Almost every great ghost story starts with a haunted house, usually one that is very old, has a lot of creepy history, or has been the site of some gruesome deaths. While haunted houses might seem like they’ve come straight out of a movie, there are hundreds to thousands of people out there who will tell you they’re real – because they’ve lived in them and experienced exactly how haunted they are.

Even if you don’t believe in ghosts and spirits, it’s hard not to get super spooked by these stories from people who claim to live in haunted houses. They’ll send chills up your spine (which makes them the perfect reading material for Halloween season), and they’ll definitely make you rethink any weird experiences you’ve had in your own home.

So, ready to totally freak yourself out? Check out these paranormal experience stories from people who have been through them firsthand, then lived to tell the tale on Reddit. Just as a warning, though, you probably shouldn’t read these in the dark, and you definitely shouldn’t read them right before bed.

1. Her stepfather haunted their condo

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When someone dies in their home, it’s definitely possible for their spirit to stick around. That’s what Reddit user Tlff experienced. They wrote,

“In 2012, my stepfather overdosed on heroin and dropped dead in the hallway in his condo apartment.

“My mum had to move out shortly after since they were already behind on mortgage bills. A few months later, my lease went up and I was barely making ends meet and couldn’t find a new roommate. My mum offered me the key to the condo apartment to ‘squat’ for a few months until I saved up enough for my own apartment. I took the offer and moved into the condo apartment. After a month or so, I was asleep in the living room and I had this dream of him standing in the hallway facing the living room. He was looking at me and smiling/laughing. Even made a stupid joke and everything. It wasn’t disturbing at all, just bittersweet.

“Then I suddenly woke when I felt some pressure stroking down my head and back.

There was nothing around me and it tripped me the hell out. As a skeptical person that doesn’t believe in the paranormal, it has to be some kind of sensory hallucination. It was still nice to see him in my dream once again though.”

2. “I lived in a house haunted by doppelgangers”

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A doppelganger doesn’t just mean someone who looks like you: it can be much creepier than that, like an apparition or double of a living person. Reddit user 1LT_0bvious experienced this, writing:

“Every event that happened never involved some mysterious figure, but a known person being in a place where they should not have been. Here are a few examples:

” I was a teenager at the time, and I was instant messaging my gf at the time with my webcam turned on. I had the viewer up so that I could see myself in the webcam. Behind me, there was the stairs leading up (left of camera view) and the entrance to the living room (right of camera view). My younger sister would typically fall asleep every night on the couch in front of the TV and make her way up to bed in the middle of the night.

“At one point in my webcam view, I saw my sister leave the living room and go up the stairs. The thing that struck me as odd was that I didn’t hear anything.

“It was an older Victorian house, so the wooden floor and stairs were loud af. Without saying anything to my gf, I got up and looked into the living room and there was my sister passed out on the couch. I sat back down and asked my gf if she had seen anything in my camera. She said, ‘Yeah, I just saw your sister go upstairs.'”

3. Their house was haunted by previous dead husbands

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This story is one example of why it’s probably a good idea to look into the history of a home before purchasing it. Reddit user iMostLikelyNeedHelp wrote:

“A lady who had two husbands die on her in the same house. That’s the house my dad decides to buy,” iMostLikelyNeedHelp wrote.

“The first one hung himself from the rafters in the garage and the second one fell ill and died in his bed in the basement. I lived in the basement room and often just felt like I was being watched all the time. The bedroom in the basement has a secret storage room behind a bookshelf with a locking latch. I would always wake up to find the door wide open. It happened so often that I would wake up cold and routinely go shut and lock the latch of the door in the middle of the night. For the longest time I thought it was my dad or step brothers messing with me but it wasn’t. My stepbrother now occupies that room and he says it still happens to him and that he’s even seen it open on its own! There are no air vents or anything so I’ve ruled out wind,” Reddit user concluded.

4. The ghost messed with their cat

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Humans aren’t the only ones who have to deal with ghosts! Pets do too. Reddit user MTSwagger wrote:

“I watched one of our cats being pulled backwards about five feet by her tail.

“She was walking through the dining area and suddenly was sliding backwards, as if someone was pulling her by her tail. Only there wasn’t. She freaked out and tried to run, but couldn’t immediately as something held on for a brief second before letter her go. I tend to think that was the handy work of a 4 or 5 year old girl ghost who hangs out and she just wanted to play with the kitty.”

