Finding Alternate Universe Childhood Photos, The Teacher Who Vanished, And 21 Other "Unsolved Mysteries" People Can't Explain

·20 min read

From disappearances to glitches in the matrix and everything in between, I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share the unsolved mysteries they've experienced in their own lives. Here are 23 creepy, unsettling stories they shared:

1."In fifth grade, a new girl joined our class. This wasn't a frequent thing, because I'm from an extremely small and remote town. I very much distinctly remember her name was Joni (pronounced like Johnny), but the other kids kept pronouncing her name like 'Joanie.' She had long, dark brown hair; she lived with her father, her stepmother, and her younger sister. She was at my school for maybe two weeks and just vanished. I've never heard anything else from or about her, and I'm the only person from school who remembers her."

skydust

A girl with her face pixelated out
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

2."When I was about 9, I went on vacation with my family to a seaside town in the next state over. None of us had ever been there before, and we were having a great time exploring the beach and the town. We stopped at an ice cream shop and were enjoying ourselves when my dad noticed a picture on the wall. It was my older brother and I enjoying ice cream in that same shop, only in this photo, we were the same age, about 3 years old. My brother is four years older than me, so there was no way we could have looked the same age when I was 3. The creepy part that made us all certain it was us was that I had a very distinctive blonde streak in my dark hair, as well as dimples, and so did this girl.

Black and white photo of kids eating ice cream
Miroslav Kyosev / Getty Images/EyeEm

"The boy looked exactly like my brother at that age, too, also with very distinctive blonde hair and facial expressions. My parents even asked the employees working if they knew who these kids were, and no one had any info to give us. It definitely left us feeling shook."

shaylariday74

3."One night, before I was born, my dad was home alone while my mom was out of town with her sisters. At the time, he'd picked up a few books at the library and was happy to just have some time to himself to read. The first night that he was alone, he decided to read The Haunting of Hill House. He'd never read it before, and he distinctly remembered spending the whole night reading the book. He finished just as the sun came up and was reaching over to turn off the light next to his chair to go to bed, when he suddenly woke up.

A man in bed
Kaipong / Getty Images/iStockphoto

"As it turns out, it was actually the middle of the night. He'd fallen asleep in the chair. A bit creeped out, he started picking up his things to go to bed, but he couldn't find the book. Eventually, he remembered that he'd lent it out to my uncle recently, so the book wasn't even in the house. When he read it for real a while later, it was exactly the same as the book he read in his dream. He's never been able to explain how he was able to 'read' a book he'd never even opened before."

torbielillies

4."My boyfriend and I went to get Friday the 13th tattoos in downtown Chicago a few years ago. We waited in line for about eight hours. We were driving through nature preserves on our way home when, to our left, we saw a plane in the tree line. It wasn't moving, frozen in time and space. It was the size of your average plane you'd see at the airport. We both looked at each other in complete awe. My boyfriend turned left as soon as he could, so we could try and find it. There was absolutely nothing there. Were we just extremely tired after waiting so long that day? Or, was there something else going on?"

—Anonymous

A plane in the trees
Franckreporter / Getty Images

5."One night while scrolling TikTok, I came across the video of a popular influencer talking about how she got an eye infection after someone spat on her at the club. I remember thinking, Oh, weird how that would cause an infection, and moved on. The next night, I see her 'Get Ready with Me' video for going to a club, and then, the next morning she posts about how the previous night someone spat on her at the club last night and how it gave her an eye infection. I remember seeing that video clearly two days ahead of her posting it and a day ahead of the events actually happening.

David looking confused
CBC

"People have said she might have reposted, but I checked all the comments, and no one said anything about a repost. AND I SAW THE VIDEO BEFORE SHE ACTUALLY WENT TO THE CLUB. I'm convinced it was a glitch in the matrix."

