August 22, 2023 | Chameleon

Stranger Than Fiction: These Real Explanations Are More Haunting Than Ghosts

Many people will agree that, even if you don’t believe in ghosts, certain experiences truly seem paranormal. Sometimes, it seems like no other explanation is possible; but maybe there is an even more frightening possibility that our nervous brains simply do not want to consider. Not all rational explanations are desirable ones. 

From ghosts turning out to be intruders or squatters, demon possessions turning out to be real medical conditions, and monsters turning out to be—well, human monsters, these Redditors share stories about times when the truth was both stranger, scarier, and often more dangerous than fiction.

1. Twilight Tentacle

When I was eight, we were on a long holiday staying with family in Australia. I was staying in their son's room, as he had moved to Brisbane for university. Each night, I had the same recurring nightmare of an alien tentacle trying to grab me. After a week, I was terrified of going to sleep, but my parents kept telling me that it was okay and that I was just frightened because we were staying somewhere new.

One night, I couldn't get to sleep because I was so afraid; I kept watching the clock, waiting for the sun to come up and feeling terrified of the alien. It was just after 2:00 AM when a large tentacle landed on the bed! I screamed in terror as I felt the tentacle wriggling, and then I jumped out of bed and kept screaming.

My parents, aunt, uncle, and sister ran into the room, to find me huddled in the corner, screaming. It turns out that the “alien tentacle” was actually an adult carpet python over two meters long (6.5ft). Each night, it worked its way under a ceiling tile and onto the bed. I still have an Indiana Jones fear of snakes—why'd it have to be snakes?!

Two scared people split image

2. Invisible Charge

I had a friend who was staying at a ski lodge, and he went outside at night to smoke on the deck. When he came back in, he looked like he’d seen a ghost. He told us that while he was out there, it had seemed like an invisible monster was coming right at him! He heard it stomping, even smelled it, and felt its breath as it charged him—and then it passed through him and it was gone!

It turns out it was a grizzly bear, stomping its way around on the ground directly underneath where he had been.

House Mormont factsPixabay

3. Preemptive Premonition

One day, an experienced firefighter chief was trying to put out a kitchen fire. At first, it didn’t seem too bad, but after a little while, he got a really bad gut feeling that he couldn't place. He decided to listen to his gut and told his crew to leave the house. A minute later the kitchen floor, where they had all been standing, collapsed! It turned out that the basement had also been ablaze!

It’s pretty spooky, but in reality, it was likely his sense that the temperature was hotter than it should’ve been for a small kitchen fire.

Paranormal Explained FactsPixabay

4. Spy In A Small Space

About seven years ago, my family rented a house. It was originally one big house that had been split off into two, and there was another family that lived in the other part that we didn't really talk to. During the night, I would hear what sounded like knocks above the ceiling. I knew nothing could be up there because any entrance to the small space between the ceiling and the roof was patched up when the house was divided.

For a while, I thought there was a ghost in the attic, and I had trouble going to sleep without a light on. After we moved out, I heard through the grapevine that the neighbor's kid was caught spying on the new people that moved in! It turns out that he had broken a hole in the ceiling of his closet to get into the attic, and had been spying on the other side of the house through holes that he had bored in the ceiling.

The noises I had heard were him moving around on his hands and knees up there.

Paranormal Explained FactsPixabay

5. Bigfoot Sighting

When I was around 8 or 9, I was playing outside in my back yard when I saw a tall, hairy man watching me from the woods. I ran inside and said "GUYS, GUYS, BIGFOOT! I SAW BIGFOOT!" They didn't believe me. Every time I went outside, I would take a good long look in the woods to see if I could find Bigfoot again—and I saw him four more times!

Then one day, I was walking through the living room and saw Bigfoot on the news! Except, it wasn’t Bigfoot. Apparently he was a kidnapper and creep who was stalking my neighborhood from the woods behind us, which spanned a couple of miles in both directions. I'm sure glad I never had the courage to bring it a snack.

Paranormal Explained FactsPexels

6. Figment Figures

One time when I was younger, I was home alone in our old townhouse. I'd been downstairs in the living room and suddenly felt uncomfortable being down there alone, so I decided to go to my room. I got about halfway up the stairs when I felt this horrible sense of dread and panic. I looked back—and saw a complete silhouette of a man, standing in the corner at the bottom of the steps.

