Campers Reveal The Most Disturbing Thing That Has Happened To Them In The Woods
There is no camp experience more authentic than sitting around the fire and enjoying some urban legends. But, what happens when your worst campfire horror stories come to life? Spending time in the great outdoors comes with the potential for all sorts of haunting disasters, unpredictable tragedies, and unexpected frights.
Being stalked by strangers, cuddled by wild animals, or threatened by ghostly voices are not pleasant situations for anyone to find themselves in. In the middle of nowhere, these experiences can go from frightening to dangerous in a matter of seconds! Nature has no limits when it comes to terrifying those who dare to venture into it. Luckily, most who have found themselves in scary camping scenarios have lived to tell their horrifying tales. These stories from Reddit campers give insight into some of the most disturbing, unsettling, and downright perilous things you can encounter in the woods!
Don’t forget to check the comment section below the article for more interesting stories!
#25 Horrifying Whispering Woman
When I was younger, around 14 or 15 years old, my family used to camp at a state park. Every night, my friend and I would walk through the woods. We called this “the ritual”. This particular night we decided to walk further into the woods than usual. We had flashlights but we liked to try and navigate through the woods with them turned off. We were about half a mile from the nearest campsite when we heard soft whispering behind us. Obviously, we hit the flashlights and spun around. Didn’t see anything. So we kept walking and we hear it again. This time we stop and look around a bit before we decided to head back to our campsite. Then we see what’s whispering. It’s a lady crawling on the ground whispering just random words. She was wearing dark clothes and was covered in dirt. When she sees that we notice her she stands up and declares that she is looking for her campsite. We ended up walking her back to the campground and tried helping her find her group. Turns out she was just super drunk/high and got lost trying to find a bathroom. Her friends didn’t even notice she was missing and if we didn’t go that far into the woods she would have been lost all night. It was pretty creepy.
#24 Eerie, Sulking, Inattentive Intruder
I was camping in a valley by myself with no cell service. I stayed late on a trail and ran into a nice local dude as it was getting dark. He showed me a local camping spot close to the road and the river, but it was camouflaged. I had a fire, drank beer, and listened to my friend’s comedy podcast. I was loud and visible. Because it was dark already I decided to sleep in the back of my truck under my topper next to all of my gear as opposed to setting up my tent. The next morning I made a fire, cracked a beer, and started making breakfast. Then I notice that there is a man at the edge of my camp. He comes closer but never looks directly at me. This dude looks homeless; he has a long ratty beard and has at least a hundred plastic grocery bags tied all over his clothes. I comment on how nice the day is. No response from him. I offer him breakfast, nothing. He sort of paces around the perimeter of my camp. I offer him a beer. But he just turns around. The dude is just standing there with his back to me, wandering around. I’m realizing that there isn’t going to be any good happenings. I had my bear spray and buck knife super close. I give him an ultimatum, “You are either going to acknowledge me or leave immediately!” He ignores me. I grab the bear mace and walk a few steps towards him. He sulked away and I threw my stuff in my truck and left that place right quick. I wonder if he had watched me during the night and I thank my laziness for staying in my truck instead of a tent.
#23 Cuddles With A Chilly Lion
Safari guide here. Woke up one morning, with “something” very warm, rather soft and comfy on my back. Realised my back was against the canvas of the tent. Realised it was an animal. It was a really cold winter night, temperatures drop close to zero here in the lowveld.
As I moved a bit, I heard the voice of my buddy from his tent. He spoke a bit hushed, and with a definite tremble in his voice; “TheAfricaBug are you awake?”. Stupid me replied with a strong voice: “yes”. The animal next to me got up, and (luckily) ran away.
It was a big male lion.
#22 Tormented By A Close-Call Tornado
I had a nasty thunderstorm that spawned a tornado roar over me one night. The tornado cut a path a couple of kilometers away.
At one point the lightning was almost continuous.
No choice but ride it out.
