People Share the Scariest Stories They’ve Ever Heard

I’m pretty obsessed for all crime-related material and the spookier, the better, for me.

And the true crime genre as a whole is more popular than ever with the general public.

So I think a lot of folks are gonna be interested in these stories.

What’s the scariest true story you know?

Here’s what folks on AskReddit had to say…

1. Terrible.

“During college, I lived in an apartment with a community pool. There were a bunch of us having beers at the pool one night over summer term, and one of my friends ran to jump in the pool but changed his mind at the last second.

His feet slipped out from under him on the wet concrete and he went down. He broke his neck in the edge of the pool…never walked again and had extremely limited upper body function.

I watched someone’s life be ruined and it was terrifying. Listen to the lifeguard and walk.”

2. This is terrifying.

“I had a guy tell me a story a couple decades ago about how he was hiking in an area in South America and wandered away from other hikers in the area.

The ground was wet and without warning it gave away and he got sucked into a fast moving underground river- pitch black, completely submerged, and at the mercy of the current as it buffeted him against the sides of the tunnel. After some time the current subsided and he realized he was in a larger pocket, still pitch black and submerged.

He said that even as he struggled to hold his breath, he didn’t panic and realized that the water had to keep moving somewhere, so he moved around until he found another tunnel that sucked him in.

At one point he began to see light so he punched upwards, broke through the ground and pulled himself out, soaking wet, gasping for air, and a bit of a distance from the other dry hikers, who were somewhat bewildered when they saw him straggling up to them.”

3. Explosion.

“The New London school explosion.

A school in Texas in 1937 tried to tap into natural gas on their own and it ended up leaking and blowing up the school. It’s the reason they make natural gas scented in Texas and probably the US now. I’m amazed I never heard of this in school because it seems like something that should be taught.

I read some survivor stories and I had f**king nightmares. It was horrible. Three in particular stuck with me. One was a 7 or 8 year old girl, she saw her best friend and playmate with her entire body crushed by concrete with only her shoulders and head above it, and she still had a lollipop in her mouth like she didn’t know what happened.

Another was a guy I think a 16-17 year old, helping un-dig people and bring them out of the wreckage. He saw a dad holding his daughter crying his eyes out while the back of the girls head was broken open with her brain on the ground next to her.

The last was a 9ish year old girl who went to find her mom after it happened (there was a PTA meeting going on at the time so there was a lot of parents at the scene) her mom was freaking out trying to find her but didn’t even recognize her. She went upto her mom and called out to her but she just kept saying ‘you’re not my daughter.” She was so covered in blood and ash and tears that her own mother couldn’t recognize her.

It was a truly horrifying thing.”

4. Right next door.

“I lived next to a m**derer.

Faye Swetlik was 6 years old when she was kidnapped out of her front yard. It was all over the news. I had news crews, cops, even the FBI all over my townhouse complex. My fiancée and I met with the FBI 3 times. They searched our home and everything. I remember clear as day, my fiancée FaceTimed me as the cops were digging through the trash cans directly in front of my townhouse.

They pulled out her boot and a bloody knife. Then they found her body, dumped maybe 300 feet from my house. He had watched them find the m**der weapon. Dumbass put it in a trash bag along with his other mail. He went to his back porch and opened his own throat.

It’s crazy. I had conversations with the guy. I never knew he was a psycho. This all happened a year ago.”

5. Middle of the night.

“My great aunt woke up in the middle of the night, she heard her dog making these low growls.

She was single at the time and living alone in her ranch-style home. She walked out to her living room to check things out. She didn’t see or hear anything out of the ordinary, so she decided to make sure her door and front windows were locked. Door was locked, first window she checked was locked.

When she lifted the mini blind on the second window, it was wide open and a guy in a ski mask was standing there. She said he laughed this evil laugh and said “party time” then he started to climb in. She screamed that she had a g**, her dog started barking his head off. The would be r**ist decided to bolt. My aunt did get a g** after that and learned how to use it.

