1. A Smiling Man At The Old Water Refinery
Preemptive apology for the over-artsy shots, but these weren’t meant to be for documentation.
One of my favorite activities is exploring old, abandoned buildings. I’ve seen quite a few strange things during these trips, but one experience still creeps me out to this day.
A few years ago, I found a long forgotten water refinery through the help of online exploration communities and google earth. Although it’s stupid, I always go to places for the first time alone, partly for the thrill and partly because if something bad were to happen, I would feel terrible having brought someone else into that situation. So, I make plans to head there the next day after my classes let out.
The day of the trip, I pack up my camera and water bottle, and set off following my hand drawn map (the downside of not having a printer). After an hour or two of biking, I finally arrive at the place, which luckily had an old bike path dead ending just past it.
It was completely overtaken by vegetation with trees growing up, through, and around the buildings, not to mention that the actual buildings were just disintegrating, with paint peeling off every wall and ceiling.
I took my time, scouring each of the buildings looking around for anything interesting. I found hundreds of broken windows, weird broken spheres, and some kind of giant oven.
After an hour or two of successful exploring, I decided to head off happy with an SD card full of pictures. Soon after I pulled my bike back out through the hole in the fence I entered and started biking away, I remembered there was one last shot I wanted to get. I’m pretty insistent on getting the shots I want, and I didn’t know if I would ever come back, so I decided to just tough it out, ride back and take the picture.
As, I was going back, I saw a lone man dressed in old clothes walking down the bike trail away from the dead end.
I thought it was kind of a strange path for someone to take a walk on, and something in me said, “don’t let him see you go in there.” I biked past him, and gave him a slight head nod, and figured I’d bike all the way to the end of the trail, turn around, and by the time I got back, he’d be long gone, having continued in the opposite direction. I leisurely take my time get to the end and turn around, and as I head back toward the hole in the fence, I see him there, staring at me, and walking back toward the dead end from which he came. He had a happy look on his face, but it wasn’t the kind of happiness that made me feel at ease in any way. The best way I could describe it is he look like he had just been told a very dirty joke, and was trying to contain it. I knew I had to do something as I was literally trapped between him and a dead end.
I decided to play it cool once more, but be ready to drop everything and run if things got hairy. As I get closer and closer to him, I can see his facial expression clearer and it’s not someone I want to be in the same state with, let alone the same bike path. I’m silently cursing myself for going back for one picture, as I slowly get closer. Finally, I’m about twenty feet away from him, and he calls out, “I sure would like a ride, it’s so hot out. Mind if I jump on?” As soon as I hear this, I realize this is no longer my brain falsely interpreting something as creepy. I pick up speed and rush passed him putting as much space between us as I can. I now look behind me and see that he’s once again turned around and following me. At this point I bolt, sprinting down the bike path, back onto the road.
Interestingly, I stop at a nearby gas station on the way home to get a refill on my Gatorade. I see a cop there and told him I just rode down the old bike path by this park. He looked at me, sort of bewildered as to why a person would ride out there (or at least that was what I guessed from behind his sunglasses) and he told me he didn’t recommend people going there, especially alone, as some shady characters like to hang out there.
I wish I could say I stayed away, but I went back one other time with a girl, and had a completely different but almost as creepy experience.
2. Thank God He Checked Under The Bed…..
This story happened a year ago. I was living with my then boyfriend (now fiancé, yay!).
Anyways we lived in a townhouse in the suburbs. Pretty safe area. There had been some robberies a couple blocks away but they weren’t common and I felt pretty safe walking home alone at night. So one weekend my boyfriend’s brother (Marshall) and his girlfriend (Amy) and her brother (Curtis) were visiting. We were all just gonna chill have a couple drinks play video games and relax. My boyfriend had his LSAT’s and after months of hard studying he wanted to just relax before the exam. Unfortunately I ended up getting very sick. It was the worst flu that I’ve ever had. Extremely high fever (1 degree higher and I would have had to go to the hospital), nausea, headache, body aches and all that good stuff.
Of course I didn’t want that to stop my friends from having a good time so they came over anyways and I just stayed in my room. They went out to eat before they came over so I was in bed alone watching tv. Felt like I was dying. I slept on an off. At 4pm about I heard the door open and figured they were back but when I called out for my boyfriend no one came. Even if he was there he probably wouldn’t have heard me. But I knew he’d come check on me as soon as he came back. So I assumed I just heard something fall or the neighbors were making noises. So I dismissed it and went back to sleep.
I remember I was sleeping on my back. And in deep sleep I groggily opened my eyes and I thought I saw a figure move across my room. I was so heavily medicated and so sick I didn’t even fully understand what had happened and what that meant. Like I saw the figure but it didn’t connect in my brain that I may have seen someone and since it was pretty dark in the room I think part of me just thought it was the tv.
Finally at around 7pm everyone came back. They were loud. Amy ( my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend) was very tipsy. And she’s very fun when drunk so there was lots of laughter. My boyfriend came in to check on me. He brought me soup. He sat and talked about his day as I ate it. I asked him to look in the basket under the bed to get the new bottle of aspirin. We had a full sized bed. I had one small basket under the bed where I kept extra pill bottles, toothbrushes, shaving cream and stuff like that. I didn’t know it right away but thank God he looked under the bed.
He put his head up and handed me the aspirin but his facial expression had changed. Like he lost all the color from his face. I didn’t think much of it and said thank you. “C-cmon I-I’m gonna take u to the b-b-bathroom”. He never stutters I was kind of out of it but I remember picking up on it. I told him no I really didn’t have to pee and I didn’t feel like getting up. He said” no lets go I don’t wanna have to climb back up the stairs just cause you need to pee in 10 minutes” I remember feeing pretty hurt by his words but knew he was right since I just had soup and half a bottle of water. He walked me downstairs and I couldn’t understand why we didn’t just go to the bathroom upstairs. I think I was so sick I just felt too exhausted to question.
He sat me down on the couch. “What’s going on?” I practically whispered this I was told although in my head it sounded loud. He took out his phone and his hand was shaking. I asked what was wrong and I will never forget how my heart sunk and I felt like I couldn’t breathe when he whispered “there was someone under the bed” amy laughed so I laughed thinking it was a prank but it felt serious. My boyfriend’s brother suggested we get out of the house so we did. As we were leaving we heard a thud upstairs. We quickly left and drove away then called the police.
