17 Military Personnel Talk About The Creepiest Thing They’ve Seen On Duty

Redditors who have had military experience talked about the creepiest thing they’ve seen on the job in this thread. Here are the spookiest answers:

Empty boats

“US Navy photographer here. In the deepest parts of the ocean, you will often steam past small boats that are empty or seemingly empty. Sometimes they look like they got loose and no one looked for them. Sometimes they looked disgusting like someone lived in them until they couldn’t. Sometimes it’s obvious someone is still in them but they haven’t moved for weeks…” — lightwolv

Laughing soldiers

“There were multiple instances of North Vietnamese soldiers just walking straight up to US forces in the middle of combat. They’d look at them and they wouldn’t even raise their weapon or unsling it. They would just start laughing at the US soldiers. Then the US guys would shoot them. I sure there’s a reasonable explanation of why this happened, but it’s pretty creepy that the enemy might just walk up to you and just start laughing in your face seemingly not caring whether you shoot them or not.” — evan466

A grave

“As a Marine, I used to have the graveyard patrol shift at the Beirut Bombing Memorial. Part of the memorial is dedicated to a veteran’s cemetary. Oddly enough I never got freaked out being completely alone in a remote cemetery, in the middle of the night, surrounded by dense woods on all sides. It was actually kind of peaceful, to be honest.

However, one night I was patrolling near the perimeter fence where some of the oldest headstones are, when I heard the sound of a woman humming. I followed the sound and noticed a light glowing through the vines and brush of a large tree. As I approached, I could literally feel my hair beginning to lift as if there was an electric current in the air.

I pushed aside the brush and what I saw nearly took my breath away. It was an old, weathered headstone with a large cross etched into the marble. Only the cross was glowing a bright, vivid blue, like a neon bulb. The humming was also suddenly much louder and had a weird plurality to it, like it was coming from hundreds of voices at once.

Needless to say, I freaked the fuck out. I screamed like a scared little girl and sprinted back to the parking lot. I radioed the guard who was supposed to relieve me and forced him to come early, then spent the rest of my shift in the cab of his truck. I don’t think he believed me, but he stayed in his truck and didn’t go out on patrol until the sun was fully up.

A few days later, I worked up the nerve to return to the grave (during the day, of course). As I suspected, in the light of day it was a completely mundane headstone. There was no name, only the aforementioned cross. I ran my hands over the stone and checked to see if maybe there was some sort of hidden light source or solar panel, but no, it was just plain, solid, unremarkable stone. The humming was gone, too.

I eventually returned to my normal shift, but never again experienced anything out of the ordinary. I never learned whose grave that was, either, but I find myself thinking about it from time to time. It certainly sounds absurd when I say it out loud, and I suppose it could have been a hallucination or a trick of my tired brain, but I don’t believe it was. I think it was real; a ghost or spirit of some sort, but I don’t think it was malevolent at all.” — Rainbow-Grimm


“We wrote it off as some of the instructors messing with us but while training at JWTC, there was a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night. Definitely sounded like a woman. The Lt in charge made us do a quick accountability check then he started radioing the training center to see what the hell happened. The instructors went out from their compound, did some checks but didn’t find anything. They said it’s not the first time they had units out there calling in to report the same thing.” — BossAVery

A phantom smoker

“Is a dude vanishing spooky enough? I was on one rooftop on post with another marine and on the building next to mine was a dude smoking a cigarette. I looked to my partner to mention it but when we looked again he was gone. The roof access door for that building was very rusty and loud so there’s no way he snuck out in those few seconds it took to get my partners attention.” — Im-M-A-Reyes

Lights in the sky

“Not my story, so I’ll tell it as best I can: this happened during a rotation at the National Training Center sometime in 2015. A battle was occurring at night, a light appeared in the sky and for ten minutes or so there was silence. This may not seem too interesting until you look at the numbers and statistics, you’re looking at massive amounts of people and equipment during a rotation, constant radio chatter, vehicle noise, people talking, etc. and suddenly just nothing… then the light seemed to make a couple strange turns, one being around 90 degrees, and split and disappear.” — Blackjack357

Ghost soldiers

“I was by myself in the Engine Room of a submarine on the midwatch, just a newly reported sailor trying to find equipment so I could display knowledge to one of the watchstanders.

There are a number of bays in Engine Room Lower Level with narrow passages that pass through the center. I came down one of the ladders, and I swore I saw someone walk across the ship about fifteen feet in front of me. I could hear his footsteps as he walked around a corner and out of sight.

