Secrets from secluded towns are seldom something you see outside of popular horror movies. But, there are hundreds of towns right next door that harbor a terrifying mystery from those who don’t live there. Here, people share well-kept secrets from their small town homes.
#1 Prominent Member of Town
We had the 32-year-old son of a prominent member of town attack a 14-year-old girl. He got off with a slap on the wrist. Two weeks later, he was found by cleaning staff in the local gym. The rumor was that it was a group of guys from the high school who jumped him after another chick lured him there. Honestly, a lot of people know who did it, but no one breathed a word. He survived, but left the area and basically just disappeared.
#2 Covering it Up
Over the summer, there was a guy found on the sheriff’s property. The sheriff disliked this young man and treated him poorly during his incarceration at the county jail. Many witnesses said that the day he got released, the sheriff invited him to his secluded property and told him he could help him get back on his feet.
Two days later, a couple of teenage boys fishing in a creek discovered the guy. Authorities were notified, no investigation was done, and it was immediately ruled that he took his own life. This boy had no family or friends, so there was really no one to press the issue. The local news wrote a small article and then it was hush-hush after that. It's just one of those things we’ll never know.
#3 Taking Multiple Trips
We’re not exactly in a secluded town, but this still happened. So, there’s this building that used to be a hotel. One day, this guy shows up and he takes multiple trips going in and out with a bunch of equipment. They found him a little while later in his room. He had assembled an entire guillotine and used it on himself.
#4 Rumor Around Town
I live in a small town of about 2000-2500 in the Midwest. Suddenly, about 1/4th of the population just up and left. No word, no nothing. None of them had kids or extended family and none of the papers said anything about it. This was back in maybe the late ‘80s and happened when I was pretty young. I just remember one of my teachers wasn't there one day.
I found out from my parents that a ton of people just left overnight. Most personal belongings were taken with them but mattresses and furniture were still in their houses. I still have no clue what that was about. When I asked my parents more recently, they said the rumor around town was that all those people worked for the CIA or FBI and were re-assigned all of a sudden.
#5 Finding Peace
I returned home from school one day to a very powerful smell of gasoline throughout my neighborhood and every emergency responder our town had. It was later found that a father of three little girls, who wasn’t living there, tucked all three girls into bed and took their lives. He gained access to the house by dismissing the baby sitter.
He then tried to blow the place up by flooding the basement with gasoline. He also called the mom, telling her, “Come home, I’ve hurt the girls.” Thankfully, the mom went to the authorities instead. If he was successful, my house would have blown as well. The father turned himself in and has been in prison ever since. The daughters were memorialized with a playground and the house has been torn down. I’m not sure what happened to the mom but I’ve heard that she found peace in a new town.
#6 Wacky Treatments
The “doctor” who tried all these wacky treatments to save his young patient from tuberculosis and became infatuated with her. After she passed away, he eventually robbed her grave, mummified her and lived with her body for seven years before being found out. He didn’t go to jail and lived his years out in town I believe.
#7 Decommissioned Lighthouse
In my mom's seaside hometown, there's a decommissioned lighthouse offshore. Even though utilities to the lighthouse have long been disconnected and the building’s locked, residents have noticed the beacon turn on at late hours of the night. It’s just for a few minutes, then mysteriously grows dark again. It happens so infrequently that the time of illumination can't be predicted. No one has figured out how or why this happens.
#8 Sleeping Bag
My mom told me this story once from when she was a kid. Back when she was growing up in a small farming community in Ohio, there was some kind of big neighborhood party attended by a bunch of families with kids all around the same age. All the kids (including herself) had this big slumber party in the basement.
They woke up the next morning and one of the kids was found in the middle of the road, having been hit with a truck, but with his whole body zipped all the way up in his sleeping bag. None of the kids owned up to doing it and the adults could never figure it out either. After a while, people just started moving on with their lives and everyone pretty much forgot about it.
#9 Bottom of a Hill
A family friend was super tipsy, walking home and fell unconscious on the road at the bottom of a hill. Another family friend was driving home late, he heard a thump and a crunch when he went over a hill. He got out of the car thinking he hit a wallaby or something, he instead found his friend. Everyone decided to forget what he did because it really wasn't his fault, there was no way he could have seen him asleep at the bottom on the hill in the middle of the road. It was at such an angle that the headlights didn't spot him.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#10 Dirty Cops
In the ‘80s and early ‘90s, my town was run completely by dirty cops. Contraband was run by the cops and people who didn't do as they were told would go mysteriously missing. Eventually, most of them, wound up gone. It took the feds to clean the place up and install a new set of clean authorities, which we’re grateful for.
