25 Adults On Their Childhood Horror Story That Still Haunts Them To This Day

These childhood horror stories from Ask Reddit will make you lose sleep tonight.
Unsplash / Daniil Kuželev

1. I knew a kid who murdered his own father

“There was a kid in my neighborhood that none of the dogs liked. Every time he would walk around the block, every dog in the neighborhood would go nuts and bark like crazy at the guy. One day he borrowed a baseball bat from a neighbor and went back home and murdered his father with it. After he went to jail his little brother took up walking around the block and guess what, none of the dogs liked him either.” — biercemountain

2. My mother admitted to being a hardened criminal

“Well. I can’t speak for other kids but I’ll never forget as a kid, during one of the few coherent moments my mom had between abusing pain killers and other medical supplements, she just out of nowhere said, ‘Me and your uncles did some bad stuff back in the day, when we were kids, your grandad made us do it.’

I was like… what stuff?

‘We broke into houses, robbed, beat people up, stole vehicles’ and I was like ‘But you never killed anyone right?’

She kind of got this far off look in her eye and just goes, ‘I’m going to change the subject, ok?’

I was 10….certain questions never really got answered.” — rayned0wn

3. His mother beat him with a coat hanger until it broke apart

“I was not really a kid, but I was at a ‘tutorial centre’ which accommodated students from all ages. There was this kid of 8-9 years old who was cheerful, giggly, clever & smart-ass, and clingy. She also liked to steal stuff, she stole our things multiple times. One day she took my stationery (forgot exactly what it was), she lived just the next block so we went there to get it back. Her mom listened to us, called her to living room, then in front of us started beating the kid with plastic coat hanger until it was broken into 3 parts. I was really really mortified… and really sorry. Poor kid screamed and cried but mom went on despite our pleas to let it go.

Now I think the kid’s cheerful countenance and clinginess were probably a silent appeal to be close to someone who could prevent the beatings at home. And she stole things to get attention. I am still sorry until today.” — vannamei

4. He sodomized his own brother

“There was this kid on my baseball team in 5th grade who had two twin little brothers. The one little bro was really quiet and polite, the other was super loud and obnoxious. Turns out, the kid on my baseball team told me that the super loud, obnoxious twin brother has been caught sodomizing his quiet, polite twin brother on several occasions and their parents didn’t do anything about it. The twin brothers were younger than us.” — Taxidermykangaroo

5. His father beat the shit out of him and broke his jaw

“I went to my mates house back in the summer of ’79 to play some baseball. Well, he went in to grab some food for himself before we started and accidentally dropped the glass milk bottle on the ground. Not even 5 seconds later his dad comes up to him and starts beating the absolute shit out of him. Halfway through the beat down he looks directly at me standing outside peering through the window and gives me the most murderous look ever. We never played B-ball that day, he went to school a few days later and had 2 black eyes and a broken jaw over spilt milk. 38 years later and I’m still best friends with him, he cut out all contact with his family and doesn’t talk to them at all anymore.” — YourBoyFrodoge

6. Her step-father raped her regularly

“This did not happen to me directly but to my BFF who was traumatized by it. We were about 12 yrs old.

BFF stayed over at a mutual friend’s house. She woke up to friend’s stepfather attempting to molest friend and friend saying ‘please… no… not tonight.’

The next day friend told her mom because molestation was going on awhile and escalating. Police called. My BFF had to give a statement. Asshole was promptly divorced and went to jail.” — Total_Dick_Move

7. Her mother punched her in the face

“Yesterday one of my friends was telling me about how her mom punched her in the face and it was bleeding and how she once got in a fistfight with her mom and she (as in my friend) won. She was saying this so casually, it was so weird. There’s some weird stuff going on in that household.” — Im-not-famous

8. He was a meth cook and the main supplier for our town

“I was having some issues at home when I was about 13 or 14 and a girl from school, Tracey, who I didn’t know all that well, offered for me to stay with her. She told me we could live with her dad, and talked about how cool he was, etc.

