Every town has at least one well-known abandoned dwelling. We know we should steer clear of these neglected and creepy sites, but they’re irresistible. They seem to draw out a craven desire to discover what lurks behind their worn-down doors. The most curious and brave among us actually take it a step further and explore these abandoned grounds, at their own peril.
As these people explain, inspecting derelict places can be extremely treacherous, if not downright terrifying.
1. Beware of the Property Owners
The property owner of the seemingly abandoned house threatened to beat the crap out of us because he thought we were after his copper. Dude was actually pretty chill when he realized we were dumb teens and not drug addicts, but he did force us to hand over our backpacks so he could make sure that we didn’t have spray paint or tools.
2. The Fear Within
I look at abandoned/foreclosed homes for part of my job. I must’ve walked through about 2,500 in the past four years. The time I got scared the most was in an abandoned home, where all the windows and doors were boarded up and the house was very rough, ransacked, and had lots of debris strewn about.
I got in and took photos of all the rooms. I made my way to the basement (very dimly lit from gaps in the boards covering the windows) and upon turning the corner I see a man standing in the back corner of the room looking back at me. I yelled in fear and jumped back only to realize the truth: it was a floor to ceiling mirror and a reflection of myself.
3. The Serious Hazard of Urban Exploring
We found about 150 barrels of toxic waste illegally dumped in the abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit. I stayed there too long without a respirator.
I had a bad headache and felt spacey for the rest of the day. I also lost about 70% of my sense of smell permanently.
4. Please Tell Me You’re Kid-ding
I found a bag of goat heads at an abandoned grain silo a mile from my house.
5. Always Unnerving to Find an Old Photo With “Goodbye”
I snuck into an abandoned paper mill with some friends and we found that the place was abandoned in a hurry, so everything was more or less where they left it on the last day in the office. We found a box of chest x-rays in a closet with names and social security numbers on them, which we promptly burned.
The real creepy bit was all these totally normal Polaroid photos in a drawer. From what we could tell, the people in the photos were office workers, and the pictures were the reject ones from their last day of work. Those photos were in great shape. On the ground, 30 feet away, was a waterlogged photo laying on the floor. It was a picture of a cake that simply said “Goodbye” on it. We picked that photo up and the image seemingly dissolved. It was super creepy.
6. Exploring Abandoned Places is Always a Dicey Proposition
There was an old pre-desegregation elementary school close to where I grew up. It was a one-story building with boarded windows, graffiti, and an unkempt parking area that was overgrown with weeds. There were lots of myths associated with the school—abusive schoolmasters and supposed hate crimes committed on the students. Although I’m sure it was mostly just myths, the place did have a haunting aura.
As a test of bravery we kicked in the back entrance and entered through what we assumed was a cooking area. It had all of the markings of a crack den, but with a mix of old desks and podiums. There were rusted iron devices that looked torturous, but were probably just cooking tools we didn’t understand. As we ventured deeper into a hallway area, we heard awful noises and heavy breathing. It was absolutely terrifying. We peek into a room and see a corpse of a man open his eyes wide with anger.
He slowly stands up and then charged my group of five screaming and cursing. Turns out it was one of the school’s new residents—half a dozen people on heroin in various states of debauchery. He only slowed his charge when our flashlights hit his face, or more likely because of the large clank of my friends baseball bat hitting against the hallway wall. Absolutely terrifying.
7. You Lost Me at Hooks and Chains
We were exploring an abandoned tuberculosis hospital back in high school and came across an iron lung. We made it into the basement and noticed some areas that weren’t as vandalized. We didn’t have the stones to head into the morgue but there was a room we started moving towards that had a bunch of metal hooks and chains hanging from the ceiling.
No idea what that was for, but glad we noticed it before we walked right into it.
8. TFW You Unwittingly Join an Occult Ritual
We explored some underground tunnels of a Napoleonic era fort. It was quite some distance underground and pitch black so I had to use a torch. The walls were covered in pentagrams, inverted crosses, and occult symbols.
9. Leaving Behind Some Strange Mementos
For my job, I had to measure empty apartments, including some social housing units. Some of the people there got evicted, moved out or died in these apartments. I sometimes felt like an intruder as I entered these apartments. All of the stuff was still inside, like they left the day before. It felt like casually walking in another person’s private space.
Fridge filled and mail on the table. I saw the weirdest things. One time there was an entire room filled with plastic bags filled with urine from bladder catheters—the whole freaking room.
10. Straight Out of a Horror Movie
A few months ago, I was cruising around Chattanooga with my sister and a friend. We were on the side of town with an abandoned factory we’d heard was cool. Anyone from the area might be familiar with it, it’s the old Central Soya factory off of Amnicola, and there are several videos online of people exploring it.