#11 Nothing Out There
My town houses a bombing range that’s still in use. No one has ever met anyone who works on it, no kids at school have parents who work there. We never see planes or anything but there’s a guard at the gate. What’s truly odd is that if you ask a resident about it, we all say the same thing, "Oh, the range? There's nothing out there."
#12 Lots of Other Stuff
Coal mine country PA. Lots of stuff happens. A guy attacked his daughter and her friend. He went to jail for a few years and when he came back, his house mysteriously burnt to the ground with him in it. Another guy got caught selling substances to a couple of local kids. He was found in the middle of the street. That and lots of smaller stuff. Justice is handled locally.
#13 Missing Kids
Several young boys (age 9-11) went missing in the village. It was suspected that a group of boys from the same school were responsible. They were heard talking about it on two occasions. However, their parents apparently attested that they never let them out of sight outside of school hours. This group of kids was known for skipping school, but their parents obviously denied it. Only one of the six missing kids was ever found, in a creek. Police said he fell down accidentally, though. This was about 20 years ago in Europe.
#14 Sentenced to Life
Multiple women were attacked at a remote swimming area in an old abandoned quarry. One girl survived but the criminal was never identified. Not long later, a woman was found in a storage shed owned by the sheriff at the time. They brought in a black man who was from out of town with no connections to the woman and sentenced him to life. It later came out that the sheriff had been having an affair with the woman, but charges were never filed. Some speculate that the sheriff could be responsible for multiple things.
#15 Smear Campaign
Everyone knows about the “fun” part of Centralia PA. What most don’t know about was how divided the town became and how they ganged up on the kid who fell in, Todd. How they harassed him and accused him of lying for political gains. He was just a little kid who suffered a horrible experience and his own neighbors started a smear campaign against him.
#16 Bear Brook
When my mom was a kid, she lived near a state park in New Hampshire. It’s called Bear Brook. In the ‘80s, something disgusting was found in a blue barrel. An investigation happened but the person responsible was never found. In the early ‘00s, another barrel was found, dating back to the time of the first barrel. The guy was recently found, his name was Robert Evans.
#17 The Wild ‘90s
When my mom was growing up, a teacher and his wife were attacked. Someone broke into their house in the middle of the night. They found the husband in the house and the wife in the woods behind it, indicating that she tried to escape and was chased down. Really gruesome stuff. The attack was seemingly random and they never caught the person responsible. My elementary school was named after the teacher, which wouldn’t necessarily be morbid except for the fact that there was a dedication plaque that mentioned what happened… in an elementary school. The ’90s were wild.
#18 That Old Guy
Probably that old guy who had like eight children. He mistreated two of his daughters and also mentally hurt the rest of his family. He let one of his sons pass away from pneumonia because he refused him any treatment. In the end, he tried to force his wife to buy him the way out of prison. Ask anyone outside of my town and they will have never heard of him.
But I remember him pretty clearly since I was also friends with one of his sons. He was my age and friends with the rest of the family. I was at their house pretty often when I was younger until my parents forbid me from going there again. I later found out around that time. The first accusations became public since one of his daughters moved out and reported everything.
#19 Nobody Talks About It
It’s not really kept a secret, but a pyramid scheme has been going on for several years. The dude was caught about two years ago and taken to trial. He bribed the jury and was set for a retrial, but then something happened with the presidency (not related to the case), and it just didn't happen. Nobody really talks about it. The rate of children being kidnapped seems to be going up also. Nobody will talk about that, either.
#20 Discreetly Handled
There’s a very wealthy area next to mine. Mansions, millionaires, etc. In one of the houses were leaders of a crime ring and it all was handled very discreetly. No press, just talk of the town. Also, one mother was the one who exposed them with the help of the FBI. A kid also took his life in this area too, but there was no press.
#21 Girl in My Class
There was this girl in my class. She, like most of the area, lived on a badly run farm. She would vanish from class for weeks on end. No one knew the father, but everyone was sure he existed and lived on the farm. The school district would force the parents to send their kid to school and she would for a few weeks and then vanish again. Only her mother appeared in public and she just radiated mental illness and hard living. I remember the girl very quite never talked about home. I don't want to imagine what her childhood was like.