The police came and searched the house but they didn’t find anyone. He must have known we suspected he was there and left. My boyfriend couldn’t give any description. Only that he saw sneakers. But it was so dark he really couldn’t see. Scariest thing that still leaves me on edge is that the police found a knife under the bed. It was a small steak knife but very dull and rusty. There weren’t any killings in the area so my friends assumed he just wanted a place to sleep. I’m not really sure how he got into our place but I have some theories. I’m really proud of how my boyfriend handled everything. He’s a calm collect person but I always assumed he wouldn’t be that way In a crisis. I just hope I never see this person again. Ever.
3. Satan’s Bed And Breakfast
When I was 5 years of age we took a road trip (as was common in our family) up to Upstate New York to see my grandmother on my father’s side, as well as to tour around the countryside a bit. There we were in rural Upstate, away from the region in which my grandmother actually lives, and we were planning on staying in a bed and breakfast my father had booked ahead of time. It had been an unexpectedly long drive due to weather complications and when we found the B&B in question we were all quite tired.
We went up to the door to check in, and a woman missing her two front teeth on both jaws answered. She invited us in but warned us that they didn’t have any room for the night, they were booked solid. My father protested that he had made the arrangements in advance but she said she knew another hotel that had vacancy just up the way and she would give them a call, and she assured him they would offer the same rates. But first, she insisted on showing my parents around, as her husband was an artist and she wanted to show them his studio and “famous” artwork. We were all invited in, but after seeing the first few pieces of naked women, missing their front teeth, bound or being tortured in various ways, my parents opted to leave the kids outside with Grandma. Apparently most of the rooms were full to the ceiling with similarly foreboding images of dead or dying people with the occasional sculpture of menacing animals. My parents were a bit creeped out, but just figured these people were eccentric and they had dodged a bullet by ending up somewhere else. We all waited out back while the woman called her friend, beside a pit containing what could have been nothing other than an alter, covered with pentagrams. My mother mentioned that it seemed strange that not only had they not met the husband (who was supposedly there somewhere) having toured the entire house, but that there hadn’t been a single sign of life or piece of luggage suggesting that anyone else was actually staying in any of the guest bedrooms in this supposedly fully-booked B&B.
A side note that’s probably not worth mentioning, but that I found strange when my mother brought it up while telling me the story later (as I was five at the time, a lot of this story has been narrated to me after the fact by different people who were involved on some level) was that we stopped by a park to stretch our legs at some point before proceeding to the next place. The storm was closing in on us and my parents wanted to be sure we had zero energy upon arrival. While in this park my mother claims that one of us found and brought to her a small necklace with a pendant on it. The pendant itself was a pentagram on one side, with a Third Reich symbol on the other. My mother took it away and put it in her purse.
We arrived at the next bed and breakfast to be greeted by a different woman, also conspicuously missing her two front teeth, upper and lower. It was about this time that my grandmother mentioned that she had read a lot of articles recently about tourists being killed by some cult of satanists or somesuch in this area. Great. She tended to tell a lot of tall tales so I think my parents kind of rolled their eyes and dismissed it, but they made a point to mention it later.
The storm was now upon us, we were all exhausted and there was no where else to stay that we could find anywhere near there. My dad decided we would make due with whatever they had to offer. What they had to offer was a slightly-renovated barn. During the bustle of moving our luggage in, the woman kept inviting my brother (3) and I into the house saying she had some sweets and wouldn’t we like to meet her kitties? She made it clear however that my parents were not welcome into the house because it was “too messy” and she would be embarrassed. We were herded away into the barn and told not to talk to the lady.
Once inside, my father (who was by this time a bit creeped out) went about checking the beds and securing the one room barn unit. The windows had no coverings whatsoever and the doors had no locks. We placed pillows from the couches in the window frames and my dad grabbed a dresser against one wall to block the door. When he went to move the dresser he discovered it was on wheels, which were completely silent. He also noticed that the wall behind it moved a little when he shifted the dresser. When he scrutinized the wall he found a seam. He pushed on the wall and it gave way, two invisible doors opening outwards into the night and just outside was a dark colored van which had been backed up to the opening. Livid, my dad went about rearranging all the furniture in the room, stacking the heaviest against the outward swinging doors and moving the mobile dresser with various loud objects behind it against the main door.
When he had completed this and we were all starting to settle down, at about 11PM, the woman brought us fresh baked blueberry muffins. Now as I mentioned before, I don’t remember much of this trip, but this is one element I have a vivid recollection of. With the inclement weather and the rush to find a place to stay, complemented by the lack of restaurants (nigh anything) in the area, we hadn’t had what one might consider a proper meal. When you’re five, dinner is very important. The muffins were fresh baked and smelled heavenly. I wanted one more than I wanted anything else in the world. However, presuming (probably correctly) that they were poisoned, or something was seriously wrong about them, since this entire thing was beginning to feel like a horror movie, my mother absolutely forbid us from even going near them. She put them on a high shelf and sent us to bed. I was so angry. I went to bed hungry and irritable.
Only two things happened that night, that I can recall. My parents slept very lightly, when at all, as you might imagine. They claimed they kept hearing talking outside. My sister woke us all with a blood curdling scream around 1 AM for reasons unknown, as she was usually a very quiet baby. When my parents got up and milled for about an hour trying to get her back to bed, my mom noticed something on the wall as she was walking her around and called my father over. What I would later learn was that the picture hanging to one side of the door that during the daylight seemed to be logs in a recently extinguished fire pit and a tranquil forest scene was by night unmistakably burning corpses with a hooded smoky figure looming over them.
We got up the next morning, packed up early and waited for the lady to get up so we could pay and leave. While my parents were packing the bags the woman came around back and gave both my brother and I small wooden cats carved into the form of napkin holders, each a different color, that she had written little notes on. As my father was paying after loading us into the car, my mom began kicking the gravel around on the drive absent-mindedly. The woman came over to say goodbye and wave to us with her gapped grin and my mother noticed that she was trying to discreetly recover the tiles that she was uncovering under the gravel. Before driving off my mother got back out of the car and uncovered one of the tiles and she claims it was the same pentagram with Third Reich symbol within it that she had seen a similar version of in the park, prompting her to notice, as we drove away, that the necklace was no longer in her purse. The likelihood of it simply falling out of the purse pocket she had placed it in was, as she put it, “quite unlikely”.
