There are so many reasons living alone is amazing, they would be hard to detail in just one article. My personal favorite part is that all of the messes in the house are mine, and that as much as I love having guests over, I have full control over when they come and when they leave. It's truly empowering.
But one downside to living alone (or just staying home alone, for that matter) is that when scary noises spook you, there's no one else around who will have your back. As a self-proclaimed scaredy cat, this is the reason I've only ever lived alone in apartment buildings and would never dream of moving into a standalone house by myself.
I have no idea what I would do if I heard footsteps approaching, or saw a creepy shadow in my bedroom. With my current building setup, I'd probably just scream until a friendly neighbor came to my rescue.
But people who don't live in big urban areas aren't so lucky. We scoured a few different reddit threads for the absolute scariest home-alone stories from people who lived to share their tales. I literally have goosebumps just from having read these (and it's daytime), so if you're home alone right now, maybe save these 19 scary stories for later.
1. Home alone, or are you?
When I was younger I spent the day helping a neighbor rake leaves on his property. He was friendly with my family so he walked me home to say hi to my parents. We walked into the house and heard my mom upstairs talking (it sounded like she was on the phone) and walking around. I called for my dad — no answer. My neighbor says, "Well it sounds like your mom is on the phone, I'll catch them another time."
We say goodbye and he leaves. I go upstairs to see my mom but I can't seem to find her or hear her anymore. I search the house and it's empty. I'm thinking, "Did she leave the house while I was saying goodbye to the neighbor somehow?"
I call my dad's cell (my mom didn't have one) and he picks right up. I ask him where he is, and if he knows where mom went. "We're at the store, we've been running errands for a couple of hours." Instant goosebumps.
My neighbor and I both heard footsteps upstairs and a woman's voice. No idea who or what it was, but we both heard it. I waited outside until my parents got home.
2. Fame has its downsides.
Our street is almost 200 years old, and very picturesque, so it attracts tourists in our city. There have been more than a few times were I've come upstairs from the garden level kitchen/living room to the street level first floor to find that if I haven't closed the curtains, tourists will be peeking in, trying to see what the interior looks like. It's annoying and kinda creepy, but I'm used to it.
One night I came upstairs to go to bed to find some guy standing in front of our window. Our windows are the original casings, so they've got heavy wooden interior shutters we close at night. I closed one side, because [screw] it, I don't care if you want to see our upstairs living room, I'm tired. I went to do the other and he just gave me this furious look. Like his face just twisted into so much anger that it stopped me in my tracks. We stared each other down for a few moments before he gave me this big, creepy, leering smile and walked slowly down the street. I think I woke up and checked our dead bolt and chain like eight times throughout the course of that night.
3. Happy birthday...?
My girlfriend went out of town for the weekend so all my friends came over for a night of games and alcohol. A few days later my SO opens the oven to make dinner and found a baked cake in it. No dirty dishes, no mess, no explanation whatsoever. To this day none of us know how it got there. It's not a creepy ghost story like some here but it is the biggest mystery of my life. And no, nobody was drunk enough to forget baking a perfect cake, cleaning the dishes and putting everything away.
4. Dad's sick.
10 a.m. on a Saturday morning I was in bed petting my very bossy cat, who had pushed my bedroom open a few minutes prior, when I saw my dad.
The entry to the kitchen is just that, an entrance, there is no door. I saw him in his over sized black shorts and miscellaneous old tee shirt cross the kitchen entry way. First I thought, why the [hell] he is not at work then I realized that he wasn't wearing his glasses... which led me to think he must be sick.
So I get up despite my d--khead cat's nasty face and walk into the kitchen to ask him if he is feeling ok.
No one was there. No one was home, all the doors were still locked. I wasn't afraid, but turning that corner and expecting to see a person and seeing nothing but a bright empty room was very creepy.
5. Do you know who your neighbors are?
I live in a loft in a downtown area next to a few bars. The entrance to the building is a street-side unmarked door, randomly placed between businesses, it usually goes unnoticed. It opens directly to a staircase leading to the three apartments here. It's been a constant fear that drunk people from the bars mistakenly make their way into my foyer.
