There's no other way to say this: You'd better get some toilet paper, because you're about to get the crap scared out of you.
When we asked for your spookiest scary stories, we knew we'd get some freaky stuff. But we were not prepared for the creepy horrors to come. Many, many stories — including my own — involved cases of sleep paralysis, which is the totally terrifying completely real occurrence in which your mind is awake but your body is asleep and you feel like someone — or something — is sitting on your chest. The Hairpin recently had a great piece about sleep paralysis, and this famous painting really sums up with those waking nightmares are like.
We've done this post a few times, and these are seriously some of the craziest, scariest, most terrifying tales I've ever read.
The Little Girl Who Wasn't, from LadySparrow
I lived in a house from hell for four years, from age eleven to almost sixteen. There was constantly something happening. Doors flying open and shut, voices, footsteps. Nothing ever stayed where you put it. I was alone there a lot because both my parents worked and I was constantly terrified.
One of the most gut-level disturbing things though was the little girl in my bathroom. Every time I walked past my bathroom door (which was constantly since it was right outside my bedroom) I saw a little girl with blond curled hair and a rose-colored dress. She just stood there, staring, looking like a photograph from 1905. I started keeping the door closed so I could walk by without seeing her, but she was always there when I opened it. Once I stepped in past her, I couldn't see her anymore but I could feel her there. She scared me, but I felt really sorry for her because she was trapped there, just like me, but probably forever.
As the years went by and things in the house continued to get worse, she started seeming... darker. I started feeling like she wasn't really a little girl. I knew there was something ugly in the house and I felt like it was presenting this sympathetic image to me. Then I started thinking I was completely losing my mind.
One day, when I was 14, I had a friend from out of town come stay with me for a week. I hadn't told her anything whatsoever about the house because I didn't think she would come if I did. Right after she got there we were sitting in my room and she left to go to the bathroom. About a minute later she walked back in with a puzzled look on her face and said "So, there's a little girl in your bathroom". "Um, I, yeah she hangs out in there. Blond hair?" "Curls? Pink dress? Yeah. You know that's not really a little girl, don't you?" I almost threw up. I was so relieved and terrified and excited and ready to run out of the house screaming. She wouldn't use my bathroom the rest of the week and I started using it as little as possible without pissing off my parents (who did not want to believe).
Eventually we moved out and I could not have been happier. I distanced myself from it mentally as much as I could. Then, when I was 18, I took another friend on a road trip to pack up a few things I'd left in the house (my parents hadn't managed to sell it, and wouldn't for 5 more years). The minute we got on the property, my friend seemed uncomfortable. When we came around the bend in the long, steep driveway, he went completely white. I could tell something was wrong, but he insisted he was OK, so we got to work. After a while he asked to use the bathroom and I directed him to mine. Not 20 seconds after he left, he came running back in, gasping for breath, andand slammed the bedroom door behind him. He started babbling about a little blond girl who isn't really a little girl. All of a sudden he went dead still, looked me in the eye, and very solemnly said "She's not happy. With you. You left, and you weren't supposed to". We threw whatever we could grab in two trips in my car (after I walked him to another bathroom and waited outside the door) and got the fuck out at top speed.
Photographic Memories, from AnnieBannanas
I grew up in New Mexico and was always very into the outdoors, hiking, camping, rock climbing, etc. One summer when I was 19 I went on a 4 day/3 night camping trip near my parents' house on my own. Might sound weird but I had been to this area many times and it was quite safe. Anyway I brought my camera and took lots of pictures. When I came back and developed my film, there were 3 extra pictures that I didn't take... of me... sleeping. One each night.
None of my stuff was missing or stolen and nothing happened, but it freaked the hell out of me.
