20 Creepy True Stories That’ll Make You Want to Check Your Closets ... If You Dare

    Who knows what’s lurking just out of sight?

    These stories, taken from various AskReddit threads, are all (supposedly) true. To me, that makes them so much scarier. Ghost stories are fun and all, but I’m just not a sucker for a campfire tale. If you tell me a story that actually happened, though, well ... I’ll be much less inclined to turn off the hallway light at night, if you know what I mean.

    Cause who knows what’s lurking out of sight?

    1. In the Middle of the Woods

    creepy true stories
    Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner / Flickr (CC)

    Growing up I lived in the middle of the woods. No neighbors for about a mile on each side and we own 60 acres of forest then a swamp after that. So basically I lived in the middle of nowhere. One summer when I was about 14 I was out in the middle of the woods playing with my dog (I’m an only child and both of my parents were out of town.) when I kept feeling something hit my elbow. I’d go to throw Max’s ball and the bump would make me throw it almost straight up. Assuming it was just me bumping it on trees or something I ignored it. After the fourth or fifth time of it happening I thought…well this sucks I’ll just go home. Walking back I felt uneasy but I knew I was just freaking myself out because we were alone. About an hour later Max and I are at home on the couch when the garage door opens and he starts barking barking barking, I hop up to go let in my Mom or Dad, even though they were home really early. I peered through the peephole and saw the door was still shut and no one was in the garage. Quieting max down I opened the door slowly and called out for my dad. Nothing … No response at all so I go out to check the door and it’s still locked. Okay … sure. Weird but oh well. Max heard it too so at least I know I’m not crazy.

    About 20 minutes later I hear the door open again and this time Max starts growling like crazy. I quiet him down again and just assume its the wind or something making noise even though by this point my heart is racing. I hear footsteps come up the stairs and think “oh jeez, dad really is home this time” and hop up and run to the door, it starts to jiggle so I run faster to let him in. I peep through the hole and even though my hand is loosely around the jiggling handle theres no one on the other side of the door. Terrified I go hide on the couch with all the lights on. Max is still growling.

    About an hour after that I start to feel a little better even though im still terrified then I hear the door handle jiggle again. This time it was Max jiggling it, he needed to go outside and the only way outside is through the garage. Fantastic. I literally sprint with him to the kennel and as I’m standing in there I decide to ask this “thing” questions to make myself feel better because I knew it wouldn’t answer me. Thinking about what to ask it my eyes are drawn to the huge heavy oak door on the kennel. It was always open because it was too heavy for me to move easily. I said “Ok ghost! if you’re real you’ll shut this heavy door!” nothing… a minute goes by…nothing. Max is still sniffing around. I turn around to yell at him to hurry up and then from behind me I hear ‘click’. I whipped around and saw the giant door had swung shut and latched. Okay….clearly it was just the wind. It wasn’t really windy but… it was the wind, for sure, had to be. I proceed “Ok ghost that was the wind, if you’re REALLY real you’ll open this massive door back up!” nothing. I relax a bit and then squat down with my head in on my knees reminiscing about how lame I just was being scared when I hear ‘click clack’. The door was now wide open. Max was done so we booked it back into the house locking every door in the house.

    For the next four hours I would hear the footsteps on the stairs and the door handle jiggling every few minutes, until finally around 11pm my dad walks in and yells at me for wasting electricity.

    I never told him or my mom about it until about a four months later when my dad came in from hunting after dark. He looked shaken and I asked him what was wrong … He said he aimed at two deer but missed both completely because it felt as if something was hitting his elbow and making him shoot way above the deer. Thats when I told him everything.

    2. Cartel Crime

    Living in the Northern part of Mexico, the drug cartels war was very intense in the city where I live a couple of years ago. I was waiting to cross the street when I saw a big truck dumping a plastic bag that happened to contain a dismembered body. The worst part is that nobody did anything. I just waited for the light to change and ran.

    Related: 8 Paranormal Books You Haven’t Read Yet but Should 

    3. “You’re not supposed to answer”

    My old co-worker had a son that was in his mid 30's and he had a son named Hunter that was four or five. She said that Hunter would have bad dreams and that he would sleep with his dad when he got scared.

