People Reveal The Most Disturbing Thing That Ever Happened In Their Hometown

October 29, 2023 | Christine Tran

People Reveal The Most Disturbing Thing That Ever Happened In Their Hometown

“I really had to imagine the kind of person that I would have been if I had never left my hometown. I don't think I would have been a very pleasant person".—Patton Oswalt.

Homecomings aren’t what they used to be. Where our grandparents might associate the word "hometown" with an idyllic era often described as "a simpler time," it seems that today, when people say "hometown," they are suggesting the setting of a gripping mystery novel or dramatic podcast series. This sentiment certainly echoed as people of the Internet shared their most messed up stories of what’s going on back home. What’s underneath those white picket fences? From headline-making murders to unexplained dessert food rainfalls, here are 42 shocking tales of hometown scandal.

1. Post-Secondary Disappearance

 A little over 10 years ago, a HS senior in my town went missing, they've never found him. Apparently, he was at a party just before graduation, got into a fight with his girlfriend, and left to walk home. They've extensively checked all the nearby woods, dredged the rivers and lakes, it even caught the attention of some TV "psychic." They found his car, abandoned, but no other sign of him.

The creepiest part is how everyone in my hometown still talks about it; My psych teacher in high school used his disappearance as an example when we discussed dissociative fugue states; the town is still plastered in MISSING signs; every year they go out and search again. I always wonder if it was self-inflicted, an accident, foul play, or if he just took off across the country.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown facts

2. School’s Out

The principal lost his mind, cut his dog’s throat, threatened his family, and fought against arrest while unclothed and smeared in blood.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown

3. Who Are You?

Let's flashback 150ish years—I guess thankfully, as not many gruesome things/deaths/disappearances happen in my hometown. There used to be a theater in the center of town. One night, during a play attended by about 400 people, a gas lantern used as a prop was kicked over and set the place on fire. The fire claimed the lives of 177 individuals, a significant number of whom were children, leaving the town in extensive ruin that lasted for years.

There were so many unidentifiable bodies because everything just got burnt to a crisp—people’s jewellery was often fused to the remains, and that is how they were identified by the family. Many makeshift morgues were set up and undertakers worked around the clock for days to try and make heads or tails of the deaths, missing, etc. There's a tombstone in one of the cemeteries dedicated to the unidentified but presumed deceased because their positive identification was impossible.


Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsPinterest

4. Nothing But Bodies

This unsolved case involving the tragic loss of an entire family, including a 16-year-old from the high school in our sleepy town. It's extremely disturbing and locals here mention that law enforcement authorities suspect a cartel link/hit, but nothing has been substantiated yet.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsThe Ashley Firm

5. In Cold Blood

Husband of an older couple disappears from the community. The wife made excuses for his absence like “He's away for work, He's found another woman,” etc., then took off overseas. The son, suspicious about the lack of communication from his mother overseas, went to his parent's house to investigate. He found his father's body in the wall of the garage. His hands and feet had been bound, and a plastic bag covered his head

For some unfathomable reason, the wife returned home and was taken into custody. While on bail she climbed into the refrigerator and suffocated herself.

My father was in the same year in high school as the son...

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsKGET

6. Playdates of Years Past

My former next-door neighbor suffered from a psychotic break and tragically caused her kids to drown. I used to play with them a lot.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsLa Guía de las Vitaminas

7. No Words

My younger brother used to go to a small private school in my city. He was acquainted with a girl that was several years younger than him. One day, she stopped showing up to school for a while. I guess the teachers had tried to get ahold of the girl's parents, but couldn't reach them, and had just assumed they moved.

