If you’ve seen WAY too many horror movies (like I have), you’re probably always worried that something terrible is lurking around every corner. And, of course, the suspense really ratchets up when you’re home alone.

You hear a weird noise, you lose your sh*t. If the lights flicker, you end up trembling under a blanket. And while 99% of the time our fears prove to be unfounded, sometimes scary stuff actually does happen. People on AskReddit shared the scariest things that every happened to them while they were home alone. They’ll definitely leave you feeling a bit anxious about your next night of “me time.”

1. Fire

“The very first summer I was “old enough” to be home alone during the summer, I was in my room watching TV and being generally lazy when my room was enveloped in this bullet quick flash of light(ning) and what followed was to date the loudest noise I have ever heard. An explosion that shook my house. I was shook for a good few minutes after that thunder roared. But I stayed in bed.

Well, after a few minutes, I started to notice something outside of my window. It looked like a cloud creeping over my house. I couldn’t piece together what it was, so I left my room and started to head downstairs. That’s when I saw the emergency lights all flashing off the portraits at the bottom of the stairs.

When I got downstairs, there was only one view from the windows at the front of the house: the neighbors’ house across the street, almost completely engulfed by flames.

I’m convinced no ghost or thief or thing that goes bump in the night is half as scary as the powerlessness I felt when I realized a storm can just randomly erase your house from the foundation up, and there’s not shit you can do about it. And if the fire is big enough, there’s not shit your neighbors can do about it either. I called my mom in a panic, worried the storm (which was still lingering) would hit our house next or something.”

2. An urban legend come true

“Technically wasn’t home alone, but everyone had gone to bed so I was the only one up.

It was like midnight around Christmas, and I was on my laptop in the living room. I was just thinking about going to bed when I hear the softest little knock on our glass door, so soft my dog doesn’t even hear it and react. My area has lots of animals around so I look up expecting to see a stray dog or something like that.

Nope.

An older man is at my back door looking in. I freeze up for a moment, and just stare. He doesn’t seem to see me, despite me being right there, and turns to talks to someone off the porch I can’t see while messing with my door some. At that point I start screaming for my dad, dude finally hears/sees me, and had taken off running by the time my family woke up. 911 is called and like 8 unmarked cars full of police officers show up literally instantly. It was really surprising. Next day, found out the reason they showed up so quickly was because that dude was probably someone they were looking for who had escaped from them a few moments before… So that’s nice.”

3. Shook me right to my core

“In University, one night my friends all went out partying and I stayed at home because I was broke. A few minutes after taxis picked up the guests, the letterbox was banged a few times. Me, being upstairs, ignored it, assuming it was somebody messing around (I lived in a student area, it wasn’t uncommon.)

Five minutes after that, there were five massive bangs at the door. I screamed and ran downstairs to see our front door hanging wide open. Called the police, apparently there had been a spate of break ins that week and the letterbox banging was to check if someone was in who would come outside. Shook me right to my core, that did.”

4. Stroke?

“In college my live-in boyfriend had gone out with friends for an evening. I started to have a tingly feeling in my hand that wouldn’t go away. Then the tingling spread up my arm to the entire right side of my body. Called my mom because I was getting freaked out and started slurring my speech and forgetting words (on the tip of my tongue but couldn’t remember the specific word). We both recognize this as stroke symptoms and I call 911.

Next thing I know there are fire fighters, paramedics, and police at my house as well as my aunt and boyfriend that my mom had called.

Turned out it was an atypical migraine and I was fine, but thinking I was having a stroke while home alone was terrifying. I still get nervous when I’m home alone or driving alone even though multiple doctors have said it’s a freak thing that probably will never happen again.”

5. Flying rat

“When I was at uni, my housemates and I lived in a really sketchy area. One weekend, all three of them were away and I was home alone. Shortly after going to bed, I was woken out of a dead sleep to a sound I couldn’t place. There was banging (not the good kind), crashing, and all sorts of commotion coming from the top floor. Definitely someone or something up there.

I happened to have a butterfly knife in my bedside cabinet (night stand) and grabbed it, deciding I would be brave and deal with the problem. I was a short, skinny 19 year old woman with no strength. Also no clothing, because I didn’t think to get dressed with all the adrenaline.

Crept up the stairs and discovered the noise, which was getting louder and more frantic, was coming from my housemate’s room. Called out, no answer. Eventually plucked up the courage to turn the door handle, stepped back and nudged the door with my foot, only to have whatever was in that room come flying straight out at me.

Literally flying. It was a f*cking pigeon. Took a couple of hours to get the f*cking thing out of the window that had been left open and then calm down enough to go back to bed.

So it turned out not to be a scary thing, but the whole process of trying to find out who/what was in my house was pretty terrifying while it was happening.”

6. Break in

“When I was about 11 my sister’s ex broke into our home while my family was out. I go downstairs to check it out and see this scrawny, scowling kid crying while trying to make his way up through the basement. When he saw me at first, he tried to calm me down, and then pleaded with me not to tell my parents, eventually threatening me if I did. I know that a crying, hysterical high school freshman doesn’t sound intimidating, but as a kid he was like twice my size and his emotional state really freaked me out. It ended when my fat old dog, hearing the commotion, came to check things out and went into full-on ‘lol I’m gonna murder you’ mode and chased him out of the house and into the yard.

