Do you believe in a sixth sense? In ghostly apparitions, spirit voices or messages from beyond the grave? Before you decide, have a read of these 32 gripping, real-life experiences. From disembodied footsteps to death foretold – and yes, even a comforting vision or two – they may just change your mind.
The man who wasn’t there
“When my son was born, we lived in an older house. His room was always cold, even in blistering summer heat. When I would change his nappy he would ‘talk’ to someone over my shoulder, although no-one was ever there.
“One night I went into his room to check on him before going to bed and the rocking chair in the corner of his room that had seized up years ago was gently rocking, although there was no breeze in the room. I grabbed him and took him into our bed.
“The next day we had friends come and stay with their caravan. I went to bed early and the next day Sharon, our friend, asked what I was doing in our pantry (it had a small window) at midnight. I told her I didn’t get up again after going to bed at about 8pm. She, her partner and my husband all swore they saw the pantry light come on and a figure move around.
“We moved out pretty soon after this and about four years later my son said to me one day: ‘Who was the old man I used to talk to as a baby, Mum?’
“I couldn’t figure out who he was talking about, then he said, ‘I remember laying down and you were standing there and behind you was an old man that would sing and talk to me.’
“I figure it was our ghost!” – Mrs T.L.
The perennial cat
“My beloved cat died in 2005. That night his body lay on an armchair awaiting burial, and late that night while I read he came jumping onto the end of my bed and sat looking at me. We communicated told me that instead of waiting to replace him I needed to act immediately, that there was a cat of his breed urgently needing a home. And then another cat appeared beside him. I was worried that I couldn’t afford another pedigree cat, and was told that it would be taken care of.
“I started looked, right after burying my friend the next morning, and found a cat of the same breed, looking for a home, and although I couldn’t afford what was asked, I said I would take him anyhow. I was told by the breeders that it would take a week for him to arrive. I said that was fine and the next day I received a cheque in the mail. I’d won one of the contests I often do – and the cheque was for exactly the amount I required to pay for my new friend.
“As I type this he sleeps on my feet. A cat that really did need a home and someone who could live with some of his peculiarities. A cat sent to me, paid for by his predecessor, and I wonder – now that my friend is 15 and fading slowly – if I will be sent another when the time comes and by whom, him or his predecessor? – Ms L.M. While you're here, check out these 13 things you do that your cat actually hates.
Haunted Quarantine Station, Sydney
“My 60th birthday was spent on a sleepover at the old Quarantine Station in Sydney. During the experience I felt and sensed a presence and felt an incredible coldness over the lower part of my body. I saw my son-in-law’s head move from side to side, and he couldn’t stop this from happening. I heard a heavy shower of rain pelting a building we were in, even though it was a bright, starry night outside.” – Mrs G.J.
Vision of a plane crash
“When my mother was five years old, she saw a big thing falling from the sky. It fell in a nearby paddock and burst into flames. she ran in to tell her parents and they told her she must have fallen asleep and must have had a dream. Five years later a plane crashed in that same paddock and burst into flames.
“My mum lived in the southern part of Tasmania then and had never seen a plane until that one crashed. But she insisted to her parents that was the thing she saw falling from the sky five years earlier. My mum was born on 1923.
“Much later, after I had my children, one of them was a very sick child. I lived in Far North Queensland and Mum lived in Tasmania. She would write to me and ask what was wrong with Karan because she had seen her in hospital again. She was always spot on correct.
“I think I have inherited some of my mum’s ability to predict things that are going to happen. I am quite often correct.” – Mrs J.H.
Dreaming in another language
“I had a very eerie and unforgettable dream that came true. My husband’s father passed away. He was Croatian and spoke mostly Croatian. I have never learned the language. But in a dream, I dreamed words that sounded Croatian: ‘Dodete na moje malo mjesto.’
“As soon as I awoke, I spoke them back to my husband to find out if they were Croatian or just silliness. He said they were Croatian and it was a sentence: ‘Come to my little place.’
