The Eerie! The Weird! The Unexplained!

First, you did see the “horror in three sentences contest, right?

Second, you also saw the pumpkin-carving contest, right?


Today, not a contest, but a question in theme with the ghoulish delights that the month of October seems to bring with it —

We’ve all had freaky things happen to us.

Ghost stories. Strange sightings. Inexplicable happenings.

Glitches in the Matrix, perhaps.

I’d like to hear about them. Hop down into the comments and let ’em fly. True stories! As true as you can recall them. And while not specifically a contest, I will choose three random commenters to receive a copy of my short story collection, Irregular Creatures, in e-book format.


  • When my parents first moved to Utah (dad got stationed at Hill AFB) back when I was thirteen or fourteen, we were looking for houses to buy. I couldn’t tell you how many houses we looked for over how many days, but I do remember one specific house my parents were looking at. It was a nice house, two story (like all of the houses in Utah), with a lovely back yard. I was upstairs and my parents were somewhere else in the house talking with the owner. I already didn’t like the place-hated house hunting-and was ready to go. I walked down the short upstairs hallway and spotted a room. A tiny room. Which is unusual for houses out West, nine times out of ten all of the rooms are pretty decently sized.
    Anyway, the room was done up in a fashion no one in the States really sees any more unless you’re from New England or, you’ve survived since 1910. The bed was pink crochet with a closet at its foot and a dresser to its right. I can’t remember what was on the dresser apart from maybe an old picture in an oval frame because the minute I stepped into that room a cold finger ran up my spine.
    My internal temperature dropped ten degrees in a matter of seconds. A vice made an acquaintance with my brain in the most immediate and intimate of ways, and I went blind.
    I stood there for five, maybe ten minutes, breathing hard and struggling to see. I was cold and hot in turns and I couldn’t move. No matter how hard I tried, I could not moved.
    Then, as my parents came upstairs, I could move again. My body temperature was normal, and I could see.
    I left the house in a hurry.
    Turns out, the grandmother that no one liked died in that room.

  • I was studying in Valencia, Spain for a semester, which meant visiting all the local museums and having to endure painting after painting/sculpture/furniture of medieval depictions of heaven and hell, angels and demons, priests, etc. Being a sunny, warm day, I walked there with some other students, and strolled from room to room, snapping pictures and chatting with locals. Meandering around the main building, I came across this dimly lit empty room. None of the locals would go in, and as I was walking towards it, I saw an elderly lady cross herself and walk across the room hurriedly. Obviously, I had to check it out, so I walked in. On the walls were fantastic battles of Heaven vs Hell, with Hell primarily winning. Gruesome scenes of demons eating babies, stomping on people’s heads, holding down young virgins…not something you see at Sunday school. As I took all this in, I started getting goosebumps, the temperature dropped and I felt a breeze (no open windows in the building or vents that I could find in the room). Then I noticed this gilded mirror, seemingly out of place, in the far corner next to this huge painting illustrating the Devil himself. I had a thing for pretty mirrors and doors, so I walked quickly over, took a picture of it, and almost ran from the creepy room, feeling eyes on me the whole time.
    A week later, I loaded the pictures online to share with folks back home, and came across the mirror picture. I was stunned at what I saw: a swirling black mass, thick like smoke was right above me as I was snapping the picture of the mirror holding my reflection. I started to mentally freak out, then made myself go rational and think things through: maybe there was something on the lens? Or something on the mirror? Nope. All my other pictures came out just fine, and the smoky mass was outside of the mirror, not part of the mirror glass. I still have the picture, just as a reminder that what I felt was more than my imagination, and if I ever get the creeps about a space/room/mirror ever again, to cross myself and run away as fast as I can.

  • My parents used to own a house they rented out, and one summer we were busy repainting/repairing it in between tenants. On this particular day, my mom and I were the only two there, and my mom had to run back to our house to grab some extra painting supplies and a radio, because it was so quiet.

    Fairly shortly after she left, I heard footsteps right outside the room I was painting. I followed the sound of the footsteps to the top of the stairs, at which point I heard the downstairs piano start playing by itself. It made me smile, because the night before I had had a dream about a red-headed woman who lived in a piano and sometimes pranked/haunted people, but she liked me in the dream so it put me at ease in real life and I simply went back to painting.

    I’ve had far fewer eerie encounters than the other members of my family – namely, my mother and sister. The only other thing that happened to me COULD have potentially been a dream, although I honestly believe it wasn’t, but it happened right as I was waking up from a nap so I could understand if people believe it didn’t happen. I heard footsteps – someone in boots walking up wooden stairs – and I freaked out, thinking there was an intruder. I hid in my room and called my dad to come home and check. There were no other sounds and there was no one in the house when my dad checked. A few weeks later, it occurred to me that our stairs are actually carpeted, so it COULDN’T have been an intruder.

