23 True Scary Stories That Will Keep You Up All Night

Here are some (true) scary stories people shared on a Reddit thread.
Celeste Lindell
Celeste Lindell

The bad ‘mailman’

“When I was maybe 10-11 I was home sick from school, and was on the couch watching tv when the doorbell rang. It was the mailman, who told me that we had gotten a package, but it was so big that he needed help carrying it. I wasn’t that old, but I knew right away something was wrong.

I asked him where his truck was, because I didn’t see it parked out front. He kept telling me it was around the corner. I asked him why the regular mailman (who always brought lollypops) wasn’t here, and I was told he was visiting family. He kept telling me to open the front door, but I politely told him that I wasn’t feeling well and that I wasn’t allowed to leave the house. I told him we would pick up the box from the post office, and he was telling me how much of a hassle that would be, and how my mom would want me to do her this favor. I told him that I would come outside, but that I had to get my shoes from upstairs first. I closed the front door, and locked it. Then I ran through the house and locked the back door and called my neighbor who worked from home. She was a close family friend, and I called her up screaming into the phone that she had to come over right now.
Then I stood at the locked front door, and stared at the man through the window in the door. He saw me staring and yelled through the door asking if I found my shoes, so I yelled to him that I called my neighbor to help carry it because she’s older and stronger. He just turned around and ran.

They never caught him. I always wondered if he ever managed to trick some other kid.” — staticzapper

Almost kidnapped

“I nearly got kidnapped. When we were around 7 years old my friends and I would go play at the park near my house. We lived in a really secluded area, the type where you leave your front door unlocked at night and what not. It was starting to get dark so we all started heading home. I would take a path behind the ball fields while everyone else would go right out the parking lot into the street to head home. I got to the furthest point of the park where a side street leading to the street I lived on when a middle aged man started walking towards me. I could see his SUV parked on the side of the road, he called out to me asking if I wanted to see his new puppies in the back. I said no because I needed to get home before it got really dark. Years later I had a “holy shit” moment when I realized I could’ve gotten kidnapped.” — BANANA_IN_MY_UTERUS

Alone in the house

“This is true and I wish I could figure out a logical explanation for it.

I misplaced a pair of earrings I really liked. Nothing special; $19.99 at Target but I wore those earrings all the time.

Couldn’t find them and looked everywhere. I especially looked in, around, under and behind my bed, because I have a habit of taking them off as I’m going to bed and tossing them on the nightstand.

Three days go by and no luck. I’m getting ready for a date, alone in the house. Still thinking about those earrings and miffed that I couldn’t wear them.

Right before my date shows up, I go back into my bedroom. The earrings are there, on my pillow. To this day it still creeps me out.” — tidderor

Don’t get out of the car

“I was driving a shortcut from Twentynine Palms, CA to Albuquerque, NM. Twentynine Palms is located in the desolate high desert east of LA. The shortcut was all two lane road through total nothingness, except for passing through Amboy, CA. Amboy is a nearly abandoned town nearly as far below sea level as Death Valley, with a dormant volcano and lava field on one side and a salt flat on the other. It was also, at the time, a hotspot for satanic group activity.

So I was driving by myself in the afternoon. I stopped in Amboy and snapped a picture of the city sign, just to prove I was there to friends who dared me to take that route to I-40. I got back in my car and proceeded to drive up into the mountain range between Amboy and I-40.

Once I reach the top I am driving north through a canyon with high grass on both sides of the road. Up ahead I see some stuff in the middle of the road. As I approach I slow down to see a red Pontiac Fiero stopped sideways across both lanes, a suitcase open with clothes scattered everywhere and two bodies laying face down in the road, a man and a woman.

I stop a hundred feet or so away and the hair on the back of my neck is standing up. Being a Marine, I reach under the seat and pull out a 9mm pistol and chamber a round.

Something seemed very wrong, it looked too perfect as if it were staged. An ambush? Was I being paranoid? Something was just wrong. Getting out of the car seemed unthinkable, it was the horror movie move.

As I scanned the road I saw a line I could drive. Pass the guy in the road on his left, swerve to the right side of the woman, behind the Fiero and I’d be on the other side. I dropped it into first gear, punched it and drove the line I planned.

I passed the back of the Fierro without hitting it or either of the bodies in the road. I continued forward a couple hundred feet and slowed down so I could breathe and let my heart slow down. As I looked up into the rearview mirror I saw that the two bodies had gotten up to their knees and twenty or so people emerged from the tall grass on either side of the road by the car and bodies.

