10 Scary Stories to Ensure You Never Sleep Again

10 Scary Stories to Ensure You Never Sleep Again

Illustration: Jim Cooke/GMG

Clear your schedule, horror lovers, because the first round of Jezebel’s 2020 scary story contest winners are here! You may need to take a personal day after reading these tales of Ouija boards, paranormal activities, spooky cars, and haunted visitors and their knives. I’m never going to sleep again and now you won’t, either.

This year’s entries were interesting—though it is the Halloween season, many of you chose to enter heartwarming tales of how a friendly ghost brought your family back together, and while I personally love Casper, we’re in the business of terror here at Jezebel.

That said, prepare yourselves for the fear that awaits you below—and remember, round two arrives Tuesday.

Happy haunting!

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Old Gray Thing by CHIEF QUEEF

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The Red House by Oneuponalittlelane21855

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URL: Senior Writer, Jezebel. IRL: Author of the very good book 'LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS,' out now.



Not vying for the contest, but the Ouija story brought back my own Oujia memories...

I was 12 when my grandmother died and we were cleaning out her old house. We found tons of toys in a box in an upstairs bedroom, including an old wooden Ouija board. I had only seen them on tv/movies before.

I showed my parents and my dad was like “HARD NOPE” and seemed legitimately terrified of the thing. My mom was like, “aw come on, it’s harmless fun.” My dad insisted one of my older cousins take it, so we went home empty handed.

A few weeks later I got home and there was a new, store-bought Ouija board on my bed, wrapped with a bow. No note, but clearly it was a sly little gift from my mother, so my sister and I played with it in secret and didn’t tell my dad about it.

We played alone just the two of us. I’ve written elsewhere about other spooky shit that happened in my childhood (one of the stories featured in last year’s contest). We decided to try to talk to our recently deceased grandmother.

The board didn’t really tell us anything, and because it was just the two of us, it was clear when one of us was trying to move the planchette to freak out the other one. Still, we thoroughly creeped ourselves out, and ended up putting the board away in a toy chest in my sister’s bedroom.

The next day I got home from school and there was the board, laying on my bed, with a new bow on it.

I freaked out and took it outside and threw it in the garbage can that sits on the street for pickup.

The day after that, again, I arrived home to find the board on my bed. No bow this time. I threw it away AGAIN.

As you can guess, same thing happened the next day. I’m now fully terrified, and make my sister swear she isn’t messing with me, but she’s too young and scared of me as Big Sis to do that shit. This time I take the board out in the yard and throw it in the empty field behind our house.

The next day, it was back on my bed, this time a little beat up and soggy from being out in the elements. My sister was convinced that the board kept coming back because we initiated a conversation with our dead grandma, but didn’t actually get to have a conversation. She wanted to try again but I refused. This time we put the board on a shelf in my room so we could keep an eye on it.

The Ouija board sat on that shelf for the rest of my adolescence, never moved, and never played with.

One family holiday in adulthood my sister and I talked about this haunted Ouija board during a dinner with my parents. They both get wide-eyed and start laughing.

My mom DID buy us the board as a surprise after my dad wouldn’t let us take the old Ouija from my grandmother’s house. When she found it in my sister’s room, she assumed my sister had stolen it (as sisters do), so she put it back on my bed to make sure I got my gift. Then, in the following days when she found it in the garbage, she assumed my dad was throwing it away because he didn’t want to play with Ouija boards. She ended up seeing me go outside to throw it in the empty field, and retrieved it that time just to fuck with us. She figured it would come up and she would come clean, but then we never talked about it and she eventually forgot to tell us she’d been retrieving it all along.

Thanks for the years of thinking we had a haunted Ouija board in our house, and that our dead grandmother was messing with us, mom!