#22 Covering For Him
Local high school girl gets in a fight with mom and leaves to walk to her friend’s house. She never makes it. The family reports her missing. I don’t remember the exact time frame but there are leads that don’t go anywhere. Maybe a month later, a farmer finds a body in his field about 20 miles away. The catch being that it's off the same road her stepfather, who has records for domestic cases, takes to work every day.
Ultimately it cant be proven. It was overheard by his co-workers, him saying she had it coming. Now the mom posts on Facebook a picture of a man and swears up and down everyone needs to leave her and her husband alone and that the man on her Facebook is the real culprit. It's clear to most locals her husband did it and she’s covering for him. Nancy Grace talked about it on her show for maybe two weeks straight.
#23 Business as Usual
A boy I went to high school with attacked a trafficking victim in a hotel near our college campus. He was caught fleeing down the interstate and is now serving a life sentence without parole. I suppose it's not a huge secret, but the hotel changed its name and it's all business as usual. My grandparents made a trip down to see the family recently and booked their room at the very hotel. I didn’t have the heart to tell them because my grandma would’ve had an aneurysm.
#24 Corrupt Department
In my town, we have a corrupt police department of maybe 10 officers in this entire department. An incident last year happened to my past friend and involved an officer. He and his mom were going to the capital of the state and left around 1:00 a.m. They got to the main street and a cruiser hit their car, resulting in my friend’s younger brother breaking his arm. The police then just backed out and left my friend’s mom tried to file a report, but was denied.
#25 Interesting Times
I lived in a small town in Utah. A house across from us got S.W.A.T raided and they found a ton of substances stuffed in the walls. A few years later, 20 cop cars were on my street and I still don’t know why. Finally, my second cousin who lived kind of far away was caught for running the nation’s largest fentanyl operation in US history (yes it was Aaron Shamo). Interesting times.
#26 Middle of Nowhere
I lived in the middle of nowhere Oregon. I found out that a lot of "recovering" offenders are sent to small towns like mine. To be honest, I’m not sure how true this was, but there were a lot of weird people in our small town. For an emphasis on small, the most popular location to hang out was the local truck stop. We had a population of roughly 1300 spread over 40 square miles.
#27 Winter Months
The town I grew up in is in southern Ontario. There was a slew of drownings back in ‘07. Something like 8-10 kids drowned themselves in the lake in the winter months, not at the same time, but over the course of a couple of weeks. All the parents moved away and some were big figures in the community, like hockey coaches and teachers.
Nothing ever got on the news. Nothing was in the papers, not even on the radio. No one ever talks about it and no one knows where the families are nowadays. They all deleted their Facebook pages and social media. It’s just a general, “we don’t ever talk about it” kind of thing in the town. No one knows why the kids did it no one knows why it never got any media attention. It’s weird.
#28 Little Investigation
In my hometown, there were quite a few times where we'd find random things in the swamp. Little investigation was done outside of identification. There was also a cop who only arrested blonde-haired girls in an attempt to get them to sleep with him instead of going to prison. He was fired but we as a town, we quickly "forgot" about it.
#29 Third-Best Problem Solver
I lived and worked near the Nxivm cult at one point. They would have corporate retreats at one of their buildings and young insecure-looking women would always show up. Apparently, some of these women became so brainwashed they left their families to move into this community Nxivm created. Come to find out, there was an order created by the vanguard (head of Nxivm) and the prefect (second in command) where initiation was ongoing.
It included handing over incriminating photos, starving yourself to look like the vanguard's ideal woman, forced to sit in cages, and so on. Once you were brainwashed enough, you were branded and became a slave. This cult leader also claimed to be the third-best problem solver in the world. What does that even mean? He also was a scummy infomercial guy at on point too, I think. That was before his cult leading days. You’re the worst, Keith Raniere.
#30 Really Tragic Situation
A man who lived two doors down from my childhood home took the lives of his wife and two oldest kids. He then picked up his youngest daughter and her friend from my school, took them back to the house and attacked them too. He then went to his parents’ house, took their lives and fled the state, but was caught about a month later. It was a really tragic situation.