People listening to this story seemed appalled at the fact that I still have that little wooden cat that the nice lady gave me, sitting in my bedroom. I know this all sounds very strange, but I can only assure you that it matches well with my memory of the events, and all of the adults who were there tell the same story, and two of them are not known to extrapolate at all. Personally, I’m glad it’s just a weird story we look back on with confusion, and that nothing stranger happened that night.
4. Mother Used To Clean Houses Until This…
In the mid-80s, my mum was a cleaner in Australia. She would do clean houses in suburban areas and would sometimes do houses in rural/wine regions (we lived near both).
She would leave business cards at the local shops and got most of her business this way, and some through referrals and word of mouth.
One day she got a call from a lady who sounded like she was around 60, asking mum to clean her old farmhouse. She made a lot of odd demands and mum would usually meet clients before taking on new business. In this case, the lady did not want to meet mum and said she would leave the keys under the front doormat. Mum agreed mainly because the lady was quite obviously wealthy and was offering to pay mum substantially more than she would reasonably expect.
Mum went to the house on a Monday morning and said she already felt unnerved by the long driveway. The house was essentially in the middle of a very large, and very empty property. She found the keys and started cleaning.
About an hour in to the clean, she hears the back door shut. Mum was told no one would be at the house so she immediately felt unsafe. She stood frozen in the kitchen for what she said felt like 3-4 minutes although she said it could have been much longer. There was no other car on the property.
She wanted to leave immediately but had two rooms left to do, both were bedrooms. She said as time passed and she heard nothing else, she decided that perhaps it was nothing, or perhaps something had fallen and it wasn’t the door after all.
She walked up the hallway and stepped into the bedroom. All over the bed were black and white photos. As mum got closer, she realised the photos were all of her. Some where taken at our family home, and many others were taken at other houses mum would clean. Some through windows or over fences.
She used the house phone to call the police and immediately drive to the end of the driveway. The lady ended up being investigated but continued to claim that it was a break-in. After some time, the police stopped with their searching and we ended up moving to a new town 4 months later.
Every time mum tells me this story I get serious chills. Absolutely a true story too. To the day my mum thinks the lady had something to do with it. But why? And for what purpose?
5. A Woman In Need
I had just gotten off work, and it was about 1:30am. My car was running on fumes, so I stopped at a local gas station to fill up. While I was pumping gas, a woman about my age approached me looking nervous and scared. She said that she had been at her boyfriend’s house, and they’d had a fight. She’d walked to the gas station to use the pay phone and call a friend to pick her up. On her way to the station, a car pulled up as she was walking and the guys inside started catcalling and harassing her. With a slight movement of her head she indicated a car that was parked off to the side by the gas station dumpsters. I saw a large light green car, like a Caddy or a Lincoln, with at least 2 or 3 shadowy figures inside. She said they threatened her, and she was too scared to call her friend and wait.
The woman was neat, well-dressed, and didn’t seem high or drunk or anything like that…she just seemed really nervous and freaked out, so I didn’t even hesitate. I finished pumping my gas and told her to hop in the car, that I’d take her home.
At that time on a weeknight, there was little traffic, so I booked it right out of the gas station and asked her where she lived. She kept twisting around in the seat to see if the car was behind us, and when I asked her to put her seat-belt on, she ignored me and kept looking for the car. I assumed she was just scared.
A few blocks down the road, however, I noticed she was looking around the car, and she started asking me about money, “Where’s your purse? Where’s your bag? I need money. You need to give me some money.” My stomach sank. I have this woman in my car, and now she’s gonna rob me. Fuck. But when I thought about it, robbery just didn’t make much sense. I was driving a 1985 Chevette (affectionately nicknamed “Shitbox”) and was wearing my work clothes: a ratty T-shirt and jeans with combat boots. I did NOT look like a person with a lot of cash primarily because I wasn’t a person with a lot of cash.
She’d twisted around in the seat again and started yelling, “There they are! There they are!” She didn’t sound scared anymore. I checked the rearview, and sure enough, the light green car is right behind me. She started cackling and bouncing up and down in the seat, “My boys are gonna FUCK YOU UP, bitch! They’re gonna FUCK YOU UP!” She’s laughing like crazy, opening the glove box, looking in the back for a bag or purse, telling me all the messed up shit these guys are planning to do to me.
Now, if I had been smart, I would have just driven to the police station. Actually, if I had been VERY smart, I would have called the cops from the gas station and waited with her until they arrived. That would have been the intelligent thing to do. Unfortunately, none of this crossed my mind until later. In the moment, I just got really, really fucking angry. I realized 3 key things all at once:
- There was an intersection up ahead, with cars on either side waiting to cross, and the light had just turned yellow.
- I had a spare box cutter that I kept for work in the driver’s side door compartment.
- The crazy bitch still hadn’t put on her seat-belt.
I didn’t think. I floored it and passed under the yellow light just as it turned red. I glanced back to see if the green car was still behind me, but the cross traffic at the intersection had started to move, and they hadn’t caught up. The bitch started yelling; I slammed on the brakes and she hit the dash and windshield with a solid, and viciously satisfying, crack. When she rebounded to the passenger seat, I had the box cutter in her face and was screaming some serious bat-shit crazy. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of, “Get the FUCK OUT. Get the FUCK out of my car before I CUT OFF YOUR FACE AND MAKE YOU EAT IT, BITCH.”
The crazy screaming and box-cutter combo worked. She grabbed blindly at the handle and popped the door open, and I started shoving and punching her until the bitch tumbled out the door to the curb. I stomped on the gas, got to the next turn and squealed around it with the passenger door still open. I made a few more turns because I was afraid that the green car might catch up to me. After a little while I stopped to close the passenger door, and then I cut across town and got on to the highway to go home. I was on the highway for about 5 minutes before the shakes started. I pulled off to the shoulder to calm down and get my shit together, and then I drove home.
I told my older sister (I was living with her temporarily after the break-up with my ex) everything that happened. She wrapped me in a tight bear hug while simultaneously yelling about how stupid I was for not going to the police. I’ve never been so glad to be yelled at in my life.
6. Roommate Wanted: Female Only
Amanda is my brother’s girlfriend. At the time of this story, she was looking for her first apartment and moving out from her parents’ house. Her and my brother didn’t want to move in together since they had only dated for a few months. She opted instead to search for a roommate online. Browsing Craigslist, she found an ad titled something like “Roommate Wanted: Females Only.” This sort of thing was common since the area she was looking in was mostly young professionals.