I can’t even think about what would’ve happened to her if she didn’t have her dog to warn her.”

6. The Girl in the Box.

“The kidnapping of Colleen Stan. She was hitchhiking in the 70s, and turned down rides because they didn’t seem safe.

A van with a young couple and a baby offered her a ride, and because it was a family, she accepted. They held her at gun point, put a giant box on her head that blocked out noise and sound, and later, kept her in box the size of a coffin underneath their bed. She was brutally beaten and r**ed daily for 7 years. They also brainwashed her to believe that they were part of a mafia called “The Company” that would k**l her family if she tried to escape.

Eventually, the wife helped her escape and received immunity for testifying against her husband at trial. The case is known as “The Girl in the Box.””

7. Chilling.

“Germanwings Flight 9525.

The copilot locked himself in the cockpit and set the airplane for a slow descent into the French Alps.

For 10 minutes, the crew desperately tried to get back into the cockpit, but in this post 9/11 world, the door was design to withstand assault did not fail.

This is was a daytime flight. Passengers knew what was happening. They could see the mountains getting closer out the windows. This wasn’t a quick, “what’s that… omg… out”… this was a long, drawn out realization of what was coming and the end was inevitable.


8. The doctor.

“The story of Christopher Duntsch aka Doctor D**th who operated out of the Plano and Dallas area.

He maimed 33 people and ki**ed 2. He was an alleged neurosurgeon that didn’t actually receive a proper medical education to operate, but still did so despite not fully being trained. No hospital would report him or take his license away. They would just pass him off to another hospital to continue injuring or ki**ing people.

He was the first doctor to be formally indicated with m**der, and sentenced to life imprisonment.”

9. Wow.

“My brother was a police officer.

He had a call to check on the welfare of a mother who had not showed up for work. She had d**d on the sofa and her little toddler brought the little diaper pad and laid down next to her, and d**d of dehydration.

The little kid had opened the lower cabinets and drawers in the kitchen looking for food. He still cries about it. And he’s not the crying kind”

10. Creepy.

“I grew up in a funeral home. I helped out in the office.

When I was about 15, we got a call from a man whose wife and infant baby had been m**dered in cold blood.

There were very few clues. It made headlines. Cops set up surveillance at the viewing. It was heartbreaking, as the mother was holding the baby in her arms.

I was asked to take the flower cards and periodically get the husband and ask if he recognized the names. I then photocopied them and put them back. I did it because I was a “kid,” people knew me, and I was unobtrusive.

I talked to the husband quite a bit. He seemed devastated and shaken.

The cops told me they had an eyewitness to someone leaving the house the day of the m**der.

The witness was a three year old girl. She recognized the man leaving. It was the husbands best friend.

Turns out that the friend and the husband had made a pact to k**l each other’s families and run off with their secretaries. The little girl identified the friend, and I guess one of them cracked.

They both went to jail on multiple counts, all on the testimony of a three year old.

I still cannot believe to this day that that man stood right beside me, multiple times, and I had NO CLUE.”

11. Awful.

“James Bulger.

He was just 2 years old and with his mom running errands. She let go of his hand to pay the cashier, and he wandered away. Two ten year old boys spotted him, lured him toward them, took him by the hands and led him away. They took him to a remote location, pushing and kicking at him the whole time.

Some people questioned the two kids with the crying toddler, but they lied saying he was their brother and nobody intervened further. They took him to a secluded spot and t**tured him. I don’t want to recount the t**ture details, it’s just too gruesome. They left his body on some railroad tracks hoping that being run over by a train would make it look like an accident. He was found days later, his body severed in half by a train.

The boys were caught and became the youngest convicted m**derers in British history. Security footage from the day they took James shows them watching children, picking out a target. And they were just kids themselves. They were released at 18. One of them is back in jail for possessing child abuse photos on his computer.