#21 Claustrophobic From A Curious Herd
Went camping with my friends back in high school. We hiked way out into the woods/mountains and collapsed exhausted into our tents. Middle of the night, I hear something outside my tent. Then another something, and another, all around the tent. It sounded so much to me like something stalking up to our tent, surrounding it. I gathered my courage and looked out, shining my flashlight into the pitch black darkness. All I could see in the dark was shining eyes looking back at me. Not little eyes or eyes close to the ground, but almost man height and large.
Turned out it was a herd of deer.
#20 Crushed By A Clumsy Black Bear
My parent’s story, not mine. They were on a canoe trip way up in nowhere, Saskatchewan, far from any semblance of civilization.
One morning, they hear a rustling outside their tent. Still half asleep, my dad sits up and tries to figure out what is going on. The noise is loud and very close. Before he can collect himself enough to go investigate, his whole side of the tent collapses in on top of him.
The weight lifted quickly. Now entirely awake, my parents scrambled to open the tent flap and figure out what was going on. About ten feet away was a spooked black bear, staring confused and concerned at the tent. After being yelled at a bit, it ran off.
#19 Scary Tent-Sniffing Stranger
Went on a group camping trip in the middle of nowhere Arizona only to awake and hear something sniffing the outside of our tent. My immediate reaction was that it was likely a bear or some animal that came across our site, and just maybe my friends didn’t tie up the garbage? Seconds later, I can hear the sniffing go to the tent next to ours and everyone in mine grabs one another quietly to acknowledge we all were awake and were aware of what’s happening outside.
Moments later, a friend in another tent popped out and started to scream and make noise (he had a gun too), hoping it would scare off whatever animal was in our site. Turns out, it wasn’t an animal. It was some guy who had gone through our coolers/food and also decided it’d be okay to sniff our tents.
Our friend chased him off and we immediately packed our stuff and left.
#18 Brush With Fiery Death Over Dirty Laundry
This isn’t like supernatural creepy or anything but we drove cross-country to go to Glacier National Park and mid-drive it caught on fire. We got there and they directed us to the west side of the park because that was still open. We spent the night there and all was well.
In the morning we decided to do a little hiking and swim in a lake. It was beautiful, but ash was falling like snow. It should have been alarming but there were other people around (at least for awhile) and we figured if it was something serious certainly someone would have told us…
After swimming, we decided to go down to a little town we saw because they had a laundromat. Thought we might treat ourselves to some clean clothes and a lunch or something. Packed up the car and tent (we didn’t want anything to happen to our precious tent) and drove down. At that point there was a flurry of activity and our car was stopped and they were checking lists to mark us off… because the park had been evacuated and we were “missing” and the fire had turned and was very close. Like so close as we drove down and out we could see flames.
#17 Stalked By Horrifyingly Calm Man
I live in a rural town surrounded by mountains and forests, so camping is almost a weekly event; even in winter. The one I can’t shake is when me and a friend broke off from our group of other 16-19-year-olds to camp by a better fishing spot about a mile away. We only brought one tent for the group, so we built a lean-to against a large boulder in a clearing. I couldn’t sleep because I had the feeling something was watching us. I assumed it was a mountain lion which isn’t that big of a deal considering their behavior, so I threw some more logs on the fire. I looked up from the fire, and under the light of a full moon, there was a man standing at the edge of the clearing about 80 yards away. I was frozen and couldn’t take my eyes off him while he assumedly stared back. He walked off in the opposite direction after about a minute or two. I doubt he had any ill intentions, but I sat there holding my friend’s 357 the whole night.
#16 Two-Hour Paralysis To Survive Wild Boar
We like to hike 3-5 miles down a trailhead in deep Georgia. One night the temperature dropped into the low 20’s, which is really rare for mid-Fall. We got a solid fire going, and the heat mixed with a full belly put us all to sleep.
