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21 Bone-Chilling, True Stories of People Who’ve Received Signs from the Dead

Equal parts haunting and touching, these true stories will make you question whether or not our dearly departed are as far from us as they seem.


Always there

On a crisp fall morning, my daughter Laura went to pose for her senior pictures with her brother Josh’s bright green snowboard. Josh had died in a motorcycle accident the summer before, and Laura, an avid snowboarder, wanted his board in the shot. The photographer knew the perfect ­backdrop—­a vibrant graffiti wall in town. He peered through the lens, ­focused, and gasped. We all looked up and read the words spray-painted on the wall above Laura’s head: “Big Bro Is Watching.” What a beautiful reassurance that she has a guardian ­angel. These are the creepiest ghost stories of all time.
–Lynn Elsner, Missoula, Montana

cheeseburgerPaul Brian Kiser/Shutterstock

A happy meal

We recently lost our beloved golden retriever Benny to cancer. In the year after his diagnosis, we spoiled him with attention and food. A favorite treat was two fast-food plain cheeseburgers. The day after Benny left us I went to the chain for lunch, thinking of Benny—chicken nuggets for me, but this time, no cheeseburgers. When I got home I found in the bag my nuggets and a plain double cheeseburger. The receipt revealed only the nuggets. I was stunned to tears, then laughter, when I realized Benny bought us lunch together one last time.
–Thomas Richard Smith, Cranberry, Pennsylvania


Fate on a plate

My 21-year-old nephew Markie died of cancer in February of 2013. I was driving on the highway on my way home from work one afternoon and, in between sobs, was talking to Markie. I asked him to send me a sign that he was okay. At that moment, a silver Lexus got in front of me. My nephew drove a Lexus. This is a coincidence, I thought, until I saw the license plate. It was a vanity plate with the initials MHR—Markie’s initials. He heard me and answered. Thanks, buddy. I love you.
Robin McKeon, Plymouth, Massachusetts

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Doing the dishes

I lost my son recently and was missing him terribly on my first Mother’s Day alone. We were very close and even jokingly agreed to try to make contact if one of us died. Late that evening I heard a loud noise downstairs. Upon investigation, I found a pile of holiday plates had fallen and shattered. As I picked up the pieces, I found one plate completely unscathed. I turned it over and was stunned to see that it said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” That was my sign. Thank you, son. Don’t miss the most haunted places in America, according to paranormal experts.
–Carol Gavigan, Chicago Heights, Illinois

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A timely call

My husband of 58 years passed away on December 9, 2014, the same day his mother died 41 years earlier. On the anniversary of his death in 2015, I received “thinking of you” flowers and phone calls from friends and family. That afternoon, my phone rang twice and stopped. Wondering who it had been, I checked the caller ID. To my surprise, it showed my husband’s name and phone number. I have never received calls like that before or after.
–Eva Dreucci, Washington, Pennsylvania

buckTony Campbell/Shutterstock

The solitary buck

On a warm day in January, I went to visit my father at the cemetery for his 72nd birthday. I sat on the clay mixed with grass next to his grave, lay a rose, and told him about me. I pray each year he is happy and proud of his littlest girl who never got to know her daddy. Suddenly, I felt a warm touch on my back and looked upward to see a deer in the middle of the cemetery, solitary and staring. My eyes wandered to his headstone where a buck is carved and I smiled a joyous smile. I knew he was alright. This woman’s story of her terrifying stay in a haunted mansion will keep you awake.
–Laura McKinney, Simpsonville, South Carolina

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A gift from mom

While shopping, I noticed a credit card on the floor. I picked it up, went to the courtesy desk and asked them to page the owner. I waited. No one came. They said that her cart was still there and she had gone out to her car to look for her card. When she came back, I approached her and asked if she lost something. She did, her credit card. I asked her name and established that it matched the card, which I then gave her. She said she had prayed to her mother, who had passed away recently, to help her find the card. We talked and I introduced myself. “My name is Claire,” I said. She responded, “My mother’s name was Claire.” Find out the 24 haunting true stories of the kindness of strangers.