Our first mistake was going through the gate. It was the obvious way in, so we merrily traipse down the road and onto the property. It’s the middle of the afternoon, so it’s bright and sunny, and the wind is blowing so we can hear loose metal banging around up ahead. We pass the silos and end up in the loading dock kind of area. Pretty much every square inch is covered in graffiti, so we wander around there for a minute.
Once we enter the building, there’s a pitch-black hallway to our right. Forget that, we stay in the loading area and go up to the second floor. My friend is walking ahead of us, and he stops at the top of the stairs to look around before rushing us back down. Apparently the entire upstairs was trashed, littered in papers and blankets and empty cans. What spooked him was the room at the far end—the half open door started to swing wider, and he couldn’t see anything farther than that.
We got back to the main floor, creeped out and ready to leave, when we hear a voice whisper, “Hey.” Nothing else, but at that moment the wind stopped and the whole place went dead still, demon possession horror movie style. We noped the heck out of there, and as we were heading back to the gate we found a message. “I can see you,” was painted on the asphalt, and when my friend and sister looked back they both saw a man walk past one of the windows. Apparently he turned to stare at us for a moment before gliding out of sight again, and even though I didn’t see him we all still had chills hours later.
We’ve talked about going back with more people and better flashlights, but so far no one is that enthusiastic about it.
11. Some Important Advice
When I was younger, my friend and I were out exploring an abandoned construction site at night, and didn’t notice the huge hole in the ground leading to what I imagine was a tank or basement for one of the houses. She managed to jump over it, but I fell in and ended up with a rebar rod going through the front of my right shin. I was stuck down there for a while before she could grab my hand and help pull me out.
We staggered home and packed the wound with tampons and peroxide for fear of getting in trouble. Of course our parents found out when I came down with a terrible infection and other injuries showed up (also permanently messed up my left shoulder smashing it on the way down). I walk with a kind of an inward limp to this day, but a large circular scar is all that’s really left from the accident.
We were so lucky we hadn’t both fallen in, or gotten more seriously injured so far from home. A few years later a kid I went to school with died falling out of a half-built house, and that made it sink in all the way. Mind the caution tape, kids. It’s not worth the risk.
12. A Long Way From the Autobahn
I came across a very old, very smashed up VW Bug in a ravine in the woods. It had been there a long time since it was half buried in mud. I started poking around and found dozens of old school lady’s stockings, many tied together and disintegrating, scattered around. I found old Kodak film developing canisters. I found a bag of cement completely hardened among other things. Plus a year before I had found a very old ice pick close to the site.
I got the chills and became a bit concerned. I had posted about this on Reddit years ago, but the general consensus was that this was just someone’s garbage dump. But I still wonder about it, so much of the Bug was scattered about and buried in mud. It was just so weird.
13. More Sound Advice for Exploring Abandoned Sites
I was exploring an abandoned mine in the Mojave. I was pretty far in, climbing down ladders and exploring old rooms. I saw old newspapers, break rooms, clothes, and unexploded dynamite in the walls. Something spooked me and I turned around fast to run. I hit my head on the rock, broke my headlamp, and knocked myself out. When I came to, I was wet and cold, and it was pitch black. Like no-light-at-all black.
I tried my headlamp, it didn’t work, tried my back up, it didn’t work, and my flashlight was dead. I was seriously beginning to get really scared. I continued searching my backpack, I found several odd shapes not usually in it. It was Halloween chem-lights, which my kids had put into to my backpack. I tore the first one open and cracked it. Beautiful green light everywhere! I recognized where I was and made my way out. I surveyed myself I had a gash in my head about three inches long, I was covered in blood and mud. I drove to urgent care down in Victorville. I ended up with 13 staples in my head. I never went back into a mine alone after that.
14. A Heartbreaking Find
Growing up in a small rural New England town, I would always venture into the woods and find neat old things. My dad noticed that I was really interested in exploring so one day he asked if I wanted to go see something that no one else he knew knew about. I jumped at the chance and we drove off into the mountains . We got out and walked for what felt like 45 minutes until we came across this really small cemetery.
There had to be 10 or so stones and you couldn’t really make out anything on them, but a couple of them that read something like 1802-1803 and 1803-1805. My dad said he stumbled on it as a kid and it must have been a small family cemetery. It just kind of broke my heart thinking about how many of those stones were probably infant/toddler.
