Being away from the comfort of your own home, things are more out of your control and anything can happen. While it's not a good idea to become agoraphobic and remain shut-in all day so that nothing bad happens to you out in the world, it is a good idea to at least be aware of your surroundings and observant when in an unfamiliar environment. It's one thing when weird stuff goes down in a public space where you have other people to help you cope, but it's a whole 'nother can of worms when something happens inside another person's home, especially if it's something the person views as normal.
Whether it's a man wielding an ax and making horrifying threats, or a friend's parents being unnecessarily cruel and acting like dictators, the visitors in these situations should really be commended for keeping calm and carrying on. It's a sad, chilling fact that some peoples' homes are not places of comfort and solace, but fear and chaos. Here are some of Reddit users' eeriest, most spine-tingling stories about the scariest thing that happened to them in someone else's home. Content edited for clarity.
"My mom had a friend from high school named Holly who married an abusive 280+ pound dude who was mostly muscle mass. They had a son named Tim who was my age and we got along well.
I went over to his house one night to hang out and around 9 o'clock we were just messing around and wresting when I got roughhoused a little too hard and yelled out. However, I was fine and we were just kids playing, right?
Nope. This giant freakin' grown man came down the steps and yelled at me, asking if I was alright. I didn't say anything back because his tone was insane and terrifying. His next move? Grab a 12-year-old boy by the collar and put him through the DRYWALL. I honestly never really made a big deal of it in my head but in retrospect I probably should have told another adult about that."
"I was staying at this girl's house when her mom's boyfriend came home wasted. He started getting angry about something and took an ax into the house, swung it into the fridge, and screamed, 'DO YOU WANT THIS TO END UP LIKE THE VILLISCA AXE MURDERS?!'
I live in Iowa, where there was a famous massacre where a serial killer snuck into the house of a family with kids and their friend staying over and murdered them all with an ax. He was never caught.
After that, I lay in bed clutching my friend who was silently sobbing and praying to God he didn't come upstairs because her door lock didn't work. He ultimately did and started going off the rails and screaming at me to go home immediately while the mother was telling him to leave me alone. It was terrifying. I think he just left the house after that, but I truly believe I could've been murdered that night."
"When I was in high school, a friend of mine once had a birthday party at his house. I'm kind of introverted, so at some point, everybody was in the kitchen doing something and I was in the living room just sitting on the couch and taking a short mental break.
Shortly before that, one of the party guests had her boyfriend show up. He announced he was high (not sure on what) and quickly passed out asleep on the other couch in the living room. As I was taking my break, I look over at him and noticed something wasn't right. He was twitching a lot, and the twitches were turning into full-on convulsions with each passing second.
I called his girlfriend into the room as soon as he started foaming at the mouth. Everyone ran into the living room and crowded around him as someone dialed 911. I just sat there on the other couch like a sack of potatoes because I didn't know what else to do.
His girlfriend was shaking him, trying to wake him up when suddenly he bolted upright, screamed, and staggered out the front door. At that point, my aunt arrived to pick me up and I skedaddled out of there. It was a horrifying experience, and I was sure to make new friends after that."
"When I was a kid, I had a neighbor named Z who was also my best friend. I'd spend the night at his house often and saw a lot of things young me didn't realize at the time were very messed up.
His parents lived by the bottle and smoked weed, but both were pretty functional. The mom cooked and cleaned and the father worked, but it was very clear the couple valued their smoke and drink over their son.
Z had an uncle (mom's side) who showed up one day fresh out of prison and started staying with them. He was an even nastier substance abuser, and often got violent with Z's dad and acted like he was the head of the household.
One time while staying over, Z and I fell asleep on the sofas watching TV. His uncle came in and, unbeknownst to sleeping me, woke Z up and became confrontational. We were only about 8 years old.
I was startled awake by yelling and opened my eyes to the uncle shoving, choking, and lifting Z up by the neck and slamming him onto the wood floor so hard I felt it from the couch. Z's mom and dad rushed out to help and his mom called the police while the uncle was taken away. I still relive the sound and feel of Z's body hitting the wood floor. It was just awful."
"Jonathan, Andy, and I took turns sleeping at each other's houses over the summer between 4th and 5th grade. None of our families' had money, so eating at each other's places over 3-day shifts worked out well for our parents' budgets and no one ever bothered to complain.
It became so regular that sometimes our parents didn't know whose house we were at. The three-day rotation was perfect because they never saw us long enough to get irritated but saw us enough to not get worried. Most of the time when we stayed at Andy's, we never saw his dad. That was mostly cause he worked nights and we made sure to leave in the morning if we crashed there.
Now, Andy's dad was a terrifying dude. Half his face was scarred from 3rd-degree burns and he was wasted most of the time. One night we were crashed in Andy's bedroom when we were woken up by Andy's mom screaming. The bedroom light flicked on and his dad was standing there with a belt in his hand.
He reached into the bottom bunk, grabbed Andy by the hair, and dragged him into the living room. Jonathan and I don't know what to do so we crept into the hall and watched as he started beating both Andy and his mom with the belt, whipping and slapping them with the leather. I'll never forget the clapping sound it made against their skin. They were just huddled together as he hit them over and over, then he stopped and walked outside to his truck to get a brew.
Then Andy's mom rushed over, grabbed all three of us, and hid us behind the couch against the wall. Normally that'd be a bad hiding place but they didn't ever clean their house so junk and clothes were everywhere.
We lay back there and listened for an hour as Andy's dad kept beating his mom and getting brews from the truck until he finally passed out. She was really messed up after that so she called the police and had us leave before they got there. We walked around the neighborhood until the sun came up.
It was one of those things we never spoke about after.
When it happened we were all in shock and all three of us cried about it. It was the most hopeless feeling I've ever experienced in my life. There was nothing three little boys were gonna do to stop him. We laid behind the couch, smothering our wet faces in dirty clothes.
We never went back and stayed the night again, instead opting to have Andy over at our homes more often. Which his mother was okay with.
Then life happened and after the 5th grade, I ended up in a different middle school district and didn't see Andy or Jonathan again. It wasn't till almost 15 years later that I reconnected with Andy on FB. And I was incredibly relieved to see he and his mom were doing great. Of the three of us, Andy had the roughest go growing up with the shakiest home life and despite all that he and his mom had made it out. Which I think is a testament to the love they share. Andy got into the medical field and he helps take care of his mom now. I guess from the years of physical abuse, she suffered some medical problems.
Jonathan fell into abusing hard substances and gang life and never graduated high school. I don't know what happened to him. I was lucky to have moved from New Mexico after Jr. high and started life over in high school. I was on my way to gang life myself, so I'm glad my parents moved."
"I was at my friend's house when we were 7 years old and we'd often just hang out and play Donkey Kong and Mario Kart on her N64. She had a brother a few years older who would sometimes stick around and chill with us.
One time he grabbed some giant kitchen knives and started threatening us! He was a just a couple feet away, jabbing the sharp ends toward us and saying he was going to stab us, kill us, and chop us up. He kept it up for about 10 minutes before he burst out laughing and said it was just a prank. Real freaking funny freaking out a couple of 7-year-old girls, dude. Their family eventually moved away and we didn't keep in touch, but I wonder if my friend's brother has turned into a psychopath."
"I was 11 years old and at my friend's house while his parents and all of his siblings were home. Everyone was in the front room of the house except for his dad, who was doing yard work in the backyard.
At one point I got up to go to the bathroom and while passing the backdoor, I saw that my friend's dad was on a ladder with an electric tree trimmer. Before I looked away and continued on, his dad fell off the top rung of the ladder and crashed onto the ground...hard. The tree trimmer was still somehow on and landed next to his body.
The trimmer was going full horror movie, slowly moving toward him, and he was not getting up. I was the only one who saw it happen, so I yelled, '(Friend, friend's mom)! Your dad fell, come quick!' and ran outside to pick the trimmer up and move it away.
By the time I turned it off and started focusing on him, everyone else was outside. We helped him up, the mom took him to the hospital for back pain and a mild concussion, and the older siblings watched us while they were gone. Everyone was very thankful I had to pee when I did that day. It was so scary to me because I did not know what to do and acted on adrenaline and instinct. The fall was also pretty intense-looking; I thought I saw a guy die."
