23 Real Life "Unsolved Mysteries" People Can't Logically Explain (And Can't Forget, Either)

Welcome, fellow spooky enthusiasts! Every month, I ask BuzzFeed readers like you to tell me their best, creepiest, most unbelievable real-life "unsolved mysteries." An "unsolved mystery" is basically anything you can't come up with a ~logical~ explanation for. From a ghost sighting to a run-in with a doppelgänger to a glitch in the matrix, any spooky, generally perplexing encounter you might've experienced is fair game!

  David Wall / Getty Images
David Wall / Getty Images

I read through hundreds of spooky and — frankly — unsettling submissions each round and pick the best of the best to highlight. So, allow me to present you with these 23 stories that were so creepy, unbelievable, and downright fascinating, I just had to share them:

1."My childhood best friend will sometimes just know things she should have no way of knowing or guessing. For example, one day in high school, we were driving down the road when she looked at me and said, 'Kenny Chesney.' I was shocked because I was about to turn to her and ask who sang a particular song I was thinking about. I was like, 'That's so weird that you said his name because I was just about to ask you who sang this one song, and I think it's him.' She said, 'I know, and that's who sings it. Kenny Chesney.' And before you ask — no, it hadn't played on the radio that afternoon, and I hadn't been singing it to myself. The lyrics just popped into my head, and she was a much bigger country fan than I was, so I thought she would probably know if I asked. And then she answered before I ever spoke the question. That said, if she had a bad feeling about something, we would follow her gut because it kept us out of trouble."

FX / Hulu

2."My husband and I were visiting Nashville, Tennessee. We were walking on a main street with our very young daughter in a stroller, browsing shops. We came to a corner, watching traffic lights change to permit walking. Without looking at my husband, I heard him say, 'Let’s cross the street.' As we reached the other side of the street, we heard a loud explosion on the sidewalk we had just been standing on. It potentially could have been deadly. As folks reacted and an ambulance was called, we learned there had been a gas leak under the walkway. When my husband and I talked about the incident later that day, I reminded my husband of what he said. He replied, 'I didn’t say anything, you said to cross.' We both insisted the other had said something and swore we hadn't. Whoever did might've saved our lives."

—R. Merrill, Fort Myers, Florida

3."One time when I was younger, I slept over at my neighbor's house, since I was close friends with their daughter. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time. She was an only child, so it was just the girl, her parents, and I. We went to sleep and I woke up at around 2 a.m. She was still asleep, and I didn’t hear any noises from elsewhere in the house, so I assumed her parents were, too. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I went to the bathroom to get a drink of water. When I was walking back down the hallway, I saw a tall figure staring down at my friend while she slept. It didn’t look human — it was unnaturally tall and skinny and didn’t have any color. I was terrified and just stood in the hallway, frozen."

"It turned, looking at me, and started moving toward me. I lost it. I screamed, and then my friend woke up, saw it, and started screaming, too. We both ran into her parents's room. They went to check, and there was nothing there. Still, everyone was shaken up and I never slept over again. To this day, I don’t know what it could’ve been. If it had just been me who saw it, I could’ve brushed it off as a dream or just seeing things in the darkness of an unfamiliar house. But since my friend saw it too, I know it had to have been something."


4."Many years ago, I was a flight attendant for the largest airline in the world. I was sitting quietly in first class, eating my lunch, and nobody else was on the aircraft. We had landed, so everyone had departed, and the rest of the fight crew also left to get lunch. It was so peaceful and quiet. Then, I heard a person step onto the plane. I looked up and saw this man start walking down the aisle, and as he walked past me, he smiled and said hello. No one but FAA inspectors and crew members are allowed to board, and we can be heavily fined if we don't ask the FAA for their badges. I didn't recall seeing a badge on his attire, and I had no idea who he was."

"I got up immediately and turned to walk after him, but he was gone. I couldn't believe my eyes! I could see the entire length of the aircraft, and he had just disappeared. I started looking left and right down every single aisle until I got to the back of the aircraft and then each lavatory. He was not on that plane. When boarding time came, I stayed in the back of the aircraft and watched very closely to see if somehow he had hidden away. I did not ever see him again."

