Urban exploration is not a new idea, but it is one that has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. The idea of going into places that were built to be lived in, worked in, or played in, but instead have been left abandoned for years is one with a lot of draw for adventurous souls. Exploring buildings full of unlived potential or stories of people long gone is a thrill unlike any other.
Like any adventure, there are risks to exploring abandoned places. Some you might expect: weak floors, unstable ceilings, hazardous materials… but there are other dangers as well. Any place that has been left without people too long tends to attract supernatural presences. Some places were even abandoned due to a bloody history. Urban explorers often have tales of creepy experiences, some grounded firmly in reality and some with a more surreal turn. Here are some creepy, sometimes terrifying, adventures these curious souls have been part of.
55. The Trauma Is Real
54. The Mannequin Man
We were climbing a utility shaft behind a lecture hall that ran up the length of the building. At the bottom of the shaft were 2 or 3 boxes filled with these black and white pictures of mannequins. Some were out of focus headshots of the faceless mannequins, some pictures of them in compromising positions, and some just kinda generic looking shots. Creepy but whatever.
After climbing up 3 or 4 stories, we found a mattress and blanket. On its own, the mattress would be curious/sad, but the pictures below added a layer of creepy.
Whenever we’d explore around campus I always figured (facetiously) that I could live in one of these dead spaces if crap hit the fan. I guess we found someone who was actually doing it.
53. The Untouched Mirror
52. From Russia With Love
51. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
I came upon a house a good twenty minutes outside of my tiny town while looking for fishing spots once. It was a large 2-story, 4-bedroom farmhouse. It looked like the owners had just gotten up one day and left.
All of their belongings were still there. Some dishes still in the sink. A skillet on the stove. In the closet, I found tons of state fair ribbons dating back to 1912, among other things you’d probably want to keep. The beds were unmade like someone had just thrown back the covers and gotten up. A bunch of church programs from the church I actually attended when I was a kid, with the name of a pastor I assumed was well before my time. There was an old typewriter on the desk with a paper in it with the word “The” typed out. Birdcage with a long-dead bird in it. Photographs still hanging on the wall.
The door to the basement was locked, though, and I still sometimes wonder what was down there and why it was locked.
Everything was covered in a very thick layer of dust, though. You could see that animals had gotten in and left footprints and droppings everywhere (lots of raccoon prints).
It was all just insanely eerie being there. Like, it was clearly abandoned and had been for quite some time, but I still felt like I was intruding on someone’s home. I mean, I’ve explored tons of places, but this place felt different.
For those asking, this was in Iowa. I haven’t researched the history of the house or know who the prior owners were. I’ve pondered the worst, but one of my theories is that there was probably an old couple who lived there (there was a walker in the closet and one of those bathtub rail things in the bathroom) who were put into a nursing home or something. Maybe their kids just didn’t care about the house? The dead bird was pretty sad to see.
50. Haunted New Orleans
49. The Exorcist
I work as an asbestos surveyor. I regularly have to go through entire derelict buildings.
One time I had to do a survey of an old nunnery, the foundations dated back over 300 years I think. I was down in the basement and I found a well with a ladder going all the way down, probably about 20ft. Descended all the way down and there was this tiny door at the bottom.
I realized this obviously wasn’t a well hole. The door led to a tiny room with no lighting. Inside the room there was a large cross, similar to a crucifix with restraints on it, I can only guess as it was used for some kind of religious exorcism type stuff. There were scratches on the walls. The building owner had no idea it was there.
I’ve surveyed a really old mental hospital which was derelict for years, I found a room with all the old outdated equipment for restraining crazy people in there. I didn’t find that very creepy until I got this almighty chill go over me and heard a door slam. I bolted out of there like a rabbit being chased by a ferret.
48. Rocket Man
47. Ghost Going Up
Not an “urban explorer,” but I’ve worked in property management for a while and one of the properties I managed was an old abandoned bank/office building. It had two elevators, but only one of them worked. Once, while doing a routine safety inspection, I got on the elevator in the basement and pressed floor 12. (The top floor.)
46. Alarming Alarms
Our group went into an old well-known hospital on the grounds of the defunct Agnews Asylum and boy did we get a treat. Security was always an issue here so we had to be extra sneaky. So much for that.
We had been exploring for about two hours and were inside the courtyard grounds when we started to hear the banging coming from some of the doors inside. We figured it was scrappers of other less low profile explorers and carried on with some outside photography. The banging started to get closer to the courtyard and I realized there is only one door in or out of our current location and the gears began to turn.
