13 Creepy Camping Encounters That Will Put You off the Great Outdoors

For many of us, getting back to nature is a welcome break from our busy modern lives. Camping and hiking are popular summer-time activities, giving us a chance to unwind in the great outdoors, but what happens when nature turns into your worst nightmare? From chilling tales of unexplained noises in the night to weeping ghost children and a strange blue apparition that endlessly roams the forest. People from all around the world have been sharing their most terrifying encounters and misadventures in the great outdoors.

Campers beware, you’ll never go into the woods again after reading these scary true tales.

1. The Crying Girl

“When I was younger probably like 10 or 11, I went camping with my family. I’ll just get right into it. It was about 1 or 2 in the morning, and I couldn’t really sleep. The tent me and my brother were in was really hot, and very uncomfortable. Anyway, while I was trying to go to bed I heard a very faint whimper. I tried to ignore it because I figured I was just tired. Our campsite was along a road with many other camps nearby. The whimper started to get louder, and then turned into crying. I heard footsteps outside of our tent, and a girl crying.

Now let me tell you, it didn’t go faint, it got louder and louder. It remained in the same spot the entire time. That’s so important because, it indicates that she was looking at our tent site, crying. It gets worse, then it turned into a full on scream for a few seconds, then cuts out. When she started screaming by brother woke up. We both look at each other and just get all the pillows and stuff our head under them.

I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I’m just glad we left the next morning.”  Keithic

Related: 31 Terrifying Real-Life Horror Stories That Will Chill You to the Bone

2. The Shaking

“This happened to an acquaintance of mine and his son. This took place back in the early ’90s.

He had taken his young son for a father and son type hike out of Skagway. If any of you are familiar with Skagpatch, there is quite a network of trails above town at lower Dewey lakes.

So, it’s evening, dinner done, tent up, bed time. Sometime later, around midnight, he’s woken up by the tent shaking violently, then silence. Then again. Keep in mind its late August, and pitch black, I mean as pitch black as you can get under the heavy coastal rain forest with no moon.

This shaking kept up for over an hour. He had no idea what it was. He went out with his headlamp, yelled, and heard nothing. Would go back in the tent, then it would start up again. He could here footsteps whenever it happened.

He was pretty shaken up by the next morning as you could imagine.

He reported it to the troopers, and the only thing they could come up with was someone with a night vision set up messing around. Or something else…”  Yukoner

3. The Middle of the Woods

“This happened to me when I was little. I went camping with my older brother and my mom. I was about 7 or 8 and I went to bed around 10 in a sleeping bag inside my tent with both my mom and brother. Some time during the night, I don’t know when, I woke up somewhere in the middle of the woods still in my sleeping bag. I had no idea where I was or where my tent was. I screamed for my mom and I heard her calling back for me in panic but she was easily 100 yards away or so. To this day I have no idea how I ended up in the middle of the woods still inside my sleeping bag. Gives me the chills.” – cckaufmann

4. The Hanging Man

“Hiking the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania for a week in…2006 and my brother and I came across a young man who had hung himself. We sprinted up to the bluff where he was strung up. I wrapped my arms around his waist to take weight off his neck while my brother cut him down with his Leatherman. He had thrown the rope up over a tall branch and lashed it off with a clove hitch at the trunk like you’d hang a bear-bag. Must’ve climbed the branches and dropped once laced in. We probably shouldn’t have even tried, he was dead for sometime before we happened across him. Fortunately no critters had come to tear him apart before we found him, it would’ve only gotten grislier from there. Called 911. Ended our trip pretty damn quick.

I don’t know why we tried, it was very obvious he had been dead for some time. Don’t know how long, he was very cold and smelled pretty bad. Intuition to help someone and adrenaline that clouds your judgement I guess? It was kind of a fucked up day so I don’t really remember my thought process.”  Anonymous 

5. Scratches

“About one month ago, we are riding a favorite trail up near Camp Verde. Oldest son is leading, youngest is following him, a friend behind him and I am sucking up rear. Come over a hill and I see my youngest son with all of his gear off and his jersey. I came up asking what was wrong, thinking that he crashed, He said his back was burning. I looked and there were three scratches across his back. Looked like claw marks. No blood, but very distinct. He had a chest/back protector on so there is no way a tree branch or anything got him. We finally got him geared back up and headed out. About 30 minutes later, we reached a spot where we always stop for a break. I asked him to take the jersey off so that I could see the scratches again. They were completely gone.”  THB

6. Music in the Night

“A couple of years ago my brother bought a large piece of land out in the middle of nowhere, about thirty miles or so from cell phone reception. It’s quiet, there is no light pollution, no paved roads, and not a lot of people around.

Shortly after he bought the place, two of my brothers (the land owner and another), me, and our families spent a weekend camping on the land and doing our best to clean it up; people had used it as a dump, there were many downed trees, etc. On the second night we camped there, I woke up in the middle of the night to take a leak. As I was walking to the bushes in the dark, I realized that I could faintly hear music. This didn’t strike me as odd because I knew my brother had a radio in his camper. I finished up and went back to sleep with no further thought on the matter.

The next morning at breakfast, I mentioned the radio and music. Several other people recalled waking in the night and hearing music, but no two people heard the same music. Finally, the brother who brought the radio woke up. I asked him about the music and he seemed a bit freaked out. He woke up sometime during the night and went outside to smoke. He heard music as well and had assumed it was someone else. I should mention that he was the only one with a generator and a radio. It wasn’t his radio we heard, it wasn’t anyone else’s either.

