1. Last night I was in my apartment, thankfully near the door, observing the roach I trapped and minding my own business, when I heard my door handle rotate. It was being turned slowly and quietly but loud enough that I knew I wasn’t imagining it. Normally I keep my door unlocked because I live in a student accommodation and I was planning to shower so I kept the door unlocked for inconvenience. But it sounded like someone was slowly turning the handle like they didn’t want me to hear. It scared the shit out of me and I quickly turned the handle to its default position and slammed the lock closed. Hopefully my fast response surprised the burglar/murderer/ghost so he won’t come back. Never leaving my door unlocked again.
2. When I was in college I came home for the winter one year and my mom had a minor mouse infestation. She decided to buy these glue traps to catch them and they were effective, however, unlike regular mouse traps that kill them instantly these just trap them and let them die of exhaustion and/or hunger.
When I got home that day 5 of them had gotten caught in the traps and were screaming their lungs out in desperation. It was such a terrifying symphony of screams and I had absolutely no idea what was going on when I walked through the door and worried that something had happened to my dog Snoopy. He was fine and after I called my mom she explained what was going on and asked me if I could take care of them, which was also a shitty thing to come home to.
Anyway, the sound of those screams is something that still haunts me to this day because it was so creepy and unsettling.
3. Three whistles. At my old summer camp, three whistles meant a water search and rescue.
One summer the three whistles were blown on the first day of camp, which it to be expected. They have to do one practice s&r per session. But when my cabin got to the spot you were supposed to go when there was a drill, something felt wrong.
It turns out that it wasn’t a drill, and someone was actually missing. It turns out like it was all good, there was just a mistake for the tagging off people from being in the lake. But to this day when I hear three whistles I think of the moment were we all thought someone was in the lake, drowning.
4. The sound of someone’s head hitting the asphalt ground. It’s a spine tingling thud that I won’t forget.
5. Music or talking played backwards. It just sounds demonic.
6. The second vibration of my phone in the small hours of the morning. One vibration means it’s a text or an alert, which is fine, but the second vibration means it’s a call, and nothing good comes from an unexpected phone call at 3AM.
7. Little kids’ voices. Especially in the dark. At night.
When you don’t have kids.
8. The sound of a freight train. It sounds very similar to an approaching tornado. When I was a kid, I was in a store with my parents when we had to go to the tornado shelter. The tornado actually went directly over the store and probably would’ve taken us out if it had been on the ground. Ever since, I’ve hated the sound of freight trains.
9. Long story short, my dad’s been in and out of the hospital for various things and one time, we overheard a doctor giving some patient’s wife “the bad news.” The wail that came out of that woman haunts me to this day.
10. No noise. No sound. Just dead air. Experienced that while on a boat in the middle of the ocean looking down at the bottomless blackness. That existential awareness of being so vulnerable was made more clear with no sounds to distract me from precariousness of my situation.
11. Clothes tearing, worst sound I know of.
12. Nails + chalkboard = severe nervous system malfunction.
13. Dingos howling, I often go out to my backyard late at night to smoke a cigarette before bed but sometimes this one dingo that is in my area starts howling. It freaks me out because it just sounds like the background of a horror movie, so then I feel like I need ten more cigarettes.
14. Screaming. When you’re in a dark room home alone. Happens a lot in horror movies, short film or not. Gives me the chilly willies, that’s for sure.
15. Hearing an unfamiliar foot pattern in the house.
16. I live not far from a nuclear power plant. They have sirens all around the region whose sole purpose is to alert people to a nuclear disaster.
They test those sirens once a month, on the first Tuesday of every month, at 1pm precisely.
Every time I hear that fucking terrifying sound, I look at the calendar (“Okay, it’s Tuesday”) then at the clock (“Okay, it’s 1pm”), and only then do I know for sure it’s safe.
17. Thunder and lightning. I don’t know why but it’s honestly worse when it happens during the day.
Also the sound of a roof rattling. One night I woke up and it was a really bad storm outside, the wind was so strong the roof was rattling and seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder through my window scared the shit out of me
18. Someone vomiting. The noise it makes as it climbs up their throats is disgusting. Looking at, or hearing someone vomit won’t make me vomit, but makes me shiver in disgust.
19. An angry man yelling. Bad things happen when some men lose their temper and it’s impossible to know if I’m in danger until it’s too late.
20. Heavy breathing.
21. The screams of someone ripping the ligaments in their knee on the football pitch, the sound caries so far! Makes me sick every time.
22. Mountain Lion/Cougar calling in the middle of the woods. Never will your sphincter tighten faster than hearing that noise echo through the trees, not knowing which direction it came from.
23. Dentist drill.
24. Whistling. Especially when it’s just aimless, no particular tune.
25. That guttural throat noise from The Grudge movies. The movies didn’t scare me. Nothing about them being particularly off-putting for horror films.
Just something about that noise.
26. Circular Saws when they start cutting…
27. Knock on the door when you’re not expecting it. Especially at night.
28. That “test alarm” on the TV. After 9/11 happened I kept hearing it and thought the world was ending. Every time I hear that sound just send chills everywhere.
29. The sound of a child screaming or crying in the emergency room.
I can take blood. I can take seeing people in pain or anguish. But the sound of kids suffering, especially in the emergency room, gives me chills.
Especially when they’re too young to reason with. You can’t talk to a ten month old and assure them they’ll be okay. You can’t explain that the pain is temporary, that the doctor is going to help, that you will be okay. It’s so sad.
30. The noises in my head!