I could feel him looking at me even though I couldn’t see anything where his eyes should have been. I ran up the stairs and locked myself in my room until my mother got home, terrified of the thing I thought was a ghost. It wasn't until years later that I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which explained that experience and a lot of other things that I was seeing and hearing.

I've gotten more used to the things I've seen and heard over the years, and the medication helps immensely. However, I still remember that moment clearly because it scared me so deeply. I'll never forget it.

Paranormal FactsFlickr

7. Abrupt Awakening

One night when I was about 15, I felt as if I was literally thrown out of bed. I woke up as I was falling to the floor, but it wasn't as if I'd simply slid off the side. I had the feeling of being tossed up and over, and I landed a couple of feet away. A few minutes later, after my half-asleep self got back in bed feeling creeped out and wondering if I was about to be possessed by a demon, I began to hear sirens.

Then I saw red and blue lights and fire trucks pass right by my house. It turned out that what "threw" me out of bed that night was the shockwave from a house explosion nearby. A gas leak ignited and then obliterated a house two blocks from mine. 15-year-old me was relieved there were no demons involved.

However, now I have a fear of my house just exploding with me and my whole family inside.

Scariest Things They've Woken Up To factsShutterstock

8. Out Of Order

When I was 13, I had a small jewelry box my mom had given me that had cushions for rings. I had six rings that I kept in it, nothing of value, just mood rings and silver rings. I was somewhat neurotic as a kid and had spent an afternoon arranging my room, and I’d put the six rings in a specific order. I opened the box one day and noticed that two of the rings were out of order.

I thought someone in my family had moved them because there was zero explanation for this. I asked my family if anyone had touched them, and they all insisted no one had opened the box, but I was convinced someone had to have gone through it. My dad ended up going through our entire house checking for missing stuff and, to his surprise, there were other things missing!

An old bottle of hydrocodone from the medicine cabinet and some of my mom’s gold jewelry from a bathroom drawer had been taken. It turns out that there had been strings of robberies in the neighborhood, where thieves had broken in but only taken prescription meds and small gold items. None of the robberies had indications that the homes had been broken into, and things like laptops, diamond jewelry, and other valuables had been left alone.

My family wouldn’t have known anything was amiss if I hadn’t been so convinced that something was off.

Alex Trebek FactsShutterstock

9. Tidy Houseguest

I was 24 and working at a start-up Internet company. I spent a weekend at my parents’ house, then came back to my apartment and went into my bedroom—and noticed that my bed was made. I felt my heart stutter as I stood frozen in the doorway because I never made my bed, it was something I consciously refused to do.

After the initial shock, I went through the apartment examining the closets, under the bed, etc. I calmed down after a while, convincing myself that I must have made the bed before I left for my parents and just forgotten about it. Deep down, I knew it wasn't true but I couldn't think of any other explanation that made sense since I didn’t want to believe in ghosts.

I later found out it had been the woman I was dating at the time who had done it—but it was more sinister than it sounds. She was also the person who hired me. We'd been in a relationship less than a month, but she managed to somehow get a copy of my key. She apparently used to visit my place and snoop through my things when I was gone. She also slept in my bed overnight several times when I was away for the weekend.

If she hadn't made my bed, I never would have known anything weird was going on.

Paranormal Explained FactsWikimedia Commons, CustomMade Ventures

10. Opportunity Presents Itself

When I was about 12, I came home to find the bedroom lights on. If it had just been my bedroom, then it wouldn't have been a problem, but my brother's room lights were also on, and we never leave those lights on. My brother was away in the army, and my mom was at work. I was a little freaked out but tried to rationalize it by deciding that I might have left them on before going out.

Then I turned—and saw a couple of wooden spoons on top of our kitchen cabinet. I knew for a fact that I hadn't left any spoon sitting there. I also didn't recognize those two spoons. That was when I realized that either we had a ghost, or someone had been inside our house. 

Long story short, I had lost my keys a few days prior and my neighbor, who was the same age as I was, found them.

Instead of giving them back, he kept them. During that time, bits of money seemed to go missing in the house, but we didn’t really think much of it. Days later, his mom asked him to deliver something to my mom, but there was no one at home, so he used my lost keys to enter our house. He forgot his mom's wooden spoons there, and if it hadn’t been for that, we would never have found out that he entered our house.