    One night his dad woke up because he heard Hunter calling him. But he was calling him by his name, not ‘dad’. So he went to his room and he was asleep. He woke him up and said “Hunter, you were calling me. Is everything okay?” And Hunter said, “Dad, when they call you you’re not supposed to answer.” and fell back asleep.

    He asked him about it in the morning but he said he didn’t remember saying it.

    I get chills when I think about it.

    4. “The house on Acorn street”

    creepy true stories
    Photo Credit: stantontcady / Flickr (CC)

    When I was 14 my family and I fell on hard times. We got kicked out of our house and ended up in emergency housing, basically we went to charity who found us a house that we were able to rent for $100 a month, but only for three months. That summer, my mom and stepdad separated temporarily, and my three younger siblings would go to my stepdad's for a week or so then come back to my mom and me. This house was CREEPY.

    It started off with just that feeling, you know? Like, something isn’t quite right, that you might not be the only person in the room. In the day, that’s all it was, the feeling that something was up. Your instincts pricking at you. I tried to ignore it, but as soon as dusk arrived stuff would start happening. More than once I could hear this static-filled music playing, but I couldn’t find the source, it just filled the halls. I heard whispering and went to my two sisters room, in the open closet, a pair of eyes looked at me and disappeared. My brother spent one night in the house and didn’t come back. In my room, I could never win. On one wall, a mirror, when I flipped over to face the window, I watched tall shadow figures pace in front of it. In my mothers room, the same shadow figures paced in circles around her room. One night, she and I sat up for two hours in her bed watching these shadows. She was strongly religious and didn’t know what to make of it.

    During the time we lived there, there was a lunar eclipse. I had never seen one before and was very excited for it. When I went out to look, every time, this terror took over me and I couldn’t stay outside, I couldn’t explain it. When the moon was fully cloaked, I went outside, looked up, but my head suddenly snapped down and to my left. I could see three tall shadows walking in between the tall pine trees in the yard. Panicked, I ran back inside and into my room, flinging myself under the covers with my eyes shut tightly, but listened to the pacing outside my bedroom window.

    Three months of this. We moved out at the end of summer into a new house, my mom and stepdad got back together and I was with my younger siblings again. We all agreed the house on Acorn street was screwed up, and still get chills when we drive by it, just to see.

    5. “I would always have the same dream”

    Up until I was about eight or so, I lived in a REALLY old house that, since the beginning of time, had been bounced around from relative to relative until eventually my mother had been handed over the keys. It was basically a dump. Two stories, a collapsed balcony on the second level, mould and mildew all over most of the ceilings, one tiny bathroom and the toilet was outside, over-run was frogs and spiders and whatever other kind of hell-spawn the Australian outback would throw at us.

    I was terrified as a child–scared of basically everything. I’m much better now, and have much bigger balls than most of my friends (if I do say so myself). Nonetheless, I would probably have to put the blame on this old house of mine.

    I remember as a child that I would always have the same dream.

    I’d start in the kitchen, no idea how I got there of course. It was during the day, probably later in the afternoon. Nobody was around, so naturally I’d go looking for my mother and father. I’d go to all the normal places – mum wasn’t in the laundry shed or the lounge room, dad wasn’t on the patio outside or up the back at the chicken coop, and my sister wasn’t around either.

    I was starting to get worried, thinking that everyone was gone and they’d left me alone. Until I heard a noise above me coming from the second floor, where the bedrooms are. Relieved, I darted towards the stairs and jumped on the first step.

    Then I felt it. There was something in the back of my head, making me stop, leg still raised up as I prepared to move onto the second step. Something telling me that I shouldn’t go up there. Of course this thought was running rampant in my mind “Don’t go up there, don’t go up there, stay down here, don’t go up there, there’s something up there”.

    Finally my leg dropped before I could reconsider. I pushed myself up those stairs, and even though I didn’t want to anymore, I couldn’t stop myself, only slow down. Each step up was taken at a agonizingly slow pace, and I wanted so bad just to go back down stairs and find someone–run to my grandparents house and stay with them until my mum was home.

    But eventually, I rounded the corner, leaving only the last few steps leading up to the floor ahead of me. There was nothing there–I couldn’t see anything in the stairwell. I started getting hopeful at this point–maybe it’s ok. Nobody’s here. I was just imagining things and it’s going to be fine.

    I’m still taking the slow steps up when it appears.

    Something’s there.

    I can’t actually remember what it was, and I never could after I woke up. But it was horrifying beyond belief, and I would always try to close my eyes, because that was my thing as a child–if you can’t see it, then it can’t see you. But I could still see it. I couldn’t blink, I couldn’t shut my eyes–it was like my eyelids weren’t working. I would even try holding my hands in front of my face, but still I couldn’t block it out–I could see through my hands. And I couldn’t do anything I was frozen, unable to do anything except STARE at this thing all but a meter away from me.

    Whatever I saw, whatever I did, for those eight years I was at that house, I had to force myself up the stairs. Day or night, it was horrifying. My mother sighed and tried to reason with me, my father growled at me and called me a coward and my sister just laughed and said I was retarded. But every time I had to go up those stairs, as soon as I hit the top stairwell, I had to stop and make sure that I could cover my eyes with my hands or that I could shut my eyes.

    Of course it would terrify me most when I’d go to blink and wave my hand in front of my face and it wouldn’t work and I’d realize I was dreaming

    Related: 10 Haunting American Urban Legends to Tell in the Dark 

    6. Haunted Truck

    I used to have a truck that I swore had the ghost of a dead baby in it. I used to get home late from my job as a dishwasher, and after I parked and was sitting in my driveway with the engine off, I would hear this really faint sound of a baby crying. Late at night when it was quiet, it used to make my arm hairs stand on end. I used to get home and hop out of the car in fear of hearing it.

    One night I decided to sit there and just listen, try to pinpoint the sound. Eventually I discovered that it was indeed not a dead baby, but when I undid my seat buckle, the old spring of the seat belt retractor would slowly start pulling the belt in, creating a faint noise that sounded like wailing.

    7. Coyotes in the Night

    creepy true stories
    Photo Credit: Carl Milner / Flickr (CC)

    I was fixing a jumped belt on an old Gleaner K2 in the middle of the field, in the middle of the night. When my dog (a 110 pound lab), who’s usually sniffing for birds when I stop, is standing still and letting out a growl I’ve never heard from him. I shine my almost dead flashlight where he’s looking and I see three sets of eyes change quickly from a glow, to a silhouette to coyotes. They’re pretty harmless on their own, but in a pack they’re relentless. 

    I call for my dog and bolt for the cab, but he runs at them instead. I stood on the platform for what felt like hours, as my dog tried to fight off the now five coyotes. I couldn’t let my buddy die, so I grabbed the hammer and wrapped my jacket around my arm. The second I got close, one of them went for my leg and I offered my arm instead, which it gladly took and I swung down on its back with all my might. Second coyote, same as the first, grabs my arm and I swing at his back. The other three are switching between fighting and dragging my dog into the corn and like an idiot I throw the hammer at the pack with no effect. 

    I kick the one doing the most dragging and he thankfully runs off. I picked up the hammer and swing at the one my dog doesn’t have and stood back and watch my dog chase off the fifth. He came back bloody and limping, but no worse for wear. But even with the rabies shot, he started showing symptoms about a week later. Toughest thing I had to do to date was putting that dog down.

    8. The Neighbor 

    A few years back I rented an apartment from a friend of mine. He had recently bought it and had it completely renovated. He put it up for sale but couldn’t find a buyer so I offered to rent it in the meantime.

    After moving in I realized there was something wrong with the lady next door. She was about 45 but looked much older. She would sit up all night listening to Christian radio shows and talking loudly to someone. It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep so I went over to her place and asked her to keep it down. She opened her door and I got a quick peek. Her walks all had crosses painted on them in different colors. And words like “Jesus” and “angels” scribbled everywhere. The windows were painted black letting no light in at all. It was damp, yellow stained 50 year old carpets, dog poop and cockroaches everywhere. No dog though.