—Mary Robinson, USA

empty plane
Damian Pankowiec / Getty Images

5."As a teenager in the '90s, we were just starting to rely on pagers. One evening, I went to hang out with my friends at a house that we regularly hung out at. There were teenagers coming and going from it all the time. My boyfriend was ahead of me and already at the house. I pulled into the driveway, where many cars parked up and down the street and in the driveway. I walked to the house and knocked to go inside, but no one answered. As we normally do, I just let myself in. All the lights were on in the house, things were cooking in the microwave, and in general, it looked like an active, full house. But there wasn't a single person there."

"I looked everywhere, thinking they must be hiding from me. I walked around yelling 'Hello!' to no avail. Finally, I gave up, got back in my car, and drove down the street to a gas station to pick up a snack. I thought about driving back home, but I lived about 20 minutes from there and thought this was so odd.

After about 10 minutes of contemplating in the gas station parking lot, I decided to drive back to the house, just in case. I pulled up to again a driveway and street full of cars. I walked up to the front door and sure enough, the house was full of people, all of which were settled in, and did not look like they’d just gotten back. I found my boyfriend and quickly asked him where they had been, and he just looked at me confused. So I said, I told him what happened and, again, he  looked sincerely confused and said, 'No we’ve been here the whole time.'"

—Kim, Fort Collins, CO

6."I occasionally have dreams that seem to come true, usually after having multiples of the same dream. Back in the '90s, I repeatedly dreamt that I was in a particular building and the elevator fell. Soon after that, I accompanied my husband on a business trip. As we entered the hotel lobby, I turned to him and said. 'This is the hotel where the elevator falls.' I had never been there in my life. He laughed it off. The next day, he went to his meeting and I decided to explore the city. We were staying on the 30th floor. I got on the elevator and pushed the button...and the elevator fell at least 10 stories until the emergency brake caught. I had to crawl out as it was stuck between floors. My husband never laughed off my dreams again."


7."My daughter was 5 and a perfect sleeper. She was so good that she inspired jealousy among friends and family. She slept from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night without fail, unless she was sick. One day, my wife bought an antique bookshelf at an auction. I went to pick it up while she was at work, brought it home, and put it in the spare bedroom. Our daughter's bed was against the other side of this wall, in her bedroom. When I brought the bookshelf in, I was overcome with sadness. I mean, I got a real bad feeling about it. I didn't tell my wife because it was a nice piece and I didn't want to stir the pot. That night, though, our daughter couldn't get to sleep. She said something was tickling her or she that she was itchy. We suspected itchy pajamas so we changed them and comforted her to sleep. The next night, the same thing happened, and she was getting really upset about it."

"Again, we changed her pajamas and comforted her to sleep. On the third night, things got real. She was yelling in her room, 'Leave me alone! Stop tickling me!' We managed to comfort her to sleep eventually, and then I told my wife about the bad energy I felt from the bookshelf and apologized for keeping it from her. She's a night owl and admitted that she had been hearing someone walking around the house late at night since we brought it home.

The next night our daughter did it again, only this time she was freaking out, screaming, 'Get away from me! Leave me alone! Stop tickling me!' She told us there was a man in there tickling and teasing her! My wife stayed in her room with her that night while I took the bookshelf outside. We sold it the next day. We saged the house, placed crystals under her bed, and asked the spirit to leave us alone. We told him he could move on now and that there was nothing left for him here. The next night, our daughter went back to sleep like an angel.

Personally, I believe a sad old man spent a lot of time in front of that bookshelf, perhaps looking at pictures of lost loved ones, and he was attached to it. Hopefully, he was able to move on. I didn't hear anything from the couple I sold it to."

—Will, Montana, USA

a face showing in the corner of a glass window in an old wooden hutch
Liia Galimzianova / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."When I was a little girl, I stayed at my grandmother's house one summer. My grandma had plastic on the ceiling because some ceiling panels were missing. My grandma didn't have another bed for my sister and me to sleep in, so we slept on either side of a two-seat recliner. I was already asleep, and my sister stayed outside late, as usual. I heard her come in and remove her shoes, then walk around. She wouldn't go to bed, so after about 15 minutes, I told her to go to sleep. She didn't say anything. Then, she jumped onto the recliner with surprising agility. I soon realized this was not my sister at all. The entity loomed over me and then jumped onto the ceiling. I heard it crawling on the plastic. To this day, I still don't know what it was."


