Who doesn’t love the idea of urban exploring? What can possibly be more exciting than finding all the secret places hidden within our midst, and trying to uncover the hidden gems inside?
As much fun as this activity can be, it definitely comes with some dangers—especially for those exploring in riskier or more extreme places. So, it’s no surprise then that some brave souls who poked around where no man has poked before ended up seeing things they probably wished they never had—things so scary that they had to instantly drop all their curious instincts and run away.
Here are 50 stories about times when urban exploring outings got abruptly cut short.
1. Tunnel Of Love
The scariest place I’ve ever encountered during urban exploration is this spooky cement tunnel that seems to lead underground. It’s very dark and the echoes go on for ages. We had no clue what it was when we found it. It didn’t seem to be any kind of drainage tunnel, because it was square, bone dry, and out in an open field.
There were some old bomb shelters and missile silos in our area that are out of commission, so we decided to take a look. Only about twenty yards in, the light from the outside started really fading behind us. Someone took out a flashlight and the moment the light turned on, we all froze. We started seeing bare human footprints on the ground leading deeper into the dark. If that wasn't scary enough, the footprints were fresh. Yeah, we decided to skedaddle.
2. Coming In Loud And Clear
One time, I was taking a look at some of those massive smokestacks in an abandoned factory. While looking around, I suddenly heard the sound of a radio squelch. In other words, a radio turned on by itself somewhere behind me. That was the time to go, right there. I still to this day have no explanation for what could have caused that to happen.
3. No Filter
I was exploring an old stormwater filtration plant once. The lower levels of the main buildings were all flooded, which was super creepy, and it was pretty overgrown. This was my second time there and I wanted to see more than I had last time. A friend of mine and I had the bright idea to climb into one of the pipes that had an open manhole cover—a decision we would soon deeply regret.
We figured we had a pretty good idea as to where the pipe would come out, as there was another manhole on the other side of the compound in line with where the pipe was heading. When we got all the way there though, it turned out to be welded completely shut. But that's not even the worst part.
When we turned to go back and realized we'd been slowly going downhill all along. The pipe was fairly slimy, and it seemed for a minute like we wouldn't be able to go back the way we'd come. I’ve never quite felt that level of claustrophobia before or since. So, allow me to give some advice to everyone reading this story: NEVER try this!
I realized shortly after how dangerous it truly was, and I won’t make the same mistake again.
4. Something To Bark About
In a building, I found the basement. Then the sub-basement. It was dark and I heard a sound; something like an animal running. At first, I wasn't scared—those noises didn't really worry me. But then I started to hear dogs barking... That's when I knew I was in real danger. I booked it back up the stairs, closed the fire door, and got the heck out of there as fast as I possibly could. When I spoke to some urban explorers beforehand, they explained that if you hear dogs or see them, it probably means the area is being used as a substance lab.
5. You’ve Got A Friend In Him
I was exploring an abandoned hospital at night when I saw a light shining down the corridor just to my left. When I saw that, I started to slowly retreat backward. Then, I heard the loudest, most distorted laughter ever, followed by a man screaming. And then the sound of something breaking. I freaked out and ran away super fast.
I then learned a few days later that it was just my friend who knew I was going to be there alone and had wanted to scare me as a little prank. The sound of the screaming man was actually coming from a YouTube video.
6. Fool Me Thrice, Shame On Me?
Oh, I've had my share of things that made me nope out. Here's just a few.
One time, I found a gas leak in an abandoned house that had been building up for years. I got the heck out, but not before taking the photos I wanted with extreme caution. That one I reported to the authorities, as it's classified as the kind of hazard in the urbex community that supersedes discretion.
Another time, I ran into a security guard doing an unexpected interior patrol. He definitely knew we were there, so we had to book it for the tree line before he could get the authorities out there to search.
I also remember some homeless dude started chucking cans and bottles out the fifth-story window of an old factory. My friend and I were poking around, so I guess he did it to try and scare us off. We took a hint and left.
Perhaps the worst experience I ever had was when we tripped on a motion-detecting camera in the basement of an abandoned building and had to bail. I know for a fact that they got a full face photo of me staring directly into the camera with shock. But I never heard anything more about it.
7. Politely Asked To Leave
I was exploring an old ammunition factory that had been used to make ammo during World War II. There was a security guy inside. He didn't chase me down or yell and scream at me. He just got my attention by shining his light at me for a second. He acknowledged how cool the building was, but politely told me I couldn't be there.
He answered a few questions about the types of characters he typically finds there. He said he usually comes across vloggers or people documenting it in some form, with the odd person here and there looking to try and swipe anything that might have been left behind—which wasn't much at all considering the factory closed in 1947 and hasn't operated since...
