15 Times Real Life Was Scarier Than 'The Babadook'

These scary true stories are so terrifying they should definitely be made into horror films.


Oct. 24 2018, Updated 2:47 p.m. ET

Source: istock

Two summers ago, after I landed in LA for a brief business trip, I lived through the scariest fifteen minutes of my life. Luckily, I had three people around me to a) corroborate my account b) save me from staying at a place that could easily have been the home of the literal Babadook!

It all started when a friend of mine, let’s call him Jack, generously offered to let me stay at his house for free, since he was going to be away for the week of my trip and it turned out, his AirBNB guests had cancelled last minute. I was grateful to have the free lodgings and happy to water his plants in return. The night before flying out, I met up with Jack and got the keys along with the instructions on how to get in. “It’s 3564 Anywhere Lane,” they said. Simple enough.

The next day, I landed in LA and immediately headed to see some friends before Jack’s. This led to dinner which led to after dinner drinks and before I knew it, it was almost 11:30pm.

Finally, I decided to call it a night and head to Jack’s. Eric, my friend from college, decided that it was too late for me to head over alone and said he would drop me off. I tried to call an Uber but he insisted. 

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We arrived at the address, 3564 Anywhere Street and saw a row of cute bungalows hugging a courtyard — how LA! We use the first key to get into the main gate. So far, so good. It was then that we noticed that the apartment doors were numbered in fractions - 3564 1/4, 3564 1/2, 3564 3/4 and so on. Strange, but since Jack never mentioned a fraction, we walked to the end of the courtyard until we finally hit apartment number 3564.

We immediately notice two things that seemed unusual. One, there were packages on the stoop not addressed to Jack. And two, and this is the stranger detail, there was a sheet that had been stuffed in the doorframe. Strange, but not scary…

After fiddling with the keys for a minute, I finally got the door open and am hit with the most powerful, awful, musty, wretched smell of human that I can still smell now while I type this. I tried the light switch but it didn’t do anything — it was pitch black and from somewhere inside the house a smoke alarm with a low battery was intermittently beeping. 

Eric, the other two friends and I pull out our iPhones and turn on our flashlights only to almost nearly fall on top of each other in blind fear. In the living room that we just entered, if you can call it that, are hanging masks and dolls, twigs arranged on the walls like some kind of Blair Witch movie set and piles of crusty dishes piled all around.

My friends are now demanding to know just how well I know this Jack person. In my jet lagged state, confused, I start wondering the same thing. This couldn’t be Jack’s apartment? But it must have been, the key unlocked the door. But why was this apartment looking like the set of a horror movie? How much did I really know Jack?

At this point Eric had picked up some prescription pill bottles and was looking at them closely. “Eddie Ramirez,” he asked, “these pills are for an Eddie Ramirez? Who is Eddie Ramirez” Not Jack! Not Jack! Not Jack! Suffice to say dear reader, we booked it out of there immediately and I never spoke to Jack again.

Fifteen people took to reddit to share their insanely scary true stories that are more terrifying than your favorite horror flick. Read on for goosebumps and thrills. Don't say we didn't warn you.

1. It starts with an imaginary friend.

Source: iStock
I still have fresh memories of this.
When I was very young, about three or four, I remember having a friend named Alli.
Alli lived with me and I would play hide-and-seek with her in the back yard. Alli was a year older than me. Alli loved my mom but wouldn't stay long enough to meet her.
My mom didn't believe I had a friend named Alli, I kept telling her, and my mom first got a very white face and told me stop, and Alli isn't real.
Well one night Alli told me she had to leave, so she did. Never heard from her again.
Fast forward to when I was 16, and mom told me that before I was born I had a sister named Alli, and she had passed away due to complications ([I don't know] what the problem was, something about her lungs I think).
My mom tells me that it was probably all a coincidence since a divorce was going on during that time and I wanted a friend.
But I still remember everything about Alli, and I refuse to believe it was all pretend.


