May 29, 2020 | Maria Cruz

People Share Ordinary Places That Become Creepy At Night

Your empty living room. A school’s gymnasium. A traditional park. These places don’t seem creepy in the daytime, but all bets are off when the sun sets and you’re left alone in one of these locations. Here, people reveal which locations are particularly creepy when the lights go out.


#1 Only Person Alive

Service stations. They’re fine in the day, but I've been in a few 24-hour ones way out in the middle of nowhere at night where I'm literally the only car in the lot. All the lowlights are on and the staff is a skeleton crew mostly in the back doing stock. I remember standing in one huge rest stop once and it was just me and this creepy arcade music playing. It felt like I was the only person left alive after an apocalypse.


#2 Hearing Things

Schools can get quite creepy. I put myself through college working as a janitor in an NYC public grade school. The only time I've ever been truly scared at work is when I had to stay late for some contractors working outside the building. I heard a basketball bouncing in the gym when that side of the school was locked down.


#3 Something in the Lab

My school has a lab section that only has windows on the inside. In the morning it's nothing much. But at night, the entire pathway to the lab is dark as heck. Like shine a decently strong flashlight and you probably still couldn’t see anything. I mean like actual pitch-black darkness. The common tale of the DNT labs being haunted also adds to the chills.


#4 All Very Eerie

I broke my hand and went to a local hospital at 3:00 a.m. All the overhead lights were flickering erratically, there were some pale-looking nurses and a doctor shuffling around silently in their white coats. There was a cigarette extinguished through the paper sheet on one of the gurneys. It was all very eerie.


#5 On the Road

Dirt roads. I grew up on one and would walk it to get to the main road to catch the bus for school. I'd have to walk it at night to babysit my neighbor’s kids and the difference was crazy. During the day, it's bright, there are flowers and the worst you'll see is a snake or a deer. At night, the roar of the frogs is deafening. The trees seem to encroach on the road and you catch glowing eyes in the woods around you.


#6 Only One in the Land

I work at Disney World. It's honestly really cool at night because a lot of the areas there are designed to have really awesome lighting. So at first, it doesn’t seem too bad. However, when they shut down all the lights and turn off the music and you're the only one in the entire land, it can get really creepy.


#7 Where’s the Bottom?

Any body of water that I legitimately can’t see the bottom of. Sorry, but going into my childhood pool at night always got me on edge. It's not even like the pool was that big because it certainly wasn’t. I’m a fall adult, I can touch the floor easily, but still. I really do have to focus on my breathing in there.


#8 Mind of Their Own

I remember one time a few years ago, a couple of friends and I had keys to the school gym here where I live. We went there to play some volleyball. While setting up the net, the doors to the rest of the school just started to open on their own, they're like 30-40 pound metal doors. They started to open up ever so slowly, then BAM! They just slammed shut on their own.

One of my cousins who was there got a recording, I think. But one thing for sure is the rest of the school exit doors were locked. We were the only people in the school at the time since it was 10:00 p.m or so. No one was anywhere near those doors when it happened. Someone checked around to see if anyone was messing with us, but nothing.


#9 Flat Land

I live right next to a disused airfield. It's a square kilometre of completely clear, flat land and is really unnerving. There's also the control tower in the centre that gets extremely spooky at night. The only way in is to scale the wall and then lower yourself in from the roof through an upstairs window. I should also say that I live in the north of Scotland, where flat land is pretty uncommon.


#10 The Storage Area

My basement growing up was creepy. There was a weird storage area that you couldn't access unless you had a ladder or something. The door was about three feet wide by one and a half feet high. The area itself was pretty deep. Like, you easily could fit a few people in there. I never found out what it was used for.


#11 Old Manor House

Old Manor House converted to a very expensive residential home for the elderly. Butlers pantry, large staircase, high ceilings and every so often a confused resident silently roaming the halls. The worst bits? Firstly, having to retrieve the cleaning stuff from the top of the very dark cellar stairs and secondly, the very large, very dark windows looking out into the pitch-black grounds…


#12 Store Signs

I work in a mall and I’ve been there until 3:00 a.m. a few times because we were setting up a kiosk through the night. It’s incredibly creepy. The only people there are the two security guards and my group of three. All the lights are off so the only thing lighting the halls are the backlit store signs. I always swear I can hear footsteps when I know the security is at the other end of the mall and on the lower floor. The worst is the back hallways after hours. They’re already creepy during normal operating hours. After hours feels like you’re going to get jumped every corner you turn.