Paranormal Explained FactsPixabay

11. Psychic Pooch

My uncle bought an old house as a fix-up project. If you went up the stairs you had an option to turn right or left. Left led to a series of bedrooms and right had a landing and one bedroom past it. If you took the dog upstairs she would cry and run away if you tried to take her right. My cousin insisted that the bedroom to the right was haunted, which was why it frightened the dog.

Later, we were working on the house and found out that the landing to the right was actually structurally unsafe! To this day we wonder, did the dog know the landing was unsafe somehow, or was there something more sinister at play?

Paranormal FactsPxHere

12. Creepy Cleaning

A friend of my cousin was living in an apartment in San Francisco in the early 90s. One night when she was trying to sleep, she heard loud banging noises coming from upstairs, followed by sounds of washing. The washing noise went on for hours. It was extremely late at night, so she thought it was a little strange. It was an older apartment, so the thought of ghosts crossed her mind, but she quickly dismissed it.

The next morning, she saw her upstairs neighbor going downstairs with large black trash bags. She asked about the noises, but the neighbor claimed he hadn’t heard anything. A few weeks later, she learned the disturbing truth. Her upstairs neighbors had gotten into a dispute culminating in one of them being taken out and dismembered by the other.

The roommate was caught, and the authorities discovered large trash bags of body parts. The incident happened that night when she heard the strange noises.

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

13. Wailing Wraith

A little after I graduated high school, some friends and I were hanging out at a local park after dark. We decided to walk through the woods, just for the spookiness of it. About 20 minutes in, we suddenly heard this loud screaming from behind us. We looked back and could barely see a dark figure rushing towards us at what we would describe as supernatural speed!

We took off and didn't stop running until we were out of the wooded area. A couple of friends claimed it appeared to be floating towards us as it howled like a banshee. We later found out that that area of the woods is popular for homeless people to hang out and party in. So instead of some sort of evil wood spirit, it was most likely a homeless addict running at us at full speed and screaming.

That’s probably scarier.

Urban Legends factsShutterstock

14. Blind Sight

I had a blind dog growing up and she barked at things that were there, and things that weren’t. One night, around midnight, she woke up my mom and me by barking at the wall next to the back door. I was maybe 9, so I went right back to sleep. My mom got up and tried to usher the dog back to bed, but she stubbornly kept barking at a blank wall.

My mom eventually got her to stop, but she felt uneasy and a little creeped out. That same night, an arsonist hit my neighborhood. He set fire to a vacant house for sale and it burned to the ground. By following his footprints in the snow, officers determined that he had subsequently passed between my bedroom and our garage and nearly lit our garage.

Then our dog and my mom woke up, and we think that scared him away, as he went across the street and burned the neighbors’ garage instead. He stood in their front yard and watched it burn. He had then walked out onto the street and they lost his footprints. They never caught him.

Paranormal Explained FactsPikrepo

15. The Man Upstairs

This did not happen to me, but it happened in my city when I was in high school. A family thought that their house was "haunted" because things like furniture and objects would randomly move or go missing. This went on for several months, and they could not figure out what was going on. They even reached out to their pastor to "bless" the house, just in case.

Well, the house wasn't haunted. It turned out that a drifter had wandered in at some point and had been living in their attic! He would come out when the family was at work and eat their food and go through their things for cash and stuff to sell. One day, one of the family members came home unexpectedly and caught him.

Creepy Kids FactsFlickr

16. A Family Matter?

An elderly man who was living alone. His food kept disappearing, and he thought the culprit was his adult son, and that he was just too proud to admit to taking it. To figure it out, the old guy set up a camera to record the kitchen so that he could confront his son with it later. He was watching the tape while eating dinner, and he almost dropped his fork when he saw a cabinet slowly open by itself—which happened to be the cabinet right next to him!

He stared at the tape as a lady who looked like she had come straight out of The Grudge crawled out of the cupboard and took food from him. She was apparently living in the crawl space of his home.

Law Enforcement Creepy Calls FactsShutterstock

17. Demon Caught In Headlights

My friend lived up in these pitch-black, windy hills about 20 minutes from any ambient city lights. No traffic stoplights, streetlights - nothing. One night when driving up to visit him, I reached a stop sign. I looked left, no one there, looked right, no one there, so I then proceeded to make a left turn. During the time it took for me to look left, then right, a had man stepped into the street about 10 feet in front of my car!