15. Abandoned Places Aren’t Always Deserted
There’s an abandoned hospital that I explored a lot. I even spent the night in there a few times—it was incredibly intimidating from the outside and not many people had the courage to go in back then. One night I went in with a couple friends and we saw a sleeping bag on the ground that appeared to have a person in it. And one of the friends who had joined (complete idiot) thought it would be a good idea to kick the sleeping bag and see if someone was in it. Sure enough, someone was in it. He jumped out of the sleeping bag, screaming at us, and chased us out of there.
The second time, I was at an abandoned factory. Huge factory. I had also been there a few times previously. Made it inside. Started taking photos. And then my friend asked if I could hear someone running. We waited and listened for a minute, and the running kept getting louder and closer. We booked it out of there before anything else could happen. Nope!
16. I Wouldn’t Sleep a Wink After This Either
Traveled to this lighthouse on one of the only undeveloped stretches of California coast—aptly and scarily named the Lost Coast. It was the middle of winter, the opposite of tourist season. I drove by myself to hike the Lost Coast alone. It had been at least and hour since I had cell service, while driving to the trailhead over bumpy and partially flooded roads. I hiked down the coastline through the mist and eventually come across a house on the coast that looks empty, but while walking near it, I start hearing noises that sound like doors opening and closing.
I start running and realize that there is a large creek outlet into the ocean between myself and getting away from the house. I wade through, get soaked, and then about a hundred yards down the beach I look back to see an older man looking down the beach towards me. I’m already extremely creeped out and realizing that if someone wanted to kill me out here, they would kill me right then and there.
Further down the beach, I can see the lighthouse through the fog and I keep heading towards it. One of the adjacent buildings is what I came to first, but it was getting dark and the building creeped me out. I braced myself walking past it and noticed that covering the far wall were many, many white handprints. I’m sweating bullets now, absolutely terrified and scurry past the building towards the lighthouse. I peered into the windows of the lighthouse from a distance, but I couldn’t make myself go into the building because in my mind, anything could be in there.
Eventually, my terror subsides a bit and I continue down the beach. The lighthouse is out of sight if I turn around and it’s getting late, so I’m thinking about where to set up camp. While I’m turned towards the ocean, I heard what sounded like a man’s loud scream come from back towards the lighthouse. I didn’t sleep a wink that night.
17. Lucky Dad
My dad and I were exploring an abandoned mine in Arizona, and, in retrospect, we weren’t really prepared. While my dad was walking, he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going and at the last second, I saw that he was about to step in to a vertical shaft. I grabbed him, pulled him back, and then we looked to see how far he would have fallen. It was about a 400-foot drop.
18. Incredibly Eerie
Back in high school, a couple friends and I found some abandoned places. We lived in a safe town, so we figured there wouldn’t be any problem with it. In hindsight, we were really dumb. I took a friend to an old, abandoned two-story house out in the country, nothing too spooky from the outside. We walk in and it’s just a mess, stuff was thrown about and it looked like the place was rummaged through. First floor couldn’t hold my attention so I figured I’d make my way up the stairs. On my way up on the wall is this rectangular door, nothing too big, but I’ve never seen something like that before so I opened it.
Inside was an extremely small room, you could probably only squat in it. There were just odds and ends in there, things you’d expect to see in storage that people typically don’t use often. What caught my eye though was a paper drawing near the door. It was a stereotypical drawing of a girl and a sun (triangle dress, circle head, circle sun, lines for the sun’s rays). Okay, kinda creepy given it’s an abandoned house. And then I turned it over…
Now, my last name isn’t very common where I live. Outside of family, I’ve never met someone with this last name. And yet my last name was clearly written on the back of this drawing. That was enough to make me flip out, leave, and drop urban exploring completely.
19. The Mysterious Firetruck
My friends and I went to this abandoned prison by our town one night. As we got there, four of them ran straight in, while a girl and I stood out front because the gate wouldn’t open anymore. As we stand there wondering how to get in, a truck suddenly pulls up. Now you must remember this is an abandoned prison. There is only one road that leads in and out, with a connected road that circles the prison.
As the truck pulls in closer, they turn their high-beams on us. Shotgun rolls down his window and asks if it’s just the two of us. Since she was freaking out, I decided to take control and (really dumb on my part) say “Yeah it’s just us two. We’re here on a date.” The man looks me up and down and goes, “Alright well we’re stationed up at the fire station right behind the prison. We were just checking to see if you guys were vandals but if it’s just you two please be safe.”
And they drove off on the road that circled the prison. A little while later, the police showed up. They questioned us intensely and I told them “Wait, the firefighters who patrol this place gave us permission to be here!” Those cops asked me what I was talking about and if they went into the prison. It turns out the “firefighters” never exited down that one road. They just disappeared into the circular road around the prison.
