WARNING: This post contains mentions of alcoholism, abuse, violence, and guns. Please proceed with caution.
Recently, I asked BuzzFeed readers to share their creepiest real-life experiences. From true crime to ghostly encounters and everything in between, here are 19 of their jaw-dropping, real-life stories:
1.“I was with my best friend while she was watching her 4-year-old nephew, because his mother (my friend’s sister-in-law) was in the hospital. We would pick the little boy up from daycare to give my friend’s brother time to get home from work, visit his wife in the hospital, and then he would pick him up from her house. One evening, the little boy was sitting at the dining room table eating a snack and coloring, when he looked up, smiled, and waved. He then said, ‘Where is my mommy?’ My friend replied, ‘Remember, she’s in the hospital.’ He said, ‘No, she’s not. Not anymore.’ My friend again said, ‘She’s in the hospital, and if you want, we can meet your dad there so you can see her tonight.’ The little boy replied, ‘No, I don’t want to go because she’s not there. Where did she go?'”
“The next moment, the phone rang, and it was my friend’s brother. He was asking if she could keep her nephew overnight because his mother had just passed away, and he needed time to get it together before he told the boy. She obviously agreed, but friend was like, um…I think he already knows.”
2.“When I was 10 or 11, I slept over at my best friend’s house one night. Let’s call her Hannah. Hannah lived out in the country, and her family owned a stable where people could board their horses. I stayed at Hannah’s house a lot and had a lot of creepy experiences there, but this one took the cake. It was a summer night, and Hannah and I were sitting on the deck with her mom. Suddenly, the three of us saw a light moving around in one of the horse pens. It looked sort of like a flashlight beam, but all the employees had left for the night, and they had no neighbors, so there shouldn’t have been anyone out there.”
“Hannah’s mom sent us two kids to go check it out. As we approached the pen, the light started moving toward us really quickly, and Hannah and I got scared and started running back to the house. At that point, we could see Hannah’s mom running toward us. Then, we heard something that, to this day, makes my blood run cold to think about: the sound of all the gates of the horse pens opening at the same time. They weren’t electronic, so they had to be manually opened. There were at least a dozen of them, but they opened in perfect synchronization, even though we couldn’t see anyone else out there. The horses started running around and freaking out, so Hannah’s mom shoved Hannah and me up against the wall of the garage so we wouldn’t be trampled. It took what felt like hours for her to get all the horses back in their pens, and we never did see anyone else or find out what the light was. Hannah‘s mom ended up taking us back to my house for the night because all three of us were so rattled.”
3.“I attended college at a small, Catholic liberal arts school. My senior year, I scored one of the biggest dorm rooms available all to myself. It was a corner room and probably was reserved for one of the higher-ranking nuns that used to live in the building. I had a small area rug in my room, and late one Saturday night, as I settled into bed, I heard footsteps pacing on a carpet. I thought it was coming from the hallway outside, so I got out of bed and opened the door to check…only to realize that there was no carpeting in the hallway. Puzzled, I returned to bed, and the footsteps continued. Finally, on a whim, I called out, ‘Hey, I just want to sleep!’ The footsteps STOPPED.”
“This phenomenon occurred every weekend (mostly on Saturday nights, but sometimes on Fridays) around 2 or 3 a.m. As soon as I would say I was tired and wanted to sleep, the footsteps would stop. I never figured out what caused them.”
4.“Years ago when I was in college, I had to pick up my boyfriend from work. It was really late, and I took my usual shortcut down this country road. It wasn’t a creepy road — in fact, it was a very nice, wealthy area, but the houses were far from the road, and the only light came from the porches as there were no streetlights. A car came up behind me and bumped into me a bit at the first stop sign. I ignored it, thinking it’s dark, and they probably weren’t paying attention. At the next stop sign, they gave me a pretty hard bump. Obviously, this was intentional. I was so angry that they possibly damaged my car that I opened my door to get out and raise hell. Something stopped me from getting out, though. My brain was screaming that this was a trap, and that there is no help out here. Their headlights were blinding me, and I couldn’t see the driver’s face. I slammed my car door shut and drove like crazy out of there, skipping the rest of the stop signs.”
“I never drove that way again. Always trust your instincts.”
