As H.P Lovecraft famously wrote “the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, it’s hard not to get frightened when you’re alone in the house and you hear something go bump in the night. With that in mind, the following true stories of paranormal activity, ghostly figures and strange unexplainable encounters are best enjoyed in the daylight hours only.
Do not read at night if you want to get any sleep that is. Sweet screams everyone.
1. The Boy in the Yellow Hat
We lived in Okinawa for awhile a few years ago. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I can’t explain so many of the events that happened in our apartment.
The least scary had to be the boy. My son was describing this little boy that looked like his friend (who was Japanese), and how the boy wanted my son to follow him to the hallway. It was very matter-of-fact and only happened once. My son then said that the boy was trying to turn into a monster. I tried my best to ignore the goosebumps all over me and when he said that the boy had a yellow hat on, I almost lost it but managed to outwardly stay calm. I had been dreaming of a little boy coming to my side of the bed wearing a yellow hat and then turning to dust.
Later, I talked to my friend about it and she laughed and said the boy had been hiding in her daughter’s closet for a year now. Yellow hat and all.
Soon, a new neighbor moved in and she came banging on my door one night. She said something had grabbed her leg and she saw a boy in a yellow hat run away. My neighbor didn’t know my friend and I never told her about it. My kids were too young to be out and about talking to the other kids at that point.
A local friend told me to put salt across my threshold and scissors out, because scissors signify the end of a relationship in Japan. I didn’t feel really threatened until I began dreaming about a woman standing in the doorway of our spare room, staring malevolently at me. I hated going in that room because of the dreams and just a bad feeling I got there. I just always felt uneasy. There were always earthquakes so the little things like toys going off and especially the phone cord (yes, we had a landline) swaying back and forth didn’t seem too out of place.
One night I stupidly decided to google research ‘ghosts of Okinawa’ and after a lot of boring stuff I already knew, I found a story that struck a nerve…it described a man whose wife was ‘targeted by a female spirit’. It sounded very frightening and when I finished the story, I was shocked to my very core to discover my actual building listed as their previous residence, which they’d moved out of a month before we’d moved in. The chances it was the same apartment were slim, but I slammed my laptop cover down and vowed to salt every freaking room in my house because at least it might ease the tension I felt there. Like a placebo.
The absolute breaking point came when one of my kids ran screaming out of bed one night and I found them huddled in the corner, and I swore I heard a set of heavy footsteps as I jumped out of bed. It could have been sleep hallucinations, but I cried and held my child and whispered that we’d leave, and we did.
2. Man in the Mirror
Sharing this on behalf of my partner.
When he was about 4 years old, he would talk to a man he saw in the mirror. Naturally, his parents were curious about his behavior and asked him questions about the man. He told his parents details about the man including his appearance, hobbies, and how he died. It turns out that one of the former owners of the house was a man who had committed suicide in the house, and he matched the descriptions of the man my partner saw in the mirror.
When his parents found out, they moved out of the house a month later.
3. Heavy Footsteps
I was in the basement watching TV in the dark while my whole family was upstairs. As I’m chilling there, I hear footsteps coming down the basement stairs, and while I normally can tell which family member it is by the cadence/heaviness of the steps, I didn’t recognize these ones. The footsteps stopped before the bottom of the stairs, so I called out saying, oh haha, sooo scary, I know it’s you, thinking that it was my brother or someone trying to scare me.
I look back to the TV, and the footsteps start again and I whip my head back to the stairs just in time to see a dark figure go into a side bedroom that has glass doors. It’s pretty much pitch black, so I assumed whoever it was was standing right behind the glass looking at me. That’s when I started to get scared and so I ran to the lights and flipped them on, only to find the room empty. My entire family was still upstairs. It was too spooky.