We didn’t think much of it other than I dreamed in Croatian, which was actually amazing. When we all came together at the graveside to farewell my husband’s father, I spotted a dog from about 500 metres away coming straight for us. I mean, the dog was making a bee-line directly for our group. Other members of the family started to notice the dog as he made his way to us. When the dog arrived, it went to my father-in-law’s partner first and licked her hand, then went to every member of the immediate family, then stopped his greetings and laid down just looking around at all the people gathered there.
“Once the casket had been put into the ground, the dog got up and left. Members of the family believe to this day that the dog was in some way saying goodbye for their father and that my message in the dream was from his dad asking everyone to come to the grave, ‘his small place’.” – Mrs L.C.
A death foretold
“I had a dream one weekend that I saw my elderly neighbour in a coffin dressed in a white dress. I saw her daughter a few days later and told her that her mother didn’t have long. She didn’t seem interested. The following Saturday she died and her whole family were in complete shock. I went to the funeral and she looked as I had seen her in my dream.” – Ms I.C.
A mother’s departing soul
“One morning I found my mother at the kitchen sink after an apparent stroke. I called for an ambulance and started CPR. Horrifically, my mother passed away. But the moment she was pronounced dead and I was left with her body, a vapour-like mist lifted from her body. It was so surreal that I wasn’t scared but relieved that her soul had gone to heaven.” – Ms L.M.
The dangers of dabbling with a Ouija board
“It was 1940 and I was aged ten. My brother had just turned 21 and was home on final leave before being sent by the airforce to fight in the Pacific. It was a Sunday night, long before television came to New Zealand, and it was suggested that my mother, two sisters and I entertain ourselves with a Ouija board.
“My brother had been recently engaged and was converting to Catholicism and was strongly opposed to dabbling in such things, so he took off for a long walk. He returned about an hour later and as he came into the room he said sarcastically, ‘Ask your Spirit what I have just experienced.’
“We did and the answer was ‘squashed’.
“As he had walked through our yard back to the house, he had heard our dog in a distressed state. She had a new litter of puppies and had been put in our more comfortable workshop. One puppy had crawled away and was wedged (squashed?) behind a box and the wall.
“I can still see the colour drain from my brother’s face when our Spirit gave its answer. It was no longer entertaining – it had become too serious – we stopped playing and I can’t remember ever playing again.” – Mr B.N.
“I couldn’t move my legs”
“Lying in bed one night, I had the feeling of someone sitting on my feet. I couldn’t move my legs. It lasted for a while before I could finally move. We had just moved into an old home.” – Ms K.M.
The squeaky swingset
“When I was about ten I had a swingset with a squeaky swing. The swingset was outside my bedroom. When I went to bed one night, I could hear the swing squeak. There was no wind. When I looked out my window the squeak stopped and the swing was still. I’d lay back in bed and could hear it again. I would go turn all the lights on outside and couldn’t see anything. It was so spooky and eerie, I ended up sleeping in my sister’s room.” – Mrs L.P.
Ghost of a missing girl
“I worked at a restaurant/function centre that used to be a home over 100 years ago. There was a portrait of a young girl in the restaurant. The girl was said to have disappeared at the age of 17. A family came into the function centre to make a booking. Their four-year-old daughter followed me upstairs. I was cleaning tables. I saw the little girl talking and whispering. I asked her who she was talking to. She said, ‘My new friend, Mary. Don’t worry, she likes you.’
“I took the little girl back downstairs to be with her parents. She told her parents that her friend Mary lives at the restaurant but was stuck in a circle hole. There was an old well outside the restaurant.” – Mrs M.M.
A comforting vision
“My father always did the crossword in the daily newspaper. Some months after he passed away I had a strong vision where I saw myself standing behind him. He was wearing his favourite, well-worn pullover, had a pen in his hand, and the daily newspaper folded at the crossword page. The vision was a comforting sign that said, ‘All is good with me.’” – Mrs J.C.
