Mind-Boggled People Share Moments That Made Them Question Reality

April 13, 2023 | Scott Mazza

Mind-Boggled People Share Moments That Made Them Question Reality

Can we ever really be sure of anything we think we know? Isn’t it possible that everything we think is real is just some kind of delusion? Many people have no interest in these kinds of abstract questions—but some don’t have a choice.  Whether it’s a brush with the supernatural, a moment that defies logical possibility, or just something that seems completely inexplicable, there are moments when the only appropriate reaction is to wonder what in the world is really going on…

Here are 42 moments that made people question reality itself.

1. The Line Is Busy

One night when I was a kid, my parents were out late and I decided to watch a horror movie. A couple of minutes after the movie ended, the phone rang. It was 2 AM, in the middle of the night. The caller ID showed no display whatsoever. I tentatively answered, but there was no sound on the other end—nothing. I hung up and my heart was almost bursting out of my chest.


2. Parallel History

I spent three weeks in a coma, but didn't realize it because I believed that the things I was imagining during that time were all really happening. To me, it seemed like many years had passed and I can still remember everything I believed that I did while in that coma. When I woke up to realize that all those years weren't real, I was very disoriented and confused.

I’ve been struggling to deal with reality ever since.

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

3. I Dreamed a Dream

One morning, I woke up to my alarm going off at 6:30 AM as usual, so I got up and cooked breakfast. As soon as I sat down to eat, my alarm went off again—and I woke up in bed. I had dreamed that had I woken up and gone about my morning routine. That was easily the most disorienting thing I've ever experienced.

The Wizard of Oz FactsShutterstock

4. Dingo Took My Baby

I was talking with my son when he was about four years old while he was playing with a Darth Vader toy in his mom's lap. Completely unprompted, he nonchalantly said "Dingo cold, Dingo cold," and then went back to playing with his Star Wars toys. I asked him what he said. He giggled and denied having said anything. My wife very clearly heard him say "Dingo cold" too.

I had never told him about my childhood best friend, "Dingo," being losing his life in an avalanche ten years earlier.

Lawyers Share “I Rest My Case” FactsShutterstock

5. Busy Body

I am a TA in our college's anatomy class, which takes place in a cadaver lab with lifeless bodies. Late one night, I am working alone in the cadaver lab and I start to hear a noise. It's hard to tell what the noise sounds like, but it's a consistent muffled noise. So, I kind of walk around the room and locate it. Normally, the bodies are all kept in these big metal crates, but at the time we had one more body than we did crates, so one body was in a plastic body bag. That bag was where the noise was coming from.

At this point, I am terrified. I’m all alone in the lab, looking down at this plastic body bag. I can see the outline of the body which sounds like it’s coming back to life. I stand over this body for a solid minute, debating whether or not I should open the bag. Finally, the noise just stops. I get all my stuff together and bolt from the lab. A couple weeks later, the professor tells me to be careful if I ever work on that body because there is a live pacemaker in it, meaning it will vibrate and ring every few hours if it’s low on battery. I let out the biggest sigh of relief that we weren’t haunted!

Toxic Partners factsShutterstock

6. A Dream Come True

I had a dream and then the next day it became reality. Every little detail of it was the same, even the clothes my brother and I were wearing. I have no explanation for it…

Fire Me, I Dare You factsGetty Images

7. Dog Nights

I once woke up to the sound of heavy breathing and felt as if I was being watched. I couldn't move for a while either. Then, I just blurted out my dog's name and kept calling for him. He didn't run over, and as soon as I could get myself to move I went looking for him. I found him sitting in the kitchen doorway, just staring straight forward.

