Ever been in a place where something just seems a little…off?
Somewhere where without knowing exactly why, something about it just seems…wrong?
If this sounds like something straight out of the Twilight Zone, think again—this feeling has been experienced by real people who, for one reason or another, have found themselves in mysterious, spooky, and at times even unexplainable locations that they would not be forgetting any time soon.
Here are 42 examples of real-life encounters with places that, by all logic and normal standards, should not exist.
42. Not So Hill-arious
When my brother and I were 10 and 12 respectively our family went on a hike through the cemetery and into the woods not far from our house.
My brothers and I would explore these woods every day. Even camped in them before. We knew it like the backs of our hands.
Anyway, as the family hits our usual spot by the creek, halfway through my brother and I said we’d be back in a few, we wanted to wander off further up the creek. So we did.
We came across a very large hill we had never seen before. It was littered with what looked like someone’s worldly possessions. As if they turned a house upside down, shook out the contents, took the house and left. There were tons of painted X’s on the trees showing someone intended to cut them down at some point. We poked around for a few when we thought we heard our mom hollering at us. So we turned tail and walked maybe 20 feet back down the hill to where our parents were. The entire encounter was maybe 45 minutes long…on our end.
As soon as our mom saw us we got the beating of a lifetime. We had actually been gone almost four hours. She never saw us walk up any hill and remembered seeing us meandering down the strait path by the creek, not turning up a hill that was 20 feet away. She and her husband and our other brother combed the woods for over four hours screaming our names and couldn’t find hide nor tail of us.
We pleaded our case and even tried showing her the hill. Surely she was messing with us. So we stomped up to the turnoff for the hill and…it was gone. Nowhere to be seen. For YEARS we explored the woods determined to find that freaking hill. We covered miles and miles of off-path woods. As we got older we mapped it out. To this day that hill does not exist. We never found it again. Never found the weird furniture, toys, clothes, and other household items that were scattered across the hill. And never met anyone in the area that had a clue about the hill.
We probably just wandered way further than we meant to but I always found it weird that we never found the hill again.
41. Old MacDonald Had a Farm
My grandparents had a big farm when I was growing up and all of the grandkids would help work it over the summer when we were out of school. Anytime we saw a rabbit we were supposed to get it with the hoe or grab the shotgun. I was around 12 or so when I saw a little rabbit in the beans and I didn’t want my grandfather to see it so I tried to chase it off. Followed it into the brush on the land and for whatever reason, I just kept following it because usually, I’d lose sight of them pretty quickly once they hit the brush. Kept following it until I found what was clearly an old barn ruin. These are pretty normal to happen upon where I’m from and they’re fun to look around inside, so I went in.
It was weirdly kept up really well with antique tools in great shape and fresh hay. I worried I had crossed into our neighbors’ property so I high-tailed it out of there. I asked my grandfather about it and he said our land went way far past what I had described, and I couldn’t have left our land in the short amount of time I was gone, so he followed me out there and we couldn’t find it. I checked every summer I worked there and never found it again. Not creepy but it always drove me crazy where that stupid barn went.
40. Walking Dead?
One time I was driving with a friend from St. Louis to Nashville when both our phones died and we got a little lost. Wound up driving through Cairo, Illinois.
That whole town should not exist.
It was surreal. Like driving through a Scooby-Doo ghost town. The buildings obviously were pretty great at the time, but now they are faded and falling a part. People were just haplessly milling about the streets like zombies. Freaky.
39. Other Side of the World
Cyberjaya, Malaysia. I was opening a call center so was working nights to match US hours. Our typical lunch spot was closed for a few days. One guy says he knows a place close by, so we pile in his car and off we go into the jungle. This was 10 or 15 years ago. At that time, if you headed towards Kuala Lumpur it stayed pretty urban or suburban, but if you head any other direction it got dark fast. We are out on these roads and the street lights go from regular intervals to what seemed like one every 5 KM. It quickly becomes obvious the driver is lost. He’s stopped looking for a place to eat and is outright just looking for the way back to the office. Then we saw this house, with a counter where the car park should be just lighting up the jungle around it. We pulled in mostly for directions.
Turns out this was a random little Mamak stall built onto these people’s house. They operated for the farms in the area that were the process of shutting down but stayed open to feed us. Out in the middle of the jungle, I had some of the freshest ever Indo-Chinese food. They were even able to give us directions to get back to the office area. We tried to find that spot again like a week later, thought we reversed the directions—nothing but trees.
38. Silence is Golden
20 some odd years ago, I took my kids and parents on a driving trip through the eastern coast of Canada.
My dad (who was driving) decided to take this ‘shortcut’ off the main highway down a dirt road.
About five minutes down this road, things go eerily quiet. We should be able to hear birds, the trees rustling, cicadas, yet nothing. It was too quiet. Dad starts slowing down.
I am busy looking at the map. I know where we turned off and there was no designated road on our map. I’m worried that I can’t find it.
I look up from the map as I have realized, nobody is talking. Everyone is looking out their windows. There are little stick people and stick designs hanging from the trees. Some are just shapes and others are more intricately made. Dangling, swaying slowly.
Between this and the fact that it was dead quiet, I made an instant decision and told dad to turn around and leave as quickly as possible.
I felt a huge pressure in my ears like they needed to be popped. Mom had goosebumps and my dad said we were just being silly. He obliged and got us out of there.
37. A Very Friendly Ghost
I was staying at a friend’s place in the financial district of NYC. They were out of town so I was babysitting their cat. At some point in the late evening, I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner so I went out to find something fast. Hurricane Sandy had recently come through so many shops and restaurants were still closed and in recovery mode, so my search turned up nothing of interest. On my way back to the apartment to order delivery, I walked by a place with a woman standing outside and she said “free pizza.”