Losing Yourself in China, from Nilly
So when I was barely twenty years old I was travelling with a small group of people through China, and we were spending about two months in Qinghai province, which used to be part of Tibet. Our destinations was a specific town to teach English, but we'd been stopping often in towns and small cities along the way. One day we arrived in a rural town, very small, nothing unusual. We spent only a couple of days there, shopping for food at the markets and walking around to see the sights, although there weren't many. This was in the dead of winter, in February, and all the grass on the hills and plains around the town was dead and brown. The overall feeling was that of the normal kind of bleakness that any rural place has in the winter.
At this time in my life things were going amazingly, extraordinarily well for me, and I say that because my teenagehood had been rather darkly overcast. But the overwhelming good luck of being able to travel and these close friends I'd made in the last year had more than changed my feelings and attitude towards life — it was like I was a whole new person. I was ecstatic to be in Tibet, went to sleep with a smile on my face every night.
On our second day staying in this small town I woke up feeling a little odd. Not bad, just odd, like my normal thoughts and feelings had been turned down low, like on a dial. We all decided to go for a walk on the hills right behind the town, where there was a small summit with a pile of rocks and some prayer flags (to be honest there were little "altars" like these on every other hill, but it gave us something to do).
As we hiked up the hills behind the town I started feeling stranger and stranger. I wasn't scared, and I didn't feel angry or any strong emotion. In fact, it was like emotion was trickling out of me somehow, and I was getting blanker and blanker, emptier and emptier. My mind started feeling a little hazy and more and more I felt like I simply didn't care about anything. A small and rapidly dwindling part of myself started to panic, knew that something bad was happening, but it was like my own inner voice was slowly getting quieter and quieter.
I remember we reached the little summit and I simply sank to the ground next to the pile of rocks. Without meaning to, I started tuning out the voices around me and fixed all my attention on the little pebbles in the dirt. I began tapping one against the other, repeatedly. Do you know the kind of horror that is opposite of feeling scared or feeling anything at all? The kind of vacuous hideousness of a fly buzzing against a closed window for hours on end in an empty room? That's what was filling my mind. It was demonic in its meaninglessness.
I touched my face and felt that I was grinning at nothing. Through all the emptiness a thought floated to the forefront of my mind: You should just die.
At first it sounded totally reasonable, but something in me fought it and I was momentarily troubled. Right then, my group started to walk down from the hill, and I followed. The further we walked, the more normal I felt, until we left the town that afternoon and I was totally freaked out. When another girl, Hanna, mentioned in an odd off-hand way that she had felt very strange and depressed while staying there, I told her that I'd felt the same.
When the group leader mentioned that a local had told him that the town had been plagued with a rash of young women under 25 committing suicide, Hanna and I went white.
What The Dog Knew, from Aeonflux072
In my old apartment, my dog would, on occasion, look down the hallway towards the bedroom, from the living room, and growl, for no apparent reason. Also on occasion, when I was sleeping in the bedroom (she slept at the foot of the bed), I would wake up with her staring intently at the door and growling. She was a big girl - 140 pounds of Great Dane, Catahoula, and slobber.
So I'm there for a couple of years of this, thinking, ok, my dog has a good imagination.
Wrong. One night I woke up due not to my dog growling, but barking for all she was worth. And not at the door... she was barking straight at me. I opened my eyes pretty much immediately, and there was a blur of light, leaning over me, very close - certainly less than six inches from my face. It was not distinguishable as a person - it more resembled a person-sized version of a colourful nebula you might see a picture of in a science magazine. Three dimensional and all. I immediately got the distinct impression that this thing had been watching me sleep. For god knows how long, and how many times before. For all the clarity of that distinct feeling, I had no sense of what it wanted, whether it was malevolent or just curious. I flipped right the fuck out - jumped backwards to the other side of the bed, too terrified to scream, and that blur of light receded and disappeared over the course of about 3 seconds. My dog was going absolutely ape.
So, shortly thereafter, I asked the building manager if anybody had ever died there. She investigated that, and came back to me a couple of weeks later with a yes, a woman had died of a drug overdose in that apartment in 1995 (so 12 years earlier), shortly after having her child removed from her custody because of her addiction problems.