I started calling from right behind him and he wouldn't even turn around. I touched his back and he turned to glance at me, but then went right back to his trance. A year or so after the fact, I found out that the first thing was probably sleep paralysis. Not too sure about what was going on with the dog though.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets factsPixabay

8. This Blows

I was in the bathroom and had just finished blowing my nose. I sat down on the toilet and, without looking at the trash bin, rolled my tissue into a ball and threw it in. Two seconds later, the tissue hit me in the arm. It was as if it was thrown back at me somehow…

Question Reality FactsPicryl

9. Cleaning Up His Act

My friend was about to clean his pistol and it was pointed directly at me. It suddenly went off. For a few seconds, we both stood there in shock—him thinking he'd taken my life, and me in a state of pure panic. Afterward, we found the bullet embedded in a wall beside me. I will never let him live that down.

Wildest Things Found Inside Houses factsPixabay

10. Space Race

I once had my very own full-fledged UFO sighting. I witnessed a light streak pass across the sky, make a sharp 90-degree turn, and streak away rapidly until it vanished. I realize now that it may have just been an asteroid breaking up, but the feeling of seeing that and not knowing what it was cannot be described.

Things They’ve Seen But Can’t Explain factsPixabay

11. Strangers in the Night

I was driving down a really dark rural road late at night. I was super sleep deprived and hyper from several Monster energy drinks. I didn't have the radio on, so it was pretty quiet. That was when the whispering started. I’m immediately confused and don't understand what it is. Then it starts mumbling louder. Finally, I hear a very loud and clear "turn here" instruction coming from this mystery voice.

My GPS says to continue for 12 miles. I ignore the voice, blast the radio, and continue home. Next physical, I mention the incident to my doctor. Am I insane? He explains that both sleep deprivation and caffeine have been known to induce auditory hallucinations individually. Combining both, it's perfectly normal to hear things.

Phew! I thought I was going mental!

Instant Karma factsShutterstock

12. Baby On Board

I survived a car crash as an infant after being ejected 100+ feet from the car, without so much as a scratch on me. I was still in my car seat when the authorities found me. My dad wasn't so lucky and he broke his neck. He was in a coma for quite a while. The driver who hit us was driving stealth and was absolutely hammered.

Jennifer Lawrence factsPixabay

13. Making a Spectacle

I worked at a small retail shop that sold mostly small accessories and clothes. I have never really believed in ghosts, but my coworkers always swore the place was haunted. Lights would flicker randomly and canvases would fall violently to the ground for no apparent reason. The thing that really made me question everything was when I was closing alone at night.

We had a sunglass display in the middle of the store, just a flat glass shelf with a bunch of sunglasses laid out nicely on top. I walk past it to the register and hear this huge crash. All of the sunglasses were on the floor. It looked like somebody just took their arm and dragged it across the shelf, pushing them all off. There wasn't anything above the display, so nothing could have knocked it off. I don't have an explanation for it.

It was right as I was about to close too. He was a rude ghost.

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

14. Treason

In 1984, I was 14 and was on a ferry heading to London. I was talking to some guys from India. They casually said that they were planning to kill Indira Gandhi in the near future. A few months later, an assassin took her out. I still think about this from time to time.

Question Reality FactsGetty Images

15. Time Flies

My wife and I had a 2-hour drive back home from St. Louis. Shortly after leaving, we both look at the clock and realize that we are already an hour and a half into the trip and are almost home. Neither of us has any recollection of the past two hours whatsoever. We had only used enough gas to have gone a half hour and our GPS showed that we had been driving our normal route.

We still have absolutely no idea what happened and it still freaks me out to think about.

On The Road At Night FactsFlickr Gregg O

16. Multiple Reports

I constantly had dreams of a red-haired kid living in my dad’s childhood home. No one believed me when I talked about this kid. After a while, we moved out. My dad’s cousins moved in and their children also began to talk about the same kid. I had never met these kids before at that point, but I instantly loved them for backing up my story of the ghost kid.

Question Reality FactsMax Pixel

17. Photo Evidence

My girlfriend and I are from different states, but our families used to vacation at the same place. I recently discovered what I believe to be a picture of my middle school-aged self in the background of one of their old family pictures.