Now I’m not one to ever turn away from those words so I turned to her and she repeated the phrase while opening the door to a small pizzeria. I went inside and sure enough, there was free pizza. I ended up getting two large slices and headed back home for the night, stopping to give one to the doorman at the apartment complex.
The next day I walked the entirety of the financial district and found absolutely no trace of this pizzeria. To this day I still call it my ghost pizza story.
36. Did You Stumble Upon the Robot Takeover Preparations?
Was driving through Illinois to get to Chicago about a decade ago with a group of friends and we stopped at a Taco Bell. The first thing we noticed was that the workers were acting very odd. Everything they said was monotone and rehearsed. After sitting in this fairly busy restaurant for a bit, we kind of all just looked at each other at the same time as we realized that none of the conversations happening around us made any sense. The people were speaking, and it was English, but the sentences weren’t logical. They were just saying words at each other.
We didn’t say much about it until we got outside, at which point we all freaked out and confirmed each others’ experiences at once, and got the heck out of there. We jokingly refer to that place as the “NPC Training Center” since the people didn’t seem to be real, or they were learning how to be human or something. Still freaks me out.
The best I can remember about the weird conversations was that they were stringing several prepositions in a row with no real sentence structure, forced laughter and nodding, stuff like that. Like they were mimicking how humans talk. Think of those “what English sounds like to a non-speaker” videos on YouTube, but EVERYBODY was doing it all around us.
35. Creative Builders
In the interior of BC (Canada) I spent a lot of time exploring in the truck. Found loads of abandoned buildings and cabins but the coolest place that a friend showed me was an abandoned hippie commune deep in the forest. There were some crazy house designs, one looked like an ark, one was a 40 foot teepee clad with aluminum.
The place was clearly built by people who had very little building experience, but lots of creativity and motivation. There was a lot of weird stuff I found on the property, and I even found a bike that was stolen off me the year prior.
34. Dancing in the Dark
By my hometown there was a hiking trail that people went to very infrequently. It was along the side of the Niagara Escarpment so it had some climbable cliffs, and some very shallow caves that you could crawl around in.
I went with some friends when I was 19/20 and we were crawling around and found a cave that went pretty deep. We had never been in there before, had never even seen it before. So we pushed forward and decided to check it out even though we had no flashlights and this was when cellphones didn’t really have a flashlight function.
We stepped into the cave and it was easily 20-30 degrees cooler than outside. Upon looking around with whatever light we had we noticed it was really clean inside the cave, as in it didn’t have beer cans littered everywhere like all the other small caves did. While in there we got a really eerie feeling after being in there shortly… hearing weird and strange things. Feeling like we were being touched, poked and pulled and not having any way to figure out who was doing it because it was too dark. We were just using lighters to see what was around us.
We were convinced one of us was messing with the others. Although anytime we sparked up a lighter, we were all decently far apart.
We decided to high-tail it out of there after only a few minutes, convinced to come back with flashlights. We came out to see that it was now dusk outside, when we entered it was mid-day. Somehow we had lost roughly 3 hours inside of this cave.
We went with back with flashlights the next week. But have never been able to find this cave again.
It is in Wisconsin, Oakfield ledge if you want to check it out!
33. The Bear Necessities of Storytelling
I remember we went camping one time, and I had gone on a bike ride with my dad through the woods. It was a short loop, pretty well on the beaten path. The next day I decided to go again but my dad was doing something else so I went alone.
At one point I got to a fork I thought I remembered, and of course took the wrong one. I kept riding and riding. I knew I had taken a wrong turn at that point but figured maybe it was a different loop and would come out on a main road at some point. I passed two girls and two guys backpacking way down the trail, they looked normal enough but confused when they looked at me. Finally, I see a sign that says “Primitive Campsite Ahead”, thinking it was just a weird way of referring to a campsite with tents and stuff. Nope, it was just some logs and a fire pit in the middle of the woods…I guess the destination the hikers were going to.
So I press on…and the trail just ends. Literally it disappeared into a field of tall grass. I had ridden for an hour and figured I should just turn back.
So I start back, and start getting this feeling like I’m being watched. I heard some snaps in the woods. I thought maybe it was a bear…and sped up. I come to the hikers again. This time there are only three of them, one of the guys was missing, and they actively avoid looking at me, dead silent with no conversation.
All this made me start riding high speed through these trails as fast as I could, all the way back to the campsite. I was scared out of my mind…but was a little embarrassed so I told my dad I took a wrong turn and saw a bear.
32. Overnight Success?
There is a town right near me in Pittsburgh, PA (Lincoln Way in Clairton, PA) where a whole street full of families disappeared overnight back in the ‘70s. Everything (bills, food, clothes, etc.) was left behind, no trace of them to this day. You can go on Google Maps and look it up, the houses are abandoned and almost closed off from the rest of the town.
31. The Great White North
There was another instance that I’ll never forget, I read it here on a “Creepiest Google Map Places.”
Sometime in the past couple years, a man in Canada decided to drive until the highway stopped. I believe he started in Winnipeg and kept going N/NW until he ran out of road. About 1-2 hours before he got to that point, he saw a lot of cars parked off the side of the road. Keep in mind that there wasn’t a single gas station or store nearby and hasn’t seen a house for quite some time.
There was a lot of about 30 to 35 cars old cars (I want to say from the ‘50s or ‘60s) and in the distance he saw a cavern entrance that was faintly illuminated by light. He noticed the tail end of a group of people dressed in all black walking in.
No signs were around advertising it and he said he couldn’t find anything about it on Google Maps.
He posted this a year ago, and that trip was even further back from that. I reached out and tried to get any markers or nearby areas I could do my own research by, but he said he could not remember specifics.
Still makes me wonder to this day what was going on there…
30. Useful Mystery
Not creepy, just weird to me. A music store seemed to just show up in my town. I’d lived here three years and never saw it. Went in, and the guy had one bass guitar in the store. Me, being a bassist, played it and fell in love. Bought it, and then the next week when I was in town, the store was totally empty, and looked like it hasn’t been open in a long time.
Got a new bass out of it though, so I’m cool with it being a spooky ghost store.
29. Things Change
When I was a kid, we would go to my grandparents’ summer camp on the Hudson River, a little upriver from Waterford and downriver from the GE plant. They had about 15 other families as neighbors, and all of us kids would ride bikes and play tag, and occasionally go swimming.
They had been dumping PCBs in the river for a long time, with the blessing of the New York State government, so when they got caught, they were forced to buy up some of the land around the plant, which included the lot where my grandparents had set up camp every summer.
They found another lot a little south of their original spot, and occasionally, we would hike through the woods to the original spot.
Where once we had played, and laughed, and swam… It was dead. Even surrounded by trees and upstate NY wildlife, it was like some primordial vampire had leached the summer energy from all 16 cabins and trailers. It sure was spooky.
28. This Could Explain a Few of These Stories…
When camping with our college friends we always engage in some form of hooliganism with whoever is the last one to arrive.
This last trip our friend was projected to arrive around 11:30 pm, so what did we do?
Every time we saw headlights approaching we’d form a circle in the darkness just to the right of the road and stare up to the night sky with our mouths agape. The person who had their backs to road would countdown and we’d simultaneously snap our heads and stare at the car as it passed by.
Yeah… we did that to two cars before our friends finally arrived.
Heh heh heh, whoopsies.
27. Is There Something I Should Know About This Town?
I have a similar story moving from Kentucky back to North Carolina. It was just my mom and I at a middle of nowhere gas station late at night somewhere near the Tennessee/North Carolina border. We pay for gas at the pump, but went in for snacks and drinks. Right behind you if you’re facing the counter is the little coffee station where there were about three or four typical middle-aged country-looking guys.
Well, right after we paid, the cashier leans in and looks us dead in the eyes and with the most serious tone says “Now, you guys be safe tonight.” Right at that moment we turned around and every one of those guys was just staring at us. Obviously, we got the hell out if there as fast as we could. Still gives me the creeps.
26. But the Party Was Just Getting Started!
Not just one, but there’s a whole lot of places in rural NZ that will scare the daylights out of someone who isn’t used to it. Hell, even some of my Kiwi friends would sometimes be like no way, I’m not hiking out there with you guys, good luck.
If I had to choose one, we were doing a five day hike, had pretty good maps and directions. Now there’s a lot of nationally funded huts throughout the island, very well marked. We found this one random hut that was definitely not on the maps, with a bunch of older guys just hammered partying inside. And this was way out of where these guys could’ve just walked up from town to party in for the afternoon. No gear whatsoever, just the craziest looking old guys hammered in this random unmarked cabin.
When we came back by later the place was absolutely empty and musty, so they packed up their trash and stuff but it still seemed all gross and dirty. We were all kind of baffled, did we actually meet all these crazy hillbilly old men partying in the middle of nowhere? They obviously weren’t going up there to clean it up, and where the hell did this cabin even come from just in the middle of these mountains? And how did they just randomly hike up there with cases of beer and booze and speakers?
25. Appearances Can Be Deceiving
One time my friends and I went for a five day hike in the Appalachian Trail on the Quebec side, in an area known as Matane. It was about 60 km in the hilly/borderline mountainous landscape in the middle of nowhere and we saw a lot of wildlife—caribou, mostly.
Well, on the third day of the hike, we were going from one summit to another, about 10km this day with a lot of elevation, it was hard, we had only a couple of access points for water on the way so we were thirsty and the hike the day before to get to the summit was a very tough one so we were all still in pain from it.
Well, in this context, imagine our surprise when we crossed path with two older guys, in their 60s, in freaking Crocs (you know, the plastic shoes), with a pack of beers, on the same trail as us but on the opposite direction. They were going up to the summit we had just left to spend the night there. They were part of the association who maintained the trail and had done so for the past 20 years or so.
We chatted a little bit and asked about their attire and found out they came through a smaller logging road only the locals would know about and just had to hike about 5km to get to the summit.
24. Sounds Pretty Shady
There’s an old abandoned hotel a couple hours away from me. It’s not like a modern hotel, but like an old Victorian house that was turned into a B&B. It’s totally boarded up, big fence around it with barbed wire. Apparently, it’s pretty damn haunted.
In high school, some friends and I went to go check it out. It’s in the middle of this circular road, not a roundabout, but you can go around several times before feeding back onto the main road. It takes about ninety seconds to go around this circle. Anyway, the first time we drive through all the shades on the windows are drawn. We drive around again, only half of the shades are drawn. The next time we drive by all the shades are open. We drove around one last time and all the shades were drawn again. We freaked out and drove the hell out of there.
23. Confuse Thy Neighbor?
One time I was hiking around Arkansas with my wife and lost track of time. We ended up being too late for a camp spot at our intended place so we had to search for another one. Eventually we found a sort of ranch where the owners often let campers stay who had nowhere else to go, so all was good.
It was a bit crowded with other campers so we had to ask these college-age kids if we could camp next to them on their spot and they agreed. The kids were nice and even helped with our tent but kept us up later than we wanted because they were loud and getting wasted well into the night.
Anyway, we wake up in the morning and I’m just eating breakfast and getting ready and stuff when out of my eye, I notice someone coming out of our neighbor’s tent but I didn’t recognize her. It was a woman who was much older than the kids from last night, followed by her small daughter. The college kids from last night weren’t there but the actual stuff was the same. It was still their tent, their chairs, their car, same everything except for the people. It was really surreal; everything was literally the same about our neighbors except instead of them being four college kids, they had been replaced by an older family of three.
22. A Flame That Never Dies
Centralia, PA—the whole town and interstate was removed in 1962 to accommodate an enormous underground coal mine fire that’s still burning today. The whole neighborhood grid (I don’t remember if there are still houses or not) and highway is still there, and there’s still smoke coming up through cracks in the street. The whole dystopian vibe that always accompanies an abandoned town plus wondering if I’d fall through a hole in the street into some literal hellscape below was plenty for me. Walked around for an hour or so and then hightailed it out of there.