5.“I moved in with a girlfriend (at the time) in her shared house with a bunch of other roommates. They were all in a fraternity, so the house was often loud. I remember one night we stayed up watching a movie in our room. The only other person in the house at the time was the oldest roommate, but she had fallen asleep on the couch. About 30 minutes later, we were both caught off guard by the sound of the front door sliding across the floor and closing, as if someone walked in. Then, we heard heavy footsteps walking down the hallway. They stopped in front of one of the spare bedrooms and jiggled the handle.”
“At the time, we had about four puppies in that room just waiting to get picked up by one of my ex’s friends. We heard the door open and heard a wild animal fight, as if some sort of cat was in there causing a mess and scratching the walls. About a minute passed, and the door closed. The same heavy footsteps began toward the end of the hallway, where we were at. They stopped in front of our door and jiggled the doorknob, but it was locked. My ex always locked the door to our room for some reason. I never questioned it, but I was thankful that night. After a few hard jiggles, we heard the deepest voice mumble something incomprehensible. As soon as we heard that, we both looked at each other with absolute terror. We froze for minutes and only took a breath when the same footsteps retraced their steps and walked out the door.
I didn’t sleep that night. Oh, and our roommate asleep in the living room? Totally unaware.”
6.“Back in 2018 (when I was an undergrad), I used to live in an old, rundown rental home with two other girls. It wasn’t much of a house and was actually attached to the back of another home and was more of a duplex, but we figured for the price in that area, it was worth it. Our landlord was super nice and kind, but her maintenance man that attended to all of her rental homes always gave me the creeps.”
“He was probably in his mid-50s and always reeked of cigarettes and alcohol. Our landlord even apologized before the first time we met him and told us that he was struggling with a drinking problem.
The first time we needed something fixed, I had to leave for class as the maintenance man came to our place, but my roommates were present to guide him toward our multiple leaks and other maintenance issues. The maintenance guy must have seen me for a good half a second, as I was rushing and already late. To this day, both of my roommates tell me that as soon as he came into our place, he immediately started asking about me. They didn’t tell him much, but he definitely asked questions that made it seem like he was way more into me than just friendly and curious.
The next day, he came back while my roommates were home to bring a part that needed to be replaced in our sink and blurted out while my roommates were eating breakfast that he was in love with me. My roommates laughed it off, and he stopped working and just stared at them as they ate for a good few minutes before turning back toward the sink. He fixed the issues and left.
After hearing about this, I contacted the landlord and voiced my concerns. She apologized and said that he was probably drunk and not thinking clearly. I was broke at the time and stressed from school and work, so I let it slide for the time being. A few days later, I came home in the evening, unlocked the door, and went to my room after a long day of classes and work. I noticed no one was home, because both of my roommates’ cars were gone. As soon as I entered my room, there was a huge ladder in the middle of my floor touching the ceiling, and the maintenance man was IN MY BED. I freaked out, but tried to remain calm and asked him what was going on. He jumped up, slurred about the ceiling light needing to be changed (it was completely fine), and clumsily folded the ladder, and left.
I locked the door and told my landlord immediately afterwards. She apologized and said she may have to finely let him go, as this was definitely crossing the line. Our landlord reached out a few days later and asked if any of us had seen him lately. I was barely home and said no, but my roommates said that they saw his work truck parked outside of the duplex a few times during the past few days. Our landlord said that she had fired him a few days ago, but that he refused to give back the spare key he had to our house. I shuddered and ran to my room as soon as I got home…and saw the ladder back in the exact same spot touching the ceiling where I found it last time. He wasn’t in my bed or anywhere else in my room, but all of us — including our landlord — were pretty freaked out by it. We ended up getting our locks changed the next day for free, and our landlord came and got the ladder out.
No one has seen him since, including our landlord, and every time I see a silver ladder, I think about him and wonder what he could possibly be doing with that ladder in my room while in my bed. It gives me shivers down my spine just retelling it.”
7.“When I was in high school, my mom, grandparents, and I took a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. We did a tour of this building that was formerly a dungeon where pirates such as Black Beard were imprisoned once. There were stories about the basement floor (where the dungeon was) being haunted, particularly the elevator. My mom, grandmother, and I got on it to go back upstairs when the tour was over. We felt the elevator moving up, but when the doors opened, we hadn’t gone anywhere — we were still in the dungeon. My mom and grandmother decided to try the elevator again, while I chose to use the stairs. When I go to the top of the staircase, I heard the elevator door open to the left of me and heard someone walk out, but the elevator was completely empty and so was the room next to it. Perhaps the rumors about it are true.”
