Gather around the proverbial campfire, it’s time for some scary stories. Yes, it’s still the middle of summer but some Twitter users have already started the countdown to Halloween. Besides, it’s never too early to hype ourselves up for the spooky festivities of what is perhaps the internet’s favorite holiday (second only to Christmas). Until October rears its ghastly head, these real-life anecdotes will help us transition from the sunny idyll of summer to the gloomy enigma of autumn. Ranging from spectral manifestations to episodes of clairvoyance, these surreal stories prove that the paranormal is certainly not governed by the 12-month calendar as we are.
Against common belief, the paranormal does not always involve ghosts: as defined by Merriam-Webster, “paranormal” refers to anything that’s “not understandable in terms of known scientific laws and phenomena.” So here’s an uncensored collection of the internet’s most spine-chilling accounts of inexplicable occurrences. How much credence can we lend these storytellers and the unverifiable events they recall? Surely, hindsight tends to embellish people’s memories, yet we can’t help but suspend disbelief when we read these accounts, indulging in the possibility that the supernatural just might coexist with the natural.
22. Losing My Marbles
One of the ghosts purportedly located in our dorm was called Marble Boy because people would randomly hear marbles being played in the dorms when it was quiet. The night I was first told of this specter was the first and only time I “encountered” him. I brushed off the story as bull, but that night while my roommate was asleep, I heard the TAK TAK tak tak ddrddrddddddddddrrrrrrr of marbles bouncing and rolling somewhere in the room. It’s possible my roommate could’ve been faking sleep and rolling the marbles himself, but I never found them. Rather than being scared though, I remember my reaction being, “Huh. So that’s Marble Boy.”
21. Peek-a-Boo Phantom
I am the oldest of six kids. One passed away as an infant.
My two younger sisters and one of my younger brothers used to like to push their mattresses together on the floor downstairs on the weekends and watch movies/sleep. My youngest brother still slept in his crib upstairs as he was still to young to roam the house at night as we had two staircases leading to the basement that he could easily fall down.
One evening, as my sisters and brother were about to fall asleep watching a movie, my youngest brother appeared at the bottom of the stairs. It startled them awake and confused them as he should have been in his bedroom sleeping. They asked him what he was doing, he just smiled, then turned around and ran around the corner to the staircase. My sister followed, but when she reached the bottom of the staircase he wasn’t there. It wasn’t possible, the kid had to climb stairs on all fours still and it took him minutes to climb them. Confused, my sister ran upstairs and asked my parents what my little brother was doing downstairs. They checked on him, and he was in bed sleeping.
All three of my brothers and sisters cried hysterically that night because they knew what they saw and it didn’t make sense. They still swear by it today.
20. Seeing Double
About ten years ago (I was eight) I was visiting my dad at his house.
My stepmother was in the kitchen and I was in the family room.
We both saw my father, wearing a red flannel shirt and blue jeans, walk around the corner from the living room and start walking up the stairs. I followed him and called his name as he went up the stairs. He turned back and looked at me, got to the top of the stairs and went around the corner. I called his name again, then from the living room my dad popped his head up over the couch and asked what I wanted. He had been asleep on the couch the entire time, yet both my stepmother and I CLEARLY saw him, wearing the clothes he had on the whole day and all, go from the living room up the stairs.
It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. Both my stepmother and I still remember it and talk about it to this day.
Also, it was broad daylight, so it wasn’t some uncanny illusion of the night.
19. Are Black-Eyed Children Real After All?
A kid with jet black eyes knocked on my door and asked to use my phone because he was lost. When I closed the door to contemplate on what to do, he disappeared in like two seconds. I lived on the second floor of my apartment too.
18. “Don’t Tell Anyone, Okay?”