At least that’s a nice explanation?

5. He almost died the same way the previous owner did

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Sometimes it’s not ghosts that mess with you in a haunted house, it’s just… a creepy experience. Like this one, from Reddit user TheToenailCollector, who said they lived in a haunted house as a teen. They explained:

“We were remodeling an old farmhouse and had been there a couple of months before witnessing anything.

“One day I was underneath my truck, which was supported by only a jack. (stupid, I know) I was in the middle of working on it, with no good reason to get out at that moment. Suddenly the overwhelming urge to get out from underneath overwhelmed me. No sooner than I got out, the truck fell to the ground, the jack had slipped. Freaked dad out, he thought I was under it. When mom got home, we mentioned it, and she started crying, sobbing pretty hard. It turns out the previous owner died in the driveway, under a vehicle, in that spot.”

6. They heard some creepy footsteps

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Old houses always tend to be creaky and noisy. But this one is a little bit more spooky than just that. Reddit user Doctor_Philly wrote that they grew up in a “huge 17th century house.”

It was once a brothel, a plague hospital, a morgue, a German SS post during World War II, a spot where Napoleon slept once, and the site of three murders.

They wrote, “One time; my parents were in China for business. Me and my brother and sisters slept at other places because my parents were away for quite a time. I had to go to hockey practice but I forgot some gear so me and my friend went to get it. The house was engulfed in darkness en very silent. As we walked out of my room; we hear footsteps in the attic. Two of my siblings had their bedrooms there; so I thought one of them was at home. I shouted at them which made the footsteps stop.

“After five seconds or so we heard the footsteps coming closer to the stairs and actually setting foot on the very old wooden creaky steps.

“One step at a time. I actually felt a ‘weight’ setting foot in front of me. Very strange. But I saw nothing. Nevertheless; we were 12 so we noped the f*** out of there.”

7. They heard lots of unexplained noises

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This person didn’t exactly hear ghosts – they heard family members even if the family members weren’t there. User weathercrow wrote, “I had a many haunted incidents in the house I grew up in that I can’t explain, but I’ll stick to a couple.”

“One recurring incident involved hearing the voices of my family members who weren’t home,” weathercrow added.

“Sometimes I would wake up to hear my parents fighting, or my brother and one of my parents, but would find myself home alone when I went to check. It would usually occur on the opposite floor as I was – upstairs if I was downstairs and downstairs if I was upstairs, and would stop right when I got onto the same floor. One time was different, though,” the Reddit user wrote.

“I was brushing my teeth with the bathroom door shut when I heard one knock and my dad saying my name in a strange and teasing voice,” weathercrow explained.

“When I opened the door he wasn’t there, and when I asked my mom where he was, she said he’d went out to work hours ago (he was a lineman with crazy hours). I went back to the bathroom and almost right after I shut the door again I heard more knocking. Didn’t open the door that time,” weathercrow concluded.

8. They would see things in the dark

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Hearing unexplained noises is very scary. Seeing unexplained things? That might be even scarier. User MaryJaneTrims wrote that they lived in a house from 1938.

She would wake up and sit up in bed every single night at 2:59-3:01am.

“I thought I saw something move quickly out of the corner of my eye on occasion but assumed it was me being sleepy/bad vision without my glasses. One night the curtain on my closet moved. I pulled the lamp chain and the room lit up. My husband thought I was crazy. I saw nothing so I pulled the chain again to turn off the lamp. I tried to sleep again but a few minutes later I heard the lamp chain swinging against the lamp base. When I reached out to see if I felt it swinging and to stop it, something cold touched me. It didn’t feel like the shape of a hand or finger but like a wet washcloth,” she wrote.

9. She saw someone when no one was home

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Uh… this one is just slightly terrifying?! Okay, way more than slightly. User Clowning101 wrote, “Backstory: The house we lived in was photographed in the 1860s in a book in the local library.

“It was shown to be one of the first houses to have a radio and some sort of headphone device on top of someone’s head,” Clowning101 added.

“The story: I go on my merry way to school one day. My mom is home alone cleaning up after breakfast not too soon after I leave. So she is doing her thing when she begins to hear music upstairs. She thinks to herself that I had left the radio on. She is pissed because we are poor and try to save every penny we can on our electric bill. She gets to the top of the stairs which has an open railing.

