Scariest Real Ghost Stories You've Ever Heard
Everyone loves a good ghost story. Luckily for us, Reddit has them in spades. Some have more classic scares, while others have endings you don't see coming.
Dig into these real ghost stories from Reddit users. Just don't do it before bedtime.
Playing a Dangerous Game
Every teen has played with a Ouija board at one point or another, and some have even regretted it. One girl who recalled playing with her board didn't think anything of it at the time but now believes it has come to haunt her ever since:
"I made a homemade board and played with it while I was home alone. I said things that I shouldn’t have said — that I invite any spirits, entities or demons to come forward. I sat there and the shot glass that I used never moved, so I got up and threw it out.
"It was around this time that the feeling of being watched came over me. We moved, and the feeling followed me. My stuff would disappear then reappear, cold spots/breezes, lights flickering, strange dreams. Once our bread loaf and a few kitchen utensils got thrown. There were a few times when my mom mentioned seeing shadow-like figures in our apartment. She said she saw something go toward our room one night. My younger brother not that long ago came running into our room saying he had seen a dark shadow in our hallway."
Most of these occurrences eased, but "this feeling of being watched never left me."
A Visit from a Long-Lost Relative
A woman described seeing what they believe was her great-grandfather while visiting her grandparents for a sleepover when she was about 9 years old. The visit started out fairly normal, and it wasn't until she went to sleep that she felt someone in the room with her:
"I slept in my uncle's old room, while my sister slept on the couch in the living room ... I have always been able to pick up on people’s energy and can tell if someone is in the room with me.
"I thought that my sister had had a nightmare and was going to talk to me about it. So, I rolled over to make contact with her, but what I saw wasn’t my sister. It was a very tall man staring at me. His arms were crossed, and his overall body posture [told me] he was very angry and upset.
"At first, I thought it was my grandfather, but I realized almost immediately that the man in my doorframe was much taller, and his face was completely different. The way he glared at me scared me so much I ran right through him screaming and crying to my grandmother."
It took a few years before she realized who the man was:
"When I was about 12, my grandmother went through a whole box of vintage pictures [with me] explaining who they were. When she got to one photo of a young man in particular, [it] immediately caused me to have a flashback to that sleepover. When I asked who it was she started crying and said it was her dad, and that he had died very young."
A Summer Camp Specter
Ghosts can show up just about anywhere, even in the most unlikely places. One Redditor recalled a summer at camp where he saw something he could not explain in his cabin. He was the last person awake and was watching TV when he saw it:
"It was a man with an unkempt beard, mustache, worn farming clothes and some sort of Fidel Castro-style military cap. He was both in front of the bedroom door and behind the kitchen counter, facing me. I could not see him from the waist down due to the kitchen counter ... His body was see-through, hazily distorting the door's shape behind him. He was physically there. Not as a sort of mist, but physically there, while also being just transparent enough to see through. His eyes had no pupils, only a grayed white void, but It felt like he was focused on me."
The two just stared at each other in silence. "I was frozen with fear and dread. Thirty seconds pass, and suddenly the man makes a subtle angry smirk."
The Redditor didn't know what to do and moved his chair directly in front of the TV — he did not avert his eyes away from the TV again.
"I was ready to be, in the very least, chased by the man I had just retreated from. I stayed frozen, watching the television and not daring to look behind the armchair, even as the curtains began to light up from the morning sunrise. I finally heard my teacher knock on the door and call with his distinct Turkish accent to wake me up."
An Unlikely Friendship
One Redditor who claims to be a medium tells the story of going to the funeral home after her grandmother died. She was 8 years old and said the funeral home "felt like a crowded stadium — there were so many ghosts of all ages that it was overwhelming. Some just stared at me; some smiled and waved at me; some said things like, 'Hi, little girl, and how are you?'"
There was one spirit that she really bonded with:
"I really liked her. She was a young woman no older than about 26. While my parents were in the funeral director’s office doing paperwork, I was outside the office. The young woman approached me. I’m assuming a motorcycle accident is what killed her — she had on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt with a black leather jacket and a pair of tennis shoes. She was pale and had long black hair and blue eyes.
"She sat down beside me and asked what I was doing there. I told her, then she put her hand on my leg and said she was sorry. She sat with me and we talked for about an hour while my parents were in the office. She told me her name was Sarah and she asked me about my interests. When another ghost would try to interrupt us, she would tell them to go away; she seemed like she was a very strong woman.
"When my parents came out of the office, she disappeared. When we were leaving the funeral home, I turned around, and she was standing at the door. She smiled and waved at me, then disappeared."