8. This One Stings
I once went exploring with my brother on an old abandoned naval base at midnight. We snuck into the officers’ quarters and were just looking around when all of a sudden, we heard the most spine-chilling noise. We’re both into photography, so I decided to take a flash photo and see if I caught anything weird in the light. When the camera went off, we froze in sheer terror at what we saw.
There was a massive, six-foot-long bee nest on the side of one of the walls. I think our presence disturbed them because hundreds of them were already crawling on the outside of the nest. It was the single most scary thing I’ve ever seen, and it was gone in a second because of the camera flash. We noped the heck out of there right as an officer was pulling up to see what we were up to.
9. Consistency Is Key
I spent a lot of years super into urban exploration, hoping to eventually have that exciting experience of finding something creepy that would make me nope out. Well, it happened a lot and it was always the same thing: a uniformed officer telling me that I couldn’t be there. Not anywhere near as exciting as I hope the experiences would turn out...
10. Bird Is The Word
I was exploring an old, abandoned tuberculosis treatment hospital. I heard a sound that sounded a lot like a homeless person snoring. It took quite a while for my friends and myself to work up the courage to go into the room where we heard it coming from, but we were rewarded with the sight of a real live vulture's nest.
11. Ever Get The Feeling That You’re Being Watched?
I was exploring an abandoned mineshaft for the second day in a row. It was in a small, old Midwestern town that used to be booming from the mining industry, but has long since been abandoned. It was also a ten-minute walk from the nearest road. This time, I went with different friends and better flashlights.
The door I had gone through on the first day was now padlocked shut. That should have been the first red flag, but then we found an entrance from the rooftop into one of the main buildings and continued to explore anyway. After exploring about three floors of the mineshaft below ground, we were back on the main floor exploring the workshop and garage.
I was looking through the cracks of light coming through the rusted metal walls when I noticed a bright color that stood out from the rest of the area. After inspecting it for a few seconds, the shocking realization finally hit me—It was a man looking back at me through the cracks. I was seeing his blue sweater. I could see two sets of eyes looking into the room that we were in. I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
After whispering to my friends that there were people watching us through the wall, we freaking booked it out of there and jumped off the roof and into the woods. The men were in a pickup truck and drove around looking for us, even getting out of the truck to look around. We couldn't see them from where we took cover, but we could hear the truck stop, the doors open, and footsteps breaking leaves only about twenty feet away from us.
We hid in that spot for about fifteen minutes while the men searched all around for us. It is harder than most people think to try and quiet your breathing down after sprinting. The whole experience was extremely terrifying, to put it mildly. I’m glad I was able to get away unharmed. I'm definitely not going back there again.
12. Tunnel Vision
One time, while exploring what I thought was an abandoned area with some friends, I stumbled upon an active shooting gallery in a tunnel. When I say active, I mean it was very clearly set up and being used by someone on a regular basis. You better believe that I noped the heck out of there in a hurry, and never even thought about returning.
13. Put On A Happy Face
This is a little less ‘urban,’ but worth sharing anyway. I was camping in British Columbia with my girlfriend at the time and her dog. We had a couple of rough-looking people who were the only other folks in the area. It was late though, so we set up and thought nothing of it. A little later, the guy wandered over while we were in our tent.
We could hear him outside and our dog was barking at this point. I got out and asked him what he was doing. He said he just wanted to pet the dog. Mind you, this was at around midnight. I told him we were settling in and trying to sleep. The guy then wandered off without replying at all to what I’d said. I shrugged it off and went to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning, I came across a most shocking scene. There appeared to be a single bullet sitting upright on our site’s picnic table, and a happy face made with sticks and rocks on the bench part of the table below it. Maybe it was just a bad joke, but we sure didn’t stick around to find out.
14. Crazy Train
When I was at UChicago, they were renovating some of the green line stations. A friend and I would jump the turnstiles at the station across from our building at night to watch the trains go by. On day two of the station being closed, one of the conductors saw us and actually stopped, so we got on with only one other person in the car, thinking it’d be fun to just ride it until it came back.
It was pretty late, and there was nothing out of the ordinary... But after a few minutes, we looked over at the homeless-looking guy and noticed he was up to something incredibly suspicious on his side of the car. Upon closer inspection, we realized he was cleaning a weapon. We immediately got off, only to realize that it was an Ashland/63rd bound train and we had no idea where the heck we were. To this day, neither of us can remember how we made it home.
Only now writing this out now do I realize we had no way of getting back since they wouldn’t have stopped at our station again.
15. Taking Notes
I was exploring an old house that used to belong to my dad’s friend. I found a slightly blood-stained mattress inside that clearly belonged to someone very disturbed. There was a notepad next to it that had creepy stuff written on it, like “I can’t” and “He hurts me” and “Please stop.” But there was one note that made my heart skip a beat. It read: “Don’t look up.”
I didn’t look up. I just looked straight at the door and ran directly towards it.