My dog did still growl at the hallway from time to time, but I never saw it again. I moved out about a year later.
I've had other encounters, but this thing was literally inches from my face, watching me sleep. Getting shivers now just writing about it.
There's Something on The Stairs, from Snarkychu
So when I was a kid, I would race up to the top of the stairs as fast as I could, like it was some sort of silly game. Well, I must have been five or six at the time. I'm not sure, but I know I was very little. Somewhere along the way, a voice at the top of the stairs started to whisper to me. It would make bets with me, such as... "I bet you a penny you can't make it to the top of the stairs." I don't really think there was a certain amount of time or anything. As I said, I was very little so I probably didn't have any counting abilities anyway. Ha. I recall just sitting at the top of the stairs, having conversations with this voice, about the betting, of course. :p
Eventually the voice (it was like a whisper of a man's voice, not my own voice in my head) started to bet me my life. Instead of pennies, it'd say "I bet you your life you can't make it up the stairs blah blah."
As I got older it stopped. I never really thought about it at all. I never mentioned it to anyone... UNTIL one night I was sleeping over at my brother's place (I was about eighteen, he was twenty-two) and we were talking about "spooky" stories. Out of nowhere I brought up the "voice at the top of the stairs" and my brother got all quiet and weird. Before I even mentioned the betting aspect, he said "Did it make bets with you?"
We both looked at eachother, horrified. It certainly was freaky after the fact. *shudder*
A lot of bad shit went down in my family at that period of time in my life, and my mother, a heavily religious lady, said there was a lot of "evil" in our lives at that time. I don't at all think our place was haunted, btw, it was built in the late 70's and as I got older, I never experienced anything like that again.
The Drive-By, from formerlydickmove
We were camping once, driving through some city, my dad was driving, my mom on the passenger seat, and I was kneeling behind them leaning on the boot that separated the truck from the camper. It was evening, not full dark. We weren't really talking and my mom was looking out her window when she screams, "Oh, God. Oh, my God. Gene? Do you see it?"
My dad says, 'Yeah. I do. I'm going to slow down and let them by."
He slowed and the car on the right passed us. I couldn't see inside, but their window was down and the arm hanging out the window looked to be that of someone impossibly thin.
I asked my mom what she saw, and she said it was nothing. My dad backed her up.
Years later, I asked them about it again.
My mom said, "It was a skeleton. It was no mask, because you could see through the jaws. It had a tongue and eyes. It was Death."
My dad backed her up but years later (after my Mom was dead) recanted, saying it was a mask because nothing could survive like that.
The Haunted Strip Club, from DinosaurDanceParty
Okay, so this was when I used to live in in a different state. I got a job working as a cocktail server at a strip club, which was a good choice for me at the time as the club was very fun, kind of metal punk vibe, and also very popular with lesbians, and since I was going through the process of coming out as bisexual, and was in a very radical, "fuck corporate society fuck men lets take their money" phase. I'm not one of those people who thinks stripping is super empowering but it was a good fit at the time. Also while I was there after about 6 weeks I would often have terrible, suffocating feelings, almost about to have panic attacks, and terrible migraines while working in the club. I would often feel panicked and scarred but I chalked it up to a stressful job in a strange environment. I never had these feelings anywhere else around this time.
So the club was really kind of messy, not dirty but just filled with THINGS, lots of tables in the bar, lots of speakers and extra crap in the back storage room behind the stage, and a tiny crowded dressing room for the dancers. Behind the stage there was kind of a storage room area that had several dressers and mirrors put in, as well as an old comfy couch in case the dancers wanted to use it as an extra dressing room, or a place to nap, but no one ever actually used it. This room gave me the worst, suffocating, panic inducing vibes of all, and I had no explanation for it.