#13 Suddenly Unfamiliar 

Sometimes, buildings don’t even have to be abandoned. There's something about being in a building that you're used to being in only when there are a lot of people around that's weird. I definitely heard some weird stuff in the church I used to play in a band with back in the day. I also heard stories from other people.


#14 No Thank You

I’m sure this comes as a no-brainer to the majority of people, but a graveyard. I had a lot of friends growing up who would love to walk through graveyards late at night. I never joined them because I have seen enough horror movies to know what happens to the carefree teens walking through cemeteries late at night.


#15 Silence of the Peacocks

My sister worked and lived at an “old west” town out here that recently shut down. Sometimes, I'd spend the night with her and we would hang out. This town had a petting zoo and roaming birds. The peacocks screaming at 4:00 a.m. would always freak me out. They sounded like someone was getting viciously attacked.


#16 Real Danger

I grew up near a dirt road. I stopped walking it at night after I walked right by a black bear sitting in the ditch eating blackberries. I didn't notice him until I was right beside him and I could hear him eating them. I turned, he turned, I screamed, he screamed, and we both ran in opposite directions. There's some real danger out there sometimes.


#17 It’s Spooky Up Here

Every so often, I need to stay late at work just to get something done. Once I was there at about 9:00 p.m. and I heard a door slam. I was alone on my floor, so I got the heck out of there. When I told my boss about it the next morning she was like, “I would have done the same thing. It’s spooky up here at night.”


#18 One Hundred Miles

Honestly? For me, I’d have to say that it’s anywhere in Milwaukee. I work late nights and the city is 100% creepy at night. Half a million people spread over almost 100 miles, and you're lucky to see a single sober person. If you're unlucky, you run into a Milwaukee tweaked-out person and boy, they're something else.


#19 Down the Hall

I've had to stay behind at my school a few times, usually being one of maybe a dozen or so others by the time I leave. My foster parents always picked me up in a weird area that left me walking through different hallways than everyone else. It never failed to scare me, walking through hallways that are only illuminated by fire exit signs and should have crowds of people, but are dead silent.


#20 Creepy but Beautiful

One of the eeriest places I've ever been is a small rest stop way out in the middle of nowhere in far southeastern Oregon. It was about midnight, and in the middle of nowhere. Just flat desert, just sand and some low brush. We were driving down this highway and everything was pitch black. You couldn't see anything out the windows. All we could see was the patch of road in front of us illuminated by the headlights, and the occasional jackrabbit.

Finally, we came to a small crossroads with a little building and a parking lot next to it. Nothing else — just one building. We parked, got out, and everything was dead silent. No birds, no animals, no wind, nothing. The surroundings were, again, pitch black and yet at the same time the sky was clear enough to see thousands of stars. Everything felt so abandoned. Just you and a broken down rest stop alone in the middle of a pitch-black, silent desert. It was pretty creepy, but kind of beautiful at the same time.


#21 Atop the Stage

My parents had a meeting with the principal of my elementary school when I was little. We were the only ones in the school and I got bored. We were there for hours, so I decided to walk down the hall to see if the gym was unlocked so I could play while they talked in the office. I got to the doors and saw it was open.

There were no lights on except the exit signs. There was an old chalkboard on wheels atop the stage, sitting vertically. I felt uneasy being there alone at night, so I slowly began walking back to the office. The second I left the gym, I heard a basketball bounce a couple of times. I looked over my shoulder and saw a ball rolling from the stage and the old chalkboard was flipped horizontally. Yet, no one believes me. Now that I look back at it, it might have just been the janitor pulling my leg.