16. Car Trouble
Boy oh boy, do I have a story! I went urban exploring at an abandoned college campus. It was pretty cool. It was due to be demolished soon and there was some really nice graffiti. At the time, I kept sending video messages to a friend of me roaming around looking at everything. There was a singular building in this giant lot with nothing else on it, right in the middle of an open area.
The building was three stories tall, and on the ground floor, there was an open area where there appeared to be an abandoned car. I spent some time messing around and recording videos for my friend. Everything was normal until I went to record the graffiti right next to the car. As soon as I started filming, something completely unexpected happened.
The car turned on. I immediately threw my hands up and pointed towards the gate to gesture, "Sorry, didn't realize someone was here, I'll be on my way." But the guy started blaring on the horn and aggressively revving the engine at me. At this point, I was super startled and decided to book it down the driveway back to the gate.
He then started speeding after me in the car, whilst still blaring on the horn. Due to being startled and running, I accidentally hit send on the video I was taking on my phone. So my friend got to see my panic, along with the caption “1111.” He was right behind me and I needed to get rid of him, so I turned off the driveway and ran over a pile of rocks.
I fell down and ended up scratching my knee really badly. My glasses went flying off and they got scratched up too. I picked up the glasses and sprinted as fast as I could over to the fence where there were some bushes to hide behind. I could still smell the car’s engine from how far I was. It was putrid and the guy for sure looked like he was living out of the car. In my head, I kept thinking: "I might die today."
I had insane adrenaline in my bloodstream and I sort of moved further behind the bushes, but I couldn't quite get over the fence. I figured I could wait for the guy to get impatient and leave. I was there for around twenty minutes whilst he sat there with his car idling. By this point, my friend was practically having a panic attack thinking I just got murdered. Meanwhile, my adrenaline was wearing off.
Now, the pain from my leg was the only thing I could feel, so I couldn't climb the fence and get away quickly without him noticing. My friend was messaging me like crazy, asking if I was okay. Amazingly, she ended up driving over to the place to rescue me. She pulled up a bit up the street and the guy drove up towards her, which gave me the chance to climb the fence.
She then rushed down to where I had said I was, picked me up, and we drove off. Never have I been so scared in my life, and never have I appreciated someone more.
17. Burying The Hatchet
About ten years ago, I was out exploring a park in a western suburb of Chicago with some friends. The area was medium-sized with a big industrial lot leading to the parking lot, plus a prairie area and a big old forest with paths. We were walking around the forest for a few hours in the early afternoon and we saw some random pentagrams along the way.
Honestly, nothing super out of the ordinary; but they did seem concentrated in this one field that was probably about 2,000 square feet of four-foot-tall grass. For whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to walk through the grass field. Right in the exact center, there was an eight-foot-long, three-foot-wide rectangle of freshly dug ground. The sight of it sent chills up my spine.
It was the perfect size for hiding a body. Because of how tall the grass was, it was almost totally covered. But when I moved the grass back, it looked like a burial mound. I told my friend we had to leave, and so we beelined back to the parking lot. As we approached the car, an officer pulled up. He turned on his lights and stopped us.
Once he saw that we were kids, he said something like: "Better get out of here, it's not a good place to be after dark."
18. Life Is But A Scream
I once came across a large structure with high windows. It was essentially one large room with two external doors, a cathedral-height ceiling, and windows high on the walls. The interior was painted a rather drab yellowish-green, and paint was peeling off everywhere. The floor was a sort of cement, cracked here and there.
I think there may have been a drain somewhere on the floor. Lots of dirt and leaves. Then, all of a sudden, the loudest, shrillest scream emanated from the middle of the room. We both covered our ears and it lasted about two seconds. We had been on opposite sides of the room examining the walls and the chipping paint.
We both freaked out and exited the door nearest to each of us. We circled around and met on one side. We both heard the scream come from the middle of the empty room, but nobody else was there. Also, nobody else was outside... that we knew of. Certainly nowhere close enough for it to have seemed to be from inside.
I’ve never experienced anything like that.
19. On The Job
I used to explore a building that I worked in because it was allegedly haunted. It was a retail store, and each employee had their own stories of the shadow man. I encountered him three different times.
But my craziest encounter with him occurred on a random day when I saw him staring at me from behind a display. I was working and when it was finally time to clock out, my manager and I hastily went to our lockers to get our stuff. While we were packing our things up, we were stunned by a creepy and unfamiliar sound. We heard a loud male voice shouting “Hello?! Hello?!”
The building had already been locked for about half an hour. We decided to rush for the exit. When we were at the doors arming the security system, the sensor kept insisting that there was a movement in the part of the store we’d heard the voice come from. I will never forget that night.
20. Boarder Patrol
Last week, one of my good friends made the pilgrimage across a few states on his motorcycle to go visit his extended family. He decided to camp along the way, in an effort to get out into nature and catch some scenic sunsets. He texted me an SOS after he made it to his family's house, and told me this story over FaceTime.