Turns out she had been ruthlessly dispatched by her father, who also ended the life of her mother and proceeded to write in her blood on the walls of their home. The teachers had to share with the kids the unfortunate news of her departure from this world. I'm unclear about the specifics of how they handled this, but I distinctly remember my brother returning home with a wristband that had the girl's name and a heart on it.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsPhilly

8. Betrayed by the Butt

A kid robbed a bank for about $20,000. He then bought a new car in cash and buried the rest of the money in his parent’s backyard. The law enforcement was on his trail while he was casually enjoying his nicotine stick. After discarding the leftover portion through the window, the authorities collected it. They subjected it to testing, which subsequently confirmed a DNA match. He was apprehended later that week and is now serving a 10-year sentence...

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factslineaedp

9. Dishonorable Discharge

A former (disgraced) high-ranking official took the lives of two women—all while he was presiding over the country's largest Air Force base. It took a while for our area to recover after that.


Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsErnesto Gapasin

10. Two Tragedies for One

A lad who lived near me went missing for three months after a night out, the whole of the town went looking for him, put up posters and created a page on FB in which 23k people joined. He was found last month in the river.

What makes it so disturbing for me is that his body was found while searching for the body of a man who had jumped off a really tall bridge. Feel so bad for his family.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsPixabay

11. Burned Bridges

Me and my sister (10 and 8 at the time I think) lived right down the street from a couple of our really good friends, who were sisters (4 or 5 and 9?). One morning our mom comes and tells us not to go to school, and she has to talk to us about something serious.

It appears that the mother of our friends ignited their home the previous night. The unfortunate incident resulted in the loss of both sisters' lives as she was in a dispute with her husband and feared losing them in a custody case. My sister named her daughter after the older girl.

photo of old abandoned burned house interiorZastolskiy Victor, Shutterstock

12. Stop, Drop, and Kill

This happened down the street from where I live.

A couple of years ago, a man purchased a hunting firearm and drove to a large vacant lot on the outskirts of town early in the morning. He lay down on his stomach, took aim at a stoplight, and waited to snipe the first person who stopped at the red light. Indeed, a man was returning home from the night shift and he was shot in the temple by a marksman while sitting in his car. The motive was never clear—it just appeared to be a random life-taking incident.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsSlashGear

13. Not the Mama

A woman abducted a pregnant individual, ruthlessly ended her life, and forcibly removed the unborn child from her womb, subsequently insisting that the baby was her own. She even presented misappropriated sonogram images to her relatives.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown

14. Double Feature

The demise of Blake and Mary-Joe Hadley. Their son inflicted fatal injuries on them with a hammer, proceeded to drag their lifeless bodies into their bedroom, and then threw a party.

This happened a few years ago.

In 2001, a patient at a psychiatric hospital where I used to work caused the demise of four people by snapping their necks and stomping on spines.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsWBCB News

15. It Gets Worse?

A child selling candy door to door for a school fundraiser tragically lost his life over the money he was collecting. Not only did it happen in my hometown, but on my street, about 15-20 houses down the road. I wasn't allowed to ride my bike too far for a while after that.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsKiplinger

16. Just Like the Movies

The tragic demise of Laci and Connor Peterson. They lived down the street from me. Scott remains sentenced to lethal injection and is presently detained in San Quentin. I remember my parents watching the news all day long on Christmas Day.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown

17. Sounds Like a Cowardly Move TBH

Triple act of manslaughter. All high school kids. The whole story sounds like a bad ‘80s slasher movie. The guy who lived in the house where it took place had a younger sister who started dating an older guy. The guy was (I think) in college. The brother was a senior in HS. The sister was like...16ish. So, when the brother found out he went and confronted the new boyfriend. Threatened to kick him and stuff.

Of course, the boyfriend's reaction was the only reasonable reaction that existed. He sat outside the brother's house on a Saturday night and waited until around 4 am. The brother had two friends over. They were, of course, partaking in typical teenage behaviors while mom and dad were out of town. Boyfriend broke in. He had to have been like a ninja. The house was small, and he climbed in through a tiny window in the kitchen.