4. White Mist
When I was about 14, I was staying up way too late on the computer. It was about 1 or 2 in the morning, and everyone else was asleep. I got thirsty and wandered down the hallway to get a drink. I didn’t bother to turn on any lights since there was a nightlight in the hallway and there was enough light to get by. I’m walking back to the bedroom when I get this weird feeling like someone is watching me, and turn around. There is this big white mist just floating right behind me. I immediately turned around and noped my way back into the safe bright room.
The thing is, there were no windows facing that hallway and I hadn’t passed the nightlight yet, so it definitely wasn’t a trick of the light. All the doors leading to the hallway were also closed. A few years later when I was moved to the small room closest to that spot, I got the heebie-jeebies and couldn’t sleep without a lamp on.
It wasn’t until some time later after the sighting that I learned that in the 80’s, a guy was renting out the house. He was arrested for the kidnap, rape, and disappearance of a bunch of kids in the area, and for the suspected murder of his wife. They never found her, and she supposedly ran away, according to him. Cadaver dogs went over the farm but they never found anything. The cops must not have done a good job though because when they moved in, my mom found a pair of boy’s underwear in the toilet tank. The missing wife was never found, and he died in prison about a decade ago. I think she’s still there, though.
5. The Old Rocking Chair
My grandmas is a very stereotypical horror movie house – small Midwest town, white and old looking home, on a farm, she even has a chipped wooden mother Mary nativity in the front yard (you get the picture). The worst is she has a cemetery about a half mile down the road.
Anyways, I used to sleep in the room in the corner on the top floor (my aunt’s room) and it had a wooden rocking chair in it. When I was younger I would wake up because I thought I heard it rocking, to the point where I would wake up my grandma and have to stay in her room. Well, about 10 years later my mom, aunt and I during thanksgiving were talking about how creepy grandmas house was. My aunt goes on to talk about how when she was younger the reason my mom and her ended up sharing a room was because she thought her room was haunted. She said she woke up one morning and the rocking chair was about two feet closer to her bed, and after that night it would start rocking on a nightly basis at midnight. Freaked me the fuck out.
6. Piece of Cake
My grandfather and I shared close birthdays (two days apart) and we both loved chocolate cake. My mom learned her mom’s recipe which was passed down from her mom so I guess I inherited this love for this chocolate cake. Every year we would drive upstate to see my grandfather on his birthday with a freshly baked cake and he would greet us at the door with a smile, take the cake off our hands, then disappear into the kitchen. He loved this cake. He also smoked a particular type of pipe tobacco which you could always smell in his house. To this day whenever I catch a whiff of pipe tobacco I think of him.
Anyway, he passed away in 2004. The next year for my birthday, two days before his, my mom was making a cake for me when she suddenly smells his pipe tobacco. Now he had lived hours away from us and hadn’t been to our house in years due to my grandmother’s failing health making her unable to travel, so there’s no chance of his scent lingering around. My mom realized what was happening and just laughed, saying “Dad don’t worry, I’ll set a piece of cake aside for you when it’s done, but you have to be patient!” And the smell went away.
Now was it my grandfather’s ghost visiting my mom or was it my mom associating her father with the cake, I don’t know. But I know I’d come back from Heaven for a slice of that cake.
7. The Message
Around ten years ago, my mémère died of a heart attack in her bathroom, less than a year after her husband died. This was in July, if I remember correctly. My dad was absolutely devastated, I saw him cry for the first time in my life at her funeral, even though he’d been fairly stoic at his father’s funeral. Life went on, though undoubtedly in a darker mood than usual for a few weeks.
About a month after my mémère’s funeral was my father’s birthday, and he was working the night before his birthday into the morning hours of it, as was usual. My mother and I were up late (like 2am), her on her computer and me on the PlayStation, when my dad came home. He worked around an hour away, and didn’t usually get home until 6 or 7am. We asked why he was home so early, and he said he got a birthday voicemail from his mother on his phone while he was at work shortly after midnight. His phone never even rang, he just suddenly had a new voicemail. Phone log didn’t show any incoming calls missed. He played the message for us, and it was undoubtedly my mémère’s voice on that message. She said it made her happy that he missed her(they had a pretty strained relationship) and finished the message with a quick happy birthday song and a line from his favorite lullaby from when he was a child.