Tea for… one?
“I once woke up in the morning to find my kettle already boiling. I live on my own. It was like someone was getting it ready for me. Spooky!” – Miss J.M.
Sounds inside grandma’s house
Many years ago, when my husband and I first got married, we lived in a house that used to be his grandmother’s house. The night she died (elsewhere), both my husband and I heard the door handle of the room that his grandmother used to sleep in, continually rattle through the night. The next day his mother came around to tell us that his grandmother had died that night. The doorhandle never rattled before or after that night.” – Mrs S.M.
“When I was just 15 years old, my father had just died at the young age of 56. The day after he died I had him visit me when I had gone to bed. I heard footsteps came into my bedroom and my room went very cold. The next day I told my mum but she didn’t believe me. To this day she still doesn’t believe me. That goes back to 1972.” – Mrs J.W.
An eerie visit to Port Arthur, Tasmania
“Holidaying in Tasmania, we had spent the day walking around Port Arthur. I went there with high expectations of having my very own eerie experience. But at the end of a long day I was tired, more than expecting anything to happen so late in the day. My husband wanted to go into the doctor’s surgery again, but rather than take another step with my tired feet I opted to sit outside.
“After 15 minutes I had grown tired of waiting and wandered into the stables out the back of the doctor’s surgery. Off the left-hand side of the stables there was a little room. I wandered in and as I reached the back of the room I felt as if Michael had walked in behind me.
“Without turning I asked Michael, ‘How was the doctor’s surgery?’ No answer. I told Michael to stop mucking around, feeling him standing up against me, well inside my personal space. I stepped aside of him as though to pass him and move out the door, for with both of us in the little room it had that crowded feeling.
“Speaking as I turned, every hair on my body stood on end. I was shocked to find Michael wasn’t there and no-one was standing in front of me, even though I felt the physical presence of someone standing in front of me.” – Mrs Y.F.
Crowded noises in the night
“When my husband worked night shift, I would on quite a few occasions around 2:00am hear footsteps on our stairway and a lot of people talking. The sounds would stop on reaching the landing. My husband and I have also felt our deceased cat walking on our bed. She used to curl up near my legs and sleep.” – Mrs R.B.
Two witnesses to a shadow figure
“My partner and I both saw a shadow figure whilst sleeping at my father’s place recently, whilst we were waiting for settlement of our first house. The shadow figure was crouched, watching me all night, and at one stage it came closer to my partner. By the time she turned to flash a light on it, it disappeared. We both found out about the other’s experience the next day.” – Ms E.K.
“I felt someone put their hand on my back”
“I was staying at my friend’s very old motel and I was sleeping in their young son’s bed when I felt someone put their hand on my back. I screamed and jumped up. My friends were in the next room and came running in.
“Later they said they moved their son out of that room as he wasn’t able to sleep there – and he had told them already about feeling uncomfortable in this room. They moved him and from then on he slept with no problems.” – Ms K.F.
“I dreamed of my mother’s death”
“When I was 13, I dreamed of my mother’s death in a car accident every night for a week. The accident happened exactly the way my dream panned out. Life changed; I changed; the whole family was impacted. I felt guilty for years that I didn’t tell anyone it would happen, but at the time I did not think anyone would believe me. I also dreamed my aunt’s death as well. I try not to dream anymore.” – Mrs C.B.
Haunted house in Hamilton
“Many years ago my husband and I lived in a house in Hamilton, New Zealand, that was very noisy. Often it sounded like someone running over the roof. We would get up in the morning to find books and ornaments on the floor, our cat would sit and stare at something we couldn’t see with his fur standing up. We would often see someone walking down the hallway out of the corner of our eyes. Over time things settled down a bit.” – Mrs J.E.
A brother’s dying wishes
“It happened a year after my brother passed and I was missing him so. Mother decided it was time for us to take his ashes to where he wanted to be finally laid to rest, though I was not ready to do so but I also realised that she herself was getting older and needed to know that his wishes had been carried out while she was still able to take the journey with me.
