Cautionary Tales: Scariest True Stories

July 28, 2021 | Rachelle Horne

Cautionary Tales: Scariest True Stories

Creepy strangers and unseen dangers are lurking everywhere we're not looking. Because the truth is, there ARE things that go bump in the night, and these true stories prove it. Here, Redditors share the details of the scariest story or event they know of. Many should be taken as cautionary tales because you never know, it could happen to you.

1. Not Santa

A few years ago, the exact day after I got my dog, my boyfriend decided to fly home for Christmas, leaving me in the apartment alone. The dog is a small Jack Russell mix and even though he isn’t physically intimidating, he has a very loud bark that sounds a lot bigger than he is. Nobody in my apartment building had really seen him because I had only had him for two days and I had been leaving through the back entrance to walk him.

The next day after my boyfriend leaves, I wake up to him barking like crazy. I grabbed my skateboard because it was the most weapon-like thing near me, held it like I could bludgeon someone, left the door only cracked slightly so the dog wouldn’t rush out, and went to go see what he was barking at. When I walked into the room, my heart skipped a beat.

It was a big man standing in the middle of my apartment. He said, “my bad wrong apartment” and left. But my apartment had a really girly color scheme, fake flowers and ivy hanging everywhere. If he opened the door and just peeked in, I’m sure he would be able to tell at a glance it wasn’t his unit. He was literally halfway in the living room, several steps from the door.

I can’t imagine if the dog hadn’t been there and had such a big bark, or if he’d been able to see what it looked like, what he might have done to me.

Scariest True Stories FactsShutterstock

2. In An Instant

A woman I worked with a few years ago told me how her life had changed drastically after she went from having a decent job to becoming an alcoholic and losing her job. As a result, she had planned to move to Spain with her husband and young daughter and had a great job lined up out there. The plan was that her husband and daughter would fly over first and she would fly over a week or two later due to finishing her old job a little later than planned.

Her husband called her on the day he arrived and said the house was lovely and the furniture had arrived by ferry. That was the last time she ever heard from him. Her husband and daughter were found deceased by authorities a few days after she called them, explaining she was concerned for their welfare as she had had no contact with them. It was carbon monoxide intoxication. It is so scary to think how fast your life can change.

Left at the Altar factsCanva

3. River Run

A couple of decades ago, a guy was hiking in South America and wandered away from other hikers in the area. The ground was wet and without warning, it gave away and he got sucked into a fast-moving underground river—pitch black, completely submerged, and at the mercy of the current as it buffeted him against the sides of the tunnel.

After some time, the current subsided and he realized he was in a larger pocket, still pitch black and submerged. Even as he struggled to hold his breath, he didn’t panic and realized that the water had to keep moving somewhere, so he moved around until he found another tunnel that sucked him in. At one point he began to see light, so he punched upwards, broke through the ground, and pulled himself out—soaking wet and gasping for air.

He was only a short distance from the other hikers, who were somewhat bewildered when they saw him straggling up to them.

Scariest True Stories FactsPixabay

4. Trapped

The USS West Virginia was a ship damaged during the attack on Pearl Harbor. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. After the ship was attacked, the people on board heard banging noises coming from inside the ship. It turned out that these noises were people. They were trapped in a room where they couldn't be broken out because the water would seep in and drown them.

They couldn't be brought out from the top, either, because the gasses that lingered there were extremely flammable. When the vessel was salvaged six months later, the bodies of these three men were found, and other things remained including empty cans of food and water and a calendar marked from December 7 to December 23. This means they were trapped in there for 16 days.

They probably kept wondering if they were ever going to make it out and then had to come to the realization that they might not be saved. They could have been experiencing the fear of drowning in the tight little compartment of the ship. They would have had to face the realization that you are going to die and the psychological peril that goes along with it.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

5. Clean Freak

Years ago, one evening my brother was getting ready for bed and he had a retainer he was supposed to wear to bed. Now here’s the thing, my brother is a clean freak, especially with personal hygiene. He actually has some minor OCD with personal hygiene rituals, and he’s gotten better as he’s gotten older, but the point is he is rigorous about personal hygiene.

So, my brother was getting ready for bed and opened the sealed container where he keeps his retainer after he washes it every morning, and he pops his retainer into his mouth. He feels something wiggling. He pops it out of his mouth and there’s a GIANT MAGGOT in his retainer. No freaking clue how it could have possibly gotten into his retainer case. He threw the retainer away.

Tarrare FactsShutterstock

6. Nutty Putty Cave

A spelunker got stuck upside down in a narrow cave for over 26 hours. Crews tried to pull him out with pulleys but had to be careful not to break his legs because it could be fatal due to the circumstances. Rescuers even almost dislodged him, only for an anchor to fail at the last second, plunging him back into the crevice.  The rescuers were unsuccessful, and they sealed the cave shut with his body inside.

Scariest True Stories FactsUnsplash

7. My Octopus Enemy

The blue-ringed octopus has a venom that causes paralysis, causing people to die of cardiac arrest or hypoxia. There is no antivenom; the victim can only be saved by CPR or respiratory support for the time it takes for the venom to leave the body. The blue-ringed octopus bite can be survived if the victim can communicate that they have been bitten.