My dad kept that message on his phone until he got a new one and listened to it pretty frequently. The message was so bone-chillingly clear, I honestly don’t think it could have been anything besides her. Only paranormal thing I’ve ever believed in.
8. Long Scratches
I was 12-13. We had just moved to the UK from Texas the year before. We moved into the really nice farmhouse in the south of England near Wilton. We were completely alone for at least 3 miles in each direction. Anyway, on with the creepiness. The first thing that happened was in our kitchen. It was a large room with light fixtures in the ceiling. those lights were flickering one night and I was just staring at them. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a girl, she was wearing a white dress with her hand on the window. Scared the fuck out of me. So I jumped back and tried to put my focus on her, but when I tried, she was gone and in that instant the glass of the light fixture fell.
The second thing was slightly more terrifying. I was home alone, it was raining that night. Mom was out somewhere (friends I think) and I was just watching TV. It was about 9 pm and I could hear scratching, not like a dog scratching the door to go out, like a long continuous scratch. So I look around the house and I see nothing. I sit back down to watch TV and I hear it again, but it sounds like its outside so I dart out the back door to have a look (maybe a tree in the bad weather?) But I saw nothing again.
I come back inside and the TV is off and the front door unlocked. I shat myself. I ran to get a kitchen knife and my mom’s old phone. I hide In the office that is on the ground floor and text my mom and tell what is going on. She calls the cops, and they arrive. They have a look around and see wet boot prints that walk in through the front door, lead into the kitchen and then stop, no exit prints.
9. The Praying Boy
When I was young, 7-10 I suddenly awoke in the middle of the night to a young child kneeling near my bed praying. At first I thought it was my younger brother so I asked him what he was doing, after I asked he slowly looked at me and stood up and started running so I hopped out of bed and followed him down my stairs and out my front door, we had a long driveway and I followed him all the way to the end and then he simply vanished. I went back to my room and nothing like that has happened since.
10. A Last Goodbye
This isn’t my story but my mom’s, she is an extremely rational person but this event caused her to have such severe panic attacks that she had to return and live with her parents for six months. All of this happened a few years before I was born.
My mom’s first husband was a Navy pilot during the Gulf War. The carrier was about ten days into it’s cruise and operating with complete radio silence. She hadn’t heard anything from the ship since it left but that was to be expected, this was a war. On that night about ten days into the cruise my mom woke up suddenly in the middle of the night. She saw her husband standing in the room. It wasn’t an ethereal form either, he appeared solid and utterly the same. The only thing different about him was that his head was shaved. He only had one thing to say, “Goodbye.”
This whole experience startled my mom and she couldn’t get back to sleep. She went to the kitchen to get some water when the doorbell rang. All military wives know what the late night doorbell means. Her husband had suffered a massive heart attack and died aboard the carrier. She was grief ridden but reasoned that the apparition had been a hallucination born of the stress of having a spouse deployed. Besides with his head shaved, he didn’t even look that familiar.
Her mother and mother-in-law flew out immediately to plan for the funeral and receive the body. She stayed strong until the first viewing of the body. Her lifeless husband was bald. In a letter from his NFO the shaved head was explained as the result of a lost bet. There had been no way of knowing that his head had been shaved and my mom suffered a minor mental break.
11. Silhouette in the Night
My girlfriend and I were visiting my sister, who lived in a 200-year-old home in western MA that used to be a brothel. We were staying in her guest room, which recently had new carpet installed that was rather tall and stiff. This made it quite difficult to open and shut the door. I recall using my body weight to force it shut and needing to yank it open. As I’m trying to fall asleep, I hear something bump the door from the hallway. I assume this is my sister, her boyfriend, or their dog. A few minutes later I hear something at the door again, but this time the knob turns. I freeze as I see the knob slowly turn and the door begins to open until I see a shape resembling the silhouette of a young girl. The only child in the house is an infant. I immediately roll over onto my side, close my eyes, and attempt to convince myself that what I saw was the silhouette of the dog. I don’t mention this to my girlfriend or my sister, because I don’t want to alarm anyone.