–Claire Salem, New City, New York


Watching over camp

My grandpa passed away from lung cancer in October of 2015. We always liked to think of his spirit as an eagle. Ever since my mom was a kid, it was a family tradition to go camping in Canada every summer. So in 2016 my grandma took my sister and I to Canada. When we got home, we looked on the campground website. There, on the homepage, was a picture of our camper with an eagle perched on top. The caption said, “Eagle watches over camp.” We knew grandpa was there with us.
–Taylor Tynan , Appleton, Wisconsin


A birthday in the maternity ward

It was the first anniversary of my grandpa Victor’s passing. I was at work, on the maternity floor at a hospital, and had been thinking about him and missing him. Early in my shift I asked a couple what they named their baby. It was Victor. I told them all about my grandpa and couldn’t believe the coincidence—in my 16 years of working in that environment I’d never met a baby Victor. Coincidence, maybe, but when I met another couple later in my shift who had also named their baby Victor, I knew it was my grandpa saying “Hi.”
Julie Cleveland, Statesboro, Georgia

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Send us butterflies

It was a January day in New England when our son passed away in a hospital bed. Our daughter took his hand and said, “If you’re at peace, let us know by sending butterflies.” I knew the chances were slim—it was too cold. The next morning in the mail was an envelope from a school in the Midwest looking for donations. The first item we pulled out was a sheet of stick-on butterflies. Learn more about the 6 symbols and signs of divine intervention.
Joseph Frederick, Barrington, Rhode Island

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Fear of flying

The day had finally come and I was happily sitting on a plane to Arizona, excited to attend my grandson’s wedding. I was nevertheless a little apprehensive because it was my first time flying alone since the death of my husband. I was on an aisle seat, and the woman across the aisle offered me a piece of chocolate. I thanked her for her kindness, took the chocolate, and unwrapped it. After doing so, I noticed the candy was engraved with the initials B.T., my late husband. I knew then that the four-hour flight would land safely. My husband was with me.
-Carolyn Toth, Englewood, Ohio


Five-dollar footlong

It had been a long journey to our new home after my husband passed. One day my daughter and I were out shopping and we got hungry. Looking around we spotted a Subway, one of his favorite places to eat. Since we had not eaten there since my husband passed we decided to go in and get something to go. Once inside, my daughter talked about how her daddy loved the five-dollar foot long deals. We ordered and I paid the bill. As I opened the car door, I saw, in the driver’s seat was a crisp new five-dollar bill. “Daddy wants one in heaven,” we both said at the same time. These are the spookiest urban legends from every state.
Cynthia Welty-Moss, Lubbock, Texas


A vacation from Mom

We were feeling gloomy a week after my mom’s funeral. She’d passed away from inflammatory breast cancer. The phone rang and broke our silence. It was our priest. “You’ve won our raffle—a vacation to St. Maarten!” Suddenly, I remembered that a few days after Mom’s passing, I found an envelope on her desk. In her beautiful handwriting, it said, “Return to church by November 17th.” Inside were tickets for the church raffle. Honoring Mom’s wish, my father and I dropped them off at church the next day. I told my dad this. He hesitated and said, “It’s a gift from your mom.”
–Sharon Bette, Southbury, Connecticut


The other side

“I love you, Kat,” my dad said over the phone. “I love you, too, Daddy,” I replied. That night, I dreamed I was on a forest path while a raven watched me from a tree branch. Daddy stood to my right in a trance, our hands linked. Ahead of us, a tunnel radiated prismatic rainbow-colored light. Soothing. We walked toward it. Then I heard my mother’s voice. “Kat, wake up. Daddy’s gone. Daddy’s dead!” I sat up in bed. The hot August sun shone through my windows. “I know,” I said, realizing. “I was with him when he crossed over.” Find out the 8 haunted places you can rent on AirBNB.
-Kathryn Camgemi, Concord, Massachusetts