    I asked her to please keep it down. She just looked at me and shut the door. Then she turned up the radio even louder.

    The next night I had my GF staying over. I wake up in the middle of the night and see a shadow of a person next to the bed looking at us sleeping. I think I’m hallucinating as I usually do in the dark when I’m sleepy. But then the shadow starts talking. It’s my neighbor and she’s holding something in her hand. She broke in during the night and who knows how long she stood there.

    “You should lock your door at night” she says and walks out.

    The next morning I hear someone making strange noises below my bedroom window. It’s my neighbor talking to herself in tongue. She has a plastic bag in her hand with her rotting dead dog inside. It’s hot outside and I can smell death from the bag.

    At this point I’m scared. She's obviously very insane. I go upstairs and knock on another person’s door and ask what is going on. The guy is as scared as me. Apparently she broke into his apartment one evening as well while he was watching tv with his kids. He got up from the couch to get a snack only to find her behind the couch staring at him holding a power drill. (Now I know what was in her hand.)

    At this stage I’m basically pooping myself. I call the cops and they know all about her. Apparently she is a violent schizzo and she hasn’t taken her meds. But they can’t force her or enter her apartment w/o her permission because she owns it. The only thing they can do is get her when she goes outside. I sit up for the next two days waiting for her to run out of cigarettes. When I hear her leave at 2:00 A.M. to go across the road to the 7-11 I call the cops. They have three cars and a special van over in less than two minutes. They restrain her and throw her in the van and drive off to some institution and in less than a minute it’s like she was never there.

    I never see her again. Still have nightmares about her looking at me in my sleep.

    9. Alone

    Was playing Kinect one night. It detected a second player. I was alone.

    Related: 13 Terrifying True Ghost Stories You Shouldn’t Read Alone 

    11. Lock the Doors

    creepy stories
    Photo Credit: Abril Rubio / Flickr (CC)

    This happened to me when I was about eight and still scares me to this day. One evening I went to let my dogs in from the back garden at around 9:00 P.M. It was pitch black so I quickly opened the door and my dogs came bounding in, as soon as they came in I locked the door and at this moment a person on the other side pulled the handle down trying to get into my house. We had a glass door so even in the dark I could see the outline of a man standing there.

    I ran to my dad and he ran into the back garden after this man and saw him running down the road. Since then I have closed and locked doors at the speed of light.

    11. Sleep App

    A few months ago I downloaded a program for my phone–Sleep as Android. I bought the premium version of the app for the extra features to record sound throughout the night when volumes reached a certain threshold. It would activate when I would snore or move around. I would usually spend the next evening going over some of the recorded sounds. Everything was pretty normal until I listened to something out of the ordinary.

    It was near the beginning of April, and I had the apartment to myself. I’ll let you listen to the sound before I go on explaining it.

    It started out picking up my snoring, and then the hairs on my neck stood up as I hear my doorknob moving. Following this, you can hear my door open slowly.

    I was confused and a little worried. Everything was still locked up, nobody came home (the chainlock was still latched on the front door), and my landlord certainly didn’t come.

    I don’t use the app anymore.

    12. Who was it??

    When I was seven, I woke up in the middle of the night with an earache. I decided to tell my mom and stepdad and walked out of my room. Someone was sitting on the chair in the living room (about three feet away from my bedroom door). The person looked strange (the face was just kind of distorted) but it was dark and I couldn’t see well. “Mom?” I asked. The person shook their head, and I started getting scared. “Mike?”. The person shook their head again. I decided the best course of option was to go back to bed so I wouldn’t have to walk past this … person. I climbed in bed, and closed my eyes for a second, before opening them and seeing the person standing in my doorway, smiling madly and nodding furiously.