So we go to meet up with her dad. He’s a very large guy with a bunch of badly done tattoos and the remnants of a greasy looking mullet – he’s thinning badly on top. He’s wearing jeans and a leather vest and to be honest he looks pretty dodgy, but he has a stylish, pretty girlfriend with him who seems nice, which kind of appeased me. We get in his car and drive to some house that Tracey has apparently just been kicked out of. I’m told to wait in the car with her dad while Tracey and the dad’s girlfriend go inside to collect Tracey’s clothes.

So I’m sitting in the car with good old dad, who is watching me in the rear view mirror. He starts asking me a bunch of questions about school etc, and leads up to asking me if I have a boyfriend. I was getting really uncomfortable with the conversation, which he seems to be enjoying. He’s stopped watching me in the mirror and is turned around to face the back seat. He’s licking his lips and grinning this seedy grin, and he’s asking me if I’m a virgin. I didn’t know what to say, but something in me told me to say no, so I did. He seems irritated by this and turns back to face the front just as Tracey and his girlfriend come back.

We drive for a while and I realize we’re going out of town. We eventually end up on a rural property surrounded by bush. The house has seen far better days.

By this time it’s dark. We go inside and Tracey’s dad brings out a huge pickle jar full of weed and gives it to Tracey and I. He offers us cask wine and he and his girlfriend disappear. I haven’t eaten, and I’m not at all comfortable, so I barely smoke anything. I’m nervous and don’t feel safe. Tracey gets off her face and we eventually fall asleep on the couch in the lounge room. The next day I go for a drive into town with the girlfriend and hightail it to find somewhere else to stay.

Pretty dodgy, but no harm, no foul, right? Turns out though, Tracey’s dad isn’t her dad. He’s her mum’s ex boyfriend (her mum is in gaol) who is a meth cook and the main supplier for the town I grew up in. He and his girlfriend run a side business where they bring young girls back to their place, get them fucked up on drugs and alcohol, then film them in threesome situations (with the dad and girlfriend) which they sell.

I don’t know if things would have gone differently if I’d had the wine or smoked more pot. I do know that a girl from school who was 2 years above me ended up in one of their films that year.” — ThriftShopKnickers

9. He forced his kids to have sex with each other

“My little sister would come home from her friends and tell me how the dad would periodically check on them in the late hours of the night and tell my sister if they got to scared they could sleep in his bed. She also said her friends twin brother would regularly sleep with them and be very touchy with his sister. We stopped letting her sleep there and about a month later the dad was arrested for molesting his kids and forcing them to have sex with each other. He killed himself in prison.” — themotherofpuppies

10. The father hired a hitman to murder the mother

“Well my best friend when I was little lived in a mansion type house. Literal humongous house. Seemed like he had the perfect life for an adopted child. We were maybe 9 years old and his whole life fell apart in an instant. I accidentally hit him in the face when we were golfing and he needed plastic surgery to correct the damage (both of our fault, no charges were pressed), and he moved shortly after. I thought they hated me and that’s why they moved because they didn’t want to see me anymore.

What really happened was that there had been problems between the father and mother for a long time, and it lead up to the father hiring a Hitman to kill the wife, but the Hitman just up and told her that her husband did this. It lead to divorce, losing the huge house, and going their separate ways. I didn’t learn about this until I was about 13 when I got a letter in the mail from the kid saying he wanted to still be friends. We weren’t. We lived way too far away… It sucked.” — Muzea

11. The entire family disappeared out of the blue

“A classmate of mine’s family vanished if that counts.

When I was ten, in the mid 1970s, my family and I lived in a rural area where farming and logging were collapsing. My family were old stock in the area but a culture that was a hundred years old was coming to an end. People were leaving in droves. This meant there was a lot of cheap housing available but no work. The housing situation attracted what could be best described as rural crust punks in droves before crust punk really existed. Locals called them Wild Dogs because they were dangerous, scavenged and moved in large packs. My school was two thirds students that came from Wild Dog families. My parents were very open minded and got along well with them; most of the district shunned the wild dogs.

