No Sleep Tonight: These Real-Life Horror Stories Gave Us Nightmares

September 20, 2023 | Phillip Hamilton

No Sleep Tonight: These Real-Life Horror Stories Gave Us Nightmares

The world is a scary place. Whether it’s the crazy people, the unpredictable situations, or the unexplainable phenomena, there are about a million reasons to never leave your home again. These Redditors know that feeling too well. They shared some of the scariest true stories they know, from personal experience to historical atrocities. If you wanted to sleep tonight, think again.

1. Shedding

When I was 18 years old, I was taking a shower and washing my hair. I started to feel something strange, and when I looked down I nearly puked. With every washing motion I pulled out more and more of my own hair until I was bald. No reason, no warning, nothing, just the pure horror of pulling out hands full of hair. The drain clogged with my hair as I silently stared in the mirror across the room at my own bald head.

It felt like I was falling apart mentally and physically. I honestly thought I would drop that day. Turns out it was sudden auto-immune disease. Alopecia overnight. It was the scariest thing. The weeks after, I lost all my body hair as well. My hair never returned and I am very okay with it now, but I can never ever forget that moment in the shower...


2. Respect the Glass

Was working the evening shift at a gas station. Man comes in all disoriented. I go to help him out. He has a gash on his head and doesn't know where he is. I couldn't see any crashes around so assumed he had fallen or something. Normally we are supposed to stay inside the glass shielded register area whenever anyone is in the store.

I, being a nice human being, went to help while calling the authorities/EMS. They got there and checked him out. They thought his head may have been fractured. Took him to the ER. I went back to work. Authorities stopped back by for some coffee a few hours later. They told me the guy got hit by a baseball bat trying to break into a little girl's bedroom and was wanted for assault in two other states. I never left the register area at night again.

Abandoned Places FactsShutterstock

3. Never Trust Mega Churches

This was the scariest weekend of my life. My ex-husband and I were different religions. I was a catholic and he was Baptist. He wasn't that religious when we got married, but when he hit a life crisis, he became born-again, started attending the nearest mega church all the time. When we divorced, he really went off the deep end. He told his church friends that I had perished in a car wreck and he had to go get the kids. Then he kidnapped our children and went into hiding.

Since he was also in the army, thank God, I got a colonel up at 3:00 a.m. and told him what had happened. He was back with the kids in 72 hours. That was the weekend I nearly lost everything.

Scary True Stories FactsShutterstock

4. The Nice Lady

When I was four, I was at a mall with my mom. The department store we were in had a children’s corner with toys and a TV so parents could leave their kids there while they shopped. On this day, they were showing a behind-the-scenes special of The Lion King, which was going to be in theaters soon. Thinking I would see the actual film, I sat down to watch while my mom shopped.

When it became clear they weren’t going to show the movie and I was watching a glorified commercial, I lost interest and wandered away to look for my mom. But the store was huge and I didn’t know where she would be. So, I started calling out for her. Suddenly a lady approached me and asked if I was lost.

I told her yes. Then she offered to help and took my hand. I thought she was going to take me to the front desk, but we headed back in the direction I’d just came from. Soon, we were nearing the door that led directly into the parking lot. I remember thinking this isn’t right as it was clear she was taking me outside, but she still had me by the hand.

Moments after she led me outside, I heard a scream and my mom sprinted toward us. She had already been outside looking for me and had seen me exit with this woman. My mom flew into a rage: “What are you doing with my child?? Where were you taking her???” I remember the lady panicked and didn’t have a clear explanation, but I don’t remember the exact details from that point.

The next clear memory I have was driving home with my mom while she wept and told me to NEVER trust strangers; not even if they are nice, not even if they have candy or presents, not even if they need help, not even if they say they will help me. It really stuck with me.

Twin Stories FactsShutterstock

5. Snap

My friend's boss bought an Audi A4 convertible, back when they were new. One of the talking points was the pop-up roll hoops that were hidden unless you rolled it. A few months after buying it he got to test those roll hoops out, as he lost control and skidded down a steep bank about 10m (~35ft) deep.

The roll hoops did their job, and he survived with just cuts and scratches from the bushes he'd plowed through. The car ended up the right way up and he got out, walked back up the bank to the side of the road, then got on the phone to the authorities to report the accident. While he was standing there a driver from a car that had seen the accident came over to speak to him.

Approaching from behind the other driver asked if he was okay. My friend's boss turned around to reply and dropped, lifeless. His neck had been fractured, but was in one piece right up until he turned his head, when it severed his spinal cord.

Butterfly Effect FactsPxfuel

6. Just Checking In On Ya

A few years ago I went to the kitchen around 2:00 a.m. to get a glass of water. I figured why put the lights on if I'm gonna be done in five seconds, right? So, 10-year-old me was in complete darkness when I noticed someone staring through our window, with their hands pressed against the glass (we had see through curtains).

I screamed at the top of my lungs and froze. Mom woke up and came running to the kitchen to me crying like a baby in my pajamas. He was already gone, but I told her what happened, so she went outside with a knife to look for him but never found him. And that's why we don't have see-through curtains anymore. I still have an irrational fear of the dark.

