Thought Catalog

67 True Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

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Tony Ciampa

Making toast

“Making toast late one night facing the kitchen bench eating for a good 5-10mins. Cleaned up and turned around and every single cupboard door and cutlery drawer were open. They were all closed when I went into the kitchen, and there was no way anyone could have snuck in and done it because I was home alone. I also didn’t hear them open in the time I was there. Scared the shit out of me so I froze, let it register for a few seconds, then calmly closed everything and went back to my room to hide until daylight. One of a few weird things to happen growing up.” — bables08

Pig mask

“Our old house was on a corner, and in lieu of a backyard had a side yard, with a small deck that wrapped around the back. The dining room had patio doors that lead out to the back and we would have BBQs and such back there.

When I was about 14, we only had one desktop computer and one laptop for the family. My brother and I would fight over the desktop (that’s where Diablo 2 was installed!) so I would use the laptop to write music.

On one particular night, my brother had a friend over and they were downstairs doing whatever and I was at the dining room table on the laptop.

As I was wrapped up in my writing, I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings.
I heard a knock on the patio door, which startled me. I looked up, expecting my brother or his friend (the basement had a door that lead to the back deck as well.)

Standing at the door, and waving was a person (could not tell sex or age) wearing a Halloween pig mask.

Thinking it was my brother or his friend I mouthed “good one” and gave the person the finger and they walked away.

As soon as they left I went downstairs to give them shit, and to my surprise and dismay… They were both sitting on the couch playing PlayStation. They swore up and down it wasn’t either of them, and there was no way one of them would have had time to get downstairs and unmask before getting on the couch.

To this day, I have no idea who it was that knocked and waved.” — shanster925

Last day on earth

“I worked from 2pm – 11pm at a gas station In one of the nicer cities around here and I had a gentlemen look me in the eyes and ask if I’m enjoying my last day on earth? Walked away before I could answer.” — atStevens98

“I’m still here”

“I came home pretty late one night and my roommates bedroom was shut and I assumed she was sleeping already but I saw something out of the corner of my eye in the kitchen, I said her name but she didn’t answer. I didn’t think anything of it so I walked into my room and before I turn the light on something whispered “I’m still here.” I turned on the light in my room but nothing was there so I turned on every light in my house and knocked on my roommate’s door and eventually opened it but she wasn’t there so I left her light on too and slept with all the lights on. When she came back the next morning I asked her if she was messing with me and she started crying and said she left because something was in the house messing with her and she had to get out.” — charmaine369

👻 You can read 101 of the scariest (and shortest!) true stories in our new collection, 101 True Scary Stories to Read in Bed Tonight, available here. 👻

Raising a serial killer

“We (me, my wife and my 3 yo son) are sitting in the food court at Costco. There is another family with a ~4-5 yo girl sitting behind us. My son looks at me and says “Do you see that girl over there…..I’m going to teach her a lesson.”

So I am taken aback for a second then I think he must intend to teach her numbers or some other normal thing you teach people. So I ask what he is going to teach her. His response: “I’m going to teach her to drown.”” — HellscreamGB

They knew

“A family friend of mine used to work in private wealth management. One of her jobs was diversification of her clients assets on the stock market.

Out of nowhere she gets a call from a representative of one of her very big private clients to sell all the stocks of a big airline and move the liquidity somewhere else. No buts, and if needed they could sell in up to 5% below market as long as the shares are sold quickly.

This was extremely weird, as the stock price of the company was pretty stable, and specifically this clients portfolio was heavily hedged with this stake, but she didn’t think much of it – oftentimes her clients did this for personal reasons (such as having a bad experience on a plane of the company or etc).

Two days later one of her colleagues that she shared this peculiar story told her how the airline stock price started slowly but surely falling – some people were selling off their shares too, which were gladly bought by the market at increasing prices.

The next day AA Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the WTC in New York. The stock market was closed for another week.” — mdi5c0rd

Hello?

“I went camping by myself in Maine, one night I woke up at like 3am. Not being able to fall asleep I just laid there listening to the woods. Then I heard a faint hello…. I was petrified. I felt so vulnerable in the tent. I never figured out what it was.” — bromandude69

“Would you like to come live in my basement?”

“When I was 17 and worked in retail as a cashier, I had a very old couple come through my line buying a wok. The husband who was at least 85 started making conversation with me about the wok, and asked if I liked Chinese food.