The most terrifying thing about this for me is that my own son is only 2 now, and James’s m**derers were just children, too. It was premeditated and intentional and entirely random. Just a momentary lapse in attention and he became a target of two m**derous children. Children.

To think that children younger than my step son are capable of such a thing… ugh. Everything about this case is just horrifying.”

12. The more you know…

“My dad worked in a morgue in during college in the 60’s.

One time on the night shift he was training a recent hire who was wheeling a body down the hallway. The body was under a sheet but all of a sudden started to sit up. The guy immediately freaked out, ran out the doors and quit.

Apparently a d**d body can have muscle contractions in the abs causing it to start sitting up. The more you know I guess.”

13. Missing.

“This one kid back in the early 20th century named Bobby Dunbar.

He went missing, and after like a year of searching for him, his parents came across a man with a kid who looked a lot like Bobby. They believed it was their kid, and after a legal battle with the kid’s supposed mother, they brought the kid home. A whole parade happened due to the missing kid’s return. He lived and d**d believing he was, in fact, Bobby Dunbar.

Well, a few decades later, his granddaughter asked Bobby’s (nephew I think?) for a DNA sample so she could see if her and Bobby’s nephew were related. Turns out, they weren’t. Meaning the real Bobby Dunbar is still missing and, probably d**d alone without his parents.”

14. Horrible.

“Nirbhaya Case – 2012 – Delhi

A female student boarded an off-duty bus with a male friend. They were returning home after watching a film. The six men, who were already on board, including the driver, attacked the couple, taking turns to r**e the woman in the moving bus around the city, before brutally assaulting her with an iron rod.

Her friend was beaten and tied to watch the assault. They were then thrown out onto the roadside to d**. Some passers-by found them naked and bloodied and called the police. Two weeks later – after widespread protests that demanded India reckon with its treatment of women – the victim d**d in a hospital in Singapore, where she was taken for further treatment after her condition deteriorated in a Delhi hospital.

All six people were arrested for the attack. One of them was found d**d in jail in March 2013, having apparently taken his own life.

Another, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was released in 2015, after serving three years in a reform facility.

The remaining four were hanged in the capital’s high-security Tihar prison.”

15. Frightening.

“My mother’s friend left her abusive husband. My mother met her while working at a women’s shelter.

They were really close, and my mother fought so hard to get her somewhere safe. They did everything right. She helped her file divorce papers. And then one morning my mom can’t get her on the phone, but they’d had plans to meet for lunch. And she checks the newspaper. And she calls in sick to work. Which she never did. And she sat my down in tears and told me what happened.

Her friend was home, with her son, when her ex broke in. He ki**ed her and left the baby there, in his mother’s blood. And then he hung himself outside of Raley’s. Last I heard their almost two year old went to live with his uncle. I can’t imagine how terrifying it was for the baby to cry to himself, in his mother’s blood, for the almost two days until he was found.”

16. Whoa.

“Happened to my boss’s best friend when they were around 17 yo:

Best friend’s parents were out of town one weekend and she had the house to herself. Went about her business having dinner, watching tv then decided to go to bed. She was lying in her bed with her back to her closet when she heard the door open. She somehow pretended to be asleep – the man who was hiding in the closet walked around her bed to the side she was laying/facing, gently stroked her hair and face then left.

She immediately called her boyfriend to ask him to come over then called her parents and then the police. Long story short this man had been getting into their home via a doggy door (they didn’t have a dog and didn’t bother to secure it) and he’d been living in a tent in the foresty area behind their home for months to creep on her. They found a ton of surveillance footage of her sleeping and pieces of her clothes and stuff.

If I recall correctly this happened somewhere in Alabama, most likely mid-2000s.”

17. Bizarre.

“I read a story recently about Paulette Gerbera Ferah, a 4 year old child who went missing from her room in 2010.

Her parents immediately notified authorities, and started a social media campaign to find Paulette. Paulette’s room was searched multiple times and used by her parents to do media interviews.

