Throughout humanity's history, stories have been a way for people to understand morals, to learn about their cultures, to understand the dangers of the world and so on. The best stories are those that spark a sense of fear, but the worst of these are the ones that are actually true.
Below are a collection of true horror stories that have left a chilling impact on those who have had the ill-fortune to experience them first-hand.
A Horrible Accident
“One night, I was out at a bar with a friend I was visiting in New Rochelle, New York. We went outside for a smoke, and a car came flying past the bar. The car burned through a red light, and started going up this hill that was on a curve. We watched as he veered over the double yellow, and smashed head on with another car coming from the other direction. Both car’s rear ends lifted up, then slammed down. The car that was driving correctly burst into flames. I ran inside and grabbed the fire extinguisher, then yelled to the bartender to call 911 and say there has been an accident.
My friend, a few other patrons, and I ran to the cars. Now, I used to think this was a fictional trope, but I was pretty tipsy before this happened, and I swear it sobered me up instantly. I tried spraying the fire, but it did nothing. The fumes and heat were awful, and all we could do was stand back. The worst part was, and this will haunt me forever, was that the woman in the burning car was screaming as she died. My God, it was the worst sound ever.
The fire department came and put the fire out. The police took us back to the bar and took statements.
I found out the next day in the news, that the car that was not speeding was being driven by a young woman coming home late from work. She was a block away from home, and I think she was either newly married or a new mother. The rotten idiot driving the other car was some rich and trashed fool. He lost a leg, but otherwise was physically unharmed. I have no clue if he did time, as I left to go back home a day or so later.”
There’s Always That One Regret
“I don’t regret many things in my life. But I regret this one deeply.
I was leaving work, 2001 I believe, so while cell phones were common, not everyone had them.
I worked in a small office building, you know those kind that rent out spaces to several small businesses. I had stayed late on day (only reason I feel as bad as I do). As I was leaving, I was the only other car in the lot. I noticed the property manager, an elderly lady and very sweet getting out of her car next to the dumpster holding a bag of trash.
I drove past her, turned the corner, and went home. This was on a Friday night.
Come to find out, she didn’t put her car in park. I get in Monday to the news that she was pinned between the dumpster and her car until found on SUNDAY. Our dumpster was not visible from any main road.
Had I been 30 seconds later in leaving, I would have seen it happen.
Being elderly, the low impact still pinned her and broke some bones. Even though she was found alive, she didn’t make it at the hospital.
I don’t know if I had seen it happen I would have been able to react fast enough to warn her, jump out and push the car (it wasn’t accelerating, just rolling slowly in neutral) or if I had would have even just been able to call 911 and her injuries treatable after not being outside for two days.
And I can’t imagine her mindset. We were in a commercial area, no real reason for anyone to be immediately within earshot if she called for help. Which I’m sure she did, many times.”
That Car Is Eerily Familiar
“My pre-school teacher who also ended up somehow changing jobs and becoming my 11th grade English teacher had a fascinating life. She told this story every single year to the new students in her class…when she was younger, she was driving through Arizona on a two-way road trip while her boyfriend at the time was following behind her on his motorcycle.
For those who don’t live in Arizona, certain stretches of it can be quite isolated and deserted. She said that they were on a long drive and eventually got separated by a few miles. A man who was behind her in a Volkswagen beetle kept pulling up beside her into the other lane (no one was coming) and motioning at her to pull over. She somewhat ignored him the first few times, but he kept doing it and began getting more frantic each time. She said that she believed that he spotted something wrong with her car, so she saw a parking lot off the road for a deserted gas station and pulled over.
Once pulled over, she said that she instantly got an eerie feeling. The man was suspicious and kept telling her that he saw something wrong with her headlight and insisted she get out of the car, so he could show her what he meant. Her boyfriend who was a few miles behind her, eventually caught up and spotted her car at the sketchy gas station. Right as she was out of the car, her boyfriend began to pull in. As he did that, this man got into his car and SPED off like his life depended on it.