The listing was for a room in a house for about $225 a month, which was quite cheap compared to the most places listed. The occupant listed herself as a 23 year old college student that wasn’t comfortable with living with any males. The other roommate would have their own room and attached bathroom. So far, Amanda was into this place. However, the listing only had a single photo from outside the property. Amanda sent an email wanting to meet the occupant and tour the house. Within 30 minutes, she receives an email back with all the details and time to stop by. The girl worked late hours and wanted Amanda to stop by at 8pm.
When Amanda arrives, there is a handwritten note on the front door saying “Door broken, use back door.” Walking around the house, it looks nice but slightly unkempt: tall grass, weeds, dusty windows, etc. Still no alarms for Amanda though. When she knocks on the backdoor and an older man opens the door. At first Amanda thinks she has the wrong house but the man reassures her and says that the occupant (I forget the name) was out and he was the landlord. The occupant asked him to meet Amanda since she was working late. He seemed pleasant and offered to show her around.
Alarms start going off but aren’t at red alert yet. First, the guy was clearly in his 40’s, unshaven, and looked like he lived in his car. Also, only the kitchen light was on. As they walked around the house, Amanda noticed one huge red flag: No furniture. Nothing. The landlord was polite about answering questions but seemed irritable to keeping lights on for too long, rushing her around and only letting her look at rooms for a few moments. There was a single room that the landlord wouldn’t open, telling her that it was the occupant’s room and he didn’t want to invade her privacy. As they walk down the hallway into the living room, she notices the front door has a plank nailed across it. “Broken” for sure.
Amanda’s creep-o-meter is started to ding so she decides to wrap up the walk-through and leave but trying to polite. As she’s giving the guy her “thanks for the showing” bit, he perks up and states that he forgot to show her the basement. It’s recently furnished and would be a great rec room…and she should take a look down there. At the time, Amanda and the landlord are standing in the small hallway between the front living room and the back kitchen. In this little hallway was the basement door. When he opens the door, it opens outward to create something of a barrier between Amanda and the backdoor. The basement is pitch black. He smiles, motions down the stairs, and says “Ladies first.”
What happens next is nothing more than a stroke of luck. Amanda get a text just as some random person parks in front of the house. Thinking on her feet, she pretends it’s a phone call and answers her phone. “Hey! Yeah, are you here? I’ll come out from around back and let you in. It’s great, you have to see it.” With a motion of confidence, she excuses herself around the landlord and walks out of the back door. She says the guy just looked at her like he was confused. Once outside, she sprinted to her car and sped like hell out of there.
When Amanda got home, she told her mother and my brother everything. Cops were called, they took her statement, and went to investigate. The Craigslist post had been removed.
The house had been foreclosed over six months earlier and the property had been abandoned. When the police investigated, they found that the closed room the “landlord” didn’t want her to look in was where the man had been staying. There was a pile of old dirty blankets, rotten food, and empty gallon jugs everywhere. More creepy was he had plastered ripped up pages from porno mags on ALL the walls in the room (where do they even find porno mags!?).
The really scary part of this was the basement. The man had tied a thin piece of fishing twine at about shin level across the stairs about halfway down. The basement was empty except another pile of old blankets, a broom handle wrapped in leather belts, and a small box with a few rolls of assorted tape (duct, electric, etc).
Amanda ended up not moving in.
7. My Sister Claimed Someone Was In The House
Okay, so this whole thing began maybe 2 months ago. At an Aunts party my sister comes up to me and says that she thinks someone has been coming into her house in the middle of the night. My sister has always been easily scared, so at first i was skeptical.
I asked her how she knew someone had been in the house, whether she had actually seen anyone etc. She told me she hadn’t seen anyone, but she said she knows for a fact someone was in her house. She then went on to explain that she has a sky box downstairs that streams to her bedroom television. The first time it happened she said she heard the TV was being used, so she turned on her TV and someone was flicking through the channels.
I still didn’t really buy what she was saying, but she did seem genuinely afraid. She claimed it had been going on for three months on and off. To put her mind at ease, i told her I’d stay at her place for a few nights and wait to see if the guy comes, I took my younger brother along just to be safe.
In all, we stayed at her place for 4 nights. In those four nights, nothing unusual happened; me and my brother were convinced she was going crazy. Me and my brother decided we had stayed long enough and told her that we had to go home, she got extremely upset about this.
I reassured her and told her to call the police the next time it happened. she had called the police once before about the guy and they turned up to find no one was in the house. I said she could call me any time she wanted and left for work.
Two days later she called me at 11:30PM and claimed he was downstairs in her house right now. I asked her how she knew and she said he’s walking around the house, she was whispering and crying. I knew she wasn’t making this up, I could tell from her voice. I called my brother and told him to meet me at her house, I was on the phone with her the entire drive over to her place (I live 10 minutes away).
When I got there my brother was parked up outside. We both went to the back of the house (I was still on the phone with my sister). The first floor if the house was lit solely by the TV in the living room. As we approached the patio door we saw that a man was sitting on the couch facing us. We were frozen solid and my sister noticed that we went quiet and started asking what was wrong and if we could see him.
I told her to stay quiet and that we had it in hand, I then hung up and called the police to explain the situation. The guy hadn’t moved from the couch at all. The TV turned off while we were waiting for the cops, me and my brother majorly freaked out when it happened. We couldn’t see anything downstairs, then the hallway light turned on, meaning someone was on the stairs.
We opened the patio door and ran up the stairs and caught the guy with his ear to her door. We kicked the shit out of him and got my sister out of the house, he had a knife in his coat pocket.
The cops came maybe 10 minutes later (he could have killed her if he wanted too.) which is fucking outrageous. It turns out the guy was one of our mom’s old boyfriends who had lived with us for a while in the 90’s. He had always been fond of my sister but we had never suspected it to be him, he hadn’t contacted any of us for nearly a decade.
My sister has moved back in with my mom and is undergoing therapy to get over what had happened. Our ‘step dad’ as he liked to call himself, was given three years in prison. We are doing are best to cut all ties with the man.
8. The Plumber’s Camera
This was a huge thing to my friends and family, and I didn’t really talk about it back then as it scared the fuck out of me, but it was a while ago and is a really well known, creepy story among myself and and my friends and family. But I think I may as well share it, as it is admittedly terrifying.