In parts of West Texas, there are only gas stations every ninety miles or so. As he was getting low on gas before the last sunset, he decided to camp near two abandoned structures. The next morning, with a camera in hand, he went exploring. As he was filming, he walked into the second structure and he immediately started to panic.
A person was sitting in a chair with her head rested on the table. She had one arm dangling to the side and a trash bag over her head. He ran to the road and tried to get a hold of Border Patrol, as he was only forty miles away from the border. After walking some miles, he got the attention of a BP agent.
After all was said and done, the BP agents informed him that her passing had already been reported.
It was reported by the man who had helped her group get across the United States border. They also said that the 13 inches of snow they received a couple of nights prior contributed to her death. After being detained for a few hours, he was let go in part because of the evidence on his camera.
He said the worst part about it was that he felt responsible for her death in some way. Even worse? She was his age, 20 years old, and she had made it all the way from Guatemala, only to die 40 miles to the US border. Heartbreaking. He promised me he wouldn’t go exploring next time.
21. Run Of The Mill
There was this really popular abandoned mill in my city. On one Saturday, I took a whole bunch of friends out there and I acted as their tour guide. We were having a great time, but there were also a ton of people there that day. More than I had ever seen before. After a few hours of checking out various parts of the mill, we suddenly heard a commotion going on below us.
I looked out the window and there were about four cars with flashing lights approaching. Alongside the cars were several officers, a paddy wagon, and a golf cart. Kids were scattering in every direction and the officers were chasing them on their golf carts, throwing them into the wagon. I told all my friends to run and we split up.
A buddy of mine stuck with me and we booked it to the ground floor. We climbed out a window towards the back of the building. There was this big river and then some woods. We could still hear lots of yelling, so we decided to wade across the river and run through the woods.
We kept running through the woods because we knew our moms would kill us if we got taken in by the cops. Eventually, we felt that we'd put enough distance between us and the officers, so we stopped to catch our breaths. We were both covered in mud, water, and scratches, but at least we didn’t get caught.
We trekked back to our cars that were parked near the mill and we found all of our friends hanging out. Thankfully, none of them got caught. We asked them how they got out and they said they just walked out the front door. Apparently, the officers had fully filled up the wagon and ended up leaving to get more backup. I felt pretty stupid.
Some months later, I explored the mill again. This time, I was there alone. It was on a Monday morning, so there weren't a lot of people around. Now, the mill is next to a bunch of businesses and I came across a few people who were out on their breaks from work. It sounded like they were spray painting or something behind the buildings. I was a few stories above them, and I peeked over the ledge to see what they were doing.
I accidentally kicked a piece of glass over the ledge. It landed maybe ten feet away from them. The moment it hit the ground, they started yelling, “Hey, who’s throwing shards of glass at us?” After hearing that, I just left and kept exploring. I figured they’d eventually forget they saw me, so I just kept on. Then, not too long after, I stumbled upon someone that I loosely knew.
We greeted each other and exchanged pleasantries. After a few minutes, I looked up at the parking lot and noticed a bunch of officers gathering. Now, I’ve waited out the authorities before, for hours sometimes, so that was my plan. I told my friend that I was going to hide. I gave him my phone number, then climbed up this sketchy ladder that led to an open window.
I was sitting on a roof hidden behind a little wall. No one could see me, but I was able to peek out and check if they were still there. Pretty soon afterward, more officers showed up and I could also hear dogs barking. After about 45 minutes, my phone rang. It was an unknown number. I answered it but didn't say anything. It was a woman on the other end. She said, “Hello? Is this (insert my name here)?”
I asked, “Who is this?” and she replied, “This is Officer So-and-So. We know you’re up there. Come down now so we don’t have to send the dogs up after you. They will bite.” I told her that I wasn’t where she thought I was and that I had snuck out through the back a while ago. But she didn’t believe me. After talking to her for a few minutes, I decided I didn't want to cause any more trouble than I already had.
So I decided to come down. I climbed down the ladder and they put me in handcuffs. Then they threw me in the back of a squad car, and guess who was sitting there already—the dude I ran into. Turns out, the guys who were spray painting called the officers and told them I was throwing shards of glass at them. The officers made me apologize to them. They also wrote me a ticket. I never heard about it again, except during a phone call to my mother about a week later. She wasn’t happy. So yeah, always run away as soon as something doesn’t feel right.
22. Cat Scratch Fever
Back when I lived in the rural south, my friend and I went to an abandoned trailer because she wanted to show me all of the old Playboys that were left lying around in it. There were pentagrams painted on the front door and on one wall of the bedroom that was through the kitchen. But that wasn’t too spooky in and of itself.