So I would often be at work until 4 am or later, since I didn't have a car, public transportation wasn't running, and it was in kind of a sketchy neighborhood I would wait until one of the dancers was done for the night and she would drop me off at home, this was often after my own shift ended. When I first started working I would spend that extra time trying to do side work, clean and straighten up like a good employee, but after awhile I would often just hang out in the back room studying, since I was also in grad school at the time. Until when I started completely freaking out in the back room, and when I would leave to go sit up at the bar or in the dancer's dressing room, the feeling would mostly go away.
So also when this stuff started to get worse, I have to add that some of it was around Halloween so I was watching a lot of scary movies, and I was also smoking a ton of weed so both of these things might have had some affect on my psyche, but also these feelings NEVER happened anywhere else around this time. I started to kind of bring it up to the dancer that drove me home, she said the back room also "creeped her out" but didn't go into any detail.
So one night after closing I was carrying a box of extra glasses into the back room, and I heard the most terrifying sound of my life. It was like from a horror film, like a long screech almost like electronic music but just one tone, almost like a chain saw that reverberated around the entire floor and walls. I dropped the box, screamed and ran out to the floor. The bartender said he had heard a noise as well, but not as loud as me and without the vibrating floor walls, and started checking the sound system telling me some of the music equipment had probably just started fucking up. This happened at least 5 more times while I worked there, sometimes other people heard it, sometimes just me, always when I was walking into the back room.
Twice when I walked into the back room the light would flicker off, and would be replaced with a red glow, like someone had put in a red light bulb. Both times that happened I ran out, got the bartender, they would check and the light would be totally dead, not working. After awhile I was constantly shaken, and didn't want to tell him every time something happened since I was afraid they would think I was crazy.
After the noise and red light, I would never go to the back room, even when I should have been cleaning it. One time I was standing in the hall between the dancers room and the back room, half halfheartedly sweeping the floor and staring into the back room. I was starting to feel the panic in my chest, and I kept telling myself to look away and look into the dressing room, but I couldn't stop staring, like I was transfixed...and in the corner of my eye I saw a reflection in the mirror set up leaning against a dresser in the back room, I forced my head to look and I saw, in the mirror, two legs in black ripped tights, floating about a foot from the floor swaying back and forth. I threw the broom, screamed as loud as I could, and ran to the bar. I was convinced one of the dancers had hung herself in that room, I could see it so clearly in my mind. Of course when we went back nothing was there. One of the dancers was convinced that the room was haunted and I was seeing a ghost, she thought maybe someone had killed herself back there. She wanted to get me and some of her friends to do a Ouija board about the bar and the ghost but I was too terrified.
Around all this happening I felt I was losing my mind. I was having panic attacks, migraines, sleeping with my lights on, was terrified of my shadow and carried pepper spray everywhere I went. It may have just been a combination of everything in my life, sleeping weird hours, grad school, dealing with my own personal shit, but I've always been a high stress person who's worked a lot more stressful jobs since then and I have NEVER experienced anything like that ever in my life.
About a week after I saw the legs in the mirror, I was working one more shift before taking a week off to do some research for a grad class and go on a long weekend trip with my girlfriend. This was near Halloween so the club had kind of gone all out and had goofy decorations and costumes. I usually dressed in all black anyway, and I tried not to wear anything too "sexy" or "distracting" so costumers would mostly leave me alone and concentrate on the dancers, so this day I just wore a black skirt and tee shirt but had my face painted like a Dia de los Muertes sugar skull. It was mostly white, with jewels, and it was fucking rad. Since I was so freaked out all the time at the club I started asking if I could leave around midnight, and would catch the last bus, but this night my friends were meeting me to drink at the club after my shift. I was near the end of my shift, and was taking off my apron in the dressing room and leaned over the dancer's mirror to check my makeup, and that is the last thing I remember. Until I was being shaken awake by one of the bouncers with a friend and my girlfriend by my side, I was in the haunted back room laying on the couch, and my face paint was completely smeared all over my face, they said I had disappeared for about 45 minutes until they went looking for me, and found me asleep, and had been trying to shake me awake for almost 2 minutes. I was completely hysterical, had no idea what had happened. My clothes weren't disturbed, my tip money was still in my apron, and there's almost no way anyone had been back there all night. I was almost afraid I had been drugged, but right after this event I went to the doctor, (no health insurance so this was a BIG deal to me), and got checked out and had them give me an MRI since I was afraid I was had a brain tumor or something that made me lose my mind. They suggested I speak to a psychologist. After that night I had to quit the job and never went back. Besides those horrible events I loved working there and made a lot of friends, but I absolutely lost my mind. And once I left I never felt any of those feelings or saw anything like that ever again.