The three guys in the house were pretty heavily intoxicated. But how he didn't wake any of them up is pretty confusing. He entered the living room where his brother was, stood directly above his head, positioned a firearm against his forehead, and discharged it. He could have let the other two guys live. But nah.

Once he realized they were there and still asleep—or too incapacitated or under the influence to protect themselves—he proceeded to take them down as well. One was in a guest room and the other was in the living room floor under a ton of blankets. The theory is that the guy under the blankets actually woke up and scared the killer, and he shot him as he sat up. He checked the house for more people and found the third one who looked like he didn't move at all because he was passed out from drinking.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsDesultory Heroics

18. Mother Doesn't Know Best

A few years ago, a mother struck her young son directly in the heart. It was sort of shocking. You always hear about things like that, but you never expect it to happen in your town.

I recall the incident where on arrival, only a lifeless little boy was found in the driveway. She had gone back inside.


Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsReturn to Now

19. Rightful Denial

On Mother's Day in 1999, a woman was jogging with her dogs along a somewhat secluded walking path that runs through my very small hometown. She was raped and then strangled with a dog leash by a 15-year-old boy.

Thankfully, he was tried as an adult, but because of his age, he received nine years to life. He comes up for parole every two years but is always denied.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsVillage Voice

20. Hot Chance at a Second Take

A burnt-out body in a suitcase was discovered in a lay near me recently. Turns out it was some Chinese guy from Manchester trying to impersonate the individual who is no longer alive to pay off his massive gambling debts.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown facts

21. Cloudy with a Chance of Carbs

Not my town but an hour away. In 1994, it rained gelatin. Nobody ever figured out why for sure.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsPinterest

22. Swan Song

I used to sing in a children's choir in a small town with a girl named Trisha. She was 15. One day, she went missing. She ran away from home, supposedly. Eventually, her body was found a few miles away. Turns out she had been chatting online with a guy much older than her and left home to be with him. He brutally ended her life and dismembered her. They found her jawbone in his house which he kept as a trophy. The children's choir sang "Goin' Up a Yonder" at her funeral. It was very, very sad.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsA Clear Lens

23. A Note of Hope

I grew up in Utah and played harp with Elizabeth Smart in a few concerts. She and I had the same harp teacher growing up. I also played in a concert for Elizabeth with some other students under that teacher after she was kidnapped.

After she was found, Elizabeth said in an interview that she never saw any of the billboards nor heard about the massive amounts of news stories about her, but she did know about that little concert her fellow harp students played for her in Salt Lake City.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsRideshare Network

24. Behind Your Own Barn

Neighboring town but about a 15-minute drive. Robert "Willie" Pickton. He is held accountable for the tragic demise of six women, an event that resulted in him receiving the maximum sentence in Canada - a 25-year duration without the possibility of parole. He has, however, admitted to murdering 49 women. Lots of awful details, but mostly he is known for feeding his victims to his pigs...he was a pig farmer.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsSecurity Alarm

25. From Fiction to Fact

Explore a factual thriller novel about a man who ended his estranged wife's life, dismembered her body, incorporated the remains into a few blocks of concrete, and then discarded them in neighboring lakes. I knew it happened in my hometown before I even read about it, but I had no idea how close the guy lived. It was a 5-minute drive from my place.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsTomahawk Talk

26. Wrong Number

I was raised in a suburb in Western Australia, known for a notorious couple's activities. The pair was infamous for abducting several young women. Their reign of terror only came to a halt when one brave victim managed to escape. As a kid they were kind of like the bogeyman, we used to freak each other out by saying things like, "Watch out, don't do that or go there or the Birnies will get you".