#31 No Newspapers Allowed
When I was in middle school, we had a teacher who taught the kids who weren’t so great with math and reading. He was pretty young, roughly late 20's and all the girls had a crush on him. It came out in my sophomore year of high school that he had been taking pictures of the kids in his class. I attended the high school where his brother taught; he was trying so hard to keep it quiet. He was actually taking our newspapers from us, which the school normally provided for free. A few years down the line and it was like the whole town just forgot that their middle school had a freak teaching their kids.
#32 Moll Dyer
The legend of Moll Dyer comes from my hometown in southern Maryland. Not so much a secret, but I was surprised how many people never heard of her. In the 17th century, a woman named Moll Dyer was suspected of being a witch. On a freezing winter night, the townsfolk formed a mob and drove her out of her home. She froze, clinging onto a large boulder in the woods. The boulder was moved to the old jailhouse in the 70s to memorialize her. People who go near it frequently report feeling cold, experiencing headaches, dizziness, and fainting.
#33 Anonymous Phone Call
Back in the ‘70s, a guy turned up in his burnt-out truck in a field near town. Nobody knew why he was attacked or who did it. My grandma was asking around about it at the bar afterwards but didn’t hear much. The next day, she got an anonymous phone call from someone telling her to shut up about it or she would be next.
#34 Song About It
In the early 1990s, a town in my small county in the southern US had a fire in a chicken processing plant. When workers tried to escape, it became apparent that the fire exits and other exits had been locked. Dozens of people lost their lives around the exits, in a town of around 2000. Our state suppressed the investigation, due to lobbies, and families received almost none of the compensation funds. Pretty sure there's a song about it.
#35 Nothing Came Of It
A 17-year-old girl was attacked when walking home from school. The whole town went into panic mode and a homeless man was caught and arrested. Case closed, right? It was later found out that she was in a relationship with a judge's son. He and some other guys came from wealthy local families and were seen in a car picking her up around the time everything happened. They all moved to different cities. Nothing ever came of it. The homeless man is still locked up.
#36 Beloved Teachers
In my hometown, the local high school is very deeply connected with the identity and the community of the town. Some years ago, it came out that one of the original beloved principles of the high school in my town was attacking boys. This happened in the 1950s but the news came out recently when people started stepping forward.
The guy was already long gone, so I don't believe there was any action. The town just quietly removed his name from any plaques and signs. There were also a few news articles about it, but then that was that. It's a Christian conservative community, so it was a huge blow to the town's image. It wasn’t exactly a secret but most definitely a taboo subject that no one likes to talk about.
Some time after that news came out, there was another beloved teacher at the high school who was caught having a relationship with one of his former students fresh from graduation. This guy was in his 40s, so it was rather creepy. The school totally covered that one up and there’s still speculation as to what happened, but that's the story I heard. All that’s known is that the school removed him immediately without a word, and he was not seen or heard of from again. All his social media accounts went dark and he vanished. It was really bizarre.
#37 Never Found Again
I lived in a secluded town growing up in Pennsylvania. In the early ‘90s, one of the cops in my town got accused of attacking his teen stepdaughter and getting her pregnant. She ended up vanishing a few days after the accusations were made and was never found again. The cop basically walked away a free man. By the time I moved away, no one discussed or even acknowledged it happened. The cop’s wife disappeared as well, shortly after the case was dropped.
#38 Panicked Delirium
A very nice and calm lady here lost her mind, attacking both her brother and husband in a panicked delirium, sending them to intensive care. She isn't the kind of person to do that and the toxicology report had shown she was on something. But, they either didn’t know what or she didn’t want to say. All three of them had gone to the bar earlier that night and they think someone spiked her drink. She isn't being charged as she’s also a victim here. But the city let her go from her job and is trying to keep the story suppressed.
#39 Constant Target
A man who graduated a few years ahead of me was a known prankster. He was always in trouble with the law and a target of constant harassment by law enforcement. He was found having been hit by a train. The sheriff did no investigation, despite the fact that his body had multiple wounds on his body. It was sickening.
#40 Crossing the Street
We have a very big middle school by my home. Most kids walk since they aren't able to get the free bus ride (you need to be over two miles away). Some kids need to cross one of the most dangerous streets in our area every day. One afternoon (about a couple of years ago), a kid was walking home when he had to cross that one street. He ended up getting hit by a car that was partly driving on the sidewalk. No one talks about it until someone mentions having to cross the street. No action was taken to make the street better. To this day, I still have to cross this street.