Paranormal Experiences FactsPeakpx

7. Shuffling

This happened while I was living at my parents’ house about 10 years ago. My whole family, brother, sister, and parents, were at a Major League Baseball game, which ran quite late into the night. I was working as a lifeguard in high school and would get off around 9:00 p.m. usually. The pool was super close to my parents’ place so I could get home within minutes.

Well, I finally get home and get a shower and am trying to be quick about everything because there was a party that night. I’m getting out of the shower and walk into my room. I hear all this shuffling and running down stairs, so I yell, “Hello?!” thinking it’s my parents. I then yell, “Mom, Dad?!” again to no avail.

I hear the running of footsteps downstairs, and next thing I know I hear our garage opening up. That kinda freaked me out because literally no one was home except for me. I was so, so wrong. 

I ran across the street and got my neighbor and her son. I walked through my house with a samurai sword because I was afraid whatever was in there was still there. The neighbor ended up calling the authorities. When we did another walkthrough we found that my dad had about $200-$300 cash taken, and my mom’s diamond rings and earrings were all taken.

What happened was my parents’ house was in the process of getting robbed when I came home. I was in the house with the intruders for some time before they realized I was home and heard the shower running. My yelling startled them and made them run for it, hence the footsteps and shuffling I heard.

Green Day factsShutterstock

8. Don’t Dwell

Back in 2006, I was working at a multi-story car park. I came down in the elevator from the top floor. As I got out, there was a woman in her late 40s I would say with greying hair and a maroon handbag. We brushed shoulders as I got out of the lift. I instantly apologized.

She gave me a very blank look. I walked out to go get some food, not thinking much else of it at the time. Although, when I think about it, the lady appeared to look quite sad. I returned with my noodles around 20 to 30 minutes later. When I got back the authorities were everywhere. That's when I learned the awful truth. 

The lady had jumped from the top floor. I knew it was her from the handbag laying on the floor. Gosh, If I had stopped and spoke to her or left for lunch a little later I may have been able to stop her Jumping.

Jack Kerouac factsShutterstock

9. Asking For a Horror Movie

Me and my fiancé saw a guy on the side of the road asking for a ride. I told her there was no chance at all I'd pick up a male hitchhiker. She told me it was the right thing to do, but I convinced her that we really shouldn't. Three days later he was detained for ending the lives of the couple that picked him up.

Hitchhikers and Hitchhiking factsPixabay

10. Nightmareworld

In my city, there is a theme park called Dreamworld. There was this ride called Thunder River Rapids. It was a flume-like ride with round gondolas, and it would simulate a storm. A few years ago, at the end of the ride, the gondolas were being transferred from the river to the conveyor belt to bring it up to the next passengers, when it flipped over.

The passengers were crushed up by the machinery underneath. Almost everyone passed on, the only survivor being a little girl who was picked up and thrown aside by her uncle, who seemed to know what her fate would have been in the split seconds, before he too was crushed. But that's not even the worst part: Investigations prove that it was gross negligence that caused this gruesome event.

They said there was seven seconds time to press the emergency stop. Someone said he pressed it but it didn't stop immediately. The ride had broken down a few times that day, and they still let it run. The case is still being investigated. I watched an interview with the grandma who went on holidays with them, she lost all of her family except for her granddaughter.

Viral Trends And Challenges factsShutterstock

11. Shot In the Dark

I’m 52. When I was about eight years old, five other kids were in a friend's bedroom playing. This one boy and I were wrestling around when someone turned off the lights. When the light went off there was a loud pop. Another kid had found a piece and fired it. I was laying on the bedroom floor. The shot missed my head by two inches. It was a straight down shot that narrowly missed.

Workspace with desk and chair

12. Shadow Boxing

Last year I was watching my parents’ house while they were out of the state. They live on a wooded plot of land, and have been known to have trespassers on their property. I got home one night at about 11:00 p.m., and I'm standing in the foyer. The way the foyer is I can see into the kitchen, which has windows.

The only light in the house is the moonlight coming from the windows. Against the light I can see the silhouette of someone standing there. My heart immediately started slamming against my chest. I ask, “Who’s there?” No answer. I ask again, and as I'm asking I'm moving my keys that I was holding into the spaces between my fingers so I have a weapon.

Again, there was no answer. I start moving and the figure starts moving too, exactly the same way I was. I put two and two together and I flick on the lights and I see a reflection of myself in the foyer mirror.

Identical Twin Stories FactsPexels

13. That’s No Critter

I used to live in a quiet neighborhood. I’d often stay up late in the living room, which had a fairly large glass door to the back yard that you could slide open with no curtain. Sometimes I’d hear noises in the backyard, but it’d usually be my cats. Sometimes the motion sensing porch light would turn on, but again I figured it was some nighttime critter.

One day after a night of snow I noticed a fresh set of shoe prints that stopped right in front of that glass door. Someone had obviously been there at some point in the night. Another time I noticed the glass door’s lock was slightly tampered with. I’m actually freaking myself out writing all of this because at the time I figured it was just a onetime thing but in reality, this person could have been making repeat visits anytime he wanted before and after that snow day.