I rushed over and opened the hospital entrance just as the lock became active and started buzzing. The banging was now very loud and only a couple doors away and we were wondering what the heck was happening. We decided to bail and ran through the exit struggling to get our bearings. As we were running down the hallway all the alarms and lights started to become active. We found an open door, bolted out and looked up to see this big three-story building lit up like a Miami nightclub. Alarms going off, multiple colored lights flashing on several levels, just complete chaos.
We never did find out who tripped the alarms but were too busy getting the heck out to really look. Quite the adrenaline rush on that explore.
45. Hatchet Guy
There was a massive tunnel system down by the river in my old town you could access through an outlet drain in the river or climbing through a garaged exit in the sandstone cliffs. The tunnels had been sand mines to make glass in the ’70s but it was then used as a Halloween horror trail.
There was a prop junkyard, prison, morgue, dentist and evil forest all inside this huge pitch black tunnel; there was even an actual boat there. There was one section that had a dead end, and my friends and I created a wall around it using the materials in there, had to have a safe place. We tied lines with bottles and cans off to warn us of people and animals. Once while walking around one night, we heard a banging and we went to the garage door and saw a guy just hitting the door with a hatchet, pretty freaky.
44. Whispers And Footsteps
I remember one summer during high school. It was me and three guy friends that went exploring in an abandoned school. It was all boarded up, so we got in with a crowbar, a baseball bat, and some spray paint. We were walking around with our phone flashlights—it was a huge school. Dust, darkness and old furniture everywhere. We came up to a creepy looking staircase and started hearing whispers and footsteps. We looked at it and noped out of there and were literally climbing over each other trying to get out the window we came in.
43. Living In The Dark
Last winter I went into this abandoned parking lot under a closed shopping mall. It had two levels. The upper level had a bit of sunlight going in through the windows, but the lower level was pitch black. I made my way down this wide ramp that the cars would use and I decided to have a look at the bottom level. After turning my flashlight on, I noticed that the space was huge, much bigger than the upper level.
I remember how the light danced through the many supporting pillars and cast vivid shadows. I said, “Hello,” and, “I’m just taking a look around,” just to make my intentions clear, but was met with no response. So I decided to walk around for a bit, but couldn’t see anything of interest, just a lot of junk, some empty old bottles, but nothing that might indicate someone living or hanging around there. The place seemed completely abandoned, however this uneasy feeling that someone might be hiding in the pitch black shadow of one of those pillars took the better of me, and I climbed back up the ramp.
I left taking a different route and passed under an overhead clearing that snow had fallen through. Just as I was about to hop the fence and leave I noticed that the patch of snow that had formed had footprints in it.
42. Checking For Gas At Two A.m.
I went to a closed up mental hospital in my city with some friends at night. Everything was cool until we got to the basement, where there were five-meter wide and four-meter high lit tunnels going far to both directions. We headed down one end and found a huge active generator, then we went the other way and as we were about to hit another intersection, we saw two men wearing full green attire and face masks walking at the end of one of the corridors at two a.m. We got out of there real quick.
41. Abandon All Hope…
I was exploring a certain abandoned mill near a large city on the coast with a friend. We snuck in, messed around a bit, and realized that we only had one flashlight so we took turns. We kept hearing weird noises and it was dark inside because there’s no power. There was evidence of homeless occupation and empty needles. Real horror game material.
We come up a stairway and turn a corner—ahead is a walkway bridge, aka, the way to the rest of the building. To the right is a pitch black room that doesn’t feel very nice. As we walk toward the bridge, the flashlight picks out a sign that says TO THE DARKNESS and points towards this dark room.
We didn’t go in. It didn’t feel right.
40. Is That You?
I entered an abandoned house with a couple of my friends back in high school. As we walk inside the house, we find a bunch of graffiti, blankets, empty soda bottles, bags of chips, and a couple of syringes. Then we hear some coughing from an adjacent room and a man’s voice.
“¿We, eres tu?” (Dude, is that you?)
We ran out as fast as we could, with the man from the house shouting his lungs out behind us.
39. School Of Troubled History
My wife and I and a friend of ours were exploring an abandoned state-run school for troubled youth with a very nasty history that includes the torture and demise of some of the students. Behind the campus through some woods was a grave site with a couple dozen simple crosses to mark the graves.