I immediately slammed on my brakes and he just stood there not moving, my car lights shining directly on him. I slowly just drove around him and he kept facing forward as I passed; he didn’t turn his head at all to look at me. I got to my friend’s house convinced I had seen a ghost, and I was freaking out about it. My friend asked me to describe the man I had seen. Somehow, his explanation was even worse. 

He told me I was describing the bad man who was interested in young kids. He had just moved in down the street after getting out of lock up.

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

18. Mini Guard Dog

I have a little dog that barks at everything. I was watching a scary movie at home alone one night, and my dog ran to the back door and started barking like crazy. Once I got over the initial fear of ghosts, I realized that she probably just needed to go outside. I let her out and she ran straight to a bush in the corner. She kept barking at the bush, so I went out to see what it was, thinking it was probably a cat or squirrel.

There was nothing there though, so I picked her up to take her inside. When I turned to walk back towards the door, I saw a shadow out of the corner of my eye. I then thought that it was definitely a ghost, so I ran inside. I locked myself in my room while my dog continued to bark at the window, but every time I looked out, there was nothing there!

The next day, an officer showed up at my door. A woman next door had been accosted in her backyard the night before, and the house on the other side of mine had been broken into while the people were asleep! The guy hadn’t taken anything, he was just walking around when someone found him. They think the guy used my backyard to get to the two houses.

Paranormal Explained FactsPeakpx

19. Right Place, Right Time

Just last week at 3:00am, I heard noises from outside my window where there is a ledge. Raccoons and cats are very common in my neighborhood, and I hear those kinds of noises all the time, and never think much of it. For some reason though, that night I felt off, so I slowly walked towards my window and slid open the curtains, ever so slightly.

I scanned my view for a good five minutes and saw nothing, and the noise was gone, so I went back to bed. About 15 minutes later, I heard it again. I looked again, still saw nothing, and after telling myself that ghosts weren’t real, I went back to sleep. About 30 minutes later, for some reason, I woke up again and saw flashes of lights through the gap in my curtain, so I went to the window again—and saw five officers outside my yard with their lights turned on.

I went out to see what was going on, and they were arresting a man dressed in all black. It turns out that an off duty officer just happened to be driving past and had spotted this guy lurking and looking into people's homes. Their theory was that he was searching for the house that would be the easiest to break into.

Paranormal Explained FactsPxfuel

20. A Lucky Break

When I was around 11 years old, I would randomly flip out for no reason. We'd be sitting at dinner and my mom told me that, on more than one occasion, I'd throw my silverware across the room and start cursing and hitting my brother. Completely unprovoked, I'd start beating up my 8 and 10-year-old brothers, and one time, I even hit my grandma.

It got to a point where I'd have to eat by myself. The worst part of it was that I'd have no memory of these outbursts at all! I had no idea why my brothers were afraid of me, why I'd have to eat alone every night, and why everyone seemingly hated me. It was an extremely alienating childhood experience, to say the least.

My teachers, friends, and other family members couldn't understand what my family was talking about. To them, I was the sweetest, smartest, and humblest kid they'd ever met. Everyone loved me outside of my home. My mom brought me to a psychologist, a therapist, and at one point, a Catholic Priest. She actually thought I may have shown signs of being possessed by a demon.

She told them I'd "become a different kid in front of their eyes." And, because I had no recollection of anything she'd been talking about and seeing the extent of what she was willing to do to get to the bottom of it, I was inclined to believe her! One day, my dad and I went to the movies, and I fell in the lobby and hit my head, giving myself a nasty concussion.

They did a CAT scan—and they found out that I had a cyst in my head below the arachnoid of my left temporal lobe. The cyst was the size of a baseball and was growing. My brain was being crushed against the right side of my skull and was causing severe damage to my medulla oblongata. We went to a neurologist who took a closer look at my case.

He said that falling and hitting my head was a miracle because I was mere weeks away from dying in my sleep of a hemorrhage. He said I'd need to be in surgery by the end of that week. That was 22 years ago. The doctor saved my life and there were no complications after the surgery. The outbursts completely stopped, and after only one month of recovery, I was back in school and I had gotten on the Honor Roll for the first time in my life.