They later were able to identify that the man was Ted Bundy. She said she cannot imagine what would have happened to her if her boyfriend had been even another three miles behind her on the road.”
A Fussy Baby Saves Their Family
“When I was a baby, my dad played on a softball team. Typical social team, out for drinks and pizza after with the guys, family event-type-thing. My parents were good friends with two of the other couples, both of them had young kids as well.
On this occasion, the other two couples had left their kids at one of their houses, with a baby sitter they were splitting. They invited my parents back to the house to have some more drinks that night, but I was being fussy and my mom nixed the idea (though they would have normally gone back to hang out).
Well, it turned out my fussiness on that day saved our lives. When the other parents got back to the house, they walked in on a home invasion. Two men had broken in, tied up the kids and the baby sitter (and her boyfriend), and were waiting for the parents. They took the parents hostage as well, and made the dads drive with them to a bank and a grocery store where the one dad was manager and cleared out accounts and the safe.
They then came back to the house, and slaughtered both families, the baby sitter, and her boyfriend. Kids included.
They caught the two guys later on. My dad attended the trials, and said it was the first time he had ever had thoughts of supporting the death penalty. It still gives me chills to know how close we came to getting killed that day, too.”
“When my aunt was about 23, she was driving home from a late bar tending shift in central California and stopped to get gas. It was maybe 2 am and there were a couple cars in the gas station, but she didn’t think much of it. Rural California. Not busy streets.
She’s pumping her gas and leaning against the car when the intercom says ‘ma’am at pump 4 please see cashier.’ At first, she didn’t realize she was at pump 4, and they had to announce it again. Saying there was an error with the payment and to see the cashier. She walks inside and the guy working the counter tells her to stay calm and that he’s called 911, but that he saw a man crawl under her car and was laying there. As they stood inside they saw him crawl into the backseat of her car on the cameras.
They waited until the police came and the man was arrested. He had a pocket knife and gloves on and appeared to be homeless. Scary stuff.”
A Sweet, Little Old Lady
“I was responsible for opening a new office for a previous employer. The receptionist that we hired was this sweet little old lady who would always bring in cookies and brownies, like almost everyday. She said her husband has a sweet tooth, and she doesn’t know how to make just enough for the two of them so, since the kids all moved out, she always baked too many.
She would always tell us funny stories about what her husband said or did the night before. He sounded like a fun guy, and she was the absolute sweetest little old lady. Or so I thought…
A few months later, her husband was reported missing by her adult kids. They said that he hadn’t called them since Christmas and that their mom was very evasive when they would ask to talk to him on the phone.
After a little investigating, the police found the husband, hacked to pieces, in this sweet little old lady’s trunk. It turns out on Christmas night, she slit his throat in his sleep, used a hacksaw to cut him up, rolled all the pieces up in a carpet, and tucked him into her trunk.
Here is the creepy part. We hired her in June. They found the body in August.
The whole time I knew her, his body was wrapped in a carpet in her trunk. She was bringing in cookies and telling us funny ‘Jim’ stories, all the while he was decaying in her trunk.”
A Harrowing Home Invasion
“Years ago when I was 8, my family lived in this big weird house kind of on the edge of a small town. The school district was in the middle of a big restructuring so even though we were only a couple grades apart my brother and I went to different schools and took different buses. This left me as the last person to leave in the morning and the first person to get home in the afternoon, which meant it was my job to make sure all the lights were off and the door was locked.
One morning I noticed the basement door was open and the light was on so before I left I turned off the light and closed the door. When I got home that afternoon the light was on and the door was open again. I just assumed that I’d forgotten to actually take care of it when I noticed it in the morning, so I went over to turn off the light and close the door. When I got to the top of the basement stairs I looked and there was a big shadowy male figure towards the bottom of the staircase. I freaked out, slammed the door and pushed a bunch of boxes against it and then went and hid in my closet. For months, I didn’t tell my family because I was positive what I had seen was a ghost and didn’t think anyone would believe me.
