The online community known as Reddit will stop at nothing to plumb the sum total of human experience. That means the good, uplifting stuff and the unsettling, possibly horrifying stuff. And on Reddit, creepy stories abound.
A recent post on r/AskReddit invited “Late night hikers” to share “the creepiest thing you have seen while hiking.” Apparently late-night hikers are a thing and boy did they have some doozies to relate.
Most of them sound like encounters with people on various drugs, but still extremely unsettling to say the least.
I drove to a park to go hiking at night in the mountains (so safe I know) And I hadn’t even turned off my car and I already feel like I’m being watched. There weren’t any cars around so I thought maybe it was just me being paranoid for some reason. But for some reason I looked to my right and I see this weird looking humanoid shape on top of the little bump hill about 50 feet away. At first I though it was a weirdly shaped tree until I saw the arms move (no wind at all). So now I know there’s a person staring at my car trying not to move, for what I assume is for me to get out of my car and leave to a more secluded area as we were next to the road.
Of course I left, I don’t go hiking at night in that particular park anymore.
I was once biking late at night on a mountain road, illuminated by the moon and stars. There were some small objects scattered on the road in the distance that I could barely make out.
When I got closer I noticed that they were stuffed animals. Thousands of stuffed animals scattered for about a kilometer. Many of them had been dismembered by cars driving by, and I couldn’t avoid running over them since there were so many. It was very, very strange.
When I was younger and stupider and going to college in the north Georgia mountains, my friends and I would go night hiking a lot on the trails near campus. I got pretty familiar with the area, and being out in the wilderness at night in general, which probably made me too confident.
One night the full moon was out, and the weather was perfect, so visibility was crazy good (everything was basically washed in dim blue light). I was slightly stoned, and feeling adventurous, and I love doing fun stuff alone, so I decided to go enjoy a night hike by myself. I took a flashlight, but this was around 2002 so no cell phone. I chose a super easy trail that was mostly flat/ maybe a mile loop, in pretty secluded area, but not exactly a national park or anything (very rural area). I didn’t even need my flashlight for most of it, and just hiked in the moonlight; it was actually a really cool/ beautiful experience at first.
At some point I started feeling uneasy, and maybe a millisecond later I heard a man’s voice. It was coming from a good distance ahead of me, somewhere off in the woods, maybe from the right side of the trail. He was crying.
I’m honestly an empathetic person, and 99.9% of the time I hear someone crying I want to comfort/ help them in some way, but this time I felt sick in the stomach, like a dry panic attack, if that makes sense. I remember coming very close to calling out to him, because my brain was trying to tell me he might be hurt, which was the only reason I hesitated – but it was like my body shut my voice down before I could say anything, and I knew I had to stay very quiet. He was sobbing like he’d just found out a loved one had died, but also gibbering, and almost-babbling, like he was less than a person. There was a shrillness to it, under his crying, like he was holding back a scream – but perpetually, on and on, as if he’d been doing it all night. I remember it vividly, and my spine is tingling like crazy even as I write this. It’s hard to explain, but I knew deep down he wasn’t right in the head, and nothing good would happen if he realized I was listening.
I went back the way I came; it was like I had tunnel-hearing, and the only sound in the world was that crying. I was hyper-aware of everything else around me, and beyond paranoid that I would snap a branch, or snag my boot on something. I worried the man’s crying would get louder if I wasn’t paying razor sharp attention, getting closer, or turn into an outraged crazy-person scream.
Thankfully it just faded the further I got from it, and I made it back to my car. Still, I was convinced some wild-eyed hermit was going to rush out of the forest and bite me to death, right up to the second I locked my doors and got the fuck out of there. I finally had the rest of my panic attack on the drive back. I managed to park back at campus, and I just sat in the car and collected myself. Adrenaline is fucking powerful.
I have never felt a shred of guilt about leaving that guy crying out in the woods in the dark. I know I was slightly stoned, but slightly is the key word there. I’m convinced to this day I was in very real danger that night. Definitely not as insane as most of the stories in threads like this – but sometimes I get that same sick feeling deep down, whenever I wonder what might have happened if the moon been less bright, or if I’d been more responsible, and I’d decided to use my flashlight even once. He’d have seen me for sure.
I go hiking in the woods that permeate my town, sometimes so late that i get to see the sun rise out there.
The strangest thing i ever saw was what I could only describe as a shanty town was built up seemingly overnight deep into the woods. Simple little hovels made of scrap metal and bed sheets and a small firepit that someone had made out of an old tire, with the fire still burning. But that wasn’t the weird part.
The weird part was that this was well passed midnight when i found this place and it was quiet as a grave. There was no one there. Someone made the trouble of getting a fire going and then left it. From the look of it this place could hold about a dozen or so people and yet there was nothing there but the fire they abandoned and whatever possessions they had left in the shanties.