I woke up to my buddy tapping my foot with a stick. I looked up at him and he nodded toward the fire. There was two wild boar kicking up dirt around the dying fire.
We didn’t have any sort of weaponry except a hand ax that was out of our reach. My friend and I laid there completely silent watching these two for about an hour until the fire died completely down and they moved on.
If you don’t know, wild boars in Georgia are easily 150lbs, mad all the time, and prone to gore literally anything. We were really lucky we didn’t spook them.
#15 Charge Into The Campfire
It was 2 AM, pitch dark, and we had a low fire. We heard rustling in the woods, flashlights pan out, all of a sudden a mole comes running towards us and INTO the fire. We could hear it sizzling while we all were screaming! The next day the charred body was buried with a proper funeral.
#14 Desperately Disturbed Dog
My dog absolutely lost it on a nice hike. Like, she was scared for her life and would have run out into the woods had she not been on a leash. Lucky that she didn’t pull me over and run away anyway. My mom and I are pretty sure there must have been a mountain lion stalking us, and the dog could smell it. Scary because we didn’t see anything, and if it had been one of us alone, who knows what would have happened.
#13 Terrifying Toppling Killer-Tree
Went camping in Ginnie Springs in Florida about 10 years ago and sometime at night, I heard that sound you hear in movies of a huge tree falling. Didn’t think anything of it. About 10 minutes later I started hearing lots of people talking outside my tent so I got out and discovered the tree fell on someone’s tent kind of close by and killed them. A helicopter had to come and airlift them out.
#12 A Breathtaking Stroke Of Luck (Disguised As Scary Hunters)
Went to Guatemala with my girlfriend, did a 3-day hike through the jungle to Tikal. Slept in a tent at two tiny ranger campsites deep in the woods. During the second night, a massive thunderstorm was coming down above us. At 4 am I woke up and heard some male voices and left the tent to check them out. Two guys with rifles approached me. Told my girlfriend to stay in the tent because… scary. She didn’t comply and joined me… turns out those guys were local hunters looking for shelter in the camp. Offered them coffee, they were more than happy. About 30 seconds later, the storm got so intense, that a big tree fell and crashed onto our tent. If I had not left to check out the guys or worse, my girlfriend would have listened… we’d both be very dead now.
#11 Demonic, Non-Existent Child’s Helpless Voice
I work as a counselor at a summer camp in southern California. The place is very out in the woods, so we get all sorts of animals wandering through from deer and foxes, coyotes howling in the distance, to a mountain lion that’s been spotted in the area. The camp also occasionally has a spiritual/haunted vibe. There are a couple creepy and weird spots, some things in the area that we think show the place has been inhabited in the past, ghost stories, etc. One night after putting my kids to bed I was standing outside our cabin talking to another counselor when my friend Sadie comes running by with her entire teenage girls cabin, maybe 12 of them, all dressed in black and freaking out. She screams at me that she thought they heard a ghost and once her kids were asleep she’d meet me back here to explain and investigate. Sadie is normally the level-headed type not to freak out easily, so this really caught my attention.
She meets me back by my cabin maybe 30 minutes later and explains what was going on. She took her campers on a night hike, had them all dress up in black and pretend to be ninjas. All was fun until on their way back they passed a particularly dark part of the trail when they heard off in the distance, just beyond the treeline, what sounded like a faint “help!” from a small child, but each time they heard it, it got more and more distorted until it no longer sounded human, yet still sounded like a child yelling help in the distance. Naturally, they freaked out and ran.
Me and Sadie decide to be good counselors and go investigate the sound of a small child yelling help. As we walk over to the area of the trail, we hear it. It didn’t sound like a small child anymore. It sounded like a demon screeching out it’s best impression of a child, and it didn’t sound like it was coming from any point source but more was coming from an entire mountainside. We booked it back to the safety of the main part of camp, where we tell this story to anyone who will listen.
#10 Weird Strangers’ Midnight Truck Ritual
Canoe camping with a friend in Michigan, camped at a fire trail, saw some guys in a jeep and Amish in a wagon, but nothing after dark. We were near the river bank and there was a higher area with the remnants of a fire, so we thought people could come by later. Around midnight I hear a car coming down the fire lane, stopping, backing up, pulling forward, backing up, pulling forward, backing up – this goes on for like five minutes at a time and they keep getting closer. Eventually, they’re at the area right above us, pulling forward, backing up, pulling forward, backing up, and I can see their lights shining. My friend is still asleep, but I try to shake her leg to wake her up. Then they drive down to the river bank, pulling forward, backing up until they are facing our tent, headlights shining at us. I really didn’t want to confront them, as we were two girls alone without weapons, but I leaned over my passed out friend and unzipped the tent. It was two guys in a pickup truck. They saw me and backed up, pulled forward, and continued their weird truck dance all the way back out of earshot – the whole time pulling forward, backing up, pulling forward, backing up. What did they want? What were they doing, why did seeing me peek out of the tent turn them around?
#9 Attack By A Storm Of Centipedes
More disgusting than anything. I went to Shenandoah Nat’l Park in Virginia with a college buddy. JMU is super close so he and I took some camping gear from work and headed up there to catch that Perseid meteor shower. Hiked a good ways in on a back trail that ended with a cliff overlooking the blue ridge mountains and was awestruck. I set up my 2-person tent and he rigged his hammock with a tarp a few yards back and then we sat on a cliff and watched the stars go by.
Here’s where life got real for me. We go to bed pretty early that night, and around what I could only guess was 3 AM I start hearing tapping sounds all around my tiny tent. Now I knew it wasn’t rain or him playing a joke on me so I started to panic a little. At this point I’ve been fully awake/alert for 10 min and can still easily hear this tapping. I finally grow a pair and decided turn on my flashlight and what do I see when looking straight up through the mesh top of this tent?? HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of centipedes. They were falling like a gentle drizzle all around my tent and I felt like I was on an episode of Fear Factor. Long story short, I didn’t sleep that night (OBVIOUSLY) but my buddy who was about 15ft away was out like a rock. In the morning there were dead centipedes EVERYWHERE. I’m normally fine with bugs but not SWARMS. Don’t know how we didn’t see any centi-carcasses the day before or when setting up camp.
#8 Scary Scratching And A Circular Ring Of Footprints
Went camping with my roommates once. We were a ways off the main road and had the entire campsite to ourselves. We went to bed in a six-person tent and woke up at around 2 AM hearing scratching noises around our tent. It sounded as if someone was running their hand along the side of our tent as they walked around it. I sorta woke up, looked around at my roommates who were freaking out, decided I didn’t want to deal with a possible ax murderer, and went to back to sleep. That morning, we found footprints that weren’t ours circling our tent. It was disturbing, to say the least.
#7 An Army Of Thieving Raccoons
My time in the Army meant I spent a ton of time in the woods of upstate NY. I remember many of nights waking up to things reaching into my pockets, pulling things from my kit (body armor). I’d wake up to a raccoon pillaging my things, literally unzipping pouches and such. I still swear to this day they were organized, rallied behind this giant raccoon who would sit outside and keep guard and coordinate them.
#6 A Morbid Cabin In The Woods
I know someone who, while hiking in Colorado with some friends, they found an abandoned cabin. In a roughly circular region around the cabin, everything inside was dead: plants, small animals, etc. They didn’t step inside and have no idea what was up.
#5 Bone-Chilling Beach Encounter
My family went camping every summer when I was growing up. We usually bounced between Virginia Beach, Assateague, and this godawful place called Westmoreland. One trip we were in Assateague, near the beach, and we had two tents set up in different parts of the site.
Some time in the middle of the night my mom woke up, which woke me. She was sitting up straight but completely still, and I looked over at what she was staring at. In the moonlight, there was the silhouette of what looked like an old woman looking into our tent. Long wiry hair and everything.