Winter that year, my maternal aunt died in a car accident. She lived 300 miles away. My mother was distraught. She left immediately to help my uncle. My father stayed but booked a flight for the next Friday at 7pm and then began looking for someone to take care of me.

No one was available. He was getting desperate and mentioned it when he came to pick me up from school Friday afternoon. A woman named Beth volunteered. Beth had a daughter Annella in my class. My father jumped at the offer, actually left me there and then. I did not even have any clothes, he just handed our house keys over to Beth.

Beth was one of the Wild Dogs. Annella always came to school dirty, with torn clothes. I barely knew her. I think my father presumed we were friends because we were in the same class. In fact I did not even know where she lived.

After my father left, we got in the car. My stomach roils. I try to want contain the tears which are coming. I tell myself that we could not be far from Annella’s home. I can hold off the crying till and then hide in her bathroom. But when Beth drove away, the car went the wrong direction. We drove down the valley, then up into the mountains and way back into farmland about 20 miles from the school.

I started to panic; Beth was reassured me:

‘We’re just staying at a friend’s place at the moment…’

I saw a fleeting moment of confusion on Annella’s face after she said that.

We turn off the main road and drive up a narrower dirt road, finally parking in front at an ancient shack. The paint was flaking, lichen growing on the wood, the roof rusted brick red. The wrap round porch sagged violently on one side. It was situated in at edge of an overgrowth field. Beside the shack was dense forest. There were at least a dozen cars around the house, some wrecks, one actually burnt out. Twenty people at least, lounged on the porch smoking, chatting, drinking tea. Smoke was coming out of the chimney. I was shivering, underdressed for an evening in the mountains. Inside the house was smoke stained but warm and filled with even more people than outside. Every room had sleeping bags placed in on every inch of floor space. I asked Annella if this was a party. She looked surprised at the question.

The first night, people just kept arriving. The noise and movement helped me forget my anxiety. A man was playing guitar. Most of the adults were drinking heavily, loud and occasionally, fighting. A man passed out in front of me and then urinated on himself. When it all died down, around 3am, Annella and I, went to bed.

When we woke around noon, people were still sleeping everywhere. Beth made us bacon and eggs. She said she would drive me to my home on Monday and get me some clean clothes. After breakfast, she gave me some of Annella’s things to wear. They were too large on me and smelled.

Saturday was fun. We played with Annella’s dog and a bunch of other Wild Dog children who had arrived during the previous night.

Saturday night was a carbon copy of the night before. Around midnight, I started to nod. Beth put Annella and I to bed, together, in her bed. Despite the racous gathering, we dropped off right away.

My next memory is of waking suddenly. I do not know how long I was asleep. The house was cold and dark and very quiet. There was a flash of light. Annella woke too; we were both confused. Annella called out to Beth. Nothing. Called again. Same result. Despite the cold and dark, we decided to get up. We just got our feet on the floor and BANG!! It came outside the house, right on the wall at the head of the bed. BANG!! on the other wall. We screamed, ran out into the hall. We are both calling to Beth by then. Still no reply. BANG!! This time near the front door. We ran from room to room. The house was completely empty. There were bottles of beer on the floor, just opened. The fire had gone out. We looked at a clock. It was 2.48am. Annella and I started to bawl. Unable of think of what we should do, we went back to bed and hid under the covers till the sun came up.

Dawn did not improve the situation. The house was still empty. Being pretty remote, there was not a phone. I was very afraid at this juncture. Annella was terrified. We both dithered. Annella wanted to stay put. Maybe her mum would come back. I had a really bad feeling and wanted to go to the neighbours. We eventually decided to wait till midday and if she had not returned, we would walk to the neighbours,who were about a mile away.

Midday came and went. We left for the neighbours. Outside, there were a lot of tyre tracks . The cars were all gone, except the burnt out wreck.

We ended up only having to walk about 800 yards before we met a farmer fixing his fence. He drove us to a general store—which was where the nearest phone was located —and called the police.

The police came and asked us questions then went out to the house to investigate. Between when we left and 5pm, when they arrived at the shack, the house was cleared. No furniture. No garbage. Not even soot in the fireplace.