I’ve been back several times, but I’m a bit freaked out by that place at night. I have fun while I’m there, but I’m almost always armed and I don’t sleep in a tent anymore, I sleep in my SUV with the doors locked. It may seem kinda dumb, but realizing that everyone heard different music when there are no people, no functional radios, and no electricity is quite creepy.” – goat-of-mendes

7. The Light

“We were in a river-side cabin one night in Northern Michigan. I had just stretched out when a huge crack erupted from the woods. Both of us thought it was a branch or old tree that had fallen.

After he turned off the living room light, we noticed that the light coming from the windows was abnormally strong. This sent our nerves to a new high. The light seemed to pulse several times and got so bright at one point you could have read a book by it. It couldn’t have been a car as we were almost a mile off the road on a dirt trail. Plus, the light came in from all the windows equally.

Every so often we would hear a strange humming noise that penetrated that cabin. This lasted almost half an hour. We talked about just running out to the car and leaving but neither one of us wanted to go outside.

After the light went out, we sat on the couch, occasionally putting forth theories on what it could have been. Around four o’clock in the morning, there was another loud crack. We worried that the light might come back but nothing happened.” R. Bassil

Related: Graveyard Shift Workers Share the Scariest Things they’ve Seen

8. Blue Spectre

“My friend and I were walking just outside of the circle of cabins. It was a bright night with all the stars shining and the moon was well lit. There was a campfire going, and in one of the big cabins there was a party going on with music and so on. We were walking, and we both got a really weird feeling, as if we were being watched. We both turned toward the sea… we saw a blue figure, very tall – about 7 feet – walking through the trees. It made no sound at all. It was a bright blue and glowing figure walking through the forest. It was emitting a shimmery aura, and my friend and I both became very frightened. We shouted at whatever that thing was and we were asking it what it was. We got no reply, of course, but we expected one. We stared as it walked away and out of our vision; we didn’t dare follow it.

We then ran back to the group of people at the camp fire, screaming and describing what we saw. Another friend of mine claimed he was watching it from a distance not far from were we were and was just as frightened as I was.” – Devin

9. Footsteps Upstairs

“Not something I experienced, but my sister and her husband did.

My family used to have a cabin on a lake in the Northwoods. It’s a lake with no public access. On the other side is/was an old Girl’s Camp that the state was letting fall apart. The camp had a large, two-story main house that was mostly intact at the time.

My sister and her husband decided to check out the camp one day. They canoe’d over and started to walk around. They went into the Main House first. They walked around for a bit. And then they heard heavy footsteps upstairs. These footsteps turned into someone running heavily towards the stairs.

My sister and her husband booked it out of the house, but they could hear the steps coming down the stairs and on the main level as they ran out. They opted to run around the house instead of heading back to the shore.

They never saw who it was, but they heard them enter back into the house. And then they heard them storm back outside again. They went into the woods this time and heard someone running in the woods after them.

They took the long way around the lake back to the cabin.

My dad and I had to go back later that day to get the canoe. We never heard or saw anything.”  joftheinternet

10. Geocaching

“I’ve been geocaching in the woods many times, and occasionally one runs into caches with weird things in them. The creepiest was an ammo box with only a handful of finds that contained broken doll parts and a handwritten note that said “Look behind you”. I definitely had the heebie-jeebies and double-timed it back to my car despite it being the middle of the day. It’s crossed my mind before that geocaching would be a great way for a serial killer to lure people out to remote locations.”  Anonymous

11. Who Followed Us?

“This happened in 81 or 82. Not sure anymore.

I had made friends with a fellow I worked with and offered to take him gigging for frogs. He was from the city and had never spent any time in the woods at night. The farm I had permission to do it on was only about a mile from my place. My friend showed up at 10:30 or so and I gave him a gig and a flashlight. We decided to walk to the other farm. We didn’t get far before we both heard something walking in the dark to the side of us. I’ve been in the woods all my life and I’ve had plenty of deer follow me but I wasn’t going to tell him that. It was clear he was getting spooked. We climbed a fence and continued on. Then we heard something else climb the fence.

Deer don’t climb fences. I tried looking around with the flashlight but he wanted none of it. We could see the house lights of the place we were going to and he ran off on me and beat on the guy’s door until they let him in. By the time I got there Mr. Barber, (the land owner), and his wife was out on the porch and wanted to know what was going on. Mr. Barber and I went back and had a look around but found nothing. My friend refused to walk back and Mr. Barber gave us a ride back to my place. We never did find out what or who it was that was following us.

My friend decided that frogging wasn’t for him. He has also refused to go on several fishing trips I have invited him to. I can’t say I was too comfortable with what happened but I haven’t let it stop me from frogging.”  Smoker

12. The Circle

“I was backpacking in New Hampshire and camped out for the night after a day hike. I wondered off from our fire to go take a piss and stumbled upon a circle etched into the ground with tuning forks surrounding the circle standing up straight…It looked like a creepy ritual circle and it bugged me out so I booked it back to the group.” – ITS_A_BADTIME_BOB

13. The Gator

“Few years ago I was camping in the Everglades in Florida with a few friends. We all had gone into our separate tents and were starting to fall asleep. The area was pretty noisy with bugs, crickets, birds, etc. I heard this very low vibration, sounding almost like a low roar. it was powerful enough to vibrate in my chest. Suddenly everything in the forest shut up. no bugs, no birds, nothing. about thirty seconds later my phone vibrates and its my friend in the other tent texting me asking if i heard the same thing. the four of us kept texting each other, wondering what it was. about ten minutes later all the animals slowly started making noise again. I slept that night with my machete at arms reach.

A lot of people are saying it might have been a gator. We were in an elevated area that was far from any streams or ponds. Its possible there might have been a pond with a gator that we missed, but the very big ones tend to hang out in lakes.”  Biggs180

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