Real-Life Ghost Stories That Are Seriously Freaky | 22 Words

Ghost stories have been around forever. They're a pillar of pop culture: there are tons of podcasts, books, and movies out there that center around the paranormal world. There are also two kinds of people in this world: those who believe in ghost stories, and those who don't.

Now, even if you're a skeptic, there are some stories that just can't help but raise the hair on the back of your neck. Some things just are just unexplainable! There are some (true) stories out there that may just make you a believer.

This Reddit thread asked people to share the moment they began to believe in ghosts, and let me tell you...As someone who doesn't want to believe in ghosts - after reading through these stories, you better believe that I'm no longer a skeptic.

These real-life stories range from gut-wrenchingly sad to sweet to downright terrifying. The paranormal world is fascinating. It's hard to not be captivated by these ghost stories...and terrified of them.

But a word to the wise: you may want to sleep with the light on tonight!

Definitely not going for a nighttime swim here...

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Worked at a public pool, I would work alone after hours cleaning the building and the pool. One night around 2 a.m. I'm cleaning the change rooms. The pool has been closed for 4 hours at this time. I hear the sound of a child's laughter and bare feet running across the pool deck. I go out and scan the area; there's nobody in sight. The doors are all closed and locked, there is nowhere a kid could be hiding. No wet footprints on the pool deck. I re-check the doors and the security monitors. I am the only person in the building. - Oldmanenok

Hearing voices

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When I was in my late 20's I was dating my girlfriend (soon-to-be wife.) We had been together for a while. One summer, July 3rd, her sister was abducted and killed by a group of six men. All the men were eventually caught and tried. The trials and the aftermath for the family were devastating and debilitating for them for many, many years. Fast forward three months, after the funeral. I arrived at my girlfriend's house to wait for her to get off from her job as a nurse at a local hospital. Neither of her parents was home. Just me, alone in the house. So I went into the family room, turned on the TV, sat down in the couch, got comfortable and began to watch. Clear as a bell I heard my girlfriend's sister's voice in my right ear, just off my shoulder, call my name. I turned to look at the seat next to me and of course there was nobody there. I stared at the spot in the couch next to me for a long while. Feeling a bit uneasy, I turned off the TV and went outside to wait on the porch. - gaberax

Keep your hands to yourself

My girlfriend's grandfather's ashes were on a little shelf in the living room, right next to a very solid/heavy angel statue. Well, one weekend she and I are fooling around on the living room couch and out of the corner of my eye, I see the angel statue fly off the wall, accompanied with a deep grunt. Now when I say this thing FLEW off the wall, I’m talking 7-8 feet of air before landing on the hardwood and leaving a dent where the wing hit. Even if this thing had fallen off the wall, it would’ve dropped straight down, not soared with force. Well, we both stood there in shock, and I whispered if she had heard the grunt as well, to which she agreed. So we both booked it for the day. Well that night at dinner we told her parents what happened (leaving out the naughty bit) and Megan’s younger sister burst into tears saying she had seen a dark figure at the foot of her bed the last couple nights but didn’t want anyone to think she was crazy (Grandfather that died had mental health issues that caused a lot of pain.) Welp after that day I was a believer. - longfacepug Nothing like a grandfather ghost story.

Granny is always watching

A while after my grandma died my mom and I were looking at a photo of her we had on a shelf. She was never a nice person. Till the moment she died, she refused any help from anyone but was quick to steal and lie. My grandma also didn't like my mom. Anyways, I mention how in the photo she's not smiling and how she never really smiled in life. My mom agrees with me and then the glass cracked straight across my grandma's lips in the photo. My mom took the picture down the next day. - Chango_D Okay, this ghost story is creepy.

Definitely not going to sleep anytime soon.