21. Saved by the Dog
Where I live there’s an abandoned mental hospital. For real. It’s so creepy—and until very recently, there was no real security on property. Right now they’re going through asbestos removal so they can implode it, though. I worked fairly close to it, so one night I told my coworkers I was gonna walk home and took the long path through the woods. If you parked at the businesses near it, they would usually call the cops.
I got into an auxiliary building, and it was the creepiest thing ever. I’m a big fan of the game Outlast so it felt like stepping straight into that. I then ventured further to the main building and the auditorium. I was wearing a mask and stuff so the asbestos and dust didn’t kill me. It was crazy. The thing is, it’s recently-ish) abandoned—like 2004 I think. So it’s all modern architecture and everything seems… eerily new. There’s graffiti and such, of course, but it really feels like one day everyone just up and left and never returned. Every single time I looked down a hallway I felt like there was someone or something there.
There’s a series of tunnels under the city that lead to this hospital too. I tried to go down there but my planned escape route had been backfilled—probably to prevent people like me from entering. So I went back up and walked back through to my work and to catch an Uber home.
On the way out I was accosted by a bunch of cops. Evidently, they had some cameras and such out there—they take trespassing really seriously. I showed them my Florida ID and said I was a temporary resident and lost my dog. I had no clue about the history of the place and just searched the woods. They believed me and sent me on my way.
20. Buffer Night
This story takes place in the mid-‘90s, a time before widely used cell phones and GPS. My two best friends and I, freshly able to drive, decided we would head out on a Saturday to a water park in Southern Missouri about a three-hour drive from our hometown in Northwest Arkansas. We had never been before and just used road maps to get there.
We had a pretty fantastic time but as the sun started to reach the tree line we thought we ought to head home. It’s about seven o’clock and we miss a turn, but my friend Paul who was navigating said not to worry, another turn was coming up that would get us there just as fast. The next turn took us from detoured to completely lost. By eight o’clock we are on a road that seemed to be lacking in informative road signs and zero lights.
We finally see a gas station and are relieved to get some directions as well as some gas. My friend Taylor and I go inside while Paul pumps the gas. We come inside and find a very friendly old man in his early 60s who gives us a very large grin and says “Weeeeell hello there!” It was very Foghorn Leghorn-esque. Looked like an extreme hillbilly but very pleasant.
We explained that we were needing gas and wanted to fill up. He explained that he was about to shut down for the night but would be happy to oblige. He then said something I’ll never forget, “You have to make haste though… tonight is buffer night.” Taylor and I looked at each other and shared an awkward look. We asked him if he could point out our location on the roadmap.
While he was finding it two people entered the shop from the back and called out for the old man. He said he was up front. The two approached us, a man and a woman, and at first looked confused then as though hit with an epiphany they smiled. They asked the old man “Are these the guests tonight?” He shot them a look and said: “No, these are some lost children.”
The way he said “children” caused the hairs on my neck to stand up. Not sure why. They looked at us and said, “The three of you should make haste, because tonight is buffer night.” Two things scared the heck out of me right then. The first being how did they know about Paul pumping gas out front when they came from the back, and the second being that they repeated the old man verbatim.
We clarified the directions to get back on the main highway and paid for the gas without waiting for change. Taylor and I booked it out of the gas station to find Paul already in the passenger seat. When we got into the car we were nearly airborne from the speed we took off. Before we could say anything Paul told us how three men from across the street stood under a tree just watching him. He waved but they didn’t move a muscle.
We just drove as fast as we could until we got back to the highway. To this day I will still have a nightmare every so often about that gas station and what my imagination has twisted “buffer night” into being.
19. Why Is It Always a Gas Station??
I was relocating across Texas and, as I normally do, was driving through the night to skip traffic and because it’s more serene that way. I was driving straight through central Texas going northwest, so seeing the hill country change to the desert in the full moon was super cool. Anyways, I was driving with my (now ex) wife and we were running low on gas. Luckily, we were pulling into a tiny no-name town and we could see an old gas station come around the bend. This encounter happened at about 2 am.
Now, this town only has one road, and this station was right at the edge of town at the end of it. When I say old, I mean very old; the type that you have no option of pre-paying, you simply flip up the handle on the machine and you hear the pump inside start struggling to get the gas from the reservoir. It had the old style tick readers too, not a thing electrical on it.
I, being the young man I was, had never seen one before, so I walked into the store to buy the gas before I pumped. The store only had one light in the far back on, and I almost thought it was closed since it was barely brighter inside than it was out in the moonlight.
Upon entering, I saw the place was deserted; no customers, no workers, nothing. However, there was an odd tune playing on someone’s radio that I couldn’t place. An old-sounding, upbeat piano piece was playing somewhere around the corner inside, and I heard shuffling once I walked closer to the source.
This place made me feel scared. Not the “Whoa, this is creepy” scared, but the “All hairs are on end, something is seriously wrong here but I can’t figure it out” scared. As I turned the corner, I saw a young man standing next to a large radio and… dancing. His dancing, though, was extremely off-putting and seriously didn’t match the tune at all.
Though the radio was cranking out what sounded like ragtime, this guy was running his hands up and down his body and pretty much “feeling himself” with his eyes closed in what looked like bliss. He was going far slower than the music and definitely wasn’t on tempo. For some reason, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even move. I was in a trance as every part of me screamed to turn and leave.
Finally, I said, “Excuse me, I just need some gas.”
The guy kept dancing.