My brother was one of those edgy teenagers and I had seen more than enough crookedly spray-painted pentagrams to know it was just idiots goofing off. Nah, the thing that was scary was on a whole other level compared to that. There was a half-dead cat hung by its back legs from the ceiling fan in the backroom down the hall. We went to take it down so we could call the authorities and then hopefully bury it to give it some peace.
But then, it woke up and started squalling. It scratched my arms and my friend’s face and tried to get away, but it was so weak all it could do was stagger. We eventually got it wrapped in my shirt and brought it home. We had to explain to my friend’s mom where we were and what had happened. That crotchety old cat lived another six years with no teeth, a limp, and horrible cataracts.
23. Calling All Cars
I convinced a group of about five or so of my friends to go with me into this old house that was in an odd sort of industrial area. It was on one of those service roads next to a highway. The only way in was to go through the basement and through a hole in the wall at the top of the stairs. After exploring for a while, I thought I'd do a "scout mission" for fun.
The mission involved me just walking around the house, checking for security officers. Usually, "scout missions" are uneventful, but this one took quite a turn. There were security cars pulling into the street just then, with sirens on and everything. They were pulling into the restaurant next door, as someone had probably reported us. The exit was on the other side of the house from where they were.
I quickly called out to the others to climb back out, and we somehow managed. I don't generally believe in intuition, but I do find it odd that I had the urge to do a sweep right when they showed up.
24. Inconvenience Store
While I walking back home, I stopped at a grocery store and took a short break. It was in a kind of a sketchy area of Queens, New York, but I felt safe walking with a few friends. The parking lot entrance was along the edge that we were leaning on. All of a sudden, a totally blacked-out, fancy sedan pulled into the entrance and stopped right in front of us.
At that moment, a tall man in a suit came walking from around the corner, basically behind us, giving us all a terrifying look. He gave me the eeriest, most unsettling feeling. It felt like he was trying to warn us to leave right away. As the man opened the back door of the car to get in, the passenger side window opened and we saw the faces of two oldish men staring at us with a chilling look.
Without missing a beat or even looking at each other, we quickly stood straight up and rushed away. We speed-walked away and said nothing until we got to the next block. We had no idea what we saw, but I don’t think we were supposed to see whatever it was. The coldness we felt from the stares we got were unlike anything I’ve experienced.
25. Times Have Changed
There was an abandoned house down the road from my high school that was still filled with stuff. Some friends and I would hang out there from time to time. There was a point where the house got boarded up and we didn’t go into it for a while. Jump to a few months later—one of my friends told me he had found a new way inside.
After a couple more weeks, I went to the house with one friend to check it out again and relive some old memories. When we got there, it was clear that something bad had taken place. The stuff in the house was thrown all over the place. Any kind of dish from the kitchen had been smashed on the floor. When we looked at the stairs to the second floor, we both got the worst feeling. Like we would find something terrible if we went up there.
So we got the heck out of there. After a couple more months, the house was demolished.
26. Getting Salty
There was this massive salt storage facility. I’m guessing the company sold salt to the city and other municipalities for road maintenance during the winter. My friends and I, all about twelve years old at the time, thought it would be cool to sneak in and climb to the top of this major salt mountain. This salt mountain was about two hundred feet high.
It was massive. We got to the top and celebrated, and we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the city skyline. Its buildings lit up across the bay as the afternoon had turned to dusk. As we were getting ready to come down off the mountain, we saw something odd beneath us.
About five guard dogs at the bottom, staring up at us with a piercing glare. They couldn’t get up the mountain because they couldn’t get traction on the salt, but they were clearly waiting to get us when we climbed down. We all started freaking out. My friend's little brother started crying. We began yelling for help but nobody was around, as it was late on a cold Sunday afternoon in mid-November.
The sky’s hue darkened as dusk turned to dark. We were probably up there for two hours trying to figure out what to do. We finally got silent, laid flat, and acted as if we had disappeared. The dogs must’ve gotten bored or distracted and began wandering away. We kept looking and looking and when they didn’t come back for 20 minutes, we traversed off of the salt mound as fast as we could.
We made a mad dash for the fence we had entered from and luckily all got out safely. Our parents were all angry and ready to call the authorities because none of us came home at dark. It was one of the scariest moments of my childhood. And so, the lesson is to never climb up a mountain of salt no matter how cool it looks, because there may be dogs waiting for you on the way down!
27. Clowning Around
I was with several of my friends and my girlfriend. We knew of this old, abandoned nursery out in the country not too far from our college. It was on a weekend; around midnight or so. I don’t remember specifics. We pulled up and parked the car. I went in first, followed by my friend and then my girlfriend. To be honest, nothing really occurred until the end.
That was when we found this room at the end of this really short hallway. It had paintings of clowns and two beds in it that were clearly meant for babies. My girlfriend claims to have heard a chuckle come from the room as we were leaving. As soon as she said that, the door slammed shut behind us. It was the creepiest thing I had seen in a very long time.
