12 Ghost Stories Ranked By Scariness To Read When You’re Feeling Brave

Originally Published: 

Halloween is almost here, which means costumes and candy and PSLs and all that saccharine and happy holiday fare. But it also means that scare-chasing horror freaks like me (and you?) will be gulping down allllll the scary movies and scary ghost stories on Reddit that we can get our paws on. 'Tis the season to freak yourself out so badly that you have trouble sleeping for a week and have to put protective crystals under your pillow! Ah, the things we do for some good, clean Halloween fun.

And while the dark and creepy images that get burnt into our minds via horror movies can totally creep us to the core, there's nothing quite as scary as reading a terrifying story, IMO. Maybe I'm just a literature nerd, but when a horrific scene and image is built in your own mind rather than simply being shown to you on a screen (where you can just as easily close your eyes!), it seems to cut deeper and stick with you longer than any horror movie can. That's probably part of why people can't get enough of reading ghost stories online, both fictional and not.

If you're feeling really brave (or just really in the mood to like, you know, not sleep), then I have a lil' challenge for you, horror fan to horror fan. Read through the following ghost stories, ranked by their scariness (beginning with the most benign and getting freakier from there). Some are highly creative fiction, while others are supposedly fully true. Can you make it to the end in one sitting? I'm not even sure I recommend it, but do it if you dare.

#12: The Memories Of A Young Child

Items used to move and get thrown on their own accord. A particular favorite was a rocking chair. It would change positions and rock. One night when my grandparents were staying over, I awoke to find someone I didn't know in the chair who looked strange. A stuffed animal walked one time. I awoke with scratches that looked like nails. Maybe it was just my f*cked up child brain, but I don't remember it that way. The scratches are really strange. (via Soraka_Is_My_Saviour on Reddit)

Short but sweet (err, not so sweet, actually), this is less of a ghost story and more of a direct account of the unexplained events that allegedly took place in the poster's home as a child — and they sound, lemme tell ya, very ghostly and pretty malevolent in origin. Originally posted in response to the question, "Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost?", you can read the poster's full thread here.

#11: Happy Birthday, Dear Poltergeist

It was still dark out, and rainy. My daughter told me that the ghost was on the back deck, and then she told me that today was the ghost's birthday and she wanted to sing him Happy Birthday. Once again, I mostly disregarded what she was saying ... [s]o we sang and wished the ghost a happy birthday and went on with our lives. ... Later that day, out of pure curiosity, I looked up the obituary of the man who had died in our house. And wouldn't you know it? It was his f*cking birthday. (via patentspatented on Reddit)

So this ghost story isn't particularly dark, but you know, if I had a little daughter and confirmed that she was basically hanging out with the spirit of a dead former tenant, I would be pretty shook. That's exactly the allegedly-true tale that this father on Reddit tells. Read his story in full to find out what happens.


#10: The Short & Growling Man

About 10 years ago, my bf and I were in bed sleeping. He jerked awake and started inching up towards the headboard. Which woke me up. He was making scared moans and was looking at the foot of our bed. I looked at where he was looking and saw a short "man" with frizzy hair and a pig snout and jowls staring at him. Not me, him. He started screaming to turn on the light and I was reaching over to do that when it lunged at him and made a weird grunting noise... (via stuartevan on Reddit)

This Reddit poster begins his story by stating that he doesn't believe in ghosts, but if that's true, I'm not sure how the heck he explains to himself the horrific demon-like being he saw on the night described in his post. Read this haunting and allegedly-true story and prepare to sleep with your lights on for the next few nights.

#9: Grandma's Light Is Always On

An elderly woman was crouched in the corner, her gaunt back to me. She was scratching at the floor where the walls met, stopping every few minutes to cock her head. A gnarl of dread unfurled in the pit of my stomach. ... Her eyes were solid black, bottomless pits that didn’t reflect the moonlight. Her jaw hung impossibly open, unhinged, and the dark tunnel of her mouth spiraled down into her throat. I had a moment to realize who she was, to recognize the familiar map of wrinkles in her face, the curls of her wispy hair... (via Saint_Entropy on Reddit)

OK, now we're really getting into some scares. If your grandma tells you to never turn off the lamp in her living room no matter what, well, you should probably follow her instructions. Because as this narrator finds out, some freaky sh*t can go down if you don't. Read the whole story to find out what horrors take place in this dark room, and prepare to procure yourself a night light.

#8: Our Romantic Cabin Getaway Isn't Going As Planned

Faye woke me up around 1AM. She was absolutely beside herself. I've never seen her so afraid in my life, and just the look on her face really unsettled me. She told me that she heard the man outside again, but she recognized the voice. She was absolutely convinced that it was her grandfather's voice, and that he was wandering around outside begging for help. ... Faye's grandpa died when we were seniors in college 4 years ago. I told her that she was dreaming, but then I heard the voice too... (via TheColdPeople on Reddit)

As a native Californian, below-freezing temperature are scary enough. But being snowed into a remote cabin with little access to the outside world, all while being plagued by sweat-inducing nightmares, ghostly voices of dead loved ones from the woods, and horrific cackling outside your window? Um, count me out. You'll have to read this literally chilling tale to find out what, exactly, is happening at this cabin.

#7: Here's Why You Don't Play With Ouija Boards

"Something happened to me as well." ... He recalled that he was sleeping one night when he woke up feeling really uncomfortable. He described his vision as having TV-like-static, and a feeling of heaviness surrounded him. He looked around the room and that's when he saw, a bloody, charred face, with piercing red eyes, grinning at him through the window... (via celluloidaddiction on Reddit)

Teens and Ouija boards seem to be a match made in heaven. Why is that? I dabbled with 'em too, but I don't have plans to again anytime soon after reading this horrifying and allegedly-true account of a group of teens who used a Ouija board for some Halloween fun, only to find themselves each separately plagued by horrific events and ghostly presences through the months following. Read the full story and prepared to be freeeeaked.

