It’s marketed as the “Front Page of the Internet,” but let’s face it— many of the stories you find on Reddit are more akin to what you would find in the pack pages of a really interesting newspaper. Or, if any of the stories on the following list are to be believed, something you might find handwritten in red ink in a library book, or scrawled on a bathroom mirror in blood, or whispered in your ear just as something grabs you from behind…
Many of the stories shared on the /r/NoSleep SubReddit read like a 1930s era War-Of-The-Worlds-type radio broadcast meets a late-season X-Files episode meets Dateline. The users active on this message board community have a penchant for the weird, the absurd, and most of all, the uncanny and shockingly original. They post stories that disturb and awe, and always maintain a tone of complete faithfulness to the truth of the narrative. Suspension of disbelief is key on /r/NoSleep. Everything there is true. Everything is believed, unquestioningly. This stuff all happened. Probably.
Well, prepare to be discomforted. This list is sure to make your jaw drop and make you rest a little uneasily tonight. Here are the 16 most disturbing paranormal stories on Reddit right now.
16. A Package With Chilling Contents
This short story won the community’s “Best of December” contest last month, and boy does it deserve the honor. Manen_lyset shares his experience with his despised neighbor, a YouTuber willing to do just about anything to go viral and get online attention.
When the neighbor tells him he’ll be traveling for a few weeks and needs someone to retrieve his mail while he’s gone, Manen_lyset is all too happy to help, earning himself a few weeks of peace and quiet. All goes well until a week or so later, when a package appears on the neighbor’s doorstep. Thinking it to be no big thing, Manen_lyset is surprised to notice its immense weight. He endeavors to get it back to his own house for safekeeping, struggling with both hands to get it inside of his garage. Here the package sits for a few weeks, until a putrid smell begins to emanate from the box…
Manen_lyset opens the cardboard, realizing to his horror that someone has mailed his neighbor some sort of meat. He at first believes it to be pork or perhaps beef, but soon realizes it’s actually the neighbor himself, a vlogging web-camera visible inside the box. Anything to go viral, huh?
15. Old Civil War Hospital
This one creeped me out from the very beginning. The American Civil War was known for its brutality and for the lack of prompt medical care administered to soldiers, especially on the under-manned and under-funded Confederate side. It comes as no surprise, then, that an old Confederate hospital one user encountered seems to be inhabited by something sinister.
The user tells how his father, a carpenter and painter, recently was hired to work on a house that had once been used to give medical care to Confederate soldiers. While working alone one day, the father noticed a puddle of iodine— an old Civil War treatment for battle wounds– spilled on the floor in the empty house. Over the next few weeks, he encountered other randomly-placed iodine puddles around the abandoned home. Seem odd to you?
Side note: the current inhabitants of the room, another set of father and son, have reported recurring nightmares of Civil War battles. The son, terrified of the recurring nightmares and aware of the house’s history, switched bedrooms with his father. The father promptly developed the same dream, down to even the tiniest of details.
14. Two Realities
Upon the death of her boyfriend, a young woman enters the church where his funeral service is being held. At the entrance, she encounters her boyfriend’s parents and sister. She notes their odd clothing choices: loose, casual sweatpants and dark sweatshirts, very different from what she’d expect them to be clad in. After exchanging a few hugs, she makes her way toward the casket, where she finds… her boyfriend’s parents and sister, dressed in the high-class garments she expected to encounter originally. Surprised, she retreats back toward the door, only to find the same people dressed, once again, in sweats.
At a moment of such intense grief, the young woman is traumatized to be dealing with anything that diverts her attention from her loss. She at first questions her own sanity, and later wonders if perhaps the immense outpouring of sadness may have made her temporarily senile. She later presents an alternate theory, however: is it possible she may have crossed momentarily into an alternate reality? Scientists say alternate universes almost certainly exist, and modern mathematics back up this hypothesis. Could that explain the unexplained?
13. The Old Man And A Picture He Didn’t Expect To See
This entry concerns an elderly, widowed man who, while cleaning out his attic one afternoon, stumbles upon a hidden room in his Civil War-era home’s attic. Inside of the room, he finds a musket, some cutlery and some old books. He also finds some interesting pictures: black and white photographs from the 1860s, but as he flips through a stack he begins to see people in the background wearing modern, 2017-era clothing. He recognizes people, blending in somehow with the clothing of that time, displaying popular brands from our era on their clothing.