#22 Get Out of My Room

I worked in a nursing home when I was in nursing school. We had one man who was just so grumpy and set in his ways. (In a sweet way, he was never mean, just a gruff ol’ geezer who liked to sit in his seat at dinner and on the couch, and heaven help you if you sat there.) He passed away in his room and the next weekend there was a new resident set up in there. Every night, she’d come to me and tell me that there was an old man telling her to get out of his room. I would walk back in there with her, and she’d point to her chair, which was in the same corner as his recliner. She’d then say, “he says this is his room and I’m to get out.” I left before that was ever resolved. The poor thing just didn’t sleep at night.


#23 Low on Energy

Malls. I worked at a shop in a pretty busy mall in California and was there overnight doing stock and inventory. I had to leave the shop to throw some trash away and walking the mall in almost complete silence was terrifying. Any place with tremendous amounts of energy during the day and nearly none at night are creepy.


#24 Turn the Lights Off

I find the opposite effect in night clubs. At night, they’re exciting, loud, music blaring, lights flashing, packed with happy people. But during the day, when the lights are on, the walls are beat up, there’s black-painted plywood, the floors are just black concrete with sticky stains everywhere, exposed lights, etc. They look really sketchy and they don’t make you want to come back at night.


#25 That’s Normal

Antique shops and secondhand stores. I was the only kid who would work for extra money at my aunt's antique shop after-hours, dusting, straightening up and refurbishing items that came in. It didn't help that it was an old building from the 1800s. Thumps, whispering, and shadows were normal. Whenever she got in new stock, new things started happening. I was weird and loved it.


#26 Idling Car

My friend is a cop and he got called to a graveyard very late at night with reports of a car, parked beside a group of graves, still running with lights on and idling for a very long time. He assumed it would either be a group of kids or a couple hooking up. When he peeked through the driver’s side window, he found a man who had taken his life. It’s definitely one of the creepier stories he’s told me.


#27 Physical Weight

Theme parks are so eerie when they're deserted. I'm an urban explorer and while all abandoned places have that "there should be people here and their absence is a physical weight" vibe, no location has that quite as potently as abandoned theme parks. I'm constantly expecting to hear the clatter of rides or the screams of riders. It must be really weird being security or something for a theme park.


#28 Which is Worse?

My father briefly worked as a night janitor at an elementary school and hated it. He said he'd hear a voice around a corner, run over to see who it was and… no one. No sound of running. No doors closing. Nothing. He quit the night the whispering turned into kids laughing and all the stall doors in a bathroom slammed shut at once. To give my dad credit, he stayed until the end of his shift. He said he was either literally going crazy or something was messing with him and he wasn't sure which was worse.


#29 What Was That?

A shopping mall. I used to work third shift security at a pretty understaffed one, so I was regularly the only person in the building after the janitors left. Besides the occasional teenager wearing a clown mask and staring at me through a window, I thought I saw mannequins moving, heard small children laughing, heard banging coming from the ceiling, etc.


#30 Absolutely Haunted

Might be low hanging fruit, but theaters. Acting theaters, not movie theaters. For a while I was helping close up our big local old theater. There's just no way to not assume that place is absolutely haunted. Cement basement hallways, even if it wasn't dark outside yet, I just knew there were ghosts all around me. Pretty sure no one was ever hurt there, but somehow that place is definitely haunted.


#31 Very Different Story

I was watching a video of an urban tour of Pripyat, the city built to support the Chernobyl plant. During the day, it was fascinating walking through now empty high rises. At night, though, a very different story. The "hotels" there for tourists having locked gates that close at nightfall. I would not want to be on the outside when they lock.


#32 Under the Bed

My bedroom. Every time I do something I have to make sure a large black clawed hand is not under my bed or reaching for me from my closet. The reasoning for my paranoia is that recently I've been having these dreams of a tall black demon with a white mask dripping this black substance from its eyes. I would say it is about 10 feet tall. Its body is skinny but its neck gets wider and the mask is completely flat. I keep seeing it out of the corner of my eye. It reminds me of this drawing that I made at a friend's house, but that one was less creepy. I described it as friendly.


