15 Frightening Stories That Are Keeping Us Up At Night

In the midst of unprecedented political turmoil and being potentially on the brink of WWIII, finding ways to take a break from the horrors of reality has become a very welcomed distraction for many.

Rather than paying to go to the movies and view some half-hearted replica of the real thing, why not look into some real-life mysteries and wreck your psyche for free? Stories including everything from ghosts, aliens, (and everything in between) have been reported by people from all across the globe, virtually since the beginning of time. In fact, many of our favorite films such as The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Conjuring, and countless others were all based on true stories.

That said, grab your popcorn (and your teddy bears) and settle in for some of the most frightening stories this side of the movie screen. The following is an overview of 15 frightening stories that are keeping us all up at night.

15 Jamaica Inn

Purportedly one of the most haunted places in the United Kingdom, the Jamaica Inn has a simply nightmarish history. Although there isn’t one particular instance that is creepier than the other, legend has it that this whole “curse” began with a stranger standing at the bar. However, unlike those funny little “man walks into the bar” jokes, this man drank a half glass of ale and placed it on the bar as he was called outside for some reason. Oddly enough, the man never returned. His body was recovered the next day, but the cause and manner of death were a mystery, just as the identity of his assailant. These days, the place is haunted as hell! People often report hearing footsteps and have even seen lone, silent figures just hanging around the area. Furthermore, those who have tried to engage the mystery man have found that he neither speaks nor makes eye contact either anyone and routinely disappears into the night…creepy!

14 The Ghost Of Girlfriend Past

A creepy story if I've ever seen one, in 2014, a man turned to Reddit to discuss the eerie details of a potentially posthumous conversation with his deceased girlfriend. Despite the fact that she had died a whole two years prior, Nathan began receiving sporadic messages from his deceased girlfriend’s Facebook account. The creepiest part? The nature of the messages. At first, they began as simply copies of old messages, leaving Nathan to wonder if it was just some odd glitch. However, one night when he was feeling especially vulnerable, he decided to try to spark up a conversation with his ghostly ex. Much to his surprise, she actually began to speak back. In some cryptic messages that mentioned walking and freezing, Nathan was left to wonder whether his posthumous ex, who died in a car crash (which severed her legs) was stuck in purgatory and somehow using social media to try and “cross over”.

13 The Mothman Prophesies

Although this story is almost too frightening to fathom, there is actually some serious documented truth behind the Mothman story. The subject of the film The Mothman Prophesies, generally speaking, is relatively lackluster (as compared to the crazy horror stories we see in this age). However, that all goes out the window once you discover this story is actually believed to be true! In West Virginia, between the years of 1966-1967, local residents began reporting sightings of a large moth-like creature roaming the area. Whether this was something spiritual, paranormal, or simply a result of sinister human behavior remains unknown. Either way, after appearing throughout the neighborhood and routinely being spotted hovering over the local bridge, one day, the bridge mysteriously collapsed during rush hour traffic, killing 46 residents in almost an instant. The surviving residents moved on with their lives but the Mothman was never seen or heard from again.

12 The Bell Witch (Blair Witch… But For Reals)

If you were around when the movie first hit theaters, you are well aware of the fact that many believed this film to be a documentary rather than a scripted horror film. Have you ever wondered why that is? Turns out, it was based on a true story. In the 1800’s, the Bell family relocated to a quaint house in a small town in Tennessee. Within a few weeks’ time, the family began noticing strange, unexplained paranormal activity. Moreover, the occurrences became increasingly terrifying. What began as simple knocking and scratching quickly cross over into more violent attacks. For instance, the youngest daughter, Betsey was repeatedly pinched and slapped and had mysterious bruises all over her body. Moreover, other family members were subjected to things such as kicking and hair-pulling. Finally, the father, John Bell, died mysteriously next to a random black bottle that is said to have contained poison. Did the Bell witch murder John? Who knows but I bet you’ll think twice before watching that film again…

11 The Black Dahlia

Those who watch shows such as American Horror Story searching for harmless entertainment would be terrified to know the truth behind many of the tales. For instance, the story of Black Dahlia goes as follows. Although there has been much speculation with regards to how she truly died, the true details surrounding her death remain a mystery. However, what we know for a fact is that she was found literally cut in half and based on the nature of the cuts, it had been suggested that a doctor or surgical professional must have been behind it. Although the murder technically remains unsolved, in 2014, a retired detective, Steve Hodel, produced some interesting evidence suggesting that his own father may have been the culprit.

10 Tsunami Ghosts

Following the devastatingly massive tsunami that occurred in 2011, a student traveled to the town of Ishinomaki, in which a whopping 6,000 people had lost their lives as a result of this natural disaster. The student asked various cab drivers if they had experienced any paranormal activity following the disaster. While many of them ignored her, at least 7 spoke of picking up a mysterious “ghost passenger”. More disturbingly, each of the drivers had eerily similar accounts of the details. In a nutshell, each of the drivers had experiences in which people entered the cab and gave directions only to disappear before actually arriving at the destination. In particular, one driver gave a chilling account of a passenger who requested to be taken to the area that had been wiped out by the waves, specifically. Once the driver explained to her how bad the conditions were, the girl asked, “have I died?” and disappeared shortly thereafter.

9 Elisa Lam And The Elevator Game

In case you were living under a rock and somehow missed one of the most chilling mysteries of our age, the following is a synopsis of the story of Lisa Lam. A real-life Dark Water, Lam went missing on Valentine’s Day of 2014 and was found in the water tank located at the top of a local dive of a motel. The kicker? The guests are the ones who technically helped find her as their complaints of blackened water helped alert the authorities of the fact that her dead body was somehow left decaying… in the hotel’s water supply. Either way, nobody knows how she got there. However, there is some eerie footage of what turned out to be her last moments. Although no one else was seen in the footage, Lam appeared on tape jumping in and out of an elevator and also frantically pressing buttons, in what appears to be an attempt to get away from her potential assailant. There are many theories of what actually happened to Lam. The creepiest of which suggests she was either captured by some sort of ghost or demon as a result of playing “the elevator game”, a game that supposedly takes you to another dimension and carries a warning that things may go awry if you attempt to communicate with entities you meet whilst in the other dimension. Yeah… super creepy!

8 The Cecil Hotel

A nosedive of a hotel that is located in Los Angeles for over a century, the Cecil Hotel has been known for its fair share of real-life murder mysteries. However, even crazier is the fact that this is the place where Elisa Lam went missing and was found dead. However, that is just one story of a truly twisted history. Moreover, the hotel itself is said to be haunted by the notorious serial killer, Richard Ramirez. As if that isn’t enough horror, this hotel was a site in which several young women mysteriously jumped to their deaths and is even rumored to be the last place the “Black Dahlia” was seen! All that said, you couldn’t pay me enough to go anywhere near this place!

7 WWII And Dr. Death

A page right out of your favorite horror fiction novel, the story a French doctor, Marcel Petiot, posed as a savior for Jewish refugees who were attempting to escape Hitler’s reign and imminent death in Germany. Under the false pretence of helping them escape Europe, much like the communal “showers” being used for extermination in concentration camps, when the refugees went to the doctor’s house with their belongings in preparation to flee the country, Petiot administered a poisonous “vaccine”, supposedly to protect them from the diseases they would be exposed to when traveling abroad to South America. However, rather than helping them, the vaccine swiftly ended their life, leaving Petiot to not only pocket the hefty fee he charged in the first place, but he also kept their belongings and dissolved the bodies in his basement in a tub of acid. Unconscionable!