Then this one takes a weird turn, Black Mirror meeting Dorian Gray. The old man pauses as he passes to the final photograph in the stack: a black and white picture of him, as he appeared then, and his long-dead wife, also as she appeared then. As she’d been dead and buried for over ten years, the wife’s flesh was dark and decayed, her clothing tattered and shredded. They hold hands, one of them living and the other dead, while the people in Civil War-era clothing mingle behind them.
12. First Time Home Alone
It’s his first time staying home alone for more than a few hours at a time. Reddit user Daniel8800’s parents go on a cruise, leaving him home alone for a week. His first night, he wakes up feeling as if someone is watching him. The second night, the same thing happens a few more times. The third night, he hears a light creaking coming from the attic floor above him, as if someone were up there trying to not make noise. He attributes these weird activities to simple anxiety— it is his first time alone, and he’s admittedly anxious. He calls pest control, and the two men who show up agree to bomb the attic, though they find nothing inside of it.
Everything turns when the doors in the house, which he always triple checks are locked before going to sleep at night, are unlocked and open when he wakes the next morning. He tries to go up to the attic, but is unable to do so when he realizes the ladder leading there is broken. He has a normal day at school, but when he comes home, he finds police cars lining his street: two bodies have been found in the woods behind his house. The identities of the two bodies? Workers for the local pest control company. Whatever’s in Daniel8800’s attic, it seems, doesn’t wish to be disturbed.
11. A Warning From Thailand
If you’ve spent any time in Southeast Asia, you know there’s a large cultural gap between the urban, Americanized parts and the areas that are more rural. An office worker in Thailand’s biggest city, Bangkok, tells a story of a trip he once took to visit his parents in his childhood village seven hours outside of the city in the isolated mountains.
As he exits his train, it’s dark outside. The man knows the locals from his childhood believe the pathway to be haunted and unsafe at night, but as he makes his way through the jungles and forests, he believes his faith in Western-style rationality will protect him from the “monsters” others say are out there. All of a sudden, he hears something fall to the ground behind him. Not wanting to turn around, he trudges on ahead. He doesn’t get far, however, before something else falls out in front of him: a human body, falling from the tall trees above him. The man runs ahead to look for help, but as he goes down the pathway more bodies begin dropping onto him. He eventually runs into a monster which, right as it’s about to eat him, pauses for a moment to stare at him. This gives the man a moment to remember special words from his childhood, words that protect him from this spirit and allow him to live to tell the haunting tale.
10. When Your Date Gets Delivered To You In A Cooler
Have you ever come across the perfect person on a dating App, swiped right, and been instantly delighted to find you’ve matched with them? Have you ever even been lucky enough to have them message you first? Reddit user Jthedelaney shares his experience digitally meeting the perfect girl and then having her over… with disastrous consequences.
Tinder is never straightforward. There are signals to be administered, codes to be deciphered, pages of pictures and bios and shared likes to thumb through… but what if someone immediately asked you to hang out? Would you have them over? Conventional wisdom and plenty of television shows will tell you never to do this, but many of us do anyway. For the perfect person, I think most would at least consider it.
Jthedelaney’s perfect dream girl invites herself over to his apartment for drinks and a sleepover… and then shows up in a cooler, cut up into 15 dissected, dissembled pieces. There’s just enough left of Tina to tell unequivocally it’s her— the hipster-hottie glasses that were such a turn-on originally no longer carry quite the same erotic sensuality when they come in a cooler of bones and flesh.
9. Hey, Siri
Like many of the stories on this list, this post uses technology to scare us in fresh ways we’d never expect. Siri, the iPhone’s voice-searching system, has a strange power to terrify us because of “her” robotic, yet charismatically lifelike, voice and manner of speaking. We know it’s unnatural, yet somehow it sounds… right.
One user’s story concerns Siri, and some puzzling messages the phone application begins vocalizing. Late on a silent night, in an empty, dark room, the user’s phone murmurs “I don’t know what you mean by ‘leave.’ How about a web search for it?” Just as anyone would, the user pays it no mind. A few minutes later, the voice comes back again, saying “I don’t know what you mean by ‘Get out. Now. Leave the house.’ Would you like me to search the web?”
