Don’t wake up grandma, they told me. Just don’t walk around at night.
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Don’t wake up grandma, they told me. Just don’t walk around at night.
This episode was sponsored by Care/Of. Get your 50% off your first order by visiting TakeCareOf.com and entering the code scarystories50
A woman reminds me of a patch in a garden. A spot just for me. For more, visit ScaryPod.com
Someone knows your every move. What would you do?
It’s a collection just like any other. Except this one involves dead people.
I walked around the shop with my receipt and paper bag in one hand. I went past the furniture, the clocks, and the beautiful porcelain dolls. The smell of old books and paper was what I loved the most in the world.
They had left me. I shouldn’t blame them for leaving, but they should’ve at least told me that they wanted to go and I could have only gone through one shelf of photographs.
I called Hannah from outside the antique shop but she didn’t answer, so I called again. She answered the second time but I only heard screams. What was she saying? Just when I was about to go into panic mode, I saw a figure across the street come toward me, waving her arms. It was Hannah.
She told me that they were just about to order pizza from one of those places that has the slices by the window. Those places that reheat them when you order them. Not the best slices in town, but I was hungry. Pizza was the quickest thing.
“What’d you get?”, Hannah asked.
“Some portraits.” I shot back.
I didn’t like showing her antique shop stuff after she and my dad made fun of me when they helped me move into my new apartment. They laughed at my antique board games asking me who I was going to play with and they laughed at my dresses, calling me Wednesday from The Addam’s Family. Really immature stuff.
I’ve been collecting old albums signage from antique shops ever since I was in high school. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those antique snobs that can identify items from certain eras or anything, I’ve just always been drawn to really old items. Things that people from many generations ago got to look at, create, and play with. My favorite things to flip through used to be old albums. I learned my lesson with those, though.
I was hesitant to give her my paper bag for her to look through, but I did so anyway. She opened it carefully and took out the small green hardcover book. It was a photo album, the photos pasted to stiff cardboard on each page, though some were already coming off.
Of course, Hannah showed me the photo of the little girl with a black dress awkwardly holding a toy clown. She made her weird face at me. I grabbed the book from her hands and put it back in the bag.
She probably remembered how pissed I got at her and my dad for laughing at me so she tried to change the subject. I shrugged it off.
We went into the restaurant to meet with everybody, they were all sitting by the window in a booth. I ordered my pepperoni pizza slice from Jim, the owner and sat down with the other two friends that came along. Being with other people sometimes really tired me out, but it we had a good time as we walked around downtown for the rest of the evening.
After I got dropped off at my apartment, I sat on my couch with the photo album on my lap. It was so cool. Even though I went through it a few times at the shop, I still wanted to give it another look. But something felt off.
In that instant, I got a weird sense in my stomach, like I wanted to vomit. I tried to pay no attention to it, but when you have to go, you have to go. But as I got up to get a glass of water, the feeling went away.
I got ready for bed early that night, hoping that I wasn’t about to catch a cold.
I fell asleep with Netflix on, but I remembered that state right before I go to sleep where I hear the episode of New Girl in the background right when the Netflix app asked me if I was still watching and the silence that followed. That’s when I heard something coming from my living room.
I haven’t put up the rest of my curtains since I moved in, so the light from the outside still shines blue light through the living room and into the kitchen at night. I always shut the door to my bedroom, but this time I guess I left it cracked open and could see the line of blue light. If I laid still for another minute, I’d be gone into dreamland, I remember thinking.
That’s when I saw a figure block part of the light that I could see from the living room. I opened my eyes wide, my heart beating faster and faster.
The figure moved away.
I turned toward the ceiling, not wanting to look to the door again, but at the same time I kept thinking about what I had just seen and if I had only imagined it. With my blanket over my head, I made a peephole. I looked at the door for probably an hour. I woke up the next day, tired and panicking about waking up too late to go to work, but it was a Saturday. I had almost forgotten about the thing I had seen the night before, but it still creeped the heck out of me. The rest of the day was normal, I got to go out to do some grocery shopping and buy some other things for my apartment. But when I came back that night, something felt off again.