—Anonymous

6."I was in sixth grade and going to my first ever homecoming dance. I was super excited, and I picked this beautiful, pink, sparkly dress that went down to my knees. I was getting ready on the night of the homecoming dance and couldn't find the dress anywhere. It wasn't in my closet, and my mom hadn't taken it — it was simply nowhere to be found. I had to borrow a dress from my sister to wear instead. Two months later, we found the dress neatly folded on my bathroom counter, as if it had always been there."

starrycosmos

A dress hanging on a door
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

7."My parents bought a piano for me to play when I was younger, and it came with free lessons with a teacher at the store. The teacher came to our house twice and was generally kind and competent. Then, he just never showed up for his next lesson. When my mom called the store, they told her he had simply disappeared. He completely stopped coming into work, and when someone went to check on him, his house was completely empty. I've always wondered what happened to that guy."

saraho4a20298d2

Someone playing the piano in the dark
Zeferli / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."A few months ago, while I was cooking dinner, my husband walked through the back door like every day after work. I turned, looked right at him, asked how his day was, and went back to cooking. He never answered me, and then I heard the door and saw him walk back outside. It was so strange. About 20 minutes later, he came back in and, confused, I asked why he left. He looked at me like I had two heads and said, 'What do you mean? I just got here.'

A man walking into his house
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

"We went back and forth about it, because obviously I didn't believe him, but he swore up and and down that that was the first time he’d been home that day. It was the most unsettling experience, because I KNOW I saw him walk in! I’m not sure what happened, but I hope it never happens again."

hmiller86

9."One time, I had a friend over at my house, and we were in my room upstairs. He was sitting at the foot of my bed when I went downstairs to get something. I called his name from the bottom of the stairs, but there was no answer. I went back upstairs to my room, and my bed was completely empty. I thought he was pulling a prank on me or was going to pop out and try to scare me, so I checked everywhere I thought he could be (in my closet, underneath my bed, I even checked the other rooms and bathrooms upstairs). There was no sign of him anywhere. Confused, I went downstairs to see if my mom had seen him. And as soon as I got to the bottom of the steps, I heard him calling my name and watched him exit my room.

An opened door at the top of the stairs
Brian Koellish / Getty Images/iStockphoto

"He said he heard my footsteps coming up the stairs, but they suddenly stopped, and he didn't see me. To this day, we have no explanation for what actually happened."

c4bed291d5

10."My childhood friend was an only child who lived on a dead end street in a neighborhood that was a built in a marshy area of my city. Her parents were older and very serious people — certainly not the type to joke around. One night, when we were 13, her parents went out to a holiday party in a nearby city. We watched a movie like usual, and for some reason, we decided to go sit on her swing set in the backyard. We chatted for maybe an hour, with our backs to the privacy fence behind us. Then, we were interrupted by her dad’s voice, saying her name and telling her to 'Come over here.' The thing is...the voice was coming from behind the fence.

An empty swing set
Daniel Dawn / Getty Images/EyeEm

"We ran inside and sat by the door for I don't know how long. She looked out the front window, and their car wasn't there. This was before cellphones, so we couldn't call to ask if it was them. It was absolutely bone-chilling, because it was definitely her dad’s voice, but he is absolutely not the joking kind of dad who would pull a prank like that."

shalewark

11."My ex-boyfriend — a sound technician — was building a library of sound effects, so we visited a brown site (abandoned warehouse) near his parents' place where we were staying for the weekend. I was reading a book on my phone in his car while he went off to record birds inside the warehouse. Roughly 20 minutes later, I heard a muffled male voice, asking, 'Where are you?' I looked over my shoulder, thinking it was my boyfriend. There was no one behind the car. OK, I figured it must be tinnitus. I went back to reading the book, but the voice repeated the question, louder and more urgent this time.

A car driving through fog
Welcomia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

"This instantly almost made me crap myself. A repetitive phantom sound doesn't ever change its tone and volume. A shout stays a shout, a whisper stays a whisper, and the like. I was trying to recall if I ever heard it changing when the voice, sounding very panicked, shouted, 'WHERE ARE YOU!?' The voice sounded like it was coming from right behind me, in the car. That was enough for me. I got out and dragged my boyfriend back to the car, and we went back to his parents' house. I still can't figure out if it was tinnitus or not, but it sure was weird."

superkay

12."I’ve always read other people's stories about how they see their family or friends in one place, only to have them appear elsewhere. I’ve always shrugged it off as their minds playing tricks...until it happened to me. The other day, I was downstairs making dinner. I went upstairs to get something and passed by my daughter's room. I saw her laying down in bed, watching something on her phone. I told her dinner was almost ready, but she just glanced at me and went back to her phone. When I made my way back downstairs, I saw her laying on the living room couch. I asked her how she managed to get by me on the stairs without me noticing, and she said she’d been on the couch the whole time.