I was living with my parents and sister in Brisbane, Australia at the time (2008, which means I was 19). I remember my dad had just got Foxtel (cable TV in Australia) but only the TV in the lounge room could use the cable box, and I really wanted to somehow get the cable in my room without paying $99 or whatever for a new box. So dad one day went out and bought an AV transmitter/receiver. It was basically a two piece bit of hardware where you would plug this tiny box into the cable TV in the lounge room and it would transmit a video signal to the receiver, connected to the TV in my room. So one Saturday, I decided to connect it.
This is a picture I took of the set up when I was telling a friend the story.
My younger sister (16 at the time) was the only other person home at the time, upstairs in her room (my room was downstairs). I opened the box, and connected it up. At first I was going back and forth, trying to get the cables right, trying to get the channel right etc, but no luck. Until I finally got something. I remember just sitting there and something started fuzzing in (this is where things start to feel like a horror movie). I remember thinking “oh here we go” and waiting to see the picture come in clearly. As it started fuzzing in, I remembered that this whole time the cable set top box wasn’t even on, and that’s why it wasn’t working this whole time. “But then why was I getting a signal?”. It seemed to all hit me at once. As I realised the box was off, the picture fuzzed in, and I saw a bed.
First picture I took:
I FREAKED the fuck out, as at first I thought it was my bed. I had recently seen Saw 2, and remembered that scene where she turns on the TV and its a camera filming her in her apartment. That was the first thing I thought of. I sprinted upstairs to my sister, absolutely terrified. I told her to come down and take a look. She came down and we both realized it wasn’t my bed. We didn’t know who’s bed it was, or how I was getting the signal. Obviously it was the Av receiver picking up a camera signal, but we were just so confused as to who/what it was for?
Eventually my parents came home, and we concluded that it would have to be a neighbor, or someone living close by, for us to be receiving the signal. We waited around until about 6pm, and then someone came into the room.
My dad recognized it as one of our neighbors. We still didn’t know what the camera was for, but we assumed it had something to do with fidelity. Either his wife or he had set it up to watch the other and see if they were cheating. Either this, or it was to tape themselves having sex. We entertained the idea that he was a murderer and would film himself murdering people in his room, but just to freak each other out. We’d always make jokes about how one night we’ll turn it on and it’ll just be his face with clown make up on staring at the camera waving, and then him walking out of the bedroom with a knife. This never happened. But what did happen was still super creepy.
We connected to this signal for over a week, but after a few days the novelty kinda wore off. We felt a bit weird watching it, and just resigned to the explanation that it was to catch his wife cheating. Until one day, we turned it on, and realized what we had discovered.
Our neighbors were having a bunch of renovations done to their house. During weekdays they would be out, and there would be workers at the place pretty much all day. It had been like this for over a month. We started watching the feed and saw a man walk into their room. It was the plumber that had been there regularly for the renovations. We didn’t think anything of it, until he started opening drawers. I called out to my mum (only person home at the time) and we started watching it. He started getting the wife’s underpants and sniffing them, doing all that creepy shit. At first we were like “oh my god, how embarrassing, he’s being filmed. Will the neighbors see this somehow?” But then what happened next what truly terrifying.
He slowly walked over to the camera and look right down the fucking lens. We were CONVINCED that he knew we were watching. Mum immediately called dad. I kept watching. He started fiddling with it and then put it back down. I told mum that I don’t think he knew we were watching, but he’s definitely the guy that put the camera there. Dad came home, and by this time the plumber had left. Much to mum’s pleading, dad went over to the neighbors to tell them what we saw. Mum wanted to completely stay out of it and was terrified, understandably. When we told the neighbors, they had NO IDEA what we were talking about. They allowed dad to go up to their room, and what he found (that was holding the camera) was an installed device in the wall that was designed to monitor water usage (which was completely normal, at the time, as Brisbane had been hit with a drought recently and there were lots of water restrictions, still is now I think). The plumber had installed this into the wall, but had fitted a camera behind it in the wall to watch the bed.
Immediately they called the police, who came over and conducted an investigation. For the next week or so we didn’t hear much about it. I spent most of this time just telling my friends, showing them pictures, but truthfully my whole family was scared every night. It was just very creepy thinking that we could have stuff like that hidden in our house. Chances are we didn’t, but it was still really scary. After a couple of weeks my mum was speaking to the wife next door and asked what happened with it all. The wife said that the police found out he would, at nights, come to our street and sit in his car (which had really tinted windows) and watch them on his laptop. When mum told me this I got the BIGGEST shivers. The reason was (besides the obvious of a creepy dude sitting his car watching people through a hidden camera) was because on multiple nights, when I had driven home late from my girlfriends or walked home drunk after a night out, I remember seeing a station wagon (don’t know if thats what they’re called outside of Australia, but its like a big hatchback car) always about 30m down the street from our house. It was never there during the day, always at night. I’d always walk past it and look at my reflection in the windows, assuming no one was inside. I was always so confused by whose car it was but literally never thought it was anything.
It still scares me so much that it was just this creepy fucking plumber sitting back in there on a laptop watching a hidden camera stream of my neighbors.
Anyway, that’s my story. It’s all true, and still creeps me out to this day, but my friends and I have a good laugh about it.
9. Officer Schinken
I’m hoping this is vague enough to remain anonymous, because those involved are still out there somewhere, and I’d really prefer to not encounter them again. However, I will say that this happened in the USA. For reference, I am female, and I was twenty years old at this time — living in an apartment with my mom and little brother while I attended community college.
When we first moved in, the apartments were very well run, but within a short time the managers was transferred elsewhere, and his replacement did not have his skill at keeping undesirable types out. The police became a regular sight in our neighborhood, and it was rare a day would go by without seeing them.
The woman who moved in downstairs from us began openly dealing drugs. People would come and go at all hours, and leave stuffing little bags of various substances into their pockets (mostly weed, but definitely other stuff as well). They could not have been more obvious if they tried. And there was always a crowd of shady-looking men with large, unfriendly dogs hanging around the yard, or even sitting on our stairs. They’d act like it was a personal insult if we interrupted them to walk up or down our stairs, and would be generally quite intimidating.
The breaking point didn’t come until their customers started getting the wrong address and coming to our door instead. We’d be sitting in the living room and hear footsteps come up the stairs, and the doorknob would turn, and jiggle against the lock. We became religious about keeping the door locked tight.