20. Haunted House or Something Else?
A friend of mine and I used to love to explore abandoned places together. There was a house not far from us called Todd’s Inheritance, which sat on an inlet where a creek meets the Chesapeake Bay. Because the electricity was shut off years ago, the place is pitch dark. It’s spooky enough during the day, but at night, it’s a whole other beast.
When we got in, the place was dank and smelled awful. Since it was so dark, we couldn’t see much. It was more what we heard—creaking floorboards, and the sound of wind through broken windows. We made our way into the next room, when we started hearing banging, followed by creaking. We stood frozen trying to figure out where it was coming from.
Suddenly, there was a louder bang, followed by this pounding sound above. We panicked, and instead of heading back the way we came, we found what might be the most stereotypical haunted house staircase ever. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear every ghost story was inspired by this house. We lost each other for a moment, but with this creaking noise still going on above and the intermittent pounding, it wasn’t too long before we got back to that window. We hightailed it out of there.
The place is now registered with the Maryland Historical Society, and is open to the public as a museum. I’m glad someone came along to take care of it, because it really is on a beautiful piece of property. I do not believe in ghosts, so I like to feel better by telling myself what we heard that night was either the wind slamming some open doors around, or possibly a homeless person who decided that was a good place to stay. Either way, it was an experience.
21. The Lurking Spirits of Grandma’s House
I spent the day at my then-girlfriend, now-wife’s house. We were casually watching baseball on the couch when her grandma came over with a terrified look on her face. She had just gotten home and announced herself to the cousin she lived with, since she saw the bathroom door closed, the light on and the shower running upon entry to the kitchen. But the cousin didn’t respond, so she announced herself a second time. She described an eerie silence, which led her to call the cousin on her phone. The cousin answers the phone and tells her he’s currently out of the house with friends.
We then all came over to grandma’s house equipped with a baseball bat, four adult males, four adult women and the police en route. Father- in-law (a skilled boxer) went up to the bathroom door tried to open it, but notices the doorknob is being held stiff on the other side. We all know the door is locked, show is running, light is on, and the sink was also running. Unable to open the door he steps outside still waiting for the cops.
Two police officers finally arrive, announce themselves outside the bathroom door, and open it. No one is found inside. The bathroom window is 4” height x 12” length. A leprechaun wouldn’t be able to clear that. The officers noticed the light was turned off, shower was off, door wasn’t locked anymore, but the sink was still running. They were as terrified as we were and told us we experienced something supernatural and there wasn’t anything they could do. Clearly.
Extended family came down the next day curious about the situation. My wife’s brother recreated the situation to his aunt at grandma’s house to let her know how it all went down. He turned on the shower, turned on the sink, the light, and left the door unlocked for dramatic reasons. He announced himself like the police officers did and opened the door. Both the shower and light turned off.
22. Terrible Smells Usually Lead to Terrible Sights
Back in 2007, my friends and I would frequent an abandoned munitions factory from World War II. The place is really cool, but not very safe. It has a drum of mercury spilled on the ground floor. It is four stories tall, with holes that go from the top floor all the way to the bottom, and there are a lot of things to trip over. So after going at night once and seeing some of these hazards, we decided it might be a good idea to go during the day next, so that we could get a better lay of the land and know where NOT to go.
While circling the outside perimeter of the building, we began to notice a truly terrible smell. This was midday during summer. Next to the factory is a large field that we began walking through, wondering if the smell was coming from there. No longer than a minute later a friend of mine called us over to him where he had found a LARGE pile of dead pigs and a few dead deer.
They looked to have been there for no more than a few weeks because they hadn’t began to decompose too much…yet. I took a picture of it because I didn’t think that anyone would believe me when I told them about it. This field wasn’t near anyone’s property to my understanding, no nearby farms that I knew of. Yet there was about a farm’s worth of dead animals just laying in this HUGE pile, about 3 feet tall.
We would periodically go back to look at it to see if it would be removed…or added to. I think that there may have been 1-2 deer added afterwards but it eventually became a decayed pile of flesh and bones. I know if I went back there now, there would still be many bones left in that spot. But I wouldn’t risk it now that there is a lot more police patrolling in that area.
23. Being Creeped Out is Part of the Fun
So I grew up in a relatively rural part of upstate New York. Out in the middle of nowhere there was this abandoned cement factory that had been left to fallow for decades. It had its own living space, officers, generator building, rock crusher, and underground tunnels. On top of that were the silos, maybe ten or fifteen stories tall, with corrugated metal stairs that take you all the way to the top.