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When I was about 10-14 I had terrible insomnia. I would imagine things & felt incredibly unsafe as though I was being watched although I never admitted this to anyone. I began only sleeping on the couch, with my back against the wall, and had to have the TV or some sort of light on. I missed an immense amount of school because of this so my mom had me see a neurologist. The neurologist diagnosed me with some things but the crazy part was during my sleep study I slept amazingly well, no issues at all AND slept in the "real bed". Eventually, I got transferred to a children's hospital and speaking to the doctor I explained I would "see" things and felt uncomfortable, they had thought I was experiencing sleep paralysis. When they told my mom she went ghost white. She pulled me aside and explained she was experiencing things, too. She described in detail what I was seeing. That evening she approached my brother & asked broad questions ("Do you have anything weird happen in the home?" Etc..). He also described what we experienced. It was then I realized we must have paranormal activity & I've believed it ever since. When we moved out of that house all my sleep issues abruptly stopped and I haven't experienced it since. - ThatThreesome

A sixth sense

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My wife and I swear that our daughter used to talk to ghosts when she was a toddler. She was an only child at the time. The first instance I remember, was her telling me that she was talking to Nana. That's what I called my grandmother, who passed about 15 years before my daughter was born. My daughter was young and so I hadn't even talked about Nana to her, so I showed her a picture and asked who she spoke to. There were four women (three of which I didn't even know), but without hesitation, she pointed to my Nana. - scrodytheroadie

No thank you

So one night I am sitting on my bed watching TV or something and I hear my sister come up the steps and go lay on her bed- so I start talking to her.. when she doesn't answer me I get annoyed and go into her room to figure out what her problem is- only she is not in there. My mind was blown because I KNOW I heard her. I call for her and she had been downstairs the entire time. - younggreezyy Uh, yeah, that was definitely a ghost.

Don't look up

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So in high school, I worked kids birthday parties. The place was basically a giant gym, and gymnastics/dance classes were also held there. One day, I came in, and one of the girls I worked with (who was very spiritual and very religious) was totally freaked out. During the gymnastics class, she taught that morning, one of the kids was staring up at the ceiling. When she asked the kid what he was doing, he said "There's a little boy up there" and pointed at the ceiling. Strange enough, but whatever. Kids are weird. Later, two girls who were working a birthday party before mine came out of the gym and were visibly shaken. A pair of 5-year-old twins went down a slide and then stared at the ceiling. They both said that there was a little boy "up there", in the same spot on the ceiling that the kid from the morning gymnastics class. We all went in and inspected the ceiling. Of course, it was just a regular, gray, warehouse-y ceiling. But we were all super freaked out at that point. During my party, I was pushing a little boy on the giant swing we had in the gym. He, too, began to stare at the ceiling. He said DIRECTLY TO MY FACE, "Hey, there's a little boy up there!" We told all of our coworkers and managers about the three separate experiences we had today with children from different parties and classes seeing a little boy on the ceiling. The next day, we had downtime between parties, and nobody was in the gym. There are cameras in the gym that allow parents to see their children playing from the lobby. My manager called us out of the break room - "Guys, check this out." We come out and see the screen (which is streaming from the gym) showing that giant swing going back and forth. Nobody's in there. It's just the swing going. - mushroom_gorge A ghost that haunts little thanks!

Creepy reflection

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I saw a reflection of myself at the end of a hallway in a friends apartment building, only he told me the day after there was never any mirror in the hallways. - lucozade6

Who's there?!

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I was visiting my mother after my dad died. She went shopping with her sister and left me alone. I heard my dad as plain as day up in his room. He got up from his computer chair walked over to the door and opened it. He walked down the stairs and stood on the last step for a few seconds before walking back up to his room and closing the door. I was probably five feet from him in the living room. I just froze. It scared the hell out of me. - Ohsoeasy Keep reading for even more real-life ghost stories...

Red rum...