“She looks to the right, and there is a pair of legs standing there tapping feet to the music.

“She didn’t even stay to look up for a body. She noped the f*** out as the music stopped and the legs began to turn to her. My mom made me sleep with her for like a week.”

10. She had a spirit friend who lived in the attic

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You know how it always seems creepy when kids have imaginary friends? Well, maybe it’s because of stories like this. Reddit user kayladylay88 said that they lived in an old house, explaining,

“I didn’t have a lot of friends. Except for the man in the attic.

“He was very sad and his skin was burned. He didn’t like many people, but we were friends. I’d talk to him and sometimes we’d play. It creeped my mom out, but she assumed maybe I’d seen Nightmare on Elm Street and was imagining the Burnt Man. Years went by and we stopped playing, but I always felt SOMETHING.

A few years later as an adult, we were visiting with new neighbors who happened to have ties to the community. Somehow the subject of imaginary friends came up and my mom enthusiastically told the husband about the Burnt Man. He looked really serious and informed us that the land our house had been built on was the site of an old blacksmiths shop.

“The blacksmith had accidentally been caught on fire and later died of his injuries.

“Needless to say, I felt this in my soul. After a little research, I found out it actually did happen. I’m in my 30s now and whenever I stay over or visit, I do have a feeling of being watched.”

11. This family had lots of little spooky experiences

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Sometimes it’s not just one really scary event, but a number of small scary events that really get to you. That was the case for user eupsyx, who said,

“These entities never really harmed us but they did ‘spook’ my mother and I, whereas my father apparently never experienced anything.

“My mother would hear whispering coming from the pipes when she would shower, we didn’t have neighbors, so we couldn’t blame them. Meanwhile, I would see children running around. at the time I wasn’t scared of it, until one instance; I had woken up from a nap and went to another room where I kept all my toys, including a piano. I walked in and saw a boy kneeling in front of this piano and I got happy because I thought it was a friend of mine, so I started talking to him while I went to the closet and when I turned around, the boy was gone. I was terrified.”

12. Unexplained noises happened all the time

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Again with the unexplained noises! These kinds of stories will make being home alone a nightmare for anyone. Reddit user 321l23 said,

“Unexplained noises were extremely common, banging and dragging sounds in empty rooms, the sound of doors slamming on a floor that no one was on etc.

“The most memorable noises were definitely the stairs though. Countless times we heard what sounded like someone booking ass down our main stair case. Most of the time we’d go running to see what was going on, but no one would ever be there. Well no one except for my entire family at the bottom of the stair case asking each other if they heard that too. A few times we even physically saw no one on the steps but could still hear the sound of someone running on a them up and down as clear as day, it still gives me chills to think about.

13. They may have actually seen a ghost

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In Halloween imagery and media, ghosts typically look like a white sheet-like, shapeless thing with black eyes and a mouth. In real life, they can just look like people. Take user EnragedErin’s story as an example. She said, “When I was about 12 years old, I lived in a house that was behind a church. One night, while mom, dad, my neighbor and myself were sitting on the back porch and just munching on some popcorn and telling scary stories (it was almost Halloween.)

“All of a sudden, we heard the pastor of the church, who lived next to the church screamed ‘STAY AWAY!’

“When we looked up, we saw this weird… fog? Hard to really say what it was… Was kinda like the fog you see from a freezer when you open the door. Mom, dad and my neighbor were closer to the church on the porch than I was. What they told me they saw was a female body in that fog. The pastor booked it into his house, and that fog was standing outside the door for a good 30 seconds, before it turned to our direction. I swear to GOD the look on its face was the scariest thing I had ever seen. I ran into the house and almost peed my pants.”

14. They always felt like they were being watched

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Sometimes a home just has a bad vibe, and you know that something is off. This was what happened to user grumblecakes1, who wrote, “My dad lived in this house, we only stayed over every other weekend, but it was scary.

“You always felt like you were being watched. Being alone in a room just felt weird.

“Hard to explain but certain areas just felt uncomfortable to everyone. This was in the 90s. My dad and stepmom said things would randomly get moved around. One night they said they were in bed and they heard a voice yell ‘get out.’ Place had a bad vibe. Sometimes it would be so scary I would have to have my dad sleep in the living room with us. I was glad when they finally moved.”