28. Freezing Up
When I was a teenager, some friends and I would occasionally party in the unused biology department of the local university. We would get in through a hole we'd cut in this barbed wire fence surrounding the building. Maybe the fourth or fifth time hanging out there, a few of us found a lab that still had beakers and vials in it.
There was this big walk-in freezer type door in the back with plastic tape over it. Sort of like crime scene tape. Being the young imbeciles we were, we tore the tape off and opened the door. It was definitely some kind of storage area, with shelves full of jars of weird liquids and powders. The ground was covered in broken glass from a jar that had fallen and shattered.
We then noticed the room was releasing this red powdery substance that was coating everything. We thought it was probably hazardous to our health, so we went back to the main group and we all left and never went back. I still have no idea what that stuff was. It could have been harmless, but I'm also glad we were sober enough not to try tasting it or anything stupid like that.
29. Unintentional Explorer
I was in Athens, Greece. It was my first time traveling alone in a foreign country. I didn’t know that people basically deserted the streets midday. I walked into a shop just off the Plaka. I didn’t realize the store was empty and that the door had been locked behind me. I looked around for a bit and then tried to leave, but I was caught completely off-guard by the owner. He blocked the way and prevented me from leaving.
I am darn lucky he didn’t physically attack me. He finally opened the door. Lesson learned.
30. You’ve Got Company
A friend of mine used to work at a Subway with a drive-thru. Whenever he and his friends decided to poke around after hours, they saw the “Shadow Man.” Just the shadow of a man; sometimes staying still, sometimes coming closer, in both the store and on the drive-thru camera screens. I don't remember if they said it felt malicious or not, but it scared the heck outta me.
31. I Saw The Light
I went exploring in an old textile mill in rural Alabama. We parked right in the middle of the mill’s backlot. We decided to climb the ladders up to the roof. Once we got to the roof, the sun started setting, so we got our headlamps ready, watched the sunset, and then decided to head back down from the roof.
As we were walking to the ladder, my car alarm down below started going off. Immediately, from the rooftop across from us, someone flashed a flashlight at us. But here's the kicker: they never said a thing. I was way too nervous about my car to really care about the other person, but they didn’t chase us, yell, or anything. They just kept their light on us so that we could never see them.
They followed us with their light until we got into the car and left. I never went back after that. It’s torn down now.
32. This Story Has Some Pop
In Al Asad airbase, Iraq, my unit inherited this massive hangar that backed up to a few old bunkers. They were these huge pyramids protruding from the sand. I didn’t have much going on one night, so I went skulking around. I found an air vent on top, which I then kicked out. The duct had a ladder that went way down.
I "Mission Impossible-d" my way down. It was full of spent brass and pieces of old weapons. I also found a door that had all the trappings of an officer’s office. On the desk, I found a diary that turned out to be the minutes of several years’ worth of party meetings. There was also a flag. Proud of my new loot, I found another small closet. I never could have guessed what I'd find behind that door.
I opened the door and it was filled floor-to-ceiling with unused explosive devices. Everything from grenades to those packages that hold C4. There were tons of it, and it was all very old. Terrified that I would accidentally trigger one of them and blow myself to oblivion, I shot up that ladder like I was being chased. I put the vent back on and casually returned home, whistling as if nothing had happened.
33. Getting The Boot
I was in an awesome, old, abandoned hospital with a couple of buddies at night. It was hauntingly beautiful and incredibly intense. We were up on the second floor and I went ahead a bit. I was just scanning each individual room as I passed them, and at some point, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. As I peeked into one of the rooms, a pair of legs was laying on the ground.
The hairs on the back of my neck started sticking up. I was about to run away, but then I suddenly got the urge to check whether the person was alive. So, I slowly continued to peek further into the room. I then realized it was just a pair of super long boots that someone had left there as a prank. I laughed my head off as the epic tension was released all in an instant.
I walked back to my buddies and told them to go check out that room, not telling them what was in there.
34. Don’t Stop The Party
I was driving down an abandoned country road once. I looked down the road to the left and spotted about a hundred people having what looked like a family-type gathering. But they were in the forest. They all started to glare at me aggressively as I drove by them. We just kept going and didn’t slow down. No idea what those people were up to.
35. Echoing The Sentiment
My friend and I were exploring an abandoned insane asylum. We were in the underground tunnels that stretched as far as our flashlights could shine. The echoing is unreal down there, so we would stop every thirty feet or so to let the echoes fizzle down, just so we knew we were alone. One time, when the echoes stopped, we heard what sounded like an elevator coming to the ground floor.
There were no elevators in the building, and no power anyway. We looked at each other and instantly bailed. No idea what it was to this day.
36. Animal Farm
When I was in high school, I worked at my county's museum. Out in the back, there was an abandoned house that had been set up to resemble a turn-of-the-century home. It was only opened for special events. Since one of these events was coming up, I got sent there to take down the curtains for cleaning. Keep in mind, it was very quiet in there.