8.“When I was 10 years old, I had a horrible nightmare. I was in my childhood home, and my mom was asleep on the sofa in the den. A man in a long white jacket with white hair and a bald spot broke in through our back door, and shot my mom while she was asleep. I remember waking up screaming and crying for my mom, who came over to comfort me. It felt so real, and I had never been that upset before. A few weeks later, I went with my mom to her doctor’s appointment. Her doctor walked in with a long white jacket, and I immediately recognized him as the man from my dream, right down to his white hair with a big bald spot. That same week, my mom passed away in her sleep.”
9.“When I was 19 years old, my younger sister (16) and our niece (14) were having a sleepover one weekend. I had just seen the film Ouija the day before, and it had kickstarted a conversation about using a ouija board. Of course, growing up in a Baptist household, that wasn’t something we just had laying around, so I got the bright idea to make one. I fashioned one together using poster board and a small glass dish. We all huddled around our makeshift ouija board and placed our fingers on the dish.”
“Of course with time, it began to move, and we all accused one another of moving it, to which we all denied. I don’t remember much about the ‘contacts’ we made through the board, but what happened that next night will remain etched into my memory forever.
The next night, I went to bed early. I had just finished midterms and was so exhausted, I had even fallen asleep with the lights on. That night, I woke up feeling cold. When I opened my eyes, I saw a little boy standing at the foot of my bed, and the next thing I knew, I felt the sheets being ripped off of me and felt a hard tug on my ankles. When I was able to sit up and gather my thoughts, I saw my sheets on the floor, and my feet and ankles were sore. Could it have been guilt for playing with a ouija board without my parents knowing? Could it have been sleep paralysis? Sure. But needless to say, I’ll NEVER fool with the supernatural ever again.”
10.“Once when I was a teen, I was home alone taking a shower when I heard a knock at the door. The door was off the driveway — which the bathroom window overlooked — so I hopped out of the shower to see who was there. I looked, and there were no cars, no people. When I turned around, the lights in the bathroom were suddenly off. I was in the shower, so I know I had the lights and bathroom fan on. The moment I realized they were off, the lights flicked back on themselves. I was terrified. I got in the shower, rinsed, threw something on, and searched the house for signs of an intruder. No one was there. To this day, I have no idea what caused all that.”
11.“Since I was a child, the house I grew up in always had a weird vibe to me. I always felt a male presence in or near my room at night, but my mother never believed me. One particularly cold winter night, I went to bed as usual, with a lot of blankets to stay warm. I woke up briefly in the middle of the night to feel a warm hand on my face, cupping my cheek. I assumed it was my mother and kept dozing in and out, assuming that perhaps she was just checking on me. I opened my eyes to look at her, and there was no one there. I could still feel the hand on my face, though.”
“I slowly propped myself up on my elbow to look around the room. No one was there except for my cat, who was sitting up on the end of the bed, staring hard at my bedroom door. I mentioned it to my mother the next day, and she completely dismissed it as a dream. I knew better, though. I found out later from neighbors that the original owner of the house died there, in my room. He was a widow for many years after his wife and two children were killed in a car accident. According to the neighbor, he was quite benevolent and loved all of the neighborhood children. That benevolence seems to have carried over into the next world, it seems!”
12.“My grandparents lived on a beautiful forested property with a river. They built their house by an old, burned down dance hall (which they also built a guesthouse on top of). The first floor was a very open concept, with a living area/kitchen and the downstairs/basement was where the bathrooms and bedrooms were. I was in high school at the time, and it was Thanksgiving break, so I was with my family staying in the guesthouse. (My sister used to live there and told me lots of creepy stories that I brushed off at the time.) They all decided to go to dinner, but my Newfoundland mix and I stayed behind to finish a report for school.”
