27 ‘Paranormal Experiences’ Whose Real Life Explanations Are Way Creepier

***

There was one time when I was younger that I was home alone in mine and my mother’s 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 get about half way up the stairs when I feel this horrible sense of dread and panic and I look back and see this complete silhouette of a man, complete from head to toe, standing in the corner at the bottom of the steps. I could feel him looking at me even though there were no eyes. I ran up the stairs and locked myself in my room until my mother got home.

Wasn’t until years later that I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which explained that happening and a lot of other things I was going through, seeing/hearing. I’ve gotten more used to the things I’ve seen and heard over the years, and the medication helps IMMENSELY. But I remember that moment SO clearly because it scared me so deeply. I’ll never forget it.

***

When I was 8 we were on a long holiday, staying with some family in a town called Surat it’s in country Queensland, Australia. I was staying in their son’s room who 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, I was just frightened because we were staying somewhere new and that it would be okay. Well I couldn’t get to sleep, I kept watching the clock, waiting for the sun to come up and terrified of the alien. It was just after 2:00AM when a large tentacle landed on the bed, I screamed in terror as I felt the tentacle wriggling, I jumped out of bed and kept screaming. My parents, aunt, uncle, and sister run into the room, to find me huddled in the corner screaming. Turns out it was an adult carpet python over 2 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???

***

My mother tells a story like this. Only it was Florida in the 50s and a 6 foot black snake. It was crawling into bed with her at night for the warmth. She’d feel it and scream. She correctly identified it as a snake. But when her parents would turn on the light and tear the bed apart, it was never there. This went on for several nights.

Turns out the commotion would make it run and hide in the closet while they were tearing the bed apart. No one believed her until their dachshund finally caught it in the closet and killed it.

***

I had a friend who was staying at a ski lodge, and he went outside at night to smoke a cigarette. While he was out there he said it seemed like an invisible monster was coming right at him. He heard it stomping, even smelled it, felt it’s breath as it charged him, and then it passed through him and it was gone.

Turns out it was a grizzly bear, stomping it’s way around on the floor directly underneath where he was.

***

A previous owner had died 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.

We later found an old camera hidden in the walls and learned that said previous owner was arrested for spying on the girl who rented his basement apartment …

***

About 7 years ago, my family rented a one story house. It was originally one bigger house that was split off into two, and there was another family that lived in the other part that we didn’t really talk with. During the night, I would hear what sounded like knocks above the ceiling, but any entrance to the small “crawlspace” between the ceiling and the roof was patched up when the house was divided. For a while, I thought there was a ghost who lived in the “attic”, and I would have 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. Turns out that he had broken a hole in the ceiling of his closet to get into the crawlspace and had been looking through holes that he had bored in the ceiling overlooking the other part of the house. The noises I heard was him moving around on him arms and knees up there.

***

As a young kid, I had “nightmares” of waking up to see my mother hovering over my bed by the window. She just blankly stared down at me and my sister. I’d get so scared yelling Mom! Mom! and she never responded. It knew it was not “my mom.” When I was older I told my Aunt about it and she told me they weren’t dreams. It was real. My mom would go into our rooms randomly to check on us. She had serious mental health issues that got worse over the years. Occasionally she would have episodes of anxiety of something happening to us and “guard” us at night.

Due to the traumatic death of her 1st child it apparently triggered obsessive anxiety when we were younger. I now know the whole fucked up backstory and can sympathize with why it would make any parent get to that mental state but I still shudder when I think of the blank face stare. I still tend to associate the “nightmare mom” as not being “my mom.”

***

I came home from work. Opened the door and took my shoes off. My dad was standing maybe 10 or 12 feet away from the front entrance area in the middle of the hall. He was just staring at me. No emotion. No movement. No sounds. Just staring. Something felt off so I called out to him. He didn’t respond. So I kept calling out to him. At this point, in my head, I’m starting to come up with ways to kill him if I had to. This goes on for an uncomfortably long time. And I’m just standing there looking back at him. Then all of a sudden he busts out laughing. That shit was just screwing with me. I freaking hate my family sometimes.

***

When I was 13, I had a small jewelry box my mom gave me that had cushions for rings. I had six rings that I kept in it (nothing of value, think 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 the only missing things were an old bottle of hydrocodone from the medicine cabinet and some of my mom’s gold jewelry from a bathroom drawer.

Turns out there had been strings of robberies in the neighborhood where thieves had broken in but only taken prescription drugs 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 aside from the fact I was so convinced something was off.

***

I was 24 and working at a startup dotcom. I spent a weekend at my parents house, came back to my apartment and went into my bedroom where I saw my bed was made. Felt my heart stutter as I stood frozen in the doorway because I never ever 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 awhile, 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.

I later found out it was the woman I was dating at the time who did it. She was 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 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 was going on.

