Any scary stories creeping up on me?
October 25, 2006 6:27 AM   Subscribe

What are your favourite, most scary, campfire-esque, "torch under the chin" type stories....

I'm going to a hallowe'en party and the host has asked people to have a scary story to read out.

I am looking for one that will scary the jebus out of the others.

I know the ones about the hitcher banging on the roof with the attendants head and the calling from inside the house. So is there one that you've heard that gave you that certain uneasy feeling?
posted by MarvinJ to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My friend Richard tells a story about him and his brother driving through the flat fenlands of East Anglia (in England) during thick fog. Up ahead they saw a figure in the mist and slowed, only to realize that it wasn't human but a goat walking on its hind legs. As they watched, it turned to them and stared right at them, then continued crossing the road. They hit the gas and bought new underwear.

That gives me the chills even typing it.
posted by unSane at 6:38 AM on October 25, 2006 [6 favorites]

My grandfather also told a story from WWII, again in the flatlands of East Anglia -- Lincolnshire this time. He was the quartermaster at an RAF bomber station and had a long motorbike ride to his home every night after the planes returned from raiding Germany. His route took him through a place called Byard's Leap which has a great legend attached to it:
Byard's Leap is a small hamlet, west of Cranwell in Lincolnshire, associated with various legends, including the origin of the name.
The story goes that there was a witch called Old Meg, an evil crone who plagued the local villagers from her cave in a spinney near a crossroads on Ermine Street, here called High Dike. A local champion came forward in response to the villagers' requests, and he asserted that he could kill her by driving a sword through her heart. To select a horse suitable for this task, he went to a pond where horses drank and dropped a stone in the pond, selecting the horse that reacted quickest, and this horse was known locally as 'Blind Byard', as he was blind.
The champion went to the witch’s cave and called her out, but the witch refused, saying she was eating and he would have to wait. However, she crept up behind him and sank her long nails into the horse who ran, leaping over a 60 foot cliff. The champion regained control of the horse when they reached the pond, pursued by the witch, where he turned and thrust his sword into her heart, and she fell in the pond and drowned.
The spot where Blind Byard landed is marked by four posts in the ground with horseshoes on, and a commemorative stone. The sharply cut small valley in the limestone, which is now smoothed over by ploughing, is as likely a site as any for the dramatic events, assuming they happened.
This story is very well known locally and the 'leap' now crosses a busy main road.

Anyway, my grandfather claims that one night in the middle of the war he was returning home from the bomber station on a dark and moonless night, riding his motorbike, when as he passed through Byard's Leap he felt something fly over his head. He was terrified and raced home as fast as he could. My grandmother confirmed that when he got home he was in a state of complete terror.

I can never drive through Byard's Leap without thinking of that story.
posted by unSane at 6:45 AM on October 25, 2006

This is one I made up as I went along to my wife's foster/stepbrothers (age ~7, 8). Might only work on younger audiences.
Short version.
It was a night much like this one, when two brothers, a bit older than you, were sitting around a campfire. They were telling stories to each other, when they heard a noise coming from the woods not far away. The noise started to come closer and closer, so the boys decided to get in their car and drive home, even though it was a long drive home.

A few minutes into their drive, they heard a noise coming from the trunk. (knock on metal folding chair). It repeated over and over and started to get louder.

The older brother said they should pull over, so they did. Being the older one, he got out of the car, and told the younger brother to stay there.

He went to the trunk of the car slowly. The noise stopped. He then very carefully popped the trunk open. The younger brother, still in the car, now couldn't see because of the open trunk.

All of the sudden there was a loud noise and a great yell. The older brother yelled "DRIVE, DRIVE! GET OUT OF HERE!"

So the younger brother jumped behind the wheel, scared out of his mind, and drove off as fast as he could.

His heart was still racing as he drove mile after mile away from the scene.

He had no idea what had happened, and didn't know if he should call the police or go for help. But he just kept driving as far as he could down the dark dirt road.

Suddenly, up ahead, he saw someone on the side of the road. He was almost too scared to slow down, but as he got closer, the person looked familiar. Approaching the man on the side of the road, the younger brother realized it was none other than his brother that he just drove away from. He knew he had to pull over, even though he couldn't believe his eyes.

The older brother was breathing very heavily as he jumped in the car. "Go, go, drive!"

The younger brother hit the gas as the car's wheels spit up dirt in the opposite direction.

The older brother just sat there, shaking and breathing.

They sat in silence the rest of the ride home, and never talked about that night again.

