17 Real Life Horror Stories That Will Give You Goosebumps | 22 Words

October is upon us, which means it's finally time to tell Green Day to wake up! But more importantly, it's the month where everything, everywhere is haunted. Disneyland is haunted, commercials on TV are for Halloween, and even the entrance to Target is all spooky.

And in honor of the most frightening month of the year, we put together a list of 100% true scary stories of people encountering some serious spine-chilling stuff. But don't take my word for it; load up the Hocus Pocus soundtrack on Spotify and get reading!

Sometimes, even the skeptics are afraid.

One night at 3 am, there were flashing lights outside my bedroom window (which is on the second floor) and a strong smell of incense. I was creeped out, so I woke my mom up (who is the most skeptical person ever) and asked her to keep watch while I closed the windows. At first, she was grumbling about being woken up, but she remained silent when she came into my room. I closed the windows, then we both went to bed.  The next day, I felt pretty foolish about letting my imagination get the better of me, so when I saw my mom, I said, “Hey Mom, I'm sorry about last night."

She replied, “It's okay, I saw it too."

I froze and asked her what she was talking about. When she realized I hadn’t seen anything, she refused to tell me what she saw and just kept changing the subject. It's been 8 years, and she still won't tell me. -Bongchop

The Tinder date that went horribly wrong.

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. Sometime later, I 100% 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 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 ran 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

How about when you KNOW your room is haunted!

A few years ago when I was away in college I went out to party one night and got back to my dorm really late. At the time I had my own bedroom. When I was in the bedroom I had this weird feeling someone was in there with me. I can not describe it in words but I felt like I was being watched and the air just seemed really still. I checked my closet, under the bed etc to make sure no one was playing a trick on me but I could not shake the feeling off me. It got so unbearable I had to keep the light on. At one point I heard laughing and just got so creeped out between hearing the laughing and feeling as if someone was in there with me.  Eventually, I decided to just sleep in the living room which had a completely different vibe. At about 4 am I made a Facebook post something along the lines of…

“My room is definitely haunted."

…and went to bed. Oddly enough I had a dream about my great, great aunt and she was the youngest I had ever seen her and laughing and drinking. I awoke the next day and a roommate comes up to me and says “I saw your Facebook status I guess (our other roommate) told you what happened last night" completely confused I asked her to explain. Apparently, while I was out that night in my room they heard laughing and the door shaking and when two of my roommates entered there was no one in there and they started freaking out. This all happened a few hours before I came back.  Of course, my family saw the Facebook post and was all about the questions the next break when I came home. My grandmother made the weirdest point: the night I posted the status was my great, great aunts birthday, the one I had dreamed about.

This next one is such a fun nightmare!

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 to 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 the nightmare I had earlier in the day. I didn’t sleep for 2 days. Nothing ever happened again. -CrispyConan

Sometimes setting up "defenses" makes it way creepier.

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, randomly in the hallway. I sat in the shower with my dog and a phone for the rest of night scared to death. -bajashrimpwithmango

The creepy stalker...

I was walking home one evening and was up on the road from my house, about 5 minutes walk away. As I'm walking I see this guy go up an alley, apparently not see something he was hoping to see, and turned around. We briefly made eye contact but there was nothing to it and he was walking really slowly. By the time I'd walked another 30 seconds down the road I looked back as I was turning the corner and he had only just emerged back from that alley. I'm now heading down the road leading to my street and there's a guy getting into his truck with his wife, the truck is facing up the street in my direction. He flashes his headlights which I didn't quite understand, then I hear a scuff behind me.

The guy from the alley is right, right behind me, like within arms reach.

…even though I heard nothing until he was right there. I'm pretty sure I visibly jumped upon seeing him so close, and he's walking like an absolute demon. I mumble a greeting out of pure reflex and start to cross to the other side of the road, removing my backpack in the process. He doesn't respond to my greeting or even look at me, he's just looking dead ahead like I'm not even there. He just starts running as soon as I moved. He bolts down the road and turns right into another alley, and I hear some banging on a wooden fence. As I walk past the alley about 30 seconds later I take a glance and it's empty, he must have vaulted a fence or something. I still don't know how that guy moved so fast to catch up to me in such a short space of time, nor how I didn't hear him. I've got some pretty good hearing and he must have been sprinting to catch up to me. -Captainpanda55

When you just KNOW there's someone with you.

My grandmother's house had a very distinct smell. Nothing bad though, just a grandmothers 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 3 of us. -WorldWideDarts

How about having the exact same dream as someone else?

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

This one gives me nightmares.

A lady’s voice was 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

How about an unfamiliar ghost?

When I was about 5 or 6, I was sitting on the back deck of my family home, an old farmhouse. I remember this old lady walking up the steps and going straight into the house without acknowledging me. I follow her inside to see who it is and my mom is standing in the kitchen (room right off the back deck). I ask her who's here and she gives this confused look. Around that time, the original owner of the farmhouse died and I am 100% convinced it was her. -jwalker16

The story of Grandpa's chair.

My grandfather passed away when I was 8 and my little brother was 2 or 3ish. He had this big lazy boy 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 lazy boy 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

I'm going to start sleeping with a light on...

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 3 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

This person has a built-in "get out of there" sense.