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

18. Mike Drop

I had a terrible nightmare when I was ten and called my mom in to come lie down with me for a bit. I woke up a little later staring at the back of her head—and for some inexplicable reason, she suddenly looked exactly like Mike Myers. She turned around shortly and was back to normal, but I will never forget the weirdness of that initial feeling.

Question Reality FactsGetty Images

19. Waving Goodbye

There was an old man who lived on the street I drove down every day to get to the highway. He sat on his front porch drinking his morning coffee and always waved at me when I drove by, so I always waved back. This went on for the better part of a decade. One day, I was telling my neighbor about how awesome this man’s waving made my mornings.

My neighbor says "Wait, what? That man has been gone for three years". I never saw the guy again. Who was I waving at that whole time?

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

20. Being Shadowed

When I was about 17, I was at my friend's very old apartment building in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. According to his dad, the building used to be owned by Al Capone—but I'm not sure how true that claim is. There was an empty apartment on the top floor that we used to hang out in and sneak onto the roof from to smoke darts.

One night, we were about to go up, but I had to pee so I told him I'd meet him up there. After I was done, I went up the stairs to the area that was connected to the roof. There were no lights and I only had the dim light of a phone screen to navigate the cluttered mess. As I made my way to the roof door, I saw a shadow pass by me.

This wasn't the shadow of something moving with the light of my phone, this shadow was solid, like a person. I followed the direction it went thinking it was my friend. I kept saying that I knew it was him and to stop playing around. It passed me a few more times before heading to the other side of the attic. That's when I heard my friend’s voice from downstairs. He had gotten a call from his girlfriend and had been in another room talking to her the whole time. I have no idea what that shadow figure was, but it really freaked me out. That was the last time my friend and I went up there.

Sherlock Holmes FactsGetty Images

21. Going Bananas

I had two bananas, connected at the stem. I broke them into two, ate one, threw out the peel, came back for the other one, and discovered that it was gone. I live alone. Either I have a rotting banana somewhere in my apartment or I’ve gone crazy.

Question Reality FactsMax Pixel

22. Cloudy With a Chance of Spookiness

When I was about 8 years old, we were driving along a dirt road in the country and I was staring out the window. Over a field off in the distance, I saw a silvery glowing cloud that looked completely unnatural. It suddenly moved towards the road, then up over a tree just as we were passing it. As we climbed a hill, I saw it drop from the tree back onto the road, and then float back toward the fields.

Science quizPexels

23. Creature of Habit

I woke up to what appeared to be my deceased grandad standing by the door staring at me. It scared the daylights out of me. Suddenly, there was a flash and he was gone. He had been gone about 7 or 8 years at that point. I told my mom about this and she said he does that often.

Question Reality FactsPixabay

24. Picture Perfect

One foggy evening back in high school, my friend and I were walking through a field when we both looked up and saw a perfectly circular hole in one of the clouds above us. It was the only bit of sky we could see clearly and in the exact center of it was a full moon, as if being framed by this mysterious hole.

The Smartest Person In The Room FactsGetty Images

25. Making an Exit

Driving back home at night a couple of weeks ago, I passed a sign saying a certain town was coming up. This town is ten miles from my hometown and the sign said it was ten miles away. So I continue driving. I drive ten miles, don’t see the exit, look up—and see the same sign saying that the town is ten miles away. It was as if I hadn’t moved. I went past the same exit again too. No one believes me.

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

26. A Good Night’s Jog

I will always remember this and do not have an explanation for it. When I was about five years old, I remember waking up in the middle of the night and walking to the stairs. I remember closing my eyes for a second at the top of the stairs and when I opened them, I was at the bottom. I then ran upstairs, closed my eyes, and repeated the same process.

It happened at least four or five times until my parents yelled at me to go to bed because they could hear me running up the steps. It’s weird because I was WIDE AWAKE and do not have any history with sleepwalking. I still think about it and wonder how and why this happened.

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

27. How Do You Figure?

I woke up in the middle of the night, having to pee really badly. From my position on the top bunk, I could see into the hallway. The bathroom was right across the hall from my bedroom door and also right in my line of vision. I was just starting to climb down to go to the bathroom when I saw, heard, and felt the footsteps of a man coming down the hallway and going into the bathroom.

