There's something about the nighttime that makes everything a lot scarier. Maybe it's the darkness, the animals that come out at night, the silence, or a combination of the three. Either way, the nighttime truly does amp up the fear factor. Just ask these people.
People on Reddit share the scariest thing that happened to them during the night. Content has been edited for clarity.
"When I was a kid, we went camping in the woods. I heard what I thought was a bear outside our pop-up camper and it woke me up. My two brothers and I were sleeping on one side, with me in the middle, and our parents were sleeping on the other side.
It was completely dark so I couldn't see a thing. But, I could hear what I thought was a bear snorting around outside. I was scared to death. I couldn't figure out a way to climb over my brothers and cross to the other side to wake up my father, without making noise and alerting the bear to the tasty meal waiting inside.
So, I just lied there perfectly still for the whole night, waiting for giant claws to rip their way through the canvass.
As the sun came up and I started to see, I noticed that the lump that was my father in a sleeping bag was rising and falling with the bear's snorting. Turns out my dad's snoring had kept me up all night in absolute fear."
"Woke up to an earthquake at three am in Japan. The quake measured at 7 on the Japanese Shindo scale, the maximum level on their 'shake map.'
It had also triggered a power outage across the entire prefecture, meaning it was pitch black; not even the street lamps or traffic lights were on. I got thrown off my bed in the darkness, stuff was falling down all around me, and my ears were deafened by the noises of smashing glass from the kitchen; my phone blaring out earthquake alert messages, and the entire apartment block swaying while the ground moved beneath it.
I then proceeded to frighten my elderly neighbor when I bumped into her outside my apartment as we were both feeling our way to the emergency exit in the darkness. She may have been more scared by that ordeal than the earthquake itself."
"I was fast asleep when my mom and nine-year-old sister opened my bedroom door quickly. I didn't know what was happening until I saw my mom locking the door behind her, holding my little sister who was crying.
I heard someone scream from the hall 'What the heck,' and then huge bangs. Not bullets, but pounding. All I heard was 'breaking in' come from my mom's mouth but I knew this was the most serious situation I've ever been in.
My sister got into my bed, and I put her against the wall. I held her as she lay in the fetal position and my mom... I will never forget her eyes. She pushed furniture against the door-there really wasn't much furniture around and the whole 'chair under doorknob' thing never works. She scrambled, finding everything she could, and tried barricading in any way she could as she was on the phone with the police. I remember talking to my sister about Harry Potter.
A few hours later, I woke up with my sister in my bed watching Harry Potter with me. Police downstairs. Loud noises. Mom was sitting next to my bed watching us sleep.
I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood where crime is not really on the radar. Whoever broke in took the propane tank from our grill and used it to smash the glass doors that lead to our backyard. They stole my mom's purse, that's it.
I ended the night thinking that the person was really coming for me."
"I was sitting on the couch watching around 11:20 PM. I was waiting up for my girlfriend to get home from work, which she usually did around midnight. While I was sitting there, I heard a group of people talking outside my front door, which was not that big of a deal as my complex had other front doors on the same hallway as mine. My door was the last door on the hallway and it bent around the corner about four feet. So if you walked out my front door, you would take two steps and turn to the right to the long hallway way of other front doors.
Anyway, I was sitting there and the voices kept getting louder and louder like people arguing. I decided to get up and walk closer to the door to hear what they were saying. As I got closer the voices got louder, but I still could not understand anything. It was like a loud mumbling. I got about a foot from the door, and as I was looking through the peephole it got dead silent.
As I'm looking out of the peephole, I see a man with a long black coat make the turn to my hallway. He is about two feet staring right back into the peephole at me. It feels like I’m staring at him for five minutes, but in reality, it was only a few seconds. I’m thinking to myself, Does he know I’m here? Can he see my eye looking at him?
After like three seconds of this random guy in a long coat starting at me, he drops drop to the ground, disappearing so I can’t see him. Now I’m thinking this guy is literally inches from my knees right on the other side of my door, kneeling in front of me. My fight motion took over which is weird for me as I’m usually the scared type. I swung open the door as fast as I could and yelled 'HEY!'