Anyways, we would explore these tunnels from time to time, and one day we found a room at the bottom of one of the silos. It was completely dark, maybe about the size of a small bedroom and square, with what could only be described as a three-foot wide, floor-level “moat” filled with brackish water that went down maybe five or ten feet. The water was almost perfectly at floor level, so if you didn’t use a flashlight or watch where you were going it would have been incredibly easy to fall into it.
In the center of the room was a box, maybe seven feet long by three feet wide, and maybe four feet tall. The darn thing looked like a casket. This room was the creepiest place I’ve ever been in. Perfectly silent, weird moat, no light—don’t get me wrong, as a teenager I thought it was the coolest place ever, but if I were writing a horror novel about an entombed vampire escaping his prison, this is where I would start it.
24. Random X-Rays? Yeah, That’s a No For Me, Dawg
When I was younger, I’d constantly visit an abandoned nursing home near my house. There was one room full of x-rays of what I can only assume were the heads of elderly patients. They were just left there scattered all over the floor with personal documents. My attention span never allowed me to read any of them long enough to understand but I remember the very few I did read were just massive booklets of what appeared to be attendance lists (could have also been appointment logs). There would also be a massive safe in the corner of the room that we could never open that had just gone missing one of the times I came back.
There was also a youth nursing area. It was so eerie to walk through as pictures of disabled children still covered the walls, name tags were still attached to the doors of each room, and children’s drawings scattered over the floor. It also for whatever reason had the darkest rooms of the nursing home and a draft that would occasionally slam the door that you entered from. I refused to go in afterwards. Just didn’t feel right.
25. That’s One Sure Sign to Leave
I’m from Philly, where we have tons of abandoned places. The weirdest one I went to was an abandoned elementary school. I climbed through a broken window and navigated through a flooded basement to get to the ground floor. All of the classrooms were destroyed, desks flipped over, graffiti covering the walls. Everything seemed destroyed except for the children’s books that were still on the shelves.
I opened one up, a picture book, and started flipping through the pages. I wish I hadn’t. Someone had wrote, “Die” in black marker on all of the pages. I picked up another book. The same thing. “Die” written in black. I looked at all of the books at that point. Someone had actually taken the time to write “Die” on every single page of every book that were still there. In every classroom. In every single book. I left in a heartbeat.
26. A Place Frozen in Time
There are cabins on my lakeside reservation. During the 1980s, the head of the tribe pretty much evicted everyone who wasn’t a member. I’ve been there several times, and it’s always eerie. You’re going to a place that’s been frozen in time. There’s cans of food with familiar brands, but logos that are different, there are newspapers scattered around with dates from the 1980s, there are spray painted pentagrams/666 in some of the cabins. Some of the cabins are halfway collapsed, some of the cabins are haunts for junkies so there are needles and broken drug paraphernalia strewn about. It’s a strange place to be.
27. A Peculiar Mystery
A friend led several of us through the woods to an abandoned house. Besides the overgrown yard, everything looked so normal, that I got worried about whether the home was even abandoned at all. There was furniture, decorations, closets full of clothes, a record player, everything you would expect to find in a home, although it was a bit dated. The refrigerator was full, but the power to the house had been long shut off. I went to pick up an egg from the fridge and it crumbled to dust in my hand. There was some sort of roast in the oven, but again, it had been there for many years.
In the front yard were three cars with tags that all expired in 1976. Once we left, in the woods on our way back, I found a parachute and helmet with built-in coms. To this day I wonder who left in such a hurry and why. I mean the fridge was full and there was food left in the oven.
28. Stepping Into an Old Failed Romance
Friend of mine and I explored this old abandoned house deep in the woods near his house. Going through it, we found baby grand pianos of varying sizes. But that wasn’t the weird thing. We also found letters, dated back to WWI, from a wife to her husband stationed overseas. At first they were letters of how things were in the States, how the kids were, how life without him, and how much she loved and missed him.
The more we read though, the more the letters turned into something we weren’t expecting. She had fallen out of love with him and found another man. She left him for another man while serving his country overseas. It was sad reading those last few letters.
29. We Need a Certain Detective to Solve This One
A group of friends climbed through the window of an old, abandoned mental asylum. I stayed right outside the window because I’m a wuss. There was a stuffed Pikachu toy on the floor and nothing else. I know that probably means that somebody else had already gone into the building and left it there (god, I really hope so), but I kept expecting some demon child to pop up and murder us all.