There was a man who was bitten by a blue-ringed octopus. As the lifeguard was performing CPR, he was lying on his back on the beach, looking up at the sky, with his eyes frozen open. Unable to close his eyes or communicate with the others, he lay there as the sun slowly burnt out his retinas. He became permanently blind.

Scariest True Stories FactsPixabay

8. Muscle Memory

My dad worked in a morgue during college in the 60s. One time on the night shift, he was training a recent hire who was wheeling a body down the hallway. The body was under a sheet and suddenly started to sit up. The guy immediately freaked out, ran out the doors, and quit. Apparently, a body can have muscle contractions in the abdominal muscles, causing it to sit up. The more you know, I guess.

Karma's a Witch FactsShutterstock

9. Keep The Lights On

This was back in the 80s. This guy was taking this girl on a date and dropped her back off at her house afterwards. Her parents were away, so she was home alone that weekend. Her dad always said, "If you're home alone and you feel uneasy, go to the neighbors and call for help.” She was from an area that was considered a bad neighborhood at the time.

She walked inside the house and up to her room, and when she went to turn the light on, it didn't work. For some reason, she felt really suspicious and uneasy, and decided to go to the neighbors’ house and call the authorities. They turned up soon after and found that there was no light bulb in the socket, and that there were signs of a man hiding in her wardrobe.

This man had actually taken the light bulb out, so while she was distracted putting a new one in, he could attack her. It makes my skin crawl thinking about just how premeditated it was.

Night Owls FactsShutterstock

10. More Than Luck

Geoffrey Prescott was on a hike across the Mara Mountains with two of his friends, Noel Smith and Mik Iadt. While walking along the edge of an extinct volcano, Prescott fell an unknown distance into the crater of the volcano. He laid there unconscious while his companions trekked down to him. Smith and Iadt decided to go for help at a nearby village, but it would take them a week at minimum, which Prescott knew was far too long.

With temperatures exceeding 38°C (100°F) and having only a few pints of water, Prescott was certain he would perish before the others returned. During the time he was waiting, a small fire burned up his medical supplies and food, with Prescott having to drag himself away from the blaze. He remained there for two days and nights, and dragged himself further down the crater area, hoping he could find water there.

At about 10 am on the fourth day, Iadt miraculously arrived with some medical experts. He had reached the village in only three days and had returned with assistance almost immediately via horseback and a Jeep. Prescott was immensely relieved and drank two quarts of water before being driven to a hospital in a stretcher.

At the hospital, they discovered that his injuries consisted of a cracked skull, a broken wrist, several smashed vertebrae, and torn ligaments in his knee. He had survived all that while on the road to the hospital. Prescott was inspired to study nursing after this ordeal, and as he said, his own miraculous survival had convinced him to help others to face hardship and persevere.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

11. Inside The Eye

I’m an eye doctor and I had a patient come to me with an infected eyelid that two other eye doctors tried to treat and failed. They were dumping all sorts of medicine into it and it wasn’t getting any better. At this point, it was swollen and painful for weeks with no improvement despite the patient being on tons of meds. Apparently, neither of them thought to flip the lid upside down.

It was a painful maneuver for her very swollen eyelid, which might explain it. Anyhow, there appeared to be what looked like a visible abscess inside the tissue with thick gooey material. I thought I’d give it a nudge and saw it move. This wasn’t an abscess; it was something else. I managed to remove it quite easily in one whole piece.

To both of our horror, it was a fly larva. The patient told me that she had a bug hit her in the eye a few days before she got this “infection.” I removed the larva and within a couple of days, the wound closed and she was 100% recovered on basic antibiotic eye drops.

Scariest True Stories FactsUnsplash

12. The New London School Explosion

A school in Texas in 1937 tried to tap into natural gas on their own and it ended up leaking and blowing up the school. It's the reason they make natural gas scented now. I read some survivor stories and I had nightmares. It was horrible. Three in particular stuck with me. One was a seven- or eight-year-old girl who saw her best friend and playmate have her entire body crushed by concrete.

Another account was from a 16- or 17-year-old guy, who was helping dig out people and bring them out of the wreckage. He saw a dad holding his lifeless daughter, crying his eyes out. The last was a nine-year-old girl who went to find her mom after it happened—there was a Parent Teacher Association meeting going on at the time so there were a lot of parents at the scene.

Her mom was freaking out trying to find her but didn't even recognize her. She went up to her mom and called out to her, but she just kept saying, “You're not my daughter." She was so covered in blood and ash and tears that her own mother couldn't recognize her.

Scariest True Stories FactsGetty Images

13. Bad Neighbor

Last year my neighbor plotted to kidnap and murder my wife and me. I was working from home one morning and heard a knock at the door around 8 am. I ignored it at first, hoping whoever it was would go away. After a minute of knocking, I finally opened the door. It was my neighbor who I had spoken with only a few times.

My wife was at work, and I could tell he was surprised when I opened the door and saw me instead of my wife. He was expecting her to be home and not me. He noticed that I recently purchased a new car and asked if I could show it to him. He tried to walk inside but I asked him to walk around to the garage. I showed him the car and he was still acting strange.

He always kept one hand in his pocket. My garage is very small, so we were in close proximity to each other. He kept inching closer to me, which made me uncomfortable. He brought an opened coke bottle filled with a tan liquid, and said, "I brought you a coke." I declined the offer. After a few minutes, he asked if he could see my gauge cluster.

We walked around to the driver’s side, and I sat in the driver's seat to turn on the car and show him the gauge cluster. With the door open, there was very little room between the side of the car and the garage wall. After turning on the car, he pulled a large hunting knife to my neck. I immediately grabbed his wrist and slammed him back into the wall.

At this point, we are wrestling between the car and wall as I try to get the knife away from him. During this 30-second period, it seems like an absolute miracle that I was not hurt. The blade grazed past my stomach multiple times. I was eventually able to grab the knife and force him out into the driveway. Immediately after grabbing the knife, he started saying, "What are you doing? I was just trying to show you my knife!"

He was acting like I was trying to hurt him. I was in such a state of shock that I actually started to believe him and wondered if I had overreacted. I know this seems ridiculous, but I was completely delusional at the time and did not know what his intentions were. I stood in the driveway, hands shaking, with the authorities dialed on my phone, but did not make the call.

He acted like nothing happened and then started asking me questions. Really suspicious questions like, "Do you have a security system?" I lied and said yes. I asked him to go home multiple times and eventually I went back inside the house but did not shut the main garage door. At this point, I needed to head into work and started getting ready.

I showered and got dressed; I assumed he had just walked back home. After getting ready, I went outside and walked around the house to the garage with a can of bear mace. I searched around the garage because I was worried he was still there. As I started to get into my car and leave, I saw my neighbor laying down behind some boxes in the garage, staring at me.

I yelled and ran as fast I could back to the front door and called the authorities. They arrived quickly and my neighbor had disappeared. They searched around his house and mine but could not find him. They said they would stay in the area but were going to leave for now. My house is surrounded by woods and I have a large back porch.

Frightened, I stood in the middle of the porch while holding bear mace. I looked around and noticed my neighbor hiding in the woods, staring at me. I ran back inside and called the authorities again. They arrived quickly again and caught my neighbor and apprehended him. He later said, "I was just trying to scare him." They found the knife, zip ties, and a note on him that read, “Turn around and put your hands behind your back."

It was later discovered that the coke bottle he wanted me to drink contained pesticides. He was there to murder me or my wife. He was charged with three counts and is currently awaiting trial.

Said To Police factsShutterstock

14. The Girl In The Box

The kidnapping of Colleen Stan—she was hitchhiking in the 70s and turned down rides because they didn’t seem safe. A van with a young couple and a baby offered her a ride, and because it was a family, she accepted. They held a knife to her throat, put a giant box on her head that blocked out noise and sound,  and kidnapped her.

They kept her in a box the size of a coffin underneath their bed. They also brainwashed her to believe that they were part of a mafia called “The Company” that would harm her family if she tried to escape. Eventually, the wife helped her escape and received immunity for testifying against her husband at trial. Really chilling stuff.

Catherine Parr FactsShutterstock

15. The Replacement

There was a creepy story that happened in Japan not that long ago. A five-year-old and a three-year-old were just wandering the streets. This officer asked them where they came from, and they were 3 km away from their house. When the authorities took them home, the mother looked worried and was really apologetic about the situation. The mother was also holding a baby.

The officer decided to do some research on the family just in case. It all began to unravel from there. The files said that the “baby” daughter the mother was holding should have been much older, and likely bigger, than what he saw. He thought maybe it was a case of neglect as the two older kids walking alone was also a red flag, so they got officials to visit the house.

They asked if they could have a look at the baby daughter. The baby turned out to be a boy, and he was a whole year younger than the files indicated. The officers ended up finding the third child buried in their backyard. Something must have happened to the baby, so they quickly decided to have another kid to cover it up and were planning on raising it as the deceased daughter.

It’s scary to think that if the newborn was a girl and they made it to her third or fourth birthday without anyone noticing, they probably would have gotten away with it.

Scary FactsPxHere

16. Eight-Legged Foes

I once found myself in a cave, along with eight or nine other people. It was the middle of the Pennsylvania wilderness, and the only entrance was a small hole in the ground. To enter, you had to sit on the ground, grab a tree root, and drop about seven feet down a steep wall to the floor. We all dropped in and spent at least half an hour exploring this cave.

My friend Dan then tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "Dude, look at the ceiling." The ceiling was just high enough above our heads to hide the thousands of spiders crawling around on it. We tried to keep quiet about it because we didn't want anyone to flip out, but there was no stopping it. Just seconds later, the whole group noticed them.

Everyone got silent, and you could actually hear the spiders crawling on the surface of the stone. It was an extra nerve-wracking situation because the only way to exit the cave was to basically jump up and pull yourself out of a hole surrounded by spiders. Two of the girls with us were terrified and refused to climb out. They just couldn't muster the courage to put their faces next to a giant spider nest.