My parents flew back immediately. I was so glad to see them, I cried. It was a year before I was happy to be separated from them again.

What followed was the unveiling of a complex mystery. It quickly became apparent that Beth was using a false name. They could not find any record of Annella’s birth. Annella did not know where she was born but said her mother told her she was born on a communal farm called Brevlow. No property with this name was located. She did not know the names of any aunts or uncles, grandparents or even her father. All the adults she knew were at that house that night. Annella had not even known they were squatting. No one in the area had even known that Wild Dogs were living in that house.

Members of other Wild Dog groups were interviewed. The groups did not intersect much so rarely knew much about the others. They found out nothing new.

The police asked Annella and I all kinds of questions but we could not add anything. We slept through whatever happened.

Annella stayed with us till it was determined no relatives could be found and she went into foster care, after which point, I never heard from her again. I have looked for her on Facebook with no success

Media coverage scant because the police declared it a child abandonment case and they were trying to protect Annella’s identity . This did nothing to stop the gossip. The bizarre nature of the story lead to Annella and I being labelled liars. Annella got away but the label stuck with me till I left to go to college.

Since I reached adulthood, I check in on the mystery every few years. In the decades since, no trace of Beth or the partygoers have ever been ever found. In fact, not even a single fresh clue nor did the authorities ever positively identified any one of the missing, Beth included.” — showerofpetals

12. She pretended her husband was her father

“My older sister was friends in high school with a girl that had just moved into town. After hanging out with her for a while, my sister started to suspect that she was being sexually abused by her dad. She would catch her friend and father every so often being just a little too intimate for a father daughter relationship.

When my sister couldn’t convince her friend that she needed to report this, my sister reported it herself.

Turns out the girl wasn’t being sexually molested by her father. She wasn’t his daughter at all, she was actually his wife. They were legally married in another state, but the last place they lived were so creeped out by a 22 year old man having a 16 year old wife that they decided to pretend to be father and daughter in a new town.” — Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

13. My grandfather poisoned my grandmother with rat poison

“Creepiest family I’ve ever known is my own. I don’t have contact with anyone apart from my Mum now.

My maternal grandma used to put people’s shoes in bleach when they came over, to ‘clean’ them. Then send them home in wet, bleachy shoes. She also used to force any girls that came over to do chores while boys were allowed to play (my whole childhood she did this). When my Mum was a kid, she made her cut the grass with scissors, even though they had a lawnmower. Super religious, didn’t allow you to eat, drink, etc until you’d prayed loads. Super messed with your head by acting nice when other people were around.

My maternal Grandad used to gargle TCP. He also poisoned his wife (above) with rat poison. Went to court and everything. Police kicked down the door of the house to arrest him in front of the kids.

Maternal great-grandad was a huge misogynist who literally told us all that women should be in the kitchen and were only useful for having kids. Refused to play cards with me (F) but played with my brother.

There’s probably more, but can’t remember right now. My family creeps me the hell out.” — Howlingz

14. They buried their kid in the backyard

“We knew a family where the mother was morbidly obese and her boyfriend was on the larger side as well. They had 6 kids (the 7th one died from SIDS) who were all on disability for various things – ADHD, bipolar, etc. The mother was about to begin collecting disability. One of the daughters had Pica. They had buried the dead kid in the backyard with all of the dead animals. Apparently all of the kids had had impetigo when they were babies. They all (even the teens) always had rashes around their mouthes. Their car was basically covered in McDonald’s bags and grease. My mom literally would not let her children touch us because she didn’t want us to catch anything from them.” — panicatthebookstore

15. The whole family worshipped Hitler

“They had a portrait of Hitler in a prominent location in their house. This was the 1960s, and they were German immigrants. Kid’s parents were both huge Hitler worshipers. I was 6, and this is how I learned about Hitler. My dad, a WWII vet set me straight and I didn’t go over to that kid’s house any more.” — 2016TrumpMAGA

16. She stabbed both of her children

“Neighbors mom was legit crazy. Stabbed both kids a couple times. My parents got involved, children services got involved. As thanks for that she dog-napped my doggo.” — WartimeBlues

17. His mother forced him to sleep with her

“I went to elementary school with a boy who I am now sure had some serious messed up stuff going on at home.

