Every person has a secret. Often kept under lock and key we try our best to keep them secret, but nothing can remain hidden forever. As the saying goes; what’s done in the dark will be brought to the light. From mysterious disappearances and religious cults to bloody murder and serial killers, the good people of Reddit have been shining a light on their own family secrets.
The chilling stories below all claim to be the real-life family secrets of Reddit users—though some are so dark and disturbing they test the limits of believability. In either case, if you have a skeleton in your closet, the following confessions might tempt you into unlocking the door and finally setting it free.
1. Filled with Rage
“My great grandmother and great grandfather had 17 children. One of them became pregnant in her teens, and it was later revealed that she was raped by her father (my great grandfather). When her mother (my great grandmother) found out, she was filled with rage, and she pushed her pregnant daughter down the stairs. The daughter and the baby both died.” – sarxna
“My great-grandaunt (great-grandmother’s sister) had a son out of wedlock with a guy who was married. A couple years later when she got married herself, the new husband told her he didn’t want the other man’s child and wouldn’t let the son live in the house. They abandoned the kid on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, no-one ever heard from him again.” – possum_alert
“Long before my brother married his wife, his future in-laws ran a home-based daycare. One day the dad took a knife and slaughtered three babies. This was more than 40 years ago. He’s still in prison.” – richardec
4. The Other Family
“My great-grandfather had two families that lived about 200 yards from each other for about 20 years. Neither had any idea the other existed until the funeral. When the priest asked the spouse to step forward, two women did. I’ve been told it was quite a scene in the aftermath. I remember going to see my grandma when I was younger and being told these people were my half cousins but had no idea what that meant until I was a lot older and my dad told me what had happened.” – jerk40
“My dad’s cousin murdered his mother (my grandpa’s sister). She wouldn’t give him drug money and he snapped, stabbed her, then cut up her body. It really tore up our whole family because everyone is super close. No one used to ever talk about it but he recently got out of jail and reached out to the family which was awkward, to say the least. My dad and aunt actually met him for dinner about 3 months ago but won’t tell the rest of the family. It’s all very weird.”- madibelll
6. Niagara Falls
“My great aunt died after falling into the current and being swept over the Niagara Falls. Although it was ruled an accidental death, it is widely believed in my family that she was actually pushed into the water by her abusive, alcoholic husband. My grandmother told me that back then domestic violence was seen as shameful and was mostly swept under the rug so nobody reported it when spoken to by the police. Years later my great uncle remarried and was arrested for nearly beating his second wife to death.” – Garbagecat88
7. A Small Argument
“My great grandfather hit his wife with a fire poker, and slit her throat. He then proceeded to blow his head apart with a shotgun. He sat in a rocking chair and used his cane to push the trigger.
All over an argument whether it was too cold for me to walk to a grocery store to get some milk.” – clineboy1987
8. The Wrong Medicine
“My great-great-grandfather accidentally killed a woman. He fled his business and extended family to start a new life in a small town because he feared the woman’s husband and the law.
He ran a pharmacy, and gave the wrong medicine to a woman.” – cartmancakes
9. The Mummy
“In 1976 my father was in the military and traveled to Guatemala after an earthquake. During the clean up, he was at the Mayan site of Mixco Viejo. There were several burial sites overturned. For some reason, unknown to me, he brought back the remains of a female Maya Indian. He claimed to have loved her in a past life. These remains are still in the box in our attic. They are mostly dust now with a part of the skull left. My father died in 1986, so I cannot ask him about it. My mother and sisters claimed her ghost followed them where ever they moved until my dad died. I am skeptical of that claim.” – Anonymous
10. The Mole
“I found out that my grandfather was murdered (poisoned) by drug cartel agents while acting as an informant for the FBI, but before he had turned over any useful information or evidence, meaning that a mole in the FBI was likely responsible. Previously I’d been told that he had died in an accident.”- Xelif
11. The Coward
“My great-great-great something was on a raid killing Natives back around the whole western expansion business, and had his horse shot out from under him. He slit its belly open, gutted it, and hid inside until the rest of his party was killed and he was left alone.