I was able to fix my relationships with my brothers by being the best brother I could be for them, and for the last two years of my grandma's life, I made sure I told her I loved her every day and never said anything even remotely nasty to her. I was definitely not possessed by a demon.

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

21. Irrational Response

I live in a quiet, residential suburb and there aren't normally many noises past 8 pm. One night, I woke up abruptly and heard a woman's voice, wailing. I thought I was dreaming, or hearing a ghost or a banshee or something. The sounds made my hair stand on end. I got up the courage to peek out the window, but I didn't see anything unusual.

I got back in bed and was about to fall back asleep—when I heard urgent, low voices. I tried to understand them, but it sounded like a guttural, made-up language. My irrational brain immediately jumped to “demons!” Then, I heard a distinct voice say, "just get in the car," a woman grunting, and some sounds of struggling from my backyard.

I immediately thought that there was a woman in trouble, so I threw on some clothes and ran outside. In my yard was a woman writhing on the ground and a man standing above her. I yelled something along the lines of "get away from her you creep!" …and then noticed that he was wearing a uniform. Beside him was his partner, pointing a piece at the writhing woman.

The one with the piece spoke to me in a measured tone. "Ma'am you need to get back inside your house. Stay away from the windows. Don't open that door again until morning." I still don’t know what happened.

Paranormal Events Experienced factsShutterstock

22. Always Change Your Locks

A student in my school said that he and his cousins all slept in one room with five beds aligned in a row and a small set of stairs leading down to the door to exit. The student woke up one night and saw a man standing at the door, but he thought it was a ghost, so he just hid under his covers and eventually fell back asleep.

It happened several more times, but the figure would get closer and closer every night. One night, he woke up because his cousin in the bed farthest from the door was screaming. The man was hovering over her! The man saw them waking up and ran. It turns out that they never changed the locks when they had first moved in.

The man who used to live there had been using his key to come in and watch them.

Unsolved Mysteries FactsPxHere

23. Automotive Apparition

When my friends and I started college, we used to chill a lot at my friend's dad's house, who lived out in the country. Late at night, when scanning the horizon, you could see nothing but millions of stars and a radio tower, which was perhaps a few miles away. One night, we decided to drive out to the radio tower, just out of curiosity.

It was in the middle of a large field with one entrance, which happened to be open. We entered from there and drove about 1/4 mile in towards the radio tower, over the bumpy field. When we got there, we noticed a rusty, beat-up car at the base of the tower. The thing looked like it hadn't been driven in years. We pulled to the other side of the tower and just chilled for a little bit, talking about whatever and listening to music.

Then one of my friends pointed towards the beat-up car. "Does it look like there's a light in there?" he said. We all stared at the car and sure enough, emanating from behind the dust-covered windows of the car, was a dim light. We joked around about car ghosts, but also decided it was time to go. As we were driving back over the bumpy field, the same friend who had pointed out the light noticed that the car had started moving along with us, following slowly!

It didn't put on its headlights, but the light inside the car seemed to glow brighter. That was the moment that my friend driving floored it and hightailed it faster than I'd ever seen. We left the junk car in the dust, literally in this case. A few years later, we found out that the field was regularly being monitored by the local sheriff's office due to the big drug deals that apparently went down there.

Had we stuck around any longer that night than we did, we could have legitimately been ended.

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

24. Real-Life Monster

When I was 10, I knew a kid who lived alone with his father up a dirt road in the middle of the woods. We were pretty good friends one summer, but everyone in our area thought the dad was really weird. Among the younger kids, there were rumors that his dad was a monster or a zombie or something. For one, he smelled awful and had the rankest carrion-breath.

Also, he would stare at the kids a lot, and we all figured that he was imagining eating our brains. When I was 14 years old, we found out some information that made my blood run cold. My friend was NOT the guy's son; the creepy guy had in fact kidnapped him when he was 7 or so and had kept him captive up in the woods!

My friend also turned 14 when I did, which apparently was too old to be appealing to the creepy "Dad," who promptly kidnapped ANOTHER little boy from a town about 70 miles away and brought him back to the cabin, where he lived with my friend. Apparently, “Dad” had even tried to pay another teenager I knew to take my friend out into the woods and kill him so that he could be alone with his new victim, who was I think five years old.