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I was staying in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO - the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. Around 1 am I heard what sounded like children running up and down the hallways interspersed with laughter. Opened the door to see what the hell was going on, and didn’t see anything. Quick little buggers, I thought. Then the next morning when my SO and I took a tour of the building, the guide stopped directly in front of our room to tell us the story of young girls whose ghosts can be heard running up and down that same hallway. - banwagl

Guardian angel

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Once when I was in university I went to go see my therapist whom I had been seeing twice a week for about five months. On this day he was uncharacteristically quiet and I asked him if he was all right. He said he was fine, and we continued through what would be one of our most breakthrough sessions. A lot of repressed memories came up through it that have helped me to heal. At the end of the session, I asked him why he was acting differently today than other days. He said when I walked in I was accompanied by a warrior-like person. He said he had the overwhelming feeling to perform as best he professionally could that day, and that he got the sense this “warrior" had fought a lot of battles to protect me. This would seem coincidental, except for 10 years later I was living on the other side of the world. I had a Puerto Rican neighbor I would see occasionally and eventually got pretty close with him and his family. One day as I was walking by he kind of gets quiet and weird and then says in broken English, “do you know there is a soldier who follows you around?" I knew instantly who he was talking about. In both instances the warrior/soldier was described the same, just over six feet, blonde curly hair, wearing primitive warrior clothing, and strangely “a white guy". Neither of these people could have known that my closest brother who passed away at 14 was over six feet tall with blond curly hair, and always was my protector. - leechladyland

A connection

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When I was 5 years old, I woke up in the night and my grandma was standing at the end of my bed, wearing a teal blue skirt and a matching blouse. I remember that it was summer and the sky was still light but not light enough for me to read, so I guess it was about 9 pm. I sat up, she put her finger to her lips and I rubbed my eyes a couple of times, ‘cos sleepy, and when I looked back she had gone. I just snuggled back under my covers thinking how nice it was to see her because I hadn’t seen her for AGES and I hoped she would still be there when I woke up. Next morning, my house was eerily quiet. My mum was in a worse mood than normal, but she had been crying so I asked her what was wrong. My grandma died the night before. She had been crossing a road after her bingo turned out, at 8.30pm, about 60 miles away from where we lived, she had a massive brain hemorrhage in the middle of the road and didn’t even make it to the other side, let alone to my house 60 miles away. She was wearing a teal blue skirt and matching blouse. - MrsMellowCake

A feeling

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My mom had a similar experience. She's an actress. She was exiting the stage and she said she saw her grandmother in the stage lights in her favorite chair waving at her. Backstage she started crying and when one of her coworkers asked what was wrong she said she was pretty sure her grandmother just died. After the show, she found out she was right. - a-nice-egg

Revenge of the silly putty

When I was in 5th grade I was playing with silly putty in my room when my mom called me down for dinner. I had molded it into a ball and placed it down directly behind me (I’m talking as soft as can be here). When I stood up to go downstairs, I felt something hit me in the back of my head with some force. So I turn around and see my silly putty ball, not on the ground anymore, but bouncing on my windowsill until it eventually rolled back onto the floor. Needless to say, I ran downstairs hysterically trying to tell my mom what had happened. - Pyromaniac0398 Some ghosts are super mischievous...

Let go!

I was having a conversation with my mom when I was a teenager, mid-sentence I felt a hand grab my arm and looked to see who it was. No one was there and my mom didn't see anyone. Apparently, the same thing happened to my sister a few weeks before. Also, all the random voices and bags falling off shelves and moving shadows in the periphery. I believe it was just the house that was "haunted", but they weren't malicious so it was all good. - RunBunns247

More than a coincidence

I’ve written about this before but once while falling asleep after a movie with the family, I was awoken by what seemed like a small boy running towards the couch we were in. I immediately sat up and braced for impact. Now, I would normally chalk it up to falling asleep by my mom and dad also bolted awake at the same time. Before I could explain my dad told me he saw a boy running towards us. His description of the boy matched mine while my mother confirmed as well. - Cubic_Ant

Can't handle this.