It was far enough back from the highway that you couldn't even hear the cars going by. Since it was out of the sun, it was always a bit chilly. There were creepy dolls and old pictures all over the place. All of these combined gave a bit of an uneasy feeling for whoever entered. As I was taking down the curtains, there suddenly was a horrible, bone-chilling scream coming from the outside.
Naturally, I sprinted right out of there... only to discover that the screaming was coming from two of the alpacas next door, who were getting intimate at the time…
37. A Splitting Headache
I went into this old bunker and found that someone had gutted a raccoon in there. Its body was completely ripped open. Usually, I just find burned books and graffiti or candles or whatever. But a split-open raccoon is sort of next level. I guess I was just super grossed out, and I immediately left the premises.
38. What Beautiful Eyes You Have
I was in the basement of an abandoned factory once with a friend and it was pitch black. All we had were tiny flashlights. That was scary enough already, but then we heard clicking sounds. My friend's flashlight quickly spotted something moving—and then a pair of greenish glowing eyes. Seconds later, we saw even more eyes and they all started coming towards us.
We ran away from there before we could figure out who the eyes belonged to.
39. American Graffiti
When my friends and I were young, we lived in a trailer park community in a bad part of Phoenix. But we loved exploring anyway. We found a large old storm drain behind our community covered in graffiti and weeds. We decided to explore it, walking in with mini flashlights. We kept seeing spots of blood and more strange graffiti.
After about thirty minutes, we started hearing tapping sounds. We got scared and started to walk back out, but then we noticed that the sounds seemed to be following us. We ran like our lives depended on it. A few weeks after that, our community manager made a shocking discovery near the entrance of the storm drain. It was a dead body. That was the last of our exploring.
40. True Believers
Church Road. The abandoned house with religious pamphlets strewn about all over the place. We were in the middle of exploring it when we suddenly decided to turn around. There was an old man casually standing behind us and it spooked us out. He wasn't shouting at us to leave; he was just staring at us. Needless to say, we did not waste a single second getting the heck out of there.
41. Against The Grain
My friends and I explored an abandoned grain factory in Johnson City, Tennessee. It’s torn down now, but when it was still up, it was massive. Stories upon stories. It was around 11:00 p.m. and pitch black, so we brought a couple of little flashlights with us. We were picking up this horrible smell but we still kept exploring like idiots. We went all the way to the top floor and discovered it was a substance den, complete with spoons and needles. Definitely scrammed after that.
I was exploring the basement of this really cool old Victorian mansion and I came across an alarmingly large den of snakes. I doubt they were anything dangerous, but they started looking at me and slithering around. I politely apologized for having invaded their home and noped the heck out of there as fast as I possibly could.
43. Just One Small Problem
We were stupid seventeen-year-old girls. We decided to climb into the first-story window of the abandoned psychiatric facility in our city. My friend was a former cheerleader and she lifted me up to the window. I climbed in, with the intention of securing a rope for her to use to climb. After a cursory glance to find something stable to tie the rope to, I quickly realized I was in a really sketchy room.
I found evidence of squatters, substance use, something that looked like dried blood, and a very, very unconscious rat on the old desk in the room. But that's not even the worst part. At some point, I heard someone in the distance whispering. I also realized I was unarmed and scrawny and alone and stupid. I promptly leaped back out the window, jamming both my ankles on landing. Then we hightailed it out of there.
And that was the end of my urban exploring.
44. A Change Of Heart
There's a place in Liverpool called Mossley Manor. It’s an old nursing home that's absolutely stunning. Inside, it's being left to rot. But there are lots of stuff left behind, like pictures and files on residents. The place was shut down over cruelty to the residents. I know this place inside and out. It's a beautiful building with a horrible history.
It's fantastic for photos and digging into its past. I would go once a week with friends and teach them how to respect history. One day, I had a bad feeling. I'm not a huge paranormal believer, but I had that feeling. Something was watching me. What? I don't know. But I felt it had always been there. Like it allowed me to feel confident before, so it could get me now.
What would it do to me? Who knows. But I've never been back. I have a friend who is into his spooky memes. He was giving me some grief about negative energy manifesting into a poltergeist. He could be right. I would rather not know. I’m just glad I got to enjoy this place and explore it so many times before this feeling hit me.
45. Something Seems Fowl
As a teen, my friends and I used to break into an old aluminum factory a lot. I led us up a staircase winding around pill-shaped vats with small flap lids. Four flights up, we started seeing feathers, then a whole pile of deceased birds. Keep in mind, there was no open ceiling where they could've flown in from.
We turned around and one of my friends suddenly stopped me. We then noticed the lid on the vat next to us was open. There were no noises coming from anywhere other than us which was a little comforting, but we still got the heck out of there right away. We didn’t want to wait and find out who or what was inside. And we never went back after that.
