The world is drastically different during the nighttime. While everyone is fast asleep, creepy and unexplainable things often happen. The following stories are from people who stayed up past their bedtime to take a leisurely nighttime stroll, only to come across a disturbing sight that made them regret ever stepping out into the darkness. Read on for some truly chilling tales.
One time, I was walking home from a 24-hour fitness center after a late-night gym session. Out of nowhere, a white van passed by me and started slowing down. When it got to the corner, it took a right turn in front of me. Then, a couple of minutes later, I reached the end of the street and saw the van stopped at the exit of a parking lot. It was facing in my direction.
It was like 4 am and nothing else was going on around me, so I was naturally creeped out. At one point, the van started following me, so I sprinted across the street to a gas station and went behind this small, dead-end air pump station. I pressed my body against an area of the wall, hoping that the people in the van wouldn’t be able to see me.
But it was too late—the van literally pulled into the air pump station and stopped dead in its tracks. I heard the engine running right next to me, but they never got out of the van. I just stood there, pressed up against the wall until they pulled out and drove away. I heard the van lingering for some time before it went completely silent. Still, I waited a while longer before I left my hiding spot, then I ran the rest of the way home.
One time, my wife and I got tipsy in our backyard which faced the woods. When we turned the lights off, we heard an awful scream followed by the sound of something large pounding the ground as if it were running towards us. My wife ran inside and slammed the door behind her so fast that I almost couldn't get in myself.
I found out a few months later that it was a deer that had jumped over the broken fence. It was the most awful experience I've ever had because I was so out of it and I felt like I couldn't move fast enough.
My boyfriend and I had been exploring some dirt roads on Vancouver Island, south of Nanaimo. We found this super run-down campsite beside a river and decided to take a look. It had been snowing the whole drive and the entire site was covered in pristine snow. At one point, we split up so I could find a place to pee. He went south and I went northwest.
I finished up and wandered back south when I noticed an unnerving sight—completely fresh boot treads in the snow heading north and out of the site. They went right by where I'd stopped to pee in the bushes. My hair was standing on end when I alerted my boyfriend to the tracks. They'd actually skirted the edge of the site from the road, passed where I was peeing, then went north out into the woods. Needless to say, we got the heck out of there fast.
The trip back turned into a fiasco too. What a gong show. We had driven past a large metal gate on our way to the site. When we got back to it, we found it locked with two trucks already there. One was on our side and the other was on the opposite side. They were wrapping it in chains in order to bust the lock open. We stepped out of the car and were panicking a bit.
It was dark, there was snow everywhere, and we were still a couple of hours from home. The two trucks were about to step on the gas when another car pulled up. Out of nowhere, a lady jumped out, yelling. She ended up being the one who closed the gate on us. I suspect that she did it on purpose since the signage said 6 pm and it was 5 pm.
The lady opened the gate and we all left. The two trucks started driving away like maniacs. It seemed that they were long gone by the time we got onto the asphalt...but we were so, so wrong. We saw a lot of swerving tire tracks and it became clear that they were showboating. Then we came across the wreck. One of the trucks was overturned on the opposite side of the road. The other truck and a few more drivers were there helping the injured passengers. They were still alive, but their truck was definitely stuck in the ditch. Honestly, I'm surprised they were all fine.
A couple of years ago, I went on a night stroll. I was living in an apartment complex in Florida at the time and it had been raining all day, so it was the only time I could go without getting drenched. The exact moment I was crossing the sidewalk adjacent to the entrance of my complex, I witnessed a middle-aged dude punch his wife in her face, in full view of me and another passerby.
The passerby called the authorities and the dude was caught. I had never seen something like that upfront, so the situation was a chilling one for me. It bothered me how remorseless the man was when he hit his wife, in public, no less.
I live in a rural town where it's completely dark. There are no street lights or businesses open late, so it gets pretty creepy at night. One time, I was walking my dog with a flashlight, and all of a sudden, I heard someone start screaming bloody murder. It genuinely sounded like someone was being shanked repeatedly. My instincts kicked in and I became conflicted—my gut told me to run, but my curiosity told me to stay. I chose to find out what the heck was going on.
What I discovered was beyond anything I expected. A five-year-old boy was wandering down the road all alone. All he was wearing were light flannel pants and a thin T0-shirt. No shoes or hat. He was screaming so loudly it echoed through the hills. I dropped my dog's leash and walked up to him slowly. I told him that I was a mother and that he was going to be OK.
I wrapped him in my arms and carried him to my neighbor's home to warm him by the fire. I then called for help and the authorities took it from there. I'm not sure what ended up happening to him, but I hope he's alright.
There's a small, permanently closed park near my apartment that's surrounded by a tall fence with a padlocked gate. The park is mostly dense forest full of thick vines and gnarled trees. It's beautiful and I love it. There was a hole in the fence made by a fallen tree, and sometimes I'd sneak in at night to walk the trails by flashlight. It's not a place I'd expect to run into anyone, especially at 3 am.
But once, I did. He came out of the shadows in front of me in absolute silence: a tall, hairy shirtless man with a huge belly walking a tiny dog. He had on unbuttoned, unzipped jean shorts and undone leather boots with the laces trailing. I don't think I've ever jumped so high in my life. He glided past me and didn't say a word. He just disappeared into the woods. He didn't even have a flashlight.