They came around though, and everyone got out safely. I had the honor of being the last one to exit. Alone in a dark cave filled with spiders, and nobody around to give me a boost. Fortunately, Dan was brave enough to reach down and give me a hand. When we first discovered that cave, we were all like, "I can't believe we've never heard of this place." Now I know why.

That cave sucks. A few months later, I found out the cave is off-limits in the fall because of the rattlesnakes.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

17. I'm A Survivor

Violet Jessop was a woman who sailed on all three of the Olympic class liners. The first one she worked on was RMS Olympic and she was abroad when it collided with HMS Hawke, which tore a huge hole in the ship’s starboard side. Then in 1912, she got on the RMS Titanic as a maid while the Olympic was being repaired. She survived the Titanic tragedy.

After the sinking of the Titanic and already being trained as a nurse, a few years later WWI broke out and she boarded the Britannic. In 1916, the Britannic was hit by an underwater sea mine and sank in under an hour, despite being safer than all the other ships she’d been on. During the sinking of Britannic, she boarded a lifeboat, but because the ship’s propellers were sticking out of the water, her lifeboat was dragged into the path of the propeller.

She jumped from the lifeboat before it was crushed by the huge bronze propellers. She sustained a fractured skull but survived. The other 30 people lost their lives. All of these events didn’t stop her; she continued to work with the company that owned the Titanic and the Britannic. She was also named “miss unsinkable.”

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

18. The Nanny

My mom was a corporate flight attendant her whole life, and my dad wasn’t in the picture. Because of this, my mom had to hire a nanny for us when she went on long trips. We weren’t rich or anything, we were close to poor. She did it solely out of necessity. The first nanny we had was this lady since before I can remember, who watched us but eventually got cancer and couldn’t anymore.

When this happened, our nanny met my mom at a coffee house in upstate New York, where we lived. She told her she had to resign, but that she had lined up a replacement. This lady she knew, Karen, was going to meet my mom and interview for the job. They exchanged all this information openly at the coffee house in public. This is where it gets almost unbelievable.

See, this random woman had overheard the whole exchange and showed up at the time and location for the interview saying she was Karen. The real Karen never showed up. This was probably between 1991 and 1992. Long before the Internet was used how it is today. Apparently, the interview went fine, my mother hired her, and we never really talked to the previous nanny again.

Until, that is, about five years later. The original nanny survived the cancer and ran into my mom at the mall. My mom thanked her for the recommendation and said Karen had been working out great. That's when she told my mom that her recommendation had to move out of the state and never went to the interview. She just thought since my mom never called her, we hired someone else.

So a complete stranger watched me and my sister from the ages of five to 10. We went on road trips with her, and she even had her own room in our house. She didn’t have any family and we never met any of her friends. She watched us for weeks on end while my mom was away on flights. My mom came back after running into the original nanny and confronted her.

She broke down crying and said she was in a bad place at the time and needed a job. She had fallen in love with her kids and she loved being our nanny. I guess my mom was like, whatever, you’ve been watching them this long and they’re both still alive. She continued to be our nanny until I was old enough to watch my sister on my own. And that was 90s parenting.

Scariest True Stories FactsShutterstock

19. Misery Loves Company

I was driving home through backroads I had never been on before and came across a bookstore in a tiny town in the woods. The bookstore was actually in a house, where the front of the home had been converted into a store. There was a box on the porch that said, "50 cent books!" so I stopped to see if there were any Stephen King books in there.

A middle-aged woman comes out with a huge smile and gives me a bowl of fruit and some tea. I'm like, "This place is awesome!" and rummage through books while eating the fruit and downing the tea. Inside the store/home, there were a lot of cool art books and stuff, so I spent some more time in there. She brought me more tea. Even when I said, "No thank you, that's plenty," she kept refilling.

She gave me dessert too—brownies and cookies. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was in big trouble. She was drugging me. It's hazy to remember the details, but at some point, she closed the shop, telling me to take my time looking at the books. She told me that she was going to go take a shower and was gone for a while. When I was ready to pay, I had to wander back through her house to find her.

I found her in her bedroom. She was in bed. I'm pretty sure she was naked. At the time, I thought, "Weird, she's watching an exercise video in bed?" but later realized that’s not what she was watching. You might think this is hot, but it isn't. She was my mom's age and had been telling me how she reminded me of her kids in college. So NOT hot.

I told her I was ready to pay, and she told me how to open the register, so I went and opened it, put in what I thought I owed, took out the change, and left. When I stumbled outside, a fire engine drove by, screaming with sirens. In the distance was the glow of a big forest fire, and the stars were being covered by smoke. A tall man on a horse watched the fire truck pass.

He looked right at me, took a piece of wood or something out of his mouth, and said, "Town's burnin'." I swear to God I have a crystal-clear memory of this happening, even though I'm sure it couldn't have. By this point, I guess I was seriously tripping balls on SOMETHING. I'm not a drug guy, so I don't know what I had, but I was out of my mind and could hardly walk.