#33 Dark and Abandoned

Parks. I'm a cop working night shifts. I'll go foot patrol through the parks at night, make sure nobody is harming themselves on the playground or fooling around in the tennis courts, etc. The city turns the lights off at night since the parks close. There's just something eerie about a place where there’s supposed to be lots of people but is instead dark and abandoned.


#34 Walking Through

The old Plaza Hotel in El Paso. I visit EP every year to hang out with a friend and go to the Classic Film Festival. The hotel has been closed since the ‘90s and there are a lot of broken and boarded up windows. It looks okay during the day but looking at it at night and imagining what it would be like walking through that place in the dark creeps me out.


#35 The Animal Kingdom

A zoo. A lot of them are nocturnal and you're sometimes unfamiliar with the sounds an animal makes. Not being able to see the cute animals, your brain starts to give you misinformation. The reflective eyes of some animals can be creepy, too, as you've never seen them in the dark. Also, depending on where the zoo is, the local wildlife are out and about and equally as creepy under cover of darkness.

Cranes and herons make it sound like Jurassic Park . Plus, you can't see them. Squirrels and armadillos are in the bushes or falling out of trash cans. Snakes blend in with the cracks and lines of sidewalks. The first few weeks can be creepy and you question the safety of your job. But, you get used to it. A personal favorite: I had never heard goats before. At night, their sounds are terrifying. I was less afraid of the jaguar.


#36 The Bog Road

I grew up in the countryside in Ireland. We have something called “The Bog Road” on one side of our house, and each side is disused bogland, full of bog holes. There are stories of children wandering in there and drowning, and the bog witch, who screams at night. Well, you better believe cycling over that road with foxes screaming in the night is life-affirming by virtue of your heart pounding like a jackhammer and your legs pumping like a machine.


#37 Switch it Back

My grandma is in a memory care home. For a little while after she first moved in, she told us a lady kept coming into her room and moving her things around. This is not the first time we've heard something like this, and she had some similar delusions when dementia first started taking hold that were ruled out as purely delusional. So, we brushed it off a bit.

She kept speaking about it, though. After about a month, it was found that she wasn't hallucinating. Turns out the former resident of her room was still alive and would go to that room out of habit, thinking it was hers. She was confused about the placement of all my grandmother's things and was trying to move everything back in place. I always thought it would've been incredibly strange to walk into your home one day and suddenly see that it's filled with another person's things, and totally different. The poor lady was probably so confused.


#38 After Dark

My mom was a custodian for an elementary school and I would get dropped off after school and wait until she got off. Numerous times she'd finish cleaning the gymnasium and I would have to turn the lights off for her before she closed it up. The lights were in the boys' locker room and I had to walk back in the dark. Holy, that was scary. Plus my mom had already been hearing noises after hours and the other custodian had stories as well. That school was scary after dark.


#39 Full of Mannequins

I did mall security a few times. I was always called in to supervise contractors after hours while they re-configured stores. Since the managers didn't want to stay late, they'd just call one of us in to close everything up after the contractors finished. Trouble is, they wouldn't give us the keys or alarm codes, so we'd literally just lock ourselves into the store and wait until morning when the manager was due to open.

So around one or two o’clock in the morning, you'd just lock yourself into a completely dark store with no other people in the mall. If you were on the lucky side, you'd be in a store that had some entertaining things in it. If you weren’t quite so lucky, you'd be in a dark room full of nothing but mannequins.


#40 The Only Thing You See

In college, I spent several semesters as the stage manager, which often meant being the last one to leave or the first one to get in. I was pretty used to it, especially because the last thing I'd do, besides locking the door, was turning off all the lights. Then having to backtrack through the completely dark building to get to my car.

Well, my final show was Look Homeward, Angel . One of the major props for the show, which I built, was a six-foot-tall angel statue complete with wings and painted to look like white stone. After the show, she was retired to the backstage storage area up in some rafters. Apparently, she spooked more than a few people in her time there, a stark white angel, hanging ominously over the backstage, staring at you with dead mannequin eyes. Plus, it's the only thing you can see in the dark.