Scary True Stories FactsNeedpix

14. Tragic Delivery

I worked for U-Haul when I was 18 and it was located in front of a club that was known for being really sketchy. I came in to open one morning and it was common for people to knock on the door hoping to get in early and get their truck. On this day, I hear frantic knocking on the door. I'm there alone still so it kind of startled me.

I look and there's a woman, completely undressed, covered in what looks like blood. I called the authorities, grabbed one of the moving blankets, and went outside to cover her up. She smelled really bad. She was a mess. Ended up being blood and her own waste she was covered in. Found out later she was drugged at the club that night/early morning, assaulted, and left blacked out in the alley. It was just a screwed up and surreal situation to be involved in.

Wild Coincidences ExperienceShutterstock

15. Talk to Me

My dad has been to Antarctica a few times (he’s a scientist). When he first went it was about 1989 or so. When I was older he told me about a guy who fell through ice into a crevasse and couldn’t get out. His group found him but he was too far down and too tightly wedged to rescue. So, they stayed and spoke with him for hours before he eventually expired. That’s always stuck with me.

Scary True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

16. Don’t Drive So Close to Me

Many years ago, when I was in high school, I was staying up late playing video games. Parents were out but no big deal; being home alone didn’t scare me. So, I’m playing the game and at around 3:00 a.m., my parents finally arrive. This in itself wasn’t unusual, but based off their demeanor, something had happened.

My dad told me that on their way back from their friend’s house a far drive away, he noticed that they were being followed. My mom had no idea but my dad (being the driver) was aware of this car that had followed them from about halfway back. Our house was in the suburbs and thus, getting to our house involved a few turns.

My dad purposely drove past our house without stopping, which is when my mom asked what he was doing. Sure enough, the car continuously followed my parents through the neighborhood. My dad ended up driving to the authorities’ station, which is when the car turned away and stopped following them. It’s scary to think what could’ve been had my dad not had the presence of mind to be aware of his surroundings as a driver and to act on his intuition.

My parents would’ve opened the garage door to put the car in and the idea that a car whose occupant(s) likely had a malicious intent was right behind them is a thought that still bothers me to this day. Because of that past incident, I learned to always mind my surroundings when driving.

That’s How That Works factsPixabay

17. Turn Around

I was in a terrible motel. The room had bedbugs. I was too exhausted to go to the front desk. I just needed to make it until the morning. I slept in the tub. Hours later I hear someone breaking through the window. I had a big knife with me and ran out into the room to find a man halfway through my window. We stared at each other in shock.

I think we were both scared. Then he says," Is this your room?" I’m like, "Yes, this is my room, man!" More staring. Then he slowly starts backing out while cursing me for leaving my window unlocked and not expecting him to break in.

Unusual Deaths FactsPixabay

18. Don’t Open the Second Cooler

My friends and I used to hang in this kind of sketchy skate park. But after one terrifying day, we never went back. We saw a car idling nearby and thought it was a couple fooling around. We were wrong. It's not a couple. It's two big dudes, staring us down, sitting stock still and looking shady as can be. Still, we all just keep going and at this point, I'm just glad we're in a group of five and still kind of worried we're about to get screwed. Screwed, in this case, meaning chopped to bits and spread around in piles.

And then I see why I get this exact feeling. We're all right up alongside the car now, and I can't help but glance in the back window. An open cooler filled with bloody ice, a second, closed cooler, probably filled with the same, and a pile of clear plastic bags. I keep my mouth shut and keep walking. When we're just past the car, the engine revs up and those two dudes tear out of there like the devil’s behind them.

So, it could be a couple of poachers, or maybe organ theft and somewhere in concrete city lay a man with a missing kidney. I dunno, but it was very shady.

Scary True Stories FactsFlickr,Rubbermaid Products

19. Still Hanging

The story of the Nutty Putty cave. It's a cave in Utah where a few guys went caving one Thanksgiving Day, while the rest of the family was at home. One of the guys was a doctor, I think his wife was pregnant or had just given birth. That guy got stuck upside-down in a really tight part of the cave, basically as tight of a spot you can imagine squeezing through.

Rescuers tried to get him out, but couldn't. Eventually, the guy expired from being upside down for too long. They didn't recover his body because the rescuers were risking their lives just trying to get him out. So, he's still in there. They just sealed off the cave.

Scary True Stories FactsWikipedia

20. Wait a Minute…

As a teenager I loved climbing trees. Well, we had just moved into a new house with no direct neighbors, but tons of trees. I found the best tree to climb and spent the rest of the afternoon there. After dark had come and I was back in my house, I realized I left my wallet by the tree. I take a flashlight with me and go to get my wallet.

On my way there, a shadow of a man is reflecting from my flashlight onto the tree trunk. My heart starts pounding but I immediately calm down because I thought it was my own shadow and I was just being silly. It wasn't until I picked up my wallet did i realize I can't create a shadow if I'm behind the light source.