At that moment my right foot smashed the gas pedal to the floor and did not let up until I had to slowdown for the I-40 east onramp.

I will never know what would have happened to me had I gotten out of the car to check on the bodies or stopped my car closer to them. Somehow I do not think it would have been good. Sometimes real life can be scarier than a movie.” — aquabuddhalovesu

Always trust your gut

“This happened to a friend of mine a few days ago: One night this girl was walking around the city when she started to suspect she was being followed. She went into a hotel lobby to try and shake the guy off. She told the staff what was happening, and they insisted on calling the police. The police finally find him and take him for questioning. They check surveillance footage to see if he was actually following her, he was, and they arrest him. The next day, they get a positive DNA match for a number of crimes around the city.

Turns out he was the murderer around Leeds who has killed 3 people in the last 3 weeks.” — Cuora

Russell Bernice
Russell Bernice

The people in the road

“Once when I was still too young to drive my mom came to pick me, my sister, and our friend up from a concert at a local bar. It was around 2AM as we’re driving back to our neighborhood which was in the middle of bum fuck no where. (Seriously, we didn’t even live close to the city limits). There weren’t any streetlights near our neighborhood, or really for a five mile span around where we lived, so it was always pitch black. We’re driving along this street when we come up over a hill, and my mom starts slowing down.

Naturally, we start asking her why we’re slowing down and she points ahead to the road at the bottom of the hill and tells us she’s trying to figure out what’s happened up ahead. We look, and all I can see is this huge mass of people walking around in the middle of the road, completely blocking it. Someone even had a torch, I shit you not. My mom slows down almost completely and starts flickering her lights, hoping they’ll move… But they don’t.

So she did a quick u-turn and we went a different way. To this day I still have no idea what those people were doing.” — krollmeister

Don’t go into the cellar

“I lived in an old farm house that was over 150 years old in the 1990’s and at some point had been used as a headquarters for union troops in Northern Va. Lots of creepy shit happened there, but this is the shortest story I’ve got. The house had a stone cellar, divided into two rooms and it always made me uncomfortable going down there to get anything for my parents. One day I was asked to find some menial object that was in the cellar, and I knew it would be in the room with the boiler in it, the room that also had a dysfunctional light. So I made my way into the basement and low and behold the damn light wouldn’t turn on, but the object I needed was within the frame of light reaching into the blackness of the room through the doorway. So I walked a few steps into the room, grabbed the object and randomly glanced around. In the corner of the room was a dark shadow about 6 ft in height, and humanoid in shape. No worries though, my dad kept his 6 ft tall John Wayne cutout in the basement, so that had to be it. I calmly turned to my left and nearly jumped out of my damn skin as I came face to face with John Wayne just inside the doorway and leaning against the wall. I spun on my heels and stared into an empty corner where the dark shadow had been only moments before, and sprinted my ass out of that cellar. I refused to go down into the basement for at least a month after that happened.” — hughwouldnotbelieve

Stumbling across something you shouldn’t see

“My friend and I were both 17 and driving around the Mississippi country around 2 in the morning during the spring time. We were in the middle of no where and only cow fields were in sight. I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out what we were up to.

So we’re both starting to feel good about the bounty the country side was offering when were were driving down this tree lined, fenced country road. Up ahead the tree line on the left started thinning out as we could easily see another road that ran perpendicular into ours. The tree line gave out and we could see a fair way down the other road and a white truck was suddenly visible.

As soon as the truck came into view, a pistol’s gunfire shot out of the driver’s side aimed into the ditch. The truck was far away enough that I couldn’t tell if he was shooting at anything, but no matter because his reverse lights came on to intercept us. I floored my 10 year old Honda Accord and the engine started sputtering, trying to pick up speed. The slight incline I was driving up wasn’t making efforts any easier.

The truck flew in reverse up his road onto ours and began shooting at us. We were maybe an eighth of a mile away and bullets were flying all through the trees. It took forever to crest the hill and my heart never stopped pumping. The car never stopped accelerating however much it wanted to resist. We broke every single traffic law in the hour and a half it took to get back home. Many times I’ve wondered what he could have possibly been shooting at in the ditch. A body? I don’t know, but whatever it was it apparently warranted him shooting at us as well.” — sushininja

The Strangers

“I had just finished watching The Strangers in my friend’s home theater. I was driving home with my buddy, thoroughly freaked out. We like in butt-fuck nowhere… no lights, no people, nothing but trees on this road. Of course, it had to be overcast and rainy that night too.