He often made really violent comments, once he threatened to bring his dad’s gun to school and shoot me.

When we had the ‘if an adult touches you in any of these places, you need to tell someone’ lesson, he seemed REALLY bothered and yelled at some kids who were giggling at the mention of genitals (we were maybe 8.)

I had a crush on a kid in our class and it was painfully obvious. Kids were teasing me for it as kids do, sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G song and all. He asked me if I wanted to have sex with the kid I had a crush on, then went on to say, ‘It’s okay if you do, I do it with my mom.'” — BellaBlindeye

18. She was in a documentary about sexual abuse

“There was a girl in my 6th grade class, I’ll call Tami, who was much more ‘developed’ than the rest of us skinny & naive girls. One day my friend and i were invited to her house after school. While giving us a tour of her house, when we got to her parents bedroom, she sat on their water bed (this was the 70’s) she told us “there’s not much work to be done when you have sex on a water bed because the mattress just moves along w u”. My friend and I looked at each other puzzled.. We didn’t know anything about sex yet! Years later, i saw Tami in a documentary about childhood sexual abuse. I still wonder about her and feel guilty that I never told an adult about the ‘water bed.'” — fattymaxlouis

19. They believed in the supernatural

“They were damn sure they could see ghosts.” — poison_ivy15

20. My friend’s father beat him with a belt

“My friend when I was a kid laughed too much during lunch at his house, so his dad took him out to the garage and beat him with a belt, in a spanking manner I think. At any rate we could hear him shrieking from where we sat at the table.” — BrassyTableTop

21. They stripped their kids naked to spank them

“One time when my brother and I visited our neighbors which were two girls our age (around 8-11) their mother got angry at both of them for something and started to undress them butt naked and spanked shit out of them with a belt. We were literally sitting one meter away from them and her mother didn’t give a fuck she would embarrass her kids in front of us.” — IclapWhenIfap

22. My friend’s dad was a nudist and never wore clothes

“Friend’s dad was a nudist, never wore clothes. She had a sleepover for her birthday and although we didn’t see him that night, when we woke up he had zero qualms about walking into a lounge full of eleven+ 7 year old girls with his dick and balls out.

Maybe not the worst but I couldn’t and still can’t understand why he didn’t make an exception for just that day at least.” — SEE-GAAA

23. Her father abused the entire family

“On a school trip in primary school a little 9 year old girl started hysterically crying because she was worried that her dad would do something to her little brother and mum while she wasn’t there to look after them.” — RosieJo

24. He was punished by his parents in an unusual way

“When a friend of mine was young (starting at probably age 9 through 16), his punishment when he really screwed up was kneeling on uncooked rice in the dark.

His parents would make him go to the bathroom, spread some uncooked rice on the tile floor, turn off the lights and make him kneel on it. They’d check every few minutes to make sure he was kneeling.

He got in trouble for the usual dumb kid stuff, but also for accidents. Once he dropped a glass pitcher. Just slipped from his hands. Total accident. His mom told me to go home because it was time to kneel on rice.” — DCsaguaro

25. The neighbors made porn inside of their house

“My son made this discovery, told me. I stopped in to verify, because 7 year olds can misinterpret things. Friend’s family (brand new next door neighbor) set up their master bedroom in the living room. Walk in the front door and you were in the master bedroom, except the normal living room entertainment things were there. TV, Nintendo, etc. All the kids were hanging out on the bed, playing games. Weird, but whatever. Then there was the creepy part. Cameras were set up aiming at the bed. This was in the mid 90’s, and the cameras were giant 80’s video recorders on tripods.

I figured my son had seen a day bed or a sofa bed in the living room, and normal camera gear. Nope, he nailed it by saying the family was making movies in the bed in the living room. He didn’t know the word ‘porno’ yet.” — RaqMountainMama Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly Riordan is the author of
Severe(d), A Creepy Poetry Collection.
Pre-order your copy here.

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

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