When I was ten, I had a dream about being in a barren playground, brown dirt and monkey bars placed aside from each other. It looked nothing like the playgrounds I saw in my neighborhood. In that dream, I turn my head and in front of me, there’s a girl sitting on a bench telling another girl beside her, “You can’t tell anyone okay?” before whispering in her ear. I wake up and I’m utterly confused because there’s no plot and the entire dream and background of it is meaningless to me. Two months later, I move to a different country (Japan) and in that new school, I’m at a friend’s birthday party. My Japanese speaking isn’t as good as my listening so I’m just standing in the middle of the school yard, staring at the monkey bars and I can’t help but think they look really familiar.. I turn around just in time to see my friend (the birthday girl) whisper to a friend beside her in Japanese, “Don’t tell anyone, okay?”
17. Possessed Stationery
It was night, I was reaching for a pencil on my desk (desk is completely straight) and the thing suddenly rolls towards me. I was completely sober. Jumped up and felt like I was going to pass out. Never happened again.
16. “Not My Legs, Not My Legs!”
I was staying at my mates’ a couple of weeks ago after a quiet night in. I was asleep in my friend’s bed before she came home from work and I had this horrible night terror that some girl in a white dress was going to cut off my legs. My mate gets home and I apparently was just saying, “Not my legs, no, not my legs!” When she asked what I was on about, I sat up and said “No, that wasn’t me, just go to sleep, don’t worry.” Which I don’t recall doing and have never done before during a night terror.
But the weirdest part was that as soon as I got back to sleep, her flatmate let out a bloodcurdling scream and said she felt like her bottom half was being cut off and couldn’t move. She said she had the weirdest pain in her legs the whole next day.
Unbeknownst to us at the time, our friend had stayed alone in the flat for a week before everyone moved in and said she’d seen a little girl in white at the top of the stairs before she turned the light on. Which is great.
15. TV, TV on the Wall
Happened when I was probably ten. I was laying on the bed in my parent’s room when I happened to look at the screen on the TV set. It wasn’t on, but the reflection on it was not the room I was in, but the Living Room, which was on the other side of the house. I’m 30 now and I’ve never forgotten it.
14. Mysterious Footfalls
Once, late one night, I had just finished showering. I’m in my bathroom drying off with my door open. As I’m daydreaming, I think I hear something in my living room/kitchen area (which the living room is a few steps from where my bathroom is). Stopping to listen, I didn’t hear anything else so I thought it was my imagination and I went back to drying off. A few seconds later, I think I hear the noise again. This time being sure, I stopped, waited, and listened…when the noise started again.
It took only a second or two to realize the noise sounded an awful lot like footsteps. Almost like someone wearing boots and scuffling their heel against the floor.
Frozen in place, unsure of what to do, I waited and counted nine footstep noises until it stopped.
Right at the entrance of the hallway. Directly facing my bathroom and me.
Whatever that noise was, it has never happened again all these years later.
13. There’s a Man in the Laundry Room
My mother runs a sort of child care out of her home for three friends of hers who work and have young children. The oldest of these kids is nearing three years old. He’s a very smart kid, and he’s never been one to make things up or lie just for the sake of it. It was a few weeks ago however that he shouted loudly from the kitchen for my mother to come help him because there was a man in the (adjacent) laundry room staring at him. My mother came into the room and saw nothing, but the kid was terrified and shaking. She reassured him that no one was there after having checked around for herself. The day went on and the kid kept mentioning the man in the laundry room. The next day when he was dropped off, his mother said that the man was all he talked about at home that night. A few hours passed and the boy was standing in the kitchen looking for his drink. My mom hears him shriek in terror again, entering the room to find his eyes fixated on the same location as before, this time crying and telling her that the man was going to get him.
We’re still not totally sure what he saw, but he certainly saw something. The room he was looking into was totally empty, and only recently has he felt comfortable being anywhere near that room. No one else was in the house apart from my mother and the three children she was keeping. He was though and still is very adamant that the man in the laundry room wanted to take him.