#41 Floating Sounds

A children's rehab facility. My son had an 80 stay and I would stay there with him overnight. I was not allowed to use the restroom in his room (it was shared with another patient via connected rooms.) So, I had to make my way down the hall to use the public one. The lights were dimmed at night and everyone's room had beeping machines. The creepy part was the noises that would float out of some of the other patient's rooms. This was a facility that rehabilitated children up to 19 years old with various health problems. Sick kids can be creepy sometimes and it's heartbreaking.


#42 Long Walk Home

Landfills. I do a lot of work in landfills and one day, I wanted to finish up all my work.  Right as it was getting too dark to really work, I decided to call it and started packing the ATV up to drive back to my work truck. This specific landfill in Weatherford, TX is huge so I was far away, probably like an hour or two walk to my truck.

The ATV battery lost power, so I was stuck, in the middle of the night, in a landfill. I had to walk back to my truck and leave the ATV until the next day. That walk back was eerie as heck. There were noises everywhere and it was pitch black. The only thing keeping me from freaking out was I could see the gas flare at the collection system where I had parked the truck, so I just followed that. I have been in landfills across the country numerous times at night but that one freaked me out because it was so big. 1/10 wouldn’t do again.


#43 Old Frontier Cemetery

I saw a lot of creepy things when I was living out in the country in Texas. It was 15 miles to the nearest town. It was beautiful during the day, and gorgeous at night. Since there wasn't a lot of light around, you could see the night sky in all its glory. But like I said, some creepy things also happened at night. I lived a mile down the road from an old frontier cemetery, so I would see apparitions and some really freaky stuff. I used to not believe in such things but after seeing a few people pop up out of nowhere and then disappear just the same, it changed my mind.


#44 Night Calls

Mechanical telephone exchanges. I know that’s pretty random, but I worked a six-month night shift in the old strowger system. They'd turn the lights off to save power but as people made calls in the night, you’d hear the clunking of the switches. You were also never really sure if it was a call or an intruder breaking in.


#45 Run of the Mill

I live in New England, and we have tons of old mill buildings. Eventually, they get repurposed for something else. I was a security guard after I got out of the army, and one of the spots I used to have to check, top to bottom, was an old mill building. They're fine during the day, but at night they can get very eerie.


#46 Candles in the Wind

My old school's chapel. During the day, there's enough light coming in the windows for it to not be creepy. But I was part of a chapel party and at-night services looked extremely creepy with the lights off and no natural light from the windows. Everything was made worse by the fact that the candles were still burning.

Also, there were trapdoors in different parts of the chapel leading to underground tunnels. Someone went in and just found a book about funerals. And a teacher started a rumour that if the candles flicker during a service, there's ghosts there. I thought everyone would find that stupid. I mean that's just what candles do, but no. Everyone freaked out when they saw the candles flickering.


#47 Creatures in the Park

There's a trailer park in the next town over. There lies a pond behind some brush and thin trees and I used to play back there with a couple of friends on weekends. You can see figures out there at night. They’re not people because they’re too tall to be people. I don’t know what it was, but it would be uncommon to see regular people out there in the night. It was creepy, but oddly nice.


#48 In the Basement

I used to rent a house where the only shower was a cement stall in the basement, with exposed plumbing overhead. There was just a shower head screwed onto the end of a water pipe. The rest of the basement was lit by a single, overhead lightbulb that was nowhere near the "shower." It was fine in the morning because there was some natural sunlight that spilled in through the window. At night, it was creepy as heck.


#49 In the Bunker

Hospital basement tunnels, long and old hallways underground with flickering lights and no one in sight. The place I work at also has old war-time bunker rooms down there that have been remade to locker rooms that no one uses. I have to go in there and clean them sometimes. It's just a very eerie feeling down there when you're all alone in those rooms.


#50 Taking the Stairs

It's elevators for me. Something about them just scares me at night. I don't live in an apartment, thank God. I would wet my pants every day if I had to use them each day. But, they’re scary in the daytime as well. Maybe it's all the videos I watch, but they’re dangerous. Like, you could get mugged right on the elevator! And with supernatural-related stuff, it’s even scarier.



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