***

I was five years old and playing in a pile of leaves in our backyard. The yard had a brick wall at the far end; on the opposite side was a highway. There were a few openings along the bottom of the wall, for drainage, I guess.

So I’m playing in the leaves and suddenly I hear this SUPER weird noise. It was a like a high-pitched yowl, and then I see this weird thing emerge from one of those holes at the bottom of the wall. It was moving slowly and really weird, and I froze in the leaf pile and just watched. (I distinctively remember whispering to myself, “A monster,” because I 100% thought it was a monster.)

It staggered up to the leaf pile and I realized it was just a cat. I knew what cats were, because my dad loved cats and we had several pets. This cat was enormous and he was also very fluffy. (Think Crookshanks from Harry Potter.)

So I grabbed this cat and dragged him into the house to show my parents.

Here’s the scarier/sadder part, that I didn’t realize until I was older:

Apparently someone had thrown the cat against the brick wall from their car. That was the noise I heard. And the reason the cat was walking so weird was because his spine was broken.

There was a real monster that day. It just wasn’t the cat.

***

When I was 12ish something, I came home to find the bedroom’s lights on. If it was just 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. Could have been my brother or my mom, but one was in the army while the other was at work.

I was a little freaked out, but tried to tone it down by saying that I might have left them on before going out. Then I turn and see a couple of wooden spoons on top of our kitchen’s 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 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, found them. Instead of giving it back, he kept them with himself. Days later, his mom asked him to, idk, deliver something to my mom? But there was no one at home, so he used his keys to enter our house. He forgot his mom’s wooden spoons there, and if it wasn’t for this, we would never have found out that he entered our house. I think he stole money from us as well.

***

I live on the ground floor of some apartments. There was really intense knocking on my door and some neighbors’ doors at midnight. I looked out the peephole of my door but couldn’t see anything even when my door got knocked on again. I was honestly terrified, I couldn’t see anything. after a minute or so, I heard my upstairs neighbor’s door open, crying, and a phone call to 911. I went outside to check on her, and there was a woman I’d never seen before, who I learned lived next to me. Her husband had been abusing her and had just kicked her out of the apartment. It was freezing outside and she was only in her underwear. He had broken her glasses and taken her phone, wallet, and keys. It took the police 5 hours to get here.

She came over to borrow my phone to call a family member. She seems to regret calling the police but still plans to leave her husband. The police didn’t help her. I don’t have much more to say besides that.

***

My uncle bought an old house (150ish years old) 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, thus the frightened dog. Later we worked on the house and found that the landing to the right was structurally unsafe. To this day we wonder, did the dog know the landing was unsafe somehow or was there something more sinister at play?

***

A little after I graduated highschool some friends and I were hanging out at a local park after dark. Decided to go walk through the woods for the spookiness of it. About 20 minutes in we hear this loud screaming from behind us and barely see this dark figure rushing towards us at what we would describe as supernatural speed, so we hauled ass and didn’t stop until we were out of the wooded area and didn’t see it. A couple of friends claimed it appeared to be floating towards us as it howled like a banshee.

We later found out that area of the woods is popular for homeless people to hang out in and shoot up. So instead of some sort of evil wood spirit, it was most likely a homeless heroin addict running at us at full speed and screaming.

***

This happened to my cousin’s friend, living in San Francisco in the early 90’s. I was just a kid, so I don’t remember the exact details.

Her friend lived in a typical SF apartment, often coming home late from work. 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. She thought it was annoying, but completely normal. Upstairs neighbor probably couldn’t sleep and decided to move some furniture and deep clean the bathroom.

Next day morning she saw her neighbor going downstairs with large black trash bags. Again she told herself it’s weird but normal, since her neighbor has been up late cleaning.

A few weeks later, she learned that her upstairs neighbor had gotten into a dispute with the roommate, was killed and dismembered. The roommate was caught, and the police discovered large trash bags of body parts.

The incident happened that night when she heard the strange noises.

***

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 I (my dad’s too heavy of a sleeper) by barking at the wall next to the back door. I woke up but I was maybe 9 so I went right back to sleep. My mom got up and ushered her back to bed.

That same night, an arsonist hit my neighborhood. “He” set fire to a luckily vacant house for sale and it burned to the ground. Following his footsteps in the snow, he then 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, and he went across the street and burned the neighbors’ garage instead. Then he stood in their front yard and watched it burn. He walked out onto the street and they lost his footsteps. They never caught him.

***

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. They even reached out to their pastor to “bless” the house. 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 them. Called police for an “active break in.” The cops quickly discovered what had been going on.

***

I remember this one news story about an elderly man who was living alone and his food kept disappearing and he thought it was his adult son taking food and was too proud to admit to taking it.