I got back in my car and drove home along twisting roads on tall cliffs above the ocean. Twice I realized I was on the wrong side of the road. One of the times I realized this was because a massive truck was headed straight for me, laying on the horn and flashing its lights. I kept thinking about how my car could be like an airplane AND a submarine if I drove it off the cliff.

I can't believe I made it home alive. Later I realized I was in that house for about four hours looking at books. At least that's what I hope I was doing.

Scariest True Stories FactsPixabay

20. Daytime Descent

The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 locked himself in the cockpit and set the airplane for a slow descent into the French Alps. For 10 minutes, the crew desperately tried to get back into the cockpit, but the door was designed to withstand assault and it did not fail. This was a daytime flight and passengers knew what was happening.

They could see the mountains getting closer out the windows. It wasn’t a quick crash, but was a long, drawn-out realization of what was coming.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

21. Lost And Found

This one kid back in the early 20th century named Bobby Dunbar went missing, and after eight months of searching for him, the authorities came across a man with a kid who looked a lot like Bobby. The Dunbars believed it was their son, and after a battle in court with the kid’s supposed mother, they brought their son home. A parade was even held due to the missing boy’s return.

He lived believing he was, in fact, Bobby Dunbar. But then the real story came out. A few decades later, his granddaughter began investigating the events on her own and asked Bobby’s nephew for a DNA sample so she could see if her and Bobby’s nephew were related. Turns out, they weren’t. Meaning the real Bobby Dunbar was never found and what happened to him will remain a mystery.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

22. Hide And Seek

I read a story recently about Paulette Gerbara Farah, a four-year-old child who went missing from her room in 2010. Her parents immediately notified authorities and started a social media campaign to find Paulette. Paulette's room was searched multiple times for any sign of what happened and was also used by her parents to do media interviews.

Here's the terrifying part: Paulette's body was found 10 days later...IN HER BED! She had wedged herself between the mattress and the footboard and suffocated. There is even a photo of her room where she is in her bed before they found her. It's insane looking at that picture and knowing she is there, and no one had found her.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

23. Franklin’s Lost Expedition

About 130 British sailors and military personnel on two ships embarked on a mission to find the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic across to the Pacific through arctic waters. The HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, which were two former warships reclassified as ice breakers thanks to their sturdier builds, departed British waters in 1845...and were never seen again.

In subsequent rescue attempts and investigations, it was discovered that quite possibly everything that could have gone wrong on the expedition did. The weight of the ships with their reinforced hulls and decks designed to fire mortars and cannons off worked against them, as much of the waters they crossed were shallow and filled with rocks and icebergs.

The time chosen to launch the expedition occurred at one of the coldest Arctic periods in recent history. The polar ice didn’t melt like usual as the ships became locked in the frozen water and experienced an endless winter for over a year. The food they stored that was supposed to last for years thanks to the revolutionary new process of canning was bought at the lowest bid.

Because of this, much of the food was improperly sealed and spoiled, leading to food poisoning. Even the ones that were properly sealed and kept intact were riddled with lead thanks to the soldering used to keep the food inside fresh. In conjunction with the lead pipes in the ships the men would have been drinking out of for years, the entire crew of both ships were slowly being infected with lead.

This also affects the mind, leading to memory loss, heavy paranoia, and general mental deterioration. After over a year stuck in the ice, the captain in charge of the voyage, John Franklin, and many other crew members perished in unknown circumstances and the remainder decided to abandon ship and try and hike out together to the nearest trading outpost at Back River in Canada, hundreds of miles away.

They loaded up their rowboats with supplies and fixed them on sleds to be pulled. All remaining crew perished on that journey. Some of their remains were eventually discovered by local Inuits, who described desolate campsites of skeleton-like corpses with hazily built, half-open tents and even human body parts in cook pots, heavily implying that the men resorted to cannibalism in their last desperate hours.

Shipwrecks FactsWikimedia Commons, Kerry Raymond

24. Tourists

In the 80s there was a Mexican cult led by an American named Adolfo Constanzo. They used to kidnap random people from tourist towns and nearby cities and perform human sacrifice on them in their rural Mexican desert compound. They used amphetamines and other substances to force the victims to stay awake during the ritual and to not pass out from shock.

The cult believed the more pain and fear they could generate in the victim, the more powerful the body parts would be as the ritual sacrifice.   They are believed to have kidnapped and sacrificed over 26 people in the three years that they were active from 1986 to 1989. The leader completed suicide when the authorities showed up at their compound.

They caught 14 cult members, but most people believe there were at least a dozen more that escaped and are still out there.

Scariest True Stories FactsGetty Images

25. Hunker Down

A dad, mom, and three kids decided they wanted to spend a weekend away at their cabin, but the dad had to work on Friday, so they decided that the mom and kids will go on ahead without him and he will meet them at the cabin Saturday morning. A gigantic storm rolled through town and suddenly a tornado touched down. It destroyed part of town, including the neighborhood where the family lived.