I never went back to that park at night, and now they've repaired the hole in the fence, so I can't get in at all anymore. But I think about that man often.
I live way out in the country, so when I go for walks I just go out in the woods. One night, at around 2 am, I went for a walk because I couldn’t sleep. I got about a mile into the woods and found some sort of worshipping shrine. There was blood on the wood table; probably from a rabbit or some small animal because there were some small skulls there as well.
It was weird to find something that far out in the woods. The whole scene freaked me out, plus I was not carrying that night, so I was even more scared. I just turned around and walked back. I woke up later that day and went back out of curiosity. I was shocked when I got there—nothing was left behind except for an indention in the grass. When I saw that everything was gone, it really made me think that I wasn’t alone that night.
I almost got kidnapped. I usually go on walks late at night and one time, I was trying to cross an intersection, looking both ways to make sure no cars were coming in my direction. I continued on my way home and at one point, I saw a blacked-out minivan following behind me. I just assumed it was a cop or something, until they drove closer and closer to me on the sidewalk, almost running me over in the process.
The man then proceeded to roll the window down and asked me for directions as he claimed he was lost. However, I had a weird feeling about the whole interaction. His body language said it all. I immediately started running away toward a trail nearby where he most likely couldn't see me. That was the quickest run of my life... To make matters worse, after I ran, I also saw him park his van and look for me on the trail.
I live in rural Wisconsin. I'm surrounded by corn, marsh; the works. I remember one time, when I was in my teens, I was outside at dusk with my parents and we were all just doing our own thing. Suddenly, a woman yelled "HELP ME" from the woods beside our house. It was just loud enough to hear, but quiet enough for me to second guess what I had heard.
My mom and dad both looked at me and asked, "You heard that too, right?" My mom then screamed back, "DO YOU NEED HELP? WHERE ARE YOU?" At that point, it was already pitch black now out and the hair stood up on my neck because it got quiet...too quiet. My mom wanted to keep yelling, but my dad just got up from his chair and said, "Inside. Now." I think that's one of the only times I've seen her listen to him.
When I was 20 years old, I studied abroad in India. One night, I was walking around Bangalore by myself when all of a sudden, I saw a giant rat climb out from a sewer. It was bigger than I knew rats could be; bigger than the biggest rat depicted in movies or books. I was shaking. Then, out from the same sewer grate, another gigantic rat. And another. And another.
About five or six dirty rats were all climbing out of the same sewer and I was about to have to face them all on my own. I was terrified but I knew no one would ever believe me, so I just pulled out my phone to try to use the flashlight to scare them off. I directed the light at them and every single one looked right at me. They were dark and dirty, and now they were running directly at me. But wait! I was wrong!
PUPPIES!! They weren’t rats at all but a whole litter of dirty puppies that had been hiding in the sewer together. Still gross but also way cuter and less scary than expected.
I worked the night shift for seven years. One night, a young, thin blonde woman was walking down the street at 2 am with no pants or underwear on and a button-up shirt open. I asked her if she needed help and she just stared at me, slowly walking forward. I called 9-1-1 and when they arrived, they tried to snap her back to reality.
I didn't end up staying as I had to go back to work, but I still think about her and wonder what the heck was going on. I like to tell myself she was sleepwalking on Ambien or something, and that she hadn't suffered a more terrible fate...but I'll never know. She was very pretty and seemed well-groomed, so it was all just very strange.
I’m an overnight security guard. One night, I was watching the cameras and saw someone underneath a grass tarp where some landscaping was taking place on our property. I guessed that this person had probably tried to stash something there before they went into detox, which was next door to our property. I made my way over to the tarp, but I didn’t see the guy anywhere.
So I started walking over the tarp, lifting it up to look for any stashed items. Well, I ended up stepping on a poor homeless guy and it scared the heck out of me. He was cool though—we fist-bumped and he went on his way.
I tried an electric bike at night while we were visiting my aunt. I wasn't used to how abruptly it would accelerate, so whenever it did, I yelled. My cousin was taking a video of me the whole time, hoping to catch me looking stupid. So there I was, riding to the end of the street and turning back around, when I noticed a group of men holding large rocks in their hands, completely barefoot as if they were hunting someone down.
We were then told to go inside immediately as someone had just taken a machete and started waving it at people at a party just around the corner where we were. Later that night, we replayed my cousin's video and we noticed that the man with the machete had been right in front of me. Thankfully, he never took a swing at me...but he was actually so close that he wouldn't have missed.
He matched the description of the man who hacked multiple people that day.
I worked the night shift at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. I started walking home from work because I didn't have a car and I really enjoyed it. It was a good way to wind down as the nights were cool and quiet and I could listen to my music without worrying about anyone else being around. One night, while walking home, I heard some rustling in the trees.
The next thing I knew, all of the lights went black and this loud "whoosh" passed right over my head. I screamed like a little girl, ran, and dropped my iPod. Once I made it past the trees, I got a closer look at what it was and it gave me chills—it was one of the giant bats that lived in Okinawa. It scared the ever-living heck out of me.
One time, I was walking around my relatively safe neighborhood with two of my friends after midnight (we were probably around 16 at the time). This loud red truck sped by us, but we paid no mind to it as that was a normal occurrence on the road we were on. Then, a few minutes later, the same red truck drove by in the opposite direction going much slower. It eventually stopped a hundred or so feet away from us and just stayed there, idle.