I said it a little louder, and he finally slowed down a bit and opened his eyes, and focused on me. But it was like he was looking at a finely cooked steak. He was looking almost through me and silently walked to the register, not saying anything. I said, “Uh, just $20 please.” He, again, didn’t say anything and just stood behind the ancient register, so I just figured maybe he didn’t speak the language or was embarrassed I caught him dancing, so I laid the money on the counter and went outside hoping he’d turn on the pump.
I filled up, told my wife about the weird scene in there, and turned off the pump to kill the horrible grinding noise from the interior pump fighting against gravity to get the gas up.
Weird thing is, when we were leaving, I looked back in the window and the guy was still standing there behind the counter. This may sound fine, but my money was still on the counter in front of him. It was like he was a robot who just turned off once I left.
This is where it gets super weird. A couple months later, I was driving back to San Antonio to visit family, and we figured we’d stop at that old gas station to see it in the daytime since it had become somewhat of a running joke between us. We pulled into this tiny town, and… the thing was gone. The lot it sat on at the end of the road wasn’t even there. It was just grass. No rubble, no old pump, no lighting, nothing. It was like somebody picked it up and moved it. It looked like nothing had been there for years.
Still get freaked out thinking about it.
18. Fan Favorite
I’ve had a bit of an obsession with the infamous Centralia for much of my adult life but I never got an overly creepy vibe from being there. The second time I visited was actually for a cleanup day organized by locals from nearby towns/relatives of former citizens. They’re so passionate about taking care of it and preserving what’s left because what to so many is just a creepy attraction used to be home to over 1,000 people. People grew up and started families and lived their lives there and now people looking for a thrill come and absolutely trash the place.
I still love Centralia for the eeriness of it but after doing the cleanup and meeting the people who had these strong connections to it, its emptiness makes me feel nostalgic and more sad than creeped out.
17. A Place With Its Own Rules
Bevo Mill, Missouri is the unofficial Bosnian capital of the US—it’s home to the largest collection of Bosnians outside of Bosnia. Years ago, maybe 20 or more, there was a Bosnian kid who was killed or molested in the town. I think everyone in town knew who it was. Police couldn’t get any useful information from the people. A few days later the guy who was suspected was found tied to a light post or telephone post and was beaten to death.
The Bosnians out there are some pretty good people but they definitely protect their own.
16. The Outsiders
My parents live in a town of about 250 people. Everyone waves at each other so they can identify outsiders if you don’t wave back. They told me this like it wasn’t super creepy. They also told me about a time the townspeople caught a thief, and instead of calling the sheriff, tied him up for a day and everyone took turns beating the brains out of him. They also acted like it was funny and normal. My parents are the town ministers.
15. Weirdness Confirmed
I’m from Maryville, MO, which is just next door to Skidmore, the mysteriously evil town. I’d say it’s just a simple one-horse town, but even their horse ran away. That negative feeling you got in town is just how most people’s bodies naturally react to the town, just as an immune response or something. There are a lot of theories as to why it happens, but the most popular is that there’s just a giant cloud of second-hand meth hanging over the city getting in any passersby’s lungs.
Other theories include God’s hate for the town, concealed inbreeding, and the idea that that’s just what happens when so many meandering, changeless, aimless souls collect in one pointless place.
Either way, go through Maryville instead. It’s a college town, so we’re able to harvest all the life force we need from students during the semesters.
14. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
My wife and I spent a good three or four months earlier this year mostly looking at empty property/bare land with acreage—we visited several dozen lots. We were looking to find land to buy and build a house on. This is Western Washington.
One piece of land we found had an old tear-down house on it, a couple of large three-walled barns that needed some TLC, and a really old metal ‘Welcome’ style of sign (like an archway) covering an old driveway that was impassable now due to overgrowth.
Anyway, in this particular case, my wife was on her own taking pictures/video of the place, with our young kids in tow, to show me when I got home from work. The moment I saw the video…instant ‘impending doom’ feeling…just from looking at the pictures. The lot itself was actually very nice, would have worked well for us to build a house on…except for the instant ‘doom’ feeling I got when seeing those pictures and video. She asked what I thought about it and I told her how it gave me a creepy vibe. That’s when she admitted that she felt really uneasy while visiting the lot and didn’t spend much time there.
It was really weird, a picture that makes the hair on your arms stand up… I might actually still have a copy of the pictures/video too. Something about that place just didn’t feel right at all.
It’s weird how some places have such a strong feeling to them, but I’m old enough to know to trust my instincts and inner-voice, part of what keeps us alive longer.
13. Perfect Timing
10 years ago, my friend and I were bored one night and were driving around. We were on a highway in NJ about 30 minutes from our houses and through the trees in the middle of nowhere we see this beautiful freshly paved cement pathway with lampposts every 100 feet just lighting this pathway up. It was beckoning to us and so we found the nearest exit. We drove around for a while through the darkness until the road came to a dead end and the path began.
We got out and started walking on this path through the trees and these beautiful wide open fields until eventually, it ends at a little small town after a couple miles. At this point, it’s like 2 am and in a small town like this nothing should be open—except for this pizzeria, which is odd, so we go in. It is empty except for the older gentleman behind the counter. We order and start eating…then another older customer walks in.
The gentleman behind the counter and this customer do a double take at each other and then smile. Both of them run around the counter and embrace…”Mario!” “Stefano!” “What has it been, 40 years?” They talk the whole time about their childhood and growing up back in Italy. We think what are the chances we would be here, at this moment, seeing friends reunited after 40 years. Just. Plain. Odd.
My friend and I, we finish up and we head back down the brightly lit path and back to the car and call it a night. Ever since that night my friend and I tried to find that brightly lit path, but to no avail—we haven’t seen it since, from the highway or driving down that road. In the small town, the pizzeria is there, but it closes at 10 pm, so no explanation for why it would be open at 2 am. Just plain odd and something we never could explain.