A man named Riley, who is now in his 30s, claims he could always "see things" other people couldn't see. This ability was handed down by his mom and grandmother.
When he was younger he lived in rural Connecticut and would explore the woods around his parent's property. It was there he found a long-abandoned Victorian house and had to investigate. He didn't expect to see anyone else, but of course, that's not what happened:
"I was standing in the main entrance looking up the stairs when I saw her. She was pale, and she was wearing a long white dress. She had long black hair and green eyes. I said hello to her and she smiled, waved and said hello back to me. I asked her for her name, and she said, 'Melody.' Then she disappeared."
He went home but could not get the apparition out of his mind, so he went back the next day.
"That’s when I found it, a grave with the name Melody on it. She was born in 1810 and died in 1836. I went home, and I picked some of my mom’s roses and went back to the house and grave. I put the roses on the grave and then got the urge to look up. I looked up at the upstairs window of the home, and there she was standing in the window staring at me. She smiled and waved at me, then disappeared."
Only the Shadow Knows
A woman and her skeptic husband moved into a 1929 house before they were married. She would often see shadows peripherally and began feeling as if they weren't alone in the house. They did have a big black lab, so it was possible their dog was making her feel that way, or there was light coming in from outside that caused it.
She said, "One day, I tell my guy that I saw a small black shadow walk into the laundry room ... I mentioned it because it wasn’t an out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye experience this time. The laundry room is in the finished basement — there was no outside light source. A few weeks later, I was finishing some laundry, and my husband was in the basement finishing up something on the computer. He asked me to put the dog in her crate while he finished up. All the lights were off except for the hall light at the top of the stairs and from the PC."
The black shadow walked into the laundry room. Her husband said, "I thought you put [dog] into her crate?" and called the dog.
The dog, however, was already in her crate. Her husband asked again, "Can you please get the dog?" and waited.
She posted, "I asked him to turn around and look in the crate. He looks at the crate and looks back at the computer. You saw it, didn’t you? You saw the black shadow go into the laundry room, too! This was the only time he ever admitted that he saw something in that house."
The Bathroom Ghost
A New Orleans, Louisiana, college student received attention from someone she calls the "Bathroom Ghost." She and her roommate rented a house in uptown New Orleans. When the school year began, their day-to-day routine was, for the most part, normal, but:
"I began to hear my roommate engage in a bizarre nightly ritual: Nearly every night, after she'd gone to bed, I would hear her footsteps down the hallway. I could hear her walk into the bathroom, leave the door open, stay in there for a minute or two, NOT flush, then walk all the way back to her room.
"I assumed that she was tiptoeing to the bathroom at night, using the toilet as quietly as she could and waiting until the morning to flush so she wouldn't wake me up. She always woke up before me, so I figured, she must be ... flushing ... before she goes to class? And I must ... sleep through it? Sure!"
When the Redditor brought up the trip to the bathroom and not flushing, her roommate's response was shocking: "I have NEVER gotten up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night."
These trips to the bathroom continued, but one night, the Bathroom Ghost got more personal:
"My bedroom door is closed, the lights are off all through the house, and I'm lying in bed, waiting to fall asleep. I'm lying in bed on my side, facing the wall, and as usual, I hear Bathroom Ghost's footsteps down the hall. Only this time, Bathroom Ghost doesn't stop at the bathroom. I hear — and feel — Bathroom Ghost walk through my door and into my bedroom. I shut my eyes tight and I don't move.
"I feel Bathroom Ghost put their knee on my bed, compressing the mattress downward. My back is facing Bathroom Ghost. Inexplicably, I know that if I open my eyes, I wouldn't see them anyway. I know they are invisible. Bathroom Ghost climbs into bed with me. They wrap their arm around my side. I am the little spoon.
"I am so absolutely freaked out that I don't move a muscle. I just lie there, eyes shut, for what feels like forever. I lie there so long, eventually, I fall asleep. (How I could have fallen asleep while cuddling with a ghost is beyond me.)"
The Moving Boy
A Redditor claims to have once lived in a town that is often referred to as "the most haunted town in Australia" and used to work in a bar on its main street in a building that's over 100 years old. According to stories from townsfolk, the building had three ghosts, mostly upstairs in an area that was no longer public. The bar just used it as storage, but allthe people working at the bar experienced something they couldn't explain there.
The Redditor said, "The only time I was ever remotely unsettled by an encounter was with that of a young boy who, according to the stories, had died in a fire. In this upstairs storage area was an old photograph of this boy, and to put it simply, he moves in the photo. Now, he never moves while someone is watching, but you would look at the photo, look away for a second, and when you look back, the boy would be in a completely different position.