One night I was home alone, and somebody started just beating on the door — not knocking, it was more like he thought it was a punching bag — all the while screaming barely-comprehensible obscenities. I grabbed the biggest butcher knife out of the kitchen and shouted through the door that I was calling 911, and he ran away. (In hindsight I probably should have actually called, but I was just relieved he’d gone, and since I hadn’t seen what he looked like at all, I figured it wouldn’t be much use). After that though, I always pushed the couch in front of the door before I went to bed.
Mom had had enough. She tried going to the manager first, and was met with a total lack of interest from her. So she decided there was nothing to be done but contact the police about it herself. So she called about it, and got off the phone looking happy, because they at least seemed to take her seriously, and promised to investigate.
The first sign of trouble came the next night. There was a lot of thumping and bumping downstairs, and a peek out the window showed people going in and out of the apartment, carrying cardboard boxes to a dented van on the street. Bright and early the next morning, the police raided the place — and, you guessed it. Clean as a whistle.
At first, we didn’t realize the implications of this. When it started back up again a few days later, Mom called the cops again….and the same thing happened. At this point we realized it probably wasn’t a coincidence. Somebody in the local police department was most likely tipping them off. One of the curses of a small town.
I was angry and disappointed, but at least we’d tried, right? It never hurt to try…
….Hah. I wish.
About a week later, I was getting ready for an evening class. I’d just gotten out of the shower, and I was in my bedroom in a bathrobe and picking out what I wanted to wear. I heard a loud banging on the front door but didn’t think much of it; we’d been expecting a package and the UPS man always knocked loudly. My mom’s footsteps went to answer it, and I hear her say something. I couldn’t make out the words, but her tone caught my attention, and I felt like something was wrong. I reached for my door, but before I could open it it flew open in my face.
All my shocked brain could grasp was HUGE MAN WITH GUN IN MY BEDROOM, before I was grabbed by the shoulders and flung to the floor. I honestly thought the druggies downstairs had come to get us once and for all. I thought I was about to be raped and murdered.
At this point I should mention, I’d had an issue with one of my wrists for years due to a childhood injury. I’d had it operated on twice, and this was not more than a few months after the second operation. Naturally, I managed to land with my full weight on that wrist, and something crunched horribly. I did what any tough person would do, and immediately burst into tears and sat there clutching my wrist waiting to die. I guess I must not have looked very threatening like that, because he stepped back a bit. And that’s when I saw the “POLICE” on the front of his vest.
The next few minutes were a bit of a blur. Somehow, I was herded out into my living room where my mom was, and the cop left without saying more than “Wait here!” I was completely dazed, Mom was pretty much having hysterics, and there was all kinds of shouting and activity going on outside. After a short while, the cop returned…. and informed us, (to paraphrase) “Sorry, wrong address. Shit happens, we can’t be perfect all the time. My name is Officer Schinken, here’s my card, you can call if you have any questions.”
And he left.
I went straight to the emergency room and spent the next two hours getting my wrist x-rayed and put into a splint, and then I went to math class, because I didn’t know what else to do, and I was terrified of being at home. Needless to say, I learned nothing whatsoever, but the support of my teacher and classmates was reassuring.
The next morning, somebody knocked on the door. When my mom answered, it was Officer Schinken again. When I heard his voice I started hyperventilating and went and hid in the bathroom, so I didn’t hear what was said, but I heard when Mom slammed the door. She was absolutely furious. I had never seen her look so angry. Apparently, good old Officer Schinken had brought along a carefully prepared document he wished for us to sign, that basically said we understood that it was all a terrible mistake, and that we would not be seeking legal action. She told him to go to hell and shut the door in his face.
Ten minutes later, the phone rang. It was one of the nurses at the emergency room, saying somebody claiming to be law enforcement had just come by trying to get copies of my ER visit records, but they didn’t have permission to release those, and if I wanted him to have them I’d have to come and sign the forms…
OH HELL NO. Further questions revealed that yes, the man matched Officer Schinken’s description, and furthermore, he had told the nurse that he was “NOT the officer involved” but was investigating the incident.
I started to find that pretty much everyone that I told my story to would get a funny look on their face and say, “This cop…was his name Officer Schinken?” And then they would launch into their own horror story about him.
My high school teacher said he shot one of her former students during a marijuana bust, and left him on the ground to bleed to death, but the other officer on the scene did first aid and saved his life.
One of our neighbors said he dragged said neighbor’s disabled uncle down a flight of stairs by his feet, hitting his head on every concrete step. Another neighbor said Officer Schinken pulled him out of the shower by his hair and held a gun to his head, over a parole violation.
And Google said he’d once been fired from Nearby City for shooting a handcuffed man in the head, killing him. He claimed it was somehow self-defense, and was fired but never charged with any crime.
The medical bills for the ER visit and such ended up being over seven grand, and I didn’t have insurance, so I basically had no choice but to file a suit. I found myself a lawyer and submitted a claim.
And that’s when the shit really hit the fan.
We started getting disturbing phone calls at all hours of the night. Sometimes just silence at the other end, or the sound of somebody breathing, and sometimes graphically sexual comments. When we stopped answering the phone, they’d just let it ring until the machine picked up, then immediately hang up and do it again.
My mom went to her car one morning and opened the door, only to discover the handle had been coated in some kind of caustic chemical. She washed it off quickly, but still ended up with burns and an emergency room visit.
I’d just gotten my permit and was out for driving practice, when it began to rain as I went down the highway. I flipped on the windshield wipers and discovered they’d been coated with grimy motor oil — it smeared across the windshield and completely obscured my vision. Fortunately the road was empty enough I was able to slam the brakes and pull to the side without getting in an accident.
Other things started happening too — less severe, but sinister given the context above. Somebody cut out a bunch of Metal Mulisha skull designs and tacked them to our wall or pushed them under the door at night (WTF? I still have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish). Furniture was stolen off the porch, my boots vanished when I left them out there, and, oddly, several pounds of weed in a plastic sack appeared on our porch one morning. (My mom called the manager to get it, without going outside. For once in her life the lady did something useful and actually fetched it and threw it in the dumpster).
I have never felt so helpless in my life. What was I going to do…call the police?