Realizing that that was no longer normal, we booked it through the yard to the next street over. For the next 20 minutes or so, we watched the truck creeping up and down the street while we hid behind some bushes. When we felt it was clear, we booked it to my house. He turned the corner onto my road just as we went through my front door, so we had successfully lost him.
It was around 9 pm and I was cleaning my apartment. I got hungry, so I looked up the closing time for a nearby takeout restaurant. It was still open and it was just a five-minute walk away, so I figured I'd just pick up some food, eat, then get some sleep. Turns out, making those plans would be the last thing I'd remember...I don't know how, but suddenly I woke up, about to cross the street to the restaurant.
Immediately, I felt around my pockets for my phone and it was not there. My wallet and keys were also gone...I always kept them in my right jacket pocket, so it was weird when I found them in my left jacket pocket a few minutes later. Then, I looked around—the normally busy bar-covered intersection was a ghost town. Enter panic mode. I turned around and immediately started walking home.
The first thing I noticed was the giant McDonald’s sign which was turned off, even though they closed at 11 pm. I tried listening for cars but there was nothing. I walked a little more briskly and the pizza place I was headed to also had its sign turned off. They closed at 3 am. At that point, I just picked up my pace and tried to get home as quickly as I could. But things just kept getting weirder.
When I was half a block away from my apartment building, a person biked past me. He then turned around and started circling me. I froze and looked at him out of the corner of my eye. He peddled off and I sprinted to my door.
My door lock was always kind of janky to the point where I was the only person who could lock it easily. The mechanism just wasn’t secure. When I got to my door, however, it was locked. I went inside and grabbed my phone to check the time, but it was dead. It took what felt like an eternity to finally get it to charge and turn on. It was nearly 5 am by that time.
To this day, I believe I snapped into some sort of shadow realm. I’ll never forget that moment of slowly realizing where I was and not understanding what was wrong.
I took my dog out for a walk at night. When we got back home, two shifty dudes were waiting outside my house. They asked me if Hayley was inside and I told them that there was no Hayley at my home. They pushed me for more, even giving me a description of this Hayley. I said no again, then offered to call the local authorities for them since they weren't from the area.
They told me they were leaving, but they never really did—they waited in a car that didn't belong on my street. Little did they know that I had withheld a critical piece of information from them—Hayley was actually my next-door neighbor's daughter. I was pretty ticked off that my address was used for some reason, but I wasn't going to tell those two random jerks where she lived either.
I looked outside the window from upstairs in the dark and they left after maybe 15 minutes of waiting. I was ready to call 9-1-1 if they hung about any longer. I called Hayley's dad about it since he was on a taxi shift and he said he didn't know them. The next day, both he and Hayley came over to ask about it. Hayley feigned ignorance, claiming she didn't know them either.
The two guys never did end up coming back, but I was still on high alert for the next few days. Since Hayley wouldn't fess up, I had to come to my own conclusions. Judging by what I know of her—she's a party girl, and she does live it up a bit, but it's usually not an issue. She did, however, have an ex-boyfriend with whom she had a kid. He seemed like a jerk and they used to have massive screaming matches right outside the house.
Either he did something or she did something that brought those two shifty dudes to my doorstep. He could most possibly be a dealer, but I'm biased and this is just conjecture. I have no proof and I'm not friends with Hayley enough for her to actually tell me. The general vibe was that she dodged a bullet. Not literally, but those guys definitely were looking for her and not just for a nice friendly chat.
I almost got kidnapped near a train station. Some dude drove up to me and insisted that I was some "missing Canadian child" and that he'd "take me home." Coincidentally, a motorcycle cop happened to drive by and immediately pulled over after I waved him down. He approached the guy in the car very aggressively and told him off.
The cop didn't arrest the guy or anything—he just kept telling the cop his "I thought he was a missing child" spiel—but he did walk me over to the train station and stayed with me until the train actually arrived.
When I was in middle school, I often had to walk about a tenth of a mile or so to my grandparents’ house to stay the night as my mom worked evenings. I usually did this right at nightfall night to maximize my time at home. Well, at that point in my life, I had never seen a coyote and always wondered how I would survive if I were to get attacked. The thought was on my mind basically every trip, and I had no desire to find out.
Fast forward a few years—one night, I had to go grab something from my grandparents’ house, so I took my younger sibling's bicycle. The coyote thoughts were still on my mind, even though I was a lot more buff than I had been back then. I still didn’t want to find out what would happen. Then, on my way back, I looked over to an overgrown field nearby. Instantly, I got chills up my spine. There was a figure running parallel with me, keeping pace easily.
I started to panic and pedaled as fast as I humanly could. Once I entered my mom’s driveway, I heard the creature coming towards me from across the road. Her yard was sloped downhill, so I let the bicycle coast down and I just leaped off, full of adrenaline. I flexed with my arms in front of me and closed my eyes, hoping for the best. When I opened my eyes, I was relieved.
It was just my mom’s dog. I later found out that coyotes are tiny—though I still wouldn't want to fight one anyway...
As someone who used to make sure trains had an adequate coating of paint, I spent a good amount of time walking around the rougher sides of town at night. The worst thing I ever saw was in Seattle—I was walking down the street under an overpass in an industrial district and a homeless woman asked if I could buy her a drink since she didn’t have an ID.