Scary True Stories FactsShutterstock

21. The Third Rail

My friend tripped and fell onto the train tracks, landing his face onto the third rail. We kinda stood there in absolute shock because we thought he was dead, but then he said, "Can I move? Will I be electrocuted?" We told him to move instantly and he did. We got him off the tracks, and no less than two minutes later a train went zipping by.

I think the third rail turned on seconds after his face came off of it. I know that's not scary to a lot of people, but to me it was because I would have lost a close friend back when I was about 12.

School Trips FactsPixabay

22. Do You Have Tickets?

When I was a kid, my friend and I were walking into a nearby park just after lunch. As we entered an older guy who was probably in his mid to late teens approached us. He asked if we wanted to see the arms he had in his trunk, and we of course said no and tried walking away. Then he grabbed my friend and tried dragging him toward his car.

That's when we started screaming. He let go and ran off towards his car. A little while later a couple of uniformed officers stopped us and asked if we had seen a teenager matching his description. We told them what happened. Luckily, I had a great memory as a kid and remembered his licence plate. After telling the authorities everything they escorted us back to my place.

A week later we found out this guy had abducted and molested six kids and ended up being tried as an adult instead of a teenager. He’s probably still in prison.

Scariest Moments factsShutterstock

23. A Visit From Jack Frost

I was about nine, laying in bed watching snow fall out of a window that faced the back yard. Suddenly, a man’s face popped up just inches from my window, staring right at me. I still remember his ice coated beard and his steamy breath. After a few seconds I unfroze and ran into my mom’s room.

She thought I was making it up and sent me back to my room. I hid so I couldn’t see out of the window. The next morning when we left for school there were footprints in the fresh snow that went straight back to my window.

Great Escapes Facts Public Domain Pictures

24. Could’ve Been Worse

A guy I worked with was riding his dirt-bike through the woods and somebody hung a cable between two trees. My buddy caught his throat on it, flew off the seat, and saw the dude take his dirt-bike. Woke up in the hospital with a lacerated throat and a broken larynx. Pretty crazy what somebody will do for something so cheap.

Near-Death Experiences FactsShutterstock

25. Ain’t No Mannequin Challenge

Me and my family were hiking Easter morning along the Grand River and me and my sister wanted to explore the riverbank, so we each went our separate ways. I saw a backpack hanging from a small tree so I went over. When I got closer I saw a mannequin. The mannequin’s hand was holding onto a branch.

It was lying face down in the mud wearing jeans and a hoodie with the hood up. There was a weapon on the ground (I thought it was fake) and an empty pack of Scooby-Doo fruit gummies. I decided to kick the thing, but when my foot connected with its thigh, my blood ran cold. I instantly knew it was no mannequin. It was a person. I bolted out of there and I told my dad.

After we called the authorities, we found out that the guy had ended his own life (shot to the roof of the mouth) but he slightly misfired and probably lived for around 30 seconds after the shot.

The authorities were very surprised we didn't hear a shot because it was that recent. The reason why I thought it was a mannequin was because his hand was elevated. This caused all of the blood drain out and pool in his body, which made his hand look snow white. Never saw any blood and never got to find out what was in the bag. Thank god I didn't see his face.

Childhood Lies factsShutterstock

26. No More Spelunking

My stepfather went spelunking with a buddy who said he knew the cave they were going to explore. They went into a large room and then couldn't find another opening to move on, so they decided to backtrack. After backtracking, the entrance they used to come in was apparently gone. They figured, well they must have missed it, and the room was circular.

So, they decided to follow the wall all the way around. After about five minutes of careful walking along the wall, they realized they'd made a complete circuit without finding any cave openings. That moment of realization is one of the scariest true moments I've ever heard. Luckily, they eventually realized the entrance into the room was obscured and hidden in a strange way that made them miss it. After 10 more minutes of searching they found it. My stepfather tells me he'll never spelunk again (though he has been to tourist caverns since).

Scary True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

27. Making a Fuss

When I was a baby, my dad played on a softball team. Typical social team, out for beers and pizza after with the guys, family event-type-thing. My parents were good friends with two of the other couples, both of them had young kids as well. On this occasion, the other two couples had left their kids at one of their houses, with a babysitter they were splitting.

They invited my parents back to the house to have some more beers that night, but I was being fussy and my mom nixed the idea (though they would 100% have normally gone back to hang out). Well, it turned out my fussiness on that day saved our lives. When the other parents got back to the house, they entered a waking nightmare. 

Two men had broken in, tied up the kids and the babysitter (and her boyfriend), and were waiting for the parents. Took the parents captive as well, and made the dads drive with them to banks/a grocery store where one dad was manager and clear out accounts/a safe. They then came back to the house, and slaughtered both families.

They slaughtered the babysitter and her boyfriend, and the kids, too. They caught the two guys later on. My dad attended the trials, and said it was the first time he had ever had thoughts of supporting capital punishment. It still gives me chills to know how close we came to having our lives ended that day, too.

Charles VII FactsShutterstock

28. Calling In Deceased

When I was 15-16, my mom put me on “diet pills” (still don’t know what they were) that let me get away with just eating a tiny cup of soup the whole day, and sleep less than three hours daily. I got hooked on them because I could study way more. I guess the sleep deprivation finally caught up one night, and I started having auditory hallucinations.

