Unexplainable: Stories from The Upstairs Department

Blog: Unexplainable: Stories from The Upstairs Department

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“The spirits entrusted us with a message. Their message is hard to believe, until you really need to believe it. There comes a point in all our lives when we hear that message and it resonates: more than comfort, more than help, more than whatever you call proof. There comes a point when we hear that message and we need it like we need our next breath.”
– Shiloh, The Upstairs Department

Thank you to everyone who submitted their paranormal experiences. The Upstairs Department by Chelsea Marcantel is playing now thru June 12, 2022. Click here for tickets!

My Uncle Frank and Aunt Deloris met on the show Finian’s Rainbow and in the show her character sang the song “Look to the Rainbow” to his character. The song was very special to them and she sang it to him as he was passing. The week leading up to the funeral she kept asking him for a sign and he hadn’t sent her anything. On the day of his funeral, at the same time she and her children were having a private moment by his grave, the rest of us were sitting on the dock overlooking the lake on one of the prettiest days ever (not a cloud in the sky) and all of a sudden a huge rainbow appeared. We all ran to get her to see and she said “there he is”. That was the day I started believing in the afterlife because you could just tell he was there.

- Anonymous

A few years ago my family was in Colorado and we went on a hike. It was also my Grandma Barb’s birthday and she was a HUGE hiker, so we all decided this hike was to honor her. Halfway through the hike a bird appeared in front of us and just stayed there looking at us no matter how close we got to it. Then it hiked with us for the next hour hopping from branch to branch. It was 100% my grandma saying hello and enjoying the hike with us.


My father-in-law Rick passed away in 2018. A couple of days after he passed, we were all sitting in the living room when we heard my mother-in-law from the kitchen yelling “WHICH ONE OF YOU DID IT?!” in a panic. When we got to the kitchen, she was pointing at a rubber toy cockroach on the floor. None of us had noticed it there before and no one confessed to placing it in the kitchen. She explained that Rick always used to leave the cockroach places to scare her, but she hadn’t seen it in quite some time. That moment was the first time she had felt comforted that he was still with her and that he was ok wherever the Upstairs Department may be.

- Emily Adler

My daughter was a baby – just over one years old – when my grandmother died, but my grandmother did get to meet her great-granddaughter and hold her when my daughter was a couple of months old. There is no way my daughter would remember either of these events, and she didn’t even know we called this grandmother “Nana.” When we went to the funeral, my father gave my daughter one of the stuffed animals my grandmother had with her in the nursing home – a stuffed black cat. Flash forward to when my daughter was about 3 or 4 years old, she is in the phase where all her stuffed animals are named literally, so this stuffed animal that has been on her bed almost her whole life is named “cat.” Late one night a couple of hours after my daughter had gone to sleep, I hear the pitter patter of her little feet coming to the top of the stairs so I go to the bottom of them, look up to her and ask if she is OK. She looks straight down at me and says, “Nana just told me cat’s name is Jackie.” Not only is there no chance my daughter would remember her great-grandmother, but there is also no way she could have known that Jackie was the name of my Nana’s daughter (my aunt) who died in a car accident when she was 18 in the 1970s.

- Jen Buzzell

[this story has been edited for length]
When I was a teen, I lived with my maternal grandparents for a few months. The house was said to be haunted and there were things that happened there I could never explain.  This is probably the most unusual.

It was a warm evening not too long after we had gone to bed and my grandparents were asleep.  I could hear my grandfather snoring in his bedroom.  The doorbell rang, but not in a usual way. Instead of a ding-dong, it gave just a soft ding. There were footsteps up the front steps and across the front porch. Almost immediately, the front screen door opened and closed.  Then the wood door opened and closed.  There were soft footsteps across the living room coming towards the hallway.

There were two paths from the living room to the rear of the house.  One through a squeaky closed door into the pantry.  The other way was through a set of French doors that were closed and blocked from our side by a wooden stool. There was no sound of squeaking door or the French doors pushing the stool on the wooden floor.  However, there were footsteps across the hall, past my grandparents’ room to the other end of the hall.

At this point, there were only two ways to get to the back porch.  One was through my bedroom.  The footsteps continued through my bedroom and to the door leading to the back porch.  I was already on my side with my back to the doors, scared stiff, and not about to move. The door to the porch opened and closed.  Footsteps went across the screened-in back porch.  The rusty screen door opened and closed and the few steps down into the yard could be heard.

The next morning, I told my grandparents about it.  My grandmother said they heard that every once in a while.  We checked everything. The front screen door was still latched from the inside and was constructed only a couple of inches from the wood door.  The wood door was latched and bolted from the inside. The French doors with its stool and the door from the dining room had not moved. The door from my room to the back porch was still bolted from the inside.  The screen door for the back porch was still latched from the inside.

No one has ever been able to explain any of it other than it being a visit from the supernatural.

- Phil Milstead

[this story has been edited for length]
The event that profoundly affected me took place in France during the solar eclipse of August 1999. We were in Brittany just at the tip of where the land extends into the English Channel and a key spot to observe the total solar eclipse.

A few days before the eclipse was to take place we arrived at my brother- and sister-in-law’s house that that they had just bought. The house was an old and large stone structure that featured three stories. My brother- and sister-in-law had purchased it a year or so before, and apart from basic plumbing and electricity the inside had not been modified for probably a hundred years. My brother-in-law, being very much a handyman, undertook some of the renovation. There was minimal furniture. My wife and I were given a small room with just a mattress on the floor. The wide mattress took up a significant part of the room but allowed us to navigate around it to get in and out. True, the arrangement was a bit like camping but it served the purpose.

Night came and we all retired to our respective mattresses and if lucky, a bed. In the middle of the night, I had to get up to go to the bathroom. Normally, we use a flashlight in such instances to get around and so as not to disturb anyone, and in the small confines of our room it was absolutely necessary. However, when I stood up I saw no need for a flashlight because the whole room was brightly lit. I looked out of the west (and only) window and saw that bright lights of the kind that light up a football or baseball stadium were shining brightly. “How fortunate” I thought and proceeded to the bathroom. When I returned the lights were still there and I was able to get back into bed without the aid of a flashlight. Sleep returned very quickly as usual, and I spent a restful night.

The next morning, at breakfast, my brother-in-law asked me how we slept. I responded that we slept well. I then told him about the helpful stadium lights that lighted up our bedroom just at the time when I needed to go to the bathroom. He looked at me perplexed and said surprised. “There is no stadium there. To the west of here there is just a bit of open land, then the sea.” I was not only confused but my mind was in a slurry of thoughts. How could I have seen so well in the dark if I had not had the aid of those stadium lights? Then I thought of the upcoming event, the solar eclipse. It was certainly a significant astronomical event, and who else but aliens would be interested in witnessing such an event? My musings led me to the fantastic and only conclusion that aliens from another planet had come to earth, specifically Brittany, on the eve of the solar eclipse. The lights were from their space craft. We are not alone in the universe.

- Prentiss de Jesus