Not sure if paranormal or not, but I have a weird warning system that functions without any obvious triggers. For example: Once I hiked through the forest to some old castle on a hill. To get there, I needed to cross a bridge that goes over a 20 meter deep canyon. I've been there a thousand times, as I used to live in the area. This particular time I started to get a weird feeling as soon as I stepped into the forest. It got stronger and stronger until it was pure fear. I thought I must have eaten something wrong or so because there was no reason whatsoever to be afraid. So I tried to ignore it and went on.

Right before I stepped onto the bridge that weird feeling acted up so wildly I almost turned back.

Again, I convinced myself that I was being stupid and made it to the middle of the bridge. One has quite a nice view from that position into the forest and the rock formations below, so as always I stopped and looked down to the right side of the bridge. Then I turned to the left, but before I could look down, that feeling didn't let me. At that point, I really thought that I must go crazy, but still I "obeyed", didn't look down and made my way to the castle ruin complex that started right behind the bridge. Been there for 15 minutes, when some police officers arrived, started to scream at me to come down (as I was climbing the old walls), interrogated me who I was, what I did there, who I saw on my way to the castle, how long I have been there, and how come I didn't see the dead guy under the bridge, on the left side. So apparently he jumped shortly before I arrived. And I guess they thought I was involved or a suicide buddy of him and was about to jump from the ruin walls. -saschatellerwerfer

When your dead dad is still nagging you from beyond the grave.

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 crap for staying up so late because it’s ruining my sleep schedule and affecting my work, standard parenting stuff. It’s about 2:30 am 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 effected. Which is weird because when the 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. The video continues where it left off, clocks haven’t reset, nothing. It’s now 2:37 am. 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, 3 year anniversary of my fathers passing, I can’t sleep. I’m in the 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 11:41 am. Dad doesn’t like when I stay up too late. -battlerazzle01

Now for some haunted Disney World stories!

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. “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 5 minutes, we are moving again, but I never rode alone again.

And this one about the ride Mission: SPACE.

Another attraction I work at is a motion simulator that spins and creates G-forces to simulate space flight. When the attraction first opened, there was only one option. The story goes that a mother brought her child in to experience the attraction and when the attraction had finished, the child was unresponsive. Emergency services were called, and it was later discovered during the child's autopsy that he had an undiagnosed heart condition. This much is true, there is a fellow Mouse employee that was working on that day and remembers the story, multiple other Mouse employees have looked up the story, myself included.

Since then, it's been said that the ghost of that little boy likes to hang around in the ride-room where he died.

There are multiple reports of hearing him laughing during opening procedures, of him calling out for his mom, of the sensors going off before the ride starts and upon checking the cameras, there being stuff in front of it that definitely wasn't there before, since we check all of the cameras before the ride starts. Again, I'm usually very skeptical about this sort of thing. One morning, I'm scheduled for an opening shift, which doesn't normally happen due to my low seniority. I show up and go to open ride room number 3, which is the room where this little boy met his tragic end. During opening checks, there is one person in each of the four rooms, all completing the same tasks. Ride rooms 1 and 2 are connected by a small closet, and ride rooms 3 and 4 are similarly connected by a small closet. We usually don't chat in the mornings with the person opening the other ride-room since we are all trying to get through our checklist as quickly as possible. I get to the part where I'm about to run the ride and check for errors at the end of my checklist and go in to start closing up my vehicles. It gets pretty loud in there, to the point where if we need to get someone's attention, we have to raise our voices. I start to check my ride vehicles and close the first two of the ten.

That's when I start gearing laughing, a little boy.

At this point, I'm pretty sure it's one of the other openers playing a joke on me, so I move on. Go to check the next two, they're good, so I close them. I hear the laughter again, closer and louder this time. I turn around to check over my shoulder, and there's a faint flicker of movement from the corner of my eye. So I go to check and see what it is. There's nothing. At this point, I'm spooked. I hurry and check the rest of my ride vehicles, close them up, and do a final check of my ride room before closing everything up and setting the ride to start. I hear the giggling again, turn around like last time, and there's a faint shimmer disappearing down the hallway. Of course, I chase it to see what was there. Turns out to be nothing, again, so I go to the other ride-room to see who was opening over there. A girl that I've worked with before quite a bit. She normally opens and tells me she's had similar experiences where it looks like someone is watching you, or just out of the corner of your eye and there's no one there, and that the laughing sometimes gets to be just downright creepy. Multiple people have encountered this little boy ghost at various times during the day, mostly under the conclusion that he's lonely. -irridescentsong

A nightmare about a Lizard? Pshhhh.

I used to have this reoccurring nightmare about this lizard man type monster who could see what I could see out of my eyes. So I'd run and hide and he didn't know where I was, but then as soon as I peeked to see if it was safe - he'd know where I was! So I'd have to leave that hiding spot and go find a new one and then it would happen over and over and over again. A literal nightmare. But here is the real spooky part... I once mentioned the lizard man to my dad, and he got super white in the face and his voice was all shaky and he just said. "This dream took place at our house in East Saint Paul? The one with the apartments right behind it?" And I said "Yes! That's where I'd always go to hide!... how did you know that?!" And he said "because I have the exact same dream." and I dunno if it was just the way he said it or just the overall situation or both, but I still get goosebumps thinking about it. It's quite chilling. -Outrageous_Claims

This Haunted Hotel sounds like a place I want to stay.

The very first hotel that I worked at, I started at the front desk and worked 3 pm-11p m 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 10 pm so usually by 10:15 pm, it was only the bartender and me still there. One night, it was almost 11 pm 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 have ever happened to me and I could not get out of there fast enough. -Alejsays