2. Think twice before you lay down on your "side" tonight.

Source: istock
Like most couples, my husband and I have a designated "side" of the bed. I sleep on the right and him on the left. My comfortable sleep position is laying on my left side and facing the window, away from him. He alternates between facing the bathroom door or me.
One night a few weeks back, I'm fighting my sleep. I'm laying on my left side, per the norm, but I just can't get comfortable. My neck is sort of sore from laying on my left so I turn over and face my husband.
When I turn over, I am not only faced with my husband's back, but with a large shadow standing over him. Immediately the shadow stretches to me and somehow communicates for me to turn over. I remember thinking it's face was contorted somehow expressing malice, but I can't for the life of me remember what it looked like. I didn't hear a voice, but the communication was urgent and angry. Like it wanted to hurt me.
Without thinking, I turn back around and quickly fall asleep. To be honest, I'm not even sure if I was dreaming. The next morning, my husband and I wake up around the same time and go about our usual routine. I don't say anything because my husband doesn't like to talk about supernatural stuff or the like (which I felt it was).
However, this morning is strange and he seems to be uncomfortable. After a lot of prodding, he finally admits he had an awful nightmare. He dreamt a demon was trying to make him do things while he was sleeping, "really evil [crap]" (wouldn't elaborate) and I woke up during this and the demon attacked me. I didn't tell my husband that I remember the same thing, only I wasn't sure if I was asleep.

- [deleted user]

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3. Late-night conversations.

Source: istock
My great grandfather passed away when I was ~5, and so as it was just my mum and I after her divorce she took me up to Leeds to attend the funeral with her. Both of us were upset and so we slept in the same bed as mum felt heartbroken and I was just upset (though never was one as a child to share my parent's bed), just this one occasion. Fast forward to the very early hours of the day of the funeral, around 3 a.m. and, although I don't remember doing it, my mum says I say bolt upright in bed, wide awake, and started talking to someone. She didn't dare interrupt even though it freaked her out loads, and just lay there in bed listening to me talk to my great-grandmother...
Who had passed away in 1981, 14 years before I was born.

- ntr1010

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4. Louder-than-usual animal sounds...

Source: iStock
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 a.m. 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 40-45 minutes of being irritated by the noise (best guess, I had watched a couple of episodes of South Park on my DVR during the timespan) 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 2 bangs on the wall right next to the window from outside.
Needless to say, I just about [crapped] 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.

- AlphaAgain

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5. Haunted houses? We've got a few.

Source: istock
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 2-year-old daughter starts talking about the ghost that lives in our house. Now let's be real here — she is 2 and 2-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 birthday.

- patentspatented

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6. Let's get Halloween-y.

Source: iStock
When I was 12/13, I was at a Halloween party. We had returned from trick or treating and were playing games back at the house when we heard a knock on the front room window. We all turned to look but couldn't see who it was because there were blinds hanging, so we pull the blinds away to see a man standing, now a few feet away from the window, wearing hospital robes; we all thought it was a great costume, although it could have done with some make-up to make it even more terrifying. We waved and pulled the blinds back down.
The next thing we know a huge rock comes flying through the window, luckily not hitting anybody but could have caused some serious damage if it did. Everyone panicked as we could hear him shouting very aggressively and the mum called the police while the dad went outside to confront. The police arrived very promptly along with an ambulance.
Everyone was utterly confused until the police explained that the man was in fact a patient suffering from presumed mental disorders who had escaped from the hospital he was at until he could be moved somewhere more permanent.
I remember being really shaken up by it, I mean he could have done anything. And on Halloween of all nights. Damn.

- imVanquish

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7. "I'm your uncle."

Source: istock
It was the last day of my internship, and everyone had gotten a ride home, while I waited for my parents. (I was 15 at the time, and everyone else was a bit older and drove.) 'Jim' a more strict and unsettling boss of mine and 'Joe' a calmer, older, nicer one both decided to stay and wait due to it being dark and Jim decided that he felt something suspicious and wanted to wait with me. Joe agrees and I stood on the corner with them waiting. After waiting about ten minutes, a strange, rusty SUV pulls up with a tan, gray haired and bearded man inside. He rolls down his window and begins claiming he was my uncle, my relative, and he knew me, and that I should get in the car with him. Quite scary, both men turned to me with concerned faced, knowing my mom was picking me up. I freaked out, froze, and kept shaking my head. He persisted for a solid 15 minutes (to this day, I still wonder why it took so long for my mom to get there!) THEN proceeded to make a U-turn and do the same thing. His license plate was too dim for us to see, and he drove away. That day ended, and it was horrifying by itself. A couple days later however, I was walking home from my bus stop and saw the same car roll by me. I took out my phone and tried to take a picture but couldn't get one. To this day this still creeps me out.