When I was roughly 22, I was enjoying a beverage with my parents one night - we were all slightly inebriated - and my dad revealed that when I was about 18 months old, he'd received a late-night call from someone who was probably David Birnie, claiming he knew the whereabouts of his daughter. Dad told him that his daughter was in her bed, hung up and wrote it off as a prank call until he later saw that one of the victims had the same surname and lived on the same street as us. So yeah, the neighborhood serial-killer called my parents because he called the wrong number in the phone book. When my dad shared this with me, he became incredibly emotional. He was filled with regret for not alerting the authorities, a fact that truly unsettled me. I'm highly grateful that I didn't learn about this until I was grown.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsClass Actions Reporter

27. Imposter Syndrome

I'm from a small, rural town of about 1,500 people. A six-year-old girl went missing in the ‘80s. It was a huge deal. A lot of people in town scoured the surrounding fields and forests for her, but she never turned up. It was really sad, and people talked about it for years.

In the early 2000s, a young woman of the right age came to town and started claiming to be the missing girl. People got really excited and hopeful. Turned out she was just lying for attention. It really upset a lot of people.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsMedium

28. Party Bus

A truck loaded with bricks of illicit substances was stopped in my quaint little town.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsMy Personal Opinion About Things

29. Chip on Your Shoulder

I can't pinpoint anything specific in my hometown, but having grown up approximately 10 miles from Newtown, CT, the event that immediately comes to mind is the Sandy Hook tragedy. However, (dis)honorable mention would have to go to the guy who cut his wife into pieces and put those pieces through a wood chipper. I believe he disposed of her in Lake Zoar. Just search "woodchipper incident" on Google.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsWikipedia

30. Serving up Suspicion

There was a restaurant a block or two from my parent's house owned by a couple. They had a little girl and one day she went missing. The dad contacted law enforcement that evening, suggesting she must have wandered off.

Turns out that morning the mom had become so enraged with her that she struck her in the head with such force that it consequentially caused her demise. They hid her body in the kitchen and continued their day as usual, serving customers and everything, with their recently deceased daughter concealed in the back. Only after closing did they contact law enforcement and fabricate the story about her disappearance.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsGetDrawings

31. Gates of Aggression

Growing up I lived in an affluent gated community. We weren’t rich, we just got really lucky on buying a house being sold for the cheap on short notice. Naturally, most of our neighbors were people of successful stature. Doctors, actors, lawyers, trust fund people, expats, but what we had the most living around us were families of politicians—mostly senators and councilmen. When you live in an area like mine, no matter how secure and safe it feels, sooner or later it will attract the wrong type of people. I have two very, very tragic stories.

26 years ago, the entire country along with our city was deeply disturbed by an appalling tragedy. An entire family, with the exception of the father who was overseas on business, perished. The ages of the victims ranged from six to 47. The 19-year-old daughter was sexually violated before losing her life tragically. A huge investigation followed hugely covered by the media and one of the suspects identified was a son of a well-respected senator and his friends. The media frenzy around this infamous incident was so immense that a movie was even produced about the massacres.

Almost 15 years later, not too far from the scene of the tragic event, a politician's head of security who also served as his secretary was ambushed and abducted from his home. The kidnapped victim was said to stand trial as a witness on a corruption case. His body was never found.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsUSC News

32. Frozen Out

This didn't happen in my hometown, but the college town I lived in. A guy, let's call him J, that I knew through some mutual friends went missing one night after hanging out with some guys at their apartment.

I'm familiar with the man whose apartment he was visiting, very kind person. J's apartment was merely a few blocks away and according to my friend, J was completely sober, yet he never made it to his apartment. Records did show his key card was swiped but the door was never opened. A massive hunt was initiated, banners bearing his image were put up everywhere, volunteers roamed the fields, K9 units were deployed - nothing was left unchecked.

Unfortunately, the search was hampered by a big snow storm and no trace was found of him. Eventually, the search was called off. Months later his body was found in an abandoned building about two miles away, curled up behind a boiler, with his shoes removed and placed at the top of the stairs going down to the boiler room.