My friend had been brainwashed for seven years and told that his parents didn't want him anymore and had given him to the creepy guy to adopt. When he saw the new victim though, he snapped out of it and knew he had to do something. So, he waited until the creep went to work, grabbed the little boy, and hitchhiked/walked about 40 miles to the nearest precinct, saving the kid from a terrible fate.

He ended up going back to the family he'd been taken from 7 years before, who welcomed him back with open arms. So, the creepy, smelly old weirdo really WAS a monster. He passed in lockup.

Acts of Generosity FactsShutterstock

25. A Plea for Help

At about three in the morning one night, I kept hearing thuds and moaning sounds from above me. I lived in some sketchy old apartments and that wasn't the first time I had heard stuff like that. Other paranormal things had happened before, like doors slamming shut on their own and stuff getting knocked over, so I didn't think much of it…until the next morning when there was a sea of officers outside.

The sounds I heard had not been paranormal at all... they had been made by the tenant above me as he bled out on the floor. He had been pounding it, trying to get someone's attention. He had been impaled in the throat with a screwdriver over a deal, and that's why all he could do was moan.

Scariest Things They've Woken Up To factsShutterstock

26. Cat-nap Bandit

When I was with my ex, we lived with his parents for a bit in a kind of “granny flat” above their garage. I'd often take naps through the day while he was at work, and stuff would inexplicably move around or go missing while I was asleep. It never happened when he was home or when I was awake. I was convinced the place was haunted and that whatever spirit it was had it out for me.

It turns out that his dad was coming in and moving things around or stealing things, with the intention of making it look like I was nuts. I guess he hoped I would be discredited when I spoke out against his abusive son and left him.

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

27. Hungry Ghosts

I was seven years old and home alone. My parents had gone for dinner at around 9 PM and I couldn't sleep, so I went downstairs to get some milk and cookies. While I was getting my snacks, I suddenly felt a hand grab my shoulder and squeeze, hard. I was so scared I couldn't even turn around to check who—or what—had done it.

I stayed there, frozen, for at least one minute straight; then, finally, I found the guts to run to my parent's bedroom. I locked myself in there and didn't come out until my parents came home. It was 3:00AM and I heard my parent's car park outside the window. I had never been so happy for them to come home! As soon my parents got in the house, my mom screamed and called 9-1-1.

The thing I thought was a ghost was actually an addict who had been secretly living in our basement. That night, I guess he thought nobody was home, so he went grab some snacks from the fridge too, confused my shoulder with the fridge's door, and then passed out. Still freaks me out to this day.

Creepy Stories FactsShutterstock

28. Follow Your Nose

I came home one day and immediately noticed a nasty smell; it sort of smelled like vehicle exhaust. I recall describing it smelling as if someone had revved a motorcycle indoors. dad stared at me funny because he couldn't smell a thing. The smell was very much localized to downstairs, and so I generally started staying upstairs—any time I went down I would shove open a window as it would stop the smell.

My dad kept grumbling that I was making the house cold and there was no smell, so I started thinking that I was going nuts, or that there was something bad down there, like a demon, since according to TV shows, they can create bad smells. I kept dreaming that I was going to be in trouble for lying, or locked up for being a nutcase.

A week and a half went by, and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I honestly begged my dad to just check. He finally opted to humor me, walked into the cupboard under the stairs—and then ran back out, straight to the phone. He had finally smelled it. Gas leak. There had been a slow gas leak for a week and a half, and our furnace's pilot light doesn't turn off, so it could have easily blown up at any time.

It would have ended us and taken out part of the street, most likely.

That Kid In School FactsShutterstock

29. Smile! You’re on Creepy Camera

One night when I was 15 years old, I had just arrived home from work, so I went to my bedroom on the second floor to change out of my work clothes and get ready for bed. I was in the middle of undressing when I looked to my bedroom window to see my reflection...but instead, I saw a man's face! I staggered backward, and dropped to the floor, searching wildly around my room for a ghost or a man, whatever had made the reflection.

I saw nothing in my room, so I scrambled to get dressed, still watching the window. The face was gone, and just as I was thinking I must have imagined it, I saw something else at the window: a camera. A camera pointed at me sitting on the floor. I bolted from my room and told my mom and brother. My brother went outside—and our ladder from the backyard was lying there under my window.

We never did find the guy. I couldn't sleep for a year after that.

