Telling ghost stories around the campfire is all fun and games, but not all campfire stories are fiction. From strange lights in the sky to women wailing in the forest, here are six real-life creepy stories that will put you off camping forever.
A Rocky Trip
“I was backpacking in the Beartooh Wilderness in early 2000s with a good friend of mine. Three days into the hike, we had only seen one other couple. On the third night, at about 4 AM, we were awoken in our tent by what sounded like screams in the forest…big, guttural screams.
Obviously, we were freaked out sitting in the tent not knowing what was out there. We started hearing what sounded like hail for about 15 minutes, followed by heavy footsteps near our camp. My friend and I started yelling and making tons of noise, and the commotion outside the tent slowly came to a halt.
In the morning, after not sleeping at all, we unzipped the tent to the creepiest scene: all around the tent were literally thousands of little pebbles that were not there the evening before. Surrounding the tent in a near perfect circle were 20 or so 150 to 300-pound boulders. My friend and I noped out of there making a three-day hike into one, practically running the entire way to the car.” – Ranker
Lights in the Night
“My family and I were camping on a lake in central Texas on a week with very few people around. Our spot was on the edge of the camp next to the woods and very close to the edge of the lake. We were playing Pictionary by the campfire the first night we were there when I saw a light go by over the lake.
I didn’t think much of it and was still focusing on the game when another one went by at the same speed following the same line. At that point, I felt a little bit strange, but still wasn’t too worried about it. After that, another went by and I pointed it out to my dad who said he noticed it as well.
We walked out past the campfire and campground lights to get a better view of the lights. They continued to fly by over the lake going the same speed and staying the exact same distance from each other. They were reddish-yellow orbs and there was no sound coming from them. By then, my whole family was watching in awe and disbelief. After about 15 lights went by, the last one was chased by a white ball of light that was much closer than the rest.
We didn’t talk about the lights much after discussing what they could be. But when we got back home from the trip, my mom looked it up and saw that people in a town a few miles from our campsite saw the same thing we did.” – Reddit
“Two tents next to each other, about five feet apart, in the middle of the mountains. Have my three little brothers in one tent and me and my girlfriend in the other.
It’s night time and we have just put the fire out, so it’s dark. Everyone is in their respective tents snoozing off into dreamland. About an hour later, I’m the only one awake.
Suddenly, I hear soft, human-like footsteps circling our tents, over and over. Confused, I ask who’s there with no response. The footsteps continue, so I step outside.
No one, footsteps stop. I go back into my tent. Footsteps start again. I make my presence known and go back out. No one, footsteps stop. Of course, I check on my brothers, but they are soundly asleep. I repeat this same process about 4-5 more times, believe it or not. The footsteps always stop. I end up just going to sleep to the footsteps and not giving a fuck.
When morning comes, I ask my brothers how they slept and they respond with ‘Fine, except for you walking loudly around the damn campsite all night!” – Reddit
“When I was younger, probably like 10 or 11, I went camping with my family. It was about one or two in the morning, and I couldn’t sleep. The tent me and my brother were in was really hot and very uncomfortable. Anyway, while I was trying to go to bed, I heard a very faint whimper. I tried to ignore it because I figured I was just tired. Our campsite was along a road with many other camps nearby. The whimper started to get louder and then turned into crying. I heard footsteps outside of our tent and a girl crying her eyes out.
Now let me tell you, the sounds didn’t go faint. It got louder and louder and remained in the same spot the entire time. That’s important because it indicates that she was looking at our tent site, fucking crying. The crying sounds got worse, then turned into a full-on scream for a few seconds, then cut out. When she started screaming, my brother woke up. We both looked at each other and stuffed our head under our pillows. I couldn’t sleep at all that night. I was so glad when we left the next morning.” – Reddit
The Land Doesn’t Forget
“One night I was camping near the site of an old river dam. I pulled the canoe in late, so I just draped the tarp over the canoe and crawled in underneath it and fell asleep.
In the middle of the night, I woke up to the sound of roaring water. I crawled out from under the tarp, and the roaring sound stopped. I thought I must have been imagining things or that it was the wind blowing through the trees. I crawled back under the tarp, and the sound picked back up. When I crawled out again, it didn’t stop. The sound got louder and louder.
I realized that it sounded like water ripping through the woods. Even my dogs had their hair on end. I quickly pulled the tarp off the canoe and dragged it up to the top of a ridge. I then heard voices, men yelling, and a dull thumping noise. I huddled down next to the boat, pulled the dogs close, and waited for the sun to come up. When morning came, there was nothing to see.
To this day, I don’t know what that was. But I have my ideas, and I will never camp there again. I was told that the land remembers, and that’s fine, I just don’t need to be there when it does.” – SurvivalistBoards.com
“Nine years ago, I was camping in northern BC with a group of friends. It was around 10 PM, and we were in the middle of nowhere (roughly 50 km from any town, store, etc.), so it was super dark out. We were sitting around our fire, just listening to tunes and drinking beer.
At one point, we saw a light up on the mountain across the lake from us. This was a decent-sized lake. I’d say roughly 5 km across and surrounded by mountains. When we noticed the light, we assumed that it was other campers that we could visit with, so we flashed our flashlight to try and get their attention. First, we flashed our light twice, and then they flashed back at us twice, then three times, and so on.
We were brainstorming how to hike over and meet them when the light seemed to increase in intensity. It then proceeded to fly from one side of the massive mountain to a mountain on the other side of the lake. It then sat there and flashed at us a few times.
At this point, we were shitting bricks, so we turned off our light. I remember going into my tent and putting my sleeping bag over my head out of fear. I fell asleep and woke up and everything was fine, but for some reason there was roughly half a dozen really big dead toads outside my tent. To this day, I wonder what the heck happened.” – Reddit
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