The official enforcement agency's stance is that he succumbed to hypothermia after getting lost and disorientated while out taking photographs. J was a photographer but per my friend's account, J didn't have his camera while in my friend's apartment. As stated previously, J never returned to his own dwelling, and the law enforcement records didn't reference any camera. Add to this the fact that you can easily see the area where J's apartment was from the building he was found in and the idea that he got lost taking photos just makes no sense. My friends and I are convinced he met with foul play.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsPortal Analitika

33. Pass It On

The next town over introduced the Black Plague to my nation.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsNational Geographic

34. Miseducation

The Pam Smart case/trial. If you've seen the Gus Van Sant movie To Die For, it was based off that case. Basically, area woman takes a job as a teacher's assistant at the high school, starts an affair with a student from one of the lower-income feeder towns. It's highly manipulative. She eventually gets the student and his friends to kill her husband.

The trial made national news. Happened at my high school, long before I ever went, of course. I took a journalism course and wanted to do a big feature on the trial. My teacher (and others) who were at the school during that time refused to talk about it, even nearly 20 years after the fact. And I had good relationships with all of them, too. I recall discovering all about the entire incident when I unexpectedly saw my high school featured on a true mystery show on a national channel. It was completely surreal.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsPeople

35. Making This Moment Last Forever

This occurred back in the 1920s, but the unresolved Hall-Mills incident, which involved a fatal attack, happened just a few towns over from where I was raised.

Essentially, a local minister was involved romantically with one of the choir singers at his church, and both of them tragically lost their lives under suspicious circumstances. Whoever ended their lives meticulously arranged their bodies into a chilling display post-mortem, making them appear as though they were tenderly embracing each other amidst the scattered fragments of their love letters.

The whole trial turned into a massive mess, and the case was never solved.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsYouTube

36. Hands-On Experience

We had a Hands on a Hard Body contest in 2005, where you win a truck if you keep your hands on it the longest. A man, driven to madness after 48 hours, dashed over to K Mart where he, unfortunately, armed a firearm and took his own life.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsNashville Scene

37. Lawbreaking & Politics

I'm sure people will be aware of this, but MP Jo Cox tragically lost her life in broad daylight outside a library in a small market town.

I knew Jo personally and found out at work, it was devastating and hearing more details about it in the following weeks made it even harder.

For those who don't know, Jo Cox was a Labour MP here in the UK, she was very well liked. She also rallied for the UK to stay in the EU. She was on her way to perform a surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire when she was shot and sustained piercing injuries. I'm not going to name the man who did it because he doesn't deserve to be named.

Jo succumbed to her injuries in the hospital, during the attack her assistants attempted to fend off the assailant, but she instructed them to stay back and allowed him to harm her.

It was astounding to realize that someone living so locally was aligned with such a harsh political ideology, he had memorabilia related to that ideology in his house as well as books and the like.

It's almost a year since this happened and we're all still shocked by it.

RIP Jo, you were a shining beacon in dark times.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsThe Independent

38. The Conflict at Home

Well, this part actually directly ties into my family.

So, my grandfather (mum’s side) is a Vietnam Vet. He had a lapse in his PTSD treatment, had a horrible nightmare after my grandmother had passed. He woke up from the nightmare but was having a flashback. So, he drove into town and mistakenly targeted two teenagers with a firearm, believing they were Vietnamese combatants.

Neither of the teenagers lost their lives nor were seriously injured. A lot of damage to the vehicle they were in. Which my family did pay for, and my grandfather was put back on his medication. He just hasn't been the same since.


Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsBaca

39. Beyond the Burn

A few years back a dude kidnapped his ex-girlfriend, stuffed her in the trunk of her car, and set it on fire. She survived.

She now lives in the same apartment complex as my mother-in-law.

 man looking in the car trunk wearing blue polo shirt with a green field in the background

40. If These Walls Could Talk

 When I was in middle school one of my brothers’ friends that lived down the street went missing. She had an older boyfriend who also lived on the same street. He was allegedly the last person to see her and the story was that she had left his house late at night to walk home, and he never got the usual phone call that she got home safe. After 24 hours of not hearing from her, he and her family filed a missing person. Eventually, the search parties stopped, the missing posters were taken down, and she was deemed as lost.