My parents found out, cops were called, charges were pressed, but as my mom explained it, the kid was shown some mercy because he was just that pathetic.

We both still live in the same town, so keeping tabs on the dude became a bit of a morbid fascination for me over the years. He’s never really changed, and has consistently been a sad-sack loser his entire life.”

7. Horrifying (at the time)

“I was in 4th grade when I thought a man broke into my house. I use the word thought because a man was definitely in my house, but he was allowed to be there lol.

I stayed home from school sick, had a fever, and my mom took me to the doctor. Got antibiotics and we lived in such a small town, mom asked if I wanted to stay home while she ran back to the pharmacy to get my meds. It was 5 minutes from the house, I told her I’d be fine on the couch. Also, early 90’s so no cell phones and we had one house phone in the kitchen.

She left. A few minutes later our doorbell rang. I looked out the window and saw a man, and I assumed he’d leave if no one answered, I saw the door was locked so I started walking back to the couch. But I had a bad feeling, so I’d already taken off my shoes (so he couldn’t hear me walking) and I stepped in the doorway of our stairs that go to the basement and waited. I heard him turning the knob, and walked down a few steps. Then he opened the door and I bolted down to the basement. I could hear him walking above me. Our basement had doors that went to our backyard, so I went outside. It was 40 degrees, raining, and I had a temp of 105. As I was standing in the side yard, in my pjs and socks looking at all the houses around us and trying to remember who had little kids and would be home, my mom drove up. She was immediately asking what the f*ck I was doing and all I could do was cry and point at our house saying, “a man is in there! The man!”

Cue laughter. She walks in, dude was very confused why the lights and tv were on and no one was home. Since she was taking care of me, she’d forgotten that she scheduled a meeting with an appraiser because (unknown to me at the time) we were moving to another state and they were selling our house. He had a key. Funny now, f*cking horrifying at the time.”

8. Time to freak out

“I’m living in a college apartment with a friend. Quite a while ago I ended up staying there for a weekend by myself, though I had originally planned to head home and work my part time job as I normally do.

Anyway I was the only one in the house on this particular night when I heard a bang and the sound of wood on wood. Thinking I must’ve left a window open and it was just the breeze slamming the door in the kitchen or something, I went to go close it… except that door was still open and all the windows were already closed.

Now I was a little spooked, but I was determined to find out what could have made that noise so I could calm down, go to bed and laugh about how silly I was for getting scared. But as I was walking back through the hall connecting my room to the kitchen/ living room I found it.

The thick wooden panel that accessed the attic (which would only be used for maintenance but was connected to all apartments on that floor and the hall outside) had been PULLED UP. At this point I decided that it would be safer if I just stayed in my room and locked the door until morning. The next morning of course I found blood smeared across the top of my door, so that was fun.”

9. Illegally parked

“A car illegally parked under my bedroom window in a dark alley when I was living in the bad part of Montreal. The cops told me they’d get it towed as it offered a perfect way to easily climb through my window. They didn’t act fast enough and that same night I heard a sound while in the living room.

I glanced down the hall to my bedroom and could clearly see a guy crawling through the window. I grabbed a frying pan from the counter and hit him straight in the face with it. He fell back onto the car roof and ran away. The police didn’t find him. And I moved.”

10. Sonic

“Raccoon crawled in my chimney, broke the ceiling, looked at me and hissed. I opened my room door and led it downstairs and opened the front door. It ran into the street and then tripped, looking like fuckin Sonic.”

11. Lock your doors

“Was at home watching TV when out of the corner of my eye I saw two guys running in my backyard. Then there’s a loud ass knock at my door and I go to answer. It’s the Sheriff SWAT and they tell me to lock my back door because there are some guys with drugs and guns in my backyard. I immediately run to lock the door and I’m looking out a window while the SWAT team do their stuff in my backyard. Crazy shit. Turns out the people in my yard were cartel members.”

12. Manson?

“I lived alone in an apartment on the second floor. One night at about 2 a.m. I wake up to the sound of shattering glass. I go and look out the window and there’s a guy trying to break in downstairs. The person who lived in that apartment was in her 80s and totally blind. I called 911 in a total panic and watched the guy run off into the woods. But the scariest part for me was that I had taken Ambien and was convinced the guy was Charles Manson…

(The police caught the guy. He went to jail. The lady was in the hospital at the time.)”

13. Ice addict

“A huuuuge ice addict turned up at my back glass door wearing nothing but skimpy underwear with blood all over him. He was screaming at me and punching the glass. I grabbed the phone and locked myself in the bathroom while he picked up all my outdoor furniture and threw them at the glass door, trying to get in. Police arrived pretty quickly thank God, and he never did get into the house.”

14. Stalker

“I woke up to my stalker in my bed…just watching me sleep. I screamed and she jumped through my bedroom window which had been opened by her… she was caught and I very quickly and discreetly moved after that.”

15. Don’t go out there

“When I was 10 and home alone after school for a few hours waiting for my parents to come home from work, a guy “broke down in my driveway” and wanted me to come out and help him get his car started. I lived in the country so no neighborhood, and neighbors several hundred feet away were not home either. After repeatedly telling him no, and his continuous trying (I was scared shitless and golden retriever going crazy), I offered to call the police to come help him. His car started and left.”