Most of us have a few stories to tell of things that we’re sure happened to us, but don’t have any rational explanation. It can be fascinating to speculate about what really happened, but more fascinating still, whether we believe in the supernatural or not, to just accept that there’s no way to find out. Someone on r/AskReddit posted this call for people’s best stories of times they experienced a “glitch in the matrix,” or a moment when reality just didn’t check out, and reading the thread is a journey down a rabbit hole.
Here are stories from people who either made contact with some things beyond the world of the living, got a premonition of a serious real-life crime or accident, or had all of their senses deceive them.
My friend Sarah was in a nightclub, drunk off her face, when she got an overwhelming urge to tell a total stranger that her leg hurts (edit: it didn’t). All a bit strange, she ignores it but it doesn’t stop so she walks up to this guy and says, ‘I know this is crazy but I’ve got a huge urge to tell you my leg hurts. I know that’s crazy, again! Sorry!’
But he bursts into tears. Turns out his dad had just died and they made a pact before that if there was an afterlife he would get a message to him saying a totally random phrase, so there could be no mistakes, which they decided was ‘I’ve hurt my leg.’
I have a good one.
I was about 12 years old, and woke up in the middle of the night needing to take a leak.
I walked across the hall to the little bathroom, hit the lights, and was about to reach for the toilet when I glanced up and saw a face in the mirror.
It was not my face.
It was as if someone was on the other side, standing to the right, with their face right next to the glass, staring at me. I only saw it for the briefest moment, but it is seared into my brain.
I screamed, and ran out of there to find my Dad. Of course, my dad investigated, then calmed me down, or tried to. Eventually we had a prayer session, because I was so freaked out. Eventually I must have gone back to sleep…
Fast forward to my 30s. I’d forgotten all about the event. One night while visiting, my dad quietly brings it up. “Remember that one time you saw a face in the mirror…”. It suddenly came back to me in a rush of memory, sending a chill down my spine. “Yea, I remember”
“Well…” he said, “I sometimes think about that night.” He looked down at the floor, with a serious expression. “I saw it too.”
He went on to describe exactly what I’d seen. We have no idea what that was. Apparently when he investigated, he saw it and had a freak out of his own. Apparently the prayer session was as much for his own nerves as mine.
I respect him for keeping that tidbit from me till my thirties, but I kinda wish he’d never told me.
Many close encounters can be explained by false memories—that is, when information that you learn after something happens influences you to recontextualize or even imagine more details to what happened before or during the event, recreating it so clearly that it blends into your memories.
For example, the pall that a death or accident casts over your memory of the day that it happened could influence you to believe that you had a foreboding feeling that something was wrong, or that a coincidence that happened earlier that day was warning you of what was to come.
This just happened today.
My daughter (4) was playing in her room on the second story. I was two rooms away, playing my guitar. Very loudly, I heard my daughter screaming “daddy come to the guest bedroom, I want to show you something!” This immediately seemed off. We have an extra bedroom, but I had never heard her call it that before. While she also has pretty good speech, this was amazingly clear.
When I walked around the corner, into the bedroom to see what she wanted, I saw two little legs sliding out the window. I jumped across the room, and grabbed my daughter by her ankle before she could fall out.
After a not great moment where I yelled at her, then hugged her, then yelled again, then apologized for yelling and hugged her, I finally calmed down. We had a talk about why we don’t play in windows. While I was putting the window back together (she had pushed and popped out the storm and screen window from the bottom) I asked her what she wanted to show me.
“What do you want to show me? You asked me to come see something”
“No I didn’t daddy.”
“Are you sure? You told me to come to the guest bedroom.”
(A little whiny now, and annoyed) “No I didn’t daddy!”
“You didn’t ask me to come to the ‘guest bedroom’ to see something?”
I once clocked out of work at 6pm (like I always did at the time) and began my hour long train ride home.
After I had found a seat, I went to sleep and woke up just before my station. From the station, it is a short bus journey (10-15 minutes) to reach home.
During the entire journey, I didn’t use my phone and I don’t wear a watch so I didn’t really notice the time anywhere.
When I reached home, my family surprised me with “You’re home early, everything alright?”. I look at the wall-clock and it is about to be 6pm. I was too shocked to understand what happened. Checked other watches, cellphones etc and the time is absolutely right.