From the Mouths of Babes, from huntedthebuffalo
When my older sister was born my parents moved into a small house and in that house the laundry room was right across the kitchen table. So my sister would often be seen waving and staring and giggling while looking into the laundry room. This behavior continued for a long time and when she could finally talk they asked her who she was talking to. To this she looked at them and said 'the little boy'. To this my parents asked if he was nice and to this she waited a moment and then replied 'yes'. After this she seemed to grow out of it, and forgot all about it and to my parents relief, dismissed it as an imaginary friend. They never mentioned it after that. When I was born, I exhibited the same behavior and when I could talk they asked me who I was talking to. To this I replied 'the little boy'. They once again asked me if he was nice and I did the same thing as my sister, although a little different. 'Yes,' I replied. 'Although I think he is lying.'
The Wrong Parents, from LadyStoneheart
When I was little, I used to wake up in the middle of the night and go into my parents room and sleep next to my mom. One night when I was about 5 or 6, I had this really really vivid dream where I woke up scared, and went into my mom's room to sleep with her. When I went in, however, there were a set of parents on the bed, and a set of identical parents on the floor. I instinctively knew in my dream that I had to wake the right parents, because the wrong parents were evil. So I chose the parents on the floor. I distinctly remember thinking that the evil imposter parents would try to trick me, so I chose the parents on the floor. When I went over to the parents on the floor, they both opened their eyes, and where their eyeballs should have been, it was just bright glowing red light. That was when I actually woke up. Being a scared little kid, I of course went right into my parents room to sleep next to my mom.
There was a set of parents on the bed, and a set of parents on the floor.
I literally pissed myself.
The "second set" of parents was actually a pile of unfolded laundry. But I will never forget the fear that struck my little 6 year old heart at that very minute.
The Truculent Truck, from SorciaMcNasty
We have never figured this out. And now, the three living witnesses have to be good and fucking druuuunk to discuss the whole thing.
I was 7, my brother 10, my mom in her early 40s, my grandmother (her mom) in her 60′s. So we were all cogent. No one was too young or too senile to not recall this nonsense. Yet, still no bloody answer.
Grandma lived on an isolated country road in NC that was named after her family since they were the only crazy fuckers who lived on the land for about 1000 acres. And I *do* mean crazy. We have stories about relatives that start with, “You remember that time Uncle Bob was in the ditch with a shotgun?” “WHICH TIME?!”
Her house had been empty for several weeks while she’d been visiting us in Florida, but we were all back, spending the weekend with her before trekking back to the Sunshine state. The house is in the foreal country, literally over train-tracks, past a salvage yard and her nearest neighbor (a cousin — everyone is related to everyone who owns a house on the road) ain’t within screamin’ distance. Yes, that seems to be a real system of measurement — “screaming distance.”
It’s early in the AM, like just before daybreak. We’re awake because these are farm freaks who wake at the crack of dawn from sheer ingrained habit. We’re eating cereal when we hear someone pull up outside. Curious, we all run to the big picture window that looks onto the front yard. There is a strange truck there. No one seems to be behind the wheel, though the engine is idling. The truck is… well, old, for one thing. It’s old-timey like from maybe the 1930′s? You could picture the Joad Family heading to California in this thing. It’s rusted but it was probably once painted blue.