30. Stumbling Upon a School Bus
Found an old school bus sitting out in the middle of the woods. It had been converted for living, complete with a small kitchen and a wood stove. On the table was a deck of cards, an overflowing ashtray, and a cup that had had coffee in it that had long since dried out. Clean dishes in the dish rack covered with dust and mouse droppings. Cupboard doors open in the kitchen showed cans of Campbell’s soup, condensed milk and boxes of crackers that had been ransacked by mice.
The bed was trashed by animals, pillows ripped apart and the stuffing spread all over. Underneath a shredded blanket, the leg of a teddy bear peeked out. Old books on the bedside table had swelled up from getting wet and were covered in mold. Ragged curtains with a cheerful flower print hung around the windows.
But the creepiest thing about it was definitely the bullet holes that covered the rear window.
31. Jack Ryan Would Love This
I once entered the abandoned submarine base of the Soviet Navy in Balaklava in 2002, before it became a museum. I was led by a group of street urchins who knew the base like the back of their hands. Maybe they were the sons of officers who once lived there. I don’t know. They led me though tunnels whose humidity created a fog that enabled my flashlight to illuminate only 10-15 meters ahead.
The manholes and anything remotely useful were removed by scrap-iron looters to the point that I spent more time watching my steps rather than where I was going. I found outlines of staircases leading to an upper floor. I saw the flooded tunnels that offered refuge to the submarines of the Red Navy, surrounded by old rusted gantries, suspended platforms and bridges too big to be carried away by looters. I found an e-mail scrawled on the wall. I took a photograph, e-mailed it to the address, but I never got a reply.
The “coolest” thing was the schematic diagram of a torpedo painted on the wall. At some point I may have been convicted as a spy for seeing that diagram.
32. Every Kid’s Dream: Exploring Sewers
I liked to explore the rain drainage system in my city as a young kid. I learned how they behave well enough and you can find yourself in massive (well decent-sized) “flood caverns” which were basically just large rooms that fill with water when it rains. But they were fun to hang out in, great acoustics.
Every so often you come face-to-face with some snakes or racoons or some other critter. But they were always more scared of me than I was of them. I did carry a knife and a beating stick just to be safe. I had a flashlight die on me, and my back up flashlight had no charge. That was easily the scariest experience, because I could hear all the critters moving down there with me, but not see them. Eventually I found an access tunnel. It felt like hours.
I can’t imagine what it looked like to passers-by—some grungy teen climbing out of the ground onto the sidewalk.
33. The Crows are Never a Good Omen
I used to live in a neighborhood with a nice stretch of land behind it. One day I was riding my mini bike around and discovered a path going into the woods. I check it out, but the path isn’t very visible. I go down it and discover a VERY visible path almost like an old road. I ride down it and see a big chimney through the thick brush. As I get closer, I see a mostly collapsed house, a big barn, and a few small sheds. This place was OLD. I take a look around, feeling scared. There’s big crows on top of the barn squawking at me.
Abandoned objects coated with dust and dirt. Some type of system of wooden fencing looking like a maze, leading to what only could be described as a guillotine. Finally, a pipe sticking out of the ground, about two feet wide. A wheel and tire lying on top of it, sealed with dirt. I lift it off, leveraging against its earthly seal until it falls off. Next a putrid stench hits me in the face. I gather my courage and look down to no visible end. I find a large rock and drop it in. At least three seconds passes before it meets the echoing bottom. Then I hear chains ramble with extreme intensity. Booked it and never came back.
34. The Sound and the Mystery
In high school, some friends and I used to photograph and explore abandoned places. One of the most memorable experiences was at an abandoned mental asylum. It was huge, but terribly neglected. It was a little tricky to get into, but we spent a few hours exploring.
It was starting to get dark out when we were walking around in one of the wings of the building. The whole building was disorienting, with closed off hallways and staircases leading to small rooms. There were multiple levels, and while walking through a large room with old medical equipment, I hear a baby crying. It was clear as day, and undoubtedly a baby, coming right from the floor beneath me. We immediately went downstairs to check out the room underneath, but found an empty room and the crying had stopped. We were all a little spooked by it, but (hesitantly) kept looking around.
Around 20 minutes later we were heading up into the “attic” space, but stopped because we heard something get knocked over. We all paused and stood silently, waiting for any other sound or hint of movement. The space was impossibly dark, and none of us dared to shine a light towards the source of the sound. After what felt like minutes of waiting, the silence was interrupted by what I can only describe as an old-fashioned music box beginning to play. It was coming from deeper in the attic. It grew slightly louder. I could start to understand the melody. The whole experience was something straight out of a horror film. Realising that we were all hearing it, we unanimously decided to get the hell out of there.
Years later I still feel like it is the scariest/most unexplained things I have ever experienced.