At first, I was prepping myself for another Her-like story of a man falling in love with a computer program, but this one shakes the complete opposite direction. What if something were trying to harm you, and Siri was your only warning? The user here realizes just in time that friendly spirits can communicate through the unlikeliest of methods, like Siri. At the last moment, he heeds the spirit’s warning and gets out of the house— taking his dog and infant son with him— and avoids the wrath of some malevolent knife-wielding shadow demon. Remember that the next time your phone goes off unprovoked.
8. An App That Could Tell The Future?
Fans of the television series Black Mirror may find the following story eerily familiar, yet nightmarishly shocking. Reddit user Hayong’s chilling tale of a mysterious App downloaded to his phone without his knowledge or his permission strikes an emotional tone that quickly evolves into very real anxiety about computer simulation, God and existence on earth itself.
The narrator discovers the mysterious App after allowing his young son to play with his phone. While riding the subway to work, the father thumbs through the App only to discover an icon of a man riding a subway looking oddly like himself rummaging through a cell phone screen.
Intrigued, the man gives the situation no serious attention until a woman in a yellow rain coat enters the phone’s screen and goes on a murderous rampage, killing everyone. The real man exits the subway just in time to avoid the appearance of the real yellow raincoat woman, avoiding the fate of the avatar mirroring him on his phone.
When he calls his wife at home, she tells him there was a stabbing on his normal train. The man’s not out of the dark yet, however. Discovering there’s something mysterious and supernatural going on inside of the App, he attempts to delete it from his phone but, of course, staying true to spooky stories, he’s unable to remove the mysterious App.
7. I’m Never Taking The Train Again
Here’s one that bends the definition of “paranormal” into straight-up weird. This quick narrative tells the story of a man who, after a long night at work, dozes off on his train home (a lot of trains on this list, eh). When he wakes, a stranger is sitting next to him and many hours have passed. The stranger next to him has slimy, light-green skin and wears glasses obscuring his eyes, but otherwise seems normal…
Outside of the train window the man sees inhuman, physics-bending architecture. The stranger sitting next to him begins to converse casually, but then removes his hood, showcasing a set of long, thin antennae that had been obscured beneath the hood’s fabric and a set of insect-like eyes with multiple irises and horizontal pupils behind his glasses. The stranger leans over to the shocked man, only to whisper chillingly in his ear “How do you feel about pineapples and fetuses?”
Somehow, the haunting tone of the story keeps this line from being taken in any way as funny. The man somehow arrives home at his regular time, and after getting a good night’s sleep, attributes his impossible experience to his lack of sleep and over-tired mind the night before.
6. I Trained Crows To Bring Me Quarters But Got Teeth Instead
This one comes to us courtesy of Reddit user LeoDuhVinci. Leo, a college student struggling to make ends meet while paying for tuition along with city rent, begins to train a raven that hangs around his house to pick up coins off the street and bring them to him.
At first, it’s nothing more than a party trick that Leo and the raven, now more of a pet than a wild animal, perfect over a period of a few years. Their routine is simple: on days the raven brings Leo a quarter, the bird receives a peanut. On days that he shows up empty-handed, he receives nothing. Eventually, other birds in the raven’s flock begin to take notice and start picking up quarters, dimes and nickels off the city’s street. They bring them to Leo, and he rewards each with a peanut.
One morning, the original raven shows up with two items in his beak: a quarter, like usual, and what appears to be a human tooth. Before he really thinks about it, Leo gives the bird a quarter, more out of habit than anything. It’s not long before all the birds begin showing up with human molars in their beaks. Where they get the teeth from is left a mystery…
When he picks his son up from his ex-wife’s house, this Reddit user is horrified to see the words “Randy” scrawled across the son’s torso in bruised, purple writing. Recognizing the name of his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, the man hurries inside her house and, in his intense anger, blacks out for a few moments. When he wakes, he sees Randy lying dead on the ground before him, his ex-wife and son standing horrified next to him.