“Yeah, I like Chinese.”

“Do you want to go out with me to get some Chinese?” He winks at me.

“N-no sir.”

“Oh. Well.” He looks a bit disappointed and turns to look at his wife who is on the phone with someone. “Would you at least like to come home with me and live in my basement?”

“…no.”

The rest of the transaction took place in terrified silence. His wife never said a word. I wonder to this day if he was trying to joke, because he sounded so sincere, or if he was suffering from dementia or something else that make him not realize how creepy that sounds to someone young enough to be your great grandchild.” — angelxdamian

Followed

“The summer after I graduated from high school, I left work early and went up to my parent’s cabin in northern Michigan. Spent that night at the beach watching the sunset. Once the sun went down and it became nearly pitch black (no light pollution) I got to my car and started driving down the highway (M22). After about 10 seconds of being at speed, there was an older Tahoe (late 90’s) that started riding my ass and flashing it’s high beams. So, I got up to about 60 in a 45. They were still on my ass.

I pulled off to the side road that my parent’s cabin is off of and they took the same turn. I thought this seemed weird cause there’s only about 30-40 houses on the road. So I went all the way to the end, which is usually a dead end but leads to a maintenance area for the golf course nearby. Truck was still following me. At this point I was freaking out because if I pulled into the house they’d know where we lived and they were still following close by.

I took a ton of random turns and the truck kept following every single turn for about 15 minutes. I finally had a chance to make a turn with traffic going through the intersection that gave me a few seconds of a head start. Pulled down a side street, went up 100 yards, turned off all of my lights and waited. Truck slowly drove by the perpendicular street and kept going. Booked it home, pulled my car around the side away from the main road, and pulled every curtain. For an 18 year old, I was scared as hell that night.” — SourTurtle

“Bark”

“This actually happened fairly recently. I was home alone one day with my dog and 2 of my friend’s dogs. Out of nowhere, they all start barking and looking up towards our loft.

As they’re quieting down, I hear someone in a mocking, calm tone say, “Bark.” They start going crazy again and I decide it’s time for a long evening walk.” — themanaroundhere69

The evil twin

“New Year’s Day, 1995. I was in the middle of 3rd year university, and a bunch of friends had come down to visit me and my roommate for the festivities. We were all pretty hungover from drinking the night before, and went out for the usual “nice day out, a bit chilly, I don’t feel so good” post-greasy-breakfast hungover stroll around the neighborhood.

Two of these friends were twin brothers. One of them, we hung out with all the time. The other we’d just met for the first time. He was pretty normal the night before, joining in the fun, but on this day, we were all hanging around a local basketball court shooting hoops with an old basketball we’d found in the grass, and this twin brother kept following me around all over the place with the creepiest grin I’d ever seen in my life. Staring right into the nether regions of my soul, the whole time.

I’d back away and join the group again, and he’d keep following me around. When we were walking back to the apartment, it was just me and him walking down the sidewalk behind the group, and he moved over in front of me, stared at me with that creepy look again, and fell down to his knees as if to worship me or something. I didn’t know what to do… “Hey buddy? You all right? We’re heading back now, right?” And so on. He wouldn’t say anything – he’d just be there on his knees, looking up at me with a clenched face and squinted eyes, as if he were looking directly into the sun or something.

Later that day, my roomie said he was tripping balls, so I thought nothing of it and moved on with my life. A few weeks later, we got a phone call from the twin brother we usually hung out with, and it turned out that this other twin brother went over to his aunt’s place with a knife and stabbed her 14 times. She didn’t die, but you know, still pretty bad. He had even called the police before going, because he knew he was going to do it but he couldn’t stop himself from doing it, because you know, “the voices” and so on.

The ensuing court case was widely covered in the media as this was a relatively smaller community where this sort of thing doesn’t happen on a regular basis. I was reading one of the articles and one of the testimonies was that this twin brother was severely schizophrenic and was hearing voices in his head. He believed to his very bones that his aunt was the devil, and that he had been commanded by God to go and kill her.

So, who was this “God” that told him to go kill her? Well, as the newspaper article described, it was a guy in a group he hung out with on New Year’s Day. Didn’t take me long to realize that he was talking about me.