I figured it must have been my dad, but thought it was strange because he and my mom had their own bathroom. Even stranger, he didn’t turn on the light or close the door. So after a while, I got annoyed because I really had to go, and I called out to him. No answer. Finally, I climb down and switch on the light. I find an empty bathroom.

I had definitely seen a figure, heard the footsteps, and felt the vibrations of a large man coming down the hallway and going in there. I was about ten when this happened, but I remember it vividly because it was the freakiest thing that has ever happened to me.

Introverts Avoid Human Interaction factsShutterstock

28. Open Door Policy

I'm the type of person who keeps my bedroom door closed and locked at all times, even if I'm home alone. About a year ago, it was 1 AM and I had decided to get a glass of water before going to bed. After coming back to my room, I swore that I closed and locked my door. After about 30 minutes of dozing in and out of sleep, I suddenly felt all the ambient noise completely dissipate and immediately got that "something feels off" feeling.

I got up and saw that my door was wide open. It scared the wits out of me, as I was home alone.

Question Reality FactsPixabay

29. Cavemen

In my hometown, there was a hiking trail that people did not visit very frequently. I went with some friends when I was 19. We were crawling around exploring and found a cave that went pretty deep. We had never been in there before and had never even seen it. We pushed forward and decided to check it out even though we had no flashlights.

We stepped into the cave and it was freezing cold. Upon looking around, we noticed it was really clean inside the cave—as in it didn't have beer cans littered everywhere like all the other small caves did. While in there, we started to get a really eerie feeling and then began hearing strange sounds. Then we all felt a sensation like we were being touched, poked and pulled around.

We each assumed it must have been one of the others trying to mess with us, but any time we sparked up a lighter, we were all decently far apart. We decided to high-tail it out of there after only a few minutes, convinced it would be better to come back with flashlights. We came out to see that it was now dusk outside. When we entered, it was mid-day. Somehow, we had lost roughly three hours inside of this cave in what felt like just a couple of minutes. We tried going back with flashlights the next week, but have never been able to find this cave again...

Question Reality FactsPixabay

30. Feral Instincts

My cat hated me for the first seven years that we had him. He was a feral that was tamed by my wife, and he only accepted affection from her. My wife assured me that this was common for ferals. Then, one day, he suddenly warmed up to me and wanted me to pet him. We've been best friends ever since. This was approximately four years ago—about the time that my wife's brain cancer was becoming aggressive. Even before we were aware of it.

She passed on two years ago. It's like he somehow knew it was just going to be the two of us one day.

Edward Norton FactsPexels

31. Window Shopping

When I was a kid, I used to wake up every night to headlights coming through my bedroom window. The lights would then stop and turn off, not as if a car drove by but as if they were turned off. Then the long shadows of a man, as if looking at me, would pass by and stop in front of my window. I would lay really still and pretend nothing was happening, every night for months. Eventually, I convinced myself it was my imagination.

Across the street lived my best friend, whose mom’s window faced my house. She told me years later that she had at one point refused to sleep in her room because every night, a man would park in her side yard and walk over to my yard. The long shadows were from the light in her yard. She eventually figured it was my dad just checking on us and never mentioned anything. It wasn’t my dad though, I asked him. So I thought I was just hallucinating for years, but apparently, I wasn’t...

Question Reality FactsPixabay

32. Lone Survivor

When I was 13, I had a dream that an intruder had broken into my house through an unlocked window next to my bed and took the lives of my family members. They left me alive. When I woke up, the window next to me was open and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I grabbed a machete and slowly crept into the bathroom. Nobody was in the house.

Turns out my father had just opened the window in the middle of the night because he noticed it was really hot in my room.