It started with white noise, then morphed into what sounded like a garbled shouting argument between a bunch of people. It then started echoing until I heard a man with a deep, sinister laugh, cackling hysterically. The rational part of me figured it’s auditory hallucinations but holy it was petrifying and I could feel every hair standing up.

Then another part of me just thought, “Well, if it’s not a hallucination and I’m actually going to get ended by bloodthirsty ghosts, at least I don’t have to take the test tomorrow.” I continued studying. Asian schools were tough.

Paranormal Events Experienced factsShutterstock

29. True Bravery

Carol DaRonch was at a shopping mall in Salt Lake City in 1974 when she was approached by a man claiming to be a uniformed officer. He said that someone had tried to break into her car and asked her to come with him. He then said he would drive her to the law enforcement station and she got into his car. However, this guy was not an officer.

He did not drive her to the station, but rather,  pulled into a parking lot. He then cuffed her, pulled out a piece, and threatened to end her life if she resisted. Only, he messed up. He meant to cuff both of her wrists but only managed to cuff one. She escaped and fought him off despite being hit over the head several times.

Her kidnapper was Ted Bundy. He ended another woman’s life just four hours later. Her escape helped identify Bundy and she is part of the reason he was eventually detained.

Scary True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

30. In the Shadows

I was 12 years old, and we were three kids sharing two bedrooms. So, my dad decided to put up a half wall to make a third. If I stood on my bed, I could see into my brother’s room. We were young and used to throw a ball back and forth over it before falling asleep. One night I was just drifting off when my mom taps me on the shoulder and says, "Pssst, what are you doing?"

I thought that was a very weird question, obviously I was sleeping. So I turn around to answer her, only it's not my mom. It's not a person. It looked like a 3D shadow of a man. Just black. I screamed and closed my eyes. The figure disappeared. My mom and dad came running into my room. I tell them everything. They think it's just my imagination.

They tell me if I'm scared I should go sleep in the room with my brother. I tried to sleep but I was shook. My brother woke up once to go use the bathroom upstairs and I pretended I was asleep. I didn't want him to know I was still afraid. I hear him go into my room, right next door, climb on the bed (springs) and then just stop.

I thought he was trying to purposefully scare me, so I look up to show him I'm awake, and see the figure again. Arms crossed with its head resting on his hands. Even though it had no facial features whatsoever, I knew it was looking at me. I try to convince myself it's just dark, it's my brother playing a prank and I'm seeing things... then I hear the toilet flush upstairs.

It was just that one night. I never saw anything like it again, or even close. But years later, in my 20's, I was living alone and felt the tap on my shoulder. "Pssst. What are you doing?" I'll stop there because you'll think I'm crazy. But that was the last time I heard it. I'm 31 now. It's not a ghost story. I will remember that day until I die.

Brenda Frazier FactsShutterstock

31. That Sinking Feeling

Someone once told me that, when they were staying at a beach house on Lake Michigan, he saw a plane flying really low. It was a two-seater plane, probably from some small airport nearby. Apparently it was about to crash, so a guy parachuted from it. By now there was a good number of people watching the plane because of the noise they heard, as it was so low.

They watch the man float down, lower and lower. Some people tried to go where they thought he would land in the water. Soon, he lands on Lake Michigan, and disappears. He just hit the water and sunk because of the weight of the parachute. The people in the boats didn’t get to him in time. The person telling me this story called the coast guard, but he didn’t hear anything again.

John F. Kennedy, Jr. FactsPixabay

32. The Rudest Ghoul

I grew up in a farmhouse built in the 1860's. I was probably 14 or so and was home alone while my parents took my little brother to t-ball practice. My little brother did (and still does) call me "Sissy" and I have always called him Bubby. I was sitting in the living room watching TV and heard the back door that we always used open.

My little brother shouts out "Sissy!!!" and I respond back with, "Hey, Bubby!" I waited a minute or two and heard nothing else, then yelled out again with no response. As it turns out, they hadn't gotten home yet. I was literally too scared to move and stayed put until they did get home about 30 minutes later.

Guilty Confession FactsShutterstock

33. Don’t Let History Repeat

I used to run the boilers in a DOE building. Apparently at some point in the eighties, three people had their lives taken over involvement in a big VCR theft. VCRs meant for the school system had apparently been taken out of this warehouse. It was an inside job, something went wrong- the head custodian was found shot.

Later, the bodies of the other two were reported buried in Monticello. Word is, they had first been incinerated in the boilers I was in charge of operating and maintaining. There were three operational boilers, and one that wasn’t in service. No clue which one was supposedly used, but when you’re firing them up, you’re typically the only person in the building.

Not a single day went by that I fired them up and didn’t wonder which one was used. But that's not even the most terrifying part. You have to clean the interior of these boilers really well, otherwise the fire won’t transfer heat to the water very efficiently. Especially with #6 oil, these boilers would build up a lot of soot.

You have to suit up in a Tyvek suit, wear a mask, and climb right into the firebox. I found myself staring down the business end of that burner many times, wondering what that panic would feel like. I’m reasonably sure these people were dead before getting put in the boiler though. Once, I was actually in one boiler while another one was running.