Here’s the terrifying part: Paulette was found d**d 10 days later… IN HER BED! She had wedged herself between the mattress and the footboard and suffocated.”

18. OMG.

“The blue-ring octopus has a venom that causes paralysis, causing people to d** of cardiac arrest or because of hypoxia. There is no antidote; the ”cure” is CPR or lif-support for the hour-or-so it takes for the the venom to leave the body.

There was a man who was bitten by a blue-ring octopus. As the life-guard was preforming CPR, he was lying on his back on the beach, facing the sky, eyes frozen open. Unable to close his eyes or communicate with the others, he lied there as the sun slowly burnt out his retinas. He became permanently blind.”

19. Inspired by…

“The story that inspired “Candyman” is pretty creepy.

A woman in a Chicago apartment was m**dered by some drug dealer who lived next-door.

How did he get into her apartment? Through a hole behind her bathroom cabinet/mirror.”

20. Horror story.

“The Nutty Putty Cave Incident

A spelunker got stuck upside down in a narrow cave for 26 hours. Crews tried to pull him out with pulleys, but had to be careful not to break his legs, because that could be fatal with the circumstances he was in.

Rescuers even almost dislodged him, only for an anchor to fail at the last second, plunging him back into the crevice. He eventually d**d, and they sealed the cave shut with him inside.”

21. The expedition.

“The Franklin Expedition.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 British sailors and military personnel on two ships embarked on a mission to find the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic across to the Pacific through arctic waters. The ships, named HMS Erebus and HMS Terror (two former warships reclassified as ice breakers thanks to their sturdier builds) departed British waters in the 1845 and were never seen again. In subsequent rescue attempts and investigations it was discovered that quite possibly everything that could’ve gone wrong on the expedition did so.

The weight of the ships with their reinforced hulls and decks designed to fire mortars and cannons off of worked against them as much of the waters crossed were shallow and filled with rocks and icebergs. The the time chosen to launch the expedition occurred at one of the coldest Arctic periods in recent history, meaning the polar ice and (particularly the pack ice) didn’t melt like usual as the ships became locked in the frozen water and essentially experienced an endless winter for over 4 years.

The food they stored which was supposed to last for years thanks to the revolutionary new process of canning was bought at the lowest bidder. Much of the food was improperly sealed and spoiled leading to food poisoning and even the ones that were properly sealed and kept intact were riddled with lead thanks to the soldering used to keep the food inside fresh.

In conjunction with the lead pipes in the ships the men would’ve been drinking out of for years meant the entire crews of both ships was slowly being infected with all manner of diseases (namely botulism, scurvy and heavy lead poisoning which also affects the mind leading to memory loss, heavy paranoia and general mental deterioration) combined with already present tuberculosis that ki**ed a small number of the crew before departing to the Arctic.

After about 2-3 years stuck in the ice, the captain in charge of the voyage John Franklin and many other crew members d**d in unknown circumstances and the remainder decided to abandon ships and try and hike out together to the nearest trading outpost and Back Fish river in Canada, hundreds of miles away, by loading up their rowboats with supplies and fixing them on sleds to be pulled. All remaining crew perished on that journey.

Their remains discovered by local Inuits/Netsilik tribes, who described desolate campsites of skeleton-like corpses with hazily built, half-open tents and even human body parts in cook pots, heavily implying that the men resorted to cannibalism in their last desperate hours.”

22. Deranged.

“The m**der of the Groene family.

A deranged pe**phile named Joseph Edward Duncan was already on the run from the cops for a past s**ual assault. He was incredibly charming and manipulative, and was truly pure evil. He camped outside a family’s rural home, unseen by them. He picked it out after driving past it and seeing children’s toys outside. He watched them from afar, got to know their routine with the intent of kidnapping the children, ten year old Dylan, eight year old Shasta.