"I saw this happen on several occasions, and the only reason I know it wasn't a trick or just me going crazy is due to several of the bar's staff (both past and present) having confirmed seeing the same thing."
The Phone Call From Beyond
Plenty of old theaters around the country are haunted. One man tells the story of working in a 1926 movie house, that had been chopped up into four separate cinemas over the decades. He said:
"As a manager, I had been issued a big keychain that gave me access to the entirety of the building, and I spent countless hours exploring nearly every part of [it]. In another section of the building was the old manager's office with high ceilings and crown molding and a beautiful stained-glass window that I believe dated back to 1912 — [it] had previously been part of an adjacent theater. There was still an old safe in the office. I found a newspaper article in the public library from 1942 or '44 that detailed an armed robbery when two men had tied up the managers in the office and robbed the safe. We used the old managers' office to store giant 30-gallon bags of popcorn.
"I was obsessed with the history of the building and would research newspaper archives for articles about it. There were rumors that a stagehand had died there in an accident during the time that it had been a vaudeville theater. I was never able to confirm that."
The Redditor told his mom about working at the theater. She, in turn, told a friend who was allegedly clairvoyant who had been to theater and got "feelings" from it. She believed someone had been killed there and that his name began with the letter 'M.'
The Redditor was working alone in the old office on a slow midweek night. "I was doing paperwork. The intercom buzzed. It was the box office cashier calling to tell me that I had a phone call. I asked who it was, and she said that she didn’t know. I hung up the intercom and pushed the button for the main incoming line where the call was holding. The earpiece erupted with loud, close squealing and static.
'Hello?' I said.
"Nothing. Just more squealing and static.
'Hello?', I repeated.
'Hello.' A man’s voice. Calm, flat. Distinct. Then nothing further.
'Who is this?' I was a bit perplexed. All of the noise on the line and the caller seemingly reluctant to speak.
'This is Mike.' Calm, quiet. Not shouting over the noise of the line. Quite audible and clear. Then nothing but awful squealing and static.
"I waited a few seconds for the caller to continue. After all, he called me. Presumably, there was a reason. Nothing.
'Mike WHO??' I said, feeling a little impatient. Mike is a common name, and there were two Mikes employed there at the time. One of them had a fairly high-pitched voice that sounded nothing like the caller. It didn’t sound like the other Mike either.
"The line abruptly went dead. Silent. The squealing and hissing stopped. I waited. No one called back.
"I called Sandy, the box office cashier and asked her if they asked for me personally or just to speak to the manager. She said that the caller had asked for me by name.
"Suddenly, I remembered my mother’s friend. A man’s name beginning with the letter 'M.'
"It never happened again and the phone never made those noises. No one ever confessed to a prank. I never figured out who it was."
The Wake-Up Call
One Redditor claims the house they grew up in was haunted and tells two very distinct tales of these hauntings. In the first, they were just 11 when they heard a voice that woke them up in the middle of the night one Halloween.
"A man's voice in my ear was saying — very clearly — 'You were there.' Like RIGHT next to my ear. It scared the sh** out of me, and I had to sleep on my parent's floor that night."
That wasn't the only time something inexplicable happened. "One time, I fell asleep staring at my closet, but I didn't realize it because I was still seeing the room exactly as it was before I fell asleep (almost like an out-of-body experience); only now there was the shadow of a boy dancing in my closet."
Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back
A honeymoon getaway to Palm Springs, California, turned ghostly in an unexpected place — Frank Sinatra's house. As the Redditor tells it:
"I had stayed up late and didn’t realize how late it was, as I was stargazing by the pool. I decided to go back to the main bedroom where my wife was asleep. I made sure to walk the property, locking any open doors and closing any open windows.
"As I made my way back to go to bed, I walked into the bedroom and checked the time … it was 3:15 … I thought damn it’s late and closed the door. I turned around to take a step toward bed … [and] as I take my second step, [the door] clicks and opens.
"Now, I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing ... there’s a small chance that I didn’t shut the door … so, I turn around and close the door again, but this time I push the door to make sure it’s closed, and I lock the door. I think that’s the end of that.
"I jumped into bed [and] put on cartoons. [I was getting] ready to knock out when I start to hear knocking on the glass wall/door that goes to the backyard … I think nothing of it and ignore it until I hear a 'click' again, and then I watch the door swing open and SLAM against the door stop, waking up my wife.
"We both freaked out, and I searched the entire house for any anomalies that could have caused it but [find] nothing. I then went to use the restroom (the famous Frank Sinatra broken sink restroom), and as I am using it, I hear the clicking of a light switch but nothing is turning on and off ... my wife proceeds to hear the same thing when she uses the restroom. The rest of the night we are hearing scratches, knocks on windows and what sounded like walking on the roof."