    I screamed at the top of my lungs and closed my eyes. My stepdad came running out of his room in his underwear with a baseball bat (that was a scary sight in itself). There was nothing there, but clothes my mom had folded and put on the chair where strewn about the living room. For the longest time I told myself it was my cat, sitting on the clothes.

    Related: 8 Scary Horror Villains in Books 

    13. Ghosts on a Tin Roof

    creepy stories
    Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr (CC)

    I’m a nighttime tour guide at an old convict prison in Australia, it’s run by the government so the tours are pretty watered down and family friendly (the tours run between like six and nine on Wednesday and Friday nights) and some of the scariest stuff I've ever experienced has happened there.

    I’m not convinced in ghosts and what not but if there are, they’re definitely there. every other person who works there has their own creepy story. My scariest was when i had a group of about 30 people in the gallows one night (the room where people were hanged) and the room is made of corrugated tin, so i was there doing my bit when suddenly there was this huge bang on the roof. Everyone looked up and a few people screamed but a lot laughed—we have a few actors that jump out on tours so they probably thought it was that. The banging didn’t stop though, it was kind of irregular at sort of like half second intervals (like boom, boom, boomboom) and people we getting creeped, me included. So I took the group outside. Now the roof of the room is a slanted A frame so if you walk back a bit you can see the outside roof. we all watched as this one bit of tin looked like it was being stomped on from the outside, moving and everything, still banging when I took the group to the next spot. we finished off the tour and a few people thought it was a joke, but it genuinely terrified me. i’ve got some ‘ghost’ photos on my galaxy i’ll try and upload now, but i’m not very good at internetting.

    14. Puddles of Blood

    Watching an A7 Corsair grab the #3 cable that had not been fully retracted. After the wire broke and whipped around two sailors were dead and two were amputees. Getting to the scene seconds after was the most horrific site I have witnessed. Using a mop and pail to swab up the puddles of blood. Heart wrenching.

    15. “His lovers or his victims?”

    This is creepy, at least I always thought it was. I was working in a big grocery warehouse, hundreds of people worked there, it was night shift, sitting in a break room at lunch with a couple of other guys trying to find something to talk about to stay awake.

    I started talking about the best jobs I’d ever had. After a minute or so this older guy who never ever said more than a word or two at a time starts telling us about this nursing home he used to work at. He was in his 60s and he’d already been at this current job for 30+ years at the time, so his story took place when he was a young man (I surmised).

    He was an attendant for this nursing home and he told us he used to have sex with many of the female residents. These were elderly ladies and handicapped people as well. He told us he’d usually get it on with at least one of them every night and they were all very grateful for his attention. He felt he was in heaven at the time.

    According to him, some of the ladies he was involved with were in their 80s and all of them were very lonely. He said his favorite was a younger woman who had cerebral palsy or some nerve disorder. He said that although she couldn’t talk, he could tell she loved his attentions by the way she’d squirm and wiggle during sex. He told us he’d eventually been “let go” from this dream job but not for what reason.

    When break was over and he left the breakroom me and the other guy sat there for a moment and I asked him if he’d ever heard that story before. He said, “Heck no, I’ve never even heard him talk that long about anything before.” The guy in question was always such a quiet guy and I switched back to day shift not long after that so I never talked about it with him again. But it really stuck in my mind in a creepy way. I think he BELIEVED what he said, but were these women his lovers or his victims?

    Related: 10 Suspense Books That Will Leave You Reeling 

    16. Hit the Lights

    creepy stories
    Photo Credit: E M / Flickr (CC)

    To really get my story you have to have an understanding of my third floor landing.

    There’s a single set of stairs that lead up to it, once on the landing its a T-Shape, with an Office the left, my bedroom to the right, and straight ahead is a bathroom with a shower.

    Anyway, one night at 10:00 P.M. I’m taking a shower before I head to sleep. The glass panels on my shower is that like, concave/convex glass that blurs everything, so everything was blurred and unclear. I glance at the door and I see some kind of hand like figure. Now, it was pitch black, so right there it freaked me out because I come from a family of pale white welsh people. What freaked me out more was how the hand seemed to come through the door, or at least an angle where whomever the hand belonged to would be visible.