Never alone

The first time my daughter drove home alone to western Kansas from Columbia, Missouri, she was scared to death. As she approached Kansas City on the icy interstate, she suddenly looked up at the skyline and saw a huge sign. “YOU ARE NOT A LOAN,” it said. She said she laughed out loud and felt like her prayers were answered. The four-hour trip took seven hours, but the bright spot of that bank advertisement set her mind at ease.
Helen Shubert, Wichita, Kansas


A striking tribute

In 2008, I lost my husband of 38 years. Anyone who knew him knew he loved the American bald eagle. On that crisp October day, as the pallbearers were somberly carrying my loved one to his final resting place, my sister caught my attention. She pointed up, and high above the casket were three large birds. As if on cue, one peeled left and one went right. There in the center, soaring higher and higher, was the most beautiful bald eagle I had ever seen. Our minister looked at me knowingly and smiled. These are the real-life experiments that sound like science fiction.
–Eleanor Smith, Calumet, Iowa



It was the first anniversary of our only daughter’s death. Jillian had died of cancer at three years old after a grueling series of treatments. My husband and I decided to spend the weekend at a bed and breakfast because it was too painful to stay at home. I awoke to the sensation of being shoved out of bed. The message in my head, “Take a pregnancy test. You’re pregnant with my sister.” I did. I was. We named her Cadence to remind us to return to the rhythm of life.
–Sylvia Johnson, Tampa, Florida


Memories of Mozart

My father was a longtime Mozart enthusiast. When he died we played only Mozart at his celebration of life. I notified the university alumni association of his death for listing in the alumni bulletin. I received a letter from the association stating that in my father’s memory a bookplate was placed in a newly purchased library book about Mozart. My family was astounded; the university had no way of knowing how my father felt about Mozart. We contacted the library person who had made the bookplate selection and discovered the decision was made completely at random.
–Raymond Green, Mesa, Arizona

christmastreeAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

A rockin’ Christmas tree

My stepfather Marlin bought a dancing Christmas tree in the mid-2000s as a gimmick decoration. Marlin passed away in 2014. My sister, Stacy, had taken possession of the tree along the way. Stacy got engaged to her longtime boyfriend on Thanksgiving night (Marlin had met him). The tree was unpacked, but had no batteries. Later that evening, with all the women sitting around talking, the tree lit up and started to dance! The empty battery pack was in hand and the only conclusion we could reach was that Marlin was sending his blessing and dancing a jig. These five famous ghost stories have totally logical explanations.

–Norman Powers, Sheffield, Alabama

solidernarai chal/Shutterstock

A soldier’s surprise

It is spring of 1943 during World War II. Standing among hundreds of new soldiers at Camp Grant, in Illinois, my father, Sam, just 18 years old, waits as a truck slowly drives by. A full field pack is randomly tossed to each soldier. “How strange,” my father thinks, as he sees his last name, Litrenti, marked on each item in his pack. “How did they know it was me when they tossed the pack?” He was impressed! Beating all odds, my father was tossed a field pack from World War I—his own father’s.
–Gail Litrenti-Benedetto, Park Ridge, Illinois


The watching woodpecker

My husband had passed tragically and unexpectedly the night before. I returned home the next morning with my sister-in-law, my emotional support. We sat in the upstairs loft, sharing stories about a man who’d left us too young. I glanced out the window and noticed a woodpecker on the roof. It appeared to be watching us. A member of a species rarely seen here, the bird sat for almost 20 minutes as we reminisced. I affectionately named it after my late husband. It has been five years since he passed, and a woodpecker continues to appear at my weakest moments. These ten horrifying urban legends turned out to be true.
–Shannon Neuhaus Rozewicz, Sussex, Wisconsin

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