This was 22 years ago. I know for a fact it was a mental illness, but just knowing that I had somehow “commanded” him to go kill his aunt stays with me to this day.” — catgotcha

Always look under the bed

“My great aunt lived way out in the boonies by an old southern prison. This was before most people had tv, so she had been listening to the radio and found out that a violent rapist had escaped from the prison nearby. She walked into her bedroom and had one of those old saggy mattresses and felt something under the bed. She said “something didn’t feel right” and she slowly got off the bed and called the police. When they arrived they found the rapist under her bed holding a knife from her kitchen. He told them he had been waiting for her to go to sleep so he could rape her and then stab her to death.” — northangerabby

Someone was there

“We were living with my brother in law and his two teens when i was pregnant. He has an elevated house on quite a bit of former hunting land, several miles down a county road.

My husband works 7-6 and BIL works offshore for 14 days. While he was at work, his kids stayed with their grandmother. Nice house but it had a weird vibe. I chalked it up to pregnancy hormones.

One day, home alone i was taking a shower and felt someone staring at me. I stuck my head out and listened. Couldnt hear anyone in the house so i resumed my shower. A while later i heard the back door shut. I was standing in the kitchen and could see the door (which had no steps and was 6′ from the ground). Door was still locked.

I told my husband about it that night and he shrugged it off. We locked down and went to bed. I dont know how long id been asleep but i woke up to the blankets being yanked off the bed and my husband flipping on every light in the house. He threw open every door, every cabinet, looked in every pantry or closet while holding his handgun. I asked what was going on and he swore he heard boots thumping through the house and someone talking. Everything was still locked and its not a big house. Nobody was there except us.

One night, a while later, my niece came into our room (her dad worked over and we had them for a few days) and asked to sleep in bed with us. Now, this girl isnt scared of anything and is 14 at the time. I sat up, told my husband to scoot over, and patted my pillow. Thats when i noticed her 16 year old brother curled up under a blanket on the floor beside me. “Why are you both in our room at 2 in the morning?”

They didnt want to answer at first but explained that something in my nieces room laughs at night. I hated that room when we moved in, and put up any laundry i did quickly in there. I asked my nephew why he was on the floor and he said, “She came into my room on the cot to sleep but something started knocking on the door. We came down here as soon as it stopped.”

Again, husband flipped on every light, looked in every nook and cranny. Nothing.

Eventually we moved out, and the kids decided to live full time with grandma. My husband said he heard a man laughing in my nieces room, but there was nobody there when he turned on the lights. Scared the shit out of him.” — KNSF

I was almost a hostage

“I was walking down the street when I saw a rusty nail in the road. I picked it up and threw it into an empty house’s yard (not helpful I know). After I threw the nail a man came out of what I thought was an empty house and shouted to me. I freaked out (thinking it was about the nail) and kept walking towards my house. The guy didn’t sound mad but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. He started following me to the street and gesturing me to come over but my gut told me to keep on walking. I get home and see from my house the empty house is now surrounded by cops (At this point I still think it’s about the nail). After awhile it gets worse and men in full gear show up.

I found out later that the house was indeed empty, the men inside were known criminals, and I very much almost ended up a hostage.” — duckyblinders

We found a leg

“While cutting lawns along this bike trail, me and a coworker found a mostly decayed, severed from the knee down, leg.

Cops were called, they questioned us and we never found out any more about what happened.” — phome83

2am

“Years ago (early 90’s), my boyfriend was driving me home and we saw a man lying on the ground in the strangest position. Kneeling, with his head on the ground and bent at a sharp angle so that he faced the street. It was two in the morning and the man was covered in sweat with his eyes open. We pulled over and I hopped out of the car to check on this guy. His eyes were wide open and he seemed like… his face wasn’t moving, but it really felt like he was pleading for help. He didn’t respond at all when called out to him. No blinking, glassy eyes. I reached out to touch him and he was ice cold. I’m sure he wasn’t breathing.

This was before cell phones, so I hopped back in the car and we sped back to my house to call 9-1-1. Ten minutes later, the police called back to ask for the cross streets again. Apparently, they arrived at the corner and there was nothing there. I verified that they had the right spot and they said they would call back if they needed any more information. That was the last I ever heard about it. I checked the newspaper for the next few weeks, but we never found out anything else about that man.” — thelivingroad

“He’s biting daddy”

“My 3 year old, who is normally very happy go lucky, was extremely concerned the other day. He kept looking around the room talking about “the rhino” (who knows what a 3 year old might translate as a “rhino”). This went on for about 20 minutes – he was very concerned and looking around the entire time. So, we get to a point where he says the rhino is moving. My wife asks where the rhino is… “he’s coming to Daddy.” yeah, um, I’m Daddy and my ass puckered just a wee bit at that comment….

Fast forward about 4 days (last night), and he starts talking about “the ghost” – my daughter asks my son “where is the ghost”, my son says “he’s biting Daddy.”

What the actual fuck.” — Kahne_Fan

Scratching

“We had quite a large house, shaped like an L. But the L was cut into a hill, so the _ of the L had a downstairs, which was almost underground. It had windows facing out but alot was either in the hill, or under another floor.

I had the room on the bottom part of the L from 13 onwards. My room had two doors, one that opened out to a kind of rumpus room, and one to an ensuite. It was always creepy as fuck, but being a skeptic, I dared anything there to do something to me. Grew up fine, but I could never sleep unless both doors were shut. When my parents went away, I’d break the rules and bring my dog in to sleep on the bed. I woke a few times late to see her alert and staring at the door to the rumpus room. Occasionally id hear a clawing at the screen on the window, but we had dogs, cats, horses and the local bush turkeys, foxes, etc. I figured if something was there that shouldnt have been my dogs would’ve gone ballistic.

Fast forward 5 years bring a new girlfriend to my home to meet my parents. Slept in my old room – she woke up screaming between 12am-3am twice out of the three nights we stayed there. Have been with her 5 years since and it’s only happened in that room. She won’t sleep in the house anymore.

My parents let my younger sister move into the room about 4 years ago. She asked me recently if i ever heard scratching on the window late at night. Both of the dogs we had, plus the cat and the horses are all dead, it being roughly 10 years later so the scratching is likely independent of the pets, unless the local animals are fucking with us. She also said she cant sleep unless both doors are shut and she’ll often put doorstops under both doors so she hears if either door opens.

She googled some stuff and decided to sage the room and said she’s had hectic nightmares since and woke up screaming late at night a few times. For reference, she was about 14 when the night terrors happened with my gf so we never told her. As i said, im a skeptic but it’s still pretty creepy.” — Torrossaur

Road rage

“I was ambling down an old country highway in NW Georgia on my motorcycle (750 Vulcan) when I spotted an ambulance coming the opposite way. I pulled over, and a pickup truck pulled over behind me. In my rear-view mirror I see the passenger get out with a baseball bat and start hustling my way. I didn’t even look, just dropped it into gear and hauled ass. What followed was the most harrowing experience I’ve had in life as this pickup truck proceeds to chase me all over the place for about 20 minutes. I’m unfamiliar with the area and my bike was not meant for going fast around turns, so I’ve got no room for error and it’s all I can do to stay out in front of these guys. I’m blowing through four-way intersections in a bid to get some distance and come up with a plan, but they are hell-bent on catching me. I finally manage to get pointed towards the highway and into the cover of other cars, but then traffic stops on a bridge. The truck is three cars behind me, and I’m thinking if I can just get out to the highway I’m probably home free because my Vulcan can go fairly fast in a straight line. In my mirrors I can see that passenger snaking through the cars on the bridge, so I lane split (illegal in GA) and make the on-ramp, hammer down and I’m gone baby gone.

Never went back to that town. As far as I know this was an unprovoked attack of the hillbilly variety, because prior to the ambulance I hadn’t even seen another vehicle, I don’t ride particularly fast, and I don’t believe in loud pipes. I got lucky as hell, seeing him come up behind me like that.” — luckygiraffe

3am walk

“I am fairly small for a guy. I stand at around 5’5” and the most I’ve ever weighed was around 150lbs. About 6 or 7 years ago I didn’t have my license despite being far old enough to drive, but a good buddy of mine wanted to hang out. He too did not have a way of transport, so we decided to both walk towards one another and meet in the middle. We would both be walking ~5 miles. It was 3am on a cold winter night and I was wearing a black jacket with my hood up.