The valve that isolated my boiler from the main steam line wasn’t holding, and by the time I realized how warm it was getting, it was enough to panic. Trying to lift myself up and belly crawl through the small opening, the metal was almost too hot to keep my hands on for long. Definitely creepy experience, considering the history of that boiler room.

Scary True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

34. ET Follow Home

This happened back in 2008, just after my family had moved to a rural town in Oregon. I was 12 at the time and my family and I were driving home after visiting my step-grandparents that evening. It was late, around 11:00 p.m., and my mom had decided to take the unlit country backroad home. I was in the backseat with my younger brother, trying to tune out my parents incessant arguing up front while my brother was zoning out and looking out the back window.

Very suddenly, he nudges me and points out the back window, insisting I turn around and look. I'm very tired and irritated with my parents, who at this point won’t stop yelling at one another, so I shrug him off. He becomes more insistent and I can hear fear creeping into his voice. I pull up my hoodie and ignore him.

Now he's frantically trying to get my parents’ attention, and they're screaming at him to shut up. This goes on for a while, but eventually he calms down, although I can hear him turn around in his seat every once in a while to look out the back window. The next day I ask him what had him all worked up in the car.

He describes to me in a shaky voice that something had been following behind the car the night before. He detailed seeing three dim points of blue-white light arranged in a black triangle shape following closely behind the car. When my Mom would break, the taillights lit it dimly so he could see a dome-shape in the middle of the black mass.

He said it didn't jostle around like a car would when my mom drove over the potholes in the road, and it was following us closely, so he thought maybe it was hovering off the ground. It sounds ridiculous, but he told me this with such conviction and fear in his voice I know he must have seen something that night. We drove that road many times after and never experienced anything like that again.

Narrowly Avoided Disaster factsPxHere

35. Bearly Made It

When I was 14, I was out camping in the Rocky Mountains with my grandparents. I was in my own tent, and they were in theirs. We had made sure to put all food into the car to be safe from bears, and made sure there were no crumbs or anything on us or in the tents. I woke up at 2:00 in the morning to the sound of heavy footsteps and breathing.

It was moving around the camp, so I sat up and looked through this little plastic window in the tent. There was a huge bear outside. I got scared and laid back down, trying not to move. I heard the bear lumber over to my tent. I heard it sniffing and actually saw it poke my tent. After about 20 minutes of it sniffing around it left. But it was pretty terrifying for my 14-year-old self.

Terrifying Camping Experiences factsShutterstock

36. Stay Clean

My sister went to a nail salon that used the utmost in care and sterilization. They even used a plastic liner for the foot tub. She got a massive staph infection on her leg, and after living with an actual hole in her leg the size of a grapefruit, it's starting to look somewhat normal two years later.

She has nerve damage in her leg and foot, though, and the infection nearly ended her. You can be so very clean, but still get staph. It is NO JOKE. You do NOT want to mess with it.

Scary True Stories FactsPickPik

37. The Worst Kind of Professional

John List ended his whole family’s lives. Wife, mother, daughter and two sons. He meticulously planned the whole thing, cancelling all delivery services, excusing the kids from school, and even turned the air conditioning as low as possible to preserve the bodies for as long as possible. After he took their live he placed the bodies in sleeping bags and lined them up.

He then wrote a letter to his pastor explaining why he had to end their lives. He then leaves and isn’t heard from again. 18 years later he’s remarried and doing the same job as before, but this time he doesn’t have any children. He’s finally detained after a tip was given to the FBI. Crazy thing is that because he planned it so well, the bodies weren’t discovered until a month after. He had a huge head start and essentially started a new life in the same career. He was heavily involved in a new church down in Virginia. Took 18 years to capture him.

Scary True Stories FactsWikimedia Commons

38. No Plug Necessary

I was walking home from a party about a year or so ago. I live on a bumpy, unpaved hill. So, I'm walking up, and I hear someone talking. I wasn't sure who it was, but all I know was that it got louder the further up the hill I got. Then I realized, it wasn't coming from a house, it was coming from this grown-in patch of land.

So, being the ignorant little jerk I am, I walked into the bushes. I've never been in there, so I was freaking out a little bit. Then I came to a clearing and felt my jaw drop. In the middle was a lone black and white television playing an old tv show. Then, I heard rustling coming from my left. I ran home as fast as I possibly could.

Mr. Rogers Factsshutterstock

39. Beware the Duende

Was at a bonfire where people where telling ghost stories and a friend told us this story about his aunt in Mexico. Back when she was a little kid, they lived on a ranch near some mountains. One day she was out playing and ended up going missing. A lot of people from the area came to help look for her, call for her, but nothing.

I think he said like a week went by and the family had begun to give up hope. Then, suddenly, she comes from out of the trees, dirty and with her mouth sewn shut. The family takes her to the hospital immediately. The story the little girl tells is that she was wandering around the trees and some "duende" came out and asked her to play with them.

