10 Scary stories that will keep you up at night

Jessica Lone Summers

If you're looking for a fright you've come to the right place. We've curated a harrowing list of scary stories for you to enjoy, just don't bank on getting much sleep tonight...

1. Dear David

Starting the list off with a bang; Dear David is a long twitter chain of events reported by a man named Adam Ellis who claims to be haunted by a terrifying ghost in the form of a young boy. It’s certainly an intriguing and jumpy ride and the first-person narrative in the form of tweets will have you gripped. Whether you believe the story or not you’ll undoubtedly come away from Dear David looking over your shoulder, just in case…

Read the story here


2. Slender man

A pure by-product of internet hysteria, the Slender Man saga is truly terrifying; and not for the reasons you may think. The story originated in 2009 by way of a photoshopping forum on the SomethingAwful site when user, Eric Knudsen, uploaded two photoshopped photos along with captions:

"We didn't want to go, we didn't want to kill them, but its persistent silence and outstretched arms horrified and comforted us at the same time…" —1983, photographer unknown, presumed dead


“One of two recovered photographs from the Stirling City Library blaze. Notable for being taken the day which fourteen children vanished and for what is referred to as “The Slender Man”. Deformities cited as film defects by officials. Fire at library occurred one week later. Actual photograph confiscated as evidence.”—1986, photographer: Mary Thomas, missing since June 13th, 1986.

The photographs were shared continuously with the original source being seemingly forgotten and the urban legend began to grow. According to many followers of Slender Man he had tentacle-like arms which he could retract, the ability to control your mind and make you kill, could interfere with technology and make you ill—among quite a few other frightening attributes. The growing mythology of the Slender Man character was definitely a source of fright for many, but the real tragedy and frightening aspect of this story happened on May 31, 2014. 12-year-old girls Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser became obsessed with the Slender Man myth and created a plan called “Stabby stab stab” which involved stabbing their friend, Payton Leutner to death in order to please Slender Man. After luring Leutner into the woods they proceeded to stab her 19 times—she managed to crawl to a road where a cyclist found her. Fortunately, she survived and the girls received lengthy stays for their gruesome crime, but the outcome of this previously harmless urban myth remains truly terrifying. 

Read more about the story here


3. Beyond the grave messages

This story is truly shocking and will leave you questioning who you can trust and if beyond the grave communication is real. Reddit user “Natesw” shared a detailed account—accompanied by photos—of an experience that he claims involved his dead girlfriend communicating with him through the medium of her old Facebook account. Do you believe it could be true?

Read the story here to find out what you think


4. Can you trust you own mind? 

Psychosis is a very real condition which can be traumatizing for the person experiencing it. This creepypasta titled, “Psychosis” follows John who is losing his grip on reality and can no longer rely on his mind to inform him of what’s real and what’s not. A truly harrowing read that will leave you feeling paranoid, especially in the dark…

Read the story here


5. The relentless haunting 

Why not take a break from reading and have a listen to one of the creepiest podcasts around? This supposedly true ghost story entails a regrettable Ouija board use and the subsequent haunting that spans 40 years. If you’ve ever heard anything about Ouija boards then you’ll know you’re in for a truly harrowing listen with this one…

Get ready to be spooked and click here 


6. The classic haunted house

Large, old houses are often perceived as scary for a reason; there are endless doors dark corridors and unexplained noises that sneak up on you. If you were going to experience the paranormal, a large house would give the ghosts a lot of space to play. To experience a bone-chilling tale in exactly this setting we give you Neil Gaiman’s short story Click-clack the Rattlebag

Click here to read on


7. The one that will knock your socks off

Pictures are fun aren’t they? Beautiful accompaniments to a story or comic that really involve the reader and paint a picture right in front of you. Well… think again. The drawings in Emily Carroll’s interactive comic His face all red may be beautifully drawn but the story is far from a fairy tale. 

Read at your own risk…


8. A burden of unfinished business 

The infamous Amityville house is one that was home to extreme horrors and has long since been a Hollywood favourite because of the indescribably brutal acts that happened there and the accounts of subsequent hauntings that just so happen to be true. At least until proven otherwise.

Click here for some facts about the murders and hauntings that made this house so terrifying, but be warned, it’s creepy stuff


9. 50 Berkeley Square

Another haunted house that will have you quivering in your boots, and it also just so happens to be “the most haunted house in London”. With a resident attic ghost who is said to be capable of frightening people to death or driving people to insanity it’s probably not a threshold one would willingly cross, unless you’d like to meet the “nameless thing” that dwells there.

Click here to read more about the story


10. A story to keep you up all night

If you’ve come this far and you’re still feeling brave then read on for one final blow… This story examines all the aspects of a classic scare that we love to hate; being scared of the dark, sleep paralysis and being utterly out of control—it’s got it all. After reading this we’re sure you’ll ever want to go near a bunkbed again, and maybe leave the light on tonight, just for good measure… 

Click to read

Feeling a little too spooked? Check out these gorgeous pictures of adorable dogs to make you smile again

Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter