A Strange Painting
I’m four, maybe five. Sleeping in a big boy bed, in a room I share with my younger brother, who’s fast asleep. Though I barely move at all now—my girlfriend refers to my preferred sleeping position as The Bouncer: flat on back, arms crossed, no movement—I tended to thrash a lot back then, and wake up often as a result. And so one night I found myself half-covered in blankets, awake...and staring at a young woman, dressed in flowy white clothing. She is sitting on the ground, back against the very large wooden toy box at the foot of my bed, reading a book. I think? The memory always feels a little fuzzy, and to be honest, at this point my mom tells it better than I do. But I saw her, and slowly pulled the sheets to my eyes, scared as fuck. I’d pull them back down, and she’d still be there, and I’d pull them back up. I don’t know how long this went on. An hour? 30 seconds?
Somehow I fell back asleep. Woke up the next morning, and told my mom what I’d seen. I don’t know if she believes in ghosts, but she doesn’t NOT believe in ghosts, and she listened and cared. And then.
Weeks later, my mom was digging through the attic for something, and she stumbled on a... picture-painting-thing, you know, like they did back in the '80s. Tchotchke art. It was a woman, in white, wrapped in clouds of fabric. We’d owned the house for a couple years at that point, so who knows where it came from. But my mom liked it and hung it up in the bathroom, so I got to relive my ghost story every time I took a leak. — Jon Wilde, digital director
An Odd Coincidence
One winter night last year, I was hanging out with some friends at their apartment on Rivington Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I had recently learned that my great-grandfather Izzy spent a chunk of his teenage days in an LES tenement, which I brought up to the group. I wondered how close the tenement might’ve been to their place, so I texted my grandmother (Izzy’s daughter) to see what she knew. She found his World War I draft card, and it listed… the exact same address as my friend’s apartment.
Obviously, it’s not the same building anymore. But it was still weird.
Then, a few minutes after that, we heard someone knocking on my friends’ door—over and over and over again. They have a neighbor who complains about noise all the time, so we figured it was him. But when we opened the door, there was no one there. The knocking resumed again a few minutes later. We tried to laugh it off, but we were all sufficiently shook. And now, of course, I believe in ghosts. — Alex Shultz, editorial assistant
A Girl and Her Dog
My dad is a photographer, and one time he stayed at this hotel up in Vermont for a shoot. He was woken up in the middle of the night when a little white dog ran through his room. Shortly after that, a young girl, about seven or eight years old, came into his room in pursuit of the dog. She sat at the foot of his bed and asked if he had seen her dog. He says he wasn't scared: It was just a normal little girl, but there was still something about the whole thing that felt supernatural. My dad told her it had ran into the bathroom and if she was lost and needed to find her parents. She said no, got up, and followed the dog into the bathroom. My dad went in to help her get the dog, but when he got in there the room was empty.
Then a few weeks later, his assistant was staying in the same room with her sister. Weirdly, both of them had the same dream about their dad coming into the room, sitting on the edge of their bed, then going into the bathroom.
When they woke up the next morning, they got a call from their mother saying their dad had passed away that night. — Someone on the art team
This was around 2013. I'd just graduated from college and was living with my parents again, in a house where weird things were always happening. It was 3 A.M. and I was working as a freelance video editor, editing a low-fi (very very bad) music video for a local artist on my desk in my bedroom. My back was to the bed behind me. My dog Kovu—a pitbull lab mix—was lying next to me on the floor, fast asleep. After hours of watching the music video over and over again and listening to the same song on repeat for days, I decided to mute the edit as I worked on some effects, my headphones still on.
And then I heard a “click click.” The lamp next to my bed, which had one of those twist switches, across the room, turned off then on again. Kovu sat up. He was staring directly above the lamp, his eyes fixed. But since I had my headphones on, I thought I had imagined what just happened. Maybe the delirium of being awake that late and working on the same thing was making my head spin. I turned and continued to work, headphones off.
“Click click… click click.” Off on. Off on. Twice. The dog was growling now, the hair on the back of his neck stood up, and his gaze hadn’t moved since the clicks started. I stared in the direction of the lamp. A chill ran down my spine, the room became cold. I was frozen. I slowly turned and looked at my laptop. Kovu was still growling and slowly got up.
“Click click click click click click click click” Off on off on off on off on off on off on. Kovu started barking, the light was flicking off and on repeatedly. So I picked him up and ran out to my sister's room and slept on the floor. The next day I moved all of my stuff out into the spare room. — James Pettigrew, supervising video producer
The White Woman
On a snowy night before I was born, my aunt and uncle were driving home from my parents’ house on a winding forest road in Ridgefield, Connecticut. They took a sharp turn and saw a woman; they had to swerve to avoid her as they sped past.
Something about it unnerved them. The woman was wearing this long white gown—wouldn’t she freeze in the snow? She looked pale, too. Creepy pale. So they turned around to offer her a ride into town, pulled up and got out of the car to look for her. But she was gone.
The next day they told my parents about it, who pulled out an old history book about the town. They found out a hermit woman, Sarah Bishop, used to live in a cave in the same woods, but would dress up in a long gown and come to church every Sunday—a church not far from where my aunt and uncle pulled over. She passed away in 1810 after she had an accident on a stormy night and eventually froze to death. — Colin Groundwater, assistant to the editor in chief
This was around 2004 in California when I was a sophomore in college. I lived and worked on campus in Irvine, about 45 minutes away from where my parents lived, but would drive back every weekend to do laundry. (Cheaper than doing it in the dorms.) One night, I came in hauling my big plastic Target hamper full of dirty clothes. No one was home, so I put my stuff down in the laundry room and made my way to the living room couch and turned on the TV.
I started dozing off after a few minutes when the doorbell rang. It's not one of those "ding dong" doorbells, either. It's one of those slow, deliberate Westminster chimes you'd hear from old clocks. Okay... weird, I thought. So I bolted over to the entrance and realized, idiot that I was, that I'd left the front door wide open. I went outside and didn't see anyone, which was odd. My parents live on this massive open street where if someone was running away, you'd see them.
Then I turned around and noticed this framed photo I'd never seen—it's sitting on a makeshift altar near the entrance, and it's of my grandfather in the Philippines. He'd died earlier that week.
Every hair on my body stood up. And then, just as immediately, I remember feeling this enormous warmth just wash over me. Of all his grandchildren, my parents would tell me, I was the one grandpa was always looking out for. — Chris Gayomali, site editor
Something in the Woods
There’s this really creepy and supposedly haunted road outside of my hometown of Syracuse called “Whiskey Hollows Road.” Kids would all go there to drink or smoke weed out of an apple or whatever. One night when my friends and I were there, we all freaked out. We thought there was some sort of monster or ghost or maybe serial killer skulking around in the woods. But it turned out to be a bear. — Gabe Conte, web producer
Originally Appeared on GQ