Almost every culture on Earth has a belief in the supernatural. Even in the twenty-first century, ghost stories and tales of the macabre and the unexplained are just as popular as ever. Even if there's no evidence for the existence of spirits haunting us from beyond the grave, the concept of the ghost is just enigmatic and pervasive to dismiss. Even the most rational people among us have, at some point in our lives, experienced something eerie that the mundane world can't account for. Maybe you've walked into a room and felt a sudden chill, or heard a noise in the walls that defies explanation. Maybe you've witnessed an object moving on its own, or even come face-to-face with a spectral figure in the night.
Maybe you're a firm believer in life after death, or maybe you're skeptical of the whole idea. But there are plenty of real life stories of ghost encounters, and they're a lot more frightening than anything you'd ever see in the movies, or in the pages of something by Edgar Allan Poe. To prove it, we've collated some of the spookiest real life ghost stories on the internet for you to enjoy ... well, not enjoy per say. It's more like they'll keep you up till the crack of dawn in a cold sweat. Scroll down to check them out, if you're brave enough that is.
1. Emma Wagner ended up with a mystery roommate
"In my apartment in Brooklyn, I lived above a family and so I didn't always lock the door to my apartment if I was just running out to get something real quick-- the front door to the house was downstairs. So I would leave without locking my door, and come home to find it locked. This happened for a while. At first, I thought I was just absent minded, but then it was clear that I had not locked the door. One night I was up late and I just knew that someone was in the room with me and it was a young boy. It freaked me out and I went to bed. The next day, I politely said out loud in my apartment by myself that I appreciated that this was his house, too, and I hoped we could live together, but would he please stop locking my doors. And he did."
2. Jaime Lutz scared the pants off some kids with this prank
"When I was 10 years old, I had a slumber party for my birthday. One of the guests was my cousin Colleen who was the same age as me. Somehow, while we were playing Bloody Mary and Stiff as a Board and other spooky slumber party games, Colleen or I brought up that our grandfather had died just a few months before. This was the scariest story of all because WE knew a REAL dead person! As we were talking about this, suddenly a picture of him flew off the wall. Everyone SCREAMED and other kids asked to go home. I don’t believe in ghosts and I think this was probably just my brother or mom walking around and making our house shift slightly or something. But everyone I’ve talked to from that sleepover still remembers it being horrifying years later, and my cousin Colleen really believes it was our grandpa contacting us."
3. Kaylyn Lewis met the spirit of a drowned woman
"I used to live in my fiancé's dads house, in the basement apartment. The house was right by Lake Ronkonkoma. Every night at 1130, my cat would go INSANE and start running around the apartment. One night, I got up to go to the bathroom, at around 11pm. In the hallway, leading to upstairs, I saw a female figure, long black hair in a white dress. She didn't last very long, but to this day, I'm still convinced it was the Native American Princess that drowned herself in Lake Ronkonkoma."
4. Jennifer Peterla had a bizarre experience with a Ouija board
"I had a friend pass away and the day of his service we would get phone calls from his cell phone, which his mom confirmed was off in the kitchens junk drawer and confirmed by the cell phone company that it hadn't made any outgoing calls. We decided to use a Ouija board and we would talk to him and one day we asked him to call us and he told us a time and everything. A few minutes leading up to the call we sat quietly and waited and he called us the exact time he told us on the Ouija board."
5. Katrina Schindlar met a departed family member
"At a sleepover in 2nd grade, I got up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water. When I got into the kitchen I saw my great grandmother standing on the other side of the kitchen table eating a cookie and I could see through to the wall behind her. She waved to me and smiled and I bolted.
On the way back, I stepped on a Barbie doll's hand and jumped into my sleeping bag. I woke the next morning not knowing if it had been a weird dream, but I had a scratch on the bottom of my foot from stepping on the Barbie. I told my grandmother about it, and she asked what kind of cookie. When I said it was an oatmeal raisin she smiled and told me that those were always her favourite."
6. Brandon had to put up with a party poltergeist
"My buddy and I were in our living room hanging out, and we heard the cupboards in my kitchen opening and shutting. We walk in and all the cupboards are open. Later on we're having a party and a girl was pretty tipsy, so we had her go lie down in the back of the house. We hear yelling and glass break—obviously, we freaked out, sure that someone tried to take advantage of this passed-out girl. Four of us go back there and she is asleep, tucked in, and there are several broken glasses next to the door. She has no recollection of this."