Fast forward to a couple years later. The boyfriend had been moved out of the house for a while now, a new family moves in. The kids are playing in the woods behind the house, and they find her bones.

The skull was totally bashed in and a disturbing amount of her bones were broken. She was brutally beaten until she could no longer survive.The worst part was the remains were no more than 6 feet from the house. I have no idea why the law enforcement hadn't discovered them, but it thoroughly provoked a discussion within our community about how committed our local security force is.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsThe Guardian Nigeria

41. Prince Harming

I went to this small church in town that was very charismatic and had a lot of really good people. The youth leader always creeped me out, though...he was an ex-convict, ex-drug addict, ex-everything, and had a lot of stories from his life before he came to the town I was living in.

We ceased attending that church, and I momentarily lost track of him. Later he turned into the pastor of a new church, rapidly growing in favorability within the community... then he was taken into custody in the wake of his house being engulfed in flames with his wife inside.

The story was, he had been seeing one of the girls in the youth group off and on over the years since she was a teenager. He was caught taking vacations with her when he said he was going on retreats and spending money on her, but since he was a Christian and didn't believe in divorce, he planned out a way to make it look like there had been a gas leak in the home, and that it was an accident.

He was discovered outside of the flaming house, while his wife lost her life within. He's now incarcerated, and his girlfriend has his child, and it's so peculiar seeing her around town.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown facts

42. Not Twilight

My hometown has a pretty interesting one.

Back in 2006, a 12-year-old girl was dating a 23-year-old guy. They met at a punk rock show and were both pretty heavily into the goth scene. Not sure if most other cities had that kind of culture around that time, but my hometown sure did. Now, this guy was a bit of a nutcase. He literally thought he was a 400-year-old werewolf, and often wore a vial of blood around his neck. This girl was going through a rebellious stage and didn't seem to care that her boyfriend was so much older than her. Naturally, her parents did not approve of this relationship, and often would ground her or take away her computer/phone privileges in hopes of putting an end to their relationship.

This was before texting or Facebook when other social media websites were a commonly used medium for communication. So, they used websites like Nexopia and VampireFreaks to send messages to each other. They declared their love for each other and basically stated that they would be together, no matter who wanted to pull them apart. Eventually, though, the girl got so tired of her parent's disapproval of her relationship that she told her boyfriend they should do something about it.

Fast forward a bit, when a little child from the same neighborhood ambles over to the girl's house, curious to see if her 8-year-old brother is available to play. As he peers into the basement window, he catches sight of a chilling scene... lifeless bodies. The authorities arrive to find the mother and father lifeless and impaled in the basement. They ascend the staircase and find the boy motionless in his bed, his throat cut open. A truly horrifying scene. The girl is nowhere to be found. At first, it is thought that she had been abducted, and an Amber Alert was put out. However, when the authorities went to the girl's school, they discovered sketches in her locker that depicted her causing the demise of her parents. Likewise, when they searched her accounts on Nexopia and VampireFreaks, they found messages between the guy and girl that stated they intended to kill her parents, so they could be together.

In essence, the man indulged in excessive substance use, surreptitiously appeared with a blade, ascended through a window, ended the lives of both her parents in the basement, and then both concurred that her brother should also meet a similar fate. The testimony of how and why this happened is still debated here to this day. They were both caught the next day in a different city. The man received a life sentence and continues to serve it even today. Because the girl was so young, she served 10 years under a rehabilitation program, and was then deemed to not be a threat to society and is now released. She has a different name and was pursuing a university degree last I heard. I do not believe the two have any contact anymore, but my hometown will never forget that day in April.

Worst Thing to Happen in Hometown factsCalgary Herald

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