So, she goes with them into the woods and when she starts to get hungry, they tell her she needs to stay. So she does. But then it starts to get dark, so she eventually finds her way back home. She apparently thought she was just gone for a couple of hours and not a week. But, apparently after that, the girl was never the same and she grew up to be a very quiet and reserved woman. He says she still has the scars from where her mouth was sewn shut.

So, while everyone at the time was telling stories about how duende are 100% real and some people had even seen them when visiting their families in Mexico, that's definitely scary on its own. But for this story in particular what's scary is that this seven year old girl was taken from her family ranch and held captive in the woods for a week, where she was so injured that she ended up blocking out what happened to her and came up with a story in order to cope. And then the people who took her sewed her mouth shut, probably thinking she would expire before she ever made it back to her family's home.

Scary True Stories FactsWikipedia

40. Seeing Double

I used to have long, dark hair, and I'd sometimes leave it loose before I went to bed. Once, while visiting my aunt, we were all up really late and my cousin was sitting at the counter snacking on something. I came up behind her to ask her to share, and she whipped her head round, startled, and didn't say anything for a few seconds.

Then, in a small voice, she asked how it was possible that I was behind her, clearly having left her room, when she'd just seen "me" go into my room, clear as day, dark hair flowing. We still don't know whether it was insomnia or something else that was responsible for what she saw.

Bizarre House RulesShutterstock

41. Howdy, Neighbor

In my town in the early 90's there was a notorious life-taker that had all of BC, Canada on watch. My wife’s mother (years and years before I knew them) had been home alone while her husband was in England working as an arborist. She was in her laundry room when a man walked up from her basement, completely scaring her. She freaked out and screamed, “What are you doing here?”

He said he was friends with her husband and was just coming to see if he was here. Apparently he told him he could just walk in. Which she knew was BS. She was smart enough to tell him that he was just at the store and would be back any minute. He said he would wait outside for him.

As soon as he left she called the authorities, but he was long gone by the time they got here. Two weeks later the guy was caught, his mugshot put on the TV. It was the guy in her house.

Weirdest Date FactsShutterstock

42. The Witching Hour

When I was 14, for exactly an entire month I would woke up every morning at 3:30 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. with the feeling I was being watched. If I did manage to fall asleep, I would be completely plagued with nightmares. One morning I woke up at 3:15 a.m. like normal, but immediately felt someone tap on the back of my head. Then as the month ended it was over. Needless to say I can't ever enjoy or want to fall asleep during 3:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. and am still quite paranoid of my room in general.

Paranormal Events Experienced factsShutterstock

43. Don’t Drink and Drive

I'll tell you one that happened to me, or rather, I was witness to. One night, I was out at a bar with a friend I was visiting in New Rochelle, NY. We went outside for a smoke, and a car came flying past the bar. The car burned through a red light, and started going up this hill that was on a curve. We watched as he veered over the double yellow, and smashed head on with another car coming from the other direction.

Both cars hind ends lifted up, then slammed down. The car that was driving correctly burst into flames. I ran inside and grabbed the fire extinguisher, then yelled to the bartender to call 9-1-1 and say there has been an accident. My friend, a few other patrons, and me ran to the cars. Now, I used to think this was a fictional trope, but I was pretty hammered before this happened, and I swear it sobered me up instantly.

I tried spraying the fire, but it did nothing. The fumes and heat were awful, and all we could do was stand back. The worst part was, and this will haunt me forever, was that the woman in the burning car was screaming as she expired. My God, it was the worst sound ever. The fire department came and put the fire out. The authorities took us back to the bar and took statements.

The next day, I found out the awful story. In the news, they said that the car that was not speeding was being driven by a young woman coming home late from work. She was a block away from home, and I think she was either newly married or a new mother. The rotten dude driving the other car was some rich, intoxicated idiot. He lost a leg, but otherwise was physically unharmed.

I have no clue if he did time, as I left to go back home a day or so later. I'm trying to find a link for the news story, but I can't, as this was maybe 6 or 7 years back. I remember it being reported on Lo-Hud and Channel 12 News.

Their Biggest Workplace Mistakes factsPixabay

44. Oops

Two years ago, I think, a friend and I sat on the balcony of my flat, drinking and talking. It was late in the evening, and you could clearly see many planes flying overhead. My friend had the Flight Radar app on his phone and we were checking out overhead flights, from where they were flying and to where.

All of a sudden, while he had a flight from Paris to Cairo open, he just looked at me and in a very serious tone said: this plane is going down. Then he started laughing. I laughed too and I brushed it off as drunken foolery. The next day I saw a report that a plane, headed from Paris to Cairo, crashed into the ocean. We never spoke of it.

Plane Crashes factsWikimedia Commons

45. Feel The Burn

I woke up around 6:00 a.m. and was really thirsty. I went to the kitchen and poured a glass of water. Out of the corner of my eye I see a little yellow flash in the living room about 15 feet away. I didn’t think much if it but something told me to go look. I walked over there and a five prong extension cord which was partially under the couch had a small flame coming from it.

It was about the size of a softball. It was on fire. I ran over and began smacking it with my bare hands. I couldn’t get to the cord to unplug it. I burned the tar out of my hands but I just kept swatting at it until the fire went out. If I hadn’t woken up. If I hadn’t got water. If I hadn’t checked out the little flash... It would have caught the couch on fire while we slept.