"When I was 16, my mom forced me and my brother to go to a party with her at her friend's house. I was tired and bored the whole time and just wanted to go home. The host of the party said if I needed to rest there was an empty room that I could chill in, which I was fine with.
He gave me hot chocolate and talked with me for a few minutes as he cleaned the room a bit. Then he said, 'You grew up to be a handsome man, you know,' while locking the door. Five minutes after that, he assaulted me and I was too scared to try to escape.
I told my mom a month later because I thought I had an STD. He didn't go to jail because there was no proof. He also assaulted a 5-year-old a year later and got away with that, too. I saw him six years later on the street, walking with a cane and wearing a weird thing on his back. I learned later that he got beat up by a group of men who knew what he did to the child."
"I was about 16 years old and spending the night at my best friend's house. During that time, there was gossip going around that I was gay because I came out to a previous friend who decided to share it with others. My best friend knew of my orientation and it did not bother him at all.
During the sleepover, I remember laying on the floor while he was in his bed. In the middle of the night, I got this jolt of adrenaline as I had the feeling that someone was watching me. I shifted my blanket over my head and made a hole to peek out of. The door was cracked open and it had been completely shut before we both knocked out.
I stared deeper into the crack and noticed what looked like a pair of eyes staring back. I got this horrible pit in my stomach as the eyes continued to look around the room, finally locking onto mine. Then the door began to crack open wider and I saw a full head peek in in an attempt to get a closer look at something.
All of a sudden, this creature flung the door open, shouting, 'I CAUGHT YOU!' while ripping the covers off my friend. My friend immediately shouted,'What the heck? and flipped on the light switch. It was his mother. She stormed out and slammed the door to her room.
My buddy and I had a hard time falling back to sleep after that, as we were trying to figure out what it was all about. The next morning I overheard my friend talking to his mom while I was in the bathroom. Apparently, she heard I was gay and was trying to catch me doing stuff to him in his sleep.
'Absolutely ridiculous,' was my reaction, but I washed up and told my buddy that I would be going home. Her stalking us like that was some scary stuff. We're still best friends, I just avoid his mother."
"When I was in high school, I housesat for the first time at my best friend's place. He had two dogs and it was a split level home so I was downstairs with their awesome surround sound and big TV watching 'Event Horizon' for the very first time.
At some point mid-movie, all the power in the house went off and I was disoriented in the pitch black for about 5 seconds until the power came back on. At the exact same time, the doorbell rang.
The dogs started going nuts and barking at the door, and I was honestly freaking out. I ran straight upstairs to my friend's room and grabbed his airsoft weapon before inching back downstairs and toward the door. I turned on the porch light, but no one was out there. The dogs were still really riled up.
At that point, I could see that it was raining outside and I hadn't heard the storm before because of the loud movie. I called my mom and casually asked her if the power went out at our house due to the storm (we lived close to my friend). She said, 'No, but a funny thing happened...' and the phone line suddenly went dead.
I started to freak out even more because the power was still on but the phone line was dead. As I was trying to rationalize what the heck was going on, the power went out again. About 5 seconds passed, the power came back on, and the doorbell rang again with the dogs totally losing their minds.
To this day, I don't know if someone was messing with me or if it was all a series of really eery coincidences, but safe to say I spent the rest of the night scared as heck, clutching the airsoft weapon to my chest, and praying things didn't get worse."
"I was house-sitting for an older friend who had gone off to visit her grandkids a few states over. I didn't have a place to stay at the time, so I agreed to do it since she would be gone long enough that I could stay there until I moved in with my grandmother.
I was sleeping on the couch when I heard panicked voices coming from the back of the house. I was already pretty on edge since we were in a bad neighborhood and it was basically prime time for petty thieves, but the voices made me terrified.
I slipped off the couch and started sneaking toward the back of the house and into the kitchen. All the rental properties are laid out the same; you walk in the front door and you're in the living room with the attached kitchen (which was separated by a counter). Off to the side, you go into the hallway and you have two bedrooms on either side with a bathroom/laundry room at the end of the hallway.
I grabbed a knife out of the cutlery holder on the counter and started creeping toward the hallway. I heard one of the people losing it and I could barely make it out since they were in one of the bedrooms, but it sounded like they were holding back sobs. Then I flung the door open and flipped on the light.
There were two kids in the room, junior high kids who went to the school across the street. It turned out they were in the process of robbing the place when I showed up to housesit.
They thought that they'd be able to sneak away when I went to the bathroom or something but chickened out because they didn't want to risk getting caught, so they sat in that room for hours until nightfall. I called the cops on them because a crime is a crime and they scared me bad, but it still made me kinda sad. They were kids and their lives are going to be a lot more difficult now just because they wanted to be criminals."
"One day my cousin brought me to his friend's house and we were all hanging out in the basement when my cousin realized he forgot his smokes in the car and asked if I could go grab them.
I thought nothing of it, went and grabbed the smokes, and started making my way back to the house. As I walked back into the house, I ran into the friend's dad. This guy (who I'd never met) just looked me up and down before yelling, 'WHO THE EFF ARE YOU?! WHY ARE YOU IN MY HOUSE!?!
Mind you, we live in New Jersey and this was an Italian guido family, so I was basically getting yelled at by a discount Tony Soprano. This guy was flipping out and I was scared crapless, but luckily my cousin came storming upstairs and cleared everything up. All my cousin had to say was, 'Frank, this is my cousin!' and just like that, crisis averted. Love you, New Jersey."
"When I was about 7 years old, my cousin came over to my house for a sleepover. Not long after she arrived, her best friend called...and asked her to come to her house instead. Looking back, that was so rude I can't believe her parents let her call my house to ask.
She was basically forced to ask me too, and thus began the last time I was allowed to stay the night with anyone until high school. It was around 6 pm so I'd already had dinner, but this family was just sitting down to eat.
I told them I wasn't hungry but they made me sit down and take a big plate of food, all of it stuff I hated. The main dish was Kraft macaroni with a couple cans of tuna mixed in. Maybe some people are into that, but I was totally disgusted by it.
I was polite about trying to refuse it, 'No thank you, ma'am,' but these pricks told me I was going to be punished and proceeded to make me sit at their table, alone, for over an HOUR while my cousin and her friend played. I was so young and so scared they were going to make me do something else gross. An hour after that, we were forced to go to bed and told we weren't allowed to get up or turn the light on. I slept on the floor while they shared the bed.
It wasn't outright abuse, but it was just the most unwelcome I've ever felt in my life and being treated like that by strangers made me never want to stay over at any of my own friends' homes in case of a repeat event. I was scared that the next time someone would hit me or something because you never know."
"For a while, I lived with a host family in China as part of a language immersion program. It was just the two parents, their 6-year-old daughter, and me. One night the parents used Google to translate to me that they were going out to dinner with some friends. Then they pointed to their daughter and say 'babysit,' which I took to mean that I was going to babysit her, so I nodded and they left.
The girl usually went to bed about 8 pm and it was around that time that they left, so I assumed she'd been put to bed when I saw the lights off in her room and a dark mound slumped across her bed.
It wasn't until I dropped something right outside her door and went to apologize that I realized she wasn't there. I began hysterically screeching her name and messaging/calling her parents. I was also freaking out because if they answered the phone, they wouldn't understand me anyway.
In the end, it turned out 'babysit' meant she was going to her grandmas to be babysat. I thought I'd let my host family's child run away or get kidnapped or fall off the freakin' balcony. I've never been so scared in my life."
"I was into the 'weird guy' in my high school and ended up going over to his parents' house one day to hang out. He had strange pin face masks and his parents had a seance looking part of their bedroom with the symbols drawn on the floor, candles, and occult books. Cool, 15-year-old me was into it.
Dinner time rolled around and he told me to stay upstairs and very forcefully said not to come down no matter what while he dinner. Weird but whatever, teenage me was happy to not have to make small talk with his parents.
About 10 minutes after he went down, his father started yelling, 'Hey girl! Come down here!' over and over. I didn't, and eventually my guy came back upstairs like nothing had happened. I tried to ask what the heck the dad was yelling about and he just laughed and changed the topic.
I noped out of there pretty quick when his mom started digging a huge hold in the front yard after the sun went down. They lived in a super secluded mountain area of our town where the forest was so dense you couldn't hear your neighbors at all. I don't even want to know what was about to go down."