#6: She Found Her Way Into Our Home

There is something stalking me. I don't know what it wants, but almost every night since I started seeing it, it has terrorized me. It doesn't touch me, it doesn't communicate in any sort of way, it just fills me with horror. If what I seem to ramble, please forgive me... I haven't slept in several days... (via wdalphin on Reddit)

The narrator of this story and his family members are being haunted by a creepy AF ghost, and as a result, he hasn't slept in days, which is only adding to the mania. And honestly, this story is so shiver-inducing that you probably won't sleep well the next few nights, either. Read it if you dare.

#5: The Whistlers

There was a bundle of papers wadded in a deep pocket of the backpack, but I didn't notice until after I got it home. I went back to the house where the estate sale was held, and a young woman answered the door. She couldn't say who the backpack belonged to and had no interest in the papers. Her grandmother was the one who died (of old age, natural causes). Apparently she was a bit of a hoarder, so I don't know if I'll ever be able to track down the source. The handwriting is tiny, and the pages are damaged. I'll transcribe as faithfully as I can... (via thewhistlers on Reddit)

I'm a thrift store and estate sale addict, but there's always that lurking fear that you might find something not right tucked away in a pocket or something. Plus, it's said that belongings can carry energy, so maybe buying dead people's things is already asking for it? In any case, what was terrifying in this story isn't just that the narrator found pages in a backpack. It's the words written on them that are haunting beyond belief — accounts of other-worldly beings in the woods referred to as "the whistlers," who are possibly ghostly in origin. But what are the whistlers? You'll have to read those mysterious pages yourself to find out more.


#4: In A Decent House In North Carolina

About once a week, she would be woken up from a deep sleep, in a cold sweat. The bedroom was completely dark with the exception of moonlight pouring in through the window. I guess, so she says, it would be really cold in certain "spots" around her. Only a small area on her body would feel it. Like a chill to the bone. At any rate, she says she could see a silhouette of a person, of average seeming build, maybe just under 6 ft. tall standing next to the bed, with its arm above its head, as if it's about to strike her with something... (via EyeH8uxinfiniteplus1 on Reddit)

Oh boy, the allegedly true stories always get me. This one was posted in a thread asking people to post their real-life encounters with ghosts and spirits, and it's just realistic enough to make me believe the terrified poster is telling the truth, frightening as it may be. Read it for yourself and be grateful you haven't experienced this, too.

#3: Room 733

Lydia leaned over and put her ear up to the wall. The whispers suddenly stopped and I leaned closer. Suddenly there was a loud bang from the other side. Lydia immediately recoiled and clutched her ear in pain. Someone was in there. Suddenly more angry than scared I again threw open our door and stomped over to the supposedly empty supply room. I banged on the door loudly not caring who else I woke up at this point. "Are you f*cking kidding me?!” I yelled at the door. “This sh*t isn't funny anymore. Come out of that f*cking room," ... Silence. And then the doorknob started to turn... (via The_Dalek_Emperor on Reddit)

This won the Gold Award on Reddit multiple times, and it's obvious why. Not only is this haunting story of a "suicide room" in a college campus dorm building totally chilling, it's also well-written and completely captivating. The two students who move into the room adjacent to the haunted room 733 begin experiencing every sign of an angry ghostly presence you can think of — and then some. Check out the full story.

#2: My Dead Girlfriend Keeps Messaging Me On Facebook

Tonight’s kind of a catalyst for this post. I just received another message, and it’s worse than any of the others. My girlfriend died on the 7th of August, 2012. She was involved in a three car collision driving home from work when someone ran a red light. She passed away within minutes on the scene. ... Onto the meat. Em had been dead for approaching thirteen months when she first messaged me. (via natesw on Reddit)

We know ghosts can get us in person, and obviously, thanks to The Ring, we know they can use phones, too. So it makes sense that we should also be terrified that spirits of the dead will reach us via Facebook. As if Facebook wasn't low-key scary enough as-is, right? Anyway, this story took the entire internet by storm thanks to its true-to-life writing style paired with juicy "screenshots" of Emily's beyond-the-grave messages. And it left everyone questioning whether or not it was true. Could it be? Decide for yourself, if you dare.

#1: The Spire In The Woods

Robert Edward Kennan killed himself in the Fall of 1999. I wasn’t there but it’s where my story begins. It begins with Rob, 17 years old, sitting in a burning car in the middle of a crowded parking lot one Monday night in October. He burned for nearly four hours before the police let the firemen near enough to put out the flames and pull out his body. I didn’t know him. Not really. We lived in a small town. I knew him by sight, knew his name, but I doubt we’d ever exchanged more than a few perfunctory words. It makes me feel funny talking about him, like I’m not justified doing it, but if I’m going to tell you about the Spire, it’s unavoidable. I have to tell you about Robert Edward Kennan and how the suicide notes he left behind tangled my life up with his... (via TheBoyInTheClock on Reddit)

This story is long but worth the read if you love good, slow-building, totally bone-chilling horror. It was voted the Best of Reddit in 2013 and has even been independently published as a book — and it's widely known as one of the scariest stories online. I won't give anything away, but I have a feeling you'll be hooked from the first few lines. But remember, it's #1 on our list for a reason — only read the whole story if you can legit handle a scare.

This article was originally published on