Three problems: 1. He was wearing utilities, an older, light blue blouse and dark navy slacks. Nobody had utilities anymore. They had been phased out three years earlier. 2. There was only one other person awake in the Engine Room that late at night, and he was standing at the top of the ladder behind me, waiting for me to come back up with an answer to his question. 3. He wasn’t actually there.

I wrote it off as sleep deprivation, but I’ll admit it shook me for a while.

Fast forward to four months later, I had gone out to sea with another submarine of the same type. While I was there, I met a sailor who had previously served on my ship. After a few weeks of standing watch with him, he told me a story of a sailor who had committed suicide while on watch when he served on my ship almost a decade earlier. In Engine Room Lower Level. In his utilities.

I wish I could have gotten a picture of the look on my face. I’m sure it was the definition of disbelief.” — icesir

More ghosts

“A friend of mine went to Afghanistan and got stationed in an area that was used as a base by the Soviets. He swears that sometimes when he was on sentry duty he could hear whispers that didn’t sound like English or the local languages. He’s convinced he heard Russian.” — TofuDeliveryBoy

Triangular UFO

“One time at an Air Force Base in the ROK we had a power outage at night, all of us walked out of our hangar doors to take a see what the problem may have been and we saw a very, very large triangular shape passing over our hangar. It was a clear moonless night previously and when we went outside to look around we noticed the starscape being covered then slowly uncovered. No sound associated with the event other than normal sounds of the location. I’ll never forget.” — SnoGoose


“This is my dad’s story. After he was done in Vietnam he soon stationed at an air force base in Greenland. They had bad blizzards often there and when they came through the base shut down and every section of the barracks would take role call. These blizzards are intense. There were cables running between all the buildings you attached to your person with a carabener so if there was a sudden white out you didn’t get lost and die. They had people die literally 20 meters from shelter because they got lost in bad weather and froze.

He said for about 5 months every time they locked down for weather they would hear horrendous screaming outside. Everyone was accounted for so they didn’t risk sending anyone out to investigate. They wrote it off as an animal. However, every time this was heard, the engine room would be wrecked. Tools everywhere, paperwork all over the floor, tables and tool boxes knocked over, even one time a several thousand pound jet engine had been lifted from it’s work bench crane thing and smashed almost 30 feet away.

The hangars and engine room had cameras covering ever single possible entrance with spot lights that made them clear even in a white out. No animals, no people, no anything was ever seen entering or leaving those buildings. Then one day it just stopped.

Edit- OK, since I have a lot of debate on what could have caused this I will clear some stuff up.

This was not something they just shrugged at. It cost a lot of money and threw a wrench in at least one surveillance routine which caused a lot of brass from the DOD and the CIA to breath fire down the base commander’s neck. This facility, beyond military function, served as a base for a lot of civilian research as well. There was a full investigation using all manner of scientists, engineers, and specialists. They came up with no satisfactory explanation for what was happening.

I do not believe in the paranormal nor did my father. This is the only spooky type story he has from 22 years in the service. No one knows what happened. It was very strange in ever way. Hundreds of people wrote reports and documented this, it wasnt just some grease monkeys scratching their heads and randomly guessing.

That said, I spoke to my mom. She told me a couple things I missed.

After one of these occasions the U2 in the shop had all it’s electronics turned on. Many of the systems in this plane were special built for this air frame and this particular crew’s mission. These systems were complex and archaic. Very few people knew how to operate this machinery and the only ones on base that could were two engineers and it’s crew. It wasnt a simple matter of hitting power buttons and flipping switches from off to on.

Another time three barrels of hydraulic fluid vanished and were never found.

They doubted the screaming noise was wind because it came in short, irregular, bursts and winds never produced those sounds again. They theorized it was a polar bear but, if it was, it’s coincidental timing was extremely uncanny.