Question Reality FactsPublic Domain Pictures

33. Doorman

At least six times in my life, I've come home knowing I had locked the door, yet when I'm about to put my key in, the door opens by itself as if someone is expecting me. It's happened at my mom's house, my own house, and a friend’s house. I don't know what it is, but I’m hoping it might be a superpower.

Thomas Seymour factsShutterstock

34. Spotted

After my grandpa passed on, there were multiple sightings of him reported throughout the neighborhood. I have no explanation for this, but everyone said he was smiling—so at least there’s that!

Strange Family Traditions FactsPxHere

35. Blast From the Past

My cousin and I both saw what appeared to be a woman in white floating in our grandparents’ living room. Grandma said that based on our description, it was probably her friend who lost her life during WWII.

Question Reality FactsPxHere

36. It All Makes Sense Now

One night, I vividly dreamed that it was dark and raining, and that I was in the woods walking towards a campfire. There were three men around it whom I had never seen before. One was wearing a shirt and pants with huge white and black horizontal stripes like a prisoner might wear. I could not figure out why I was not scared in my dream.

Fast forward ten months later, we're hunting and camping. A friend brings along three of his friends that we had never met before. I have to go to the bathroom and my husband walks with me since it's dark. We start back and it starts to rain. We get to the clearing and there are his three friends around the fire, one wearing the outfit described above.

I wasn't afraid in my dream because my husband was behind me and I just couldn't see him.

No one believes me.

Question Reality FactsPxHere

37. Lurking in the Shadows

I worked in the kitchen of a frat house that was built in the 1800s. On a couple of occasions, I had caught what appeared to be glimpses of a woman in the back corner of the stock room, but I just brushed it off. When the semester was almost over, I discovered that all five other employees had thought they’d seen her too.

Question Reality FactsMax Pixel

38. Jimmy Hacked Phone and I Don’t Care

I moved into a house that was almost 100 years old. After about a year of living there, I was sitting alone painting one day when Alexa blurts out "Yes, Diana. It is Jimmy's favorite song" and then proceeds to play Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Diana is the name of the lady who had previously owned the house and has been deceased for about five years. Jimmy was her cello-playing husband who, after Diana passed on, moved into a senior assisted living community.

Yep, they're crazy FactsPexels

39. Theory of Nothing

One night, I was on Stephen Hawking’s Wikipedia page and I thought to myself, "Man, he looks a lot worse. What if he died tonight?" Next morning, I wake up to "Stephen Hawking DEAD" headlines all over the place.

2010 Winter TCA Tour - Day 6Getty Images

40. An Unwanted Visitor

When I was 19, I worked a late shift and was a little paranoid. I would take different routes to and from work, "just in case". One night, as I was driving to work, I swear I saw what appeared to be the stereotypical Death character: black hood, no face, scythe. It was just standing in a field, leaning on the scythe, and watching me go by. I freaked the heck out.

Once I got to work, I called my best friend and told him. That way, if I lost my life, someone would know. Work went fine that night. I forgot all about it after a few nights. A week or so later, I was involved in a head-on collision that temporarily ended my life. I woke up a week later with extra parts and a lot of physical damage.

My best friend asked me what route I had taken home and I lost it because it was the route I had seen Death on before.

Unsolved Mysteries FactsShutterstock

41. Identity Crisis

I used to work in a gas station. One regular customer was like night and day each time I saw him. One day he’d be soft-spoken and shy, the next he’d be obnoxious. His preference of smokes also changed from day to day. He always came in the same work truck with the same guys, at the same time of day. One day, he walked in and went straight to the bathroom. A minute later, he walked in again and came up to the counter. It had taken me eight months to realize that they were two twins.

Question Reality FactsShutterstock

42. Mad Hatter

As a child, my brother would go to my grandma’s house and tell her about "the man in the hat". No one had any idea who he meant, but he claimed to have seen this character walking around the house. Years later, we find out that our cousins used to also tell their mom that they always saw a man in a hat walking around my grandma’s house.

Question Reality FactsPxHere

43. Speaking To Yourself

It happened in early 2000 when I was working at a juvenile detention center in a small town in Oklahoma as a corrections officer. I was working nights at the time and went to work at 9 pm.