  • October 15, 2013 at 7:13 PM // Reply

    Okay, true story, huh? Well, here goes…When I was 16, I had a role in a play at our local theatre. It basically meant I showed up four nights a week to said playhouse and got to break my school-night curfew so I could hang out with all the other “artists” (wanna be actors) for the “love of art” (an important quality I was to develop, said my parents). Yes, I had a few lines, but nothing much else. So, I often ran errands for the leads. One night I was asked to go downstairs to the basement to get a prop or something (hey, it was 40 years ago!). I couldn’t find what they were looking for, so I pulled back a long curtain at one end of the basement and entered a workshop-like area. An older gentleman stood before a saw. He seemed to be making something. When he looked up at me, he only said “you shouldn’t be here” and quickly ushered me behind the curtain again. All I remember is cold hands pushing me backward until I landed back into the more brightly lit basement area. I went back upstairs to announce I couldn’t find “it” and was pushed out of the space altogether by an older guy who quite frankly wasn’t very friendly and had cold hands. They looked at me like I was crazy. The next night I mentioned it to someone and they said there was no extra workshop area in the basement. I went downstairs to show them and when I pulled back the black curtain it covered….a concrete wall. I. KID. YOU. NOT. To this day, I don’t go to that theatre. Ever. I mean what if he found out where I LIVED?

  • Once in the fourth grade my class went on a field trip to St. Augustine, and we went on the ghost tour. At first, the tour was pretty boring, but then the guide pointed out this huge stone ball that (supposedly) you could see a ghost crouched on top of if you took a picture. Just for the fun of it, my teacher took a picture, and the ghost, not at all blurry, was crouched on the ball on her camera screen. Later, I went back to the big ball to look for anything to prove it was a fake-projectors, dummies, etc.- and their were none!

  • My father was not a man known for possessing remarkable insight about anything – much less things to come; however, on one occasion, I heard him accurately predict the future, and I watched the events unfold. We were on I-55 a little north of Jackson, Mississippi. I was about to enter college, and he’d driven me to sign the paperwork to accept a loan. We were in the lane to the right, and another car raced passed us. The driver had pushed it to an excess of 100mph at least. My father turned to me and said, “That asshole is gonna have a blowout, lose control, and kill somebody.” I took his words as an offhanded remark, but seconds later the rear tire on the driver’s side of the other car exploded. The car tore across the median and bucketed into oncoming traffic and off the road into a gully. People died. I never asked my father if he really knew that that was going to happen, but the feeling afterwards is one of the strangest feelings I’ve ever had. That day my father nailed the future. I wish he hadn’t, but he did. Or rather I wish he had been playing the lottery at that moment. Then perhaps I wouldn’t still be repaying that loan.

  • Once as a child, in our old condo complex, a man sat in the middle of the parking lot. He was dressed in a black trench coat and black cowboy else and nothing else. It was bizarre. More bizarre no one else saw him, but I did…I held his line of sight for the longest time. I remember his being an icy blue. He just sat there staring at me and I stared back. Nothing else seemed to happen for awhile and then he got up a left without much fuss. Years later when I brought up to the story to my brother he said it never happened. I ask my mom and she said the same. I was a young child but still to this day it just seems so real. I could dreamed it but really what kind of dream would that be for a child to have?

  • In January 2000, I was very sick… I took a massive seizure on my own and had to call an ambulance for myself. Not a pleasant task. When this happens, you can’t stay by yourself for about 2 days; either that or you stay in hospital and it’s expensive… I chose to stay with my Grandma as she had a great spare room and all the Blue Nurses care to help out if needed.
    While I was there, she wasn’t well, experiencing chest pains. I insisted she went and got checked out, but she told me she didn’t want to die in a hospital. So, we kept an eye on each other… the day I was supposed to leave, I had this weird feeling that I had to stay all day. So, I called my Aunt (who lived nearby) and postponed her picking me up until later that day. At around 4pm, she picked me up and Grandma told me: ‘If you’re ever sick again, you come by and I’ll make you all better, okay?’

    Four days later, my brother needed to go to her house to fix his Kombi Van… but when he called her, she didn’t pick up. We checked the television times and found her favourite tennis player was on that day; so she’d be right by the phone! I suggested going and surprising her. He went there and found the whole house – except a few windows aroun the bedroom – closed up. So, he broke in and found her on her bedroom floor. She had been gone for around 5 hours… and nobody knew.
    That night, when we were told to go home by the police and the coroner, I crashed early in the night. I had this dream about my Grandma’s house. It was all set up from the 1940’s… a lot of it wasn’t as modern as it was now, paintings I knew were missing and the big oval table was in the kitchen instead of the side verandah. I went down the hall and found that the side verandah (I had always known it was a messy spare room full of junk and books) as a bedroom for teenaged boys and a folding bed set out in front of me with somebody hiding under a blanket. It was my Grandma! She sat up and smiled telling me that the Boss Upstairs needed her and she came back to apologise for lying to me about caring for me in the future. But she wanted me to do a few things for her: to move out of home, become my Mum’s best friend and not to fall for Mum’s sister’s guilt trips (I’ve done all three of those things). Grandma told me to memorise the room – and I did – and she said for me to draw it when I woke up… which was just about (she grinned at me) now! My alarm went off, I sat up, picked up my pen and pad of paper next to me and drew the room exactly as I had seen it… when I showed my Mum, she asked me how I knew where everything was, I told her that Grandma had shown me the night before – and what she told me.