My apartment has a tiny closet on the hall that leads to the bathroom, and it was left wide open. I didn’t remember opening that day. Had someone broken in?
I instead went to the kitchen and to my front door and everything looked in place. Everything was locked and with no signs of a break in. My windows were shut.
Later on that night, when I was in the shower, I heard a loud thump coming from outside the bathroom. It sounded close. Someone was out there.
I grabbed my towel and went straight for the door and opened it slowly. That’s when I saw it.
A small pale hand holding the closet door open. I stood there creeped out looking toward the hall as a little girl in black walked backwards with her stiff legs. She glanced at me through her dark hair and turned away, holding something in her arms as she dragged her feet away from the hall and toward the kitchen. I remember just standing there, frozen.
I called Hannah to see if she wanted to come over, there was no way she would believe what I had just seen and would probably call me crazy but I told her over the phone anyway. She came over a little after that just as I was finished getting dressed. I told her the story again.
“It’s those dumb things you buy!” she yelled.
She told me about the portraits of dead people I had been buying. I’m not sure if this is true, but she said that families back then used to photograph old family members and make them look alive in the black and white photos. She told me about games used to call spirits. She even mentioned reburial dresses, whatever that meant. She grabbed the green photo album from my coffee table and flipped through it and pointed to a portrait of a girl holding a candle and asked me if that was her. I quickly said no and she kept flipping the album until she got to the girl with the black dress.
That was her.
The little clown toy she was holding looked exactly like one that I have and bought at that same shop. It was in some box that I hadn’t unpacked yet.
Hannah saw my expression and looked closer at the picture. She grabbed the edge of the portrait and it peeled right off and then held it closer to her face.
“Dead eyes,” she said.
Just then, I noticed the blue ink on the back of the portrait. It had a caption.
“Little Sandra and her favorite toy since birth. Now to her grave. May you rest in peace. – September 9, 1902.”
I screamed, startling Hannah. She turned the photo around and read it too.
“And Hannah, I have a clown just like that”, I told her.
I ran to the closet to look through the four boxes I had in there. Hannah and my dad had both seen the little toy clown with the porcelain head and they had taken turns making fun of me for it. Hannah remembered the clown.
I took out every box, every jacket, every shoe. There was no sign of the clown.
I begged Hannah not to leave yet, but it was late and she had to go but offered me to go over to her house. Of course I grabbed my backpack and went with her for the night, but as the days went by I found out that there was nothing to be afraid of. I haven’t seen the little girl again.
I haven’t found the toy clown either.
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My friend got divorced recently, and man, it was brutal. He lost his job, his house, his car, and pretty much everything he owned except for his clothes and a box of kitchen pans. If you have personal experience with this, you know its already tough, but I was amazed by how he handled it. Well, at first.
He was crashing at my house and I got him a job cleaning a couple of public schools in our district. He was handling it alright, considering he was being paid much more as a tech in a factory. We had similar schedules and sometimes got assigned to the same school, but most of the time it was one janitor per campus.
I first noticed something was wrong when he came back to my apartment one morning with wide eyes and couldn’t seem to focus on anything we were talking about. I left him alone but things only worsened. He would scream in the middle of the night and sometimes rush to the door for no reason.
His story was the scariest thing I had ever heard, and still haunts me to this day.
Like I said before, Jack used to be assigned to clean an entire campus, which normally had three or four halls, a large auditorium, lunch room, gym, and outdoor area including the trash bin cage and parking lot. The classrooms were cleaned once per week all in one go.
According to Jack, he was by the supply closet when he heard what he described as a storm inside of one of the bathrooms. He said it sounded like a strong wind and roaring thunder. Jack was a very logical person and went to investigate, but as he opened the door and flicked on the lights, he saw nothing. The men’s bathroom was silent again.