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

30. A Shocking Explanation

One night, I was with my whole family in our camp trailer at a sweet little place with full hook-ups. It was late, the kids were asleep, and the campground was totally quiet. As my wife and I chatted, a flash of light no bigger than my thumbnail lit the whole trailer up in a smoky blue flash, leaving a strange smell after it faded. My wife and I jumped up in surprise, certain it was some kind of paranormal occurrence.

I went outside to find an explanation, but I sensed nothing except that odor in the total darkness. We found out what happened the next morning. Apparently, lightning struck a power transformer three miles away from us. The surge finally grounded out right next to our trailer, which caused the flash and the smell.

Paranormal Explained FactsPixabay

31. Peacock Pandemonium

My mom lives in Mexico close to the Texas border and the Gulf of Mexico. There is a lot of brutality in her neighborhood, shoot-outs, people hanged on the bridge with no heads, things like that. I went to visit her for about three months. One day, I was home alone and I went outside to feed mom’s two cats. It was already dark, so I was on my guard—and then out of nowhere, I heard these really loud screams.

I got so scared because I thought it was La Llorona, a ghostly woman who takes children and drowns them in the river where her sons drowned. I went back inside and put my earphones on so I couldn’t hear the noise. The next day, I only went outside to feed the cats, and I didn't hear anything. But at night when I fed the cats, I saw the Mexican authorities pass in front of my mom’s house—it was a routine check-up on the neighborhood.

Then, the sounds started again. The officers didn’t even react. At this point, I thought someone was getting kidnapped and the Mexican army was just turning a blind eye, which is very common here. I was even more scared. When my mom came back, I told her what had happened, and about the really loud screaming noises.

To my surprise, she started laughing at me and told me that a rich guy who lived at the end of the neighborhood owned a ranch, and that he had peacocks that made loud sounds at night. I’m not sure if all the sounds I heard were the peacocks, but I sure hope they were.

Surrounded by Idiots FactsShutterstock

32. Rat Threesome

This happened around seven months ago before my older brother moved out of the house. His room was upstairs. When he was out with his friends, I heard footsteps from his room. They didn't sound like an animal’s footsteps, they sounded like an actual person was walking around. This went on until I gained enough courage to go upstairs with my bat.

When I got up there, I pinpointed the noises; they were coming from under his futon. Holding my bat ready, half expecting to encounter a ghost or an intruder, I looked under it—and saw three enormous rats. One was sniffing the ground, while one was apparently in love with the third one. The one sniffing the ground saw me and chased me down the stairs.

I closed the door to my room and decided to stay up the rest of the night, with my bat at the ready, in case one of them decided to try to fit under my door.

Lost Crush FactsShutterstock

33. Out of the Frying Pan…

A few friends and I ventured into a huge abandoned psychiatric facility one night to hang out on the roof. We had been there before, and it was always a relatively docile experience. Everything went as planned but, as we were leaving, some of the ladies and I got separated from the rest of our group. The building was enormous and had been abandoned for a few decades, and we didn’t know where we were.

We couldn’t call for help since there was absolutely no service. Suddenly, we started hearing terrifying noises. It sounded like loud noises and shouting, or some ghost of a long-gone patient! We were freaking out but finally, after 10 minutes of frantic searching, we reconnected with the rest of our group and exited the asbestos-filled nightmare.

Once we left, we discovered the origin of all the noise; dozens of balaclava covered, rough-looking people partying, drinking around fires, holding defenses and speaking Spanish. They immediately started yelling at us and we took off running. It wasn't until I got home that I found out that apparently the place was a hangout and dumping ground for gangs in the area.

Safe to say I never went back there again!

Insane Asylums FactsGetty Images

34. Bricks Under the Bed

In South Africa, there is a malevolent spirit called a tokoloshe that spirits away children that have done wrong. He is similar to the boogeymen in Western culture. We had to put bricks under our beds to raise them up so that the tokoloshe couldn’t reach us, and be good so he didn’t need to. I lived in terror. Well, it turns out the legend actually had a basis in scientific fact.

Oxygen rises above carbon dioxide in confined spaces, so the people sleeping on the floor in the wood-heated rondavels could die—but the people who had elevated their beds with bricks would survive. It’s scary that so many people passed that there was a legend created to help avoid it!