This one night when I arrived for work my supervisor looked confused and asked me what I was doing there. I said "I work tonight," and he said, "But they said you called in a few hours ago saying that you were sick". I was a bit confused and said: "It must have been someone else and they got the message wrong".

After everyone else showed up for work that night it was a bit weirder, but we carried on as usual and assigned everyone their places for the night; I went to work in the control room where I usually work. The control room is the center of the prison that has direct control over the cameras, doors, phones, and everything.

After I relieved the guard on duty and settled in for the night, I looked at the message that said I called in. It said that I had called at 6:50 and said that I had gotten sick while out cleaning up after the storm. There had been a storm the night before and it was a bit bad, but not anything that I had to go out to clean up. It was truly weird.

The supervisor came into the control about that time. He was also a friend of mine outside work and we started talking about it, and how odd it was. I decided to call my wife at home and tell her about it while he was still sitting there. I picked up the phone and dialed. After two rings a man picked up the phone and with a raspy voice said "Hello?" I did not know what to say for a few seconds. I looked at the phone to make sure I dialed the right number, and I had.

After a few seconds, the person said "Hello?" again in the same raspy voice. I said "Hello. who is this?". "This is Taylor who is this?" the person said. My head started spinning because my name is Taylor. I said in almost a scream "Where is Ann?". He said "Ann's in bed. Who is this?". I dropped the phone and told my supervisor to ring me out, I had to get home, and I took off towards the door. I could hear Dave pick up the phone behind me and say "Hello?" followed soon after by "What the heck!" rather loudly.

I ran to my car and drove home faster then what was lawful, my mind racing the entire time. I busted through the door and my wife was sitting watching TV and was shocked at me being home. I asked her who was there and she said no one has been here. After a rather long talk with my wife, I went to call the prison to tell them what was going on, but the phone was dead.

I went back to work and when I came in Dave was acting weird and asked me "How the heck are you doing this?". He told me that when I left, he picked up the phone and the person on the other end sounded like me. He kinda freaked out and hung up the phone.

A minute later as he could see my car leaving the parking lot, I had called back from home and asked what was going on. He said that I was a bit irate and said I was sick and did not feel like playing these games and was telling him to stop prank calling me and hung up. After convincing him I had no idea what was going on we went back to work.

Later, I find out that the phone line for my area had been knocked down the night before by the storm. This is absolutely the strangest thing that has ever happened to me.

Angriest ever factsShutterstock

44. Nothing Is The Same Anymore

A long time ago I had a conversation with an old workmate who described much the same thing.

The detail is hazy, but he said one day he in his house when he felt a sudden NEED to go outside an stand on his lawn, he claimed it was the strongest clearest feeling ever, and on doing so he experienced a sort of "wobble" he just said everything was screwed up for moment, and he experienced a feeling of detachment/outside-ness. When it passed he turned to go back inside.

Now, while talking to me he got quite upset at this point and asked me not to think he’s crazy but he said the next thing he saw was his car parked in the street and it was the same model/registration but a different color.

He was so thrown at this, and then more so because then his wife came out to ask what he was doing, and he said he realized "She was in all appearances his wife, but somehow not his wife". He said from that point on, she liked foods she had claimed to hate before, and sometimes brought up memories that he said had zero relation to things they had done in the past.

He said things like his route to work, was still the same but somehow different, he said there were buildings on the way that either he had missed in the six years he'd driven past them five days a week or had just "appeared" overnight. He even said some people he remembered from other departments in work had just vanished, and asking about them brought total incomprehension from other people.

He was a totally regular healthy guy, but he said he measured his life in relation to that afternoon. There were things that happened before the change, and everything afterward. He went to say he was now living his life with a feeling that about 15% of it had spontaneously changed that afternoon.

We moved on and drifted apart since then (different jobs) but I've never really felt so sure about the permanence of "reality" ever since.

Voldemort FactsShutterstock

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