It was around this time that a friend who lived abroad suggested I come stay with him for a while for my own safety. I dropped out of school and left the country for six months while the lawsuit worked its way through the courts. My mother and brother moved in with family, and then to another town, without submitting a forwarding address.
Eventually my tourist visa ran out and I had to come home. I was a complete nervous wreck, and I ended up settling out of court for a relatively small sum of money just to make it be over.
My lawyer got a copy of the search warrant they’d used. It was riddled with grammatical errors and, and switched between my apartment number, 18, and the number of the unit down the street (25), at random. The ‘suspect’ was somebody with an entirely different name, who looked entirely different from any of us, and who had apparently sold some oxycontin pills. She lived in Unit 25. I saw a copy of her driver’s license. It said right on the front of it, in nice clear letters, “UNIT 25” as her address.
I don’t know, I have no proof. But it was obvious that somebody had been tipping off our drug-dealers downstairs, and I often wonder if the ‘wrong’ number on that warrant was not a mistake at all. Perhaps it was meant as retaliation for trying to get their friends in trouble.
I’ve now regained full use of my hand, which my doctor had told me might never happen. I no longer have a heart attack at loud noises, and I only feel slightly uneasy when I see police uniforms, rather than having full-on panic attacks. It’s six years later, and I’m only now beginning to reclaim my life, kick the PTSD, and going back to finish school. I feel like I lost the best part of my twenties to these jerks, and I’m still bitter about it.
I currently live “with friends” in an informal situation. My real address is not on any documentation, and I get all my mail in a PO box in another town. Depending on which document you’re looking at, I supposedly live in five different places scattered from one end of the county to the other. And I’m not going to change that until I move a lot further away from where this all happened.
As far as I know, nobody involved ever faced any sort of consequences.
10. In The Woods No One Can Hear You Scream
This is actually my step-mom’s/ her best friend’s story. I have my own but I’m so hesitant to drag some of them up I’m hoping telling someone else’s will open me to it a little more. My step mom didn’t like us much, but she told my sister (3 years older) and I this experience growing up to scare us out of being stupid. It was my family’s “stranger danger” story.
My stepmom (we’re going to call her Macy) grew up as a kind of a privileged teen in the 70’s and her mom had moved their family over here (the states) from England when she was about 9. She went to a pretty nice high school in a really nice town. There, she made friends with a girl (“Lily”) who didn’t exactly run with Macy’s type of crowd (popular, stereotypical, etc.) They really hit it off, and Lily would take Macy out to do her type of stuff: hiking, fishing, sailing (there’s even a hilarious set of pictures of them camping. My stepmom has raccoon eyes and looks like she hates everything.) Anyways, because of Lily’s influence, the two of them would do stuff like that a good amount.
One Sunday they decided to go hike in some hills about an hour away. Macy put on what I’m sure were her extremely expensive hiking shoes and the two of them drove off to the hiking trails. Lily parked in this big clearing with makeshift parking spots (you know, like a piece of wood marking the head of a space) but there were no other cars there. This was only important in hindsight.
They started hiking up the hill, off the path because Lily fancied herself as something of a badass. The hike was nothing extraordinary (if you asked my stepmom she would just lament for fifteen minutes how sticky and buggy it was.) Anyways, they reached the top of the hill and my stepmom was done. The polished, pampered side of her was coming out and she groaned until Lily (begrudgingly) said ok, they would rest and then walk down again, slower.
They had been heading down the hill for maybe ten minutes when Macy started bitching again. Lily conceded to walking down the side of the road instead of the rough hiking trail. So there they are, probably looking like a couple of tools geared up for hiking and walking down a crappy road, and after not even five minutes, a truck pulled up next to them.
It was red and rusty, and just generally looked like a clunker. The guy driving rolled down the window and the girls looked in through the passenger’s side window. He had a big beard, a baseball cap pulled down, and long brown hair. He greeted them and even smiled through his beard, asking if they needed a ride. Macy described him as charming, and even cute. Lily still says the moment he greeted them her hackles went up. Despite her better judgment, my stepmom convinced her to get in the truck. “It must only be a ten minute drive down to the car, tops.”
The two girls opened the passenger’s door to this rusty old thing, and the guy directed them behind the seat to get into the back. They settled in and the truck started rumbling forwards. Lily always says that was the point it hit her what a mistake they had just made. The backseat was clean enough but there was a rope on the floor behind the drivers seat and four boxes of saran wrap half hanging out from under the passenger’s seat. It seemed creepy and weird, but Lily didn’t want to freak my stepmom out so she just kept her mouth shut.
After ten minutes, the woods didn’t look any clearer, and they hadn’t seen another car the whole time. Lily asked how long he thought it would be. He said he was taking a different route down the hill and had to stop somewhere to get something first. That was it. The girls were 16/17, and Lily didn’t want to press the issue. She was scared. She can remember his hair because she was sitting behind him. He looked like a woodsy guy, but his hair was super tangled and dirty. She noticed crusted mud on his collar and tried to find something identifiable about him, but just got scared the more she picked up on little details. He was young-ish, strong looking, and had a 1’ on both of them. So they didn’t ask any more questions, and he didn’t offer any information, and they drove on.
Several minutes after that, they reached a tiny shack/log cabin looking place right there in a clearing of trees. There was an old stump where someone had been chopping wood and a huge axe stuck into the log. Lily was definitely on red alert now. The guy turned off the truck and slipped out of it, saying, “I’ll be right back. Don’t get out.” And he disappeared into the house.
Lily tried to talk to my stepmom about how she was incredibly uncomfortable but she mostly just dismissed it. Lily started begging, increasingly freaked out and finally put her foot down, demanding Macy exited the truck with her. So they got out and walked around the front of the vehicle. The house was about 50 yards in front of them (why this guy would have left two young girls in the truck alone while going into the house is beyond me) and they wandered around, looking at it, hesitantly. If this guy really was decent and just trying to give them a ride, it would be super rude to just run off right? My stepmom had this strict upbringing when it came to manners and a public persona and she saw it as an issue of that nature, so she actually started to head back to the truck, opening the front door to climb in behind the driver’s seat. Lily was pissed off and followed her to yell some more.
On the driver’s side floor, half hidden under the seat, there was a big hatchet. It had dried red/brown stains covering the blade and stuck to the floor under it. Lily understandably lost her shit and seeing it, my stepmom started getting hysterical. They decided that leaving was by far their best option at this point, and just booked it off the side of property into the trees. They bumbled around in the trees for a little while until Lily was fairly confident they were on their way back down the hill. My stepmom cried all the way down. Lily felt bad about it, but was also completely freaked out that he would heart it and kept trying to calm her down.