9."My new husband and I moved into a house built in 1908. When we first arrived, my 8-year-old said, 'Oh! I know this house.' We’d never lived in this area before. When we went to get a mailbox at the post office, they informed us that the original owners of the house had the same last name as us. Another day, my son and friends were upstairs in the house and were all trying to open a small attic door, but couldn’t get it to budge. A few minutes later, that same door burst open on its own, with enough force to hit the wall with a loud boom. A lot of strange things happened in that home. I often heard voices, some calling my name, when I was home alone, too. We never felt scared, though. I'm glad these were good spirits."

—Sheila, Huntsville, TX

10."In the early '90s, I was a nanny for a family that lived in a gated, well-established neighborhood. Most of the homes had been built in the early 20th century and belonged to the upper crust. Many times, I would stay over while the parents were out of town. One night, the kids were asleep upstairs and I was downstairs in the kitchen making school lunches for the next day. This beautiful home had all hardwood floors, including the stairs. I knew the sound of the children coming down the steps well, and I heard it that night. I checked to see if they were alright, but there was no one there. I went up to their bedrooms, and both kids were asleep. I don't know why, but I said out loud, 'OK, goodnight house.' It seemed to give the night some closure and peace."

"I knew what I'd heard that night, but couldn't bring myself to ask my boss about it for a good year. When I finally asked if she'd ever experienced anything odd there, she sat me down and said, 'Tell me about it,' with a knowing smile. Turns out, her mom had many of the same experiences I'd had over that year, including waking up to having her toes tickled and seeing a child run down the stairs in the middle of the night. But that's not all. They had a maid, who was a self-proclaimed medium, that would come in once a week. She confirmed that a little boy's spirit lived in the house and preferred the bedroom at the top of the stairs. This bedroom was the one I was meant to stay in but never did because I felt so uncomfortable in it. It all finally seemed to make sense...even if it didn't make sense!

20 years later, I was having a glass of wine with the now-25-year-old I used to nanny for. I asked about that house (they no longer had the home), and it was confirmed to me that when they were preschoolers, both kids would play with 'the little boy.' I learned that one time, when I couldn't find one of them (and just about lost my mind with worry), she'd been playing hide and seek with the ghost boy and had fallen asleep under the bed (where I eventually found her.)

I'm still very close to the family and have since experienced many other unexplainable things, but I'll never forget the sound of those bare feet running down the stairs."

—Britt, Seattle, USA

ghost standing over a sleeping child
Cavan Images / Getty Images/Cavan Images RF

11."My daughter (12ish) and I moved into a new home. During the first few months, she spent most nights sleeping with me. One night around midnight, loud music woke us up. I thought it was a car outside with the music cranked, but it continued. I went downstairs and our stereo was playing a CD. To use this stereo, you have to press power, then CD, and then play, so it was weird that it started on its own. This happened a couple of times, always around midnight."

"Another day, we woke up and our cat's heavy ceramic dishes had been moved to a different location, placed very neatly and symmetrically, with no water spilled.

The instance that freaked me out the most, though, happened when my daughter was staying at her father's. I woke up and opened my bedroom door that morning to find all green paint chip samples — which I'd left on the downstairs kitchen counter — lined up perfectly from lightest to darkest in front of my bedroom door.

Since these occurrences, I bought a different house. A few odd things have happened there as well, including me finding four $5 bills lined up in a perfectly straight line on my stairs. My husband swears he didn't do it, and I believe him. I feel like I am being followed by a ghost."


12."One day, when my mom was home alone, she was in the basement doing laundry. She had locked all of the doors, as my dad was gone for the day. Before that, though, she let our dog outside and went down to put the clothes in the wash. As she was about to head back up, she saw our dog standing at the open door at the top of the stairs. She checked all of the doors, and they were all still locked. To this day, we have no idea how he got back inside the house. We like to think it was my granddaddy saving him from something outside."