I looked down, nobody there, like nobody was there at all!! I stepped out and down the hallway.....empty. It was dead quiet and not a person in sight. I have no idea if I was seeing things or that person disappeared. I will never forget looking out that peephole and coming face to face with a random man for a couple of seconds before he disappeared."
"I moved into a new house that had an old laundry chute covered with an Ouija board in my closet.
Three months later, I woke up to a dark figure at the end of the bed saying 'Get it out.'
I thought it was just a crazy dream and rolled over to go back to sleep. A few nights later, I wake up to a bright orange room with a roaring sound, so I look out the window and a new house that was under construction next door was completely engulfed in flames only 40 feet away. I was up on the roof with a garden house in just a few minutes waiting for the fire department to come. The side of my house was severely damaged, and the paint and tail lights on my car were melted. The firemen let me back into the house to get a jacket once things were almost put out, so I grabbed the Ouija board and broke it before throwing it in the trash while the neighbors house was still smoldering."
"I have had two episodes of sleep paralysis spaced about six months apart. Each time, I am halfway between a state of consciousness and unconsciousness. The first episode that happened, I saw a pale girl in a white dress standing next to my closet door. She had long black hair that drooped over her face, so I couldn't make out any details. She just stood there, and I was panicking. My heart was pounding and I tried to force myself to move. Never before have I encountered something like this, and I watch a lot of horror movies. So in my mind, I was mortified that she was about to inflict physical or mental trauma. Luckily I passed out and woke up feeling fine the next morning.
The second time it happened, she appeared closer - next to my bed. Too bad I was paralyzed because this time I was ready to catch hands with that girl. She was in perfect range of a sidekick, and I could have sent her flying into the next freaking county. I have not had sleep paralysis since then."
"An ex-friend who thought my husband and I were out of town (my husband was, I had decided not to go) broke in quietly. I'm a light sleeper but didn't hear anything until he opened the bedroom door. When I saw someone in the room, I pretended to be asleep. I wasn't quite sure who it was but thought it was the ex-friend by his movements. I never actually saw his face clearly, because keeping my eyes closed. It seemed like it lasted for an hour, but was probably only five minutes.
My purse was on the dresser and he opened the top drawer and found my jewelry box. Then he left. I waited until I heard a car driving away. We lived in the country with few neighbors, the cops showed up but were only there for maybe 30 minutes. Unlike the movies, they don't dust for prints for burglaries. Anyway, no one was arrested because I wasn't entirely sure that it was who I thought it was. My husband didn't want to believe it was him.
When I told my dad what happened, he told us not to tell anyone about it, to just act like it never happened.
It was probably a couple of months later when that same ex-friend asked my husband, 'Hey, did you guys ever find out who robbed you?'
Yes, ex-friend. Just now. You. Because we never told anyone. And no, he was never even arrested, as there was no evidence. My jewelry was pretty cheap back then, and I didn't have a credit card. But that was pretty scary. I hope it never happens again, this was 30 years ago, but I now have pepper spray within reach."
"I lived in an apartment in Savannah, Georgia. In Savanna, cockroaches are common nuisances, so there would be some between bouts of pest control.
I had a cat at that time. He was a wonderful cat. I'd often wake up hearing him chasing a cockroach across the floor in the darkened room. I knew he was chasing a cockroach because I could also hear the cockroach skittering across the floor.
One night I could hear my cat chasing something in the darkened room. But I couldn't hear what my cat was chasing!
I was thinking it might be a mouse, or a rat, neither of which made me feel comfortable.
I just had to get out of bed to investigate. I turned on the light and saw my cat facing off with the biggest spider I have ever seen outside of captivity. I walked toward my cat and the spider, and the spider turned towards me with an aggressive posture. That spider was fast. I realized then that my cat hadn't been chasing the spider, the spider was chasing the cat.
I had to drop a toolbox on that eight-legged freak.
I didn't sleep for the rest of that night."