Fast-forward a few months, my girlfriend and I are returning to western MA to attend my sister’s wedding and we will be staying in the same room. On the plane, my girlfriend says “I have something I feel I should tell you about your sister’s house.” I immediately know where she’s going with this. As it turns out, she was awake when the door opened, but she got a better look then I. She describes seeing a girl of about 5 or 6 wearing a victorian-styled night gown open the door and stare her in the eyes with a penetrating intensity before my girlfriend looked away.
I tell her my story and we decide to make sure we drink enough to pass out every night so we won’t be awake if we are “visited.”
12. All the Pictures
I was watching my parents’ dog while they were out of town. My sister passed away in their house about a year prior. While I was there, I witnessed a picture of her fall off the wall. Then I discovered that EVERY picture of her in the house had fallen off the wall, seemingly at the same time. (They didn’t keep many pictures up in general, so it was only four different pictures.) I chalked it up to something shaking the house, even though we live in Ohio and I felt nothing.
I went home to my apartment. Face up on my desk was a picture of my sister and me that I knew I had packed away. I don’t believe in things like this but this occurred at a time where I was still very much actively grieving the loss of my sister and it hit me hard. Still can’t explain it.
13. Late Night Snacks
Making toast late one night facing the kitchen bench eating for a good 5-10mins. Cleaned up and turned around and every single cupboard door and cutlery drawer were open. They were all closed when I went into the kitchen, and there was no way anyone could have snuck in and done it because I was home alone. I also didn’t hear them open in the time I was there. Scared the shit out of me so I froze, let it register for a few seconds, then calmly closed everything and went back to my room to hide until daylight. One of a few weird things to happen growing up.
14. “I Don’t Feel Good”
I used to work as a 911 operator in a relatively large metro area. One night at about 3 am or so I answered a call from an elderly lady who said she didn’t feel good. I tried to get more info about what was wrong, chest pain, trouble breathing, headache, is she diabetic etc. I got her address and phone number, she said no one else was home but the door was unlocked so they could go in. No matter what else I asked about what was wrong, all she would say is “I don’t feel good, can you please send someone to help me?”
After a few min she said “I’m gonna put the phone down for a minute, I need to go to the bathroom.” I tried to get her to stay on the line with me, told her she can do whatever she needs to get ready but I’d like to be able to stay in contact in case there’s a problem. She said “I’m gonna put the phone down, I’ll just be a minute.”
A couple min passed, then the fire department called on scene so I just disconnected and didn’t think much about it. Told them the patient advised front door is unlocked and she was in the bathroom. A couple more min and the one of the firefighters called over the air with a weird tone and said “Fire alarm (which is how they addressed dispatch)…uh how exactly was this called received?” I told them call was first party from the patient’s home phone approx 8 min ago. He didn’t respond over the air, but called the desk from his cell phone, which usually only happens when something weird is going on that they don’t want broadcasted since anyone can listen to the radios.
On the phone he said “are you sure this wasn’t a third party call from a family member or something?” I said “negative, caller advised ‘I don’t feel good’ and said no one else was home, so to the best of my knowledge, the caller is the patient…have you made contact?” He said “yea, she was in the bathroom like you said, but she’s been dead for about 12 hours. Cold to the touch, fully livid, full rigor, we’re gonna need a deputy out here.”
Afterwards, we pulled the tapes of the radio and phone calls and checked the timestamps, address, phone number, and went over everything a few times to see if I missed something. I called them back in the morning after the shift to see if they had any more info, but they were just as weirded out as we were. The phone was in the living room and the patient was in the bathroom, but the call was definitely from that phone.
