True Ghost Stories: 3 Terrifyingly True Tales From Living in a Haunted House

Growing up in a haunted house proved terrifying on many occasions. It’s nothing you ever get used to, but something you learn to live with when given no other choice. The home had multiple spirits and another supernatural being with a darker, evil presence.

Not only did I grow up in the home, but as an adult, I moved back into the house with my daughter when my dad remarried and moved out. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would you willingly move back into a haunted home?” I was a single mom with limited options and a loving father. Nonetheless, I have decades’ worth of stories. Here are three of the creepier moments.

1. My True Ghost Story: The Tale of the Bed-Shaking Ghost

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I remember pleading with my father about my bed shaking every night, and he would always send me back to bed. I can’t fault him. All kids are scared of “monsters” under the beds at some point, right?

So, Dad comes in to appease you with a search, and then you’re supposed to drift off to sleep like you didn’t just experience what you experienced. But — what if what kids are calling monsters are actually ghosts and other supernatural forces?

By the time I hit middle school, I’d been dealing with my bed shaking for several years. I could never explain it to my father in terms he understood, but as an adult, let me clarify.

Every night, and I do mean EVERY night, I would lay down in my bed, and it would subtly shake me into a pit of pure terror. I had a metal daybed, and you could feel vibrations in the cold hollow bars that confirmed the bed was moving.

Deep and Lurking Darkness

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As shadows crept through the darkness, frightening me to the core, I mentally argued back and forth with myself about hiding my head under the blanket or jumping to the foot of my bed and flipping the light switch on.

My heart rapidly pounded at my chest, begging for me to get the courage to flip the switch because as soon as I turned my light on, it stopped without fail. But that involved blindly plummeting toward the foot of my bed. I feared that was where whatever was doing this may be standing. I was petrified and often found myself praying.

Holding My Dog Hostage

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This was a nightly occurrence, and I felt so alone. Many nights, I forced my beautiful black spaniel, Beaux, to sleep with me. He would start off on the bed next to me. God, I loved that dog, and he loved me so much.

But love didn’t deter him from jumping off the bed and scratching frantically at my door to get out. It was phenomenally worse when he would hop down and turn his attention to under my bed — baring teeth and viciously growling—two things he never did otherwise.

It was a horrifyingly frightening experience, and I felt so alone. I’ll never forget the validation I received one night with a friend sleeping over. For the sake of the story, I’ll call her Jess.

A Tweenage Sleepover

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Jess was quickly becoming my best friend when her mother agreed she could spend the night. It was exciting to be making a new friend, and I was grateful not to be alone. We went late into the night, watching movies and eating various junk food.

When we lay down to go to sleep, we were giggling back and forth about whatever it is that tweens find funny when, all of a sudden, Jess lept up over me and jumped out of the bed! A shiver shot down my spine as she excitedly asked, “What was that?!” Demanding I turn on the light, I watched her frantically jump up and down, waving her arms at her sides in pure panic.

My heart raced as I replied, “Oh my God! You felt it, too?” I had told my sister about it, and because of her own experiences, she believed me. But never was there a time that I had been validated as it happened.

Long Before Technology

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This was long before the internet. I didn’t have a computer in the palm of my hand that could help me decipher anything that I was going through. I suppose I could have visited the library in search of something, but my young self didn’t know any better. Nonetheless, sometimes information would stop you in your tracks at the least expected times. For example —

A Spine-Tingling Development

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Moving forward in our friendship, sleepovers with Jess went down at her house down the road and around the corner. One night, we lay in her bed and watched a ’90s paranormal television show called Sightings. It had similar vibes to Unsolved Mysteries but without the crime story highlights. 

I swear, I have never jumped out of bed as quickly as I did when the woman telling her story stated, “I mean. I’ve heard of ghosts shaking beds…” Were my ears deceiving me? NO! A TV show gave me further vindication that this wasn’t me making up stories. It was a real thing, and I wasn’t the only one haunted by a sinister bed shaker. 

2. My True Ghost Story: The Tale of the Taunting Jack-in-the-Box

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Have you ever felt the hair on the back of your neck stand up and know that you were not alone in the room you occupy, despite no visible being? It’s easily one of the scariest experiences you’ll ever encounter.

I am uncertain of the reason (though I’ve speculated many). But the supernatural activity in the house amped up in October and was heavier through the fall and winter seasons.  

Scary Movie Temptation

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Despite loving the horror genre, I rarely consumed scary films at home because of the paranormal occupants. I feared the spirits might feed off the energy because of other experiences I had as a kid after watching Arachnophobia and It

Still, it was nearing Halloween, and AMC was running scary movies around the clock when I decided to entertain one. I know better, but there is an odd fascination (temptation) with the supernatural when experiencing things for yourself. 

My daughter was asleep on my bed, and I sat in the family room, preparing to be safely frightened with the classic — Halloween. But nothing could prepare me for what was about to unfold. 

The Little Red Monster’s Giggling Voice

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I wasn’t long into the film when my toddler’s Elmo Jack-in-the-Box toy started playing from the toybox in the room with me. “Ha. Ha. Ha. Elmo will be there soon,” taunted his little voice.

My heart immediately sped up as I quickly sprung from the chair and scanned my surroundings. It continued to torment: “Ha. Ha. Ha. Elmo will be there soon!” — “AHH!” I screamed out loud.