- theskyissobluetoday

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8. Kids love it when parents tuck them in. Unless...

Source: istock
When I was a kid (like 6-8 years old), my mom would come to my room late at night to check on me, tuck me in properly, and just stay for a bit.
One morning, while we were all having breakfast I told her "thank you for checking on me last night, mom".
She asked me what I meant, and I told her that I really liked how most nights she went to my room to check on me and stayed for a while. I remember her just looking at my dad, and saying "oh good," and changing the topic.
Years later, my parents confessed that neither of them ever went to my room at night, and that my remark scared the [crap] out of them.

- ny_mathguy

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9. Oh, just a casual block party.

Source: istock
I threw a block party in college and invited the young folks in the neighborhood, all of whom I knew well. There were some acquaintances there too, but I had met them all before. About two hours in we're all pretty chipper and all of a sudden this random guy hops the fence and joins the party. Now this fence just goes off into forest, which is what he came out of, in the dark. Never said a word the whole time he was there. He just kinda lurked around the bonfire and stared into it occasionally.
He was gone before the party died out completely. No one saw him go, but he wasn't around when people started walking home. I doused the fire after the last guest left and called the dog in. Right before I walked inside a white disturbance in my visual field made me look out toward the fence. There he was, just standing among the trees looking at me.
I got my rifle and fired a warning shot beside him. He slowly turned and walked off into the blackness, unfazed. I called the cops, but they never found anyone.

- GuruBushHippie

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10. Hard no to old TVs after this story.

Source: istock
I had an old CRTV in a room in which no one sleeps. I'm alone one night and the TV turns on full volume on a static channel. I go to turn it off and as I'm leaving the room I get a weird feeling and turn back. The TV is unplugged and my pants are soaked.

- danny5541

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11. Another invisible friend, because these are so creepy.

Source: iStock
I hate to ever repeat this but I don't want you to sleep tonight so I will.
Let's keep this short.
I had a child and this child had some sort of ability to sense things.
She was 3 at the time, she told me about a friend she made. The one she would always stare at on the ceiling.
She said "she jumped out of her parents car through our window and wants spaghetti."
Ok.. Seemed like a friendly "invisible friend." I brushed it off, still amazed at this all though.
Things got weird. It's almost as if this unlocked some sort of spiritual world? Weird things started happening.
I'm so terrified even repeating this because I'm so paranoid it will find us again. We tried to move houses, it didn't help.
One night, I hear my daughter scream. Both me and my mother run into her room and she has her arms extended backwards as if she's being dragged out of the bed. As we walked in it slowly stopped. 85 percent of her body was now out of the bed, she was still "lying down" on her back. It was so unbelievable to witness this and I feared for her.
It started getting worse. I kept my daughter in bed with me now.
I'm holding her close in my arms one night when she screams and I half wake up to hear chanting. It was near my daughter but it sounded like multiple voices and also in a different language, Latin I believe?
We got a priest in. We explained the chanting to him and he said he thinks it was a saint for children. An archangel, Michael if I recall correctly.
The house we lived in was old as [hell] and sent off bad vibes. Although we got it blessed I still wasn't happy. So, my child and I moved into a brand new apartment near the city.
We were really happy there, nothing happened and I felt really safe.
There's a main bathroom at the end of the apartment, opposite is my daughters room, then there's a long hallway that leads to an open dining/kitchen area and than the living room.
I was applying some fake tan in bathroom with the door open one day, my daughter was in the living room watching The Wiggles on the bean bag. I could often hear her moving around on it.
I'm looking in the mirror, which is parallel to the door, while I apply my fake bake. I see a small shadow walk into my child's room out of my peripheral. I get annoyed "I told you to stay in the living room!" I say as I walk into her room. Nothing? I look everywhere but find her still on the beanbag, almost asleep and watching TV still.
"[Crap]" I thought as I realized, it's not over yet.
Not too much happened after that. One night I had a friend sleepover and she shared my bed with me, my daughter was away at this stage with grandma for the weekend. When I woke up my friend was gone, I find her in my child's room. I ask her why she moved but she was kind of hesitant to talk to me, almost like she was scared of me. (Guys, I'm actually terrified writing this and I've had to turn my light on, I'm such a loser but I feel a presence right now, not sure if I'm just reliving the feelings I had then though...)
She told me that in the middle of the night, I started talking in a foreign language. I do speak another language other than English but she insisted it wasn't even close to that one, so she had to leave the room because she was really scared.
Also one night, there was knocking on my bedroom window. And also almost in the cupboard in my room. The first time it happened I thought I misheard but the second time my daughter looked at me and said "who is that?". Also please note that my bedroom overlooked a balcony about five stories high.

