Graveyard Shift
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Desert Dwellers And Explorers Share The Scariest Things They've Seen Out In The Sands

Updated August 2, 2021 4.8k votes 481 voters 11.5k views18 items

List RulesVote up the creepiest, freakiest desert finds.

Even with the bright sun overhead and open plains for miles, there's something eerie, almost otherworldly, about deserts. Between the extreme weather and the sense of isolation as the dunes and cacti stretch on forever with no signs of nearby civilization, it's no surprise frequent flyers in this arid land end up seeing some pretty strange things. But whether they're real, or simply heat-induced mirages, well, that's up to the reader. So journey out into these barren lands and find out for yourself, and don't forget to vote up the scariest tales.

  • 1

    They Found Strange Animal Tracks

    From Redditor u/Sccsazxs:

    I was camping in New Mexico where coyotes are common, so I knew I was going to see a couple, or at least hear them howling in the night. Well, I was eating by the campfire, and it was getting a little dark, and sure enough, I could hear the barking and howling of a coyote. I paid no mind. I didn’t think a coyote would come near a campfire. Still, I realized that it was only one dog I was hearing, which is weird because coyotes are pack animals for the most part...

    Anyway, I was about to go to bed later when I started hearing footsteps that sounded like a dog, and they were getting closer. I was not really in the mood to have this thing eating all my food, so I got a 357 loaded with snake shot (for rattlers and weirdos alike) and I just fired a round into the ground until I heard something run off. At this point, I was tired and had some more hiking to do in the morning, so I turned in.

    I woke up a couple more times that night and heard something walking around my tent and campsite. I wasn’t really scared of this, because like I said, I have a 357, and most dogs aren’t going to try and get into a tent... It eventually walked off after about 15 minutes, so I went back to bed.

    But when I woke up and looked outside... it left human foot prints.

  • 2

    Kicked From The Top Of The Food Chain

    From Redditor u/Gimpy946:

    I build off-road rigs (jeeps) that we take to Moab, Utah, twice a year. A buddy and I went wheeling one night towards this trail called “high dive.” (Mind you, he’s on crutches with a broken foot.) It’s 3 am. We are by ourselves... anddddd I flip the jeep.

    We smash our radio antenna, and unfortunately, the hood caved in due to the wreck and cracked our battery. No phone service. Jeep is dead in the water. I decide to start walking back to the nearest road by myself. Pitch black and phone is on six percent.

    Within a mile of the walk, I hear sh*t. Something is running around me. I see light bars off in the distance so I start jogging towards it. Every 30 seconds to a minute, I hear it again. I cannot tell for the life of me what it was. I FINALLY make it to the road and start hauling a** at this point. A suburban pulls up with some locals in it. I tell them the situation, and I hop in, and we start going towards my jeep... We turn onto the dirt road that leads to the trailhead. And low and behold, what’s 50 to 60 feet in front of the car?


    This f*cker has been sizing me up the whole three-mile walk. I’m getting goosebumps just typing this sh*t.

  • 3

    Creepy Third Wheel

    From Redditor u/Damionstjames:

    I would honestly say it was what I call to this day "the mirage man."

    I was somewhere in the California desert when my friend's car stopped working. Neither of us had smartphones, and even then, there was no guarantee we would have had a signal. My friend wanted to walk, I said it was a really bad idea. He insisted, and I really didn't want to be left alone for who knew how long without water.

    So we started to walk, and every so often, we looked back in case a car went by. It was perhaps after only an hour we noticed someone off in the distance who appeared to be following us. Friend asked me if we should turn around. I thought this was too strange. We were in the desert, while the sun was up, basically in the middle of nowhere. Why would someone else be walking?

    My friend wasn't entirely convinced and suggested the person might also have a stuck car and be walking in to tow. I pointed out that we had been walking for an hour, and this was the first we had seen of him. It was too monumental of a coincidence that someone could have parked a car on the side of the road and caught up to us this fast.

    Long story short, we keep walking, but that figure is closing the distance. We were getting genuinely creeped out. We quickened up our pace as much as we dared in the heat, and with every glance back, the man was getting closer and closer. Not exponentially so, but noticeably.

    We found a truck stop not far off and moved just shy of a jog to sit down and get water from the vending machines. My friend kept watching and pointed out the man was now holding steady and not getting any further away or closer. My friend asked a driver for a ride after calling his motor club to bail him out. Our eyes were on the man, still there. We got the gas and kept our eyes on the man in the distance. The driver didn't see him. The closer we got to the dead car now, the further the man seemed to be.

    We made it to the car with our pursuer nowhere to be seen. Never saw him again. My friend thinks that was death itself, and, had we not gotten to the truck stop then, it would have gotten us.

  • 4

    Making Their Way Downtown

    From Redditor u/turtles_go_mrph:

    Mom, Grandpa, and toddler me were driving through rural west Texas at dusk. Mom noticed the road looked like it was moving, and something was crunching under the tires. She asked Grandpa what it was. He told her she didn’t want to know. She insisted and turned on the brights to reveal it was a tarantula migration.