35. Never a Smart Idea to Break Down Pillars
When I was 14 years old, four friends and I liked to go exploring and see what kind of trouble we could get into. One day we found a very large old building, the size of a football field. We spent whole days there playing hide and seek and even had a BBQ there once. After two months, we had become so confident in this place we really started to be reckless. We cut beams with a borrowed handsaw to build other things, we knocked down walls that may or may not have been load bearing, and so on.
One afternoon someone had brought a sledge hammer and we went to town in the basement, thinking we could construct a bunker kinda thing. We must have hit something important–like the “spine” of the building–because everything collapsed. We were trapped. Thank goodness one of my friends had told his mother about this place. If it hadn’t been for what he said to his mother we all would have died in that building. No one would think to dig up a building that was on the brink of collapse for years just to see if someone was trapped.
The rescuers dug for a solid 33 hours before they got any sign of life. I was the fourth person to be dug out. We all survived with different injuries, we all suffered from dehydration and dust in the lungs, I got away with a damaged arm and hand, and a damaged leg. One of my friends got both legs broken/semi crushed, but didn’t lose them, the three others were relatively unharmed, a handful of cuts and bruises. We all guess around 35-37 hours from the building came down on us until we got dug out and sent to the hospital. I never go down to basements now, nor into old buildings.
36. An Unnerving Teddy Bear
I was in a ghost town in the mountains of Spain. The entire place was filled with abandoned houses, connected by stairs up the steep sides of the mountain. At one of the highest houses, after exploring around for a little while, I looked in the window and found just a torn-up teddy bear with one eye, lying on it’s back and looking up. That was definitely something.
37. A Halloween That Lives Up to All the Scary Hype
There is an older dramatic arts building on my college campus that was built some time in the nineteenth century, but much of its architecture is from the 1920s. I went with my friend one night to take photographs of the urban decay. The paint was bubbling and peeling from the interior walls like burned skin. We kept smelling smoke along the imposing staircase; both of us commented on it. I attempted to photograph the winding steps, but the images were obscured in a haze, despite no smoke being visible in person.
The creepiest part was when we found a light burning. We were freaked and turned to leave the room, only for the door to immediately close itself. Alarmed, we continued our tour of the silent building. We had an app that supposedly could pick up frequencies imperceptible to the human ear and translate them into English. It’s probably not intended to be taken seriously and is only good for foolish party games, but we jokingly opened up the app in the upstairs bathroom. It printed out the word “fire.”
As we were returning to our point of entry, we approached the first staircase, nearly back to the front door, when every single light bulb on the hallway blew, casting us in darkness. These lights are not on a timer; I have since returned to the building on numerous occasions, all around the same time, and the lights have remained on. Legitimately, every bulb on that long, long hallway blew. All other rooms and hallways were untouched.
We made it out of the building and aimed to return to our dormitory. As we were walking through the trees, giggling about the night, I noticed that my purse was absent. Anxious, I decided to retrace my steps, fearing I had left the purse in the building. We turned around to find it approximately 20 steps behind of us, perfectly aligned with the edge of the walkway, upright and unrumpled, as if someone had intentionally and gracefully set it down there. To make matters worse, I had been walking on the opposite side of the path. I had not been walking there! I still get chills thinking about the eerie experience.
38. A Grizzly Discovery
This was when I was around 12 or 13, back when my four cousins and me were little hellions. They lived out on a ranch and we would ride four-wheelers to a bunch of abandoned buildings in the country all the time. This one time we came across a bridge and decided to stop and enjoy the view. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and the water in the river looked amazing rushing under the bridge. Then we noticed something strange.
There was a metal wire tied to the rail of the bridge and hanging down into the water. Of course, curiosity got the best of us, so we decide to pull it up and see what it was all about. We pull up a deer skull. A huge one too, with large antlers and everything. Mind you, this is not within the timeline of hunting season at all. Then my cousin says, “Look over there! “ We see what looks like an axe stuck in the middle of a tree stump down by the river.
We walk to the end of the bridge and hike our way down to the river and low and behold, this is not an axe, it was a deer’s leg that had been chopped off and stuck in the dead center of the tree stump, pointing straight up at the sky. We rushed back to the top of the bridge and decided there was no way a deer died by itself and put its leg in a tree stump and tied its skull to a metal wire. We come to the realization that someone is hunting out of season.
Suddenly, as two of my cousins are discussing whether to take the head with them or not (they thought it was super cool but it smelled absolutely horrible), we see some hillbilly looking men step out onto the porch of a house up on the hill. They are holding rifles. They see that we’ve pulled up the wire with the deer skull and start running down the hill at us. We never rode our four-wheelers so fast! We booked it out of there! We made it back to the ranch and told our parents about it.