12. Coincidence? Or Real Paranormal Activity?
I was dating a girl named Katie. We saw Paranormal Activity (the first one, opening night). The movie started at midnight. Then in the middle of the movie at 1:27 we both got calls from an anonymous/blocked number. At the same time… Her name is important because the girl in the movie is named Katie. Spooked us both pretty bad.
11. Unidentified Flying Object, Identified
When I was little, my parents were in the middle of divorcing, and my father would pick my sister and I up on Wednesday nights. We still lived in what passes for a rural town in Connecticut, and my father went to drop us off, but my mother wasn’t home yet so we were waiting in the driveway in the middle of the woods pretty much.
The car had a sunroof, and I was seated in the back staring out at the stars when suddenly something I can’t identify flew over head. It was essentially a bunch of large circular lights grouped in a circle rotating. They seemed to be very large, traveling at a high rate of speed at a decent altitude. It went by quickly enough that I didn’t even say anything to anyone in the car.
Nearly 20 years later I was reclined on the couch watching some UFO show and they showed the exact thing I saw briefly. When they showed it I actually screamed and leapt to my feet. It took me a couple hours to calm down, it freaked me out so bad.
10. “Did You Name Your Son Timmy Turner?”
At 14 years old, I woke up from a dead sleep and said out loud, “My first child will be a boy.” Right after that, I shook my head and asked myself “WTF? I don’t even want kids.” I went back to sleep, but I never forgot how weird that was.
Fast-forward almost ten years, and I’m pregnant for the first time. My coworker had given me a box full of baby boy clothes. I held onto them even though TWO different ultrasounds said I was having a girl. I wanted a girl. I had a pink baby shower, a girls name picked out, all that stuff, but I still didn’t get rid of that box of boy clothes. I remembered my weird half-asleep statement.
Eight days before I was induced, I had another ultrasound to make sure the baby was doing okay. The first thing the tech said was, “They said you’re having a girl? That’s funny, because here are his little boy parts.”
I cried in bed for two days straight, but the second I heard my son cry I fell in love with him. And I never doubted my gut again.
9. I’ll Remember it Forever
When I was about eight or nine my parents went to the grocery store. I chose to stay home. Mind you at the time I lived in a house the had woods behind it so it was already pretty scary. They left at around 11 in the morning so it was not even close to being night time. Well I was in my room and decided to go to the kitchen to get a glass of water. My house at the time was long so I had to walk to the kitchen at the opposite side. Halfway through I was in the living room when I heard a loud explosion of some kind. There were two windows in my living room so I could clearly see outside. What I saw still frightens me to this day.
The outside was completely black. I’m not talking night time I mean the whole window looked as if someone had painted it black. But there was still light inside. I rushed back to my room where I waited for my parents to come back. When they arrived I told them if they had heard the explosion or seen the black outside since the store they went to was only a few blocks away from where we lived. They didn’t have the slightest clue as to what I was talking about. That evening I sat all night watching the local news if they would report it but nothing. I still wonder if it was just my imagination but I distinctly remember the darkness of the window so I know it was real.
8. I’m in Your Head
This guy I knew in college could send me his thoughts. I’m serious. He would ask about them later and it freaked me out incredibly bad. He told me his dad was abducted by aliens while he was being conceived. I was completely sober during that period.
7. Try Turning the Mirror Off and On Again
When I was young (maybe five or six) I was watching a movie alone in my parents room because there was no VCR in the living room. On the wall adjacent to the bed was my mother’s large, old vanity. I remember seeing movement in the mirror, and assumed it was the cat in the room at the time. Again, I saw movement, so I stood up, and looked directly into the mirror. I remember seeing the strangest thing. My reflection, and the reflection of the room, was completely off. Like, if I waved my hands in the air, the reflection would also wave it’s hands but would be completely out of sync and different from mine. Always freaked me out of mirrors from then on.
6. I Would Survive in a Horror Movie
I used to work at a historic house as a “caretaker” which basically meant I cleaned it when no one else was there. A lot of the employees would talk about how the house was haunted, but I don’t believe in that stuff at all, and I found the job really easy and really peaceful.