“After a while, I had to go to the bathroom and went down the stairs to the narrow and slightly creepy hallway with my dog in tow. When I started to pass by an open door to one of the bedrooms, I looked at my dog who had stopped suddenly. His hair was standing up. I froze in place and looked in the room where he was looking. A rocking chair partially facing us was rocking very intensely. Not like something pushed it, but like someone was in it and rocking fast and rhythmically. After a few long seconds of staring, my dog growled at the same time I said something. The chair abruptly stopped. It didn’t move an inch. I couldn’t believe it, but I bravely went over and made sure there were no fans or windows open. Nope, no breeze or draft. It was just a basic old wood rocking chair, nothing fancy or mechanic.
My dog and I ran upstairs and didn’t move until my family came home. I told them what had happened, and my parents tried to rationalize it, although I could tell they were a little unnerved. My sister just shrugged and basically said, ‘I told you so.’ It still creeps me out to this day. I’ve never had anything like that happen to me.”
13.“My ex and I broke up on relatively good terms. We stayed friends for years before I finally had to cut off contact when I got sober, save for us checking in on each other every now and again. A few months ago, I thought of him out of nowhere and realized I hadn’t heard anything from or about him in months, which was unusual for us. Out of nowhere, I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if he’s dead.’ Not a super weird thought to think considering he’d been an addict for years, but the way it popped into my head was kind of odd. Two days later was Christmas, and I had spent the whole day at my parents’ house. When I got home that night, I took off my shirt, and it smelled super strongly of something familiar, but I couldn’t figure out what it was until I realized it smelled just like his house in high school. It was a super distinctive smell — cigarettes and dog and Brut cologne, none of which I had been around all day, and I had just washed that hoodie.”
“The smell was gone by morning. The next day, I found out he had died the 23rd, the same day of the thought I had thought of him. He died with no ID on him, so it took two days for them to identify him and contact the family, which ended up being Christmas night, when my hoodie had his scent. His family said when they got the call, the lights on the Christmas tree blew out, and a few other people had similar weird happenings around the same time.”
14.“When I was an undergrad, I used to manage a restaurant in a busy college town to make some side money. It was one of the most popular restaurants in town, but my boss was very traditional and asked me to stay after closing time to count all of the drawers, including all of the safe cash EVERY night. Needless to say, I often ended up staying at the restaurant alone after all the other staff had already left, and oftentimes closed up by myself. On this one particular night, I turned off all the lights, peered out the window to make sure it was safe for me to exit the restaurant as I always did, and set the alarm for the night to lock up. As soon as I closed the door and walked out onto the street, a man came up right behind me out of NOWHERE and asked me if I had any cash to spare for some food. “
“I lied and said no, but handed him a fresh complimentary meal that I took to go from the restaurant that I didn’t get to eat for dinner. He took it and and just stood there, staring into my eyes, but in the moment, it felt like he was piercing my soul. He was wearing a huge mechanic’s jumpsuit that was torn up and dirty, and he was at least 6 ft. tall.
My stomach fell to my feet, and I turned around and began walking as fast as I could. I turned around briefly and saw him still staring at me and throwing the entire box of food straight into the trash. This is when he started SPRINTING toward me. I began running home faster than I ever had in my life. I lived about three blocks and three streets behind the restaurant, so I knew I had a good ways to go. Before I turned on my street, I looked back for a quick second, and he was still running after me. I knew I had to book it, because it was clear he wasn’t just running after me for the fun of it. I made it home finally, jabbed my keys in the door, entered my rental home, and locked it as fast as I could. I ended up having nightmares about this guy, but never told a soul about what happened. To this day, it still gives me the chills to think about it.”
15.“During my first semester of college, I had a three-hour class that ran from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The class was a 15-minute walk from my dorm, and it was pretty dark by the time we got out, so I usually called my mom and talked to her on the way back. One night, I ducked into another building on campus on my way back to my room so I could put some things in my backpack, because it had started to rain while I was walking. I put all my stuff down on a table in the lobby right by the doors, and I stayed completely silent while I did it, because I wasn’t sure if anyone was in class or using any of the study rooms, and I didn’t want to disturb anyone.”
“As I was leaving the building, my mom asked if there was thunder, because she could hear a rumbling noise in the background. I told her no, because I hadn’t heard anything. I continued on my way back to my room and got about halfway there before I realized I had left my lanyard in the building, and I needed it because it had my student ID, and I couldn’t get into my dorm building without it.