Scary True Stories FactsShutterstock

46. World’s Greatest Mom

I was around 11 years old and I woke up in the middle of the night to a man straddled on top of me with his hand over my mouth and nose. He told me to roll over and not scream. I rolled onto the floor and tried to scream my head off (I say tried cause when you are truly terrified it can take a second to find your voice). My mom heard me screaming and came in and fought with the guy, he was at least 6' she was 5'3", and scared him enough with the fighting and screaming that he took off out the window he had come in through. Never did catch him.

Scary True Stories FactsShutterstock

47. Old Red Tom

Before my Dad passed on, he told me a story from when he was in Vietnam in the 1960s. He was on a mission where he and one other American with five strikers (South Vietnamese villagers turned fighters) had to place seismic ground sensors along a trail network deep in the jungle. He said they were about two days into the mission when he and two of the strikers split off from the main group to go watch a nearby trail intersection.

He said the jungle was pretty quiet that day, just the sounds of birds and bugs and an occasional monkey. He said they had been watching the trail intersection for about three or four hours and were deciding on whether to move further down or turn back and link up with the rest of the patrol. Before leaving the cover of the brush my Dad checked the trail ahead of them one last time and prepared his men to move.

Now, here is where the story gets interesting, and he told this part with absolute seriousness. He said just as he started to step out onto the trail, he sees a light skinned Black Union Cavalry Fighter in full battle gear laying alongside the trail just shy of the intersection. My Dad said the Union Fighter had two pieces, a Spencer, and a short-curved club at his hip.

As my dad was trying to process what he was seeing, the fighter looked directly at him and smiled. Then the fighter slowly placed a finger up to his lips as if to tell him to be silent, and motioned my Dad back off the trail. My Dad said he signalled for his men to remain hidden.

Less than 10 seconds later, the lead element of a group ofNorth Vietnamese Army Fighters walked right through the trail intersection. There were 70 - 80 Fighters equipped with arms, LMGs, and rocket propelled grenade launchers. He has no doubt that his entire team would have been wiped out on the spot.

He said as soon as the enemy Fighters had passed, he and his team beat feet out of there as fast and as quietly as they could and rejoined with the rest of the patrol. He reported the enemy fighters his team had encountered, but decided not to say anything about the fighter he had seen.

My Dad kept this secret for many years, only telling me just before he passed and earlier only telling his grandmother near to her passing in the 1970s. He said when he told his grandmother, she smiled and without opening her eyes told him, “You saw Old Red Tom.”

Red Tom was my great, great grandfather. He was a half black / half Creek free man who was a scout for the Union Army during the Civil Conflict and later served with the U.S. Cavalry in the American West. He was know for carrying two arms, a Spencer, and a Creek club into battle.

Green Tropical jungle

48. Never Judge a Cat By Its Eye-Hole

When I was a little kid, I had a reoccurring nightmare. I would be in the basement and hear a meow. I would search for the source in the dark, and find it at a sunken window with a little bit of light. Lying in it would be a lifeless grey cat with empty eye sockets fixed on me, giving a mournful shriek.

Sometimes a red light would open in the eye, and everyone I loved would die. I would wake up at various stages of this nightmare. It got so bad one summer that I slept with the lights on all night. Every time I heard a cat, I was afraid it was the eyeless grey one from the nightmare. Fast forward 25 years later, and I am buying my first home with my wife.

It doesn’t have central air, so we sleep downstairs in the basement for the summer. We have one of those sunken windows. One night the first week there we wake up to the sound of a cat meowing and furiously trying to get into the bedroom through the sunken window. In the filtered light I see a grey cat, and I see an empty eye socket staring back at me.

We’ve slept upstairs since. But, in a twist, the cat is lovely. His name is Lou, and he runs beside me when I go for a jog. He also plays with our new Australian Shepherd puppy. Most social cat I’ve ever seen.

Unbelievable But True Stories FactsShutterstock

49. Fireworks: Ruined

When I was young, my parents and I went to see the fireworks show at the Vinoy Hotel in Florida. We were speaking to this really nice woman next to us—she was a foster mom for kids, adopted a lot of animals, super into charity. I was dancing with her and my mom called me over, saying the fireworks would start soon. Less than a second later the shot went off to start them.

The woman grabbed her chest and said, "Ouch! Something bit me!" When she pulled her hand away, my jaw dropped. There was a perfect hole in her chest. She stood there a moment in shock before it started bleeding and then she fell to the ground. Everyone started panicking, I was separated from my parents and hid in the elevator.

I kept going to random floors with people until I saw someone that my parents knew and stuck with them. The authorities came to our hotel room that night to get witness statements. We were on top of the hotel, and I never really looked into it after (I still can't do fireworks), but my dad told me it was a freak accident involving the piece they used to signal the fireworks.

It was just the sight of her casually pulling her hand away, thinking it was a bee sting, and seeing this perfect hole. Then just... blood. It was so surreal.

Something is Wrong factsPixabay

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