Back in October, I had the shock of a lifetime. It was about 3 a.m. on a work night, and I woke up hearing two very distinct voices coming from my living room area. I have two friends who have keys to my place, in case they are at the bar and need to sleep it off, but neither voice sounded like them. Then I heard what sounded like [an] eerie violin. I thought two drunk people had broken into my apartment, and I guess decided to watch a movie or something? I was freaking out and trying to figure it out. I just hid and hoped it would go away.
Finally the sounds just completely disappeared, which was just as disheartening. I didn't hear any footsteps, so it made me think they grew aware of my presence. I grabbed a weapon I keep next to my bed and slowly creeped toward the living room. Nothing was there, it was pitch black, and everything was turned off.
Turns out my neighbor, who owns the film studio I live above, pulled an all nighter editing his entry to the Halloween horror film contest he hosts every year. He was reviewing his film and accidentally paired with my sound bar instead of his own. He played the audio, very loudly, to a horror film to me in my pitch black apartment at 3 in the morning...
6. Hide-and-seek when parents are away is not for the faint of heart.
When I was around 11 or so my siblings and I were all playing hide-and-seek in my house. Now I know under the bed is the first place you always look but for whatever reason I decided to hide under my little sister's bed in her dark room. So I get down on the floor and squeeze under and wait for the seeker to come looking for me and as I am laying there waiting I hear a little girl giggle next to me. I could clearly see I was the only one under the bed and I was the only one in the room and I shot out from under the bed and told everyone what happened and that was the end of the game...
7. On the bright side, at least it was a friendly ghost.
[My sister] was home alone and I was out at the mall with a friend. I called her to ask what t-shirt she wanted from the store I was at and she told me she was scared that there was ghost in the house. I asked what happened.
She had put a Hot Pocket in the microwave and gone into her room to change. While she was changing, she heard the microwave go off signaling that her Hot Pocket was done. We have a small house, the kitchen and living room are open and connected and her room opens to the living room. She comes out of her room to grab the Hot Pocket, but instead of it being in the microwave, it was out on the living room coffee table, all warmed up. If that happened to me while I was alone, I would have been out of there so fast.
Once I was alone in the house and heard an elderly lady say 'hello' in a crackly voice. I froze, freaked out a bit, but then manned up and gave my own crackly 'hello' back, only to hear the same voice again.
Long story short, turns out the cat I was babysitting for my friend can mimic human speech, like who knew cats could do that??
9. Don't answer the phone.
I spoke to the ghost of my great-grandmother on the telephone. I didn't recognize her voice because she had died over 60 years before I was born, but a very elderly sounding lady called and calmly told me to, "Tell Essie it is time to come home now." I kept telling her she had the wrong number, but she was adamant that I pass along the message. Two hours later my grandmother's assisted living home called and told us that my grandmother (Esther) had passed away in her sleep. Her mother had died when she was 16, and Essie was my grandmother's childhood nickname. This was 25 years ago and thinking about it still makes the hair on my neck stand on end.
10. Oh, the good old AIM days...
I grew up in a haunted house so I have a bunch of stories, but not a lot really fit the "home alone" category specifically. There is one that sticks out in my mind, though.
It was just getting dark outside and I was on my computer talking to a girl on AIM. I had my door open as usual because it was always unbelievably hot in my room for no real explainable reason. If the rest of the house was sitting at 70 degrees, you could guarantee my room would be like 90.
So, anyway, the way my computer and desk were situated, I had my back to my door. At some point, I heard someone walk by, which was not uncommon. My dad lived in a room behind the garage that he'd built, but he would still always be walking by my room to use the master bedroom's bathroom.
So when I heard someone walk by, I didn't even glance around to look. Then, maybe 30 seconds later, it suddenly dawned on me...
I was home alone.
No one else should've been in the house. Dad was out of town for work and my sister only ever came home to do laundry or to ask for money.
So, I did what any teenage weeb would do. I grabbed my sword and started patrolling the house wearing nothing but my underwear. I didn't find anyone, but [wow] did that get my heart going.
11. Yeah.... Nope.
Sister and I were downstairs watching a movie, when her phone starts to ring. When she checks it, and my number shows up, but my phone was upstairs in my room charging. That was ... unnerving.