A few days later, the admin emailed us the timesheets for the month (times clocking in and out), and every single days for me was around the same 6pm. So it certainly wasn’t me having left work earlier.
To this date, I haven’t figured out how I gained between 60-90 minutes that day.
1985. My ex wife and I were sleeping. There was a small sliver of light coming in through the window from a streetlight, so the room and bed were dimly visible. Our black Pomeranian was at the end of the bed asleep.
I dreamt that I woke up, reached down to pet him, and he turned into a glossy black bivalve/oyster thing which opened up to reveal rows of gleaming glass teeth. I woke up to my ex backpedalling up the bed over the pillows towards the wall.
I asked “what’s wrong??” She said, “what is that shiny black clam thing with the teeth at the end of the bed?? Where’s the dog?”
We had had the same nightmare at the same time. This still gives me a chill.
The effect can be even stronger when there’s more than one person there to back it up. This happens so often in relation to history and pop culture that it has come to be called “the Mandela effect” (named after the belief that Nelson Mandela died and his funeral was broadcast on TV in the 80s, decades before he actually died in 2013) when people who misremember a public event the same way compare their memories and are certain that with so many witnesses, it must have happened.
It’s not surprising that a smaller version of this could happen if you and a friend go through something harrowing together and then try to get your story straight.
One day when I was about 8 I didn’t go to school because I was sick. My friend was suppoused to bring me homework etc. but he never came. My granddad came home from work and he told me that that friend was dead, I was devastated. That night I had a dream. I was with my friend at a playground next to our school and we were talking, then he told me that he is safe and it didn’t hurt when that car hit him. The next day my mother wanted to talk to me about that situation and she asked me if I wanted to know what happened. I told her that I know everything because my friend told me. She thought that my granddad told me but he did not. He said that he did not wanted to tell me without her knowing it. That night I had a dream again and I was talking to him again. We were playing and having fun and he told me that he really had to go and we wont see each other ever again. The next day was his funeral and I really havent had a dream about him ever since.
I died. I saw it, I lived it. Either it was another world with a version of me that died I saw or I’m going crazy but I DIED.
We had a pep rally in school and after it was finished we had to go back to class. Well, my friend and I were not into that so we wanted to to across the street to Sonic. Across the school there is not heavy traffic, but if you don’t pay attention you could get hit.
Well I remember walking with him and he dropped something so I went across the street first. I just saw a red Tahoe heading right for me and I got hit.
I remember everything. I remember gasping for air, I remember waking up and sleeping again. Then nothing. All of a sudden I was back in the stadium again and the EXACT SAME WORDS came out of the principal’s mouth. My friend wanted to go get sonic but i was freaking out. Was asking him everything.
I thought it had to be a dream, so I went with him just to see what would happen. He dropped his stuff again and I waited. To my horror, that same red Tahoe showed up. I told him that I’m going back to school, I ain’t dying again.
I can still see the other version of me on that street just messed up. Not even moving.
I was on vacation on Florida visiting a friend, we were walking on the beach on a perfectly sunny day when everything went black for a second. I think it was weird but explained it away thinking that my eyes were playing tricks on me until he looked at me and said “did everything go black for a second?”
If you’ve ever had a bizarre experience with no apparent explanation, though, it may not be worth speculating about what psychological phenomenon could have really caused it. In most cases, it’s not like there’s a way to test it or find out, for better or for worse… so we’ll never run out of weird stories to tell in the dark.
Might get buried but oh well. When I played baseball as a kid, they were handing out the trophies at the end of the season. They called out the names of the kids while we received our trophies. They’re happened to be a kid with the same name as me. We met after the ceremony because it was weird since our last name isn’t a very common one. We had the same birthday and everything. We looked alike, both our Dad’s were named Derek and both of our sisters were named Lilly. As a kid, I found it cool. As an adult, I find it cool and also disturbing
My late uncle used to say he never believed in God, and he believed in Thunder instead (it’s a god from my country’s old mythology, a Baltic God called Perkūnas). He died in summer and his funeral was held on a beautiful sunny day, no clouds in sight.
As they were closing the casket suddenly the only window in the room burst open (it was definitely closed shut) and we heard a super loud thunder roar. Everyone freaked out instantly. I was around 16-years-old and I remember it clearly.
This was the only thunder that day, no rain followed and no clouds in sight.