15. The Nurse
When I was young (probably around 8-10), I caught chickenpox. I woke up in the middle of the night one night, and called for my mom, because little kids can’t do anything for themselves when they’re sick.
A woman came into my bedroom and sat on my bed and stroked my hair until I fell asleep. For whatever reason, I thought it was my grandmother, but she was dressed funny.
When I woke up the next morning, I went downstairs for breakfast, and asked where my grandma was, and (naturally) my mom told me that she was at her house, like she always was. I told my mom she’d been in my room the night before, and my mom laughed and said that I’d just been dreaming.
However, my aunt (who tended to believe that sort of thing more)was babysitting me that day (the upside to chicken pox meant there was no school for me) and I told her the story. She asked me to describe the weird outfit, and it was a nurse’s outfit from the 50’s/early 60’s. My family knew the previous owners of the house. The wife was a nurse in the fifties, and had died a few months previously.
Can I say with 100% certainty that I had an encounter with a spirit? No. But it’s certainly a spooky coincidence.
16. Aboriginal Spirit
Not me but my twin brother, we were around 6 years old, and in central Australia with our dad and older brother. We were doing some nature walk and he fell back a bit. He then screams and runs and catches up. He told my dad he had seen something.
Later that day we were in the town nearby and my twin pointed at a painting in an art gallery and said that the figure in it was what he had seen.
My dad went in to the gallery and asked the person at the counter what the figure in the painting was, and they said it is an Aboriginal spirit that takes children who wander too far from the camp or family.
17. The Swinging Noose
I was in Girl Guides for years when I was younger and we’d often take trips around the area. This particular trip we went to Ottawa and were staying in the old city jail which had been converted to a hostel. They have this promotion type thing where if you can stay the entire night on the top floor (which was death row, waiting to walk down the hall to the noose and trapdoor) you don’t have to pay. We didn’t do that, we were on one of the lower floors as we were all 10-14. But we did do a full guided tour of the jail, which took us down death row to the hanging tower. They had the actual trap door fenced so no one would fall through the three-story hole, and even had a recreation noose hanging over it.
The tour guide was really enjoying turning up the spooky factor for this group of easily frightened giggling girls, so as he was explaining the trapdoor he gave the noose a nudge so it chillingly swung back and forth. Moving on to the courtyard everyone was filing down the stairs and I hung back a few seconds. I really wanted to get a shot of the tower but was using a crappy old camera with real film. I had to wait for the noose to stop moving or else the shot would have an ugly blur in the middle. By the time it is finally still I’m alone on the floor but can hear others in the stairwell beneath me.
Feeling a bit nervous (what with the atmosphere and all), I started rushing a little to get the picture. Just as I was pulling the lens away from my eye, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I jumped and figured I was about to get yelled at for straggling behind. Spun around and just about screamed when I saw no one there. Basically throwing myself down the stairs I didn’t stop shaking until I was in the middle of the group surrounded on all sides by friends completely ignorant to what I just experienced. When I did tell them later that night back in the cell that was our hostel room, they all thought I was full of shit trying to scare them (no blame there, I would have assumed the same if someone else said it).
When I did tell them later that night back in the cell that was our hostel room, they all thought I was full of shit trying to scare them (no blame there, I would have assumed the same if someone else said it). By the next day I had pretty much forgotten about it, convincing myself it was probably just my imagination running overboard. I didn’t even really think about it again until I got the pictures developed. Swear to god, in the shot I took of the noose and trapdoor there is a black outline of a head and shoulders, as if someone was standing right in front of me. I was completely alone at the top of the tower at the time, and the angle doesn’t even make sense how someone could be there.
What did I do with the picture? In typical 13-year-old girl fashion, I made a scrap book page with it. Cut the edges with crazy scissors and with big black foam letters wrote “GHOSTS”. My parents still have it somewhere buried with all my other childhood creations.
18. The Night Visitor
A lot of weird incidents happened at the house I grew up in – stuff moving on its own or turning on or off by itself. A couple friends who came over claimed to see figures or experience their own things. But one of the most memorable things happened when I was in high school.