12. I'm not saying that living alone in a remote cabin is just BEGGING for scary stuff to happen to you, but...
I spent six months living alone in a cabin near the end of a dirt road in central New Hampshire. Nearest neighbors were a quarter mile or so up or down the road. It's an area where people definitely keep to themselves. Had all sorts of animal visitors — bears on the porch, you name it — but never random people around.
One morning, I went out to my car to go to work. It was spring, and we'd had a late frost. On the rear window of my truck, someone had written, "I WATCH YOU" with their finger in the frost.
I never had an actual problem in the rest of my time there, but that freaked me out.
13. "Let me in, love."
Years ago my parents had their garage converted into an extra large bedroom (it's full of junk now) and this was where we all played games. I was about 10 and it was only the second or third time I had been left alone in the house while my siblings were all away for one reason or another.
Naturally, I was up all night playing on our PS2 in there, having a blast. I don't know how late but pretty late into it, I suddenly started hearing someone tapping on the window. They really went all out with the extra bedroom and actually replaced the garage door with a wall, window, and traditional front door you'd find on any house, complete with bolt and doorknob locks.
Well I didn't realize it was a sound not produced by my game for a full minute or so, and the sound (like someone drumming their fingers 1,2,3,4 1,2,3,4 really quickly) kept going without stopping. I finally really noticed it when the doorknob rattled and the sound moved to the door, which made it louder.
I freaked right the hell out and snuck to the door to double check the locks. They were BOTH unlocked, but the door tended to jam and act like it was locked unless you put a lot of effort into it. I locked both locks, loudly, so the person would know they definitely couldn't get in, but I just heard a gruff older man laugh and the sound got louder.
Then he moved back to the window and called in, "Let me in love I'm cold and hungry. Don't you wanna be nice to your neighbor?"
I turned out the light, ran to my room, and [hid] in the pitch dark under my blanket until my parents got home a few hours later from their anniversary date. I never told them because I was young enough to care more about getting in trouble because I stayed up past my bedtime.
14. This person added in the comments that human bones were found in that apartment. So there's that.
I used to rent a room in a basement apartment. My friend's family lived in the real house upstairs, which is how I ended up there. They have a lot of family parties. (They're first generation Filipino, family parties are a frequent thing).
One day I was [doing] some homework in my room, the other two tenants weren't home, so I had "apartment B" to myself. But they were being so loud upstairs, I was having trouble focusing. So much chatter and feet moving around. Sounded like dancing was going on.
I texted my friend: "You guys sound like you're really having a good time up there. I'm not really getting anything done, can I come up?"
He texts back: "No one is home, we went to Wisconsin for the weekend."
I went outside, saw that no one's car was there, and no lights were on in the house. And then I just went for a walk until someone else got home.
15. That was close.
It was raining, about to be dark. I'm watching a movie on TV, the volume is quite loud since I put on the surround sound. Suddenly, I hear a knocking or someone trying to open the back door. I mute the sounds. I thought, oh it must be the wind and rain? we do have a lot of junk in the back, so maybe things are blowing around. Then I hear it again, it's consistent. If it is someone, then who the hell would go through the back, than knocking or go through the front? Man... this ain't good, anyone who is up to no good goes through the back door or windows. I'm down for whatever.
The kitchen leads to the back door, so I grab a knife. I yell, "You don't know who you're [messing] with! You have three seconds to get out!" I still hear knocking. I said to myself, this is it! I open the door wide open with the knife in front of me pointed at whoever it would be. It was my grandma! She doesn't speak English very well. I was like, "Grandma! why didn't you go through the front????" She said I wasn't opening the door and she was getting wet, so she ran to the back where there was a cover over the door.
16. "I was going to leave you a note but I see that you are here."
When I was 19, my parents and brother had gone away for the weekend and I stayed behind. I had had a pretty rough night and was very drunk. I pulled a Britney Spears move and cut off all my long hair drunkenly thinking to "reinvent myself" because I was moving away for university the following week. When I finished rinsing the fresh cut hair off of my neck in the shower I left the bathroom to find a note in the hallway that said
"I was going to leave you a note but I see that you are here."
Naturally, I was walking around my house naked as I THOUGHT I was alone, but when I opened the door to my room there was a guy with his hair in his face standing in the middle of the room grinning at me!
I FREAKED OUT and screamed bloody murder as one tends to do when they're a naked 19 year old girl encountering an unexpected stranger in their empty house at 2:30 a.m., until I recognized him.