So the old guy sets up a camera to record the kitchen so he can confront his son later. He’s watching the tape while eating dinner and watches a cabinet open, (which happens to be the cabinet right next to him), and a lady who looks like she came out of the grudge crawl out and steal food from him. She was apparently living in the crawl space of his home.

***

Not sure if this really counts, but about 5 years ago I got a phone call from my brother and he just kept mumbling into the phone, He kept muttering random words and because I was younger, stupid me thought he was possessed or something but he had just had a seizure and had just woken up (my brother gets really woozy and panicky after he has a seizure. Scared the living hell out of me.

***

My friend lived up in these pitch black windy hills about 20 minutes from any ambient city lights. No traffic stoplights, street lights – 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, then proceeded to make a left turn. From the time it took for me to look left, then right, a man stepped into the street about 10 feet in front of my car. I immediately slammed on my brakes and he just stood there, my car lights hitting him, not moving. I slowly just drove around him and he kept facing forward as I passed (didn’t turn his head at all to look at me/make eye contact).

I get to my friends house convinced I had seen a ghost and was freaking out about it. My friend asked me to describe the man I saw, and when I did, he tells me it was a pedophile that moved in down the street with his (the pedophile’s) parents after getting out of jail.

***

We lived in this big beautiful farm house in the middle of nowhere California. It was my first time having my own room. Mom was devastated because the landlord evicted us after a few months saying “we need the house back for the farm hands.” There may have been more to it but I was a little kid at the time. My uncle helped us pack everything up and asked if we left anything in the attic. Mom said she’d never been up there but he was welcome to look. There was only one entrance, through my bedroom. When he got up there he found my favorite cabbage patch doll hung by its neck from the ceiling. There were candles in a circle beneath it that had burned to wax puddles and cigarette butts on the floor. It looked like someone was conducting a seance up there with my toys. After that Mom was totally fine with us moving out as fast as humanly possible.

Wish I had a better ending for you but we never found out who did it or why. My only clue is one night my sister claimed to see the silhouette of a man hanging out in her doorway watching her sleep. Mom was a single parent at the time. We didn’t have a father figure or visiting relatives so who knows.

***

So sometimes I get sleep paralysis, I’ve accepted that if I wake up and weird things are happening, I should just ignore them. Well, one time I woke up in the middle of the night to two male voices arguing, nothing unusual. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, when I heard my dog start barking/growling, and then heard my parents talking in concerned voices. I realized it was not sleep paralysis at all, and got up to find a very drunk father and son duo arguing outside our front window (started swearing at us when my dad yelled at them to move along, cops were called). Another time, same situation only it was a Vole tunneling into my room very noisily and eating through the drywall.

***

There is the story about the experienced firefighter chief trying to put out a kitchen fire. After a while, he got a really bad gut feeling that he couldn’t place and told his crew to leave the house. A minute later the kitchen floor collapsed and it turned out that the basement had been ablaze. Post hoc the chief realised that the air felt hotter than could be explained by the kitchen fire alone.

***

Had a fire chief pull us back from a building because it was ‘all wrong’.

Big ass explosion followed and would have turned us into crispy critters.

His explanation was the flames were going the wrong direction and his brain processed that as the pre-ignition phase for a backdraft.

***

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 ghost, I realized that she probably needed to pee. I let her out and she ran straight to a bush in the corner. She keeps barking at the bush so I go out to see what it was thinking a cat or squirrel. There is nothing there so I pick her up and take her inside. When I turn to walk I saw some kind of shadow so definitely ghost now and I run. I lock myself in my room while my dog continues to bark at the window but looking out there is nothing there. The next day a cop shows up at my door. A woman nextdoor got accosted in her backyard the night before and the house on the other side was broken into while the people were asleep. The guy didn’t take anything, he was just walking around when someone found him. They think the guy used my backyard to get to the 2 houses.

***

Woke up in the night to a woman’s voice, wailing. I live in a quiet residential total suburb and there aren’t many noises past 8pm normally. I thought I was dreaming, or hearing a ghost. It made my hair stand on end. To be safe, I peeked out the window and didn’t see anything unusual. I was about to fall back asleep when I heard urgent, low voices. I tried to understand them, but it sounded like a gutteral, surreal language. Demons?

Then I heard distinctly “just get in the car” and a woman grunting, and some sounds of struggling from my back yard. My mind immediately jumped to “there’s a woman in danger, I need to do something” 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 fucking creep” and then noticed he was wearing a police uniform. And beside him was his partner, pointing a gun at the writhing woman. The one with the gun said 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 noped the fuck out of there and followed her directions. Still don’t know what happened. I’m guessing drugs?

About the author
Entertainment writer for Thought Catalog and Creepy Catalog. Friend me on Facebook! Follow Emily on or read more articles from Emily on Thought Catalog.

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