One night I was sleeping and woke up when my bedroom door opened. I saw the silhouette of a person moving around my room, looking like it was rummaging around near my dresser. I assumed it was my mom dropping off a late load of laundry for some reason.
Anyways, a few seconds later the figure seemed to disappear into my wall, but I was still pretty sleepy and figured I just hadn’t seen my mom walk back out my door in the dark.
The next morning, my mom asked me if I had gotten up in the middle of the night for any reason. I said no and asked why. She told me she’d seen my bedroom door open from her room, but she never saw anyone go in or come out.
Usually, these incidents happened to me or my brother when we were alone and there was no one else around to witness them. This was one of the few times when more than one of us saw something happen, so it was kind of weird to have one of my experiences sort of validated by someone else.
19. The Other Daughter
I was annoyed with my daughter because she hadn’t cleaned her room in weeks so when I walked by her room and saw her standing there, I assumed she was doing what I said. A few minutes later, she walked out of the shower in the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and asked why I was looking at her strangely. When I asked her who was in her room, she looked scared, too. I never figured out who that was but they didn’t clean up the room, either.
20. The Grey Man
I lived in a house in Yorktown, Virginia, right where the battlefields probably were. The house was creepy, the yard was creepy, and the woods behind the house were creepy. I used to sleep on my brother’s bedroom floor and sometimes in my sister’s bed because it was so creepy. I ALWAYS felt some weird presence around me; I wouldn’t say it was evil, but I couldn’t tell if it was good either.
Well, one night when I was 10/11 I was sleeping on my brother’s floor. I woke up from a dream about a gas station. I remember feeling kind of weird. About 30 seconds to a minute after I woke up (I’m 99.9% certain I was awake), I saw a man appear in the doorway. He stood there for what felt like an hour. He stared at me, dressed in old-fashioned clothing and a hat. He was completely white and grey, and a bit translucent. He eventually turned around and walked out the doorway. I saw him disappear. I ran into my sister’s room and woke her up. After seeing a picture of my Grandfather I never had the opportunity to meet, I think it might be him.
She didn’t believe me, but a few months later she did. I was at a friend’s sleepover and she had a friend at our house. Her friend was awoken by a little boy who apparently looked like me. The boy apparently said he was scared. My sister’s friend told my sister the boy was bugging her. My sister looked over, telling (the boy) to go back to my bed. It wasn’t until the morning she discovered I wasn’t there the night before.
21. Unknown Number
Until a few years ago I still had an old slider phone. One day I got a random call asking for some girl named Sarah, I told them they had the wrong number and they intermediately hung up. For the next few months I would get these calls asking for Sarah about once or twice a week coming from different numbers and different sounding people. Sometimes these calls came at 3 in the morning, well one day I got a call and like usual I said I didn’t know Sarah, and after they hung up I went to my contacts and hit redial, after I did the machine took over and said that number did not exist. I went back through my call history trying to call some other people that had called me with the same result, a machine telling me the number did not exist.
Every time I would get these calls I would redial the number and still got the machine. I googled the numbers but all I learned is they were coming from North Dakota, Montana, basically everywhere in the Midwest which isn’t all that weird because I live there. I started wondering what was going on so the next time I got a call asking for Sarah I said “oh yeah, she is right here” and the other person on the other end said “no she isn’t” and hung up.
Then things started getting weird when I started getting calls from “unknown” numbers calling me. Whoever or whatever on the other end hanging up the second I said hello. The creepiest one I ever got was from a call I got where they didn’t hang up after I said hello, I could hear someone was on the other end just listening but they didn’t say anything, just something really uneasy about it.
Eventually, I switched phones and got a smart phone and I immediately stopped getting calls, I haven’t gotten a single random call in about 3 years now despite the fact I still have my old number from the old phone.
Read more from Strange Tales
You may also enjoy these stories: