22 Campers Reveal The Most Terrifying Creatures They’ve Ever Run Into

Before you pack your bags to go camping, you should really read these stories from Ask Reddit. They might convince you to stay inside. It’s safer in there.
Unsplash, Andrea Boldizsar
Unsplash, Andrea Boldizsar

1. A man threatened to rape me

“My friends always think my canister of bear spray is for bears… I really have it for the people I run into after a particularly terrifying incident with an off the grid ‘resident’ of one of the local mountains. He told me to get off his property and I told him it was a marked trail, in books, on maps, and part of the city district. He got aggressive and asked me, “Do you want to get raped, little girl?” Nope. Not today, not ever. I didn’t run away, exactly, but I made it back to my car in record time all the while looking behind me every three steps. Other people are far scarier and unpredictable than wild animals, but that’s just my opinion.” — casual-nipples 

2. We came across a faceless woman

“Living in SoCal one of our favorite past times is hiking, of course. Looking for a new trail on the Internet we come across Altadena Haunted Forest. Now it looks cool and seems naturey, so I’m down, also I didn’t believe in the whole haunted thing. So we get the squad, 8 of us (roommates, his GF and her friends) and go and get there (thanks traffic) at 9 pm. Well we hike, everything’s cool, we see the city lights, nothing unusual, nothing scary. Well around 1 am we decide do go back, leave the forest an walk towards our car. Were walking downhill, and going up the hill comes a girl on a bike. She was black with dark hair and had a yellow plaid skirt and a shirt on…at 1 am in fall. As she rode closer though, nothing else seemed weird, but when I tried looking at her face, well there was nothing. Just like a blur or a black hole or something that sucks the light up. As soon as she passes us the 8 of us all stop, look at each other, and one of the girlfriend asks, “Could you guys see her face?” Well that was fun enough already, we just rode back ignoring her, but when we get home, or at least the next morning, I google that place and see that there are reports of faceless figures appearing around that forest. You know we didn’t go back…” — KUSH_DID_420

3. We heard a creature pacing around us

“I live in North Texas near a large wildlife refuge and a lake bigger than my hometown. One night I had a fantastic idea to go down the long gravel road to the dock with a female friend of mine. I’m from Texas, so I usually carry, but opted to leave my gun locked in the glovebox by the gate. About thirty yards into the trek, (the road was about two hundred yards to the dock) I hear an unnerving noise on my left. It was as if the earth itself growled and rumbled at me. I looked around frantically, trying to pinpoint the sound. Nothing. We stood still, waiting for it to resume. Instead we hear just heavy footsteps, not crashing or rustling like a bear or a pig does, but heavy pacing.

I turn to my friend and ask if she wants to go back. She didn’t know, but wanted to get out of there. So we keep on our journey to the dock with the unnatural growling/rumbling following us, coupled with the heavy paces. I’m terrified by this point, instinctively reaching for my right hip to find a blank space where a holster should be. I grab my pocket knife, and palm it aggressively. The rumbling continues, almost impacting the air with its weight. We hasten our pace and it matches ours, but never coming out of the woods to show itself. Finally, arriving to the dock she sprints out to the edge and I grab a handful of rocks and go sit beside her.

For the next fifteen minutes it circles the area around the dock landing, emanating the rumbles and growls. Nothing we can do, it’s dark, I have no firearm and we can’t see it. I call my buddy who lives five minutes away. The rumbling and pacing continues, roughly thirty to forty yards away from us but it doesn’t step foot on the dock. Finally I see head lights come up over the trees and the rumbling fades into darkness. Dennis comes walking down, cradling a rifle, and that was the end of that. Really freaked me out for a couple of days.” — gilchewbaca

4. We were surrounded by coyotes

“Went camping out in a remote part of Utah in late winter/early spring. Everything was good until the dog started freaking out in the tent. So I open up the door and shine the flashlight out and there are a bunch of eyes around me.

Surrounded by coyotes in the Utah desert; so again I just fire off a couple of shots and go back to bed. It was a pretty restless night though because the dog woke me up to repeat the pattern every hour or so.” — [Deleted]

5. A rapist was sleeping outside of my tent

“I decided on a whim to drive 4 hours or so to camp along the Mississippi River in Illinois for a few days to detox from a drug habit. I had decided I’d go to the area that is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, because it’s public land and free for camping. I got there, found a nice location and started a fire. Bare in mind this isn’t a campground or anything, it’s just a plot of public wilderness.

It started raining so I set up camp put out the fire and went to bed. I awoke to some rustling around outside my tent. I looked outside and staring at my tent was a homeless dude who’s face was covered in scars (possibly some sort of skin disease). He was literally about 10 feet away from the door of my tent, and when I opened it up he was looking right at me. It was pretty scary, but he seemed like a nice dude. We started talking for a while. It had already quit raining, and he had a fire going. It was probably about 6 oclock in the morning at the time.

He kept talking about the weirdest shit. He also kept asking me for a cigarette every 5 minutes, even though I told him every time that I don’t have any, and I don’t smoke. He kept offering me trades, and he even offered me his elaborate hobo stove for a cigarette. He had obvious mental issues, and was likely schizophrenic. He was showing me all of his animal hides, and his bicycle was covered in snake skins. He was telling me about how he’d kill things and when he’d eat them he would gain their strength and intelligence. He was really kind of interesting actually, and I enjoyed talking to him. He was teaching me about how to kill, trap, and skin dozens of different types of animals for hours. He was teaching me all sorts of survival techniques. I was honestly learning a lot of shit from him.

The conversation was getting weirder and weirder. At one point I recall him telling me about how he rapes to gain the energy of his victims. This man rambled when he talked, his train of thought was quite sporadic, and it was kind of hard to gather exactly what he was talking about but I’m pretty confident he wasn’t only talking about raping human females, but animals as well. I was honestly getting really creeped out. I don’t think he was actually going to hurt me, or rape me or anything. He was kind of a small feeble guy. He actually seemed genuine enlightened that he had a human to talk to. There’s a good chance he hadn’t actually had any human interaction for quite some time.

We basically talked for most of the day. We shared some rice and beans, and he showed me basically what he does for the day. Showed me how he cooks, showed me how he boils his water, etc…

Well it was getting dark again, and I was thinking about his knives that he had shown me, and that I really didn’t want to go to sleep with him around. I told him I was going to run to town to grab some cigarettes and I’d be right back- he was thrilled.

So I drove the fuck away to some shit ass town on the other side of the river called Clinton, Iowa. Found some casino, lost 5 dollars, and then fell asleep in a park right next to a playground. I woke up to the sound of children playing, and then I drove home. My trip was ruined.” — ICantDetectSarcasm

6. We heard an inhuman scream

“I wasn’t hiking or camping, but when I was about 20 years old I was with my girlfriend at a house party in rural MN. It was about 1am and the party was winding down so we hit the road. She was feeling frisky so I was looking for secluded spot for us to have some fun. There was a state park nearby so I drove into it, down a long trail into a group camp area. Totally pitch black back in the woods. We got out of the car and were having fun on the hood and in front of the car, pretty much undressed, when an air-shattering shriek emanated from what sounded like just the other side of the tree line. Not human as far as I could tell, almost like a primate. We immediately stopped and did the whole “what in the fucking fuck was that” thing and jumped back in the car ASAP. To this day I have no idea what it was. I hope – HOPE – that it was just someone fucking with us, but something tells me it wasn’t human. Still gives me the chills.” — badchris

7. A man wandered into my camp in the middle of the night

“I had an adult male wander into my camp ground in the porcupine mountains in the middle of the night. I was about a half mile off of the trail in a fairly out of the way spot. The footsteps were very loud with a lot of branch breaking to get near our tent. My girlfriend and i awoke and laid there listening to the steps come closer and closer.

I had a pistol in the tent with me. I was shitting my pants. I yelled out a very lame “hello?” And it stopped the guy he turned around and took off. I got out with my pistol, stoked the fire and stayed up the rest of the night.

I followed a few of the boot prints up from a creek that led to our camp. Made for an interesting few nights in the woods.”  — uberclont

8. Strangers pelted me with rocks

“I was once walking through the forest in northern arizona miles from anything or anyone when rocks started being thrown at me from about 4 different locations, I couldn’t see or hear anyone around and the forest wasn’t that thick so I didn’t get why I couldn’t see the people throwing the rocks. I could see the rocks coming from just a few trees away but when I hauled ass over there to confront whoever there was no one there, the rocks continued to be thrown until I was almost out of the woods, not one hit me but I never understood how 4 people could do that without me seeing or hearing them. The rocks seemed to be coming from thin air. Scared the shit out of me.” — SpitFlamez

9. I was trapped between a stranger and the water

“I work in remote locations collecting flow measurements throughout weather events when water levels are on the rise or drop. As you can imagine, this doesn’t always happen during daylight hours. The stream that I was working on was about 10 miles from a small community of a couple thousand people. There are no houses within view. Its dark. The kind of dark where there is no sign of the moon, streetlights, or headlights from traffic. The only illumination is from my headlamp moving with me as I work through the night.

Being out alone, I become attuned to the environment. I can hear the water rushing under the bridge. Trees snapping upstream. Rain drops pelting off my rain gear. Owls calling to each other. I hear the sound of the occasional vehicle from several miles away. What I don’t hear is the guy that walks up on me and doesn’t say anything until my headlamp runs across his profile about 15 feet away from me.


I’m a woman, alone, standing next to a guard rail on a bridge over a swollen stream in the middle of the night with a guy between me and my truck. We just stare at each other for a moment. I greet him. Trying to be cool, I transfer the rope I’m holding to my left hand – this has $22k of equipment attached to it on a boogy board in the water. My right goes into my pocket to grab the screwdriver I’d stashed in my jacket after changing batteries on my meter. He asked me what I was doing. I gave him a brief answer. He walked toward the rail, stopping about 7 feet from me. He looked down at the equipment for what seemed like a least a few minutes then walked off into the dark without another word. No flashlight or headlamp.” — botany-babe

10. I saw a strange creature prowling around

“I’ve posted this before verbatim on an ask reddit thread talking about creepy things that happened to people I’m secluded places, or while alone. This occurred over the summer. My Grandmother owns some land in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She goes out for a month or so in July. She lives in Ohio, so I go out for a week in the summer to visit her. It’s the only time I get to see her every year, and this year I brought my girlfriend along. My parents, as well as my aunt and uncle came as well, but they stayed in a hotel in Deadwood. Her land is back in the woods pretty good. It’s several miles from Highway 385. The Black Hills don’t have any bears, but it is mountain lion country, and several have been spotted in the area, so my grandma keeps pepper spray and a .44 under her cot. She sleeps in a little shed that she can lock from the inside and out. My girlfriend and I, however, were tent camping. At night my family would leave for the hotel, and it would just be my grandmother, girlfriend and I. It was very common for deer to roam by our tent and happened most mornings. Late at night I would also hear them padding around outside and snorting occasionally. One night the wind was much stronger than normal, and we could hear the trees swaying a lot. We had made our tent at the base of a dead tree, which unnerved my girlfriend and I a bit, so we decided to move to my car which was maybe 20-40 feet from the tent. We got to the car and fell back asleep. Sometime later (could have been 20 minutes, could have been 4 hours, I have no sense of time.) I randomly woke up. I looked out the windshield of my car, and between the car and the tent I could see the outline of what I can only assume was a lion. It was feline for sure, and much larger than a domestic cat. I am 100% positive that it wasn’t a deer. It had a fluid movement to it, not the jerky hesitant movement of a deer, when walking around. It really did look like it was prowling. I only saw it for a few moments before it prowled away and I couldn’t see it anymore. It seemed to vanish into the darkness. It could have been my imagination, as I had just woken up, but my instincts tell me it wasn’t. Imagination or not, it was super creepy, and makes me think what I heard the previous nights might not have been deer…” — Demonreach39

11. I heard a creature outside the house

“A few years ago I was home from college for the summer at my parent’s. They live in the Adirondacks. At the time they were renovating their house so I spent the summer out in a tent in the front yard. A big section of the front and side external walls were gone, leaving one of the rooms open to the outside. There was just a tarp covering it and there was a 12 foot aluminum ladder leaning against the house near the exposed section.

One night, I was browsing the interwebs (I ran an extension cord out to the tent so I had power, it was actually a pretty sweet summer) and I hear something walk up to the tent. There wasn’t much of a moon to speak of so I couldn’t see anything at all through the tent fabric. Whatever it was walked a few circles around the tent and stopped between the tent and the house.

At this point, I’m freaking the fuck out and sitting up with my knife at the ready, just listening. Whatever it was was about 3 or so feet tall and I could tell it had 4 legs by the way it walked. I could hear it breathing while it stood there, unmoving. My neighbors had a dog that got loose sometimes so I thought it might just be the dog. I called it’s name, which usually would have caused the dog to respond but there was nothing. Just the breathing.

After a while, I heard it walk off towards the house. Then I heard the sound of claws going up the ladder and I heard it go into the room that was exposed to the outside. I never heard it leave, though I assume it just jumped out the other side of the house and walked away. Thankfully the room’s door was kept closed and locked. To this day I wonder WTF it was.” — Prof_Neato

12. A man chased my brother with a knife

“When I was 13 my oldest brother was 21 and home for the summer. He worked at a restaurant and didn’t get home until 1-2 ish every night. One night I had a friend over and we camped out in the side yard of my house, about 600 yards from the house, between the road and the woods. No problems until my friend and I woke up to the sound of two people running, one on either side of our tent. Turns out my brother came home just in time to seen a man walking towards our tent. Grabbed his knife and started running at him. Chased him off to the road, got us inside, and called the cops. Never found out who it was or what they wanted, but Mom wouldn’t let my sister and I out after dark for awhile. There just so happened to be a man in the run in our county for murder, but I doubt it was him. Injun Joe in Missouri. Some kind of jealousy/revenge murder with someone’s sister involved.” — bayrae

13. We heard machine guns being fired

“A few years back I went for a night-hike with my friends up to a fire tower a few miles from the high school we went to. On our way back down, we could hear dogs fighting in the distance. We all assumed it was another hiker with dogs… until my friend decided to howl like a wolf to see if they react. Instantly, the woods around us lit up with howling. There were coyotes literally everywhere around us. We ran out of there as fast as we could. Another time, I went back up to the same fire tower with another friend. While up at the top, we heard a strange noise coming from the woods a few miles off. It stopped for a while, and we got bored and decided to walk back down. As we were going down the mountain, we heard it again. This time, it was much louder and much clearer. It was unmistakably a fully automatic weapon. This might not sound too strange for some places, but in Northern New Jersey it’s definitely not common to hear machine guns being fired at 2 in the morning.” — Saab_driving_lunatic

14. Meth heads chased me through the woods

“Honestly the creepiest/scariest thing you can meet in the woods is another human.

I was going to do an overnight alone but was followed from the trailhead by a couple of meth heads who planned to steal and sell my gear. What ensued was the longest and scariest game of hide and seek in my life.”  — Berglekutt

15. Foxes circled around us

“Visiting up north in Ontario for a work outing, I took a lady friend up the ski hill (it was in the summer so no snow), thought it would be a nice place to go and chill. It was! We sat on the mountain and stared up at the stars for around 20mins, talking about life and all that. We decided we should go back to my room. Got up and froze… We were completely surrounded by foxes. 9 or 10 of them making a complete circle around us. Now if you haven’t seen a fox in person, they aren’t the most daunting or scary things, rather cute… but in a pack like that it was terrifying. I didn’t know what to do, all I thought about was how I could be hunting them instead of them hunting me, so I slowly walked towards the one directly in front of me (while checking my 6) like I was trying to sneak up on him… got about 3 meters away and they all booked it back into the trees. My heart was POUNDING! Then we went back to the hotel where I continued to do more pounding.” — Skavis

16. My dog was terrified of something unseen

“I was camping in the sierras with my dog and the first night was uneventful.

The second night darkness descended and i was alone with my pup.

Suddenly my dog started to cower and whimper…this was very uncharacteristic of her. The forest was very quiet and just beyond the ring of light from the fire i heard twigs and leaves start to snap and crunch. I shined my flashlight into the darkness but couldn’t see anything. As soon as i turned out the light again… the crunching started again… slowly making its way around the ring of light I tried multiple times to see what it was but my dog was terrified and the further around it stalked the more scared I got too. I grabbed the dog and got into my truck and spent the night there. No idea what was stalking just on the edge of the darkness.” — northcoast10

17. I found a shack with a homeless man living inside

“There’s woods and a creek (which dried up ten years ago because of rerouting and drought) behind my house that I liked to hike through as a kid. Every day I would try to go deeper into the woods (it took me awhile to notice my cat was following me each time I went, like a sentry). One day I went sort of deep and saw a little shack. The size of a kiosk. There was nothing but a Diet Coke can in there sitting on a shelf. I saw some stairs leading down. I realized some homeless man lived here. I noped the fuck out and ran home with my cat thinking it was a little too Blair Witchy for me.”  — ButtsexEurope

18. I heard a fox screech in the middle of the night

“All of mine are animal related too. Bears sneaking into camp and trying to find easy food mostly. Don’t think I’ve ever heard anything as scary as a fox calling in the night though. What’s the fox say? A lot. None of which you want to hear at night. Sounds like a child screaming or something.” — Give_All_Vol

19. I woke up to a gunshot

“Last year I was camping with my boyfriend out in some remote area of eastern Oregon for about a week. On the second night I woke up to what sounded like someone whispering and thought it was Justin, so I told him I loved him but to shut. I rolled over only to find him dead asleep. I shrugged it off, as growing up in a wooded area I knew that noises could trick you.

The next night I didn’t have any problems but woke up to the flap of the tent open and the bag we had in the tent with us open, with only my panties being out of it and scattered at our feet. I was freaked out and justin was pissed so he decided to stay up the next night with his gun out and loaded. (While in the military he was one of their best marksman)

So that night, I wake up to a gun shot and someone screaming with frantic footsteps afterwards. I bolt up just in time to see Justin running out of the tent and heard a few more shots. A few minutes later he comes back and tells me he had heard footsteps outside the tent before seeing the flap unzip. He waited until it was completely opened, with his gun aimed. He said it was an older, thin, bearded man holding a pair of panties which he could only guess were mine. Not wanting to hurt him he fired a shot at his feet, causing the guy to run. He went after him, firing a few more rounds at his feet as he ran.

I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night, and it turns out I was missing a pair of underwear after that trip. Never saw them again.” — SilentWhisperers 

20. An excited stranger spoke to us about murders

“This happened while I was hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2013. Two of my friends and I met an off-putting, middle-aged guy somewhere between Boiling Springs and Duncannon, in Pennsylvania. I didn’t think too much of him at first, except that he seemed a little strange and socially awkward, until he started talking about some local murders. Apparently, a man and woman had been murdered at one of the trail shelters nearby a few years before. He was excited at the prospect of camping at this shelter, and was eager to tell us specific details about the murders. We were obviously creeped out and hiked away from him.

A German couple was camping at the shelter we stopped at a few hours later, and we asked them if they had met the creepy guy who likes to talk about the local murders. They hadn’t, but it wasn’t long before he showed up, introduced himself, and quickly turned the conversation to the murders. I think that everyone was uneasy, but I guess we felt there was safety in numbers, and that the three of us could team up with the Germans if any murdering started happening. We all camped there, though my two friends and I stayed up for most of the night in one of their huge tents, where we were smoking weed and whispering about what we would do if he rushed the tent or something. Then a headlamp shined onto the tent. We all went silent and pulled out our pocket knives, as discussed. We just stared at each, wide-eyed, until the light went off. I slept pretty uneasily that night, and we hiked all day long to get into town and away from this guy the next day. Never saw him again, but he wasn’t the only weirdo I met on the AT, or even on the Pennsylvania section of it.” — sshelden

21. We heard ceremonial drums in the forest

“Black Star Canyon, in the mountains between Irvine and Corona, is a well known spot in southern California for paranormal and weird experiences. The strangest encounter I had out there was when one night around midnight, several of us were a couple miles in on the trail, when we heard what sounded like drums. They were pretty low frequency in sound, and not very loud, but definitely heard by all of us. They would beat in a series of five, like boom-boom-boom-boom-boom, then silence for a couple seconds, then resume. The weird thing was the sounds were coming from deeper inside the canyon ahead of us, and there’s only one way in and out on the trail. Don’t know what that was all about, but it gave us the creeps.” — Kmart_Elvis

22. I was stalked by cougars

“I’ve been stalked by cougars a few times in the cedar range. It’s a difficult to describe feeling. People ask how I would know if I didn’t see it.

Trust me, you’ll know if it ever happens to you. I actually prefer it if I see the cat. That way I can vacate the area.” — Jahadaz Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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