Not so much hiking as walking home after work one night a lot of years ago.
I normally got off around 7pm and my walks home were uneventful. However this night I covered a half shift for someone and worked until 11pm. There was a trail behind some train tracks I would take home to avoid walking beside traffic and whatnot.
I came to realize that night those trails were a lot different at 11pm than they were at 7pm. I happened across a guy who was laying by his bike moaning in pain. It didn’t sound like real moaning, more like a kid’s fake “I have a tummyache and can’t go to school” moan.
I also noticed his bike was standing up on it’s kickstand. It didn’t make sense to me he would set his bike up properly only to fall to the ground in pain. He saw me and called out to me for help but I kept walking and turned to make my way back up towards the street.
As I turn, I suddenly hear some shuffling around and the previously “hurt” gentleman yells at me: “I’m gonna kill you, motherfucker!”
He hops on his bike and starts rushing towards me. At this point, I’m most of the way up the incline going towards the railroad tracks that ran parallel to the street. I haul ass up there and as I get over the tracks, my would-be assailant proceeds to hit the tracks with his front tire and flips over his handlebars, hitting the ground hard.
He is now moaning in pain for real and makes genuine calls for help. I used a pay phone at a gas station to call the cops and explain what happened. They get there and the officer explains to me this guy’s a village idiot who does this shit to rob people, and it’s not the first time they had to pick his ass up after he biffed on a bike trying to rob someone.
I told the officer he threatened to kill me and he laughed. Dude wasn’t even armed, and apparently has had his ass kicked more times than he can count using that little line of his
Not hiking so much as car camping, but we were way the fuck out there in the middle of nowhere on BLM land in Colorado. We drove for an hour and a half down a forest service road and didn’t see another soul. You could see headlights and hear cars from miles away from our campsite – it’s not like somebody could have snuck up unnoticed.
We had 3 cars with us and 8 people. Just got done eating dinner, cleaned up, it was getting dark so we went back to the cars real quick before hitting our tents for the night. Somebody had slashed the front right tire on each of the 3 cars with what appeared to be a box cutter. Everyone thought it was a prank but it become very apparent, very quickly that it wasn’t. All of us were beyond spooked, like panicking, scary to watch spooked. We all had spares, and one dude had a gun, so we threw on our donuts while that guy literally guarded us and got the hell out of there.
I still have nightmares about it sometimes. Just knowing there was some person, probably watching us, maybe wanting to harm us, makes me feel physically ill to this day.
i was walking around my neighborhood alone once, enjoying the night air and watching the stars. there was this little pond near my house, with a wooded area that had trees, a bench and a rope swing that went out over the water. i sat down on the bench to look at the stars and i heard some rustling off to my right, towards the trees. bears were not uncommon where i’m from, so i took out my flashlight and shone it around over there. i didn’t see anything. it freaked me out, so i kept my flashlight on and my senses aware, but i stayed on the bench to mull over my thoughts and watch the sky some more. i don’t know why i did that, cause that’s typical horror movie shit.
anyway, a few minutes pass and i near nothing more, so i lean back into the bench and start to relax a bit. i’m staring up at the sky with my flashlight pointed downwards, so as not to create any light pollution, when i notice something in the tree in my peripheral vision. i couldn’t tell what it was but the branch was swaying slightly, and the rustling noise was back too. i immediately sat up and stared at it, but hadn’t shone my flashlight at it yet in case of pissing off some huge bird or something else. i don’t think i’ve ever been that scared. i remember my heart was beating so fast and i could taste blood. i stared at it for what seemed like forever, and it slowly stopped moving. but the shape was still there. bears do climb trees sometimes, so i was hesitant to run away in case that’s what it was. so i just kept staring at it.
after a while i mustered up the little raisin-esque kahooneys to shine my goddamned light at the tree. it was a man. a fucking man. in the tree. crouched in the tree like some silent, naked monkey. he had no expression on his face but his eyes were open really, really wide. when my light landed on him he started to move like he was going to come down, but i didn’t stick around to see if he did, i jumped the bench and ran for the fucking hills. i ran to my house and around to the back door and locked myself in without looking back once. i went around and made sure every window and door was locked, i even checked the attic.
I never go out alone anymore.
I go out for walks very late at night fairly often, so I’ve seen a few things.
The creepiest though, happened about two months ago. I left the house around 1:30am, and it started off as a normal walk. I wandered around the town till about 2:00am, when I decided to go home. I was walking back the route I had came when I noticed a black van meander down the street. Didn’t really pay to much attention to it though, at first. I did pay attention though when I saw it slowly drive by me for a second time. I wasn’t entirely sure it was the same van though, so I just continued walking. But this time I kept an eye out. And low and fucking behold, about ten minutes later, the same damn black van came down the street again. This time I knew for sure because it didn’t have license plates. Now I was fairly scared, so I picked my pace up a little bit. When the van came around again this time, it stopped in the middle of the road a few houses in front of me. I stopped, turned around, and booked it back in the other direction. I made a few turns onto different roads, and then ran right into someone’s yard. I waited behind their fence, and the same fucking van came down the street. I assume that when they couldn’t find me, they finally decided to fuck off. But I waited in that yard for about 20 minutes before I ran back to my house and practically threw myself through my bedroom window.
This happened to me a few years ago. I used to go to school at the University of California Santa Cruz. I’m a runner and the campus is in a beautiful redwood forest, so I would run on the trails. One day I left a little later than usual on a run through one of the more isolated trails. Here’s where it gets weird.
I was about 15 minutes running deep into the woods and still hadn’t seen anyone else around. Suddenly, up ahead, I saw what appeared to be a homeless man in ragged clothing walking on the trail. Now, he was walking further into the woods, and this path went very very far and the sun was setting. Aka this man was spending the night in the woods. I wanted to reach my usual running checkpoint before turning back so I decided to keep my distance and run by. As soon as I passed the man he called out to me, “What came first, light or sound?”. In my head I was like wtf this guy is nuts, but I decided to humor him and yelled out light without looking back. He said, “well I think it’s sound, but who knows…” and started mumbling to himself. I continued on.
I reached my goal and started to head back. It was really dark now and I was feeling sketched out that I had to pass this guy again to get back. He seemed pretty crazy and potentially dangerous but I didn’t have a choice. I got passed the point where I first passed him but he was nowhere to be seen. There weren’t any other branches of the trail and if he had headed back I would have seen him by then. He must have gone off the trail. Suddenly a girl from up on a hill screamed for me to stop.
I stopped and looked up on the hill but it was too dark to see anything. I was freaked out. I called out to ask if she was alright and eventually saw her climbing down. The hill was really steep so she put in a lot of effort to get up there and away from whatever was after her. She said that she was on a run when a scary homeless guy started harassing her and he chased her up the hill. But she didn’t know where he went. She was going to spend the night there until I came along because she was too scared to go back down.
At this point we both wanted to get the hell out of there. Who knew if this creepy man was like lurking around watching us from the dark. So we ran back together and made it to the road. She thanked me and we parted ways. Never ran back on that trail again. Santa Cruz can be a pretty weird place, I’ve heard legends of students flunking out of school there and then just living in the forest. Maybe this guy was a student from years past.
Not on a trail but walking my dog late at night…
It was about 1:00 in the morning, my dog rang her bell and I begrudgingly got up to take her outside. When she wants to pee in the middle of the night I don’t take her very far, just in our side yard. I took a flashlight with me Incase she decided to poo so I could pick it up.
I’m standing there waiting for her to do her thing, she is doing the doggie walk in a circle thing. Then all of the sudden the dog gets spooked and whips around. Out of the corner of my eye I see this chick just standing there. I didn’t see her walk up, I didn’t hear her walk up, I just see her standing there super still. Based on her position, She had to have come from between my house and my neighbors house. Which is odd, because behind our houses back up to a green belt.
It is probably 40 degrees outside and this lady, about 20, is in super short shorts and a t-shirt. I looked at her, told her she scared me, and she mumbled something like, “nice night, what are you up to?” Standing there holding the leash with my dog, I said, “I’m walking my dog…” then she said, “cool, cool… do you know how to get into my house, I locked myself out.” Pointing to my neighbors house…
Now, I’m a good American, I know my neighbors, and this wasn’t my neighbor, who is a single 30 year old female. She hangs out with my wife, so I know her really well. So I asked her, “that house?” Pointing directly at my neighbors house. She nodded. I said, “you don’t live there… I know who lives there.” She just scoffed and wandered her way into MY back yard. I followed her said, “what the hell are you doing?” She then took off running, scaled my fence… which item of note, it isn’t an easy fence to scale. It is a deer fence. It is a see through fence that goes up 3 feet with cattle gate, then the top of the fence is stainless steel wire that runs horizontally. It is the type of thing that, if you weren’t expecting it, you’d easily trip over as it is extremely hard to see and not Very common. Any ways, she scales the fence and ran away into the green belt.
I always have a pocket knife on me and was fortunate enough to have my, unfortunately, useless dog…. so I looked around my house, neighbors house for other people… shined my light in the green belt… and nothing.
I have no idea how she wound up back there. What she was doing. What she intended to do… but she scared the ever living shit out of me.