A young girl on her phone
Paula Daniëlse / Getty Images

"She said she even saw me walk up the stairs. I’ve convinced myself that my mind just manifested her in her bedroom because I see her there so often, but I distinctly remember rolling my eyes and thinking how she never responds when I passed by her. 🤷‍♀️"

lunallee212

13."My mom's brother — my uncle — moved from the UK to Boston in the '70s, and had not come back to the UK since. My mom had me in 1980, and had told me about my uncle a few times, but I'd never met him in person. One day, when I was about 4 years old, I stood in the living room just grinding the ball of my foot onto the carpet, the same kind of motion as if you are stubbing a cigarette out with your foot. My mom asked what I was doing, and I said, 'Uncle Dan coming.' She played along, saying, 'That’d be nice, wouldn’t it?' I just carried on grinding my foot and said again, 'Uncle Dan coming.'

"I thought this was silly and now I'm terrified."
Rosanna Pansino

"My mom thought it was weird, but moved on with her day. Later that day, my granddad went to the post office and felt a tap on his shoulder while he was waiting at the counter. He turned around, and my uncle stood behind him. My uncle had planned on surprising him with a visit and hadn’t told anyone in the UK that he was coming over, because he wanted to surprise the whole family. My mom never could explain how I knew that my uncle — who I’d never met and who hadn’t been home in about 12 years — was arriving that very day."

nib80

14."I was driving home from the store one night when I turned onto the streets on campus and came to a four-way stop by one of the little cafes. I saw movement on the street in front of me and waited to see if someone was trying to cross the street or something. All of a sudden, this thing stepped out from between a couple of parked cars. It was about the size of a small cougar, but it was hairless and walking on two legs. Its legs were...wrong. It stood for a moment and stared at me before loping off down the street in the opposite direction.

A dark figure outside of a car
David Wall / Getty Images

"I got out of there and tried not to drive anywhere after dark after that. I'm still not sure what it was. I feel more comfortable assuming it was a black bear with some kind of illness. We did have bears show up on campus on and off, but it was definitely hairless and up on two legs."

torbielillies

15."I was getting ready for bed and went to put away my sunglasses. They had been on the dining room table, and the bright turquoise case I keep them in was in my purse. Well, they weren’t on the table, and my husband swore up and down he didn’t touch them, but he also remembered seeing them on the table. We searched everywhere (garbage cans, under beds, every room upstairs and down, including basement), and after an hour, I gave up and went to bed. At about 1 o’clock in the morning, I woke up to my cat tearing around upstairs, running back and forth between my room and my son’s. I turned on the light to my son’s room to see if there was a bug she was chasing or something, and on the floor at the end of his bed were my sunglasses, INSIDE their case.

Kenan with a surprised look on his face
NBC

"I still have no clue how they ended up there. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a small glitch in the matrix, but I love telling this story!"

burnthewitch23

16."One year at Christmas, most of the family was gathered in the kitchen making to-go plates. The others were in the living room, but it was an open floor plan, so everyone was still together talking and laughing and all that. Then, suddenly, the spice rack — which nobody was close to — detached itself from the wall and floated about three inches away. It hovered there for a solid 10 seconds, then tipped over and crashed onto the counter with spice bottles rolling everywhere. We all stood there in silence for a while, trying to absorb what we had just witnessed. Then, someone said, 'That was weird,' and we all nervously laughed and continued with what we were doing. Nobody knew what else to say. We still talk about it, even though it was almost 16 years ago. It was my house; I had it built. There were no previous owners or dark history. But it was the first of many paranormal experiences to come."

—Anonymous

An opened spice rack
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

17."My sophomore year of college, I lived with my best friend in the dorms. One day, she was about to go take a shower, and because we had a communal bathroom, we had to take a key to get into the shower room. I saw her pick up the key, but I wanted to show her something on my phone, and I watched her put the key on her desk. When she turned back around to get it again, it was completely gone. We couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. Then, when we were moving out, she pulled a box down from the top shelf of our closet and found the key nestled underneath the box.