- Hiveraz

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12. Empty streets terrify me.

Source: iStock
Not necessarily, like, shock frightening, but it was really disconcerting at the time.
Well it was about 12:30 or 1 a.m., and I was driving home from the movie theater. My friends and I had just watched The Conjuring, which put my mind in a creepiness-fueled, hyper-aware state. I was driving through downtown in my not-small, not-big town and downtown is kinda like an old, historical-looking district. Usually there was a large crowd of people outside of this one downtown bar called The Grove, but it was raining/drizzling. Even though it was raining, it was a Saturday night and I live in a part of Florida where people learn to not care about light rain, so I was a little surprised to see literally no one... No one but this lone woman.
I'm at this red light next to the The Grove and I see this lone woman standing on the edge of the intersection that I am stopped at. She's not moving, just standing there on the sidewalk to the right of me, staring about 45 degrees up into the sky in the direction that I am currently headed. I look at her as the light changes to green and I drive past. I drive slowly, almost hoping for her to look down at me and make eye contact, because the way she is staring upward is confusingly discomforting. She doesn't look down at me though, she just keeps staring upward down the road that I am driving on. So I pass her and just think to myself "That girl was freaking weird. Whatever, I hope she get's home okay." or something like that.
I've driven down the road several blocks, still thinking about how weird the girl was. Then I see a man standing alone on the sidewalk to the left of the road I'm on. Almost perfectly mirroring the girl, the man is standing completely still and staring up at a 45 degree angle into the sky. But he's looking directly in the direction of the girl. At the very least, the two were four blocks away from each other... there was literally no way that they could see each other. But they were both looking in the exact direction of each other, just up in to the sky.
What were they looking at? Why were they alone? Why were they not moving? I still haven't guessed a reason to any of these. What did I drive under?

- Marvolo_Mescudi

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13. Extra scary points for the fact that the author was named after the guy who built this cabin.