Paranormal Explained FactsFlickr

35. When Homeless Men Fly

At one of my first fast-food jobs, we kept hearing banging and shuffling in the ceiling, but it was an older building and we'd been having pre-hurricane winds, so we thought it was just the wind. We had been joking around that maybe we had a ghost because before the restaurant was a restaurant, it had been a dry cleaner’s and there had been a fatal incident.

I didn’t really believe it, but the more the banging continued, the more freaked out I started to feel. Then, one day, the ceiling above the kitchens collapsed and a homeless man fell through! He was tipsy and belligerent and nearly impaled someone with a bagel blade before the authorities arrived.

Nurses Ghost Stories FactsPixabay

36. Purloined Pajamas

I accidentally lost my husband’s keys one day to our first house, which was just a beat-up former small office building next to a restaurant. We got the rent there super cheap because the restaurant owner was our landlord and stored extra restaurant equipment in the second bedroom. Eventually, I started noticing food and other little things going missing here and there.

A cereal box I had just opened would suddenly be almost empty; I'd bring home four cans of ravioli and when I'd go to cook it, there would only be two. It was pretty noticeable since we had barely any money and couldn't afford much food.  I just assumed my husband had eaten it or I had somehow gotten less than I thought, until one day.

I brought groceries home and put them away while he was at work out of town all day. I ran a couple of errands, and when I came back, some of the food I had just bought was gone! Thinking we either had a hungry ghost or someone was breaking in, I told my husband and we scraped the money together to change our locks. No more food or anything went missing after that.

The mystery was finally solved later when I saw one of our neighborhood homeless men riding his bike up our road—in my Marvel pajama pants that had gone missing about a week before we changed the locks. Very distinctive comic book panel pants. I still get chills thinking about it.

Paranormal Explained FactsFlickr

37. Not So Good Fellas

When I was younger, I used to think my family was cursed. Maybe it was how superstitiously I was raised, or maybe I had just seen Practical Magic one too many times, but it seemed a pretty natural explanation at the time. We were cursed because there were no men in the family. Of course, there had been men at one point, but they all disappeared.

Us kids never got details, but we would get the memo at the next family gathering that one of our uncles or fathers had gone missing. Strangely, there was never a funeral, a search, or a divorce. They were just "missing." Before long, there were NO men whatsoever. So I just assumed it was a curse; no men were born into the family, and the ones who married into it all went missing.

Years later, when I was about 15, my mom made a stunning confession. She told me that she used to be in the mafia. That was a shock, but it would have been fine if that was the end of it. As it turns out, she wasn't the only one. Almost every person I am related to was involved in one way or another. That's why there were no men in my family.

Eight unexplained disappearances over a period of just a few years, all never seen or heard from again, all presumed unalive, and all involved with the mafia. I think it's safe to assume that a curse is no longer the leading cause of demise. What makes it really scary is that I have reason to suspect that some of my family members are still involved to this day.

Anna May Wong FactsShutterstock

38. Peeping Ghost

A previous owner had passed in one of my childhood homes. Strange things happened there that drove us (and my dog) absolutely nuts, but it became exceptionally creepy when my sister, who was sleeping in the basement apartment, began insisting that somebody was watching her at night. No matter how many times we checked the house to make sure that nobody was there, she claimed that she still couldn’t shake the feeling of eyes on her.

Chillingly, we later found an old camera hidden in the walls and learned that said previous owner had actually been booked for spying on the girl who had rented his basement apartment.

Paranormal Explained FactsPxfuel

39. Ghost On Guard

As a young kid, I had nightmares of waking up to see my mother hovering over my bed by the window. She would just blankly stare down at my sister and me. I'd get so scared, because even when I yelled, “Mom! mom!” she never responded. I knew it was not "my mom." When I was older, I told my aunt about the dreams and she told me that they weren't dreams. It was real.

My mom would go into our rooms randomly to check on us, as any mom would, but there was a dark side to it. She had serious mental health issues that got worse over the years. Occasionally she would have episodes of anxiety over something happening to us, and she would "guard" us at night. The loss of her first child apparently triggered obsessive anxiety when we were younger.

I can sympathize, but I still shudder when I think of that blank-faced stare. I still tend to associate the "nightmare mom" as not being "my mom."

Paranormal Explained FactsShutterstock

Sources:  Reddit,


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