12. Secret Lair
Growing up, my parents were divorced. My dad lived on a decent chunk of land, with the house in the front. The backyard was a field surrounded by trees/woods on two sides, and an open pasture on the other. So, in the woods behind the house, there was this little river that my brother and I would play in and we had a pretty good path there. We even dug steps into the side of the hill. So, we mainly stayed there, but sometimes would go down river by where it opened up into the field next door.
Well, one day we decide to go deeper into the woods instead of down the river. So we take our little daypacks and head off. The brush was real thick, and was really slow going. So eventually my brother is like “enough of this, I’m out” just because it was too thick and starting to turn into a swamp.
Well, I keep going. Probably about a mile away from the river, I find this concrete pillar surrounded by trees and what not. So, I do what any young kid would do and climbed up it. It was probably eight feet tall, so it wasn’t too hard. Well, on top of this pillar, there was a hole with metal rungs going down. I take out my flashlight and jump on in, ‘cause why not?!
I get to the bottom, which felt like maybe six or seven feet below ground—I could fully stand up, but didn’t have much head room—and it was a concrete room. I looked around and it looked like it was well used. A dirty sleeping bag, empty canned foods, candles, some yard ornaments that were stolen from us a few years prior, some books and a CD player. Freaked me out to say the least, and I noped out real quick. It felt like I was being watched the whole way back to the river.
Didn’t tell anyone ‘cause I was a kid, and never went back. We eventually stopped playing by the river because it started stinking like sewage really bad.
11. Better Hope There’s No Kool-Aid Served On This Date…
Near where I live there is a little town called Ridgeview Park.
My friend was talking to a new girl, and we were scoping out where she lived so he wouldn’t get lost on his upcoming date when we took a wrong turn.
After a slight decline, the road sharply rose until we crossed some train tracks and were met with a fence about 20 feet tall made from wood pillars about the size around of telephone poles. There was a gate that was open, so we drove in.
Once inside, there is a single loop that winds through the whole complex. Only wide enough for one car. One way in, one way out. In the middle sits a large dome/church. The houses that surround it are all square two-story homes painted brightly in strange colors. There is a drained community pool off to one side with grass growing in the basin. Lined up along the very back of the loop are 50-70 single car garage doors, all right next to each other. No house appears to have their own.
It was strangely quiet and as we drove past the homes, residents would step outside and watch us. The loop isn’t too large, and we eventually made our way around and exited through the gate and some people walked closer watching us leave.
Haven’t seen anything else like it. Their website is password protected, and their Facebook page is private. The part you can see says it is a “summer community” that started out as a Methodist camp and still has religious services, and that they only sell homes to members of the family.
Such a creepy vibe to the whole place, and we try to drive through at least once a year—when the gate is open.
10. A Change of Scenery
I was driving in a rural area in New England, near the borders of Vermont and Mass., so I am not sure which state I was in. It was late—so late that it was actually early. And there was fog, dense dense fog. Like Silent Hill levels of fog. And like an idiot who dies in the opening scene of a horror movie, I am driving on back roads. First my headlight just up and goes out, cannot use high beams because of fog. I am in the middle of nowhere, I haven’t seen a house or town in a long time. Car starts making noise, check engine light comes on. So I pull over nothing much around field and fog and dark. Creepy as hell. I gamely look at the engine, I can fix electronics, not engines. I tighten all the things I know.
The car now won’t start. So I am in the dark, in the middle of nowhere, on the side of the road. Because of the natural rules of how things work, my cell phone has no service as well. It is like one big cliché. But I am not stupid enough to go wandering the roads right now. So I recline my seat and decide to take a nap for a couple hours until the sun comes up.
I wake up, the sun is coming up, the fog is going away… and I am in on the main street of a tiny town, parked in front of what looks like the Bates Motel house. Houses everywhere. It was the creepiest feeling. I was sure I was off in the woods. There was not a light on in any house all night? There was a service station 50 yards up the road, I walked up to it, talked to the guy (who looked perfectly normal), he walked over to look at the car, asked me to try to start it… and it did. The thing turned over right away. And… BOTH headlights were working.
I drove on, never got the name of the little village, and I couldn’t find it on a map. I always felt like I was in this big set up for a horror movie that just didn’t pan out.
9. Haunted Region
A friend had a recording studio in his parents’ house in Colrain, MA. We were up late, getting high, and recording and for whatever reason, we took his four-track out to the barn to record ourselves singing. On the tape, there’s a take of the two of us singing, and then there’s a pop, we stop and start laughing all of a sudden, because in real life the single light bulb in the barn had suddenly burst and surprised the hell out of us. Haha! We hauled everything back inside and went to listen to the takes and add more.
But it’s Western Massachusetts and everything is haunted here. So, of course, on a separate track, we found a faint voice. New tape, unrecorded area. As we’re singing on track 2, a frantic voice is on track 3, Quiet but clear enough. It yells “I GOT AWAY! I GOT AWAAAAAAY! I’LL SHOW YOU!!!” And as soon as it says “I’ll show you” that was when the light bulb burst and we start laughing.
18 years later is gives me chills to think about. That night we left all the lights on, it was too creepy. There were high tension lines nearby, it wasn’t unusual to pick up AM radio on the tape but…on an untouched track? And such a terrified voice coming from the local oldies station at 1 am?
8. Literally Terrifying
My friends and I saw saw something very scary while camping. All of us forgot to bring matches, so my friend went looking for people to give us some. When he came back, he told us he found this abandoned campsite he wanted to show us. When we got there it was seriously weird. It had obviously been a family staying there, since one of the tents had two girls’ names labeled on it. If they left the campsite, they did so in a hurry, since several items were left behind. The creepiest thing was every tent there was slashed open down the middle from top to bottom. If it was a bear or other animal, I thought the cuts wouldn’t have been as clean, and there might of been three slash marks instead of one. I’m very glad we left that day.
7. Quite an Exit
Once, as a kid, we were driving back from a family vacation down in Georgia; pretty mundane, as we had gone there often to visit family. We had been driving for a while and it was about time to pull over for a food and bathroom break. The next exit had plenty of stores on the interstate sign so we got off to check it out. When we pulled off the exit we got a look at the area and it was surreal: everything was just in ruins. The Taco Bell, the gas stations, all of them were shredded piles of rubble.
Also, there wasn’t another soul around, aside from a couple cars that had the same thought as us. The last few days there had been some bad storms, so we assumed a tornado had rolled through, but still, it was crazy to see. We were just kind of in awe for a few minutes; I had never seen devastation like that up close in person.
6. Late to Bed, Late to Rise
Many years ago myself and two of my best friends decided to go for a day of mountain biking at Snowshoe in southern West Virginia. Now this was way before the days of GPS, so we were kinda doing this by some half baked directions and an old map, but the point is we got very lost.
Some time along the way we ended up in this very tiny little town and we figured we would ask for directions but it was absolutely deserted. I’m talking not a single soul to be seen anywhere.
We parked the truck and split up looking for anyone we could find. Now this was at around 9 or 10 AM so not exactly the butt crack of dawn, mind you. We went into the post office, nobody, we went into the only bar in town which was unlocked, unattended with music playing, but not a single soul present. We went business to business to business and walked the streets and after about 25 minutes finally found one old guy who just seemed to appear out of nowhere in the middle of town walking alone.
The first question we asked him wasn’t even for directions. It was “Where the hell is everyone?” to which he replied: “Well I guess folks round here don’t get up much till round noon.” We asked him for directions to Snowshoe and he pointed to the road we came in on and said to go that way about 10 miles and make a right and we will find the interstate. We left quickly. We all had a very bad sense of unease about the whole thing.
As we left we were about 5 miles down the road and hit a lady dressed up in a state road uniform standing in the middle of a very long straightaway holding a stop sign. When we approached her she turned the sign from “slow” to “stop”. We asked what was going on. She stated that there was road construction ahead. We told her of what just happened and she just kinda laughed and said those people in that town are kinda strange, but let it slide.
So we started talking to her waiting for a line of traffic to come by from the opposite direction. We actually ended up talking to her for about 45 min to an hour, just horsing around about everything. Kinda got lost in the convo. Not one single vehicle EVER approached from the other direction or behind us. Eventually, she said: “Well I guess it’s clear now and y’all can go ahead” and slowly turned the sign from stop to slow and motioned for us to go ahead. We went straight ahead; the only direction you could possibly go for the next 30 some odd miles and didn’t see any signs of construction, state road workers, or maintenance going on at all. She had no vehicle so we figured she was a flag woman dropped off by some crew up ahead. After the encounter with the town and this woman we had enough and called it quits. We turned on the interstate as soon as we found it and headed north and home. Every single one of us still remembers this whole encounter in vivid detail to this day. I asked my friend about it actually about three months ago at this wedding and it still freaks him out to no end.
5. Where There’s Cobwebs, There’s Always Something Interesting
Man, my boyfriend and I had a similar experience in Milden, Saskatchewan—minus the weird road construction. It was like there wasn’t a soul there. We had been driving through Saskatchewan for hours and were bored brainless. We stopped at the first small town we could find to grab a coffee but there was nothing so much as a Tim Hortons.
We did find a small cafe and tried to open the door only to realize it was locked (it was about 6 pm). Then we realized there were cobwebs on the door so it hadn’t been opened in a while. It felt like we were on the abandoned set of Corner Gas.
4. More Like Lake Eerie
In the 7th grade, I had a friend that lived near a beach on a bay of Lake Michigan. One day in early May it reached 70 degrees, nearly unheard of for that time of year in northern Wisconsin. My two friends, including the beach friend, excitedly rode our bikes down to the beach to maybe dip our toes in, expecting still frigid waters, and then “tan” for the rest of the afternoon.
The water, though, was surprisingly warm. Like bathwater warm. In this particular area of the bay the water was shallow for about a half mile out, and we joyously splashed around, wading deeper and deeper until we were about chest deep. As we dunked each other and swam with abandon I started to feel sick. Bad headache, nausea, wobbly. Just then, my other two friends mentioned that they also felt sick.
We headed back to shore, nearly crawling by the time we got out. The three of us collapsed under a tree and fell asleep for 2 hours or so. When we woke up we talked about how weird it was. I dipped my toe back in the water and it was freezing cold.
To this day I have no idea what was in there. I do know that there is a chemical plant in town that used to manufacture things like agent orange, and that their practices were known to be less than environmentally conscious. I have never touched that water since.
3. Good Luck Trying to Figure This One Out, Folks…
This took place when I was 13. No one in my family will acknowledge it happened, the only ones who would cave to my “but great grandpa…!!!” have unfortunately passed away. No one will give me the time of day about it.
My family has a cabin in Cook Forest, Clarion, PA. Cabin was built by my great granddad, and has expanded a bit over the years but has a nice little nook at the bottom of a long dirt road off the main road and down a hill. There are a few other properties around, but most are up and off on the dirt road, only one is down the hill and only halfway at that. It’s not modern by any means; no internet, no cell service, the TV still has dials you have to twist to get to watch a DVD. It’s very rustic and I love it.
The property halfway down the hill is visible from any part at the front of our cabin, which is where the kitchen window, parking, porch, and fire pit are. For as long as anyone can remember, it’s been this abandoned lot that had what was once a cabin with a concrete basement. The cabin was built on a hill so half the basement stuck out from the hill, but the remaining part was crumbling. It also was at the fork where we would ride our ATVs to get to the firebreak, so even though it could’ve been creepy it was a very common and familiar sight.
Until one Memorial Day, which is when we opened the cabin after the winter and a large part of our family would go to the cabin for the long weekend to spend time together. Everyone would usually get there though the early evening, and then all come together for my great granddad’s dinosaur pancakes for breakfast (The highlight of my single digit to preteen years).