6 Ghosts Of The Hotel Monteleone

Another scary tale centered around a hotel; the Hotel Monteleone is located in New Orleans, which has long since been deemed the most haunted city in America. With ghost sightings being an everyday occurrence, you have to do a bit more than simply spot a spirit in this area to get your story noticed. As a part of tourism, many hotels claim to be haunted as a means of luring in ghost-chasing guests. However, dating back to the 1880s, it is suspected that the Hotel Monteleone may have a genuine haunted history. With ghost sighting being reported so often the accounts are too plentiful to name, in particular, many patrons have witnessed the lobby doors lock and unlock around 8 pm. Some have even asserted they witnessed a ghost doing the unlocking! While many seem to believe it to be a hoax, the truth of the matter is, the longstanding history of these accounts implies everything but.

5 The Axeman Of New Orleans

Speaking of New Orleans, this next tale will likely make you want to steer clear of this area altogether. Terrorizing the area of New Orleans between 1918 and 1919, the Axe Man broke into the homes of his victims and slew them with an ax. More disturbing, the killer seemed to view it as a game and wrote to a local paper that although he certainly planned to strike again, he would spare any home he found playing his favorite genre of music: jazz. As a means of protecting their families, that night, residents then proceeded to blast jazz music on the nightly basis as a means of warding off this vicious attacker. Although everyone was spared that night, he continued attacking people for months until his last attack, in which a local grocer lost his life in the attack.

4 America’s First Serial Killer

What else can you expect from someone who sets out to kill more random people than anyone of the past? Well, no one can be quite sure what America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes’ true aspirations were. However, one can safely assume you have to be a seriously screwed up individual to dedicate part of your life to luring and killing off unsuspecting souls. Killing up to 200 people across the United States as well as Canada, Holmes had a childhood that included bullying as well as an early college career that included the stealing and disfigurement of dead bodies. Notoriously, Holmes once disguised his mansion as a bed and breakfast for tourists visiting a fair in the area. Hiring several different contractors as a means of keeping the purpose of the hotel a secret, the “hotel” included 100 windowless rooms, stairs that led to nowhere, 51 doorways that led to brick walls, and a body-sized chute leading directly to the incinerator. Yikes squared!

3 The Killer Clown

Speaking of serial killers, while many people think of them as just harmless entertainment as it turns out, the recent mass hysteria surrounding clowns may actually have some validity. While this was also the subject of a couple American Horror Story episodes, you may be a bit sketchy on the true details of this case. Notoriously, a man named John Wayne Gacy dressed as a clown and terrorized young boys from 1972-1978. Sexually assaulting and murdering at least 33 young boys, Gacy got his victims by luring them into his mansion and also may have snatched a couple when he played “Pogo the Clown” at birthday parties: his part-time gig. Once the police uncovered the mass grave sites located on his property, Gacy was sentenced to death by lethal injection and spent 14 years waiting to be executed.

2 Sawney Bean

No matter in what capacity, the story of Sawney Bean is so urban legend-esque that you may have believed it to be a sheer urban legend. Either way, a notorious cannibal, after moving his wife into a cave following their marriage, things began to take an extreme turn. After having eight sons and six daughters, they ended up with a full cannibalistic family that included 32 grandkids, birthed from incest. Essentially functioning as a gang of cannibals, the family would simply wait for unsuspecting victims to rob and murder, before sitting down for a family feast. Although they were subsequently executed, this should give you an eerie feeling anytime you venture into unchartered territories. The hills may truly have eyes…

1 The Tale Of Joe Ball

Another story that sounds too bad to actually be true, Joe Bell was a serial killer with a history of army combat as well as becoming a bootlegger following his stint in the armed forces. The inspiration for the film, Eaten Alive, Ball was considered especially callous due to the manner of death he subjected his victims to. After a serious misinterpretation of the term corpus delicti, Ball built a pond containing six alligators as he believed it to be impossible to convict someone without the presence of a body. Either way, it is said that several of his barmaids and his former wife and girlfriend, were all made to sleep with the fish at the hand of Ball. Nevertheless, once he was questioned by local authorities, he shot himself, and the rest is horrible history.

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