Welcome to the first edition of You’ll Believe in Ghosts, a collection of real-life horrors that have occurred over the years. By the time you’ve read through this collection, even skeptics will likely find themselves believing in ghosts.
For our first story, we start off small. Here’s a story from my college years, probably around 2015, of when a prank went a little too far:
As an older sibling, it’s your job to scare and annoy the younger ones as often as possible. Being the middle child of the family, I was graced with dishing out the scares to my younger sister while my older sister scared me to no end.
This rite of passage started when I was no more than six years old and my older sister told me there was a secret passage at the back of her closet that opened up into a cave. I can’t remember if she said there were ghosts or monsters that lived in there, but it scared me to bits…despite the fact that her closet was on the shared wall between our bedrooms.
I sought revenge days later and ran inside from playing whatever outside alone. I told my parents I saw a purple cowboy in the sky. No one believed me, of course. My plan majorly backfired as this was the reason no one believed me for another six years of the paranormal experiences I had, but that’s a story for another time.
Fast forward to some time in the mid-2010s, most likely close to 2015. My older sister recently graduated from college, I was in my sophomore year of college, and my younger sister was still in high school. She was utterly terrified of nearly everything but especially terrified of this one doll.
At first glance, it was your average doll purchased from the Happiest Place on Earth. Except, this doll was more of a nightmare than anything else. As much as I wished this was a story of an evil doll wreaking havoc on the family, it sadly is not. In fact, for more than 10 years, the doll sat untouched on a shelf until one day when we noticed her hazel eyes were now blood red.
Being in our 20s, my older sister and I knew it was probably the brown paint fading over the years to reveal the red undertones, but my younger sister was convinced she was possessed.
Fulfilling our sisterly duty of scaring her to death, we played up the fact that she was possessed. We even went as far as moving the doll subtly to make it seem like she moved her arm or head slightly while no one was around. All this was done in anticipation of the big scare: moving the doll to another room.
After a few times of moving the doll, my younger sister caught onto our antics, and eventually, these scares turned into a fun game of hide-and-go-seek. We’d take turns putting the doll somewhere in one another’s room—like the hamper so when you moved a piece of clothing her red eyes would stare at you or under the blankets so there was a scare right before you went to bed.
This went on for weeks if not months.
It was all fun and games until we all got scared.
The last time we used the doll to playfully scare one another was just any other night. My older sister and I decided that, when my younger sister was getting ready for bed in the bathroom, we would sneak into her room with the doll and place it in her closet so that when and only when she was laying in bed she would see the doll staring at her.
Since she always blasted her music in the bathroom, we’d know exactly when she was finished so we could hide and wait for her reaction. The kicker was that we would turn every light off in the house and pretend that no one was home, forcing her to walk halfway down the hallway alone in the dark to turn on the light. As I said, she was terrified of being alone in the house during the daytime, so at night her fears only got worse.
Now, before you make fun of a young teenager for being afraid of the house or the dark, keep in mind that she grew up in a house where objects would fly across the room when no one was nearby and hearing other family members share countless ghost stories, all of which you’ll soon learn about.
Thankfully, that night, we finished setting everything up with plenty of time to spare. We ran downstairs just before the music stopped in the bathroom. We gathered near the staircase, laughing silently to ourselves in anticipation of her reaction. When she called for us to turn the lights back on, we could hardly stay quiet. When no one answered her calls for help, she started to panic, which only made us laugh harder.
It wasn’t until she screamed that our laughter stopped.
Suddenly, the air was electrified. The hair on my arms and neck stood tall. It felt like a current was running through my body, sending tingles up and down my arm. I was overcome with dread. It felt like someone was towering over me, inches away from where I stood.
Maybe I felt bad for taking the prank too far, but I knew it needed to stop. I started to tell my sister, who was closer to the light switch, to turn the lights back on, but before I could form a sound, a noise to my right caught my attention. It came from the living room, the room where I had my first paranormal experience more than a decade before…the room I hated walking past.
The eerie sound of “All Around the Mulberry Bush” will forever haunt me. This slow music box rendition of a childhood favorite sent chills down my spine. As soon as I was able to speak again, I told my sister to turn on the lights. We both ran upstairs and apologized to our sister for taking things too far. We sat with her until she calmed down, ending the night with promising we were done with the doll pranks.
Later that night, I asked my younger sister if she tried pranking us when the lights were turned off. She said no, but asked what I meant. I told her, and eventually the rest of my family, that when we were downstairs I heard a music box quietly playing. I asked if she queued up a creepy song and played it through the speakers she brought with her into the bathroom.
She promised she had nothing to do with the music box. In fact, we didn’t have any Jack-in-the-Box or music boxes that played that song.
I know she could’ve lied and actually played the music, but that wouldn’t have explained why the sound came from a different floor on the opposite side of the house. Regardless, that doll was never touched from that day on.
When my older sister moved out a year or two later, the doll who was in a box under her bed was donated. While there was only that one experience with the doll, I hope whoever ended up with her doesn’t share any similar paranormal experiences.
I know this story wasn’t too scary, and I know that there are potential explanations for it, but at the time it was terrifying to me. Plus, why share all my good, completely terrifying stories right off the bat? This story alone probably won’t make you believe in ghosts, but this mild scary story coupled with other stories of strangers appearing in the house, items moving around the house, and much more that I’ll share over the next few months, you might just find yourself believing in ghosts after all.