Some pretty scary things happened to all of us as kids. Whether our young minds were able to comprehend what we were seeing at the time or not, there is no doubt they were creepy. In order to find some of the scariest childhood encounters, paranormal and beyond, we went to a Reddit thread created for people to share their stories of some truly creepy encounters. Here are some of the most terrifying stories we discovered.
1. Sinister Minnie
When this Reddit user was a kid, they had a Minnie Mouse plush toy—one with a cute red and black dress, big open-mouth grin, your typical Minnie. They loved the doll. One morning, while lying on their side in bed, they looked at all the toys scattered on their floor. Then, suddenly, the Minnie doll started making noises. First, a hissing sound, like a feral cat. Then it began whispering the user’s name. They watched the doll’s mouth open and close, frozen with fear. Then finally, Minnie stopped, and her mouth slowly closed.
The child raced from the room and told their parents, who didn’t believe them… at first. After reviewing former photos taken with the doll, the parents and child realized that Minnie had a big, open smile. But now, her mouth was fastened shut. No matter how hard they tried to pry it open, it wouldn’t budge. Safe to say, this Reddit user never touched that doll again.
2. Rock?... No, Thumb.
A Reddit user was six and playing in their grandparents’ backyard when they stumbled upon something they’ll never forget. Their grandfather was tending to his garden while they were milling around picking up rocks. One of the “rocks” they picked up didn’t look quite right. After turning it over in their hands a few times, they realized it wasn’t a rock at all… it was a thumb—a severed thumb. It was hard and pale and looked like it had been there in the garden for some time. They freaked, tossed the thumb, and ran to their grandfather. He scoured the ground, searching for it, but came up with nothing. However, the Reddit user swears by what they saw. For some reason, they never got back into collecting rocks after the creepy experience.
3. The Waving Hand
At nine years old, this Reddit user was sleeping in their parents’ bed on a Saturday morning, Their father had gotten up early to go on a bike ride, and it was just them and their mother in bed. They recall having a bad dream, waking and going to the bathroom. When they returned, a pale white hand was waving at them from behind the closet. At first they thought they were dreaming, and were so shocked they didn’t do anything. They put it in the back of their mind until a year later when their older cousin revealed she had witnessed a hand waving at her from behind her mirror when this user was at her house. It made them wonder if perhaps what they saw was indeed real.
4. The Pale Woman
One day, this user and their brother were playing just like any other day. They were about five or six. There was nothing in particular that compelled them to looked through a hole in the wall, but when they did, they saw a woman, and she certainly wasn’t human. She was white and unmoving, with even her hair staying firmly in place despite it being a blustery night. She faced the Reddit user—not even blinking. Just as suddenly as the white woman appeared, she vanished.
5. Premonitions or Imagination?
When this Reddit user was young, they occasionally had dreams that came true. Sound crazy? Listen to this—they’d dream about someone coming for dinner, and the next night there would be a surprise guest. It was always small things like this. But when they were five, the dreams started to get dark. They dreamed about their cousins perishing in a car crash and a friend’s older sister cutting her wrists. They started getting nervous and decided to tell their parents who tried to calm their frightened child. Then one day, the dreams suddenly stopped and haven’t returned since. It still scares them to think about.
6. The Serpentine Creature
After a day on the lake, this Reddit user and their family was getting ready to head home. It was already dark when they decided to pause at the dock while the boat was being hitched to throw out a line or two and maybe catch some last minute fish. They were casting out when they noticed some abnormal activity in the water about 30 yards out. They aimed their line at the spot and threw. Suddenly, whatever was causing the disturbance in the water, turned and began swimming in the direction of the shore, moving side to side like a snake. It was too dark to make out any distinct features, but they did notice a massive head. They dropped their fishing pole and ran. Twenty years later, they’re still wondering what that creature was.
7. A Misplaced Window
At another user’s summer home, there was one bedroom where things never seemed to stay in place. That is, they remember waking multiple times to find items misplaced. We’re not just talking a shoe or blanket here and there—the window would sometimes be on a different wall, the dresser would have shifted across the room, and the beds would be moved. It was always terrifying in the moment, but when morning came, everything was back where it belonged. Fifteen years later, their cousin brought up having the same experience in the exact same room. Neither of them told another person, and both never set foot in that room.
8. They Could Have Been Kidnapped
One day, a Reddit user and their brother were running through the sprinklers in their front yard when a man and woman in a car pulled up to the curb and called them over. They snapped a few photos and asked where the kids’ parents were. After some time chatting, their younger brother stripped off his swim trunks and ran around the yard completely naked. The couple continued taking pictures and laughing until they finally drove away. When they told their parents later on, the parents were furious. Looking back on it now, they’re surprised they didn’t get kidnapped. No matter how hard they try, they cannot remember more details. It was just a very odd afternoon.
9. I Swear I Was There!
When this Reddit user was a toddler, their family lived for a while in Lithuania. They have memories of visiting the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai. The recollections are shockingly vivid—the ground beneath their feet and they climbed the Hill’s step and crystal clear images of the center cross. It was only recently that they remembered what the place was called. That my not sound strange, but one day, they asked their mother about visiting the site. Their mother gave the user a strange look: Only she and the father had gone to the Hill of Crosses. Still today, they’re not sure where the memories come from, but they are certain they were there.