39. Abandoned Buildings: A Haven for Wild Animals
There used to be this abandoned asylum in the woods by the park near my hometown. The main building above ground was torn down but the basement was still there and you could enter it by crawling through a small window. The furniture and some medical stuff was all still down there. I was too afraid to go through the window but my friend wasn’t.
He was down there for about five minutes before he screamed and jumped out of the window. He said something was chasing him. We could hear it down there scurrying around but none of us wanted to get close enough to the window to look with the flashlight. A few years later a woman got attacked near there by a bunch of super-aggressive raccoons.
40. Never Doubt the Importance of a Flashlight
About 10 years ago, I was exploring an old run-down hotel with some friends at about 3 am. The property owners were having serious troubles with squatters so they had put razor wire everywhere. I was wearing thin jeans (I was 18 and stupid). I tripped on some steps and thought some of the razor wire had just caught on my jeans. We keep going and get inside.
Soon I realize my leg is wet. And I don’t just mean wet, it is soaked from the knee down. It’s dark as hell, so my buddy shines his flashlight on my leg and it turns out it’s blood. I have to drop my pants in front of everyone to see where it’s coming from. Right above my knee is this little cut, squirting blood. We all start cursing, one of the girls pukes, and has to turn away. Fortunately my buddy (incidentally the one with the flashlight) takes off his belt and sweatshirt and makes a pressure pack.
After a while we decide we have to hike out of there before security comes back for their rounds. I had to take my pants all the way off because I didn’t want to rip them over the sweatshirt. So here I am walking out of this hotel and into the subsequent neighborhood to our car, wearing my boxer briefs, holding my leg, soaked in blood.
Ended up being okay and sewed it up at home with help from dude with the flashlight. He was a nifty friend to have around.
41. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
There was an abandoned cookie factory in my city. We found out if we walked down some train tracks you could get in through an unlocked side door. So me and two other guys went exploring. We entered the basement and wandered through; it was obvious people had been there before by the “Hail Satan” graffiti tags all over the old shower room.
Anyway, we come to a ladder going up to the next floor when we realized that the company had sectioned off this portion of the building. The ladder went up and had a curved rung on it, so they had taken a large piece of plywood and cut holes in it to fit in through the rungs and laid it on the floor to block it off. I get to the top, lock my legs on the ladder and push hard on the plywood and it comes up.
There on the floor about 6 inches in front of my face was a glass orb. It was reflecting, there in the darkness. I’m looking at my own face and what I can make out with my light. I just stayed there for a minute expecting something to come out of the darkness and tear my face off and pull me up the ladder. So I took a breath, lifted the plywood, slid underneath onto the floor and assumed the Wolverine stance, like that was going to save me from the deranged murder ghost of the abandoned cookie factory.
The two guys I was with get up the ladder and we look around. We found a six foot tall t-rex and toys and all kinds of stuff from an old children’s museum exhibits. By this point if you live in my city, you most likely know where I was. The cookie factory had a nearby children’s museum and they held old exhibits for the museum in one of the empty wings in the factory, maybe for a tax break or something.
I guess since the factory shut down, they blocked that part off and hoped they’d forget about it.
42. Everything Was Going Swimmingly… and Then Came the Scream
We were exploring some woods on the outskirts of my city when we were around 12 years old. These woods had old barracks in them that were used during WWII but are completely abandoned, overgrown, and run down now. To actually get to any explorable barracks you had to go quite deep into the forest and up some very steep hills in which you use the trees roots that grow down them to climb up. This was the first time me and my friends had ventured this deep before, so we were all pretty excited at seeing how far we could go and how big the place actually was.
Eventually, we had to squeeze through some tight stinging nettle bushes but luckily we all had long clothes on to protect us. We stumbled out into this huge clearing area where right in front of us was the building. We were all astounded. But being young, we were all pretty nervous to actually set foot any further. We hung around the entrance for a bit messing around when my friend says, “Guys I swear I just saw a face or something in the dark over there.” My friend and I are thinking he’s trying to spook us. That’s when it happened…
The loud scream of an adult male fills the entire building amplified by the echo. With that my friends and I look at each other absolutely terrified and let out shrieks ourselves. We bolt it towards the bushes in which we came and start making a break straight back the way we came without looking back. We must have run for a solid ten minutes straight without even stopping. Those huge steep hills I spoke about earlier we literally jumped down and just slid down them getting covered in dirt.
We finally reached the edge of the forest and stopped running. We never did find out who was in there or why but considering how young I was it was definitely one of my most terrifying experiences.