“We bundled him into a carry bag and flew with him next to us all the way, so he would safely arrive at his final resting place. When we landed, we drove to the hotel and rested for the evening – but the next day we took him out to a beautiful spot where he’d asked to scatter him, sitting for morning tea with him before returning to our hotel for the evening meal.
“I had planned a hot air balloon flight the next morning as this had long been one of my bucket-list wishes and my brother had always encouraged me to do this but my husband was not happy about me doing so. Without telling my husband, I decided that I would take the flight in memory of my brother, so with a 3:00am start I encouraged mother to do the follow-and-chase in the vehicle and off we went.
“It was a beautiful and calm morning and the tour company collected us from our hotel to take the journey out to the take-off point. While waiting for the balloon to be filled with enough gas for it to lift off, Mother was by the vehicle and I was at least six metres from anyone else, taking photos of the wildflowers and the sunrise – which was something my brother would love to do – when I felt a tap, then another on my shoulder as he would often do while he was alive to tease me.
“Needless to say, I quickly looked around to see who it was but there was not another soul nearby. But I could hear him saying, ‘Good on ya, sis, enjoy your flight.’
“Upon landing, Mother’s first words to me were, ‘Your brother was here with you this morning,’ to which my reply was, ‘Did you sense him too?’ ‘Yes,’ was the reply, ‘he was pleased for you.’
“I have not heard from him since but it was comforting to have had this experience.” – Mrs J.F.
Coming back to visit
“When my son’s best friend died from a motorbike accident, we had his service at our house. When the hearse arrived, so did a dog. During the service and through the night this dog just sat down with everyone by the fire and never left. It was so friendly and just walked around so comfortable. My mum, when I told her, to this day believed it was him coming back to visit and watch amongst us, like he never left.” – Mrs K.D.
The lady on the landing
“When we moved into our beautiful old home in Hobart I would often see a small woman standing on the landing, crying. This occurred for some months. Then one day we had a knock at the front door and a gentleman who had grown up in the house requested could he bring his siblings back through the house. We were overjoyed that they wanted to visit again and tell us about growing up in the house.
“When we went upstairs and were talking about bedrooms etc, I looked at the landing and the sister, small in stature, was standing in the very spot and crying just like our visitor had been doing for months. I knew it was her as I had seen it many times before. She then left with her brothers and we have never witnessed our lady on the landing since.” – Mrs M.C.
The miraculous phone call
“My wife required an operation and even though we were covered by private health we were still required to pay $500 to go into a private hospital. This was quite urgent as my wife was in a lot of pain. I remember being so upset as we just could not afford the $500 at that time, as I had been out of work and had only just started a new position.
“On this day I was at home by myself and so upset I sat down in a quiet place at home and just prayed to God to help, give me a sign of what to do; I was desperate.
“At that time a gust of wind came through the house, strange as it may be but it was very still outside. Next thing a phone call; it was my sister, whom I had not heard from for about nine years. When speaking to her, she picked up on my mood (being upset). I explained the situation and also told her what had just happened and she explained she had just had a feeling come over her to phone me.
“The thing was, she also lent me the money straight away and my wife had the operation she needed within days. It was so spooky and it was something I will never forget.” – Mr G.S.
“I’m here and I’ll be watching”
“About 10 years ago, my husband’s grandmother, Oma, passed. She was a tough Lithuanian woman who had survived World War II – and long-term separation from her husband – with two little girls as she travelled from Lithuania to Germany and eventually to Australia. She was no-nonsense, get-over-it-and-get-on-with-it tough and we were all a little scared of her. It had taken a long time for her to accept me as her only grandson’s girlfriend and then wife and had even threatened me on one occasion if I should hurt her grandson!