7. Ashley Bez met a haunted woman
"I was waitressing at the Jane Hotel, which is known for being haunted. There was a huge TV shoot in the bar next door and on one of my tables was a producer and her assistant. As I was taking their order, one of the wine glasses quickly moved all the way across the table then stopped right as it got to the edge. I gasped, and when I asked if they saw the wine glass move, the older woman said, 'oh, don't worry about it, ghosts follow me everywhere.' And her assistant confirmed, "'yeah, this happens everywhere we go, this is nothing compared to when one locked me in a hotel room.'"
8. Michael Piatkowski has a broadway-themed horror tale
"When I was a teen and performing off-Broadway as Pinocchio, I saw the ghost of Diana Barrymore in the wings of the 74th St. Theatre (now demolished). Barrymore had once told her ex-husband, the actor Bramwell Fletcher, that she would follow him around after she died. He had been in a show at the Theatre a few weeks before. She was wearing the costume she wore in the show where they met. I saw a picture of her in that dress and recognized her immediately."
9. Tour Guide Cara Calistro has a few stories about a haunted hotel
"For a couple of years in high school, I lived in a historic haunted hotel. I had a suite with my cousin—two separate rooms that were divided with a bathroom. One morning, I got into the shower and when I came out, the temperature dropped dramatically and suddenly. I could feel the breath of someone in my ear. A little boy whispered "mommy, mommy" in my ear. Needless to say, I freaked out."
10. Cara also had an encounter in a post office
"On top of that, next door my aunt owned a salon that used to be an old Post Office. The salon was extremely haunted, and I used to close it down all by myself, which often left me with a sense of panic. I always felt like someone was watching me. The stations were situated across from the cash wrap, and on a few nights, I saw an old man with a striped sweater, khaki pants and a long grey beard just sitting in the chair, watching me close down the register."
11. Jon Dimakopoulos had a spooky hide-and-seek story
"It was summer, 3 am in the morning, and my little sister and I were playing hide and go seek in our basement. She wasn't in the boiler room, so I decided to check the laundry room. Because I'm scared to go out, I looked through the peek hole and see my sister hiding. Couldn't make out her face, but I swore it was my sister. I start calling her name and repeatedly said over and over how I found her, so come out. This goes on for another minute before my sister comes from behind, so we both now start freaking out. I was 100% sure on what I saw, and my mom believed me, because she got a baseball bat and we both slowly walked into the laundry room. We went into the room, turned on the light, and found nobody."
12. Finally Carliz from Puerto Rico spun us this freaky yarn
"The first time I ever saw a ghost, I was eight years old. My mom, brother and I had come home pretty late. I went to a closet in the hall where we kept some of our groceries. My older brother started teasing me and pushing me inside the closet. I laughed the first couple of times, but then he started pushing me harder. I lost it when he pushed me so hard that I hit my head against the wooden shelf inside the closet, so I shouted at him and followed him to my mom's room, where I thought I saw his shadow run.
I was furious at him and started yelling like crazy. It took me some time to realise it wasn't him. As soon as I saw this big black human shaped shadow, it vanished through the window. I think I stood there for a good minute before I heard my brother screaming in horror to stop messing with him. Finally, I could move my legs and went to the kitchen where he was. I found he was covering his eyes, yelling my name and telling me to stop. My mom came in at that moment, and we both calmed him down, and he asked me 'how you did that?' repeatedly. Both my mom and I asked him what he meant. I was already freaking out, but then he said 'you flew through the ceiling and you had your faced torn out, how did you do that?'
I explained to them what happened to me, and he said he never pushed me. And, well, I never actually saw him. I assumed it was him, since mom was in the bathroom and we used to play like that. well, not with that much force. Since that happened, doors will open by themselves. My mom used to smoke outside the house past midnight, and she always saw shadows around the house. I was so glad when we moved out of that house."
So there you have it - twelve terrifying tales of dread to give you nightmares all night. But ghost stories don't have to be written down, and the prevalence of cameras in the modern world means that it's easier than ever to catch a ghost in the act and share the footage of them. For instance, check out this morbid CCTV clip of a ghost wandering the hallways of a deserted hopsital in the dark. If that doesn't give you goosebumps then nothing will.