10 People Share the Most Terrifying Experiences they've Ever Had
Image credit Mikhail Kryshen

Looking for a scary story or two? Thousands of people around the world are sharing the most terrifying true-life encounters they’ve ever experienced on Reddit. From tales of uninvited house guests to a strange late night encounter with a sinister smiling man, here are the creepiest stories ever shared.

1. The Bridge

I was on vacation in Ithaca with my boyfriend at the time. We had literally, I’m talking 10 minutes, just gotten into town and stopped at a suspension bridge near Cornell’s campus. I’m terrified of heights and, so, my boyfriend was coaxing me step by step over the bridge. It was gorgeous and we stopped at the middle to take a picture.

On the side we had come from there was a parking lot with steps leading to the bottom of the gorge but on the far side there were hiking paths with no barrier. A woman walked past us and offered to take a picture for us.

We declined and she smiled and walked quickly to the far side of the bridge where she smoothly jumped off into the gorge. There was not a second of hesitation, it was almost like she expected the path to keep going. The sound of a person hitting the ground from a jump like that sticks with you.

– spectre_alabama

2. The Hidden Confession

My parents bought their first house back in 1972. It was a fixer-upper, but they decided to move in right away and fix things as time/money permitted.

Within a few days of moving in, the new neighbours came over to introduce themselves. They also let my parents know that the previous owners had moved out after a nasty divorce. They had lost their second baby from SIDS, and their relationship went downhill from there. My parents were horrified, more so because they were newly pregnant and couldn’t imagine going through such a thing.

They eventually pretty much forgot all about it. Life went on. They were in love with their new life and their new house. In preparation for the baby, they decided to wallpaper the nursery. Now, my Dad told my mom there was no need in wallpapering the inside of the closet, but she insisted. She was kneeling down, scraping off old paint inside of the closet when her eyes fell upon something that made her blood turn to ice.

Written in crayon, at about eye level for a kindergartener, in childish scrawl was: I KILLED THE BABY.’

– Anonymous

3. Lock Your Door at Night

A few years back I rented an apartment from a friend of mine. He had recently bought it and had it completely renovated. He put it up for sale but couldn’t find a buyer so I offered to rent it in the meantime.

After moving in I realized there was something wrong with the lady next door. She was about 45 but looked much older. She would sit up all night listening to Christian radio shows and talking loudly to someone. It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep so I went over to her place and asked her to keep it down. She opened her door and I got a quick peak. Her walks all had crosses painted on them in different colors. And words like “Jesus” and “angels” scribbled everywhere. The windows were painted black letting no light in at all. It was damp, yellow stained 50-year-old carpets, dog shit and cockroaches everywhere.

I asked her to please keep it down. She just looked at me and shut the door. Then she turned up the radio even louder.

The next night I had my girlfriend staying over. I wake up in the middle of the night and see a shadow of a person next to the bed looking at us sleeping. I think I’m hallucinating as I usually do in the dark when I’m sleepy. But then the shadow starts talking. It’s my neighbor and she’s holding something in her hand. She broke in during the night and who knows how long she stood there.

“You should lock your door at night” she says and walks out.

– Sweetdish

4. The School Bus

When I was a kid I was always the last kid picked up by the bus driver to go to school.

One day I was waiting for the bus by myself and a bus with no kids pulled up.

The bus driver smiled and told me to hop on. I just had a bad feeling, I said “where are the other kids?” He said “We will go get them now, just get on.” He got more and more pushy but didn’t do anything crazy. I just kept saying no and he shrugged and left.

The real bus pulled up a few minutes later.

– oneb62

5. The Man With No Face

In a cold winter night in a remote village from Québec, Canada, in 1990, me and my two brothers were asleep. We were 1, 3, and 6 years old. In the middle of the night, someone entered our house without knocking, walked around and was talking to himself. Our house is 2 miles from the village, in a rural area. My father woke up, went to the living room where the guy was. He had a car accident one mile from our house with his buddy who died instantly, and his scalp fell in front of his face, so the first time my father saw him, he saw a man with no face. He was drunk and his body was frozen. He was speaking to himself “Je vais mourir, je vais mourir!” which means “I’m gonna die”. The fact that his face was partially frozen might have saved his lives, preventing him to loosing too much blood. My father took him to the hospital at 25 km from our house by car. He did survive.

To this day, my father is still blessing the fact that we never woke up during the night with all the noise.