It was this boy I had dated in my first year of high school three years previously for two weeks until he ran away from home. Turns out he had heard I was moving away and just wanted to talk. He didn't hurt me or threaten me in any way, (other than BREAKING INTO MY HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT) handed me some clothes from my bed and we chatted until he eventually left.
I found out two years later that he's been institutionalized with schizophrenia...
17. Keep your cellphones charged, guys.
I live in a slightly rural spot. One night, after about midnight I hear banging on my door. I thought it was my boyfriend attempting a booty call (as he is apt to do).
When I got to the door I could see through the small glass window, but instead of my boyfriend I saw the side of an unfamiliar bearded face. He didn't see me and I backed away from the door.
My house was in a cellular "dead zone" so I knew my cell was useless. I grabbed the landline next to my bed to call 911, but the line was dead. It was just like a horror movie, where the killer cuts the phone line.
Meanwhile the guy was still pounding away and slurring "Let me in!" I grabbed the biggest chef knife I own, which is pretty big, and locked myself in the bathroom. I stood on the edge of the tub, behind the shower curtain figuring I might have a chance if I jumped on him from above and stabbed him between the neck and shoulder when he tried to bust down the door.
I was terrified, but also pleased with my plan and waited. He started working his way around the outside of the house. I could hear him sliding his hands along the siding and banging his fist against the walls. For a split second I reveled in my surprisingly bad-ass plan, then I realized the "sabotaged" phone hadn't been charged in days... maybe one of the other handsets still worked?
I have never felt more fear than the moment I climbed down from my hiding spot, unlocked the bathroom door, and went in search of a second handset, all while a madman was moving around the outside of my house violently trying to unlock every door and window.
I found a phone — and it WORKED! I dialed 911, but the closest officer was over 15 mins away. I was told to stay on the line, but lock myself in the bathroom again. That was the longest 15 mins of my life.
When police arrived, they had me identify a cuffed-scruffy-drunk-off his ass-dirty-hippie kid. Apparently there had been a party down the road, he got disoriented and thought my house was his friends house. He was "trying to get back inside the party" for 20 mins. of pure terror.
18. Great, now I'll never babysit ever again.
It was about 9 p.m. and the kids' parents would be getting home in like an hour or so. I had put the kids to bed so was downstairs by myself watching T.V. However every so often the TV would flicker with static. To be honest it was starting to scare the [crap] out of me.
It wasn't until the point when I looked up from the TV and out the nearby window when I lost my [crap]. There wasn't actually anything outside but it seemed as if it was in the reflection. I saw what looked like a tin-man standing not too far from me behind the couch.
Needless to say, there wasn't actually anything there when I snapped my head around to look at the spot where it was standing in the reflection. I grabbed all my [crap] and wanted to get out of that house then and there. Instead I ran upstairs and actually sat down quietly where the kids were sleeping until the parents got back home. (For some reason, even though they were sleeping kids, being in the company of others calmed me a bit).
I particularly remember when the parents came home and I had started to leave. I was pulling out of their driveway in my [crappy] old Ford laser and I looked up into the kids' bedroom window. The same reflection I saw earlier was looking back down at me with a hand raised as if waving goodbye...
I have never [babysat] again.
19. This one's even got bloody evidence.
I'm living in a college apartment with a friend. Quite a while ago I ended up staying there for a weekend by myself, though I had originally planned to head home and work my part-time job as I normally do. Anyway I was the only one in the house on this particular night when I heard a bang and the sound of wood on wood. Thinking I must've left a window open and it was just the breeze slamming the door in the kitchen or something, I went to go close it... except that door was still open and all the windows were already closed. Now I was a little spooked, but I was determined to find out what could have made that noise so I could calm down, go to bed and laugh about how silly I was for getting scared.
But as I was walking back through the hall connecting my room to the kitchen/ living room I found it. The thick wooden panel that accessed the attic (which would only be used for maintenance but was connected to all apartments on that floor and the hall outside) had been PULLED UP. At this point I decided that it would be safer if I just stayed in my room and locked the door until morning. The next morning of course I found blood smeared across the top of my door, so that was fun. I know this sounds made up and overdramatic, I 100 percent agree, but unfortunately there's proof.