Source: iStock
This happened about 10 years ago. Sorry about the length.
My parents had a dry cabin that was about 17 miles out of town. We decided to rent it to this family for a decent price. Long story short they stopped paying their rent and we had to kick them out. This was about the time I was moving back to the area.
So the parents decided I could stay at the cabin while going to school. When we checked out the cabin, it was [messed] up. Trash all over the place. A gigantic pit of empty beer bottles. Mold in the floorboards. Gonna be a ton of work to clean that up.
So I start cleaning it up, little by little, day after day, over the course of the summer. Occasionally I'd get my friend to help out. It finally got to the point of cleanliness where I could sleep there at night.
I kinda wish I didn't.
I got off work at midnight and stayed at my friend's apartment for a couple of hours. It was 3:30 a.m. and I decided to head home and go to bed.
I get back to the cabin at about 4am and pass out. I wake up at 8am wide awake. I don't hear a single thing outside. There's no birds chirping, there's no squirrels chattering.
Dead silence.
I heard something growling outside the cabin. I could hear its footsteps circling the grounds. It went around the house three times, in a counter-clockwise motion. Pausing there, sniffing here, walking more. I could feel its presence and it was searching for something.
I thought to myself, Whatever it is, it's outside. It can't come in. The door is locked, the windows are all shut."
Until it went to the porch by the front door. Its claws clackered onto the wooden porch, the growling got louder and louder.
The door is locked. It can't come in
I move as quietly as possible from the bed, and look to the alarm clock.
8:10 a.m.
I slowly hide myself under the sheets. Trying to not make a noise.
The windows are shut
It claws at the door three times.
Suddenly it's inside the house. There was no noise of a door opening. Or being broken into. This presence is inside my house. My sanctum of sleep. It paces the bare wooden floor at the edges of the living room.
Three times. Sniffing here, stopping there.
It steps into the kitchen near the living room.
Three times it went around the kitchen.
I'm on the second floor. Maybe it'll go back outside.
It starts to walk up the stairs, creaking those old boards with its weight. The growling becoming louder and louder.
The thing is in the room next to mine. Pacing about three times.
The second floor is an open floor plan, there's half a wall separating my "bedroom" with the "other room".
The thing stops at the end of the half-wall. The "entrance" to my room. It's snarling quietly at me. It could hear its menacing breathing. I could feel that it wants to enter the room. That it wants me to look from under my sheets and see its eyes.
But I simply cower and dare not breathe audibly. Like the shallow breaths you take when you're hiding and something is seeking you.
I could feel its hackles raised in anger.
And then it stops.
It's gone, just vanishes.
I laid under the sheets, still and silent, waiting for it to return. Waiting for it to consume me. Nothing.
Then, the silent songbirds start to chime in. Tentatively at first, wondering if it's safe. More and more join. I never moved from under my sheets. And I spent the next two hours falling back asleep.
I never slept another night in that place again.
On one of my dad's week offs he went to the cabin and helped me move stuff back into the trailer. I was moving back to Valdez and live with them. Fixing the cabin took too much money for me to go to school.
While we were moving my bed from out of the bedroom at the cabin. He plainly said, "Oh. That sucks. They painted over the pentacle."
"The what?"
"The guy that built the cabin, who you were named after, [painted] a pentacle to ward off evil spirits. They [the family] must've thought it was a pentagram. Ignorant [jerks]."

- Cadd9

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14. Last goodbye.

Source: istock
My paternal grandmother died when I was 6. I lived in NY. She lived in PA. I met her maybe twice.
I was 6 years old, asleep in bed one night and for whatever reason I woke up and walked into my parents' bedroom. My father had an easy chair in one corner for reading. I sat in the chair. On the opposite wall was my father's closet. It opened, and Grandma came out and stood about six feet away.
"I just wanted to say goodbye," she said, smiled, waved, and turned back and walked back into the closet, closing the door behind her. I went back to my room.
About two hours later, about 6 a.m., the phone rings. It was a call from PA that Gramma Catherine had died in her sleep. My mother came to wake me up to tell me, and I said, "I know."
"What do you mean?"
"She came to say goodbye last night."
She made me repeat the story three times, and then told me never, ever to tell my father that story. And I never did.

- dramboxf

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15. Honestly, why would anyone put themselves through the horror of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'?

Source: iStock
Years ago, around Halloween, my family had gathered to watch scary movies. My mom loved these shows. My dad didn't care much for them, so he would get up every few minutes to work on some thing or other.
We had started watching Hitchcock's The Birds, and it was getting late, probably close to midnight. And it was getting cold. Not just the late October chill of the foothills we lived it, the house was getting cold.
At first my mom just asked my dad to turn up the thermostat, but after couple minutes of the furnace running and the house not warming up, he realized he'd need to go check the furnace.
He grabbed a lighter and headed downstairs. A minute later, we hear him shout for us.
"You have to come see this!" He says with something that sounds part excitement, part nervousness in his voice.
We get down there to see him shining a flashlight into the furnace. Peering in, first we just noticed the pilot light was indeed out. Then we saw the reason. A dead bird. Something about the size of the palm of my hand, maybe a sparrow, had flown into the furnace from outside and put the flame out.

- allmyusernamesaredea

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