Short Scary Stories


19 Real, Scary Ghost Stories That Will Haunt Your Dreams
These scary ghost stories will leave you too terrified to close your eyes.
By Audrey Webster

So you think you’ve heard it all–the really scary ghost stories. At this point, nothing can scare you. We beg to disagree.
To prove there’s still a wealth of fresh, scary stories, we asked our dear readers and the good people at Reddit to share their scariest ghost stories. Planning on getting a good night’s sleep tonight? Think again. These 19 real ghost stories will have you questioning that bump you hear in the night.
1. Three Knocks in the Dead of Night
Something strange happened to xombabe and their grandma. One night, they stayed up late watching The Walking Dead. Their grandma had never seen the show before, so they’d spent the past few nights binging late into the night. It was about 4 am when the two turned off the television and the lights and called it a night. Their grandma went into her room, and our Reddit user went to the bathroom to brush their teeth. That was when they heard three light knocks right behind them.
Since the bathroom was connected to their grandmother’s room, they assumed it was her checking to see if they were in the bathroom. They answered but didn’t get a response. When they left the bathroom and met their grandma in the hallway, she asked what the user wanted. Confused, the writer said that they thought she was the one knocking on the bathroom door. But grandma had also heard three knocks on her door and thought it was the Reddit user.
Related: 5 Real-Life Ghost Stories That Will Make You Question Your Sanity
As it turns out, they both heard the quiet, distinct knocks. They searched the house to make sure no one had broken in, double-checked the locks, and finally went to bed. Their grandma has one deceased son and one son that has been missing for almost a year now. The user believes that the knocks had something to do with the missing men—perhaps they were trying to reach out to their beloved family.
2. The Shoe in the Riverbed
A few years ago, tauntauntom had just been through a rough divorce from their high school sweetheart. Their best friend had taken to distracting them by taking long road trips. One morning, they were on their way to Carlsbad, New Mexico when they paused alongside a river dam. They were drinking cider and snacking when the pair decided to explore the dried river bed. It was obvious that they weren’t the first ones to go trekking through the riverbed. The pair could see human, canine, and feline footprints in the mud.
They then recall starting to feel an odd sensation, like they were being watched. Their friend caught the writer’s attention and called them over. There was a bone in the ground – what they now believe was a spinal cord. At first they thought it was a beef or pork bone on some kind. They continued looking around the river bed when they found a strange rust colored rock sticking out from the sand. When they got closer, they realized it was a half-buried little girl’s shoe. The Reddit user stepped back and ran forward, preparing to kick the shoe. Suddenly, they heard a little girl’s voice shout “No! Don’t, please!” They looked around but didn’t see anyone besides themselves, and their friend. The friend asked why they stopped and they replied “Didn’t you hear that little girl?”. Both confused, they decided to shrug it off and continued on their way. Meanwhile, the feeling that someone was watching them grew stronger. A few minutes later, they spotted another bone.
Now, they began to get scared. The bone was clearly human. The friend called the non-emergency police number for Carlsbad, and they reported what they saw.
One week later, they received a call from their friend that the Carlsbad Police had called to report the bones they found were indeed human. During the investigation, the two were questioned and eventually informed that the rust-colored rock actually wasn’t a rock at all, but the shell of a pickup truck that had disappeared along with the family of three it had been carrying: a man, a woman, and their daughter. It made the Reddit user think back to the girl’s shoe sticking out of the mud, and the voice they heard. Could the little girl have spoken directly to them?
3. Ouija Board Warning