If my ancestors weren’t such cowards, I wouldn’t exist.” – mrblasty
12. A Tale of Vengence
“Before my father was born, his parents (my grandparents) had two children. Then WWII started. Grandfather went to war, and grandmother ended up in German-occupied territory. Being Jewish they were sold out to Germans by the neighbors, who received grandparents’ house and all of the contents as a payment. My grandmother and both children were sent to concentration camp, and the kids died there. She somehow survived. When the war ended, my grandfather reunited with grandmother and learned about what happened, he went to see the people who betrayed his family and killed them, two adults and four children. He didn’t live to see the trial because his health failed from the hardships and injuries of war.” – screwem
13. The Graveyard
“I had an aunt who committed suicide when I was three and my older sister was four. Her daughter had run off and no one had any idea what happened to her mom. It was my older sister who told my mom that ‘Aunt Pam is playing in the garage.’ Sure enough, they found her dead in her car. No one knew why my older sister knew this, and when asked about it, she said that her dream friend told her. My sister and I found about this recently. My sister also used to talk to this ‘dream friend,’ who came to her first in a dream about a graveyard.” – Anonymous
14. Stray Bullet
“My paternal grandfather was shot and killed. I knew this for a number of years but never received any more information, and I was consistently told by my father that it was a “stray bullet”. Finally, after researching my family line, my sister and I came across a news article about his death. My grandfather had left my grandmother, and was staying in a hotel while going through the divorce. He was shot and killed in that room. My grandmother was the prime suspect, and it was concluded that she hired someone to kill her soon to be ex-husband. It was never proven, and she was never charged.
My father and aunt are certain she did it, and wouldn’t speak to her between his death and until hers. When she died she left all of her and their late father’s money, a large fortune, to her college, none to her children. They took legal action to get some of the money (ended up being a little less than 5% each) on the grounds that she had murdered their father to keep his money. She was also apparently an insane alcoholic and emotionally abusive shut in, but I learned that one from other stories I heard about their childhood in Long Island.” – e1m0nk3y
“My grandmother jumped off a cliff and killed herself after receiving shock therapy to cure her depression. She was staying with us during winter when she went missing. They found her footprints in the snow that led up to the cliff. I found this out when I was 20 years old, from my cousin who was 18 at the time.” – KD8
“My family was the largest bootleggers in the Ozarks area, during prohibition. The areas they sold in included Southern Missouri, Western TN, North-East Oklahoma and Tulsa, Northern Arkansas, and parts of Kansas. They worked with the Italian Mafia in St. Louis.
I’m one of the few my Grandma has told about it, and she showed me the journal of my Great Grandpa Fritz. My family’s main base was in Ava, MO, Which is very very rural even today. For the first few years that they did it, they didn’t have any mafia connections, so everything really dirty they needed to get done, they did it themselves. They killed off competition, there was a lot of customers that owed money getting beat, wives or kids taken hostage, or burning down homes. The worst thing I found in the journal, apparently the “government came to investigate” four guys in suits came onto the farm and wanted to look around. My great grandpa’s cousin got scared and killed all of them. Buried them out in the woods, and took their car “to the south”.
The still, is on the property somewhere still, underground. The barn that was on top of it burnt down. My grandma is the only person who knows where it is, because some historical society wants to know more about it and take a look at the property. I think my grandma might be afraid of what they will find.” – vortilad
17. Deathbed Confession
“One of my long deceased family members was a serial killer. My great-great-great-etc. uncle Tom Quick.
His father was killed by Delaware Indians when he was a kid, so Quick hunted down and killed as many members of the tribe as possible, regardless of whether or not they were connected to the murder. There were eyewitness accounts of Quick murdering women, children, and infants. He never married. He spent all of his time just hunting and murdering.
There’s a monument to him in Pennsylvania, though the town authorities put it into storage because people kept defacing it. Quick claimed that he’d murdered 99 Indians on his death bed. He complained that it wasn’t an even 100. That was his great lament when he died.” – Delfishie
18. Mercy Killings
“My grandfather killed two people and the only person who knew was his wife and myself. I found out after he died when I found his journal in the house. I was the only one really close to him because the family knew he killed his wife. That’s the first thing. No one could prove it, and it was a mercy killing as she had cancer and assisted suicide wasn’t a thing. He was my grandfather though and I loved him. I was told not to spend time with him but did. When he died I was in his woodshed. He spent a lot of time out there whittling and no one thought to check for valuables out there. The family gutted the house and his son put it up for sale. Out in the woodshed was his journal in a tool box. I read it from cover to cover.
He was bullied for years by someone from another family and he eventually drowned him in a creek and left him there. They found his body weeks later after it was washed up elsewhere. They said it was a swimming accident. The journal said he told his wife, who then used this information to get him to kill her because she didn’t want to live any longer but couldn’t get into heaven if she killed herself.
The whole thing was so f*cked up. I still love my grandfather but man.” – BloodSuit
“I read a blog post about a cult in America, known for exploiting young and vulnerable women, where my uncle’s wife is described as the leader’s ‘favorite girl.’ Nobody in my family knows she was a part of this cult but I did some research into it. Turns out she named her firstborn son after the leader, weird.” – PMMeSomethingRandom
This Story Was First Published on Occult Museum.
Featured photo: Chris Bickham / Flickr (CC); Additional photos: Mike Liu / Flickr (CC); b k / Flickr (CC); Paul Hudson / Flicker (CC); Midnight Believer / Flickr (CC); Kana / Flickr (CC); Thomas / Flickr (CC)