46. That’s A Bunch Of Bull
My friend and I went to “explore” this large area of farmland that was technically private property. We were about to enter a large paddock until I saw a large sign saying something along the lines of “BEWARE OF BULL.” My friend still wanted to do it, but I backed out and convinced him to do the same. I'm glad we did, because after seeing what a bull can do, I know we would have been lucky to escape one.
47. Take Me To Church
I decided to explore an abandoned church on my own. I dropped down through a window into the basement. After wandering through some hallways, I found a large room with the stairs to the main level at the other end. I started crossing the room when I heard footsteps above me. It sounded like somebody walking with crutches or a peg leg, making a weird thunk-THUNK, thunk-THUNK.
The steps seemed to be going in a circle. I paused for a minute. I'd had run-ins with homeless people before that were generally amiable. I'd make small talk for a minute, give them some change, then be on my merry way. I wasn't normally scared to run into them. This time, however, I had a bad feeling.
After hesitating, I took a couple more steps towards the stairs. I was so focused on the noise above me that I accidentally kicked over an empty spray paint can. The footsteps above me stopped for a moment. Then, it began running towards the stairs that I was about to start climbing, still making that thunk-THUNK noise.
I was suddenly more terrified than I have ever been in my life. I sprinted full tilt back towards the window I'd come through. I somehow managed to quickly claw my way up and out. I didn't look back until I was safely out of the building, at which point I could neither hear nor see anything.
I waited outside for a few minutes, but apparently, whatever or whoever it was had decided that scaring me off was good enough. They decided to retreat back into the building. There’s a slightly spooky epilogue, though. About three weeks later, I went back with a couple of friends. We made our way into the building and up the stairs without anything out of the ordinary happening to us.
Inside the church, we found obvious evidence of multiple homeless persons living there. Mattresses were set up in corners, some small fires had been lit, etc. Most of it was fairly normal. However, on the window sills, we came across a scene that shook us to our core—there were multiple birds and small mammals, all of which had been gruesomely beheaded and their bodies carefully lined up.
After perusing the main sanctuary, one friend and I made our way up to the third floor, which had classrooms and offices. Coming up the stairs, I could see the door to a room off the landing at the very top. As I got to the last few stairs, the door abruptly slammed shut. The room had been dark and didn't appear to have any windows in it.
Looking down the hallway from the top of the stairs, I couldn't feel a breeze or see any open windows that could have pulled the door shut. My friend tried to open the door and said that it felt like there was something on the other side pushing it shut. We elected not to explore the third floor. After going downstairs and consulting with our other friend, it was decided that we should leave.
About three years later, I revisited that church yet again. When I came to the top of the stairs, I found the door to that room wide open. Shining my flashlight in, I confirmed that the room had no windows. That church is fairly well known in the local exploring community and, while several people have said they got a bad feeling or felt creeped out there, nobody else has had any encounters like mine.
I assumed that the first incident was a homeless resident trying to scare me off, the dead animals were the work of an unmedicated schizophrenic, and the slamming door was a homeless person not wanting his nap disturbed by some dumb kids. That said, the whole experience was hair-raising and I still bring it up as an anecdote for new explorers on why you should never explore alone.
48. Open Door Policy
I was inside an abandoned brewery, looking at the old equipment. I climbed a lot of stairs and found a door with scribbles of graffiti on it. Among the sentences written on it were: “Don’t look down” and “End your life here!” We were about four floors off the ground at this point, but my curiosity was killing me. I opened the door to see what was on the other side.
And what was on the other side was... nothing. No stairs or balcony or fence or anything whatsoever. The door was on the wall of the building and it literally opened up into thin air. You absolutely would have been killed, and painfully, had you fallen out or taken a step through it before realizing that there was nothing there.
49. I Got A Feeling
This applies to multiple places that I've explored before. Some places don't feel empty. Even at the times when I knew I was alone, it still felt like I wasn’t. It's hard to describe. Whenever I get that feeling, I have to leave right away.
The worst is when the house spontaneously breaks down. In one house, the first-floor ceilings collapsed, bringing the second floor downstairs. It was really scary. I've also been inside houses that still had all of the last occupant's belongings. It really makes you feel like you've stepped into a place you shouldn't be in. It's very personal.
50. A Tale Of Two Cities
My urban exploring isn't all that urban, as I live in Montana which only has abandoned homesteads. It's almost guaranteed that no matter where I explore, I'll come across at least one, if not two, deceased animals, as well as a car that looks like it would still run if not for rust and dirt.
The scariest incident I've ever experienced while exploring was when I ran into one guy who came flying towards me in a pickup truck with a crowbar. Another time, I came into an abandoned room to find a rather angry raccoon. Let’s just say both these times resulted in me bailing as fast as I could.