So I wake up, expecting to smell pancakes and hear chatter from the older members of my family down in the kitchen, but nothing. I assume I’ve gotten up too early, and go downstairs to use the bathroom and then go back to sleep. Looking back, the whole upstairs was just mattresses with an aisle between them, I should have noticed that most beds were empty.
I get downstairs and see all the adults outside, and I go out to say good morning and demand my T-Rex pancakes. I walk out and see all my family adults in a kind of semicircle facing an older man and a woman I didn’t recognize. I assume this is some adult situation so I go back inside to wake up my cousins, but not before looking at the clock on the microwave and seeing that it’s about 3pm.
Now, I LOVED the cabin. I’d doodle the cabin itself, four wheelers, and the area around it for months leading up to Memorial Day weekend. I was usually up at the earliest crack of dawn because I was so damn excited to just be there. Sleeping until 3pm was not in any way normal.
I wake my cousins up and by the time they all mosey downstairs the adults are all back inside. Everyone is pretty silent but then great grandpa fires up the stove and gets us kids excited for dino-cakes, so all seems normal.
I was there with my one of my aunts and my uncle, no parents, and my aunt is pretty close in age to me and was for sure the “cool aunt.” So when I saw her pale as a sheet I went to ask what’s wrong.
She took me outside and pointed at the aforementioned abandoned and crumbling property. In its place was a sprawling cabin-mansion, parking area full of SUVs and the coolest looking four wheelers my 13-year-old self had ever seen. Aunt tells me that the owners had come to say hi (the couple I saw earlier) and invited us over to hang out with their nieces and nephews, as they were having a Memorial Day get together just like us.
Me, having zero thought besides AWESOME FOUR WHEELERS, almost ran to the house but my aunt caught me and rather forcefully reminded me of my dino-cakes. I conceded and ran back inside, to an atmosphere so thick with tension that even my undeveloped brain could detect it. The oldest of the adults were acting normal and playing around with us kids, but something was very off. I finally asked what the heck was up, and my aunt bonked me in the head and asked if I had seen that massive cabin-mansion last night, last year, the year before? We’d come to the cabin every few weeks until December, did I see any construction? Well, no, but they invited us over and they have cool four wheelers, Aunt Beth, come on!!
A resounding NO from multiple family members made my emotional girl self almost flee and cry, until my grampie (a 6’7” hulk of a man) got down to my level and explained that he felt there was something weird going on. He said the couple didn’t act right, I assumed that meant they were rude, and that we should just keep to ourselves this weekend. I agreed and we went about our day, all adults keeping us occupied with activities either inside or behind the cabin.
We get ready for bed when I see my great granddad (WWII vet), who had the only bedroom on the first floor, loading 3 shotguns, handing one off to my grampie and the other to my uncle/cool aunt’s husband. To my shock and awe, my grammie pulls out a (bedazzled) Glock from her purse. I go to bed with images of my little grammie taking down a bunch of bad guys with her shiny pistol.
I wake up the next day to the smell of pancakes and the sound of adults chatting downstairs. I’m sad because today is when we have to pack and leave, but things seem back to normal so I’m very glad. I run downstairs, note that the clock says 7:30, but ignore the weirdness and sit in front of a plate of dino-cakes that I dig in to, while asking my aunt what time we have to leave.
“Leave? We don’t leave until tomorrow.” Wait, what day is it? “It’s Saturday, we just got here last night.” I notice just a bit of doubt in my aunt’s eyes that I know something is up, and I run outside. The abandoned lot is back to its decrepit state. I resolve to brush it off and enjoy my ATV riding, and forget about everything pretty quickly.
It wasn’t until I got back to school and was called to the main office where they asked why I wasn’t at school on Monday. I told them that today was Monday, what in the world are they talking about. Nope, it’s Tuesday, and my absence was unexplained despite several calls to my parents (divorced), neither of whom were at the cabin.
So either my family played the trick of all tricks on me, or I’m living in an alternate universe where I can sleep into the afternoon. Like I said, no one will even remotely entertain a conversation about this incident, so I’m left telling my fellow Redditors about my family’s conspiracy against me.
2. Dark Energy
Many years ago, my family and I moved from California to Nebraska. I was still a young kid, probably five or six years old. We were driving through Nevada and shortly after Las Vegas and we needed to stop and fuel up. We stopped at your typical old-school gas station that rings when you pull up to the pump. I don’t remember it that well but my dad told me it looked normal. He got out to stretch while my mom went inside to pay for gas. My mom said that when she walked in, the gas station had quite a few people inside, despite us being the only car there.
When she walked up to the counter to pay for gas, everyone turned to her and the lights went out. She ran outside where my dad witnessed everything and helped her into the car and we sped off down the interstate, not caring whether we ran out of gas or not. To this day, my mom says that’s one of her scariest encounters because she can’t explain nor figure out exactly what was going on. And yes, we found a better gas station down the road and made it to Nebraska.
1. Listen to Your Gut
A couple years ago a buddy and I got turned around on a side road in rural north Missouri. I had no service for GPS and it was pouring rain so I headed south toward my destination hoping to run into a main highway. We ended up coming into the town of Skidmore, MO. It’s a tiny town in the middle of nothing but there’s something dark about that place.
Infamously, in the ‘80s, a man known as the town bully was killed in broad daylight in the middle of town there. Not one person spoke up about who killed him and it’s never been solved despite there being many witnesses. There have also been disappearances, and a brutal crime a few years ago involving a baby being cut out of a woman’s womb. Keep in mind, this is a town of only 270 people.
As we drove down the main drag, several people gave us a blank but intimidating stare, completely unnerving. Once we got out of the town my buddy mentioned he’d had a sense of impending doom or danger as we drove through, and weirdly enough, I’d been feeling the same way. I’d never had a such a persistent gut feeling of danger like that before. We agreed to never ever go through Skidmore again. There’s something seriously evil about that town, it shouldn’t exist.