"Was awoken at 4:38 AM by a metal clang in our backyard. Our single-story house has sliding doors leading to the backyard from every room. Opened my curtains to see a patio chair tipped over and a string of café lights ripped down from the patio and swinging. We recently had a roof leak and I had an extra tarp to the right of my backyard. I thought to myself, No animal or wind could have done that, there must be someone hiding under that tarp. As I’m looking intently for movement from the tarp to the right, a shirtless man with a large firewood log (from my backyard) comes walking right in front of me from the left as I’m peaking through the curtains. I nearly pooped myself.
I immediately called 911 and before being able to notify my sleeping wife, the dispatcher answered and I abruptly woke my wife up with 'Yes, there is a man in my backyard.'
My wife jumped out of bed. We grabbed our daughter and moved to our family room. The dog still snoring. I heard the man talking, so I assumed there was more than just one. I grabbed the largest kitchen knife (baseball bat was in the garage and didn’t want to leave my wife and 8-month-old daughter inside alone). Luckily, I had vision of him the entire time. All I knew was that if he tried to get in my house, I would do everything in my power to stop him from getting to my family.
Police arrived within five minutes. He tried to hop the fence to the front yard and failed. Cops cornered him in our backyard and he hopped the fence to my neighbor's yard. The neighbor had just gone to the backyard to check on the commotion when police were at his front gate. Guy slipped into his house as he was letting the police in the gate and tried to hide under his bed where his wife and three grandchildren were. Just as the guy tried to get under the bed, the police got him and took him out on a stretcher. He was on some heavy hallucinogens (hence the talking in our backyard) and was scorching hot to the touch from what the EMT said.
Definitely made us think twice about home security and being prepared. Although it was one of the scariest things in my life, I don’t think I had ever thought so clearly at the moment. I knew as long as I knew where he was, and where my family was, it was ok."
"I thought I heard something bang my window, and I instantly jolted awake. I sat still listening, trying to figure out if it was imagination or not. Then I heard someone tramping through the snow outside. My bedroom faced a fenced-in area where we take the dog out, so the snow gets deep there.
I hear him moving towards the back door. I ran across the house to make sure it was locked, just as the person started banging on it. To this day I don't know how I managed to work up the courage/stupidity, but I just couldn't believe someone was trying to break in by making that much noise. So I lifted the shade and saw... my brother with the biggest grin on his big fat stupid face.
I was relieved that I wasn't about to be murdered and emotionally exhausted once all the adrenaline drained out of me I didn't even get mad at him. Besides, I had to take my time to plan an appropriate response."
"Several years ago, I woke up to this loud boom. I thought it was just a dream and tried to go back to sleep until I looked out the window and the sky above the tree line was orange. I woke up my husband and he looked out the window too and realized that the orange we were seeing was fire.
It turned out that a hammered driver had crashed his car into the local energy plant and hit a gas main, setting off an explosion. Somehow, the driver was only mildly injured and he walked away from the accident before the explosion occurred. Everyone within a certain radius of the plant had to evacuate their homes as firefighters worked to contain the fire and the energy company had to stop the gas leak. Fortunately, my husband and I were able to stay at his parents’ house for the rest of the night, and we were allowed to return to our home by noon or so, but it was a harrowing night for us."
"I was traveling in the Philippines, stayed on a small island, and went to bed in my little hut close to the sea while a tropical cyclone was raging. Power was gone for hours already, the sea was screaming. Woke up in the middle of the night because the ground was shaking quite intense. I was afraid it would be an earthquake but I didn't see anything weird when peaking out the window so my European butt went back to sleep.
The next morning, I learned the sea wall broke down completely about 50 meters from my hut because of the rough sea crashing against it. A piece of land about 7×15 meters big crashed down into the sea. Just the right amount of ground my hut was built on a little further down the dirt path.
If there's a major storm coming while traveling, don't pick the scenic accommodation close to the ocean."
"Back in 2016 I worked for a hospital and had to be on call during Hurricane Matthew. This was so when they gave the all-clear, I could immediately report to work. We had to stay within three hours, which is pretty much the whole state from where we were. Based on the trajectory it didn’t make a difference if we stayed in our place or went to Georgia, so we stayed.
The storm arrived at night and we ended up falling asleep in our bedroom for the first couple hours of the storm.