15. They definitely weren’t alone….

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This story from Reddit user Wimpy7769 is beyond scary. They said that they lived in a 110-year-old farmhouse in the middle of the country 20 minutes away from any other sort of town – so, basically, it was deserted. They went on,

“This house was well known for being haunted, but my dad never believed in any of that stuff. When I moved in I knew that this place was seriously messed up.

“This place had a recorded six deaths on the property (sickness/farming accidents) since the time it was constructed. Everyone that had ever lived there heard or saw something. The previous owner went crazy drinking himself to sleep in the basement and the one before that committed suicide. Rethinking this place honestly makes me sound insane I stayed here, but I had nowhere else to go.

“The worst parts always seemed to happen when I was there alone. On top of the extreme isolation, this place was terrifying.

“One night I was there alone because I had to work a Saturday and my dad went out of town. I woke up in the middle of the night and heard talking. Almost like a mumbling TV in the other room kind of thing, waking up groggy I didn’t think much of it until after a minute or so I remembered: ‘wait, I’m here alone.’ I tried to make out what they were saying but I couldn’t understand it. So I opened my door and grabbed my shotgun and yelled: ‘Who the f*** is here?!’ Dead silent. Closed my door, went back to my bed thinking to my self I was half crazy. I lay down and without skipping a beat the talking starts again. So I bolt up and search the house. Nothing. Dead empty, the dog sleeping out in her kennel. I go back to my room a THIRD time, and it starts again. At this point, I knew I was crazy or that was a ghost.”

16. They heard noises at the same time every night

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This home was definitely haunted by the previous owner. Reddit user IamHeretoSayThis wrote, “I lived in an older home for about 5 or so years.

“My step dad, who knew the man who had lived there before us, told me he hung himself in the attic. I honestly didn’t think much of it, that is until I heard the footsteps.

“Like clockwork, every night at 3 a.m. I would heart footsteps walking along the length of the attic, which would go over my room. The steps were heavy and you could clearly tell the pace was at a normal walking speed. It sounded like a man contemplating something, thinking about his next move. If it was really the former owner, were those his final moments being played out every night before his fateful decision? Who can say?”

17. They disturbed some of the spirits once

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Sometimes so many weird things happen with no explanation that you have choice but to blame it on spirits. User nannylinn62 wrote, ” The place had a weird wall furnace in it and when winter came on my new BF (Who is now my old husband) lit up the furnace for me.

“Just as he did, everything went crazy.

“We heard (but didn’t see) doors slamming and footsteps running up and down the stairs. The lamp hanging above the table began to swing wildly. I was standing there in shock while all this was happening. My boyfriend then turned the furnace off and took the front off of it. It was filled with a mouse nest that was just starting to smolder. How he knew what to do is beyond me and when I asked him he said he didn’t know why he did that. That ghost saved us that night.”

18. The house was haunted by little kids

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Why are child ghosts so much scarier than adult ghosts? This story is an example. User Mytrixrnot4kids wrote, “We used to live in a house that was built in 1956. There were several things that happened.

“When my middle daughter was in preschool and kindergarten, she would be trying to go to sleep and would be crying that someone touched her hair, touched her feet and even said her name in her ear.

“Finally, when all three of my girls were in school, I went into her bedroom and said ‘Whoever is touching her and saying her name please stop. I know you only want to get her attention but you are scaring her.’ After that, it never happened again. Around the same time, we removed the carpet in our living room and hallway and put down a wood floor.

“My husband went to work nights and I would always hear a child running in the hallway.

“I would get up and check my three girls and they would be fast asleep. It happened so often that I stopped checking on the kids. Once my husband was off and even he heard it. He was sleeping, woke up and said one of the girls was up. I said no they weren’t and he said ‘They are! I heard them running in the hallway.’ I had previously not even mentioned it to him because he is a huge skeptic and, tbh, I didn’t want to deal with his attitude about it.”

19. A man stabbed himself after one night at this haunted home.

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An Iowa tourist attraction, infamous for the place the 1912 murders of six children and two adults whose skulls were crushed while they slept in their beds, is known for its paranormal activity.

The house is considered one of the most haunted home in America, and draws guests and victors from around the world for up to $428 a night.