#41 Quiet and Kind
My family is from a small village in Michigan. Back in 2008, one of my classmate’s sisters passed away in a house fire. She was 16 and had a slight mental handicap. She always wore long sleeves and pants, even when it was hot out and she wasn’t very clean. My classmate was pretty quiet but so nice. I don’t know if she was also being hurt but I wouldn’t have guessed it if she was. When I moved away, she wrote me a really sweet poem that I still have (we were 13 at the time).
Turns out she passed away in the house fire because her dad and stepmom would tie her to her bed at night for “her own safety.” The family had been reported to DFS twice in the past but nothing ever came of it. Both parents were put on trial and given a maximum sentence of 50 years each. No one talks about it to this day. What was left of the house was torn down and now there is a memorial bench. I think of the two of them often and hope my friend is doing alright.
#42 Normal Bus Route
We were riding on our normal bus route when it was stopped and the driver asked us kids to look the other way. I didn’t hear and looked a different way. I saw a body on the bridge. Everyone who saw it must go to the schoolroom and wait for a lecture on what happened. The whole day, the people that knew couldn’t talk about it. I cried for him.
#43 Community Ice Rink
In my town, while I was in high school, this family man that everyone knew and loved worked at the community ice rink. He set up cameras in the high school girls’ hockey changing room. They were there for a while and when people found out, they sent him away, but he didn't go to prison. He's back in town and everyone's acting as if nothing happened. I remember my friends on the hockey team being really paranoid after that, feeling like they were being watched constantly. Some of them felt powerless, knowing he didn't go to prison for what he did.
#44 Small Gravestone
There was a bombing in 2005. The counsel of the place wanted to keep the news on the down-low. The victims were never identified, unfortunately. There’s a small memorial in the local graveyard, it's right at the gate and can be seen from the outside. But it’s small, so nobody notices what it is exactly. It looks like a regular gravestone just on its own. The identities and memories of loads of people are just gone. Nobody talks about it now or has talked about it since.
#45 Mormon Cult
In my hometown, there was a cult branched off of the Mormon Church (it was a Mormon town). The cult leader convinced one family that had a membership to the cult to attack another family with a membership. Since I don't live there anymore and am therefore at minimal risk of being doxxed for it, the town is Kirtland Ohio. It was the Lundgren case.
#46 Creepy House
There was a really high profile case in my town a while ago. A woman married to a very important businessman was found in their suburbs home. Apparently, the husband had ties to the state governor at the time and was rumored to act as his figurehead. His wife wanted a divorce, which meant she would keep a large sum of this dirty money.
It was obvious to everyone at the time who did it but the scene was so contaminated (they brought in a priest to bless the corpse before calling the cops), the case was archived. It’s evidently a cover-up but everyone pretended to forget about it. I pass by that house every day on my way to work and it’s creepy as heck.
#47 Fast Food Places
The ex-mayor was super corrupt. He was the franchisee of our local Hardee's and Pizza Hut, and since he was mayor, he was able to deny permits to any other fast food places. We were supposed to get a Taco Bell! But he denied them the business permits or whatever so that he could keep his near-monopoly. The only other place we have is a Subway but it was franchised before he became mayor.
#48 Surprised to See Each Other
When I was in high school, two teachers who were married to each other kind of vanished. I asked around and apparently they had a large grow op in their house. One of their “clients” was a graduate student. The former student couldn’t make a pick up so he sent his little brother who they were currently teaching. They were both confused to see each other in an empty parking lot at night. The kid couldn’t keep his mouth shut and the teachers resigned. There was just a little blurb in the paper about how many plants were found in their house and we never saw them again.
#49 On the Loose
It’s not really a secret, but most people don’t know this. We once had a llama get loose and it wandered are town for a day or two. It was being tracked by people in town until no one knew where it went. Only for someone to discover it. The paper did a story on it and they never mentioned the mistreatment of the poor llama. The people were caught and charged.
#50 Abandoned Buildings
There are a fair amount of abandoned buildings on the south side of town. There are also a lot of addicts in that part of town. Connect the dots, as no one else will. It’s widely theorized that one abandoned building is the home of a den, and at night it’s possible to overhear a deal going down. It’s not talked about at all in town.