We’ve all had those weird moments where reality seems to change for a minute. Maybe you’re standing in a checkout line when you notice that you’re buying the exact same items as the person in front of you; maybe you experience déjà vu while you’re on your way to work.
For the most part, these moments are easily explainable. Déjà vu, for instance, is likely an issue with how our brains encode memories, and minor coincidences can be explained as—well, minor coincidences.
Sometimes, those simple explanations don’t quite work. In one incredible thread, Reddit users shared their favorite examples of a “glitch in the matrix”—utterly inexplicable situations that seem to defy conventional logic. We collected a few of the best stories and edited them slightly for grammar and readability.
1. Usually, the “woman of your dreams” is a good thing.
“When I was around 20, a few years ago, I kept having dreams about a woman with long black hair named Aurora,” wrote Sarax11. “They were different dreams, but for some reason, her distinct face and name always ended up in them. It got to the point where I would wake up frustrated and confused, trying to Google her name or find out how I was connected to her. After a few months, she stopped showing up, and I dismissed it, thinking my brain was just being a scumbag.”
“Fast forward to a few years later. It’s Halloween 2009, and I’m in the car with a friend stopped at a gas station. I’m about to pull out and merge onto a highway when I get a phone call from a random number, so I stop the car—but no one answered.”
“There was a person behind me who grew impatient, honked at me, and then swerved in front of me instead of waiting for two seconds for me to move. The second they get on the highway, some silver Civic loses control of their wheel, crashing into the car that swerved in front of me.”
“I called the cops and waited at the gas station for them to come. Turns out, the drivers of both cars died. It 100 percent would have been me if I hadn’t received that phone call.”
“I called it back a few hours later out of gratitude and curiosity. It rang three times and went to voicemail: ‘Hi, you’ve reached Aurora, please leave your name and number.’ I’ve never had goosebumps like that in my life.”
Sarax11 reached out to Aurora the next day, telling her the whole story. She also checked Aurora’s social media—and saw a woman with long, black hair.
“She tells me she doesn’t know how I got her number, and that she never called me, as far as she remembers. Weird.”
2. “Leave a message after the beep…”
“This happened about 15 years ago,” one Reddit user explained. “I called my friend up, and he wasn’t home, so I left a message on his answering machine.”
“I said, ‘Hey, it’s me. Sorry I missed you, call you later. Bye.’ And then I hung up and left the house. I made no other calls. Later that day, he called back and he says, ‘Wow, that was quite a message you left. Who was that girl you were talking to?'”
“I was like, ‘What are you talking about? I wasn’t talking to any girl!’ Well, as it turns out the message didn’t end after I said ‘Bye.’ I had to go over to his house and listen to this message a few times.”
“After my initial message, there was a slight pause, and it continued on for another 30-40 seconds or so with me talking to some girl. It was my voice, but a conversation I never had—with a girl whose voice I didn’t recognize.”
“You could compare it to the message I know I did leave, and the two voices were indistinguishable. Not just the voice but, you know, talking mannerisms. It was my voice, along with references to my occupation and activities.”
“Basically, in this conversation, I was talking to this girl about going skiing but I had to go down to my shop and work on a car first, which totally correlated [with what I was doing]. Then, the message just stopped. It was recorded on one of those digital answering machines that recorded the message to a chip, so there was no tape I could have taken and had analyzed, unfortunately. Also, neither I nor my friend had party lines so that’s not an explanation. It was very freaky, I can’t explain it.”
3. There’s probably a simple explanation, but we don’t have it.
“Driving home on a stormy day, I see that a side road up to the local golf course is blocked off by flashing barricades,” wrote Markofshame. “I also notice a Mercedes parked past the barricades with its hazards on.”
“I stop and walk up to the car to see if they need help—I’m an EMT. I shine my light in the back seat to see a man slumped over, apparently asleep. I move up to the driver’s window and rap on the glass and shine my light in; the driver is sitting bolt upright, unmoving, staring straight ahead.”
“My window rapping and my light don’t cause him to blink, flinch, or move. I look over, and the passenger is slumped forward onto the dash. This begins to creep me out. I call down to the sheriff’s station and request a Code-2 (no lights or sirens) unit up to my location to help me check them out. Their doors are locked.”
