14 Unsettling True Hitchhiking Stories That Will Make You Fear Traveling

No one actively thinks that they're going to be killed by a hitchhiker - or by the person who picks them up. Unfortunately for everyone in these hitchhiking stories, they may have survived, but barely. Whether the driver is John Wayne Gacy or a random man wielding an axe, these true stories about hitchhikers might serve as cautionary tales. Here, Redditors share their creepy hitchhiker stories, making you think twice before picking up that stranger at the side of the road - or trying to "thumb it" yourself.

  • Never Ever Pick Up A Hitchhiker

    From Redditor/u/thebestjeans:

    "So this was told to me by an old family friend, Nicki, numerous times as a kid growing up, as one of those "life advice stories" to keep in mind through the years. And to her credit, I have never forgotten it. Whenever anything associated with hitchhiking comes up it always springs to mind and probably always will. Makes me a bit ill whenever I think about it actually.

    So Nicki, who grew up at the same time as my dad around the early '80s, was a young woman in her mid 20s. She's one of those real kindhearted souls, always willing to help another out in a time of need, you know? And I can't imagine her being anything other than that when she was younger so I totally see her doing this too.

    So, driving into the city (about a two-hour-or-so drive out from town) She saw a man walking down the side of the road. As she neared he turned and, in typical hitchhiker manner, stuck out the ol' arm and thumb. Nicki, bless her heart, pulled over and asked him if he needed any help.

    She told me that he was really polite, if not a bit shy, when he asked for a lift into the city. Nicki gave a smile and popped open the passenger door for the guy, who tossed his bag into the back seat and buckled up for the ride ahead.

    They talked pleasantly for most of the trip, about friends, the news, etc. She felt that they were getting on really well and even bought him dinner at the pit stop a little over halfway there. She says he seemed really flustered and awkward when she paid, but one of the things they had talked about was money and how he was pretty dang strapped for cash, which was why he was hitchhiking in the first place. But he eventually relented and they went on their way.

    As soon as they got into the city he thanked her profusely for the ride and the food and asked to be dropped off once they hit downtown. Before getting out he asked for Nicki's phone number so he could contact her someday and catch up. Thrilled at the prospect of knowing how her new friend was faring, Nicki wrote it down for him and drove off with the warm feeling of a good deed done.

    Now I'm sorry if you were expecting something creepy to have happened by now, but I think this is what freaked me out so much as a kid; how nice everything seemed to have worked out. Nicki would get this crease in her forehead and a funny look in her eye when she would tell me the next part.

    A week later she got a phone call from her driving buddy. He didn't let her get a word in edgewise after 'hello' and told her 'that she should thank god that she was raised so nice, because when he first got in her car he was planning on raping and murdering her once they got to that pit stop. That he was going to steal that car and dump her body in a ditch further down the road and go on his merry way. But after she talked with him so kindly, and treated him to dinner with a smile on her face, he couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't think that he could live with himself after doing that to such a nice lady. And to please, please, Nicki please: Never. Ever. Pick up another hitchhiker.'

    Then he hung up the phone.

    Nicki never got a call from him again, when she tried re-dialing the number she got a payphone.

    And so, Mr. Hitchhiker, I know I'm never going to meet you. Because I'm going to listen to the advice you gave your driving buddy and never. Ever. Pick up a hitchhiker."

  • They Had A Corpse In The Car

    From a former Redditor:

    :There was a story on NPR about a man hitchhiking across the county who got a ride from a couple.

    A while after he got home, he saw them on the news. They had killed a man earlier and were driving with his corpse in their car. They had killed and robbed a few people before then. He was surprised because they were so nice.

    Remember, niceness does not equal goodness. Anyone can be 'nice.'"

  • The Woman In The Box

    From Redditor /u/muttermag:

    "That reminds me of the woman in the box - she accepted a ride from a couple with a baby. They kidnapped her and held her for seven years. I heard her story when I was a kid, and it's the reason I would never hitchhike."

  • He Was Shot In The Head

    From a former Redditor:

    "There's this middle-aged man who lives in the town I'm from. He was a genuinely sweet and caring person. And mind, this is a really small town. One day, he picked up a hitchhiker just outside of town. He told him to jump in the bed of the truck, and he'll drive him to Walmart.