Then about a year after that incident my mom and her boyfriend realized that small amounts of money had been going missing for months (totaling around $800-900, but never more than $60 at once). So we all walked around the house with flashlights trying to figure out how they could have gotten in. Turns out some creep was climbing in through a small hole on the outside of the house, shimmying through a crawl space, then coming up into the house through the basement. Realizing I had been alone in the house with him on at least one occasion was one of the worst, most terrifying moments I’ve ever had.”
“My friend’s boss bought an Audi A4 convertible, back when they were new and interesting. One of the talking points was the pop-up roll hoops that were hidden unless you rolled it.
A few months after buying it he got to test those roll hoops out, as he lost control and skidded down a steep bank about 35 feet deep.
The roll hoops did their job, and he survived with just cuts and scratches from the bushes he’d plowed through. The car ended up the right way up, and he got out, walked back up the bank to the side of the road, then got on the phone to the police to report the accident. While he was standing there a driver from a car that had seen the accident came over to speak to him.
Approaching from behind the other driver asked if he was okay. My friend’s boss turned around to reply and dropped dead. His neck had been fractured, but was in one piece right up until he turned his head, when it severed his spinal cord.”
A Different Kind Of Rage
“I once heard a property was abandoned, and it was all over school that it was haunted. My friends and I decided to drive up to take a look at it one night (it sat on a few dozen acres). There was no fence and no signs prohibiting access, and all we had to do was take a dirt road for a mile to get to a hill that overlooked the whole property.
Turns out it was abandoned but still owned, and had a caretaker. The caretaker literally drove a truck with the lights off right up to us and then turned them on and tried to ram us. We were able to avoid him, but he then followed us at 60 mph off his property back onto the road, then into and past a residential neighborhood, trying to ram us off the road the whole way.
My car and his truck narrowly avoided hitting houses, parked cars, and narrowly missed driving straight into a church before he stopped and turned around.
I know I was on his property, but there were no signs and no barriers, and we were just on the edge of it. That he chased us way past his property and tried to kill us multiple times, and probably felt justified because we were trespassing, still gives me the chills.
People are capable of anything if they feel justified in their violence.”
They Were More Terrified By What The Cops Couldn’t Do
“A bunch of girls in my friend group decided to have a night out and ended up at the local gay club. They noticed a girl on the dance floor who looked super out of place. She had sweatpants and a t shirt on and wasn’t wearing makeup and had her hair in a ponytail. She also had a backpack on. Basically, the exact opposite of typical club attire and not at all what someone would usually wear to this place. They said that she seemed very dazed as well, and more importantly, there was a very large man grabbing her and grinding on her, and she was just kind of standing there letting it happen.
One of my friends tried approaching her to ask if she was alright but the guy spoke for her and insisted that he was her boyfriend and that she’d just had too much to drink but that she was okay. Everyone was suspicious but at that point there wasn’t much else they could do, so they just kept an eye on the two of them. Eventually the guy left the dance floor to go to the bar and my friend was able to talk to this girl again. She said that she was EXTREMELY out of it and that it seemed more likely that she had been given something rather than just being tipsy. The girl managed to convey that she didn’t know the man she was with and wanted to leave. So my friend grabbed her and made for the exit, but not before this guy came back. He IMMEDIATELY flipped out, got right in my friend’s face and started screaming at her. It escalated to the point that he eventually swung at my friend who just barely dodged the punch. Thankfully, someone else found a security guard, and they were able to prevent this guy from hurting anyone, meaning that my friends and the girl were all able to leave safely. She was still super messed up when they left so nobody could get the full story out of her, but she did say that the guy had been following her around town all day.
The terrifying part is that the bar staff couldn’t technically do anything other than throw this guy out after my friends had left. One of them called the cops and gave them a description of the guy, but they said they couldn’t really do much other than be on the lookout for him. So chances are that he’s still out there somewhere and may do this again.”
Cats Are The Best
“A relative of mine was in college and living in a small off-campus house by herself. At the time she thought she might have had a stalker. She had gotten some strange phone calls — no one answering on the other end, heavy breathing, and that sort of thing.