When I got back to the building where I had left it, it wasn’t on the table by the door. Anxious that someone had taken it, I started looking all around, and saw it on a stack of newspapers across the room. I thought maybe a custodian had moved it, but nothing else in the room was changed or cleaned. I called out ‘Hello?’ and got no response, so I just grabbed my ID and started to leave. On the phone, my mom told me she heard that rumbling noise again. I was pretty freaked out, so I booked it back to my room in the rain.
It wasn’t until a month or so later, when I was taking a ghost tour of the campus, that I found out the building where I had almost lost my ID was considered the most haunted place on campus, and tons of people over the years had reported hearing the rumble of roller skates on hard floors there, just like my mom did on the phone that night.”
16.“I grew up in the desert in southern California. When I was 10, I had a dream that I opened my front door and saw a man wearing a large, long black trench coat and a black cowboy hat. He had the hat pulled so low on his brow that I couldn’t see his eyes. I was transfixed and couldn’t move. In a voice I heard in my head, he told me that ‘If I can’t get you, no one can.’ The voice was low and soft. His presence felt menacing and lethal. I felt locked in place even though I wanted to shut the door in his face. I remember screaming, but the scream was locked in my head.”
“He then picked me up and carried me into a field where he strangled my body. I remember floating over the body and seeing it was a young woman dressed in 1800s clothing, or what I assumed was that time period. Nothing prepared me as I watched him dig a grave and place the woman’s body into it. The man then dropped to his knees and cried, ‘Why did you make me do this, why wouldn’t you listen?’ I woke up covered in sweat.
The house we lived in definitely had some…activity. When we moved into this house, I could hear people talking outside my bedroom window sometimes. We lived on five fenced-in acres, and the house was in the middle, so there shouldn’t be anyone there. But hearing voices and seeing strange shadows became the norm. At night, I refused to leave my bed. I was scared about what lurked in the shadows.
I woke up the morning of my dream and told my mom about it. She told me it gave her goosebumps. We basically dropped the conversation, because I had to get ready for school. After a year or so of paranormal experiences, my mom hired a renowned psychic. We were told not to tell her anything until after she went through the house/property and did her private reading. The reading was recorded, and my mom and I listened to it afterwards. On the recording, she told my mother that a wagon train had settled on our property, and we had settlers who got stuck here and built a homestead. She told my mom that a young woman was murdered by her fiancée over him believing she loved someone else, like in my dream.
She also told us that the property was extremely haunted. She also told my mother that I had ‘the gift’ and to try to help me come to terms with being able to communicate with the dead. So many things made sense after she left. To this day, I still remember seeing the man and the crooked mouth he had as he ground his teeth in anger.”
17.“When I was a teenager, my mom was outside smoking during the winter. Startled, she came in and grabbed me to come look at something. She found bare footprints in the snow leading to our snowmobile trailer. They came from the road and went all the way down our driveway. My mom put a footprint (with her shoes on) next to one of the bare footprints and it was a little smaller than hers, indicating a woman’s. When my dad got home, we asked him to look in the snowmobile trailer. He did, but there was nothing — and nobody — in there. There were no footprints away from the trailer, just to it. It was so strange, and we all can’t explain it to this day.”
18.“Years ago, when I was about 15, I lived in a cottage at the bottom of a valley. There was a pleasant — if steep — walk that went from a gate at the side of my cottage all the way up through the woods to the top of the hill, following the trail of a stream. I had absolutely no fear of these woods — they were bright and open, and it was the British countryside, so there wasn’t exactly any dangerous fauna around. I walked the path often. One day, I was coming down the hill toward my home, just after sunset, so it was getting dark but still fairly light. I was hugging the side of the stream, and I looked ahead because I saw movement.”
“It was a deer — no biggie, the woods were full of Red Deer. I then clocked that it’s a stag, and it’s drinking from the stream about 100 yards away from the gate by my house. I crossed over to the far side of the path and stood for a minute, watching it. It didn’t really move much, so I keep walking, thinking it was gonna scamper the second it saw me. I was about 50 yards away when it clocked me. It lifted its head, and my whole stomach sank.