I went into a convenience store, bought her some drinks, talked to her about her daughters, and watched her get tipsy, all in the span of two minutes. She then started reading to me from a slightly singed Bible, about the devil, specifically. At that point, I was looking for a quick and polite exit. I mean who doesn’t want to leave when someone whips out the Bible?
Suddenly, something totally unexpected happened—three men rode by with a gallon jug and doused her tent in something. It might have been gasoline, perhaps turpentine or kerosene, I don't know...I didn't really stick around to find out. They then lit her tent on fire. I thought she'd run away with me, but she did the exact opposite. She ran into the burning tent!
I’ll never forget watching her run out screaming and crying, holding a duffel bag, her white coat completely engulfed in flames. I kept running (the guys on bikes didn’t look thrilled to see me) and later called 9-1-1, but they didn’t seem to care much about it after I told them what part of Seattle I saw it happen in. I hid amongst the trains for a few hours after that.
This one happened to me a few years ago when I was in my early 30s. I live in a Southern California coastal town near a major university but close enough to wilderness areas that I encounter skunks, possums, and raccoons on a nightly basis. I had a somewhat timid pitbull who sometimes demanded late-night walks before bed. Her favorite route was near my house at a large, local park along a key thoroughfare between a shopping hub and the university.
The park is sporadically lit and home to critters and occasionally transients. Due to one of those weird flukes of weather and geography, it's also always several degrees colder than the surrounding areas and sometimes home to spooky ground fog. So, on this particular fall evening a few years back, my dog and I were walking around the park at about 11 pm.
We approached one of the poorly lit sections of the park exterior, which had high bushes separating the sidewalk from the parking lot and the park itself. The bushes were right on the edge of the sidewalk and about arm's length in width. All of a sudden, my dog started freaking out; like full-on attack mode with deep barking and snarling. This was completely out of nowhere—there were no rustling noises or anything else that you would expect to evoke that kind of reaction.
Typically, whenever she spotted a raccoon or skunk, she was more curious about the weird animal in front of her than anything else. She would start loudly crying and embarrassing herself, but she almost never flipped out. I immediately yanked her away from the bush and ran down the sidewalk, thinking, "Oh no, we're about to be skunked!" After 25 yards or so, I turned around, pulled out my pocket flashlight, and shone it back toward the bush, expecting to see a critter saunter away slowly.
Instead, what emerged made my face turn white—a man came out from what I later found out was a hollowed-out section of the bush on the other side of the sidewalk. He very casually stood up and looked at us. He looked to be in his late 30s and early 40s and he was quite clearly not homeless. He was dressed like a suburban dad (jeans and a windbreaker) and appeared to be completely sober. I remember noticing that he was also wearing dress shoes.
A bit of background info: I am a big, big dude—somewhere in the ballpark of 6'8", 320 lbs—and I spent a number of years moonlighting as a bouncer at a local bar so I can spot a tipsy person pretty easily. After the initial shock wore off, I mustered my best scary bouncer voice and shouted, "WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING," while my dog was still going nuts.
The guy took off running at a full sprint toward my neighborhood. I called 9-1-1 (there was a sheriff's substation at the shopping center less than a mile away) and explained what I had just seen. For the rest of our walk, multiple patrol cars were patrolling the park and the neighborhood with spotlights shining the entire time.
From what I understand, they never found the guy. I have no idea what he was doing in the bushes or what would have happened if somebody other than me and my dog had walked by. The bush was uprooted a few years ago but I still think about it every time I walk on that side of the park.
I remember years ago walking my dog on a dark, December evening. My dog is a 14-kilogram cockapoo. He's really friendly and loves getting petted by everyone he meets. We were coming out of a dimly lit lane that ran behind a local school and this older guy, about 6'5", approached us from off the path. He kept trying to chat and get closer to me, saying, "Oh, that's a nice dog, can I pet him?" His behavior weirded me out, but it just got worse from there.
The guy reached out a hand and I just heard this very loud, deep, primal growl which rose to a rasping snarl. I looked at my pup and saw the light reflecting off his eyes. His teeth were fully out and I had never seen him like that before, ever. All of a sudden, he was firing out the scary big dog noises. The guy took a step back, and I just said, "I don't think he likes you." He then walked off at a brisk pace.
It was just weird seeing my fluffy pal flip like that. I don't know if he picked up my uneasiness or some sketchy intention from the guy, but I decided to give him some extra dog snacks when we got in.
I’ve never been afraid of the dark. I grew up in the countryside, where the nearest streetlight was 10 miles away, so I’m comfortable in dark places. In fact, I often take my dog for a walk at around midnight just because I like the peace and quiet of the night. I live in a city now, and something about the dark is just so soothing to me. That being said, one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced, I genuinely have no explanation for.
I used to drive out 20 to 30 miles into the country to do some astrophotography. As I was driving out one night, I saw this guy walking on the side of the road with no flashlight or reflectors; just a big backpack. I didn’t think much of it. But then, five miles later, I saw the same guy walking again. I hadn’t changed directions, and I’d been doing around 50 mph consistently. As I drove past, he waved at me. I was pretty spooked, but I drove on.
I thought to myself, I must be imagining things. It couldn’t have been the same guy. I got to a field in the middle of nowhere, parked my car, and got the camera out. I turned off all the lights so my eyes could adjust to the dark. All was going well, and for 30 minutes, I was content. Then, suddenly, I heard a rustling near the hedge by the road. Crunching leaves, grass being kicked. It was footsteps.