One night she was home alone in her bedroom studying, just her and a cat that she had recently adopted. So recent in fact that she hadn’t even named the cat yet. The whole time she was studying, the cat was acting crazy. Pacing the floor meowing constantly, and sitting right in front of her closet meowing non-stop. She was getting really annoyed and finally had enough, so she got up and went to the closet to open it for the cat and hopefully shut him up. When she opened it there was a man sitting in her closet, and when she opened it, it startled him, so he jumped up, pushed her out of the way and bolted out of the house, literally ripping a hole in the screen door as he tore through it.
She called the cops and gave a description. She had a clear look at his face. They found him and placed him under arrest. It turns out, he was also a serial ‘offender.’ He had been stalking her for weeks and broke into her house to wait in her closet until she was asleep at which time he would pull his mask down, and take advantage of her. Same pattern with his other victims, but she was the only one to see his face. Her testimony put him in prison. The cat saved her.”
“Never Partied Again”
“A female friend in college disappeared from a party at another university in the city 25 miles north of our school. She had arrived with another friend who I believe had driven. At some point she split off to play corn hole or something and was later inexplicably gone. Phone calls went to voicemail, police were called, but she was simply missing.
About 10 days later she was found by a homeless man who witnessed her crawling up to a bus stop in the city, begging for help. She had broken a leg and arm, and was in very bad shape.
At the (quite large party) she had her drink secretly ‘spiked’ and was then led off by a group of men into their vehicle. She was taken to an apartment where she was repeatedly taken advantage of, and locked in a small room in between with a bucket to use as a bathroom. At one point after being injected with a substance, she somehow managed to convince one of her captors to allow her to use the actual bathroom to clean herself up. This bathroom had a small window to the outside, and with the shower running, she managed to squeeze out and fell from the third story into a large hedge/bush. From there she crawled from the apartment complex to the road and bus stop, where the homeless man saw her and called police. Many cars stopped upon seeing her, making her captives unable to recapture her.
Three men were later arrested for the crime after surveillance cameras allowed police to locate the apartment which she jumped from. She returned to our university almost two years later, graduated, and became a nurse. She was obviously traumatized, never ‘partied’ again, carried a weapon everywhere she could, and somehow moved on with life. It was a terrifying tale none of us ever forgot. She was an 18-year-old freshman when the incident happened.”
Visitor In The Night
“I preface this story by saying I’m a small, 23-year-old female, which is what made this situation a million times scarier for me.
I had recently broken up with my ex and was thus left to live alone with our animals in a three-bed, one-and-a-half-bath house we had previously been in together. It was my first time living alone, so I was already a little on edge. At like 2 in the morning, my dog darted off my bed and started barking her head off. I woke up and heard the crackling of leaves underneath my window and then someone tapping on the glass. I froze for like two whole minutes as the tapping continued, getting much louder, and she kept barking like a maniac.
I opened my bedroom door and ran into the living room with my phone, not really knowing what to do in this situation. There were two entrances to my home and all of a sudden I could hear someone frantically turning the knob on the door off of the kitchen, slamming on the door trying to get inside. Thankfully it was locked. I called my girlfriend and woke her up, explained what was happening, and screamed ‘WHAT DO I DO??’ She was like ‘call the police.’
As I was dialing 911, the slamming on the door stopped and I saw a man’s face through my kitchen window, looking inside. We made eye contact and I nearly peed myself. He rounded the corner of my house to get to the front door and started doing the same with the knob, yelling unintelligibly at the top of his lungs. I finally got through to the dispatcher, and she said a patrol car was near and just to stay in my house. I went and hid in my room with my dog, locking the door behind me. Less than five minutes later all the noise stopped and it took me a few minutes to get out and check to see what was going on. The patrol car was already gone.
I got a call from the officer about 30 minutes later that the man had been very inebriated and got my house confused for his. He was angry because he thought his wife had locked him out. I am so, so glad I lock my doors religiously because I have no idea what would have happened if the man had made entrance into my home and found me alone. Ill-intentioned or not, sometimes people don’t act rationally and I can’t help but think about what might have happened if he had mistaken me for his wife.”