Anyways, we had just crested a hill when he noticed something at the bottom of the hill. I high-beamed as I slowed down, seeing nothing but three pairs of eyes seemingly floating. In our pussy state, we freaked out. He yelled, “IT’S THEM!” I punched the gas and took off down the hill at the sets of floating eyes. Yeahhhhh it was 3 deer. I’m a pussy.” — nate800

He was a murderer

“A fat dude was walking his dog around our neighborhood. He would follow me and a friend around. When we stopped and turned around, he would stop and look away. We bolted. I called the cops, and an officer came to my house and asked me what happened.

A neighbor of mine saw man come up out of the woods, and asked about where the creek was located. My friend said just to follow the path. He asked, “Can you show me.” My friend, being a little naive, was about to go with him. Fortunately his Mother was outside on their back deck and yelled at him.

Another kid in my area was found dead one day with multiple stab wounds. He went to school with me, and it was haunting hearing about how he was found dead. (Here’s the news story.)” — ethanwc

Rob Walker
Rob Walker

He wanted to take me home

“I was in a gift shop when I was around 13 and my family had gone to the bathroom. All the sudden, I heard this noise behind me. It was this old guy, who I swear looked exactly like Charles Manson-swastika forehead tattoo, crazy eyes, long scraggly hair and beard, etc. He was looking right at me, playing with this noisemaker thing for sale. He walked over to me and said, “Would you like anything? I will buy you anything you like. Just come with me.” I smiled nervously and walked away, but he followed me and told me he’d like to take me home. I walked away; the guy was about to follow me, but then he saw my mom come out of the bathroom and he bolted. To this day I’ve never told my parents.

Maybe he was just a nice old man. But, after pondering for a while, I came to the conclusion that nice old men do not try to bribe young girls into coming home with them.” — therealabefrohman

The Asylum

“My best friend’s mother growing up told me a story that I have never ever been able to forget.

They have a good amount of mental illness in their family, and when she was a little girl she had to go visit her grandmother at the asylum pretty often. On one of these visits, while walking down the hall to her grandmother’s room, she heard a strange noise come out of one of the rooms.

When she turned to look, she saw a woman sitting on her bed. The woman had pulled her eyes out of their sockets and they were just hanging there.

She screamed and was rushed away, and never went back. Flat out refused, said she had nightmares for years.” — deleted

Night visitor

“About a year ago I was lying in bed drifting off to sleep with my wife, asleep, cuddled up to me on my left side like she always does. I reached that point where I could feel my conscious mind begin to fade (that point where unless you jar yourself out of it, you won’t remember it, but if you do, then you’ll remember it.) All at once I feel a slight chill on my right side, and I hear some sort of weird slow “whispering” that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up (it sounded like someone whispering something backwards, slowly.) I was immediately awake and my eyes darted around the very poorly lit room, but I saw and felt nothing. I shrugged it off and went back to sleep.

The next morning I’m getting my coffee and my wife mentions a very strange dream that she had last night, right after she fell asleep. I asked what she dreamed, and she told me: “I dreamed I was lying in bed next to you, in our apartment just like normal, except I was awake. I felt a strange presence so I looked up and, standing at the foot of the bed was my friend Adam (not real name). He looked at both of us, then crawled up onto the bed and started whispering in your right ear. I thought it was a really weird dream.” Oh ya, her friend Adam killed himself about 6 months prior to this.” — Kaleb1983

Walking home alone at night

One night I was walking home from my friends house down the street. We lived in a very suburban neighborhood and it was not in a bad area, so it just seemed safe to walk home in the dark, I wasn’t worried.

I was about half a block from my house when an old white car started driving really slow behind me. I picked up the pace a little and the car pulled up next to me, driving along side of me. The passenger window rolled down. It was 2 black men, and I shit you not, the driver was wearing a purple suit and some kind of purple hat, and the guy riding shotgun wasn’t wearing a shirt (he could have been naked for all I know). The driver yelled at me to get in the car as the passenger grabbed my arm and started to pull me towards the car.

Luckily, I had been playing with a stick on my way home and I shoved it into the window of the car in the mother fuckers face as hard as I could, he let go, and I booked it. I ran through the woods until I got to my house.