There was something wrong with its face. It was sunken in places and covered in flies in others, and there was thick drool dripping around its nose. I noticed then that the deer was missing fur in places, was pretty skinny for a mature Red Deer stag. It locked eyes with me and didn’t move, so I clapped my hands, thinking it would get scared and bolt…but it maintained eye contact with me until I was about level with it on the path. It still didn’t budge so, I clapped again. It shook its head and sprayed snot and drool everywhere, then started walking toward me.
At this point, I was no more than 20 feet from the stag, and maybe 30 feet from the gate. I was fucking terrified. Something about it just felt off. I walked a bit more quickly toward the gate, and the stag coughed and did like a jolting step, like it was trying to run at me but couldn’t. I just sprinted to the gate. By the time I got through and closed it, the stag was, like, two feet behind the gate. It had chased after me. Now that it was this close, I could smell it — sweet and sickly. With the gate shut, it just staggered backwards and then disappeared off into the woods. I didn’t ever walk up there on my own again.”
19.And finally, “I went to a very small school in a small town. Our whole campus (K–12) was less than one square block, including the parking lot and a baseball and softball field. Our school was next to an auto body shop, which had a lot of wrecked cars that was separated from us by a chain link fence. That lot was about 10–15 yards away from the door that we walked out of to go to the playground for recess. This story takes place in the second grade. My best friend’s name was Tommy. Tommy’s dad had a brand new silver and blue Dodge Daytona. Tommy loved that car, because his dad let him pick it out. One Monday, I got to my classroom, and the teacher was clearly crying before we came in. Tommy wasn’t in school, which was weird because he never missed school.”
“My class was outside for recess, and I asked to use the bathroom. Our classroom was next to the playground, so the teacher let me go by myself. As I came out of the classroom, I saw Tommy on the other side of the fence in the auto body lot. He was standing next to a crashed silver and blue Dodge Daytona. I told him he was going to get in trouble for playing in the lot, but he shook his head really weirdly. Then I remembered he wasn’t actually in class that day and asked why he was so late to school. He turned around and pointed to the car, but never said anything.
My teacher noticed me standing outside the door of the classroom and started walking over to where I was. I noticed her coming and thought I was in trouble for not coming right back. I looked over to tell Tommy I’d see him tomorrow, but he was gone. I vividly remember thinking at the time that he was going to be in so much trouble for playing in the auto body parking lot.
I met my teacher halfway back to the playground, and she asked what on earth I was doing standing at the fence for so long. I said, ‘I don’t wanna say because I don’t want to get anybody into trouble.’ She said, ‘Why would anyone be in trouble?’ After about a minute of asking and prodding, I finally blurted out, ‘Tommy’s playing in the lot next door. He’s going to be so mad at me for telling!’ Her face went blank and sheet white. I thought I did something really bad and started to get upset. She calmed me down and said I did nothing wrong, but that I should go back to playing. She walked next door, and I could see her talking to the owner of the auto body shop. His eyes got huge, and he immediately hopped into his tow truck and to move the car that I saw Tommy standing next to.
I went on with my day as usual and didn’t think anything more about it. After dinner that night, my parents took me into their room and said they needed to talk to me. They explained that Tommy wouldn’t be coming back to school. I started bawling, saying that I knew he’d be in trouble for playing in the auto body lot. They looked at each other confused for a moment, then asked what I was talking about, so I told them all about talking to Tommy that afternoon. Both of their faces had the same look as my teacher’s did, so I asked why everyone keeps looking like that. That’s when my dad explained that Tommy and his dad were in a bad accident the day before, and they both died instantly.
It wasn’t until I was in junior high that I learned from one of Tommy’s cousins what really happened. Tommy’s father was an abusive alcoholic. His dad let him pick out the car as an apology for breaking Tommy’s arm while on a drunken rampage. Tommy’s mom petitioned the court for full custody once she learned the truth, and won. His father was supposed to return him home Sunday afternoon, but when he didn’t show up, his mom called the authorities, fearing the worst. His dad was drunk and trying to flee from the cops when he crashed and killed him and Tommy. It was just really crappy luck that they parked the crashed car right outside the door of Tommy’s classroom. Apparently, my childhood best friend came to say goodbye to me one last time.”
Have you had a creepy, bone-chilling experience like these? If so, tell us about it in the comments below or via this 100% anonymous form. And if you enjoyed these creepy tales, you can read more of them here, here, here, and here.
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.