Important fact: the house was in the woods, not connected to any main roads (visitors would walk down from the welcome center), and the electricity for the whole place was turned on and off by staff every day using a circuit box near the front door. There was no other power, it was in the middle of the woods.
One day I went in to clean and I was completely alone on the property and it was kind of a stormy day. I finished my work in a few hours, and I went through the whole house twice (as always), going down a checklist of turning things off and locking things up. The last thing I did (and it had to be, because that’s where I had to leave the checklist) was turn off the circuit—turn off the electricity for the whole house.
So I turned it off, locked the door, and took one last walk around the perimeter of the house to make sure all the windows were shut. As I turned the corner, I thought I saw something move in the house, but I figured it was just the curtains. And then one of the lights inside the house turned on.
I freaked out, because it either meant that someone was in the house and had been there the whole time, or that the house was extremely haunted. I considered both things and ran like hell, because I’m a small lady and if the place was getting robbed, I sure wasn’t going to defend it. I went back to work a few days later (it hadn’t been robbed and no disturbances had been picked up by the outside security cameras), I told one of the other staff about what happened, he said that it was a ghost… I still don’t know what to think… I’ve tried to justify it by saying it was some freaky electrical thing because of the storm? But I’m glad I don’t work there anymore, it was weird.
5. The Cat Saw It Too
I was sleeping one night with my cat on my bed. I was woken up by what I thought was a dream of a long white (I mean the color white) hand grabbing me. I felt butterfly in my stomach so I woke up. My cat was freaked out and hissing right where the hand came from.
4. Where is Grandma?
I was playing in the backyard on my swingset … maybe eight years old or so. My mom’s car was in the driveway, maybe 25 feet away from me. I see my grandma peek out from behind the car, like she was hiding behind it. I get off my swing, run to the car and she’s not there. I run in the house (assuming she must have went in) and asked my mom where grandma was … and my mom said she wasn’t coming over today. I swear I saw her face peeking out from behind that car … clear as day.
3. Dogs Just Know
One night I was asleep in my room when my dog started growling frantically. I opened my eyes to see what was the matter (she never makes noise at night) and saw my bedroom door slowly being pushed open. As soon as it had been opened enough for light from the hallway to spill in through the crack my dog started barking her head off and the door slammed back shut.
My mom came running into my room to see what was the matter and I told her what had happened with my door. She looked absolutely horrified and searched the entire house, all the closets, showers, etc to make sure nobody was in our home. We never found anyone. And it was just me, my mother, and my dog at home that night. Kind of creepy.
2. Cold as Ice
I was at my grandmother’s house staying the night. It was summer; probably mid-July and there was a storm brewing outside. I was laying in bed, just listening to the TV as I tried to drift off to sleep when I suddenly felt like I was being watched.
I laid there, trying to pull the covers up higher, the uncomfortable feeling growing stronger. The room was starting to grow cold.
I tried to focus on the TV, I was watching something on Cartoon Network so it definitely wasn’t contributing to the creepy atmosphere welling up in the room.
Then I felt something down by my foot. The bed depressed slightly and the covers fluttered. Then something icy cold grabbed my ankle.
I immediately jumped out of bed and hit the light switch on the wall behind me, at the same time I ripped the covers off of the bed.
There was nothing there.
But I still felt the cold fingers around my ankle.
1. Thrown-Out Baby Shoes, Never Worn
My dad was renovating the kitchen in his house before they moved out. We were putting new cabinets in, when we took out the old cabinets (60-ish years old) behind the cabinet (inside the wall) we found…. A pair of white old timey children’s shoes.
What did we do? We threw them right in the trash… I guess this pissed off the baby ghost or spirit or whatever it was cause ever since then we would hear knocks and children running throughout the house at odd hours of the night. And occasionally my baby sisters crib would be moved from my dad’s room out into the hallway. We moved out a couple years ago and haven’t been back.