We stare at the thing, bewildered. Mom asks grandma if she knows who that is. Nope, not a clue, says grandma. She runs to get the phone to call her cousin and ask him to come up — she thinks maybe it’s a hired hand and he’s just at the wrong farm. Just as she asks him to come on down, the phone goes dead. Well. That’s unsettling.
All at once, there is a loud, insistent banging on the front door. We all scream. My grandma, who is terrifyingly resourceful, huddles us all into the living room, away from a window where anyone can see us. Then, while mom, me and my brother tremble there on the couch, she grabs a serrated bread knife from the kitchen and cautiously approaches the front door. She peeks out a side window, very stealthily. She turns back to us and looks confused. She shakes her head, like, “No one is there.” We all kind of breathe easier.
Then EVERY goddamn door in the house is banging — relentlessly. I can still hear it. Rhythmic and terrifying, like all the doors are about to splinter and crack. There were two doors in the basement beneath us, so the sound is also a reverberation at our feet. The three ground-floor doors are shaking — we can see them trembling and jerking on their hinges from our vantage point on the couch. Finally, mom runs to the window — either from a psychotic break with reality or terror, I have no clue. She cries, “Oh thank Christ — Cousin is here!” We run to her and peek out the picture window — there is no one that we can see in the yard, but we can’t see all the doors from our viewpoint.
Cousin walks by truck with a shotgun in his hand. Cousin, it should be noted, has pretty much every gun ever made. He looks puzzled, looking at the rear of the truck, then he glances in the cab window and he stops. He goes pale, runs a hand down his face. Then he RUNS towards to house, towards us.
My grandmother flings open the kitchen door as she sees him coming. He shouts, “Everyone get behind the couch! Get DOWN!” He runs past us as we bolt for the couch. The banging starts AGAIN, all the doors and now we can hear the windows rattle. It’s like a tornado or the end of the world. We are too scared to even scream. Cousin flings open the front door and fires the huge shotgun, once, BANG, deafening. As he does, the truck roars into life and it sounds like a train. We scramble up; the banging stops, mercifully. Cousin is advancing onto the lawn, gun leveled at the truck. We run behind him, wanting to be out of that shaking, quivering house and near the dude with the gun. The truck peals out, backwards, cutting across the yard and racing into a breakneck speed. Tires squeal, rubber is burned. Cousin fires again and we all cower behind him. He blows out the back window with the sound of a thousand plates smashing into linoleum but the truck never even hiccups, just roars down the road. No tags, not even a vanity plate on the back.
There was NO ONE behind the wheel of that thing.
We all had a clear view. Everyone agreed. Not a driver in the cab.
Not anything we could SEE, anyhow.
The police were called (Cousin had to go home to his house to call — this was way pre-cell phone era). The phone line had been cut. There was not a single boot print in the entire yard except Cousin’s, from where he’d run into and out of the house. Cousin reported that there had been no plate but when he looked into the cab, it looked like “something from a horror movie.” He said there were all kinds of weird restraints — handcuffs, c-clamps, nylon straps — and he said the floorboards looked covered in what “smelled like” blood to him (Cousin was famous for his keen sense of smell and the window was down, so it’s possible).
Cousin said he thought he saw a blur of something out the picture window and ran to fire the first shot, but “missed” because, once he stood there, nothing or no one was on the lawn or in the truck. Then it shot backwards out of the yard and out of our lives, leaving no answers, just a deep sense of unease every time we’d visit.
Grandma and Cousin have passed. Deeply religious people, they stuck by their unchanging versions of the story until they died. My brother, mother and I have never been able to figure it out — neither did the cops, I think it should be noted. We don’t know how all the windows and doors were banging, and we don’t know why we never saw a SOUL anywhere or how they could get around the sides of the house without leaving a trace in the damp earth.
(See the original post for an appendix and some theories!)
Worst Dorm Room Ever, from itacawin1
Adventures in Thailand, from sarafiend
The 29th Floor, from LALawywer
Mom, Is That You? from MarleR
The Lost Man, from dogmaticequation
For comic relief: No Laughing Matter, from sugarhill