13."My wife and I went to a local sandwich shop, and we noticed an older couple who were also in the shop waiting for their order. The sandwich shop is a very hipster, youth-oriented place near a university, so it's fairly rare to see older people there. The couple looked very familiar, and I soon realized they looked like my wife and I, but decades older. My wife also noticed it right away and thought it was freaky, but we played it cool. The clerk called out my name for the order, and I started to get up...but the older man got up as well and retrieved the order. My name (Adolph) is fairly uncommon in the area I live in; I very rarely meet other Adolphs in real life. The older couple left after getting their order. My wife and I were left stunned and freaked out by the occurrence."

older couple looking out at something as they hold their hot dogs


Nosystem Images / Getty Images

14."My neighborhood runs parallel to a busy road. Aside from late at night, traffic is steady all day. Last week, I pulled out onto the road in the middle of the day and there were no cars in any direction. It caught my attention but didn't seem all that weird at first. Then I got about half a mile up the road and there was still no one — no one behind me, no one in front of me, no one pulling out of the neighborhoods, no pedestrians, not even birds flying by. I could see a big intersection up ahead where there were always several cars driving by or sitting at the light. Nobody there, either. I grew up in a Pentecostal church, so at that point I was like, 'Damn, I missed the Rapture!' As I pulled up to the intersection, about a dozen or so cars pulled out onto the road all at once from different parking lots and cross streets. Definitely felt like a glitch in the simulation."


15."When I was 11, we lived in Japan in a cute little house in the suburb of Saza-cho. Japanese kitchens don’t have big stoves and ovens like Americans do. Instead, there was a small two-burner stovetop that had a fish grilling slot, nearly as small as a camping stove. These appliances aren’t hooked into a gas main, but instead have their own detachable can of propane. The flame was controlled by a slide dial that would go from left to right. When I was taught how to use it, I was told to move the slide slowly, but not why. Well, something out there knew better than my 11-year-old self, because one night, when it was just me and my dad in the house, I was heating up some Spaghettios on the stove burner and stupidly began playing with the flame-controlling slide, flicking it left and right as fast as I could. I very clearly heard someone say, 'DON’T DO THAT!'"

"It was in that tone that parents use when they’re being absolutely serious — not angry, just utterly commanding. Every hair on my body stood on end. I slowly moved the dial down to zero and tried finding where the voice came from. It wasn’t a voice I recognized. My dad was upstairs doing computer work, oblivious to what I was doing. All the windows were shut, and there was no one around the house or outside.

When my stepmom came home later, I asked (trying to be casual), 'Hey, what would happen if I flicked that flame dial back and forth really quickly?' She looked me dead in the eyes and said, 'It could explode! Don’t ever do that!' I could tell she meant it.

That incident convinced me that paranormal entities do exist, and sometimes look out for us. Maybe that’s where the notion of Guardian Angels came from?"

—Kristin, Oakland, USA

16."When I was in high school, my parents went out to dinner with some friends of theirs. They usually stayed out for a while on those nights, so I was expecting them home after I went to bed. At about 9 p.m., I was working on my homework in my room when I heard the garage door open, the sound of people coming in through the laundry room, and the dog excitedly greeting them. I could hear them greet the dog, too. Having them home so early was a bit strange, so I got up to see what had happened. No one else was in the house. When I opened the garage, the door was shut, the garage was empty, and no lights were on. The dog was still passed out in her bed in the living room, silent."

"This was before my parents had an automatic garage door installed, too, so it wasn't someone accidentally opening the wrong garage or anything. I would have seen anyone who had opened and closed it, because it took longer to do that than it did to walk through the house. To this day, I still can't explain it."


taylor swift looking shocked
Taylor Swift / Republic Records / UMG

17."MANY years ago, my husband accepted a new job in a different city in South Africa. I never used to believe in ghosts, but the first house we lived in changed my perspective. Our boys were 3 and 6 at the time and shared a bedroom next to ours. They'd both been sleeping through the night for years and typically didn't wake up during the night at all. Virtually every night, I would wake up, sensing someone (who I assumed was my husband) standing by the foot of our bed, just staring at me. On multiple occasions, I'd say something like, 'What the…? Get back to bed!' When I'd sit up to see why he (or whoever) was just standing there, I'd find my husband in bed beside me, asleep. Within seconds of this happening, our youngest would start fussing and then cry."

"This became a nightly issue, so we tried a bunch of different things — moving his bed to different walls, facing different directions (maybe that was from an old wive's tale), etc., — but nothing helped to get him to sleep through the night again.