“When she passed, she was just shy of her 100th birthday, she still lived in her 1940s home on her own and she had a very active and independent social life – catching public transport several times a week to wherever she was going. After she passed, it was decided that the family would tidy up and sell her home. I volunteered to come up during the day and paint inside.
“The first day I arrived and let myself in. There was no-one there and the furniture had been removed. I walked into the loungeroom as my phone rang. My husband had called to have a quick chat about the painting. As I was talking to him, there was a loud bang at the back of the house in the sleepout. I kept my hubby on the phone as I went to investigate.
“When I got to the sleepout, I found an old plastic light shade had fallen from the ceiling light to the floor. That shade had hung there for as long as we could remember. We think it was circa 1970s. Somehow the shade had shimmied around the bulb and dropped to the floor. There was no damage to the shade, no melting, and it was not misshapen in any way. The bulb was not switched on and it was larger than the hole in the shade. There was no-one in the house, no wind and nothing else that could explain it.
“I knew immediately it was Oma. I knew it was Oma saying, ‘I’m here and I’ll be watching.’” – Mrs A.L.
When the pillow falls
“My sister passed away some time ago and my mother had become quite ill, unknown to me. I have this pillow that my sister had made for me to thank me for always being there for her and on this particular occasion this pillow kept falling into my bed, prompting me to make some phone calls to family members – and when I couldn’t reach my mum I went over to her house, only to discover her unwell. So I now believe that when this pillow falls into my bed it is my sister looking out for us as a family unit.” – Mrs R.S.
The fallen soldier
“I visited a cottage where my friends’ mum was staying and my friend went to show me something in a bedroom. I saw a soldier in a uniform I’d never – at that time – seen before, who then disappeared. Later I learned that relatives of my grandmother had lived there, whose son died in the Boer War – and that was his room!” – Ms A.A.
The two nurses
“When my husband John was very ill with cancer I had to take him to the emergency department of our local hospital. We had to ring a bell and someone would open the door. I rang the bell and was told someone was on their way. I returned to the car parked nearby to help John out and when we got to the door there were two nurses standing there; one dressed in a modern uniform of pants and blouse, the other dressed in an old-fashioned nurse’s uniform of long dress, apron and veil.
“I turned to John to say how nice it was to see a nurse looking like a nurse when one of them said something… and when I turned back to answer there was only one nurse there – the one in modern uniform. John had not seen the other nurse.” – Mrs G.L.
The missing cat
“My mother was in hospital and, although elderly and recovering from surgery, was not expected to pass away. One night my husband and I were out for a couple of hours, and upon returning home we discovered our cat Cleo was missing. This was totally out of character for her.
“The next morning Cleo returned and almost immediately we received a call from the hospital to say my mother had passed away. The 12-hour period of her decline and passing in the hospital tallied exactly with the period of our cat being missing.
“My mother dearly loved Cleo, and I often wonder if somehow the cat sensed something and went looking for her.” – Ms H.D.
“Did you call me?”
“Since building our new house my husband and I have both sworn that the other has called us… except neither of us have! It’s not only our names but also sounds exactly like our voices!” – Mrs T.G.
Those we love stay with us
“My dad believed in messages or signs from those who have passed. We used to watch a psychic on TV and we would joke about butterflies or white feathers as our sign from the grave.
“Not long after he passed, my friends and I had tickets to a show in Sydney to see the psychic I used to watch with Dad. We parked in an underground carpark in the city and as we got out of the car a white feather floated down in front of me and landed at my feet!
“The following week I was mowing my lawns and having a good old cry as I remembered the day my dad had come to fix my old mower; he said he would take it home to service it and came back within the hour with a brand-new mower. As I mowed, I cried and laughed at how silly I must look. As I stopped to dry my eyes, a huge orange and black butterfly fluttered about my head, then landed on a low-hanging branch of my jacaranda tree – also a gift as a sapling from my Dad, now a huge tree.
“If there was ever any doubt, these two experiences reassured me that those we love stay with us in some form.” – Mrs K.M
This article appeared on Reader's Digest.