Jed found the lock on the door was broken, entered the home in the middle of the night and tied up the mom, dad and teenage son. He put Shasta and Dylan in his car and ki**ed the rest of the family with a hammer.

He travelled around various campsites and cabins with Shasta and Dylan captive, s**ually abusing, t**turing and raping them. He eventually shot Dylan but Shasta talked him out of ki**ing her. Jed ended up telling her she “taught him how to love”

The scariest part is a cctv footage of Jed and Shasta at a gas station. Because you could easily believe they were just a normal dad and a grumpy daughter if you were an onlooker https://youtu.be/ZttD-myqdaw

Eventually, he took her to a diner where he was finally apprehended when a waitress noticed something was up and Shasta was saved after 7 weeks in his clutches. As he was dragged away, he called to her “promise me you’ll visit me in prison” and she said she would. I don’t know if she ever did.

Jed was put on death row and found to be guilty of three previous child m**ders. He d**d a few months ago from cancer.

But the worst part of it all is how horrible Shasta’s life has been afterwards. Drug addiction, in and out of jail, losing her children etc. Just the most horrifying story ever.”

23. The cult.

“In the 1980s there was a Mexican cult led by an American named Adolfo Constanzo.

They used to kidnap random people from tourist towns and nearby cities and perform human sacrifice on them in their rural Mexican desert compound, usually t**turing in elaborate rituals for hours or days before finally letting them d**. These rituals included vivisections, castrations, eyeball removal, tongue removal, teeth pulling, skin flaying, hanging, etc.

They used amphetamines and cocaine to force the victim to stay awake during the t**ture and not pass out from shock.

The cult believed the more pain and fear they could generate in the sacrifice victim the more powerful the body parts would be as ritual trinkets and also for food for the cult’s “nganga” which is a large ritual cauldron used to store bones, blood, meat, and other valuable items that the cult believed gave them power. They used to make staves out of wired together spinal columns and they would often eat the victim’s eyeballs during the rituals.

They are believed to have kidnapped and sacrificed over 26 people to their nganga in their three years that they were active from 1986 to 1989. The leader committed suicide when the police showed up at their compound. They arrested 14 cult members but most people believe there were at least a dozen more that escaped and are still out there.”

24. Scary.

“Personal story.

When I was 10, I regularly attended a choir club for kids. One day, I was picked up by my dad to drive me home. I was confused about it, as it was always my mum who did, but did not think much on it until half-way through the drive. My dad began to mumble about how sorry he was, and how I would never see him again.

More than a bit frightened and confused at that point, I kept asking what he meant, but he wouldn’t say. Until we were home, but he did not leave the car, and instead urged me to get out. Finally, he told me I would not see him again because he will be d**d very soon for what he did, and that the police would answer me.

After he practically kicked me out of the car I rushed home, but no one was there. But I found the door open, and a puddle of blood on the floor.

The police was nearby and explained what had happened:

My dad was obsessively jealous and had found a pack of old condoms in the cupboard, so he drew the conclusion that my mum must have cheated on him. Never mind the fact that we only recently moved into this apartment, and they could have been left by previous tenants, or the fact that he controlled my mum’s very step and never let her go anywhere alone. The police took me to the hospital, where my mum, luckily alive, was being treated.

My dad had smashed her skull in with a full wine bottle. The only reason she survived was because my little brother, 7 at the time, intervened. If it weren’t for him, my dad would have ki**ed my mum in a fit of jealousy.

When he said that I would not see him again, he meant that he had planned on ki**ing himself shortly after dropping me off. He did not succeed, and police managed to get him into a mental ward.

This, to this date, is the scariest thing that had ever happened to me, but I keep thinking of my brother all the time. To witness your own mum being beaten half-d**d by your dad. We both suffered extreme mental trauma from this event later down the line, but somehow turned into decent people. I never really told him how grateful I am he was there, but I think that I really, really should.”

Do you know any really scary true stories?

If so, tell us about them in the comments.

We’d love to hear from you!