“While on the phone, I walk back to my truck to get my go-bag. As I’m on the phone with dispatch, she asks me to get a license number for the car, just as a PG&E (power company) cherry-picker truck comes rumbling down from the closed road.”
“I move to go around the truck to get the plate number, and the car is gone. I talked to the driver of the truck, and he said there was a 80-foot tree down across the road, and that he didn’t think it’d be open for a day or so. So the question is…where the hell did the car go? There was a tree up one way, barricades down the other. It’s kept me a bit unsettled when stopping at accidents since then.”
4. Many weird phenomena occur during childhood.
Maybe kids are just more attuned to weird stuff, or maybe our memories just aren’t too dependable when we’re young. Neither really explains this next story.
“At 12 years of age, my mom let me stay in the truck as she went grocery shopping,” wrote Parrot-Tamer. “As I wait, I see an old guy walking towards the truck with an indescribable look—as if I know too much. He stops five feet from the truck, looks at me for a couple seconds, and heads back the exact way he came. It was rather traumatic, for some reason, and very confusing at that age.”
That’s creepy, but not exactly supernatural. Just wait; it gets weirder.
“Five or six years later, my dad was showing me home videos of us at Yellowstone. At Old Faithful, I noticed the same guy—same look, same clothes—peering at us on camera, and at me, through the TV. I’m freaked out just telling this.”
“The Yellowstone video was from when I was very young. I’m thinking 1 or 2 years of age.”
5. Quite a few of these stories involve strange doppelgangers.
“I was at a friend’s place back in 2008,” wrote one Reddit user (they’ve since deleted their account). “When we were all teenagers, we had a cool shed at a friend’s place that we’d hang out in every weekend. It had four sets of bunk beds, tables, a fireplace, TV, fridge—the whole lot.”
One night, he left the shed to use the bathroom; he walked out of the front door of the shed and turned right, then stopped suddenly.
“Now, let me explain the layout here,” he wrote. “As you walk out of the shed, his house is to the left. To the right is where we all parked our cars—further out, you’re left with empty fields and trees.”
“It was dark by now. The lights from the house illuminated the space between the house and our cars but trailed off just past where we’d parked. As I took a step to the right—intending to go behind the cars to relieve myself—I saw my friend’s older brother standing there.”
“I watched him for a good 5-10 seconds as he stood there, facing the darkness. He then proceeded to walk behind a couple trees and a car before he disappeared. Confused, I walked back into the shed and asked my friend what his brother was doing by the cars. The conversation went as follows:
Me: ‘Hey man, what’s your brother doing by the cars?’
Him: ‘What do you mean?’
Me: ‘He just walked off behind the cars.’
Brother: ‘I’m right here.’
I looked over and there his brother was, sitting down on one of the chairs with a drink. He was wearing the exact same clothes as I saw him in, and the only way to get into the shed was through the door…that I was standing in the way of.”
“To this day, I’ve no idea how it all happened. I’m guessing I was just seeing things, but the fact that I watched him walk around for a good 10 seconds has always puzzled me. I’ve never had anything else like that happen.”
Another Redditor shared a doppelganger story that seems right out of The Matrix.
“This happened to me in third grade, and it scared me so much I started crying and had to go to the office to talk to the principal about it,” wrote klsi832. “I was in the hallway for misbehaving, and my neighbor Tad—who was a year younger than me—came walking out of a class to my right. He passed in front of me and headed down some stairs.”
The kids exchanged a friendly greeting; 20 seconds later, Tad walked out of the same class, passing in front of Klsi832 and walking down the stairs.
“I just stared at him, confused and afraid, and he looked back like, ‘Why are you looking at me like that?’ I never realized how much it was like The Matrix’s déjà vu.”
6. This one’s not particularly creepy, but it’s certainly confusing.
“One time I spilled a bowl of Spaghettios, and as I was cleaning them, I noticed that one was on the ceiling…nine feet up,” wrote ProjectZeta. “I didn’t even drop the bowl. I just tipped it over onto the counter by mistake. But sure enough, a single O was right there, stuck to the ceiling.”
We think we can actually explain this one: Someone else had somehow affixed the piece of pasta to the ceiling, and ProjectZeta was simply the first one to notice it. After all, nobody makes a single bowl of Spaghettios; if you’re willing to eat the stuff once, you’ve probably got a few cans sitting around.
Either that, or there was a Spaghettio magnet embedded in the ceiling. In our opinion, both explanations are equally plausible.