On several occasions, I was also woken up by the sound of footsteps going down the hallway. Then I'd hear someone open and shut the cabinets in the kitchen. Often, I'd walk into the kitchen the next morning and find some of the cabinet doors open. I never felt a 'malicious' presence, though, and eventually resorted to just saying, 'Ho back to sleep,' whenever I heard those footsteps. I decided to just live with whatever was going on in the house.

Six or so months later, we managed to find another house in the city and moved. That very first night, my son slept through the night again, my husband didn't move to the side of our bed or stare at me at night, and no kitchen cupboards opened or closed on their own. My oldest son was still attending the same elementary school, and one day after school, his teacher asked me whether we'd experienced any 'strange' phenomena in the house we used to live in. I asked her why she'd ask something like that, and it turns out that the first house we'd moved to had been vacant for a couple of years. Apparently, the previous wife had been killed there by her husband by a crossbow (of all things) in the house.While the experiences were kind of freaky, they were never truly scary. Years later, I mentioned this in my husband's company, and he said that HE woke up every night as well, feeling like I was standing next to the bed just staring at him. The only explanation we could ever find was the one thing we didn't believe yet: that a ghost was 'living' in that house."


18."We have a motion light in our family room. Every morning, the light comes on while I get everything gathered for work, and goes off after a few minutes. One day, I was trying to get out of the house to get to work on time. I had my work bag, coffee, lunch, and my purse to grab. It was a frantic morning. The automatic light was off, and I was ready to leave for work. I had grabbed everything, or so I thought. I started walking to the door, all my bags in hand. As I passed the sensor, the light came on, as it should. Strangely, though, it started flickering on and off. As I turned to open the door, I glanced back at the kitchen counter and noticed my coffee cup sitting there, forgotten. I don’t know why I did it, but for some reason, I said, 'Thank you' out loud. I don’t know who I was talking to. The lights suddenly stopped flickering and just stayed on. I walked across the room, grabbed my coffee cup, said, 'Have a great day!' and continued out the door."

—Lisa, San Ramon, USA

19."I had a fight with my boyfriend and made him give me back his key to my apartment. I put it on the table next to my door so I wouldn't misplace it because I knew I was going to give it back to him once we both cooled off. For two weeks, I'd see the key next to my front door, on the table, in the same place I left it. When we made up, I went to the table for the key...but it was gone. My first thought was that I lost it, but I know for a fact I never touched it. We looked everywhere for it: under the furniture, in every drawer, under every sofa cushion. We couldn't find it. Fast forward a few days, and I walk into my living room and notice a receipt on the floor. I picked it up, and as I stood, I noticed something on the table by the door. It was the key, lying in the exact spot I left it originally. It had been MIA for two weeks, and suddenly it was back as if it had never left that spot. I still can't explain it."

Douglas Sacha / Getty Images

20."My best friend was returning home from Europe after he finished his studies. We had not seen each other in years. This was in the '80s and, at the time, I was temporarily staying with two married friends in New Jersey. Since I was sleeping in their living room, they kindly offered their bedroom to us. One night, my best friend and I were sharing the bed and I was having this strange dream. In it, my friend and I were in this dark place by a pitch-black cliff. I was urging him to trust me and just jump, even though we could not see the bottom. The dream was intense and woke me up. I looked over at my friend and suddenly saw him jump rigidly out of the bed, almost as if he had a spring on his back. He landed on his feet by the foot of the bed and started to run until he hit the wall, making a loud thud and waking up my friends and the neighbors downstairs. It was 3 a.m.."

"My friends rushed into the room. My best friend walked back to bed, startled. I asked what had happened, afraid of telling him about my dream. He said we should talk in the morning, and everyone went back to bed. The next morning, he told me he was having the very same dream I had not dared to share with him right before everything happened. We were never able to figure out the meaning of the whole thing, but we still talk about it and remember it clearly. My other friends do, too."

—Roberto, Lima, Peru

21."When I was in middle school, I lived in a house in Virginia that dated back to the 1850s. The local museum had antique photos of Civil War-era soldiers sitting on our front porch, so as you can guess a lot of bizarre stuff happened in that house while I lived there. One of the weirdest incidents happened to me when I was in seventh grade. I came home from school one afternoon and when I entered my room, something felt off to me. After looking around, I realized that a cassette had been pulled off my shelf. The case was left out, and the tape was still in the tape deck."