    Since then, I’ve seen my Grandma in my dreams a fair bit. And one time Mum dreamt of being at the Royal Annual Show here in Brisbane a few years back in the 1940’s or ’50’s and it was on RNA week… very cool… my Grandparents were going to the show that year to haunt the place and letting my Mum know. 😀

  • Many years ago, long before I met my husband, I lived in a bedsit in a house that I shared with a disparate group of strangers. There was the couple in the room next door who would row every day to the point of violence. Sometimes I would return to the house to find ‘she’ had thrown ‘his’ belongings down the stairs. There was the young man whose mother would send him food parcels each and every weekend, convinced that he would starve without her. In the other first floor room was a young woman whose ‘boyfriends’ would let themselves into the house in the early hours and tap on all the doors, calling for her, until she let them into her room.

    None of us said more than a passing hello to each other. Each of us drifted around the others, separate in our own worlds. If the door bell rang, the person who was nearest (or the one who was in) would answer it. If the gas and electricity meters needed to be filled up, the one who noticed would take the key and card to be recharged. We could have been alone in that house for all the notice we took of our companions.

    One frosty winter day, I found myself alone in the house. It was a Thursday. I was ill. The house was silent. Until the other tenants returned (I had no idea when that would be), I could pretend that the place was my own. I stayed in bed with a book.

    The door bell rang. I considered ignoring it. Perhaps the caller would go away. The door bell rang again, longer this time. I imagined a finger pressed to the button, knuckles white. My room looked over the rear of the house so there was no way I could tell who the caller was, salesman or neighbour. I wrapped myself up in my dressing gown and padded down the stairs.

    Through the frosted glass of the front door, I could see a short, grey figure peering through. The bell rang again.

    When I opened the door, the caller stepped back. She was indeed grey, a short elderly woman dressed in a grey coat and scarf, a shopping bag slung over the wrist of one arm, a navy leather handbag grasped in the other.

    “Is this the key cutter?” Her voice was dry, like rough skin on silk.

    Her question took me by surprise. She asked me again, raising her voice and taking a step closer.

    “No,” I said eventually. She looked cold, grey hands trembling. I thought about asking her in so she could warm herself. “There’s a hardware shop on the high street. They might cut keys.”

    “Are you sure?” Closer still, she stared up at me, then beyond me, considering the interior of the house.

    “Yes, I’m sure.”

    She grunted, then chattering to herself about the cold and her aching feet, she turned away.

    It was then that I saw it, except I couldn’t quite realise what I seeing. It made no sense. I almost could not believe my eyes.

    As she walked away, I could clearly see that her back, from the top of her head to the hem of her coat, was covered in matted, coiled cobwebs. This was not a single cobweb that had been brushed off a hedge or even one that had been spun on a hung up coat. This was a concoction that could not have been missed, a structure that would have taken months to construct.

    She slammed the gate, glared at me once, then started up the path, still chattering to herself. “Keys,” she said. “Keys.”

  • Most of mine are probably my overactive imagination and vivid dreaming, but I scare myself silly regularly.

    I grew up in North Queensland, Australia where the houses are all about 50-100 years old and wooden, so they creak all the time. My parents have this old, tattered white vinyl armchair and so many times getting out of bed to go to the bathroom during the night, I’ve convinced myself that there is someone sitting in that chair. It’s in the middle of the house, pitch black unless you turn the light on, and each time it happens (and has many times over the years), I am terrified and know not to look directly at the darkness where the chair is. No other explanation, I have no knowledge of the owners before my parents.

    I also lived on Norfolk Island, whose history during the convict settlement times is bloody and horrific. For those that don’t know it, it was once a penal colony associated with Australia, and the worst of the worst convicts were sent there. They have ghost stories about overseers bodies being built into bridges and hauntings of soldiers by an escaped convict who cursed them for finding him and bringing him back to be hanged. Gruesome stuff. One night we were down having a barbeque with some other families at Kingston, which was the old convict settlement area, and the kids (I think I was about 8 or 9 at the time) wandered off to explore. Dark fell and all of us got the sudden heebie jeebies and ran as fast as we could back to our parents. We all felt unsafe.

    They have a convict museum there as well, and I was sure one day that one of the mannequins was going to grab me. I know it was an intended effect, but they have a creepy recording of someone supposed to be a convict trapped in a hellhole of a dark cell, and it has never failed to raise the hair on the back of my neck.

    During the time we lived there, I’ve never felt so close to restless and unhappy spirits, and while I might have made up a lot of ghost stories as a pre-teen, I think that was only an outlet for my terror.

    (Honestly though, it’s a beautiful place to visit, and well worth a trip, especially to go out on one of the local ghost tours.)

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