He shrugged it off as something he must have imagined, but as he was walking away, he heard a scream. Jack ran to the front door of the school and straight to his car. Schools had been closed for break, so no one noticed he had left his supply cart in the middle of the hall when he went back the next day. That was his first encounter.
Now, I had heard about that school before. It was on the edge of Kenin County and it was one of the smaller facilities. It was the worst one to get to because of the residents of the area. They didn’t have their own police department and they were known to cause trouble for the teachers and staff at the school. Rumors of voodoo and witchcraft always circulated the campus but I had cleaned that school by myself, and though it was worn down and old, it was kept clean and I never noticed anything strange.
Jack used to tell me many stories about the place before his accident. His encounter with the old woman from the lunchroom, the figure hanging from the tree. The children that would line up behind him to follow him into the classrooms he was supposed to clean.
But when the police called me one night to ask if I knew who Jack Hammond was, I expected the worst. He had been hospitalized, apparently with damage caused by an issue with his body’s nervous system. When he regained sense in his left arm again, he typed out the story with one hand for me to read and to communicate to the doctors.
His message said that he decided to take a short break and go to the bathroom on the second hall of the school. As he got inside, the lights flickered off and only the windows showed him the way to the stall. He tried to flick on the light, but it wouldn’t work, but he really had to go so he opened up the bathroom stall, unzipped and sat on the toilet. But as he sat, he felt the cold legs of someone who had already been sitting there. He let out a scream and said he remembers stumbling toward the fire alarm switch and pulling it. The police and firefighters found him paralyzed with fear on the bathroom floor in the dark.
Though he has been getting better, the event left him with his jaw stretched downward from his right side and his legs stretched out completely. I hope he recovers soon.
A security guard learns the story of a woman who visits the warehouse.
A one-sided friendship ended in regret …and death.
I used to have a friend that I met back in middle school. We didn’t really talk much but were in the same classroom and had the same teachers for the last two years. Eventually we started sort of talking, but we were always a little shy around each other so we didn’t talk much until we got after we graduated from high school and reconnected on Twitter.
Some of the memories that I had of her were me getting dropped off at her house to play outside in her pool. For lunch one time, her mom asked me what I liked from McDonald’s, so I said my usual “a cheeseburger, plain please” line (as I had said dozens of times with my own mom).
Alice gave me a weird look and asked what that was, so I told her it was a regular cheeseburger but with only the beef and cheese. I remember she took off running back after her mom and then came back outside to come talk to me again.
This particular situation got weird, and I remember it clearly because when her mom came back, Alice asked for her food and started crying silently after she found out that her mom had gotten her a regular cheeseburger instead of a plain one, just like mine. I told her she could have mine, but she insisted that that wasn’t the point.
I kind of understood it at the time, but I still thought it was an overreaction at least for my 12-year-old self.
But anyway, now, after high school, she seemed different. She had changed.
A once timid, socially-awkward girl had turned into a loud young woman who was not afraid to voice her political opinions on social media. Her photos on Instagram were always of her cat, her clothes, and of her at her father’s print shop. We don’t live in a big city, so things got a bit uncomfortable when she mentioned that we should hang out just like that, out of the blue.
I said that we should. Normally a planned meetup falls through when you say this, and honestly, I was hoping for it, so I didn’t expect her to reply or anything.
But she did.
She sent a message with a time and a place to meet, a sandwich shop across the street from my college. I opened the message and sort of forgot about it, when I got another message that said ok nevermind.
I told her that I wouldn’t be able to make it at that time, since I had midterm exams, I think I said.
She said that we could meet some other time, and that’s where I thought our conversations would end. But when the notifications from Twitter started showing up more and more often, I started getting a strange sense about her. She asked for my phone number, which I gave to her after thinking of the trouble it would cause if I wouldn’t give it up. I should’ve thought about the trouble it would cause to do it instead.
Soon, she went from messaging me at all hours of the day, to trying to schedule a phone call. This went on for days until she simply started calling me.
Her phone calls would start with a “hey, are you busy?” to which I would say that I was, but she would start saying that she wanted to tell me something really quick. She started trying to make really deep conversations with me, letting me into the crush she had on some guy that was ignoring her. I swear that I barely commented or even answered her questions, but she would keep going.
In the weeks that followed, I started ignoring her phone calls and she would simply start texting me those really long essay-style texts. I had a character limit, so I would end up getting text messages split into 6 or more messages, sometimes out of order. Through the messages I found out that the guy she had a crush on lived in New York. We lived in New Mexico. He was a banker who had a lot of money but was much older than her. At least that’s what she told me.
Her stories went on about her purpose in life, her embarrassing moments that weren’t even embarrassing. She would tell me a situation and then ask me what I thought about it. I would reply in short messages long after she would text me. I wondered what this girl did all day.
From what she told me, she worked with her dad at the shop and planned on going back to school the following year, but that’s all I knew about it.
She sent me a picture one afternoon of the menu of the sandwich shop I used to go to with the message “lunch? On me?”
I was literally on my way out of my biology class in my community college and on my way to the shop across the street when I saw the message and it crossed my mind that maybe she would tone it down with me after finally hanging out.
She was wearing a pink dress, pink shoes, and a yellow hat. I’m not kidding. An actual hat with a flower on it, like one of those old-school pictures of women having a picnic at the park.
She literally yelled my name out when I got near. She then ran to me, hugged me, and asked me what I wanted. The lady from the shop already knew me very well, so she knew that I always got a ham and cheddar sandwich.
I hadn’t even set my backpack down before she started telling me about her day. She started asking for advice on random things. The girl really needed someone to talk to, and it made me uncomfortable.
She made it a thing to text me on Mondays and Wednesdays after my biology class, I guess then she knew I was free and about to have lunch. I did my best to avoid her, but every once in a while, she would catch me while I was walking and I would be forced talk to her.
“Still like plain cheeseburgers?” she cheerfully asked me one time.
“Yes,” I shot back.
Her expression changed, probably from the tone I used.
Still, her messages wouldn’t stop. She made it a habit to text me late into the night starting with “good morning” and then send the rest of her messages, knowing that hers would be the first texts I’d see when I woke up. The vibration sound of my phone bothered me. I would see her messages with one eye open and see the first line or so, before dozing off again.
I know I’m making her seem like a monster, but she really wasn’t. She was nice and really did seem like a genuinely nice person. In retrospect, I regret not seeing the signals that Alice needed help.
Alice was always alone.
It was a Wednesday, I remember clearly. I had just gotten out of a quiz in my biology class, expecting to see Alice on the bench, waving at me by the streetlight, when I noticed a small crowd of people gathered around the crosswalk as I made my way toward the sandwich shop.
A woman was screaming. Sirens approaching. The loud gasping and murmurs of a crowd. A blue car with the driver’s side door wide open. The pool of blood over the white paint on the black asphalt.
After all these years, the memory that haunts me the most is the stained McDonald’s paper bag by Alice’s lifeless hand.
Your visit to a forgotten cemetery turns into a night you’ll never forget. What? They just want to play.
An ex-girlfriend I had in college used to have some crazy ideas sometimes. Her name was Carrie. I got reminded of her after an old friend from back then sent me a picture with the phrase “remember this?”
It was a picture of Carrie and I standing in front of a tombstone with a long list of names etched on it. I don’t remember many things with her anymore, it has been a long time since then. But one of the scariest things I ever witnessed in my life until now, I experienced with her.
I’ll start at the beginning of everything.
Carrie got a text while we were watching an episode of LOST and I saw that she was doing some Google searches on her phone. When the episode was over, she turned to me, pointed at her phone screen, and said “we’re going here!”