All of a sudden something just changed- my husband and I both sat up. My ears were ringing. He has really sensitive ears and said the pressure just dropped and it felt like an ice pick in his face. Sure enough, I looked outside and the sky and clouds were green, the lightning was purple, and trees were bending over. The wind was so loud we had to raise our voices to speak. The power had already gone out so all we could see was what the lightning illuminated and we could see circular cloud movement all around us. I assume it was the cloud wall of the eye.
We moved into the innermost room, the bathroom, and passed out. When we woke up in the morning the power was out but our apartment was unscathed. I went to work the same night."
"One night, I got home from martial arts practice for school as I am a former student-athlete. I immediately fell asleep once I face planted my body to the bed. I awoke from the crackling noise and the smell of fish being cooked. At that time, my uncle lived with us, so I'm used to having any sort of company in the house and not bothered by it. But I just woke up and was really annoyed, because the crackling and popping noise was loud. So, I decided to go talk to him about the noise rather than returning to bed.
When I opened the bedroom door, a fire brushed into my face. I immediately yanked my face backward while the pop noises continued. Smoke filled the room in seconds. My adrenaline started to kick and I'm trying to find my logic on how I'll escape my house since right outside the bedroom's door is an electric socket and then a curtain burning. After five seconds, I just thought to run past the burning curtain fast so that I won't catch on fire. So I did. Once I got out of the bedroom, I looked back so I can see what else is burning. I saw the other bedroom wall burning right behind the curtain that is also on fire.
Behind me was the bathroom, so I quickly filled one of the buckets with water and splashed the wall with it. It didn't do much, and I saw how fast the fire was spreading. The smoke started to make me a little dizzy, and I came very close to throwing up. I knew it wouldn't be safe for me to try to put out the fire myself, so I ran out the door and asked for help. I got help from the old guy next door, and he immediately gave me a bucket. He filled his with water and immediately got in my house to deal with the fire.
After 15-20 minutes, we got rid of the fire. Almost half the burning bedroom was turned to ashes. Since then, whenever I hear anything popping or crackling I get triggered with adrenaline or if something crashes or banged against something."
"One night, I awoke to my sister screaming and glass breaking. I heard more glass fall to the floor in our kitchen as someone reached in and tried to unlock and open our door. My mom and sister screaming more because this was the second time this happened. We had added a deadbolt. I was in elementary school.
I later found out a friend who delivered newspapers really early in the morning in my neighborhood saw a guy on a motorcycle drive-by him really fast that same morning. My mom was a teacher and there was only one kid who had a bike. I always wondered if it was him."
"It was about midnight on a Saturday, and I was in bed scrolling through my phone looking at memes. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, someone let the loudest and most blood-curdling scream I’ve ever heard in my entire life. It was a female scream and it kept going.
What was scary was after two to three minutes after the screaming started, I heard 'Stay away from me.'
This prompted me to suspect there was either a murder taking place in or near my apartment building, or there was some kind of domestic abuse going on, essentially. I was so scared that I wound up calling the police. I live about 10 minutes away from a precinct and they never even came. Anyways, I never figured out what it was, where it came from, or anything. I asked my dad, who was spending the night at my place if he’d heard anything because he’s a light sleeper and he said no. I checked news reports, but nothing. Not a single peep about this incessant screaming fit in the middle of the night. I never heard the screaming again."
"My husband was he was volunteering with the boy scouts at the time, and was supposed to be out on a youth camping trip. There had been a thunderstorm all night, and only a few weeks earlier I'd been getting ready for work and looked up from the laundry to find a guy peering into our front window. We never figured out who it was, he ran when he saw me. Since it was a new neighborhood, we figured it was someone working on one of the houses nearby who saw my husband leave for work and figured he'd scope out the place.
So, a few weeks later I'm home alone and I heard someone come in at like midnight. I assume it's the same thing- and my half-awake self didn't think to go to the closet to grab the loaded weapon. Instead, I grabbed a Lord of the Rings' replica sword that was near the bed and stalked down the hall towards the intruder. That's how I ended up both being terrified and terrifying my husband half to death. Didn't even think that he may come home early due to the rain."