The dad is a firefighter, so they were swamped with rescues, but dad was happy knowing his family was safe at the cabin. His truck finished their active calls and decided to take a drive around town to look for anyone that needed help and see all the damage. As they drive down the family’s street, they see his house is half destroyed but more importantly, he spots his wife’s car in the driveway.

The mom and all three kids lost their lives because they had decided to wait for dad as a surprise. The dad ended up completing suicide a year or so later.

Creepy storiesPexels

26. Bad Air

I remember my mom telling me about a family she once knew who all succumbed to carbon monoxide intoxication. They lived in the end unit in a row of attached townhouses and their next-door neighbor decided to complete suicide by running their car in their garage. The neighbor didn't know that the air ducts for all the townhouses were connected, so once he started the car and lost consciousness, the fumes traveled through the ducts into the home of the family next door.

It got to the mother and two children while they slept. I don't remember if the father passed as well, or if he was already at work when it happened. The people who lived on the other side of the units were out of town and spared. As a result, they changed the way townhouses were built so that they didn't have common airflow with connected ducts like that development did.

Marion Davies FactsShutterstock

27. The Silent Gibbon Twins

There were two twin sisters who rarely spoke, except to each other. They were sent to separate boarding schools to get them to talk to other people, but they entered severe catatonia instead. They were eventually hospitalized, and they made a pact that if only one of them was alive in the end, the other must speak and live a normal life.

They had a month-long discussion and decided that to live a normal life, one of them should complete suicide. Eventually, one perished due to heart inflammation with no causes noted on the autopsy. And just moments after, the surviving twin spoke: "I'm free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me."

Twins FactsShutterstock

28. Not Him

When I was about six years old, I went to this seedy carnival that was set up in a mall parking lot with my dad and my grandma. We were waiting in line for the infamous pirate ship ride. My dad got out of the line to get us drinks. Maybe about five minutes later, a man grabbed my hand and said, "Come on! This line is too long," and started to lead me away.

I remember my grandma yelled after me, "Mel! That’s not your father!" I looked up and saw this man wearing a matching faded denim jacket and jeans, cheap Nascar sunglasses, and a firefighter's mustache. When he saw that my grandma was screaming, he let go of my hand and vanished into the crowd. We told these officers that were standing by their cars, and they said they couldn't do anything. It actually bothered me for a very long time.

Scariest True Stories FactsShutterstock

29. Don’t Listen

Someone close to me suffers from schizophrenia and the voices convinced them that they should chop up their significant other and child—who didn’t exist— and should end their life. They tried to do that and thankfully their significant other got home early to see smoke billowing from the kitchen. Both of them were safe. That's how the significant other found out that they had schizophrenia.

We got them all the help they could, and they are doing a lot better now. It was one heart-attack-inducing moment for us.

Secrets never toldShutterstock

30. Bear Necessities

Explorers like a century or two ago went to look about the Arctic but had their supplies accidentally destroyed and shortly after, it had all run out. So, they hunted a polar bear and ate it. There was just one huge problem. No one at the time knew about how deadly a polar bear's liver was. Because of the high amounts of vitamin A, the toxicity made the crew deathly ill.

One of them felt that their foot was wet, so he took it out of his boot...and his skin came off with the boot.

Dumbest Person FactsPexels

31. Heads Up

My soccer coach used to tell us this story whenever we were practicing heading the ball. My coach said he had a player who went out of his way to head the ball as much as possible and got really good at it. But one time the ball hit him square on the top of his head and his tongue was out. The guy ended up biting his own tongue in half.

Life-Shattering Secrets factsShutterstock

32. What Lies On The Ocean Floor

An interesting deep-sea study was conducted last year that has some frightening implications. Marine biologists took three alligator carcasses and dropped them 6,600 ft into the Gulf of Mexico. This is deep enough that there is no natural light, therefore no plants either. Without plants, the ecosystem must sustain itself on marine snow, which is usually composed of scraps of dead animals that were partially eaten nearer to the surface.

The ecosystem this deep is basically all scavengers, with a few small predators. The first of the three gators was fully consumed after less than 24 hours by giant amphipods—large deep-sea invertebrates the size of a grapefruit. The second was consumed more slowly, and after 51 days only the bones were left. Interestingly, a new species of bone-eating worm was found on the remains. The third carcass is the one that gives me chills.

When the scientists sent their probe down to look at it, it was gone. Not a trace. There were drag marks on the seabed and the ropes used to hold it in place had been torn apart, but other than that, it was gone. In waters this deep, most animals are the size of a cat or smaller. They stay small because food is so scarce. To be big enough to tear through rope, pick up a gator, and leave with it, whatever took it must have been an order of magnitude larger than anything that lives that deep.

It’s possible it was a shark, but sharks of the estimated size required don’t often live so deep. We still don’t know what took that gator.

Great White powerGetty Images

33. Underground Cinema

One day a bunch of law enforcement officers in training explored some of the catacombs under Paris. A lot of the catacombs are completely unmapped, and they entered an area and heard dogs barking and snarling. They continued going and saw there were cameras and speakers mounted on the wall, playing pre-recorded dog sounds. They continued.