It wasn’t too late, maybe 9pm, but the sky was dark from the heavy cloud cover during the day, and it was extremely cold outside. But I’m always down for an adventure, so I followed along with her without even seeing exactly where we were going. It looked like some type of park at first glance.
It looked like we were heading into an industrial area where the street lights are extra orange and the high-tension cables buzz with electricity.
She was busy looking out the window until she shouted “here!”, out of nowhere, of course.
I saw nothing but a cement wall to what looked like an old river bed, tagged to the top with graffiti and nothing else. That’s when it clicked. I had heard about this before.
Someone told me that there was an old cemetery area in an old part of town. I don’t want to name the college in fear of anyone else visiting the place, but I will say that it was in southern California. One of my friends discovered it on the way to climb one of the hills in the city, he said that it was surrounded by only a chain link that you could easily hop over, or just push to the side and pass right under it.
He told me of old tombstones dating back to the 1800s that were there. I’m sure you urban explorers know that old cemeteries are more common than the rest of us think and have probably visited quite a few already. I’m not really into it, but to each their own.
She liked going places to take pictures, even though it turned out to be mostly me taking pictures of her for her blog, but never to a place like this.
Her text notification broke the silence of us just being in the stopped car looking out the window, when I spotted a white car up ahead pulled over on the right side of the street. She said to go park behind the car, that Emily and her boyfriend were already there. I didn’t know they were coming as well, but knowing that gave me a small sense of relief.
I parked the car, got out, and closed the door at exactly the same time as Carrie. I always thought it was cool when two doors of a car slam shut at the same time, but this time the silence in the street that followed was haunting.
I could hear the gravel of the old asphalt crunching under our shoes as we walked toward the sidewalk and to the end of it, where a small dirt trail started. Out of nowhere, I heard it.
The faint laughter of children. Carrie froze and smiled nervously at me. Looking back at the situation now, it wasn’t very smart for me to let myself end up in such a situation in an unknown part of the city.
We walked a little slower this time, my heart beating on the right side of my neck until we both jumped when we heard a familiar, “Hey, Carrie!”
It was Emily’s voice through the trees.
“Here it is!” she said, her voice breaking the silence once again.
I spotted both Emily and Thomas standing around a piece of an old wall, not a clue what it was, but I didn’t pay attention. I was just glad to be with other people there.
We walked around the area a little bit and I gotta admit that it took me a while to recognize that we were already in the cemetery. I had somehow assumed that we were going to do some more walking to get to it. As I got closer to the old piece of wall, I realized it was actually a tombstone, and that the cement blocks on the ground had names inscribed into them.
After about 20 minutes of hanging out in there, talking, Emily told us a little story about the place and casually mentioned that she thought that more people were with us because of the voices that she heard before they spotted us.
Carrie and I looked at each other.
“Ooh,” I remember Thomas saying, making fun of us, “it’s the cemetery…” and I swear that just as he said that, we all heard a soft cry in the air. I had never in my life been in a situation like that. I froze. My legs felt cold and my chest tingly.
Emily broke the silence again with an obvious: “Did you guys hear that?”
Without saying anything else, we all started heading toward the cars slowly and afraid to look behind us. Then the crying in the air came back.
Then laughter. Children laughing and chanting. I could hear them clearly and so could everyone else.
Our fast paced walking turned into running as we got to the cars under the street light, trying to make sense of everything. We stayed there talking for about an hour before we heard the laughter again, only louder this time. It was cold outside anyway so we decided to call it a night and got in the cars and left.
We got back to the parking lot of my dorm and I turned off the car, only to start seeing the windows fog up from the inside as I was waiting for Carrie’s song to finish on the radio.
As I looked at Carrie, I noticed something else.
There they were. Dozens or even hundreds of them on the front and rear windows, on the windshield. Tiny handprints everywhere.