Lastly control picked up a bunch of weird interference and anomalous readings that, again, had the uncanny timing of happening only when this was going on. They were never able to reproduce these errors in a controlled manner.” — creepyredditloaner

“This never happened”

“Used to be F22 Avionics for the USAF (2A3x2) no shred, at an undisclosed base, a light appeared above the flightline moving in odd ways and hovering. We called it in to our #1 and he called other AMUs to ensure there were no sorties being flown that we didn’t know about. Shortly after F22s and 16s were scrambled and could not intercept the object. It disappeared into the night. We saw this go down from our flightline. Shortly after, we were informed that this never happened.” — phdaemon

Piano notes

“Navy. When I was in groton CT, for basic enlisted submarine school. I was roving the barracks at night. I had a UI(under instruction), so I was showing him the ropes. What to check and and how to check. It was mainly fire extinguishers and secured doors. Well on the second or third floor of the barracks there is a recreation room with a TV and chairs and a piano. Mind you everyone was asleep and it was 0200 in the morning. Well I decided to go and see if I remembered how to play the piano a little. We decided to continue to finish the patrol so we started walking down the hall when we heard a single piano note go off. We both heard it while I was in mid conversation so we kind of looked back, and than we both looked at each other to see if we both had heard the same noise. We shrugged it off as our imaginations running wild. But as soon as we got to the end of the hall and opened the door to the stairway a sharp key note was heard coming from down the hall in the direction of the room with the piano. We left the floor as soon as possible and later shared the story with some shipamates and they told us story’s of sailors that had died in the barracks.” — compaq2598

Submarine ghosts

“Submariner here. There are few things as unnerving as wondering about the engine room from 2330-0530 alone on watch. When the boat is largely shutdown in port it becomes a very quiet place. The roving watches usually make it an hourly game to speed through their log rounds, especially in the lower levels. One particular in port period, the boat was moored in Pearl Harbor and a few people started complaining about a real uneasy feeling. I was on the mid-watch as the SEO on evening and a Senior Chief came back to do his required 0300 tour. We saw him walk past maneuvering on his way to shaft-alley. This particular Senior Chief was the crusty old salt type, and would usually spend a bit of time just sitting in the lower levels of the engine room alone and contemplate life, so we expected as much. What we didn’t expect was him to literally run into the maneuvering area a few minutes later. The man was pale faced, and breathing heavily. We sat up straight, our eyes as wide as his thinking we were about to have to announce and fight some ship casualty. He slumps into the EDO chair. A few tense, and silent, moments go by. We’re on pins and needles. He finally opens his mouth and tells us about the “fucking ghost in shaft-alley.” Swears a sailor passes by him as he’s sitting on a trash can in shaft alley. His first response was to call out to the guy, see who it was. But then he realized this guy isn’t dressed right. He describes what this guy was wearing, the old WWII naval uniforms. So he quickly gets up to catch up to the guy, and he does. Catches up to him all the way aft. The guy turns towards the Senior Chief. Looks right at him. Then turns away and literally walks through ass end of the boat. It’s now that the Senior Chief decides it’s time to leave shaft-alley, and promptly does so. Swears up and down that he knows what he saw. I sure as hell wasn’t about to leave maneuvering that night to find out for myself.” — Driftwolf


“One of my drill sergeants actually has a creepy story from one of his Afghanistan deployments. He was infantry so being in the field and out of missions for multiple weeks wasn’t uncommon. One night while sleeping in a fighting position he dug, he felt something nibbling at his feet. He woke up and kicked it off and what he saw wasn’t any type of marsupial but a little humanoid figure he could only describe as looking just like Gollum. But being in the field with little sleep he chalked it up to just seeing things. A couple days later he and another guy and on watch and the other guy pointed out something and said “what the fuck is that” and pointed at a stone wall in the distance. My drill sergeant looked through this binoculars and crawling across the top of this stone wall was the exact little humanoid creature he encountered a few nights before.” — dee_swoozie

Cemetery ghost

“I worked in Arlington National Cemetery while I was in the army. The Tomb Guards always talked about seeing or just hearing soldiers marching some nights. We were cataloging graves one night when I thought I saw a soldier in my team up ahead, so I called him over. He answered from behind me. When I looked back, the other soldier was gone. I am a skeptic and I believe everything “paranormal” has a real world explanation, but I’m still trying to figure that one out.” — chrisberman410

St. Elmo’s Fire

“Saw a ghost and some creepy shit happen when we were removing the old Fresnel lens from the Presque Isle Light in Michigan. Also, seen some weird creepy lights and St. Elmo’s fire near the old Waugoshance Light. Compasses and radios all quit, radar and GPS wouldn’t work either. The light near Sturgeon Bay is haunted as well, and we stayed at the light near Two Rivers, and the whole family saw the ghost.

There are several lights in the Great Lakes that are open to Active, Reserve, and Retired military members as vacation rentals. We stayed at Rawley Point Lighthouse and the Sherwood Point Lighthouse. They have visitors logs that are like a diary, and multiple stories are in there about the hauntings, dating back to the 70s. I KNOW that Sherwood Point is haunted…..” — derpsalot1984