Things get weird when, while beginning a life sentence for Randy’s murder, the imprisoned man is visited by a voice in his head claiming to be Randy. The voice tells him things he’s been craving to hear about— information on his son, who he’s been forbidden to speak to, and knowledge of the world outside of the man’s jail cell. Randy tells the man stories about hell, and after a while begins to tell the man of all the other people he’s possessed in the past— including the man’s son, who Randy still possesses on a daily basis. This time, however, the now-imprisoned man can do nothing to help his son, and gets moved to solitary confinement when he brings up what is happening to his jailers. Randy even goes so far as to force the helpless man to endure terrifying— and painful— memories from his son’s perspective. Chilling.
4. Phantom Ghost Cars
Anyone who’s ever been behind the wheel of an automobile at night knows the feeling of oncoming headlights rushing directly toward you. The experience, if you aren’t used to it or if you’re on a secluded, country road, can be harrowing. Some users on Reddit, however, have encountered something far more disturbing: occasionally, while approaching hills, headlights rushing towards them suddenly seem to… vanish.
And it’s not an isolated phenomenon. Many users have noticed that, on certain roads they frequent, headlights rushing toward them consistently seem to disappear. Humans instinctively watch approaching traffic, especially bright lights at night, as part of our survival instincts. On small hills, when oncoming cars dip down and out of sight for a moment, what would you do if they never came back up? What if you were on a flat road, with no hills in sight? And the worst scenario— what if you were inside of one of those phantom ghost cars?
3. What’s In The Shampoo Bottle?
Here’s an odd one, even for this list: A woman comes home to find her sister overcome with madness. The sister, normally a kind and soft-spoken individual, attempts to beat the woman with a shampoo bottle from a new company branded as Shampology Hair Products. The woman only barely escapes from her sister, buying herself a moment to call the police.
Believing help to be on its way, the woman is surprised to see a SWAT team burst onto the scene and take her hostage. The team, well-trained and seemingly exhausted, subdues the woman’s sister but take her as well. It’s here that the woman is told the team, called DOIP, is “cleansing” her home, and that her sister would be returned as soon as the “doctors at the facility” had taken a look at her.
Realizing there’s something incredibly shady going on, the woman returns home to find a small bit of hidden residue left on some carpet. She wipes it up with her finger, attempting to determine what it’s made of. A few seconds later, she’s surprised to feel an odd sensation beneath her fingernail, almost “as if something was inside” of it, wiggling around…
2. Past Life Recall
A popular Reddit thread involves individuals who believe themselves to have access to memories left over from a past life. One user recalls recurring dreams over a series of years in which he notes two distinct personalities, both boys who die violently before the age of 7. In the first “life,” he’s a Native American who ends up being killed in a raid while picking berries with his aunt. When his aunt sees two men on horseback riding toward them, she drops her basket and leads him into tall grass. The user’s dream, and his past life, end as he watches the two men shoot his aunt in the back with arrows, and then experiencing a piercing, painful feeling between his shoulders before fading to black.
What separates these two “past-life memories” from regular dreams is the sheer amount of contextual information the dreamer is aware of. His second life somehow has an even more violent end than the first. He watches his father drown his mother and little brother in a farm tub they use to water their horses, knowing without any actual indication that the father is doing so because he suspects his wife to have cheated on him. Yes, the memory ends exactly how you’d guess it would— looking up from the depths of the tub’s bottom.
1. Disappearing Stars
This one will leave you feeling existentially helpless. One night, while gazing at his computer monitor, an astrophysicist notices a small section of stars are missing from his satellite display. He heads up to his roof, assuming it to be only a momentary power outage or software malfunction, but is stricken with terror as he realizes a few stars, including some that aren’t far from our sun, aren’t visible when they normally would be. He realizes all the stars within a specific spherical radius have disappeared— and the circle of destruction is expanding toward earth.
In a panic, the astrophysicist goes inside. He takes a few sleeping pills, more than he normally would, and lays down, sure that when he wakes the scientific community will be buzzing with panic. Just as he’s about to fall asleep, however, a terrifying thought occurs to him: because of the tremendous distance of 700 lightyears between earth and the stars he’s observing, whatever caused them to disappear did so over 700 years ago, and the power of whatever caused the destruction has likely only increased since then.