– Ralal

6. The Man with the White Gloves

I was driving on some country roads at 1 a.m. with my buddy one night in the summer. Come up to a one lane, old, rickety bridge at the bottom of a valley. The bridge is also next to an old bar that now sits abandoned and is frequently vandalized, so it’s already sketchy. Pull onto the bridge and there is a car waiting on the other side… At first we thought nothing of it. If a car is on the bridge you have to sit there and wait your turn to cross. But here’s where it gets sPoOkY…

My friend and I get closer and closer to the car, but something is wrong. We see a white glove waving at us at about half-way to the other side. As we are almost across the bridge we see that the person waving his white glove has an expressionless mask on… Needless to say, we freak the f**k out as we have to slowly weave around the car and stare face to face with the person still waving. Drive off, scared sh*tless, but have to take the same road back… We get to the bottom of the hill, car is still there, but there is no one inside. We kinda look around for a second before we gtfo of there and we haven’t been back since. Fuck expressionless masks, man.

– JiffyJuggler

7. The Apartment

This happened to a friend of mine.

It’s a Sunday. She comes home to her apartment from running errands around 1 pm. She was in med school at this time, so she pretty much parked herself at the kitchen table and studied for the next 5-6 hrs. She’s sitting there and looks up to see a dude casually stroll out of her bedroom. No other entrances, she’s sitting by the front door, so he’s been there the entire time she has been home. He pauses at the doorway to her kitchen, between her and the door. She basically froze. Then her phone rang and kind of startled both of them. She ran to get the phone, he ran out the door. She moved and got an enormous dog.

HE WAS IN HER APARTMENT THE WHOLE TIME. This is one of my biggest fears.

– GrumpyDietitian

8. The Toilet

This happened to a friend of mine a few years ago when he and his wife where hiking in the Gold Coast hinterland in Queensland, Australia. After a good days hike they stopped at the rest stop to use the bathroom before heading back to the car.

The bathrooms at the rest stop were compost toilets, so the block of toilets were positioned on top of a large tank, the waste goes in the tank and breaks down naturally (and in the winter months often shoots a blast of cool air up the bum of anyone using them.)

My friend’s wife went to use the ladies while he waited outside, but she’d not been in there long when he heard her scream and rush out of the toilet. It’s Australia so there are many reasons for running out of a bush toilet screaming (Snakes, Spiders, Drop Bears, Ivan Millat), but this one takes the cake.

“THERE’S A MAN IN THE TOILET!” My friend was confused. His wife explained to him that she’d gone to the loo, and after she’d finished she’d looked into the tank (come on, you know morbid curiosity would get the better of you too) and there, submerged in liquid poop, she saw a bald man staring up at her.

He didn’t believe her, but she was adamant he go look, so he went into the ladies and with the flash-light from his iPhone he illuminated the poo pool to get a better look. He couldn’t see anything, but she was certain there was someone hiding in the tank watching people use the toilet.

As they were leaving and still arguing about it when they were approached by a man. “Excuse me, but did you see something weird in the toilet?” My friends wife answered “Yes!”, the man replied “Was it a man?!?”. He and his girlfriend had been hiking the weekend before and his girlfriend had seen the same thing. They all ran back up to the toilets for a second look, when they reached the door they heard a sound from behind the toilet block, my friend and their new acquaintance went around the back of the toilet block to check it out while his wife looked in the tank from the bowl.

At the back of the tank the top hatch had been opened, the bolt and chain had been removed and a telltale brown smudge seemed to suggest someone had slid down the back of the tank and taken off into the bush.

– joffreysworld

9. Under the Bed

I am 22 and this incident happened a year and a half ago. I had just moved into my first apartment and was in the process of moving in. The door that led into my apartment locks itself automatically when closed. So, I was going to the entrance of the apartment complex to get my mail while talking on the phone with my boyfriend. I returned to my apartment and sat on the bed while opening the mail while using the phone, I dropped the phone on the floor and it landed under the bed so I had to lie on the floor and stretch for it. I saw something that caught my eye, there was someone under my bed… My eyes widened and I choked the urge to scream. The person under my bed was lying still with his back towards me and his head to his chest, so I couldn’t see his face. And he didn’t see me, trying to be rational while so many thoughts rushed through my head, I picked up the phone, said “Sorry I dropped my phone, I’m just gonna take a shower and call you back.”