    About halfway there, the hitchhiker shot him in the back of the head for no reason. He didn't even steal anything. And if I remember correctly, he got caught. Henry didn't die, but he's permanently disabled and has severe brain damage. I remember when I first heard that, and it scared the crap out of me. This was probably about 12 years ago now, but I still think about anytime someone talks about hitchhikers. It scares me to think someone would do something like that, just because."

  • He 'Enjoyed' The Drive

    From Redditor /u/Jeola:

    "First of all I want to apologize for any mistakes. English isn't my first language and even though I'll try my best to avoid it I'll probably mess up something.

    The story took place two years ago. I was on my second week backpacking through Austria and I reached a point where I was too exhausted to walk any longer. It was an unusually hot day; I had blisters all over my feet, and I was ready to call it quits.

    I was in the middle of nowhere and decided to thumb a lift to the nearest train station. But I was out of luck. I stood there for what felt like hours and no car would pick me up. (I don't blame them. I spent two weeks sleeping in the woods, my clothes were dirty and I probably looked like a maniac.)

    When finally a truck pulled up I didn't hesitate to hop inside because I was so thankful to be able to sit down and rest my feet for a while. I asked the driver if he could drop me at the nearest station so that I could catch a train to Vienna, but he told me that he was heading back there anyway and that he could take me there as long as I didn't mind him making a stopover to load the truck. I didn't and so we drove along. We made some small-talk and he seemed to be very polite. It was a pretty enjoyable ride until we reached the first stop.

    He loaded his truck while I walked around a bit and bought some water at a gas station nearby. He had offered me drinks a few times along the ride but I always declined because I don't feel comfortable with that. I got back into the truck and we continued the drive to Vienna. Almost immediately after we took off again he told me that it wouldn't be a problem for him if I wanted to take off some clothes since it was such a hot day. I told him that I was fine but he brought it up a couple more times. He also asked me if I wanted to take a nap in the back and that he had several hitchhikers sleeping there in the past. I declined again and started to feel a little uneasy around him and planned to leave the truck at the next gas stop.

    All of the sudden he nearly yelled at me to put my head down and hide because he was driving past his stepfather's car and he didn't want him to see me in the truck. That struck me as odd, but I did anyway because his yelling took me by surprise. That confirmed my resolution to get out of there as soon as possible and I asked him to drop me of at the next stop and made up an excuse that it was my goal to enter Vienna by foot and that I was rested enough to make it, thanks to his lift. He agreed and I got my stuff ready.

    He suddenly turned to me and said that I looked familiar and that he was sure he saw me somewhere before. I shrugged it off but he insisted he remembered my face. He asked me if I ever went to a swingers club, because he was sure he saw me there some time. That caught me off guard and I told him that this was impossible because I'd never been to one. 'Well, do you want to? I'm going to one in Vienna. Let's go there together, I'm sure you'll like it.' At this point I really wanted to get off the truck ASAP, and told him that I had no intention to come with him and asked him to drop me off now. He didn't answer but reached into his pants and started masturbating while he drove along. I froze up, clutching my backpack on my lap and didn't know what to do. I kept thinking that I'd jump off as soon as he stopped somewhere and tried to ignore what he was doing there since he didn't respond to my plea to let me out. A gas station was coming up and he stopped what he was doing and asked if we should take a shower together. I figured that there'd be people around and that it would make it easier to get rid of him, so I told him sure, why not.

    He pulled up and as soon as he stopped I yanked open the door and run across the parking area of the gas station hoping that he wouldn't come after me. He didn't, so I just kept running until the station was out of sight and I reached a busy street. Only after my heart stopped racing and I caught my breath I realized that I left my shoes at the truck. I walked the last few kilometers barefoot and kept a look out for the truck until I reached Vienna."

  • He Got Into The Car With John Wayne Gacy

    From Redditor /u/jasonissohandsome:

    "Not my story, but my history teacher's hitchhiker's story:

    As a teenager, my teacher lived in Cook County, IL, and frequently would walk around town/the city as most people do. One day he was offered a ride by a large-ish man in a car and hitchhiked home. The driver had a clown suit and makeup kit in the back of his car because he said he worked as a clown part time, which should have sent bells ringing but he thought nothing of it. So he got driven to his mom's house and thanked the driver and left. My history teacher said the driver was one of the most polite people he has ever met.

    A few years later my teacher found out that the man he got into a car with was John Wayne Gacy, Jr."