Searching for a Logical Explanation

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My mind frantically raced with ways to rationalize how the toy was going off on its own, but I came up blank. The Jack-in-the-box is a toy with a crank that requires you to turn it to play and release Elmo. It was impossible for the Jack-in-the-box to play without turning the crank. 

After convincing myself to “Be brave,” I picked it up and out of the toy box and shook it. Shaking it produced no sounds. To ensure it wasn’t activated by some other toy possibly pressing on the crank (yeah, right), I set it on the fireplace mantle. As I turned around to walk back to my chair (and put on something a little more Saved by the Bell’ish), my entire body chilled to the bone. 

A Definitive “Peek-a-Boo” — A Spirit Is Here With You

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Goosebumps spread across my skin. The hair on my arms stood up, and I let out a silent yelp as the Jack-in-the-Box completed its cycle, popped open, and Elmo exclaimed: “Yaaaaay! Peek-a-Boo Elmo Sees YOU!”

My heart lept from its chest as I fleetly turned around and walked backward in disbelief. I immediately shut the television off and raced to hold my sleeping baby girl in the bedroom while watching some Scrubs reruns — in an attempt to calm my trembling body and mind down. 

3. My True Ghost Story: The Smoking Man

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If those first two stories didn’t get you, this one is bound to send chills down your spine. I saw an actual apparition! Ooooo, this one gives me serious willies. It wasn’t uncommon for us to smell smoke without a source in the hallway leading to the bathroom.

Let me briefly paint a picture. The hall was no bigger than a five-by-seven-foot space. When approaching the hallway from the family room, the tiny bathroom was straight ahead behind a pocket door, and there were bedrooms to the immediate left and right.

The room to the right had been my bedroom for many bed-shaking years when I was younger, but I had made my way to the rec room by this point in life, and the bed-shaking ceased.

The Devil’s Hour

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One night, in the early three o’clock hour, I made my way through the dark laundry room, kitchen, and hallway to get to the bathroom. As soon as I hit the light switch, the hair on my neck stood up, and I was chilled to the bone.

It wasn’t uncommon in that house, and I rushed to do my business and return to my room. As my finger touched the light switch on the way out, I was completely overcome by fear. At the time, I didn’t understand why, but after years of analyzing it, my soul recognized that another spirit was standing in front of my old bedroom door.

The Spirit in the Hallway

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As soon as I turned off the light and walked out into the hallway, I was hit by a thick, nasty-smelling cloud of smoke. A man wearing much older attire was malevolently smiling at me with a cigar in his hand, held out a few inches from his curled mustache.

His other hand traced up and down a suspender strap that slightly popped against his chest. He wore a brown suit, a bowler hat, and a pocket watch.

Panic and Processing

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To this day, heavy sleeper or not, I don’t know how my father (in the room to the left) didn’t hear the hysterical scream I bellowed out before running to my bedroom and slamming two doors behind me!

I flew into my bed and began assessing the situation. Mid-run, I looked back, and the man vanished into thin air right before my eyes. I wasn’t running for my life because a man broke into my home. I was sprinting from a ghost and had no way of knowing if he was in my room with me.

Was this the bed-shaking ghost that had tormented me through my early childhood? He was standing outside my old bedroom door, which, coincidentally, is where — the foot of my bed — was when you walk into the bedroom.

Only a Glimpse

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I never saw him appear again, but whenever I walked into the bathroom, I feared him being there. Every time I flipped the light switch off, I darted through the tiny hall space — terrified to look back.

I’ll always remember the surrealness of consuming so many details of a man in a brief second before fleeing at full speed. The image is permanently seared. And I’ll never forget the feeling that sinks into your stomach when watching someone disappear before your eyes. Unironically, the best way to describe it is — haunting.

Do you have a ghost story to share?

Top 15 Scariest Films That Are Inspired by True Events

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Are you a fan of true stories and horror? Then, we’ve got you covered. These 15 scary movies are inspired by true events. So grab the popcorn and a blanket to hide under, and let’s get started!

14 Little Lies That Everyone Tells at Some Point in Their Life — Have You?

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Have you ever been a liar-liar with your pants on fire? We all have, at some point in our life, told lies. Some are big, while others are to spare someone’s feelings, but a lie is a lie. Here are 14 lies that we tell or have told someone in our lives.

14 Really Dangerous Things That People Treat as If Entirely Safe — Do You?

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Is there anything you do or notice others doing like they are safe when they aren’t? While I am confident, the list is long — after someone asked an internet community: “What’s really dangerous but everyone treats it like it’s safe?” — Here are their honest confessions. Do you agree?

15 American Customs That Foreigners Admit Make Absolutely No Sense

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I recently ran into a fun question on a popular internet forum. A member asked the Non-Americans what American custom makes no sense to them. Here are their honest confessions.

15 Once True Things That Are No Longer Truth Anymore — Do You Remember?

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So many things that were once true in my lifetime are no longer true today. For example, my math teacher told us we needed to learn math because we wouldn’t carry a calculator in our pocket all day. While it’s still true that you need to learn math, you do have that calculator today. Here are several other former truths.


This post is originally published and syndicated by Sober Healing.

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.