Response from little kid listening: You just broke my brain.
posted by starman at 9:34 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I like the shortest scary story ever:

The last man on earth sat in a room. There came a knock at the door.
posted by GaelFC at 9:48 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

i am SO stealing that goat story!

some friends of mine rented a really old house in college, like 100+ years, and it had an antique photo (or daguerrotype or whatever) of the original owners on the wall in the living room. the landlord had instructed them not to mess with the photo or take it down, because it would upset the people in the photo. this much is true: at times the temperature in one room or another would plummet suddenly, or we'd hear voices from another room that we knew to be empty. my friends were so used to it they'd just yell "hey, do you mind!?" and the voices would stop.

one of them told me the following, which is a great story even if he's totally full of shit. he came home one night in a foul mood, kind of drunk, and on his way through the living room, took one corner of the photo and tilted it way out of alignment. he gets to the top of the stairs, and at the far end of the hallway he sees a man dressed in some sort of turn of the century livery outfit. this guy says "i'm sorry you're not feeling well, sir" and departs down the back stairs.

so my friend is pretty freaked out, and runs into his room to dive under the covers. after a minute he's able to convince himself it was the booze talking, so he pulls the covers down from over his eyes -- and standing over him is a woman dressed as an old-timey maid! she says "I hope you feel better in the morning, sir" and disappears.

they all swore up and down that this was true, and given the other weird stuff in the house, no one was ready to fully write it off...
posted by sonofslim at 10:28 AM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

"The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service.

It's long and requires significant memorization, but it scared the daylights out of me when I was a young camper back in the day.
posted by anonymous78 at 1:04 PM on October 25, 2006

I like "The Viper," remembered from my childhood:
A widow lived alone in her old isolated house. One day, her telephone rang. "Hello," she said. "This is the Viper," a man said. "I'm coming to see you." "Somebody is fooling around," she thought, and she hung up. A half-hour later the phone rang again. It was the same man. "It's the Viper," he said. "I'll be there soon." The widow didn't know what to think, but she was getting frightened. Once more the telephone rang. Again it was the Viper. "I'm almost there," he said. In a panic, she quickly called the police, who assured her they would be right over. When the doorbell rang, she sighed with relief. "They're here!" she thought. But when she opened the door, there stood a little old man with a bucket and a cloth, grinning a toothless grin. "I'm the Viper," he said. In terror, she fainted.

Looking down at her, he continued, "I've come to vipe your vindows."
posted by rob511 at 1:11 PM on October 25, 2006

This is one I heard Keith from The Office tell at an Edinburgh Festival ghost stories show that took place in a crypt. Stay with me, don't switch off at the mention of Keith (he was brilliant). It has lots of room for embellishment, too.

When I was about 10 or so, we used to go camping up on the moors as a family for our summer holidays. We went several years running and there were a few other families we used to see there every year. They also had kids my age so it was ideal, really.

My brother and I spent most of the fortnight up there running around outside with our new found friends - playing football, playing kites, you know the kind of thing. One year, as a special treat, we were allowed to take our sleeping bags and camp out under the stars on the top of the moors - it was warm enough during August that we wouldn't come to much harm. We stayed up for hours talking about the constellations, playing truth or dare, eating sweets, all the kind of things you do when you're that age and have the night away from your parents.

Gradually we got talking about the cottage. There was an old tumbledown cottage near the top of the moors - barely a shell, really. It had a roof and walls but not much else. We'd often played near it and had explored it thoroughly. One of our parents had joked that it was haunted, and that was why it was abandoned. We never really believed them, but we always referred to it as the haunted cottage.

We got back to playing truth or dare, and surprise surprise, the dares got round to spending the rest of the night alone in the cottage. Only trouble was, it was me who got the dare. I didn't want to look like a chicken in front of the others, so I agreed to spend an hour there alone then come back. I rolled up my sleeping bag and walked the ten minutes or so over to the cottage. It was empty. Nobody there, so I wandered in and unrolled my sleeping bag. It was a bit creepy but I figured I'd bed down in a corner, set my watch alarm and wake up an hour later.

When I woke up I noticed that there was a strange light coming from the other end of the cottage (it was split into several rooms off the main entrance way). I thought I must be seeing things and rubbed my eyes - but no, it was still there. I figured it must be my friends playing a trick so I got up and wandered through to find the source of the light. I was amazed to poke my head round the door and find a lit fire in the old fireplace. They must have smuggled some matches up here, I thought. "Nice trick, guys" I said, poking my head round the door.

But my friends weren't there. It was a girl about my own age - I'd never seen her before. She wasn't staying on the campsite, I didn't think. She was wearing a curious long lace nightgown. It didn't look modern. What was she doing there?

"Hello?" I said. "Are you with my friends?"

There was no answer. She stood with her back to me, not saying anything.

"Hello? What's your name?"

[you need to start softening your voice at this point so people start drawing in around you]

She didn't turn round, but she did speak. "I cannot answer that question", she said in a low tone.

"Who are you?" I said.

"I cannot answer that question."

"Who are you? Please tell me."

"I cannot answer that question".

"Why not? Why can't you answer that question?"

[said very quietly]

"Because I have a wooden HEAD!" [last word shouted as loud as you can]

Hearing this for the first time made me jump about a foot out of my seat. I've told it with great success round a campfire since - screams, drinks spilled, you name it.
posted by greycap at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: The goat story wins it.

That one about the 2 brothers driving kinda broke my brain too...
posted by MarvinJ at 1:42 AM on October 26, 2006

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