    All it did was hit the lights. That’s it. No noise, no attack or anything, it just turned off the lights. So there I am, I just witnessed a phantom hand, and now I’m in my shower and it’s pitch black. I’ve never been so chilled to the bone before, something about being in the darkness of the night, with the only noise being the water hitting the floor beneath me, just reduced me to the most primal state of pure fear I’ve ever been in. I eventually get myself to leave the shower and hit the lights. The relief that came over me was immense.

    I’ve never been able to explain it. The stairs up to the landing are old and creak, I would’ve heard someone come and go down. No one was in my room, or the office. Weirder still, nothing like it has happened since.

    17. Kinects are seeing ghosts all over the place!

    Woke up one night to some noise downstairs. Xbox was on and the kinect was moving up and down every so often like it does when you set it up. Turned it off and went back to bed.

    Next morning, I booted up the Xbox and tv and started kinect adventures. Several pics were taken last night of “in-game action”, but no one was in the pictures.

    18. The Boogeyman

    I’m a journalist and was told this doozy by a woman I interviewed for a true crime story.

    When this woman was a young girl, say 8 years old, she started to come down stairs at night to tell her father that there was a man in her closet. He tells her there’s no such thing as the Boogeyman and sends her back to bed. This happens on and off for like a week. Finally, he gets frustrated and walks her back to the room and says, “I’ll show you there’s nothing in your closet” and goes to open the door. It opens an inch and then he feels someone slam it shut.

    Turns out there really was a man in her closet. This guy was a perv who would come in to the house every night and stare at the girl from the closet while she slept. The dad beat him up and the perv went to prison for many years.

    I researched her story 20 years after this happened. The guy had just gotten out of jail again and no one could find him.

    Related: American Boogeyman: The Disturbing Case of Albert Fish 

    19. Car Trouble

    creepy stories
    Photo Credit: Sheila Sund / Flickr (CC)

    Driving to pick up a friend who was at this cabin party about 40 miles west of where I lived. It was close to 2:00 A.M. So I’m driving down this back road to find this random cabin somewhere and I come across this red four-door sedan with all the doors open and four limp figures in the seats with their heads slumped over. That alone kinda freaked me out. Later on I’m driving by again after a failed attempt at picking up my friend, mind you it’s getting close to 3:00 in the morning, and only the front seat passenger door was open and ever person in that car was staring with a blank dead stare directly at me as I drove past at 10 mph. Very creepy to me.

    20. Imaginary Friend

    I lived on 13 acres, most of it was forest. I was eight, hardly ever home alone but when I was this kind of thing would happen all of the time. Only when I was alone. The doors would open while they were locked, my young dogs would run up to the door and stay 10 feet away barking at something I couldn’t see while I hid behind the bar clutching a knife.

    At the same home, my younger sister and I would play in the woods with just our dogs. At five and seven years old we had an imaginary friend that we both would talk to and could hear what it was saying. Our dogs would follow it when it would walk away and run around it in circles as it moved around.

    I revisited that house eight years later and saw a figure moving along the edge of the woods, it looked the same size as our friend. When I told my sister, she told me she saw it too but no one else did. I didn’t realize until I was older that there was no way we both should have been able to hear it, or that the dogs shouldn’t have been able to see it.

    Want more creepy stories? Sign up for The Lineup’s newsletter, and get our strangest tales delivered straight to your inbox.

    This story was first published on did you know?

    Read More:

    A Mysterious Light Is Hanging Over Canada, and Its Name Is ‘Steve’ 

    19 True Stories That Could Ruin Your Sleep Tonight 

    The FBI Tried to Blackmail MLK Jr. Into Killing Himself 

    Featured photo: The Dark Veil † / Flickr (CC); Additional photos: Walt Stoneburner / Flickr (CC); stantontcady / Flickr (CC); Carl Milner / Flickr (CC); Abril Rubio / Flickr (CC); Michael Coghlan / Flickr (CC); E M / Flickr (CC); Sheila Sund / Flickr (CC)


    • creepy stories
    • did you know?