When they finally got back down to the bottom and saw the old wooden fence that surrounded the original parking area, they were relieved. But as they got closer they saw it. The truck. It was parked on the other side of the gravelly makeshift lot. Just sitting there, facing the other way innocently. They couldn’t see if anyone was in it and of course Macy wanted to run for the car, but Lily was super hesitant. She managed to calm my stepmom down; saying she wanted to wait before running out into the open, to see what was out there. Remember, this is the 70s. No cell phones. There was no ranger station or anyone around. The parking lot was big and empty and open and who knows what would have happened if they decided to stroll across it.
Thankfully Lily convinced my stepmom to chill and the two of them hunkered down against a big tree, hidden by bushes and other trees and waited it out for what was seemed to be a couple of hours, when dark started to fall. All the animals started coming out and making noises and my stepmom (predictably) started getting antsy about this and bothering Lily, who was tired and moments away from giving in. She was just planning their dash to the car when they heard a “clunk.” Across the twilight-lit lot, they watched as one of the back doors of their car swung open. And the bearded guy slid his way out of the backseat.
He got out, shut the door, looked around at the surrounding woods for several moments, and then walked back to his truck. The truck lumbered past their car and out of sight. Several minutes after watching him drive away, they sprinted to their car as fast as they could, jumped in and peeled out before they had even shut the doors.
11. A “Friend” Crashes On The Couch
This happened when I was in college. I lived in Isla Vista, the student community at UCSB, notorious for being a party school. It fully lived up to its reputation. I like to party, but holy shit! These people were off the wall. As such, there were a lot of people who put themselves in dangerous situations, drinking to excess, not being careful, not locking doors, etc. It had a very isolated and insular vibe, and anyone who was hanging around who wasn’t college-aged immediately looked out of place and strange.
One night after having a few drinks, I came home to my small house where I lived with 2 other girls, probably around 2:30am. We were all serious students (I was probably the least serious, actually), and when we partied it was not your typical UCSB mega-rager. More like a small get together with friends. We would often have a few people spend the night, sleep on our furniture our in our beds as the case may be.
That night my roommates had had a few people over who I didn’t know, and I saw when I returned home that one of them had opted to sleep on the couch from the shadow that I saw there (I didn’t turn the light so I wouldn’t wake anyone up). But as I was passing the couch to enter my bedroom, I noticed that the figure was lying very stiff. He just had this weird energy to him. He was lying down, but it was like he was putting all of his energy into lying as still and rigid as possible. I paused, and the guy quickly jerked his head to face me, without moving his limbs, so quickly that it startled me. I could see his wide open eyes glinting in the dark.
Figuring that I’d startled him or that he was drunk or maybe on some kind of stimulant and unable to sleep, I just hurried past into my bedroom and locked the door. the dude made me nervous and I wasn’t taking any chances. I fell asleep.
At 4:30 am I woke up. There was a strange sound at the door almost like somebody was drumming their fingers against the wood very quietly. I lay still and listened. There were more quiet sounds like someone scratching the door with their fingers, which got louder and louder until it was clear that he was using both hands and scratching as fast and as hard as possible. It created an extremely loud and intimidating sound that filled me with fear.
I got my cell phone and texted my roommate because I was afraid to make a sound. “Your friend is freaking me out, is he coked out? Can you talk to him? He’s banging and scratching on my door.”
She didn’t text me back, probably because she was asleep. I texted my other roommate to the same effect, covering all my bases. Keep in mind that the scratching has been going on at this point for a couple minutes. I have no idea how he could have sustained it, scratching a wooden door with your fingernails can’t feel good. He also grabbed at the knob and jiggled it super forcefully.
Because neither of them answered, I decided to call and really wake them up, though i was scared to make a sound. I know it sounds stupid but there was something seriously horrifying about being teased like this through the door. I knew that he was trying to terrify me. i felt like a little kid but I could tell this guy was fucked up or something and maybe the police needed to be called, and I wanted to loop my roommates in since it was one of their friends.
The scratching stopped abruptly and I called my roommate, who answered sleepily. “Yo, your friend is messed up, can you please deal with it? Do we need to call the cops? He’s seriously scaring me and he was scratching at my bedroom door, really fucking weird.”
She didn’t say anything for several seconds and when she did speak, her voice had no sleepiness in it at all. “What friend?” She said. “That fucking guy that was sleeping on the couch!” I said. She was quiet again. “We didn’t have any guys over,” she said. “Call the police.” My adrenaline surged and I told her to please lock the bedroom door as quickly as possible. I realized that I hadn’t heard scratching in a while and I had no clue where the dude had gone.
Suddenly I heard a loud banging in the other end of the house, where my roommates, Lauren and Monica, shared a bedroom. The bangs were followed by the sound of them screaming in fear. I quickly dialed the police as this maniac proceeded to bang against the (luckily) locked bedroom door of my two roommates as they screamed. The heaviness of the blows left no doubt that he was trying to break the door down.
I’d told the 911 operator the situation and she’d dispatched two squad cars.
The police in Isla Vista are generally used to peeling drunks off the sidewalk and breaking up brawling frat bros. This was really serious and strange and I think the dispatcher got the sense from my tone how terrified I was, and she stayed on the phone with me. At one point the banging stopped and everything was quiet for a while. I talked with the dispatcher and suddenly looked down to see that this guy had slipped his fingers through the 1-inch gap between my door and the floor and was just kind of waggling them around, making this weird growling sound. I screamed and backed away, which is my biggest regret about this situation, since when I look back it would have been so awesome to just stomp the shit out of those fingers and hear the guy howl in pain.
When the cops rolled up, I heard running and the sound of our sliding glass door opening and closing, and then he was gone. The cops never caught him.
He had broken in through our side door by jimmying the lock somehow. My door was covered in what turned out to be huge gauges he’d made using a pair of scissors, which he discarded on the ground before he left.
What terrifies me most about this was that I walked right past him. I looked him right in the face. I realize now that he was not trying to sleep or on drugs, but was lying so stiff like that because he was hiding. He probably heard me open the door, and freaked out because he hadn’t realized there was another girl living there, and tried to blend into the couch in the darkness.