Photo Credit: Marta Kat / Flickr (CC)
Last year, smol-bean-dean went to a friend’s house for a party. Around one in the morning, the group decided to use a Ouija board. The Reddit user was the only one who believed in accounts of the paranormal so she was hesitant when her friends brought out the board. But instead of giving her friends more reasons to tease her when it came to the paranormal, she acted as if she didn’t believe in such activity.
They began asking the board questions. They started with a few normal questions, and nothing really exciting happened. Then someone asked if the spirit wanted to hurt them, and it responded with “only one.” The group started to get creeped out at this point—and rightfully so. When one friend asked the natural follow-up question, who, the board spelled out Natasha: the Reddit user’s full name. It should be noted that she doesn’t care for their full name and has everyone call her Tasha instead. Tasha then left the room while her friends continued playing but found out later that night that the group forgot to say goodbye to the board. Anyone familiar with a Ouija board knows that closing the interaction with the spirit is crucial before stopping use of the board. Needless to say, she was nervous.
After this, Tasha has no memory of the night. She only remembers getting a migraine and nosebleeds. Her friends took videos of her acting strangely, speaking with a changed voice, and a few instances of her talking in other languages. However, that night wasn’t the only time this happened. In the days following, Tasha’s parents reported the same things happening. Once again, she remembered nothing but migraines and nosebleeds.
About two weeks later, she was back to normal. Or so she thought. Tasha was suddenly hospitalized for an excruciating pain in her kidney—so bad that it almost shut down. The doctors tried everything but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Then, on the day she were scheduled for surgery, the pain suddenly stopped. One day later, Tasha was released.
Since that incident, she has never felt like she was truly alone. Sometimes, she feels someone grabbing her hands or neck, making it difficult to breathe. Tasha has always believed in the paranormal, but this experience made it far more real for her.
4. Scares at the Nursing Home
Swagman434 is a dietary aide at a nursing home for people with Alzheimer’s, and they have had some seriously scary encounters while working there. Their job mainly consists of washing dishes, and they’re normally standing right next to the dishwasher which makes it difficult to hear what people are saying.
On numerous occasions, they have been by the dishwasher and heard someone talking to them even though they knew no one was nearby.
One night, the writer went to collect food carts in one of their units, alone. The whole time they were in the unit, they felt like they were being followed. Fearing what they might see, they never turned around. Eventually, they pulled off, pretending to use the bathroom. They waited there for about five minutes before peering into the hallway where they’d just been. There, they saw a patient they recognized. At first, this made them feel better, but soon, they realized that it was a patient who had died three days prior in a unit near the kitchen.
Related: 22 Terrifying True Ghost Stories and Strange Encounters
The user also relayed a second experience they had while washing the dishes on a different day. They asked the person they were washing with if he could go into Unit A and get the food carts. The third person who normally washed with them had already left for the day, leaving the writer alone.
Suddenly, they heard a voice in their ear. They turned around, but no one was there. They even went into the hallway, but still saw nothing. As they returned to washing the dishes, it happened again. The second time, they realized it was the voice of their great-grandma who passed away seven years ago. Very spooky.
5. Threatening Footsteps in the Country
In 2013, Xombabe and her friends decided to make a Ouija board. Her best friend lives about a 45 minute drive from the closest store and nearest town, so there wasn’t much to do. They’d spent the day watching movies but eventually got bored, so the user, her friend, the friend’s boyfriend and his friend decided to make the board.
About a week before they made the board, the two friends had been staying alone at the house when the Reddit writer woke at 6 am to the sound of heavy footsteps in the hallway nearing the bedroom. She tried to wake her friend, but it was no use – she was a heavy sleeper. The footsteps stopped right outside the door. The writer waited, holding her breath, for the door to open, but it never did. The next few hours she spent awake, waiting for something to happen. When both girls were finally awake by 11 that morning, before either left the room, she told her friend what had happened the night before.
And what her friend said in response chilled her to the bone. She said that for years she’d been hearing the same footsteps and that they had always stopped right outside her bedroom. No one else had heard the footsteps until the writer.
That night, they made their Ouija board. The group were messing around with it, not getting any real responses when they suddenly heard a loud bang in the back on the house. They decided to stop for the night. The friend left to drive the other two home, leaving the Reddit user alone at the house.
Being alone after hearing the loud noise and the footsteps made her nervous so she turned on the television for a distraction while she waited for her friend to return. In the middle of the opening credits, the television froze and started making loud buzzing noises. She tried to turn off the TV, but the remote wouldn’t work. Then she tried unplugging it, but it kept going.
Thoroughly freaked out, she went outside to wait for her friend to get back. At this point, she had started shaking and crying and texted her friend explaining what had happened. Then the dogs started barking at the living room door, viciously growling and snarling like they saw something no human could.
Thirty minutes later, her friend finally arrived back home. Both girls could hear the television from the porch, but when they went inside, it had completely shut off and was still unplugged. Neither are sure exactly what happened, but they’re certain is was some kind of malevolent spirit.