10. The Orb the Whole Family Saw
On an evening like any other, a Reddit user and their parents were watching television in their living room. All three were engrossed in their show when a light in the hall caught their attention. In the bedroom at the end of the hall, there was a one foot glowing orb floating about three feet above the ground. It completely illuminated an otherwise pitch black room. As if the orb knew it was being watched, it vanished then reappeared outside. Then it began doing something strange—it darted around the house, moving around fences and trees.
The family watched from the window as this happened. The dog started barking, and they were dumbstruck. To this day, their mom believes is was a ghost or spirit, their dad thinks it was aliens. With its seemingly intelligent and deliberate movements, the Reddit user is still at a loss for what the orb could have been.
11. A Creature From Japanese Myth
While walking to the school bus one day, this user and their little brother saw an animal walking through a neighbor’s yard. At first glance, it resembled a dog, but as it got closer, it became very clear this was no average dog. It was oddly shaped, wore no collar, and was completely silent. The two were startled when they looked into its eyes… somehow, the dog seemed human. It was frightening enough for them to backtrack and reroute to the stop. Others said that the dog-like creature could have been jinmenkin, a Japanese creature supposedly created by the spirits of people killed in the roads.
12. Who is This Man in the Window?
In the middle of the night, this user woke to tapping on the glass pane of their window. They opened their eyes to find a man standing outside the window. His head was shaved except for a ponytail at the back of his head, and he had tattoos on his face. He just stood, staring through the window. They woke their brother, who was also in the room at the time, so he could see the creepy man too, but when both looked toward the window... you guessed it, there was no one there.
13. It Was No Ghost...
As a kid, a user slept with their bedroom lights on throughout the night. They weren’t afraid of the dark per se, they just preferred being in the light. One night, they woke to the sound of metal scraping outside, like something heavy was being dragged across the ground. There was a thump against the wall outside. They waited, and the next thing they knew, someone was staring at them through the window, standing on what the user could only assume was a ladder. Thinking it best to pretend to be asleep, they closed their eyes– but not entirely, leaving them open just enough to see the man. He watched for a few minutes before pulling out a camera and snapping a picture. The man then climbed back down the ladder and dragged it away, never to be seen again.
14. Even the Parents Had Nightmares
One night, when this user was sleeping between their parents, they woke. It was around 4:00 in the morning, and there was something standing by the window looking out into the front yard. After their eyes adjusted to the dark, they were able to make out a man in a brown wool robe standing at about 6’4” or so. Then the man turned.
Its face was burned into their memory—pale and crowded by deep wrinkles. It drooped as though the face had been melted, with its mouth hanging open and eyes wide, like it was worried or afraid. It moved around the room, keeping its eyes on the bed, before exiting through the bedroom door. As soon as it was gone, their parents jolted up in bed, breathing heavily, as if they’d just woken from a nightmare.
15. The Running Figure
When this Reddit user was eight, they woke to a figure leaning over their bed. It was a dark shape—darker than the already black room. They gasped, and the figure jumped as if it had been startled, and quickly left the room. At first, they thought it was their dad, but there was something off about the way it moved. They called their dad into their room. Together, they looked around the house, but found nothing. Although the user has experienced sleep paralysis before, they firmly believe that this was something else.
16. The Man in the Closet
For a reason this writer still can’t explain, they woke late one night, went into their sister’s room and opened her closet. They were three or four at the time, and remember staring into the thick darkness of your average closet at nighttime. Suddenly, they felt someone push them on their shoulders from behind. They don’t remember being scared exactly, more confused. The sensation vanished. A few years later, they brought it up to their mother who said it was creepy—their sister didn’t like sleeping in that room because she said there was a man in the closet.
17. The ‘Thing’ in the Basement
During a commercial break for a NASCAR race a Reddit user was watching with their dad, they went into the basement to get their dad a beer. As they started down the steps, they got the feeling that they should stop right where they were and turn around. They ignored the feeling and proceeded down. The closer they got to the basement floor, the more this feeling intensified. They felt that someone was watching them and got the chills. They paused at the bottom of the steps to survey what little space of the basement was lighted, and there, in the darkness, were two glowing red orbs. They turned and ran up the stairs as fast as they could.
18. Swelling Clown
This Reddit user regularly saw “figures” as a kid. Most of the time, it was when their eyes were closed. They would “see” their room and the figures would be everywhere. What were these figures? Well, clowns, of course. They would grow bigger and bigger until clowns were everywhere. This happened to them as regularly as twice a week when they were nine.
19. Old Wool Eyes
This Reddit user’s family home is supposedly a former Civil War hospital that has been passed down through generations. Their family also has a legend… they’re all haunted by a spirit known as Wool Eyes. They've gotten so used to the presence of this spirit, minor hauntings are hardly of any consequence anymore. There are two small rose bushes at the corner of the house, however, which they have distinct memories of running through and getting lost, as if, while inside, the bushes expanded to create a sort of maze. They would get lost in the bushes for hours at a time, worrying their mother. But like all strange occurrences that happen in their family, the rosebush maze was blamed on old Wool Eyes.
20. The Lurking Shadow Woman
At five or six years old, this Reddit user would see a shadow on the walls at night. It was an unmistakably perfect human woman shape. It would simply pace the walls at night. Being an only child and with their parents in their own room, they would just pull the covers over their head until they fell asleep, hoping the shadow woman would leave. Creepy.
Featured photo: Bill Benzon / Flickr (CC); Additional photos: Claudia Soraya / Unsplash; David Woo / Flickr (CC); Guillaume Speurt / Flickr (CC); Kate Brady / Flickr (CC); Petras Gagilas / Flickr (CC); Seniju / Flickr (CC); Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr (CC)