They came into this huge opening and found a cinema. It was lavishly decorated. It had projectors and a mix of old and new movies. It even had electricity running and three phone lines. The officers marked where they were and went back outside. Three days later, they returned to try and investigate further with more experienced officers.

Everything was gone. All the wiring had been ripped out, the phone lines were cut, and all the furniture was gone. All that remained was a note that said, "Do not try to find us." As far as I know, they never figured out who was there.

creepy basementsShutterstock

34. Do Not Stop

I traveled to Atlanta for a conference a few years ago and, being from a rural part of the Central US, I wasn't used to a city like that. So, eventually, I got lost in what most people would call a rough neighborhood. It's around 9 pm and I'm sitting at a stop sign; the only working streetlamp on the block is right there above my car.

I reached over to change the radio station and noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. This guy, who easily fit the description of every gang member I had ever heard of, walked into the light of the streetlamp and started toward my car...pulling a ski mask over his face. I slammed on the gas and got out of there. I have never been so scared in my life.

Creepy Experiences factsShutterstock

35. Midnight Visitor

When I was about 12, I had a lot of issues with night terrors and rarely slept a whole night through. This one night, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I sat down, half asleep and thinking of nothing but emptying my bladder and going back to bed, when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye.

There was a man standing by the other door to the bathroom staring at me, not moving. He was wearing a tattered grey jumpsuit, had a crutch, and little to no hair. I don't remember how I got down into the basement where my parents slept but suddenly there I was, freaking out. My dad finally went up and looked in the bathroom and kitchen.

He didn’t see anything but allowed me to sleep on the couch down there anyway. I didn't fall back asleep. About an hour or so later, I heard the sliding door to the bathroom that was connected to my sister’s room and limping footsteps. The next morning my dad searched around and noticed that the fridge and pantry had been raided. We never caught the guy.

Creepiest Thing FactsShutterstock

36. Can I Keep Them

My first job was working at a gas station. One night when business lulled after rush hour, a car drove up and the man inside it asked me for directions to a restaurant. I started giving him directions and he asked me to come closer because he couldn't hear very well over the noise from the street. I thought it was reasonable, so I took a couple of steps closer to his car.

As I was explaining how to get to the restaurant from the gas station the man interrupted me and said, "You have the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen. I'd like to put them in a jar on my desk so I can look at them all day." The guy I was working with quickly yanked me away from the man's car and told the creep that he needed to leave, or else.

Stupidest Things to Impress Crush factsShutterstock

37. Unnatural Strength

A buddy of mine asked me and three other friends of ours to come over and help him remove some trees from his backyard. We had two chainsaws going at once, and the friend who owns the land was cutting down a tree when the tree I was cutting fell in the wrong direction. The tree fell on him and pinned his leg and hand to the ground.

Instantly, me and my other friend all had adrenaline running through us and three of us picked up a 50-foot tree and freed our friend. A couple of days after that, we tried to pick up the same tree and it would NOT budge. It’s freaky how strong you can be when adrenaline is pumping through you; my friend lived with a couple of broken bones.

Everyday mistakes FactsShutterstock

38. Tokaimura Nuclear Plant

The worst case of radiation exposure that I can think of outside of the Chernobyl incident was the case of Hisashi Ouchi, a Japanese plant worker who was exposed to fatal amounts of radiation. However, thanks to his family and doctors he was kept alive against his will for 83 days. A week into his stay in the hospital he said, “I can’t take it anymore […]. I am not a guinea pig", yet the doctors continued on.

All of his skin had fallen off, all of the skin grafts had fallen off, he'd lost multiple limbs, and he suffered heart attacks multiple times a day. I sometimes work on the grounds of a nuclear power plant and always said that if the worst happened and I was exposed to a lethal amount of radiation that I would just off myself rather than suffer something like that.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikipedia

39. Shark Attacked

Marine biologists attached a tag to a nine-foot-long great white shark. The device measured temperature and depth, to monitor the shark's movements. The tag was later found washed up on a beach.  The data showed that four months after it was attached, the female great white abruptly dove to a depth of 580 m (1,903 ft). The ambient temperature surrounding the tag spiked from 8°C to 26°C (46°F to 78°F).

The data suggested an attack.  This tracker, attached to a great white, was pulled down rapidly, and measured higher temperatures consistent with some animal's internal body temperature. One theory was that the culprit was another great white. We won't rule out Cthulhu though.

Sharks factsShutterstock

40. Whipping Tom

In 17th-century London, Whipping Tom was like Jack the Ripper, accosting women on the lonely, foggy streets of London. But instead of murdering them he would appear, slap their behinds yelling, "Spanko!" and vanish. He was so elusive that he was never caught, not even with men dressed in drag trying to lure him into a trap.