A few weeks after we put our dog down I felt the compression of footprints walking next to me along the mattress like she used to do when she wanted to cuddle. Was comforting in a way but also scary and confusing. - toxicteacup_ This one breaks my heart.

Don't go up there!

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I was dogsitting at my great aunt's house while she was out of town for a few days. A little after midnight, I'm watching a movie and my aunt's dog starts barking like crazy and runs up the stairs at full speed. The dog was small but fierce. Suddenly, I clear as day heard a gravelly voice at the top of the stairs say "Bad doggie". The voice was deep and masculine. I went upstairs because I was certain nobody else was supposed to be there. I looked around and there was nobody in sight. The dog was still barking at something that I couldn't see. She was just barking at an empty hallway. That's when I heard footsteps walking away from us down the hall and into my aunt's bedroom. I could hear the footsteps, but I couldn't see anybody making them. - dailydonuts16 No. This ghost story is straight out of a horror movie.

Never going here again

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I was sleeping in a hotel room and something woke me up-- I looked next to the bed. There was a woman sitting cross-legged on the floor below me and she locked eyes with me, cocked her head sideways and then floated up toward me before dissipating. I prefer to think it was one of those hallucinations people can have in that pre-awake stage but damn it was terrifying. - silveralgea

I'll be checking out...forever.

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I was asleep and woke up around 2:30am to go to the toilet. Was washing my hand while looking at the mirror and noticed that some rolls of toilet papers were on the floor. Just when I was bending down to pick it up, from the corner of my eyes I could see in the mirror a pale woman with long hair looking at me directly at me. What it meant was that she was standing right behind me. She was wearing all red. I said to myself I am too tired for this and went back to sleep, though I did sleep on the one side of the bed the whole night. The next day when I checked out I told the hotel what happened. She apologized profusely. Apparently, a woman had committed suicide by hanging herself in my room before. She was depressed as her husband was having an affair. Reached the office and told the employee the same thing. She also said yeah that suicide did happen in that small town before and it was a big story. The room number was 1313. - deputypresident

Dark shadows

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We were in the process of moving from an apartment over a business and I told the landlord about an experience I had one night. I got up to go to the bathroom and in the hallway, I saw three dark shadows moving along the wall, man-shaped and it looked as if you could reach through them into an infinite void. I was terrified and started yelling and my father came out of his bedroom to see what was the matter and said I was dreaming it. I know to this day I wasn't it was very distinct and I was standing in the hallway. So as I tell the guy I am glad to leave the place no offense he tells me sincerely that years ago the shop was a bakery and there was a fire that burned the place and it was rented by 3 brothers who perished. He had the most bizarre look on his face trying to see if I was pranking him. Totally weirds me out to this day. - Indigo631

This is so weird...

When my son was a baby, he started crying in his crib at about 3 am. I sat up, dreading having to nurse him back to sleep for the third time that night. All of a sudden, I hear a soft, sweet, woman's voice over the baby monitor say, "shhh.... don't cry...go to sleep..." And my son settled right down back to sleep. In my sleep-deprived state, I was like, "cool.. she's got him" and I went back to sleep myself. When I woke up that morning, I was like, "Did I just let a ghost nanny take care of my baby?!....can she come back tonight?!" She did not....but I did constantly see orbs fly around over his crib over the video monitor which were clearly not bugs or dust.  - FeeFiFauxFun

Uhhh...say what?