I immediately got a feeling of dread, like I was in severe danger and something bad was going to happen. I grabbed my camera, tossed it in the car, got in, locked the doors, and turned on the headlights. When I turned out of the field. I passed by where I heard the noise and saw fresh footprints in the mud, but no sign of anyone.
I raced back home, driving double the speed limit, constantly checking my mirrors for anyone. I parked around the corner and waited in the car with the lights off for 30 minutes, just watching. Nothing showed up, so I ran inside my home, locked all the doors, and slept with a knife under my pillow that night.
I honestly don’t know what really happened, but part of me knows that creepy guy I passed on the road twice was in that field.
Over 25 years ago, I was walking in a park at night. It was pitch black with no lighting other than the moon and the stars on a beautiful autumn night. I couldn’t see very well, but I knew the area, and I was walking along a road which ran parallel to a small river. The moonlight would bounce off the water and all you could hear was the trickle from the slow-running river plus the slight breeze in the trees. I loved those walks.
That is, until one night, in the dead silence and pitch black, a man's voice out of the woods said some chilling words:"Young girls shouldn’t go walking alone in the woods at night." I FROZE. I looked in the direction of the voice and couldn’t see a dang thing. I RAN HOME. That was the last evening walk I took in that park.
It was more what I didn’t see. We were in Montana just north of Yellowstone, staying in a cabin in the middle of nowhere on a former ranch. We misjudged our hike and ended up coming back right at dusk. We were a little nervous, but to reassure each other, I reminded myself and my husband that as long as we saw the usual 5,000 deer on the way to our cabin, we were probably okay.
Every night, there were tons of deer everywhere on the ranch that really weren’t scared of us at all since the owners didn’t allow hunting. But that night, things were different—there was not a single freaking deer in sight. We didn’t hear or see any animals at all, which was weird because every other night, we’d seen at least four or five deer, a couple of possums, and a very cute skunk just from our porch.
It was nerve-wracking as heck, but we kept our bear spray ready, talked loudly, and walked at a steady pace. The owners called us the next day to warn us to be careful after dark because a cougar had been sighted at a neighboring farm. We made sure to get back before dark for the rest of the trip.
I was drinking, so I was pretty tipsy when this happened. My sister's little dog came up to me, sat down, and began to stare at me, which meant he wanted to go outside. I knew no one else was going to take him out, so I put on his leash and took him outside. It was around 2 am at that point. I took a few steps and my neighbor asked if he could pet the dog.
As he was crouched down, we began to hear these pops, whistles, and buzzes. I thought nothing of them at first, but then a dark realization hit me—they were bullets. I swear I could have felt the air pressure around the bullets as they buzzed by. I thought I was hearing bottle rockets as if it were the Fourth of July, but then my neighbor yelled, "We're being shot at!" I asked him, "Are you sure?" and he replied, " I've been to Iraq...I know when I'm being shot at!"
I grew up in Japan in a not-too-small, not-too-big city. I worked a job that had me coming home at 2 am to 4 am daily. I preferred to walk the backstreet that paralleled the main street because it felt more cozy and peaceful. Nothing of note happened, until one day I turned the corner onto the side street and about halfway down there was a young woman.
She just stood there, staring at the sky...staring straight up, like STRAIGHT up, with her neck at a 90-degree angle and her mouth slightly open. I hesitated to keep going that way but ultimately decided that, since nothing weird had ever happened here before, it'd be fine. I kept walking and as I approached her, the road started to narrow, so there was not a lot of room to maneuver. Terrified, I paused to take a look at her.
She hadn't moved or reacted to me, she just kept staring away. So I fought my instincts and asked her if she's okay. She didn't react. I looked up to see what she was looking at, but there was nothing there. At that point, I was thinking there must be something medical going on with her, so I reached out and touched her on the shoulder.
She jolted and looked at me as if she'd only now just noticed me. I asked her if she was okay and she just stammered, mumbling an apology under her breath before hustling down the street the same way I was headed. I decided to wait some time to let some distance get between us, but toward the end of the street, she stopped and stared at the sky again.
I walked down the main street for the next couple of nights.
My brother and I were working as deckhands on his father's cray boat, just cruising up the West Coast of Tasmania. There were rough seas but it was good fishing because that side of the state is all National Park and recreational fishermen can't get there. We'd taken a dinghy and gone on-shore to shake off our sea legs and explore a bit.
The afternoon turned into dusk and we came across the most peculiar sight—there was this weird clearing with a flat stone slab in the middle, stones around the outside, and odd items kind of scattered around and hanging from the trees. My brother then suddenly grabbed my shoulder and spun me around—he was pointing at this not-too-distant hill where there are torches lit up. We stood there and watched as the torches started to snake toward us.
Then, we heard a random noise and out of nowhere, some guy came out through a nearby bush. He seemed as startled to see us as we were to see him. He started saying something angrily, but we just turned and bolted back to the beach. I was still pushing the dinghy back out when my brother jumped in to get the outboard going. We headed straight back to the boat and told his dad what we'd seen. He just laughed and said, "You'd be amazed at the things you see out here."
I frequently run in the wee hours of the morning. Where I live is basically where suburbia meets the countryside. Anyway, one morning, at about 4 am, I went for a long run. About two miles in, along a sidewalk out in the middle of nowhere next to a cow field, I saw two individuals—one male and one female—fully dressed in what I would describe as fancy couture clothing.
