10+ People Share the Dark Secrets from Their Small Towns


Small town secrets are always intriguing. Sure there’s always friendly gossip brewing, but a lot of times the really creepy stuff remains hidden for years.

These AskReddit stories really go there though. Some are so intense they should be made into movies.

1. Arsonist

“When I was a firefighter we had an arsonist in the city. They would walk around at night until they found a garage door that was left open, and then they’d start a fire in the garage. It did not matter if the residents were home or not.

We had no leads other than it was a college student, as there was a discernible pattern of the fires stopping during winter and summer breaks.

The police, fire department, and the highest levels of local government worked to keep the nature of fires a secret as they were worried about how it would impact the town’s image. So, instead of telling people to close their garage doors at night, nearly 20 families lost their homes. The arsonist was never caught, and presumably is still lighting fires in some other town.”

2. The mines

“There are these old abandoned mines (as in mineral mines- think man-made caves in the side of a mountain) near my hometown town where kids used to go to smoke weed and make out before they put metal gates over them.

When I was in high school there was this huge thing where a cop went missing, car and all, while he was on-duty. He just didn’t show up at shift change. (This was before gps and smart phones etc.) People thought he’d been killed by gang members or something (there were no gangs in the town but everyone was convinced that they came down from the nearest big city to do crimes).

Eventually they announced, they found him, accidental death, very sad. Wife & young kids etc.

What wasn’t in the news, but everyone knew through word-of-mouth: he and another cop’s wife were having an affair and they were found in his patrol car in one of the makeout mines, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning.”

3. The addict

“My hometown has a “famous” drug addict – i.e. everyone knows who he is, he’s lived there for ~70 years and his crimes are town gossip. Most of the time it’s small stuff: Stolen bikes (and once a canoe) that he just leaves somewhere, living in a park when he doesn’t feel like going home for a few days, shit like that. He’s mostly seen as a harmless, funny character. His brain is seriously damaged after hard drug use since his early teens.

What is rarely mentioned is that when he still had a house he used to steal dogs and beat them to death in his basement.”

4. Redneck Mafia

“This was in a small town, generally run by a half dozen big family names that almost act like redneck mafia families / cartels. If you’re related to one of those families, you can figuratively get away with murder… and sometimes quite literally.

Years back, one of the locals “R”, was supposedly out deer hunting & drinking, and noticed a “not from around here” guy out horse riding in the woods. R just shot him and left him out in the woods to die… either for shits and giggles, or because the guy was “from California”, as R likes to claim.

He tends to gets drunk and brags about it frequently, so it’s more common knowledge than a secret… nothing has ever been done though, since he’s from one of the “big families” in the area, and is related to several officers, a former judge, and a decent chunk of the town. The cops never bothered investigating – just said it was an accidental shooting, and there was no evidence or suspects.

Same story they gave when some kids found a couple dead migrant workers in a drainage ditch behind the high school my senior year – cops just said “we’ll never know” and that was it.

God, I hate that town.”

5. That’s odd

“A few months ago there was a brief media kerfuffle in the local papers about someone breaking into a barn and “attacking” a pony.”

6. House in the woods

“The “Devil House.”

Now, it had been around my hometown for decades. Enough different generations of kids had their own mythos. I had an English teacher that went to the same school in the late ’80s. By then it was vacant but someone had painted a pentagram on the wall. You had to know where it was. Pull over on the old highway coming in to town at a certain point. There was no driveway or anything, but you could see a gate if you knew where to look. Then you go into the woods a bit and BAM, it almost appears out of nowhere on you. That’s how well it was hidden. For the most part, every high school class would have a couple of people venture out to see it and leave their own small mark. Everyone was just sure Satanists or witches were meeting there occasionally.

But later, I found out the real story from my Dad. I’d asked him, but he didn’t make the connection between that house’s original purpose and the later myths until I showed him. The reason that hidden house was built was for a former wealthy farmer’s lesbian daughter. Didn’t have the heart to disown her, so he hid her away there in the late 60s. Because 60s, there were some wild parties out there and girls were “converted” to lesbianism (read, already knew damn well they were gay) so of course that small southern town assumed the devil was behind it.”

7. There’s a lesson here

“I live in a super small town (see all the same people constantly). And back in the 80s there was a group of guys my mom went to high school with who were rumored to have killed this poor old man in town and rob his house blind of drugs and nice belongings. They got away clean except for one of the idiots decided to shit in the sink.

The police collected the sample but at the time there wasn’t the technology to find out who the shit belonged to. Well around 10-15 years later they finally had the technology and they tested that sample. They found out who it belonged to and the guy ended up in prison after getting away with it for so long.”

8. Satanist club

“Back in the ’80s they’d closed down the old middle school in my town and built a new one fairly close to it. Because the building wasn’t that run down, they’d let the little league (grades 2-6) teams practice in the old school and leave big kids alone at the new school. I’m not really sure how, but a rumor started that there was a satanist club underneath the gym. People claimed they could hear chanting and loud banging noises from under the floor and it freaked everyone tf out so the school mostly stopped using it.

I found out the truth recently from my friend’s mom. Apparently some locals ran a swingers club down there and she knew because went once just to see what it was like.”

9. More to it

“At my high school, years ago, we had a kid commit suicide with a gun in the annex bathroom during school. It was awful and everybody was distraught that something like this would happen.

What they didn’t tell people, which I know now because my parents were administrators at the time, is that the suicide was an accident. He hid a shotgun in the ceiling over a toilet and the investigators determined that the gun shot would was not that of someone who was intentionally trying to kill themselves. He also had more ammo and homemade explosive devices in his locker.

Basically, he was about to go ape shit on my school but shot himself trying to retrieve his weapon from the bathroom ceiling.

All of the news reports and letters sent home said that he was disturbed and sadly killed himself at school. My parents waited a few years to tell me but it gives me goosebumps to this day. I was in gym class, which was the closest room with people in it. I heard the gunshot.”

10. Oh dear

“Twice in the last 16 years there have been two local reports of people breaking into barns and having sex with horses. Both times the news used very roundabout ways of describing it, and both reporters sped through the report like they couldn’t believe they had to cover it.”

11. Creep

“In my town everyone thought that the elementary school music teacher was a pedophile. And a few years ago he got arrested. The school never told us what he got arrested for, but everyone knew what it was for. Turns out he was looking up child porn on the school computers”

12. F’d up

“Happened recently in my town. The basketball coach, then two music teachers all were diddling students at the local high school. All were men, but the first two went for boys, the last went for girls.

Ironically, the first music teacher got transferred to try to cover up what he had done, and then the replacement teacher started diddling kids as well. Pretty f*cked all around.”

13. Wow

“A teacher was molesting students and a bunch of dads took him on a hunting trip where he had a “tragic accident” and died.”

14. Cool!

“A kebab shop in my hometown has an underground casino and sells food at the back door after closing hours.”

15. Don’t talk about it

“Brother and sister slept together. Every one found out, the sister disappears for almost 10 years. Rumor was she’d killed herself out of embarrassment. Outta the blue she popped back up one day, thinking(hoping?) we’d all forgotten. Nobody forgot, but nobody mentions it, either.”