7. Toy monkeys are always a little creepy.
“My dad had this little toy monkey that he used to call his ‘favorite child’ and tease me and my siblings with it,” Matics wrote. “Not in a bad way, but it was really frustrating to us, and we spent hours trying to steal it from him.”
“Well, anyways, one day we finally got it and threw it into the garbage after drawing on it and mangling it for a bit. My dad laughed and searched for it a bit, but basically figured we had thrown it out and gave up after a week or so.”
“Anyways, years later, when I was about 17, I’m walking down the street in Toronto—I don’t live in Toronto, I was just visiting friends—and I see this little orange object on the side of the road. When I walk over to it, I pick it up and see that it was the exact same monkey. It even had the black Sharpie lines on it from when we drew all over it.”
“I honestly cannot even estimate the chances of that happening, especially considering our garbage is sent to a local dump—nowhere near Toronto.”
Matics brought the monkey home, cleaned it, and gave it to their father as a lovely Father’s Day gift. Just kidding—he destroyed it.
“I actually took it with me and killed it with fire just so I knew it wouldn’t come back again,” they wrote.
Yeah, that’s probably what we would have done.
8. Stephen King’s marketing department really knows what they’re doing.
“I was walking through Best Buy one day a couple years ago and I walked past a rack of books,” recalled Debaucherawr. “Sitting on the rack was the last book in the Dark Tower series from Stephen King. The front cover had the picture of Roland in front of the Tower with the field of roses behind him. I held the damn book in my hand and looked it over. I remembered being puzzled about why it was in a Best Buy, but whatever.”
“I’d read the first six and had been waiting for the last one, but my spending money was low that week. I set it down and decided to come back next week after I got paid to buy it. I went back next week and it wasn’t there. It slipped my mind after that for a bit, but about a month later I went to Barnes & Noble to get my copy. They told me it hadn’t come out yet—the release date for the book was six months later. I pre-ordered it then.”
“When the book actually came out, I went to pick it up. I described the cover out loud to make sure I wasn’t crazy. The clerk handed it to me, and there it was, exactly as I’d held it in Best Buy.”
We can’t explain why the book was in a Best Buy, but publishers often send advance copies out to promote their products; it’s conceivable that someone accidentally left the book on a shelf while shopping for electronics. Still, we’ll attribute this to some weird collision of universes, since that makes for a much better story.
9. Creepy phone stories always give us the willies.
“I used to work in a building that had three levels of sub-basements,” wrote one Reddit user. “The piece of lab equipment I typically worked on was in the lowest basement. I had the only key. There was a wired phone in there, and I did work late some nights…but not this night.”
“I was sleeping alone in my apartment when I woke up to a call on my cell phone from my girlfriend at 3 a.m. She was in hysterics and asking why I scared her. Apparently, she received a call from that basement phone just a minute earlier—with someone who sounded like me slowly repeating her name, until it crackled and faded out.”
“My apartment was 10 miles away from work. I thought she was lying, but I saw the 3 a.m. call from the basement phone logged on her cell myself. Still freaks me the f*** out.”
10. If you’re not freaked out yet, this story should fix that.
“My dad used to get up around 3 a.m. every morning for work,” wrote Desk_jockey26. “Starting at a very early age, I would wake up on my own and wander downstairs to see him before he left.”
“One morning, when I was about 4 years old, I made it to the bottom of the stairs and noticed that the front door was ajar. I opened it up and saw my father in his favorite work shirt making his way down the driveway to his truck in his typical work outfit: plaid shirt and dickies.”
“I swung the door open wide and yelled for him to come back for a hug before he left. He slowly turned around and just stared at me and started walking back towards the house. He was looking so strangely at me that it started to scare me. I began crying and asking what was wrong.”
“Just as he had almost reached me, a pair of arms encircled me from behind in a bear hug. I turned my head to see my understandably freaked out father staring at his doppelganger—in the same outfit. The double took one look at my dad and ran down the driveway. Meanwhile, my dad yanked me in the house and locked the door. Weirdest morning ever.”
“Never did quite figure that one out. I would not trust my 4-year-old memory of the event if it wasn’t also witnessed by my father. He won’t really talk about it these days, but my mom has since told me that he called out of work, and she spent the day reassuring him he wasn’t a nutcase.”