About 2 miles into my hike along the main road, a car pulled into a parking spot of a home I was passing, just a few feet behind me. He wasn’t entirely into the driveway, almost half way hanging out into the road. I half expected it was just a kind stranger wanting to give me a ride, but I wasn’t about to take any rides from anybody. I kept pacing forward and ignored the car behind me, expecting them to roll down a window and shout at me. It didn’t happen. The car just sat at the edge of that drive way, running but completely dark inside to the point that I could only barely make out the figure of a large man.

I don’t typically get frightened by much, but something in the air made me tense up and my heart kind of dropped to my stomach. I stopped and turned to look at the car. I had a feeling that the person driving was watching me intently.

The figure in the car was definitely facing me; I could see the reflection from his dash bouncing off of his eyes. I stared back. I figured he was about to yell out to me, but he just sat quietly in a strangely menacing way that I have only ever seen scenes in movies play out. I kinda did a wave at the figure, letting him know I saw him and waited for some type of communication in return. He didn’t budge, just stared intently. I returned to pacing away, slightly brisker.

After just a few moments I could hear the car slowly roll in reverse, so I turned to face it but kept pacing backwards. The car kept creeping, slowly. I pulled down my hood and stood still again, waiting for him to pass me.. but instead the man slowed to a stop beside me. The passenger side window rolled down, and the man and I met eyes.

No words were exchanged at all, and before I could even let out a “hello?” the man grimaced and accelerated away at a decent pace; almost as if he was disappointed by what he had seen.

It doesn’t seem like much from how it reads, but I’ll never forget how tense that interaction was for me. I’ve not felt anything like it since.” — babyfacedjanitor

Haunted supermarket

“I work in a supermarket, early shift, and part of my job is changing the shelf labels for the price changes each day. Just this Wednesday gone I was putting new labels on a shelf of hand soap when, about two foot along the shelf from me, a bottle shot off and landed in the middle of the aisle. I looked along the aisle at my colleague and she just shrugs her shoulders and says “happens all the time!”

I’ve never directly witnessed anything else but, being one of the first on the shopfloor each day, I’m now questioning all the items that I see sitting in the aisles first thing and guessing I can’t blame untidy customers for them all.” — NiteliteBunnyFrite

Weird guy

“My sophomore year in college I ran into this guy that was a year younger than me. Let’s call him Mitch. Mitch and I we’re acquaintances that ran in the same circles. He was a nice guy. Smart. And quiet. At parties he would fold these really cool 3d shapes in the corner instead of interacting. He would always just…watch everybody.

Anyway, I ran into him at a bus stop and I stopped to say hello. We had an awkward chat about our majors (him physics, me chE) and I asked if he had any contact with a mutual friend that went into the army. He said yes and I said ‘Great! Could you pass him my number!’

He opened his wallet and pulled out a piece of paper, the only thing in there. It had my name, university address, and phone number.” — clavalle

Murder basement

“I work as a cable tech. I once went into a basement that I still have nightmares about. There was a single pull sting type light in the center of the room so I couldn’t really see much until I turned it on, but the walls down the stairway were covered in old newspaper. I am used to dark basements so going to turn on the light I was not prepared for what I saw. All the walls were covered in newspapers. Everyone of them was a headline about a tragedy or a murder. There was a black and white framed picture on the wall, and below it was a large child sized porcelain doll propped up in a rocking chair with a super old looking cradle beside it. I stayed and did my job but I still can’t shake that feeling of… something… when I think about it.” — invalid_turkey

The matrix

“Every few months, in a department with over 20 women, we’d all come in in nearly identical outfits. It was odd. We were all ages and races and styles, but there’d be a day when everyone would show up in a black skirt and red blouse. A few months later, everyone in brown slacks and a cream colored dress shirt. A few months later, gray skirt and black sweater. We could never figure out the trigger (tv show character looking fly in that outfit the night before, a visitor to the building who appeared polished…nothing). Always creeped me out, as it seemed to represent some sort of group think or collective consciousness working on us.” — streamstroller

Please don’t do this at home

“This is a story from my mother. She was home alone for a while and was expecting a friend over, and was taking a shower. In case her friend came while she was still showering she left a note on the front door that said “I’m in the shower, come on in!” While she was showering she heard a knock on the bathroom door, and she said “I’ll be right out!” When she got out of the shower nobody was there, and a few minutes later her friend pulled into the driveway. ” — SolaireLuvzEstusSoup

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