The Creepiest True Stories People Lived Through

Voting Rules
Vote up the story you think is creepiest.

Most of us are familiar with the tradition of scary stories. Usually while gathered around a campfire, people will swap spooky tales about things that go bump in the night. These fanciful stories were just enough to scare you, without totally pushing you over the edge... But what happens when scary stuff starts happening IRL?

We've gathered some real life horror stories from the internet. Whether you prefer paranormal activity, or tales of adventurous escapes of death's grasp, these real horror stories will make your skin crawl, and at the very least, rob you of some (if not all) shut-eye.
Photo: Chippycheeky / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

  • 1
    7,441 VOTES

    Woman smoking on balcony at 3AM sees suspicious man who shows up at her door moments later

    "A few years ago I was living in a fairly nice apartment complex, having a cigarette on my balcony around 3 AM on a Tuesday night. I'm usually on my phone, but I got this weird chill and looked up to see a middle-aged man walking down the sidewalk across the complex. It struck me that he did not belong here, and I realized he wasn't one of the residents. As I was thinking this, he suddenly stopped and looked right at me, making eerie, way-too-long eye contact, and then rushed off between buildings, in the opposite direction of my apartment. I told my husband about it and joked that if we get a knock on our door in the next 15 minutes, we can assume it's that creeper. Sure as sh*t, 10 minutes later there's this quiet, faint tap-tap-tap on our door. My eyes probably popped out of my head, and my husband jumped up to grab his gun from the other room. I slowly walked up to the door to look through the peephole, holding my breath, and there was the man I had seen, looking right at me through the peephole! I know he wasn't able to actually see me, but the image of him looking right into my eye still freaks me out to this day. My husband walked up to the door, stared through the peephole and shouted 'What?' in this threatening voice, apparently the man had his hand on the doorknob and jerked back in surprise to hear a man's voice. Dude asked for Jeremy or some made up name and my husband told him to leave. After bullsh*tting a little longer, the guy finally walked downstairs, only to peer up into my living room window from the lawn. I closed the blinds and he moved over to stare at me through the balcony door. He didn't move on until after I shut that one too. We called security and gave a clear description and everything. A few days later, we got a report from our complex that an apartment had been robbed around that time that night. What keeps me up at night is this question: if you're going to rob an apartment, why would you go to one that you definitely know a woman is awake and home (seemingly alone) at?"

    7,441 votes
  • 2
    6,330 VOTES

    Woman finds man with knife petting her house

    "My bedroom is on the second floor of the house. There's no patio/porch/overhang of any kind beneath my windows.

    Couple of years ago I was watching TV in bed around 2 AM and heard a louder than usual 'animal' sound. Not uncommon to hear squirrels running around on the roof from time to time. Didn't think much of it. Kept on happening, and started to sound awfully close to the window and not on the roof. I ignored it for a pretty long time.

    After at least 40 to 45 minutes of being irritated by the noise, I banged on the wall in hopes of scaring them off until I could get to sleep.

    Just two quick bangs with my fist. Which were answered with two bangs on the wall right next to the window from outside.

    Needless to say, I just about sh*t and jumped out of bed.

    Now, my living room has a bay window, and is on the other end of the house, so I could look out that window from the side and see my bedroom window. I hustle downstairs and peek out.

    I see a guy standing in front of my house, below my bedroom window. He's got a knife (small pocket knife) in his hand, and he's 'petting' the front of my house.

    Call the police and wait. He never leaves the front of the house even when they roll up and ultimately disarm and arrest him without much struggle."

    6,330 votes
  • 3
    6,478 VOTES

    Family moves into new house; toddler befriends ghost of man who had died there

    "We moved into a new house a few months ago. As we were in the process of purchasing the house, the renter who was living in it died unexpectedly of natural causes in his mid-40s. He died right in the middle of the living room. Shortly after, we move into the house, and almost immediately our two-year-old daughter starts talking about the ghost that lives in our house. Now let's be real here - she is two and two-year-olds are VERY impressionable. Halloween had recently passed, and she had this Halloween-themed picture book that she loved to read, so it's entirely possible that all this talk of ghosts was just coming from looking through that book on a regular basis. Still, she was always telling me that the ghost was in her play house in the basement, or that the ghost was on the stairs, or that the ghost was standing in the corner. She never seemed to be afraid of the ghost, and considered him to be her friend, so I wasn't all that concerned even if there really was a ghost haunting our house. If he's a nice and helpful ghost, it could certainly be a lot worse. I would often tell the ghost that he was welcome to stay if he wanted to, but he was also welcome to go if that would make him happier. I was about 30/70 on the ghost being real and she could see and talk to him versus the ghost being just her imagination fueled by her Halloween book... until one day, when we were going out to the car to go to daycare in the morning. It was still dark out, and rainy. My daughter told me that the ghost was on the back deck, and then she told me that today was the ghost's birthday and she wanted to sing him Happy Birthday. Once again, I mostly disregarded what she was saying, as she is birthday obsessed and has in the past made us sing Happy Birthday to Mickey Mouse, a bowl of fruit snacks, and the bathroom. So we sang and wished the ghost a happy birthday and went on with our lives. Later that day, out of pure curiosity, I looked up the obituary of the man who had died in our house. And wouldn't you know it? It was his f*cking birthday."

    6,478 votes
  • 4
    4,449 VOTES

    Man wakes up with mysterious handprint on his chest

    "I once woke up with the outline of a hand print on my chest. I measured it and it was too small for my hand and too large for my wife's hand."
    4,449 votes
  • 5
    3,696 VOTES

    Insomnia saves man from home invasion

    "Occasionally I get mild bouts of insomnia but nothing serious, usually just a delay in my bedtime of an extra two or three hours. One night I suddenly just can not sleep. Nothing will get me to relax and I eventually give up and just sit in the front room playing Heavy Rain all night as it had just come out a few days ago. The next day when I head off to work exhausted with zero hours of sleep I got a text from my roommate.

    'Dude the police are all over the apartment complex.'

    Apparently nine apartments including our downstairs neighbor were broken into last night WITH PEOPLE HOME SLEEPING. Some people even reported things being stolen from the rooms they were sleeping in.

    It hit me that had I not stayed up all night and left the light on in the front room I would have been robbed... or worse."

    3,696 votes
  • 6
    4,467 VOTES

    Man hears footsteps in vacant apartment; police find stranger with knife inside

    "I lived in an apartment a few years ago. Four units upstairs, four units downstairs. I lived upstairs, and the apartment below me was vacant. I kept hearing footsteps through the apartment, and I knew I shouldn't have. Nobody was downstairs. I asked someone to come over and listen, just to see if I was crazy. Maybe I'm just hearing other apartments since it's empty downstairs, and everything is echoing.

    Wrong. I kept hearing the footsteps. This went on for a solid hour. Finally I called the landlord and the police. Apparently someone had broken in through the windows downstairs, and was walking back and forth through the apartment with a knife. F*cking horrifying."

    4,467 votes