A set of keys on a table
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

"There’s genuinely no way it could have gotten there. She lost a friend not too long before all this, and we like to think it was her ghost messing with us?"

kd92

18."One day, I came home from work, and instead of going on BuzzFeed or watching Netflix, I snuggled up with my dog, pet him, and decided to take him on our favorite walk. I literally fell asleep with him on top of me that night. I woke up the next morning, and I couldn't find him anywhere. I called my parents, who live practically next door, in a panic. Apparently, while I'd been at work that day, they'd taken him to their house. They forgot to return him, and my dog had been with them all evening/night. So...what dog did I spend all that time with?"

handsonmyknees

A dog
Kyle Krajnyak / Getty Images

19."One time in college, I was riding in the backseat of a friend's car. The car was packed, and we were driving down a suburban road an hour or two before midnight. All of a sudden, I noticed these green orbs floating in front of the windshield. It caught my attention because it seemed that they were accelerating at the same rate as the car. Nobody else in the car said anything, and so, I assumed it was nothing. A moment later, though, the orbs suddenly halted and then zipped through the windshield, over our heads, and out the back of the car. Everyone in the car went deadly silent until one person asked, 'Did anybody else see that?'

A multicolored orb
Oxygen / Getty Images

"I always felt that this was an alien encounter. Fast-forward 10 years, and I was telling this story to a classmate in my master's level psychology class. My professor overheard, then asked me to confirm the location and time. It happened in northern New Jersey in the early 2010s. He nodded and told me that he had studied the psychology of alien encounters and that he believed I had definitely experienced something real and legitimate. I can't explain what happened, but the story still serves as a great icebreaker."

—Anonymous

20."One day, my fingernail broke, and I was very upset about it, because it takes a long time for my fingernails to grow. So, before taking a bath, I filed it down to a short nail. Anyways, I took a bath, and when I got out of the shower, I decided to file the rest of my nails to match. But when I looked at the previously-broken nail, it was back to the same length it was before it broke. Like, huh?? How is that possible?"

—Anonymous

A person filing their nails
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

21."My junior year of college, I lived in this old house. One night, my roommate was spending the night at her boyfriend’s, so I was alone. I had the lights off, and I was laying in bed on my phone before going to sleep. I saw a streak of bright, white light out the corner of my eye. I figured it was my mind playing tricks on me and ignored it. Then, it happened again. Two, three more times. It was a streak of white light going from a few feet to my right, over my bed, and to the wall before vanishing.

Streaks of light over a person
Andrea Giuliano / Getty Images/EyeEm

"It was as if someone was moving a flashlight quick enough where the light looked like a line. Thoroughly freaked out, I threw the covers over my head and fell asleep that way. I listed all the possible explanations, but none of them fit: no roommate in the room, no hanging lights, blinds were shut, so not the headlights from passing cars. I still can’t explain what I saw."

zippyflyer

22."I used to have this evil eye ring that I loved and wore all the time. One day, I dropped it in my small, one-bedroom apartment’s bathroom. I never heard it fall. I searched for that ring for HOURS, and again when I finally moved out. It was nowhere. It didn’t fall in the toilet, it wasn’t behind it, it wasn’t underneath anything. It literally just disappeared. I think about it all the time and have no idea what happened or how it just vanished."

kats469b4463f

An evil eye ring
Getty Images / BuzzFeed

23."Two years ago, in the dead of winter, I was home alone with my infant daughter. It was midday, I think, and I was watching a movie while she slept in my lap. We lived in a rented home that was built in 1929, and most of the interior finish work was original, including the doors leading to the two bedrooms and bath in the hallway. These doors were very thick and very heavy, requiring some force to open and close them. This particular day, like most days, I left our master bedroom door slightly open. As I was sitting in our front room watching the movie, our bedroom door suddenly slammed shut with enough force to elicit a fear response from our dogs. Like, it closed with an ATTITUDE. If you’ve ever seen someone rage-slam a door closed, then that’s what it was like.

A living room
Sasha / Getty Images

"I kind of just sat there in a stunned silence for a few moments before getting up to check it out. When I did, I noticed that the lock hinge was secured, which takes a lot of force to close. Like, a lot more than a light-gust-of-wind amount of force. None of it made any sense. There were no windows open since it was freezing outside, and general house settling didn't produce enough force to close one of these doors.

"In general, we had little 'spooky' issues with this house, but this one genuinely disturbed me. I still can’t think of how this event happened, and it’s never happened since. So, it’s more than likely it was a fluke of physics beyond my comprehension, but I now leave the door open with a prop, so if it happens again, then I’ll know for certain there’s some ghostly fuckery about."

—Anonymous

Now, it's your turn! Have you had an "unexplained mystery" like these in your life? Have you experienced something paranormal, a glitch in the matrix, or something else just as strange that you can't for the life of you explain? If so, tell us about it in the comments below or via this anonymous form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.