They were just standing on the sidewalk giving me the 50-yard stare. The man had no eyebrows and was wearing sunglasses, while the woman looked like Lady Gaga in American Horror Story. It was completely dark minus a small light above the cow field about 20 yards away. They didn't say a word, and they didn't move when I was running towards them. They just kept staring at me without moving a single facial muscle.
I immediately noped and ran to the other side of the street. As I passed them, they did the creepiest thing—they both turned their torsos with the same facial expressions in exact synchrony. Both of them had this weird smile on their faces; almost like they knew who I was. It was like they were analyzing me, with their eyes seeing completely through me.
They never said a word and never made any other movements. When I circled back an hour later, they were gone. I've never been more creeped out on a run, which says a lot because I've run past snakes, addicts, floods, and indecent men before.
As a 33-year-old woman, I don’t feel particularly unsafe walking alone at night, which is helpful because during the first two years I lived in Los Angeles, I worked late and didn’t have a car. Most of the time, I had to rely on public transportation. But one night, I was getting off the last Red Line train at Hollywood and Highland at like 2 am and I stopped dead in my tracks—ahead of me, there was a guy who had literally just been shanked.
He was bleeding out on the sidewalk in front of the Forever 21 near the corner. The blood was running all the way down the stairs on the sidewalk toward the street and a cop was just standing there. I wish I knew what happened to him, but when I tried looking it up, there were no reports of anything. They also just hosed off the sidewalk later that night for the morning tourists, so it was like it never happened.
Hollywood at night is a different city.
One night, at around 4 am, I was walking on a lonely street next to a public park with a hedge running its length. A deep, protracted scream from my left suddenly distracted me from the audiobook I was listening to and I removed my headphones. The scream swelled and was soon accompanied by fast-approaching footsteps, which quickly overtook me on the other side of the hedge.
At that moment, I froze. Suddenly, a bare-chested man erupted out of the foliage about five feet in front of me. His face and neck were covered in what appeared to be white powder from his nose down. For a brief moment we locked eyes—me, frozen still, and him, wide-eyed and still screaming—then he rushed past me; off down the road, into the darkness. I was so stunned that I just stood there for a few minutes, listening to his receding footsteps and screams as they faded to nothing.
I still find myself wondering about that guy. Where was he going? Where had he been? How much of that stuff had he ingested?
I have been on many night walks. Nowadays, I'd go just to clear my head or get a story idea straightened out. But in my youth, I would sometimes have no choice but to walk about two hours home from work. In my countless hours of walking through dark paths and empty streets, I only ever got freaked out once.
I was in the last mile or so of a long walk home after a 10-hour shift. I wanted nothing but to drop in bed and fall asleep without setting my alarm. My neighborhood had multiple paths through small wooded areas that could be used as shortcuts. I was walking through one of them and about ten feet into the woods, I heard a horrifying whisper: "Is that the guy?"
I noped the heck out of there with no shame and ran the long (and well-lit) way home. Could it have been my mind playing tricks on me? Who knows; maybe the fatigue of my life at the time got to me, but it felt so real at that moment. I can't recall another time where I had such a fight or flight reaction.
I was walking home from my cousin's house, which was on the other side of the neighborhood from me, right as dusk started. I was about seven or eight at the time, so I was thrilled to be by myself even if it was for a half-hour. But then, all of a sudden, I got a weird feeling that someone or something was watching me.
I shrugged it off for a moment before I got completely terrified and started walking faster. Walking turned into jogging, and before I knew it, I was running down the sidewalk, looking behind me to see if anything was chasing me. The third time I turned around, I saw a small shape about 80 feet away sprinting in my direction. Of course, I freaked out and ran as fast I was humanly able to.
Turning back around, I realized it was a Doberman with a collar following me. I think about that time still, and as an elementary kid not knowing what was chasing me, it was easily the most scared I have ever been in my life.
Back in high school, my buddy and I were walking to another friend's house around midnight. We lived in this tiny town and to get there, we had to walk across a massive field with short grass about two football fields in length. The far end of the field was backlit by a street. As we were entering the field, we saw the shadow of a human figure stand up at the far end.
We initially thought it was just our friend coming out to meet us...until we saw the shadow make an unexpected turn. It was looking directly at us. Then, in a split instant, it just dropped on all fours and started sprinting toward us, faster than anything I'd ever seen. I thought I was just seeing things, but my buddy grabbed my arm and told me to run away as fast as I could.
We both sprinted out of the field and across the street as far as we could possibly go. To this day, I have no idea what was chasing us or if I really saw it, but my buddy remembers the exact same details. I don't think I can go into fields at night ever again.
One time, in the dark of the morning, I was jogging through my neighborhood when I saw a van slowly rolling down the street. Its lights were off and there were masked guys running back and forth from the van to parked cars, checking the doors and stealing stuff. I kept my distance and called 9-1-1. They sent an officer who was then able to catch them in the next subdivision. They were armed and driving a stolen vehicle.
There was a park somewhat deep in a heavily wooded forest up in the Sierra Nevada mountains where I grew up. It sat on the outskirts of a small town of around 5,000 people. The park was crazy dark at night because the trees blocked the night sky completely and there were zero electric lights in the area. I took a girl there one night to check out these massive swings at the far side of the park.