The bathroom is right by my bed so I hastily walked in, quietly locked the door, turned the shower on, jumped out my window (my apartment is on the first floor) and called the police. They told me to wait nearby, but to go to across the street and see if anyone comes out the door to the apartment complex. This was during summer and it was still light out, I placed myself across the street, hiding behind a car while watching my open bathroom window and the entry door. I called my boyfriend and he came to me just before the police. I gave them my keys and they went inside. Only moments later two cops came out holding a thin and tired looking man. His eyes looked crazy, but he didn’t try to get away. The policeman that had stood beside me and comforted me while the police searched through my house (I was a mess, shivering and crying) told me that the man stood outside my bathroom door with one of my kitchen knives waiting for me to come out.

This man had somehow crept in my entry door while I was getting my mail and hid under the bed.The man that was trying to hurt me turned out to be a homeless person and was placed in a mental hospital. My boyfriend moved in with me the very next day.

– Myhra

10. The Smiling Man

About five years ago I lived downtown in a major city in the US. I’ve always been a night person, so I would often find myself bored after my roommate, who was decidedly not a night person, went to sleep. To pass the time, I used to go for long walks and spend the time thinking.

I spent four years like that, walking alone at night, and never once had a reason to feel afraid. I always used to joke with my roommate that even the drug dealers in the city were polite. But all of that changed in just a few minutes of one evening.

It was a Wednesday, somewhere between one and two in the morning, and I was walking near a police patrolled park quite a ways from my apartment. It was a quiet night, even for a week night, with very little traffic and almost no one on foot. The park, as it was most nights, was completely empty.

I turned down a short side street in order to loop back to my apartment when I first noticed him. At the far end of the street, on my side, was the silhouette of a man, dancing. It was a strange dance, similar to a waltz, but he finished each “box” with an odd forward stride. I guess you could say he was dance-walking, headed straight for me.

Deciding he was probably drunk, I stepped as close as I could to the road to give him the majority of the sidewalk to pass me by. The closer he got, the more I realized how gracefully he was moving. He was very tall and lanky, and wearing an old suit. He danced closer still, until I could make out his face. His eyes were open wide and wild, head tilted back slightly, looking off at the sky. His mouth was formed in a painfully wide cartoon of a smile. Between the eyes and the smile, I decided to cross the street before he danced any closer.

I took my eyes off of him to cross the empty street. As I reached the other side, I glanced back… and then stopped dead in my tracks. He had stopped dancing and was standing with one foot in the street, perfectly parallel to me. He was facing me but still looking skyward. Smile still wide on his lips.

?I was completely and utterly unnerved by this. I started walking again, but kept my eyes on the man. He didn’t move.

Once I had put about half a block between us, I turned away from him for a moment to watch the sidewalk in front of me. The street and sidewalk ahead of me were completely empty. Still unnerved, I looked back to where he had been standing to find him gone. For the briefest of moments I felt relieved until I noticed him. He had crossed the street, and was now slightly crouched down. I couldn’t tell for sure due to the distance and the shadows, but I was certain he was facing me. I had looked away from him for no more than 10 seconds, so it was clear that he had moved fast.

I was so shocked that I stood there for some time, staring at him. And then he started moving toward me again. He took giant, exaggerated tip toed steps, as if he were a cartoon character sneaking up on someone. Except he was moving very, very quickly.

I’d like to say at this point I ran away or pulled out my pepper spray or my cellphone or anything at all, but I didn’t. I just stood there, completely frozen as the smiling man crept toward me.
And then he stopped again, about a car length away from me. Still smiling his smile, still looking to the sky.

When I finally found my voice, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. What I meant to ask was, “What the fuck do you want?!” in an angry, commanding tone. What came out was a whimper, “What the fuu…?”

Regardless of whether or not humans can smell fear, they can certainly hear it. I heard it in my own voice, and that only made me more afraid. But he didn’t react to it at all. He just stood there, smiling.

And then, after what felt like forever, he turned around, very slowly, and started dance-walking away. Just like that. Not wanting to turn my back to him again, I just watched him go, until he was far enough away to almost be out of sight. And then I realized something. He wasn’t moving away anymore, nor was he dancing. I watched in horror as the distant shape of him grew larger and larger. He was coming back my way. And this time he was running.

I ran too.

I ran until I was off of the side road and back onto a better lit road with sparse traffic. Looking behind me then, he was nowhere to be found. The rest of the way home, I kept glancing over my shoulder, always expecting to see his stupid smile, but he was never there.

I lived in that city for six months after that night, and I never went out for another walk. There was something about his face that always haunted me. He didn’t look drunk, he didn’t look high. He looked completely and utterly insane. And that’s a very, very scary thing to see.

– blue_tidal

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