I was young, so it terrified me, and I started asking my mom what that was, who was outside. Once I made noise it spooked the “old woman” and she took off, and that’s when we realized she was actually one of the feral ponies that live on the island. We had set up that particular tent on one of their trails, and they were going down to the beach.
#4 Life-Threatening Thread Of Lightning Strikes
My most terrifying experience was when we were in King’s Canyon, CA, doing the Rae Lakes Trail. One of the campsites was by a river. Now, it’s prone to rain in the Sierra Nevada’s and we were at the bottom of a tight granite valley that showed some signs of historical flooding. Not my ideal choice of a spot to sleep, but it was an NPS site and that was the end of our day.
At about 2 AM, I was awoken by a flash of light so bright I swear I could see the tent through my eyelids. Before I could even think, the thunder roared so loudly I thought the earth was tearing itself apart. It’s hard to accurately describe the sheer power and sound that comes from being right next to a lightning strike. The night didn’t end there either, we were directly under the storm and the lightning just kept coming. The thunder never ceased to roll and the rain was torrential. The lightning was so constant as well, you could almost see through the walls of the tent into the forest around us. It was light daylight out there. I thought I was going to die that night either from a lightning strike or a flood if the river rose.
#3 Star-Gazing At Glowing Eyes
I was camping in Glacier National Park a few years ago and decided to wake up early at night to catch the Perseids meteor shower. I stepped out of my tent and turned on my headlamp to see 5 pairs of glowing eyes staring back at me. It ended up being the same family of goats I saw when I set up my campsite, but still not what you want to see in the darkness.
#2 Supernatural Experience With A Seemingly Teleported Dog
So, not me, but my brother took my dog for a walk in the woods one night. We live on a farm in UK and the woods start about 15m from our front door. Around 10 PM my brother returns saying he’s lost the dog. Great. He immediately explained to me that his phone died in the middle of the woods and he had the dog (Chester) right by his side. As he looked down, a circular beam of light surrounded his feet for a split second before it shot off in one direction. The dog was completely gone. So after he hurried back home to get me, I went out into the woods to find him and about a 20 second walk into the darkness I find Chester behind a big tree. The weirdest part was he did NOT seem his usual self. He was walking a snails pace with his tale between his legs. He ran around these woods on his own at night most of his life with no fear but this time he was almost trembling. He walked passed me into the house and laid down on his bed and that was it.
#1 Paralyzing Ritualistic Midnight Musical Performances
A few years ago, a group of friends and I went camping together. The campground we wanted to go to was full so we ended up camping deep into the forest several miles away from any other campers. Well, the first night we woke up at about two in the morning to drumming and singing. It sounded like a traditional native American type of song and music. I don’t know how to describe it but I got the feeling that something was very wrong, it was like the feeling you get when something bad happens. And the sound didn’t sound like it was coming from anywhere in particular but was just all around us. Anyways, we were completely freaked out and decided to sleep in our car. The next night we decided to go see if we could find any other campers near us that may have made the noise. We literally saw no sign of life anywhere around us, and we were in a somewhat clear part of the forest so if anyone was camped near us we would have seen them. We were still freaked out but decided it was probably nothing so we spent another night. That night we woke up at the same time again to loud music, but it sounded closer this time. We also felt like something was just wrong and were extremely freaked out. We were too freaked out to go to sleep so we just stayed in our tent awake all night. The next day when we woke up we decided to pack up and see if the other campground was open and it was. When we stayed there nothing else happened. To this day I really don’t have an explanation for what that noise was. I don’t understand how we could have not seen any other campers, and why they would have played music in the middle of the night. We also weren’t on tribal land. My best friend who was one if the other campers is Navajo and she said the music was similar to music she heard in tribal dances/rituals. I’m still freaked out about the whole ordeal and it’s hard to explain but my body was just telling me that something was very wrong when this was happening.