Perhaps the Chairman of the Board is still wandering the grounds of his old home.
A Teen in Crisis
Did two family members run into a ghost living out her past tragic moments? As this Redditor explains:
"At around dusk on a late summer day, my mom and I were walking our dogs in our neighborhood. As we turned the corner onto a street leading to a four-way intersection, I noticed a figure walking slowly down the middle of the intersection.
"As we approached, I immediately feel a sense of dread and anxiety. The person was a teen girl, wearing a tie-dyed shirt and short shorts — [she was] bawling [and] walking down the middle of the road. My mom looks in the direction I’m looking but doesn’t seem to see or acknowledge the girl.
"The night seemed to darken suddenly for about 10 seconds to almost the conditions of a moonless night as she walked in between my mother and me. As she got closer, I noticed a tissue in one hand and a piece of paper with writing in the other. There was a large amount of blood on her shirt and the tissue, and she was covered in either sweat or water.
"She didn’t acknowledge either of us. And when I looked back about 10 seconds after crossing the intersection, the night had returned to dusk, and there was no sign of her."
The Frightful Feline
A Redditor, who lives in a large studio and doesn't own any pets, may have had a visitor from the Rainbow Bridge:
"My bedroom area directly connects to the front door hallway and bathroom. I spent the day relaxing and seeing family, then laid down reading articles online and watching TV. I get up to walk down the hallway, [and] as I turned into it, I very clearly saw and felt a cat walking alongside the skirting board, which I nearly tripped on. I gasped ... it took me a few seconds to realize this was a ghost.
"It took a few minutes to get my breath back; I also went pale. I live directly next to a vet, so now I’m thinking maybe a cat passed on in that vet's office and is lingering now in my apartment building."
The Forest Figure
A Redditor with insomnia goes on late-night walks. While in college, he would walk the campus, which had a "layout as a rather large loop with plenty of open spaces and paths, always well lit. In the center of this circle, there was a large patch of forest that is unlit. Because of this, I had never walked the forest at night."
One night, he changed his mind and went through the forest:
"I've gone through this path enough times [during the] day, and it's clearly marked for trails, with wooden bridges at points and metal plates on the trees all to designate the clear path. The only light I have on me is my cellphone, which is just the worst type of flashlight, as it's very bright but only reaches out maybe 10 or 12 feet.
"Not more than a few minutes into my walk, I'm crossing the first bridge, and just as I am nearing the other side of it, I hear a snap from behind me. I turned around expecting an animal ... what I saw was (at the other side of the bridge between two trees) a figure standing at human height but rather formless. The hairs on the back of my neck raised, but I was determined to just face my fear.
"I took a step forward ... my blood went ice cold, and everything in my body told me to run. I just couldn't bring myself to take another step toward this figure, so I decided I would leave as calmly as I could and slowly turned around and confidently walked away continuing down the path at a steady pace. I wasn't even close to being halfway through the forest from here but did a good job of staying calm."
He had almost made it out when the figure approached:
"At this final turn in the forest path, I can clearly see the street lamp at the other end; this last part of the path is rather swampy, [and] the ground very quickly was turning to mud. I kept my pace steady — not running [but] not slowing — and in the corner of my eye, I saw that white formless figure, but this time it was approaching me. I panicked but didn't run — I just kept my confident stride, determined not to let my fear get the best of me.
"Twenty feet from the edge of the forest, I slipped and twisted my ankle, falling face-first into the mud. The adrenaline in the moment carried me through, and I managed to just force myself back up and kept walking. As soon as I broke the tree line and made it to the sidewalk, I felt free, calm and safe."
Climbing for All Eternity
A mountain climber may have run into a ghost while summiting one winter's night.
"It was bad weather, and there was deep snow. We were trying to find our way through a maze of crevasses on a glacier. I remember the howling wind and clouds moving rapidly through the sky as the bulk of the mountain loomed over us. There was a full moon which would hide behind the clouds before emerging again.
"I remember seeing a man moving up the slope from below us. The first thing that struck me was he didn't have a headlamp on.
"I yelled over the wind at my climbing partner. 'Let's go talk to this guy.'
'THAT GUY,' [I said], pointing down at the figure moving toward us.
"At this point, I remember losing it. 'That "F@#$&$# guy right there!'
"And at that point, I looked down to see absolutely nothing. Thinking he had fallen into a crevasse, we walked down, but we never found any tracks.
"In the years since, I have heard reports of similar encounters in that area. Recently, the bones of a deceased climber from the 1970s were discovered melted out of the ice. The news report reminded me of my mysterious climber from that night."