing for my life. Finally I mustered up the courage to sit up in bed and look around the room. There was no one there. To this day I can still remember the deep gravelly sound of his voice. 

    The thing that made it real for me, is when i told the dream to my friend, she recounted several harrowing tales of seeing an older man spirit wandering around her house."

    1,467 votes
  • 3
    1,027 VOTES

    A Most Haunted Family

    "I am pretty sure I am actually the only person in my family that does not have a personal ghost story. I find my family to be very intelligent people that would not make this shit up, but it's also hard to imagine something that you yourself have never experienced. You know? So, here are some of their stories, which are pretty creepy!

    My mother lived in a haunted house when she was very young. They feel that there was more than one 'spirit' in the house. Apparently the house had a colored history. Once my mother woke up in the middle of night and a dark figure was messing with the items on her bedside table. She assumed it was my grandmother and asked her what she was doing. A voice in her head told her to go back to sleep and she did. The next morning she asked her mother what she had been doing in her room that night and my grandmother confirmed that it was not her in there.

    They considered their parents' room (I believe) to be the most haunted. Once my mother and uncle were, I guess, having some sort of endurance contest and were hiding under the bed covers, they could hear something playing with the vacuum cleaner and my mom just bolted, leaving my uncle to suffer alone. He finally springs out of the bed and runs and literally dives off the top of a rather steep stairway and then proceeds to FLOAT to the bottom of the stairs where my grandpa just happens to be waiting with open arms. They all swear there is no way he would have been able to 'jump' all those steps.

    Another time, my mom was kind of a tom boy and was outside getting beat up by some neighborhood boys and she looked up at her house and could see what she believed was my grandpa just sitting in his study window watching, and she couldn't figure out why he wasn't helping her. When she finally got inside and confronted him he swore up and down that he hadn't been in his study all day long.

    Apparently they had babysitters that would run out of the house in the middle of the night because of scary things that happened.

    In later years, when I was about 10 or so, my mom worked at a local restaurant after closing, cleaning the place up. It was always rumored that the place was haunted and she had so many scary experiences that she eventually wouldn't even go alone, so my stepfather started going with her and experienced some of the craziness himself.

    She would put up all the chairs on the tables, turn around briefly, and turn back and they would all be back down again. But apparently the 'ghost's' favorite game was running in and out of the large metal door to the kitchen. One night it kept happening over and over and over again until finally my stepfather put a tall metal bread rack in front of the door. A few moments later they heard a loud bang and went to check. Something had run into the door so hard that it left a dent from the door hitting the bread rack on the other side.

    The only other one I can think of comes from my older sister. She lived alone in an old apartment complex, also rumored by many to be haunted. She says that she was washing her face in the sink one night and looked into the mirror to see another face behind her. She said that she was calm and told them that she didn't mind sharing the space as long as they left her alone and didn't try and scare her, or something like that."

    1,027 votes
  • 4
    1,047 VOTES

    A Loud Ghost

    "When I was about 13 or 14 I lived in a normal block house in a suburban neighborhood with my family. We were told by the previous tenant that her husband had died in the house, but we weren't told specifically where. One night after I turned the lights off to go to sleep, I heard a loud rustling noise and then a BANG that caused me to jump up and turn the lights on. Everyone in the house heard it and ran into the hallway to see if I was okay. As I looked into my room to see what the noise was, I saw my jewelry box (which had a set of doors on the front which latched shut) fully open with all the drawers hanging open. I threw that thing in the closet so quick and never pulled it out to use again.

    I still heard things in that house. One night I was watching something funny on TV in my room and heard a man (seemingly sitting right next to me) laugh in my ear as clear as day. It wasn't from the TV."

    1,047 votes
  • 5
    867 VOTES

    Haunted Theater

    "When visiting my sister's college, she sent me into the theater to get some stuff for her. It was after dark and the building was locked, but she lent me her keys. Now, she'd told me that the place had a reputation for being haunted, but being the skeptic I am, I took the keys and hustled off without a second thought.

    I let myself in, headed to the closet she said her stuff was in, and someone walked up behind me. No kidding, I could hear the footsteps, feel the floorboards move and hear them creak. Heck, I could even hear the rustle of fabric moving. And there was just that indefinable sense of there being someone else there; you know, how you can tell when someone's walked into a room even if you didn't really see or hear them? Yeah, well, I turned around fully expecting to have to explain why I was in a locked building after hours.....and there was no one there. After I shat myself, I started singing at the top of my lungs (to mask the now ominous silence), grabbed my sister's stuff and bolted out of the building.

    My sister apologized for days. And I never went into that building alone again, day or night."

    867 votes
  • 6
    691 VOTES

    First College Apartment

    "My first apartment during college was haunted. I had a really long hallway that lead from my room to the front door. At night I would often hear footsteps echoing in the hall when my roommate wasn't home. My dog would hear it too and just start barking and looking out into the hall, as if he saw someone there. One night while I was studying, I noticed a sign I had hanging on my doorknob start swinging back and forth. No windows were open, the A/C wasn't on, there was no reason for it to be moving. I said, 'Stop!" and it promptly stopped swinging. A few months later I found out from the landlord that a few years prior a tenant had hung himself in the basement. Maybe it was him."
    691 votes