We parked the car at the long perimeter fence and got in through an opening in the chain. We felt our way past the trees and stumbled on the uneven grass. There were lots of old-growth roots to trip on and it was pretty hilarious trying to find the swings with our single, tiny flip phone light. We finally found them and started swinging as high as we could, just enjoying ourselves in the dark.
Then, all of a sudden, we heard the voice of a man in the distance behind us, deep in the brush. He was yelling something but we couldn't quite make out what he was saying. We immediately went silent. Little by little, the voice got closer to us, and eventually, he was close enough for use to hear him yell: “I'LL. FREAKING. END. YOU.” Without saying anything we both bailed out of the swings.
We hit the ground hard and it knocked the wind out of us. We grabbed hands and ran in a random direction, tripping on rocks, hitting trees, etc., all while the man was still violently yelling and coming our way from behind us. Before we knew it, we ran face-first into the chain fence at the edge of the park and began to quickly feel for the opening in the fence.
We jumped into the car and turned the ignition, but just as we were about to make our escape, the headlights revealed a furious, wild-eyed man running full speed through the fence! Already in reverse, we hit the gas and sped up backward, leaving the man standing there.
I used to jog after work. Due to my schedule, I usually only found time to do it at night. One time, I was running in my neighborhood and came across a corner yard with hedges all the way around it. I had earbuds in and was just kind of vibing when I noticed a woman walking her large dog toward me on the sidewalk. To avoid the encounter, I turned down a driveway to head out to the other side of the street.
Just as I hit the driveway, a rabbit got spooked and shot out of the hedges within a foot of me. In order to assert my dominance over the rabbit, I scampered and let out a very high-pitched, yet very manly scream. I could tell the woman who was walking the dog was incredibly impressed with my prowess by the way she was laughing. As I jogged past her, I said, "You see that? The thing was coming right for me!" and kept on my way.
My friend took me to these old abandoned sawmills at night where they apparently used to sacrifice people and do some cult worship. We walked a very dark path and at some point, I stepped on something a little mushy. It was too dark to tell. Luckily, my friend was behind me and he switched his flashlight on. I looked down at my foot and immediately screamed—there was a full-grown copperhead right by it. That’s what I had stepped on. Thankfully, the snake just slithered away as if nothing happened.
One night, my friend and I were walking back to his place after a concert. It was pretty late and we decided to take a shortcut through a construction site because we were tired from the show. Since all the streets around the construction site were closed, it was completely empty, as if the whole area was abandoned. It was just the two of us in the South Loop area of Chicago.
We were crossing this small bridge, just chatting away about the concert when all of the sudden, I saw something moving in my peripherals. When I looked over, I couldn't believe my eyes—I didn't know exactly what it was, but it looked like some sort of zombie rat. Someone had taken a mummified rat and tied it to a wire, and even worse, it seemed like someone was tugging on the wire. It scared the heck out of me.
The combination of the abandoned construction site and the mummy rat creeped both of us out as we felt like we had accidentally discovered a serial killer's lair. So, we were like, "Screw this" and ran away until we hit a busy street with some traffic.
I went with four buddies on a walk in our local nature park at around 3 am. Now, it was the last day of summer before school started up again, so we were eager to have one last fun experience before returning. An important part of this story is that one of our friends who was with us had recently recovered from a broken femur, so naturally, we were walking a bit slower than usual.
We were just about to head into this thick forest area with a small path and we all started to get a little on edge. As we entered the forest, we heard this startling scream that was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. It gave me goosebumps, and even thinking back on it now it is giving me the creeps. When we heard it, we all started to run at full speed in the opposite direction.
When we reached the car, we all had a moment of confusion. Then, we all had a terrifying realization—one of us was missing. We immediately sprinted back to get our friend, the one with the weak femur. As we reached the spot, we saw no sign of him. Then, out of nowhere, we heard this little crackling noise and we saw our friend creeping up from the trees.
Turns out, he had decided to hide from the thing instead of running away from it, since he knew he couldn’t move fast enough. We grabbed him and took him back to the car since he was still pretty shaken by the whole thing. I wish I could tell you what we saw, but none of us really got a good look at it we were all too scared to go back. To this day, all of us are adamant that it wasn't an animal that made that noise.
I used to go running up DoG street in colonial Williamsburg at night during college. I was finishing up a midnight run once. I jumped the wall around the old church to sit on a bench and stretch... Then I heard organ music coming from the church. It was 1 am, so there was absolutely no one around, and there were also no lights on in the church. I jumped right back over the wall and sprinted back to the dorms.
I live in a rural village and one time, I was taking a late-night walk with my girlfriend. Suddenly, we heard a loud sound that we thought was a human scream. Turned out, it was just a sheep...Up until that moment, I never knew they could make horrifying sounds like that.
A friend of mine lived in a semi-rural area growing up. One night, some officers knocked on her door and warned her that they were looking for a possibly dangerous fugitive. I told her they'd check her property and that she should lock up and be wary. It wasn't until some time later that she found out the shocking full story. The fugitive had been caught mauling horses in a local stable.
In the ensuing panic, the horse's leg was broken and the man got away. He was found two days later hiding in a stormwater drain.
I camped on a lake in the Florida panhandle. We sat by the fire all night and I would randomly sweep the lakefront with my flashlight. That's when I saw hundreds upon hundreds of tiny little alligator eyes, all turned towards our fire.