"The power to the stereo was off, so I switched it on so I could open the tape deck and put away the tape. When I pulled it out, it had been stopped mid-side, halfway through side two. I was kind of annoyed that my parents had been playing the tape and just left it out without rewinding or putting it away. When I went to complain about them being in my stuff, I learned that they had both been out of the house all day. The house had been completely empty until I got home.

It’s the only time that particular thing ever happened, but I’ve always remembered it because it was so bizarre. By the way, the cassette was the soundtrack to Batman Returns, which might be the weirdest part of the story."

—Steve, VA, USA

22."My family moved a lot when I was growing up. There was one house that always had this otherworldly feeling about it. My parents would just say I had a vivid imagination, but I could see and feel things there that I had never felt anywhere else. My parents, sister, and brother all slept upstairs while I had my own room downstairs. My sister and I were really close, so often she would sleep in my room with me. One night, we were having a hard time sleeping. It was late, and everyone else had been asleep for a few hours. As we lay there, we heard this soft banging, almost like a hammer, but with more echoing. We tried to ignore it, but then we heard this man laughing. Then, this woman started softly singing, almost like she was trying to comfort someone. My sister was terrified at this point, so I told her it was probably our mom singing to our brother because he had a nightmare. She didn't believe me, so I told her I would go upstairs and check."

"When I left the room, I didn't hear a sound. I went upstairs and looked in my brother's room, where he was asleep. I then went to my parents' room, and they were also both asleep. It was pitch black and dead quiet. I quickly went back downstairs. When I got to my bedroom, my sister asked if it was, in fact, our mom. I really didn’t want to scare her, so I told her it was.

She quickly fell asleep, and as I lay there, the singing started up again. The woman was making these comforting sounds and saying, 'Everything’s going to be alright.' I don’t know how long it lasted, but I lay there paralyzed for what felt like forever. In the morning, I tried to tell my mom about it, but she brushed it off and told me I was dreaming. I know what I heard, though.

While we lived in that house, I continued to have these weird experiences. I would put something down, turn around, and when I went to pick it up, it would be gone. I heard the man laughing a couple more times and it was always followed by the singing. After we moved out, all the weirdness stopped. Seeing everyone fast asleep that night still haunts me to this day."

—Louisa, Vancouver, Canada


23.And finally, "This sounds wild, I know. My sister still does not believe it. But here's the story anyway. It was New Year's Eve in 1989, and I was 12. I was home with my dad in Nova Scotia. My sister and mother had already left to go to the village my whole family is from, about a four-hour drive away. My dad and I were leaving the next day to join them. I woke up at about 3 a.m., and my whole room was as bright as day. I checked the clock, and it was, in fact, the middle of the night. I got up and looked out into the backyard, and it was lit up like there was a spotlight on us, but there was no light coming from the sky. I couldn't find a source of light at all."

"My dad opened my bedroom door and asked what the heck was happening, and I told him I had no idea! So we looked out the window, then out the front window on the opposite side of the house. The front yard was pitch black.

My dad went out in his jammies in the backyard and walked around. He came in and said, 'It makes no sense; there is no source of light; it's like the backyard is glowing from nothing.' We stood there for a few minutes, again looking out the window to the backyard as all of the grass, trees, and gardens were aglow. After a few minutes, it started to dim slowly. Over about 10 minutes, it became pitch black again. The whole thing was maybe 20 mins, start to finish. We shrugged and went back to our beds.

The next day, my dad went around and asked all the neighbors if they saw anything. No one saw a thing. 35 years later, we still have no idea what we saw. I simply cannot come up with an explanation. My sister thinks we've lost our marbles, and my mother pretends she can't hear the story when we rehash every five or so years. Dad thinks it may have been aliens, although he won't admit that to anyone else but me. He said it was like the vegetation was glowing from within.

I don't understand what exactly happened that night, but it was very cool, and neither of us were frightened in any way. I'm a very spiritual person and believe in all kinds of things, but I still can't understand what it was, and I'm forever curious if anyone else has ever experienced the same thing."


If you enjoyed these stories, you can read a bunch more of them here.

Have you ever experienced an "unsolved mystery" like these that you just can't explain? A glitch in the matrix, run-in with a doppelgänger, paranormal experience...anything! If so, tell us about it in the comments below or via this completely anonymous form.

Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.