Scariest True Stories FactsShutterstock

41. Watch Your Back

There was a body discovered somewhere in Siberia. The cause of his demise was found to be freezing, but something was off. It turned out he had been attacked by a tiger. The tiger used his jaws and grabbed the guy by his backpack, picked him up over his head, and slammed him so hard that it snapped both of his femurs. The poor dude lived three days after the attack, crawling around in the snow.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

42. Home Alone

The story of Joyce Vincent has always been particularly creepy to me, but also pretty sad. She was a 38-year-old woman from England who lost her life suddenly in her apartment, but her passing went totally unnoticed for two years. When her unpaid rent reached a certain amount, officers forced entry to the apartment and found her remains on the couch, with the TV still on.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

43. Don't Do It Yourself

I’m an electrician and I’ve seen some really scary things that have been under homeowners’ noses for a long time. The worst I’ve seen was in the house I grew up in. A couple of years ago, the high voltage line on the electrical pole fell on my mother’s electrical line. It literally shot the main lug through the 1/8” thick steel panel cover and destroyed everything that was plugged in.

This came a year after the boiler went and almost burned the whole house down. Another bad one I’ve seen is homeowners replacing outlets themselves and pretty much making the whole house energized. Just imagine having your siding on your house able to end you if you touch it.

Scariest True Stories FactsShutterstock

44. The Lake Nyos Disaster

Lake Nyos is a volcanic crater lake that slowly leaks carbon dioxide into the water. In 1986, the lake belched out a cloud of invisible carbon dioxide gas that suffocated everything within a 25 km (16 mi) radius. Over 1700 people and all their livestock perished without even understanding what was happening to them.

Natural Disasters FactsWikipedia

45. Slow End

2.3 million gallons of molasses exploded out of a poorly made container in Boston and flooded a neighborhood, slaying 21 people and injuring 150. The scary part is hearing about how people tried to swim out of it, but it was too thick. They got tired and sank under the molasses slowly and suffocated as they tried to breathe. The thought of it haunts me. I'm not claustrophobic but I could imagine it being a total nightmare for someone who is.

Scariest True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

46. Accidental Aquanaut

The cook of a tugboat that capsized 23 km off the coast of Nigeria found a small air pocket in the boat and was the only survivor, trapped 30 m underwater. He was rescued after 60 hours of being under constant danger from drowning, hypothermia, and nitrogen absorption.

Scariest True Stories FactsPxHere

47. Farm Hand

My grandma grew up on a farm. She was over at a friend’s house for the night, and as they were getting in bed, her friend said, "Oh, we forgot to check the pasture gate." They got out there and my gran said, "We locked this." Her friend's almost casual response chilled her to the bone. She just said, "I know, there's a man under the bed."

It wasn't uncommon for drifters to show up in places like that and this was what they were taught to do.

Scariest True Stories FactsUnsplash

48. One In A Million

A neighbor just regaled me with this heartbreaker. His sister, her husband, and two kids went up to Washington to camp every year. So, they were up there in May, early June, sometime during 2002-2003, and the son went to use a rope swing to jump into the lake. The whole family was watching, fun times. But then everything took an incredibly dark turn. 

The boy botched the jump and ended up with the rope around his ankle, fell badly, broke a bone, and was just dragging underwater, flailing. The dad immediately springs into action to save his son and dove in—into shallow water. He smashed his skull open, was instantly paralyzed, and drowned. The mother obviously tried to save them both, dove into the water, and suffered a fatal heart attack.

The son stopped flailing and was just hanging there, head underwater. The daughter, 10 years old, had no idea two minutes prior that she would be sitting safely on shore, watching her whole family die. So incredibly heartbreaking. She was raised by my neighbor as a daughter. I just can’t even imagine what that would be like. Just normal, mundane risks proving lethal in less than 200 heartbeats.

Teachers HearbreakingPexels

49. Better Watch Out

My best friend’s parents were out of town one weekend and she had the house to herself. She went about her business, having dinner and watching TV. When she went to bed, she was lying with her back to her closet when she heard the door open. She somehow pretended to be asleep, and then the horror started. A man who was hiding in the closet walked around her bed to the side she was facing and gently stroked her hair and face, and then left.

She immediately called her boyfriend to ask him to come over, then called her parents and then the authorities. After the authorities investigated the matter, they found that the man had been getting into their home through their doggy door. He had been living in a tent in the forested area behind their home for months to creep on her. They found a ton of surveillance footage of her sleeping and pieces of her clothes and other belongings.

Scariest True Stories FactsShutterstock

50. Pickup Line

When I was seven, I was raking rocks in my aunt’s front yard and a beat-up pickup truck pulled up. A man got out, fiddled with something under the hood, and then closed it. He said to me, “Hey kid, do you know how to pop a clutch?” Spending my childhood on a farm, I did indeed know how. “Yes,” I responded. “Give me a hand really quick,” he said.

I started walking toward his truck and at the last second, I heard my mom call out to me from the garage, so I turned around to see what she wanted. That's when I heard the truck door slam and the engine start-up. I turned around to see him drive away really fast. I never really thought about it again after that, until now, about 30 years later.

I jumped up after laying down to go to bed when out of nowhere the memory came back, and it hit me: This guy was probably trying to kidnap me. I really dodged a bullet that day, thanks to my mom.  I’ve never been so scared from just a memory. I was shaking for at least a half hour over it. It still freaks me out thinking about it.

Creepy Moments FactsShutterstock

Sources: Reddit,

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