“They play with the children, they hear voices, they get pictures of anomalies,” Martha Linn, 77, who bought the house in 1994 and restored it to its 1912 condition, told VICE. “I have notebooks from just the last two years full of what overnight experiences people have had. Very few of them go away without experiencing something.”

Unsurprisingly, these visitors, often include ghost hunters, who will often bring Ouija boards and EVP recorders, which are suppose to stir up any dark forces.

In 2014, a paranormal investigator stabbed himself after spending the night.

20. Sounds of an infant crying terrorize a hotel staff

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Guests who’ve stayed in room 220 at Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, Arizona, can confirm feelings of being haunted during their stays.

From paranormal activity that haunts rooms and halls to changing TV channels, this place sounds terrifying.

According to House Beautiful, “Some have said they felt cold hands touching them in their sleep. There’s also reportedly a phantom bellboy who knocks on doors and announces “room service,” but when guests get to the door, no one’s there.”

But, this place gets scarier.

The hotel website reads, “Staff have found themselves running upstairs to escape the sound of the cries. Though the sounds are very real to those who hear them, there has been no information that has explained the phenomenon.”

21. A gruesome mass murder claimed every family member who lived here.

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On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family, at the Amityville House.

A year later, George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the house. After 28 days, the Lutzes left the house, claiming to have experienced truly chilling encounters.

According to Bustle, when the family left, they didn’t realize they would never come back.

“We didn’t get up to leave that morning, you need to understand that,” Lutz said, adding they ended up leaving all their possessions to be auctioned. “This was our house, we lived there.”

The family stayed with Kathy’s mother and ended up heading to San Diego.

Their experience was turned into a book, they submitted 45 hours of tape-recorded recollections of their insane encounters.

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Among the many paranormal allegations, the family revealed the house was plagued by swarms of flies despite the winter weather, George found a small hidden room (around four feet by five feet) behind shelving in the basement, which was painted red and terrified their dog.

Kathy had terrible nightmares about the murders and would find her kids sleeping on their stomachs, “in the same way that the dead bodies in the DeFeo murders had been found,” according Jay Anson’s 1977 book The Amityville Horror: A True Story.

The house has had five different owners since the DeFeo murders, fortunately none have reported any paranormal activity since the Lutz family.

22. This home is known as the “House of Death”

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Not even New Yorkers can escape paranormal activity.

The House of Death is a famous brownstone off of Fifth Avenue that is reportedly “terrorized by a whopping total of 22 ghosts,” according to Time Out.

While Mark Twain lived here for a year from 1900-1901, that fun fact can’t cover up the story for a six-year-old girl beaten to death by her father, criminal prosecutor Joel Steinberg, in 1987.

Steinberg was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and later landed mandatory parole in 2004.

The Post reported in 2017 that he was living in an apartment in Harlem.

Some of the ghosts that have supposedly been seen here include, Twain, the young girl, her father, and a lady in white, in addition to a gray cat.

Despite the single-family home converting into a 10-unit apartment building, the hauntings have not stopped.

According to the Post, actress Jan Bryant Bartell and her husband moved in 1957 into an apartment on the top floor of 14 West 10th Street. Almost immediately, Bartell felt a “monstrous moving shadow that loomed up behind her.”

In a memoir published years after she left the home, Bartell wrote smelling a rotting odor throughout her apartment and seeing a vision of a man. She wrote that when she tried to touch him, he was a “substance without substance. Chilly, damp. Diaphanous as marsh mist or a cloud of ether.”

23. You can hear creepy laughter at this home

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The story behind Lizzie Borden and the infamous Borden murders leaves people divided. Some remember Lizzie as a sweet Sunday school teacher, others point to her as the killer of both her parents.

The story goes, Lizzie slept in, as the rest of the “Borden house was alive with activity,” according to All That’s Interesting.

Lizzie later said that she found her father dead, sprawled out on the couch and covered in blood, when her sister starting screaming.

The outlet reported, “his face so badly disfigured that he was unrecognizable.”

Since the crime was never solved, Lizzie may have gotten away with murder.

At the Lizzie Borden House in Fall River, MA, which has become a museum and B&B, guests claim to hear her “cackling at the top of the stairs near where she gave her stepmother “forty whacks.”

“Both of her axed parents are said to stalk the grounds, as does a maid screaming for help,” according to Time Out.


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