A few weeks before I was born, my great-grandma died. She was so excited to meet me and hold me since I was to be her only great-granddaughter. I've always felt a strong connection to her. Well, when I was 5, my mom was driving me home and completely out of the blue I told my mom "Mom I really want to take a bath when I get home. Grandma Wilson told me last night that baths are a lot of fun." - tneff001

A real haunted house

I lived in a haunted house for basically all of my life, it used to scare the heck out of me when I was little but I basically just got desensitized to it. We always experienced hearing footsteps, voices upstairs when everyone was downstairs, dogs following nothing around the room. Typical ghost stuff. Some of the stranger experiences include my grandma seeing her mother in her room at night. My mom seeing a ball of light floating in our hallway. My brother and I separately heard fingernails tapping on the walls of our bedrooms, and when we called our mom into listen the sounds would stop, then as soon as mom left it would start again. We experienced this at different times (my brother for a week or so and then me) and without knowing that the other one was having the same experience. I had a desk toy in my room that had a little foam ball handing from a chain on it. My cousin and I were playing video games and the ball randomly bounced like someone had tapped it from below. - Musician_Moneyless

A beautiful story

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Once when I worked as a housekeeper in a nursing home. I worked very early in the morning and I always stopped by this one ladies room because she was always awake and sitting in her recliner. And she always had a pretty sweater on. One morning I went in to say hi and she looked so beautiful. She smiled and waved at me. It was like she was glowing. Her hair looked amazingly white and she had on a pink sweater. She radiated light. I went on with a few more rooms then met up with colleagues for a coffee break and one said to me we have to do a complete cleaning of room (I can't remember the number) because the lady passed at midnight. You guessed it that lady that room. I never ever forgot how beautiful she looked at 4 am. - Maizymo3 See? Not all ghost stories are terrifying.

I'm a believer...

We were living in a 2 bedroom apartment, and my kid just couldn't ever sleep well at night. I didn't think much of it at the time, downplaying it as normal insomnia (which I had struggled with, too, as a kid). The thing that struck me as weird about it is that she never deviated from her original reason of why she couldn't get to sleep. She would come out of her room to tell me that there was an old man in her room, telling her to leave because he lived there. I had the typical eye-roll reaction, giving my kid a reaction like "well you don't have to be asleep, but you need to stay in bed when it's bedtime" because I didn't believe her as if it was all make-believe. That was a mistake. After several months of living there and doing this routine regularly with my kid, I got a photo debit card in the mail from a bank that I don't do business with, addressed to a different name. My first reaction was to think "this is identity theft, or, previous tenant didn't notify their bank that they moved out" so I called the bank, read the numbers off the card, and then while I was wrapping up the call, I had put it down on the table to find the scissors (as the banker told me to cut up the card), when my kid hears the conversation and comes over to see the card on the table. I'm off the phone with the bank, and my kid says to me right away "that's the old man in my room, that's him." I'm thinking to myself that this has got to be some sort of make-believe scenario again. Yeah, the picture shows an elderly white man with white hair and a white beard, but that's got to be a coincidence, right? Right? So fine, I'm going to prove that. I look up the name in quotes, along with the name of my town. The first search result is this man's obituary. - siriansage

Look over your shoulder

I worked as a mover in NYC for 8 years. I was moving a girl into the top 5th floor of an old walkup building and every time I walked out of her apartment I kept thinking that I saw a young girl standing there to my left. When I would turn my head to look it was gone though. It creeped me out a little as I kept seeing "her" but eventually, we finished and I thought nothing of it for years. 3 years later I walked into the same 5th-floor apartment and realize I am moving the same customer out now. The first trip out of the apartment to walk down the stairs and I see what I think is a little girl standing there watching me. I turned my head and nothing is there. - Worf69

Unable to explain

I was at my cousin's house for the Christmas holidays. There were three of us in the room, I was in the middle right of the bed, my cousin was on the left end corner, and my other cousin was on the left foot of the bed. They were playing Pokemon on GBA and I was just hanging out waiting for my turn. All the closet doors and windows were closed. I had a full view of them and they were both occupied. I still remember to this day the loud clap by my right ear, the rush of cold wind, the snap of the noise. They jumped and turned around as I was jumping off the bed. Nothing had fallen. The windows were closed. We didn't sleep that night. - Pretty_Sharp

Now...who is going to have trouble falling asleep tonight?

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I know I certainly am! Share this with your friend who loves ghost stories!