12 Totally Chilling Real-Life Ghost Stories

Wendy Robinson | Apr 20, 2018 Home & Garden
12 Totally Chilling Real-Life Ghost Stories
Image: istock.com/Peacefulwarrior93

man, ghost

I was putting my 3-year-old to bed when she sleepily told me that whenever she got bored at night, she'd just wait until Grandpa Jesse came to read her stories. This sounds really sweet, except for the fact that Grandpa Jesse has been dead for more than 20 years. I couldn't help but wonder if my daughter has a very big imagination or if she's living a real-life ghost story. 

I'm not sure I believe in ghosts. I've never been a superstitious person. My first cat was a black one and I've never been afraid to take an elevator to the 13th floor. I'm just not a believer in the supernatural. Or, more accurately, I wasn't a believer before. Now I can't deny that the memory of hearing my daughter talk so matter-of-factly about her nighttime visits from the grandfather she's never met still sends a chill up my spine. 

As someone who prides herself on being logical and a strong believer in science, I was kind of embarrassed to admit that I wondered about the possibility of ghosts. But then I confessed in a parenting group, and it turns out that real-life ghost stories are way more common than I would have expected! 

From harmless ghosts to scary spirits, what follows are 12 stories of real women who swear they've had real experiences with ghosts. Keep the lights on and keep reading!

  • Ghost on the Road

    ghost, girl ghost

    "I was in a car on a country road late at night when a terrified girl ran across the road in front of us. Driver slammed on the breaks and we all jumped out to call for her, before we realized that she had been transparent. I've never felt terror like that before." -- Anna S., Abilene, Texas

  • Haunted Basement

    basement door, open door

    "I rented an old house while in college with some roommates. The previous tenants left a note saying that they put a bolt on the basement door because it was weird down there. When we jokingly started down the basement steps a huge cold wind came blowing up at us. We kept it locked but every so often we'd find it had unlocked itself. Seriously bad energy down there." -- Nina E., Muncie, Indiana 

  • Dog Alert

    dog at window

    "My dog is usually really chill but one day she kept barking at the door. Then the doorbell rang three times but nobody was there. My dog was pacing the floor and growling, which is so unlike her. The next day I found out our super creepy next-door neighbor had killed himself during that exact time." -- Julie W., St. Paul, Minnesota 

  • Dream Dress

    ghost in old house

    "I always felt like there was something unsettling about our attic. It was more than just usual attic creepiness. One night I had a dream about another woman wearing my dress. She looked sad and lost. The next day I went up and found my wedding dress box was open and there were dirty smudges, like fingerprints, on it." -- Alba G., Toledo, Ohio

  • Leave Her Alone

    ghost image

    "I went to a boarding school that was old and creepy as heck. The building had originally been a tuberculosis sanatorium so we all knew people had died there. One night, when I was walking back to my room, I swear I saw a ghost. I wanted to see it closer but I heard a voice behind me say 'leave her alone'; when I turned around there was nobody there." -- Amy R., Concord, New Hampshire

  • My Own Ghost

    ghost girl

    "I woke in the middle of the night to find my bedside lamp on (I never leave it on). I glanced to the end of the bed and on the chair there: Was me. Sitting, calmly reading a magazine I’d left there that evening. I (the real me) was chilled through suddenly. My insides felt like ice. I just lay there, then her (me v.2) looked at me. No smile. No change of expression. The next day, the magazine was on the other side of the room. It still freaks me out." -- Gina S., Oakdale, Minnesota 

    More from CafeMom: Real Ghost Stories: 8 Women Share Their Chilling Supernatural Encounters

  • Scary Hand

    scared child

    "When I was about 5, I apparently kept seeing a demonic hand in the tree outside by bedroom. When my mom asked what it wanted, I turned and said 'It's hungry and thirsty but it has no mouth to eat or drink,' which has to be the spookiest answer ever to come from a child." -- Jennifer R., Mobile, Alabama

  • Colonial Ghost

    ghost with a candle

    "We lived in a 200+ years old farmhouse when our son was born. When he would cry we would sometimes see a woman dressed in colonial clothing standing at the top of the stairs tapping her foot waiting for us to attend to the baby. Not scary, just waiting." -- Name withheld by request 

  • Dorm Ghost

    college students in a dorm

    "During my sophomore year of college my roommate and I were in our dorm, and suddenly everything on the top of her desk was swept off. Neither of us were near it but it was like someone had just tipped the whole desk over. I still have no explanation for it." -- Carrie H., Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Ghost Name

    infant cradle

    "My aunt's house had a harmless ghost. He opened doors in the kitchen and basement, made funny smells, hid stuff in weird places, that kind of thing. My aunt was pregnant and when she and my uncle were redoing a room for the baby, they found a photo of a little girl behind the wallpaper with the name Louisa on the back. They framed the picture and named the new baby Louisa. Weird ghost activity stopped as soon as the baby was named." -- Amber T., Miami, Florida

  • Condo Ghost


    "I'm pretty sure my condo has a ghost who lives in the kitchen. She (and I feel like it's a she) seems to act up most when I'm baking. I can't tell if that's a sign she likes my cooking or not?" -- Junie D., St. Paul, Minnesota 

  • Tea for One

    pot of tea

    "My grandparents bought a lakeside cottage. They would close it up during the winter and have family parties/reunions there in the summer. My grandma says that every year when she would go to reopen the cottage, a teapot with tea and a tea cup would be sitting on the coffee table. She did some research and the former owner was an elderly woman and she passed (peacefully) in the house. Grandma always said she never felt threatened by her. Just always had to clean up her tea." -- Karen V., Buffalo, New York

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