When I had just gotten my first car, I was driving home one night around 10 pm, I came around a corner on a very dark backroad and my headlights shined onto a large stake that someone set up on the curve with a deer's head shoved on top. I was nervous the rest of the way home after that.
When my brother and I were kids, there was an abandoned house we’d explore occasionally. One day, we were brave enough to knock on the root cellar door. I will never forget the immediate sharp bangs on the door back at us. I don’t think either of us has ever run as fast as we did since.
Our planned camping spot for the night was full. We’d backpacked all day to get to that location and there wasn’t any spot to set up our tents. We called our guy “on the outside” to pick us up as it was getting late and a storm was approaching. We hiked to the nearest exit point on the trail, met our pickup guy, and he drove us a few miles to the next nearest campsite that we were familiar with.
This campsite had a long logging path pretty deep in the mountains that we had hiked in previous years, so we were kind of familiar with the area. Anyway, we hopped out of the van and it was pitch black. There was no moon and it was pretty chilly. We were cold, hungry, and exhausted. That’s when we noticed this creep staring at us from behind a tree. He had no headlamp, equipment, or backpack...he was literally just standing there.
One person from our group, who was a former marine, yelled at him to come out and explain what his deal was. The guy walked a few feet out from behind the tree and we all put our lights on him. What we saw was terrifying—the dude’s white T-shirt was covered in what looked like blood smears. He was pretty rough looking, with long hair, a long beard, and crazy eyes.
We were all pretty freaked out, and mind you, we were all pretty experienced hikers who have seen some freaky things before. We asked the guy what his deal was and he told us we couldn’t camp there. We explained to him that we'd come a long way and had no intention of leaving, but he firmly replied, “I don’t think that’s a good idea for any of you.”
We huddled to discuss as a group and when we looked back, he went back behind the tree. Eventually, we concluded that none of us would be getting any sleep that night if we stayed there, so we packed up the van and left. As we were pulling out, the guy suddenly pulled out one of those red-filtered flashlights and ran after our van. He followed us for at least a quarter-mile on foot.
He was fast as heck. We passed by a park ranger on the road and flagged him down to tell him how weird that dude was acting and he said he’d go investigate. I didn’t hear anything about it again for the next five years. For the longest time, I thought he was probably some psycho farmer who had a nearby plot, or a moonshiner who was just living in the woods and didn’t want us near his still.
People hunt there all the time, which would maybe explain the blood. But I was recently at an event with some of those guys again for the first time in years and that creep from the woods was brought up in conversation. One of our friends broke out his phone and said, “I forgot to tell you guys, I saw him again.” He pulled up a news article and there he was...his photo was beneath a shocking headline.
He’d been apprehended for murdering some poor girl on the trail. The timelines didn’t match up, so I fully believe we saw the guy shortly after he’d ended someone else. He hasn’t been charged with anything else as far as I’m aware. I’m not backpacking anymore.
One of my old professors was a Florida Wildlife Officer. Oftentimes, he was the only officer within a 10- to 15-mile radius in the middle of the Everglades. He had some wild stories of stuff that he saw, but the one that stuck out to me the most was when he saw a truck on a road where it shouldn’t have been and he let the guy off with a warning.
At that time, he was somewhat new to the force and decided that he didn’t want to harass the guy, so he let him go. A few hours later, he saw the naked body of a woman in her early 20s further down the road. He contacted local law enforcement and gave them a description of the guy. The truck was found in Orlando months later, fully abandoned, and they discovered a startling truth—the dead lady they found in the Everglades was actually the owner of the truck.
They never caught the guy. He said he felt an immense amount of guilt after that because the only reason the guy got away was that he was trying to be a “cool” cop. He didn’t ask the guy for ID or registration or anything; he just let him go on his way.
I went out for a late-night walk in the rain. I always enjoy it because it's peaceful, it smells great, it's quiet, and I never see anyone. I walked off this trail that led back to the road and I saw a big pile of garbage under a tarp at the end of the cul de sac. It gave me a creepy chill...I thought to myself, "That could be a dead body or something and I'd never know." So I picked up the pace.
About 500 yards away, there was a guy sitting in a parked car, in the dark, and in the rain. I got super creeped out at that point and hurried home. When I turned on the news a few days later, I learned the shocking truth. Turns out, there was a dead body under that tarp, and it had been there for four days before someone had investigated it. To my relief, the guy in the car turned out to be just a random dude who lived in the cul de sac and he was totally unrelated to the body.
Still, I took a few months off from my late-night walks alone in the woods.
Many years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take a late-night walk around his generally safe neighborhood. We got a few steps past the driveway when a shirtless man came running over to us with a hammer in one hand and a machete in the other. My boyfriend stayed super calm and asked the man what was going on. His response took us aback—apparently, some man had just broken into his apartment and tried to kidnap his young daughter.
He was chasing him down to either shatter his fingers with the hammer or chop off his hands with the machete, and he thought my boyfriend was possibly this man. My boyfriend gave me his car keys and told me to take myself home. By the time I got in his car and started backing out of the driveway, the man was screaming at my boyfriend, who was just standing there calmly with his hands in the air.
I drove a block away so the man wouldn't see me, then rolled the windows down to try to hear what was happening. Eventually, I called 9-1-1. The shirtless man ended up running off and I don't know if they ever got him. My boyfriend was fine though.
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