I have never seen anything I thought was potentially paranormal, and I definitely don’t believe in ghosts. But I also do my best not to shoot down other people’s experiences based on what I think is true. There are plenty of reasons things might go bump in the night, but some of these AskReddit stories are a little more, well, paranormal than fits into my world view. Creepy? Definitely.
1. “I know I’d come back from Heaven for a slice of that cake.”
My grandfather and I shared birthdays (two days apart) and both loved chocolate cake. My mom learned her mom’s recipe, which was passed down from her mom, so I guess I inherited the 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 out of 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 is 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!” The smell went away.
Now, whether it was my grandfather’s ghost visiting my mom or 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.
2. Seeing Spirits
When my twin brother and I were around six years old, we went 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 their family.
3. Man in the Mirror
Sharing this on behalf of my partner.
When he was about four 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 fully matched the description of the man my partner saw in the mirror.
When his parents found out, they moved out of the house a month later.
4. “She’s still there”
When I was about 14, I was staying up way too late on the computer. It was about 1:00 or 2:00 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 moped 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 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 80s, a guy was renting out the house. He was arrested under suspicion of the kidnappings, rapes, and disappearances of a bunch of kids in the area and the suspected murder of his wife. They never found her, and, according to him, she ran away. Cadaver dogs went over the farm but never found anything. The cops must not have done a thorough job 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 her spirit is still there, though.
Related: 10 People Share Their Creepiest Childhood Encounters with the Paranormal
One night, I was alone 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 of the steps, I didn’t recognize these. The footsteps stopped before the bottom of the stairs, so I called out saying, oh haha, so 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. 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, 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.
6. Haunted House
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.
A few seconds later, the figure seemed to disappear into my wall. 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.
7. Pictures off the Wall
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.
Related: 8 Creepy Paranormal Book Excerpts That Will Chill You to Your Core
8. Open Up…
I was making toast late one night, facing the kitchen bench. I sat there eating for a good five to ten minutes. When I cleaned up and turned around, 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. It scared the crap 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.
My grandma's is a very stereotypical horror movie house–-small Midwest town, white, old-looking farm, and she even has a chipped wooden nativity in the front yard. The worst is she has a cemetery about a half mile down the road.
Anyways, I used to sleep in my aunt's old room in the corner of the top floor. It always 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 to stay in her room.
Well, about 10 years later during Thanksgiving, my mom, aunt, and I were talking about how creepy grandma's 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. Completely freaked me out.
10. A Haunting in Japan
We lived in Okinawa for a while a few years ago. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I can’t otherwise explain 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 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.
Related: 5 Seriously Creepy Real-Life Ghost Stories
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 ‘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. 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 it might at least ease the tension I felt there.
The absolute breaking point came when one of my kids ran screaming out of his bed one night. I found them huddled in a 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.
11. Voicemail from Beyond
Around 10 years ago, my grandmother 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.
My father's birthday was about a month after my mémère’s funeral, and he was working the night before his birthday into the morning hours of it, as usual. My mother and I were up late around 2:00 am, 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 6:00 or 7:00 A.M. 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 since they had a pretty strained relationship. She finished the message with a quick happy birthday song and a line from his favorite lullaby 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.
This story was first published on did you know?
The Eerie, Sad Remains of the Climbers Who Went up Mount Everest, But Never Came Down
Couple Makes a Horror Trailer to Reveal Their New Baby’s Gender
Shakespeare Invented Swagger … And a Ton of Other Words We Use All the Time
Featured photo: The Dark Veil † / Flickr (CC); Additional photos: Christine Cavalier / Flickr (CC); Dovydas Čiomėnas / Flickr (CC); Jamesy Pena / Flickr (CC); William Gantz / Flickr (CC)