Called the cops, they were useless and told me to not walk around at night alone. Thank you Raleigh PD.” — deleted

The truck

“Most terrifying thing to happen to me was when I was about 19 years old, I was driving home from my then boyfriends place at about 2 am, in my town we have what we call the loop basically a freeway that makes a big circle around the city, as I am driving the loop is deserted very common late night on week days, well I come up on this old beat up brown truck with a camper on the back going about 45-50 mph 15 miles under the speed limit, so I decided to pass him next thing I know I look in my rear view mirror and see this truck right on my bumper forcing me to go faster and faster, I am in a panic by this point and as I am watching him I notice he has some cheap ass blue and red flashing light on his dashboard, obviously trying to trick me into thinking he is a cop.

I was thankfully smarter than that, I decided to not take my exit to my house so he can’t see where I live, in my panicked state I decided to call my older brother and parents to hopefully wake up and be waiting for me to pull up in case he followed me home, instead of calling the cops (I live in Texas, so naturally my parents owned guns, my logic was dad in the yard with a shotgun) after no luck reaching my family I just did my best to outrun him, thankfully we came up on some cars on the loop which gave me a perfect opportunity to pass them as kick as I could and take the next exit, I thought I finally lost him and took the turn around back towards the direction I needed to go to get home when I see him coming up behind me again, I continued to drive up the access road and watched him get back on the loop then exit on to the access road again, he followed me all the way to the light but instead of going right he went left. I just sat and stared at the truck for a few seconds before turning and hauling ass down the road toward my street, I decided it was best to weave through the neighborhoods by my house to make 100% sure he wasn’t following me home, I immediately ran to wake up my parents to call the cops, who were no help until I told them he was trying to act like a cop and pull people over. I always thought something like that would never happen to me, and if it did I would be smarter about it and actually call the cops first thing, but when its happening you lose your head a bit, luckily I was level headed enough to not break down crying and do what I could to outrun him.” — ms_danger_07

National Park Service
National Park Service

Someone was in the attic

“My grandma told me this story a couple times. Her old house, like some other people mentioned, was in the kind of neighborhood where people left their front doors unlocked. The house was a split level, which is like three steps to the next level. So she was on the second level, taking a nap, on the other side of the house from the backdoor. She woke up to the dog, a well trained German Sheppard, whining and barking next to her. She got up, felt a cold draft through the house, and went to the back of the house and noticed that the attic stairs had been pulled down from the ceiling. She then noticed that the backdoor was open. It had been raining outside and there were no footprints from the attic to the backdoor, so my grandma figured someone must have been up in the attic, pushed the stairs down, and left. The thing that creeps me out the most is just the thought of some stranger being in the house without you knowing or seeing.” — jordangnar

There road that wasn’t

“We were driving on a motorcycle to a friend’s place in northern CA, neither of us had been there before. We had directions (this was way before GPS and cell phones), but at one point, there was a fork in the road. No mention of fork in directions. We choose one at random, and immediately felt this creepy, weird vibe. I’m begging SO to turn back, he keeps saying, ‘no it must be around this next corner’. Finally he agrees, turns back, we take the other fork. Find friends house in about 3 minutes.

The really creepy part is our friends assure us there is no fork in the road. We explore it over the weekend, no fork anywhere.” — ChiliFlake


“When I was in third grade during spring break my family went down to Atlanta to watch my cousin play football.

When his game was over all I here are three big bangs and people running and screaming.

Not realizing what was happening, my dad quickly rushed me in the car and to my cousin’s house.

The last thing I see is a guy on top of a hill and a woman dead on the floor. I swear I pissed my pants. The next day on the news it was revealed that a man started shooting up the area with one person dead. Since that day, I could never look at a dead body in a video game the same way again.” — JamesHeller1234

Beach picnic

“I live in Jacksonville Beach, Fl and my hubby and I were walking on the beach at night, looking to find some place romantic for some sexy times. We can see in the distance a blanket and basket sitting on the shore. We wander over and find what we think, is the left overs of a romantic picnic. It has some fruit, wine and some candles burnt out. Then we see some feathers. And the waves crash in and a decapitated chicken corpse washes up, clearly beheaded. We suddenly realize this isn’t a romantic picnic, its the remnants of some kind of voodoo ritual. We ran away. It scared the crap out of us.” — artist9120 Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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