My wife and I were working on photographing the crosses and our friend was wondering around the grave site probably 50 feet away from us. He hurries over to us with eyes as big as saucers and tells us he saw someone in the woods watching us. Considering how we were not in our hometown, trespassing, and near a county jail we packed our gear up quickly and started heading back the way we came. We would stop every so often in the woods between the grave site and the school to watch and listen. I never saw the person that was supposedly watching us but I did hear someone else walking through the woods after us…
38. Finding Letters
Two of my friends and I were checking out an old fort on the coast. Rumors of it being haunted and people who went there all returning injured drew us there. It was the middle of the day when we managed to climb into the place but was still really still and creepy.
So we split up (obviously we did not learn from horror movies) and start looking around the courtyard and the battlements and I find the remnants of a fire. I notice what looks like letters that have been burnt. I pick some of these up and they piece together to reveal that the recipient of these letters was released from prison for good behavior, but wasn’t allowed to see his kids. Then they were increasingly urgent requests for this guy to check in with the authorities. Lastly, separate from the fire, I find a handwritten letter with a rock on top of it to prevent it from blowing away. This seemed to be from this guy’s ex-significant other who refused to let him near his kids because what he has done is “unforgivable”.
This is the point where I become increasingly aware that I am alone and my friends had ventured into the bowels of the fort which were hollowed out parts of the cliff. So in I go in the pitch black of these tunnels not knowing whether I’m going to bump into my friend or some sort of psychopath. Eventually, I find one of them and explain what I found. We start jumping at every noise before we find my other friend and leg it out of the place.
One friend broke two toes, the other dislocated his shoulder climbing out and I have an enormous scar from where my hip was cut open. Very creepy place.
37. The Real Danger
I watched my friend fall through a floor into the room below filled with scrap metals and the like. He disappeared in a cloud of debris for a few minutes. It took us a little while to dig him out and dust the asbestos off of him, but he was pretty much unscratched. In our minds, he died that day. I never urban explored again after that. Some people don’t realize the actual danger is the building itself, not some ghosts.
36. Footsteps In A Nazi Bakery
My friends and I broke into an old Nazi bakery that used to be a part of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp complex. This is just outside of Berlin. At one point we randomly heard footsteps walking around inside and we weren’t sure if it was our imaginations, a drifter who had followed us in, or a ghost. We picked up wooden boards and blocks of concrete and other debris around us to use as weapons just in case.
35. Ghost Caller
Some friends and I explored an abandoned hospital that had been closed for two years. All the power was off. Made it to the ER. I saw a phone on the wall and when I picked it up, I heard ringing. My friend didn’t believe me so he picked it up and also heard ringing. Within 10 seconds, the phone rings full volume and we all ran the heck out of there.
34. Too Realistic
I went to an abandoned/unfinished subway station in New York City that had been turned into an illegal graffiti gallery.
It was mostly murals but one artist also decided to hide something extra creepy… As I was turning my flashlight in the pitch blackness, I saw a very realistic-looking body lying across the tracks. I nearly screamed.
It turned out to just be some clothes stuffed with newspaper but holy guacamole in that darkness I almost died.
33. Take It Off While They Sleep
A group of my friends and I explored an abandoned asylum/mental hospital a couple of years ago in the Oklahoma City metro (very unsafe at night for silly college freshman like ourselves). The first experience we had was all of us taking our merry time enjoying the darkness and generally messing around. You have to come in through a broken window, and we were all gathered at the window just being dumb when we heard loud, echoing footsteps down the hall running towards us. We all did that “Who the heck isn’t here? Who’s messing with us?” look and turn. After realizing we’re all present and none of us are sprinting down dark abandoned hallways, we booted out of there.
The second time, we could hear a group of people messing with us, jumping from around corners and such, but they never got too close (we assumed it was an animal at first, but got brave, and realized it was a person). We managed to catch them and, after staring at a collection of seemingly not-so-there twenty-somethings, who begged us for cans of paint and substances, we got the not-so-good vibes (finally, you say?) and tried to leave. The “leader” of the haunted asylum asked if we had jewelry, which we denied. He then said the creepiest thing I’ve heard in my life. “I like jewelry. I take it off the girls here when they sleep.” We bolted.
32. Flash Or Flesh
I went exploring at an old housing community. The place bottomed out after the housing market fell apart and the construction stopped. Foundations and roads were laid, materials were left and the lights eerily came on at night. We had gotten there just as the lights turned on. We’re there for even a half hour when the lights suddenly turned off. It was creepy. There were clouds so we couldn’t use the moon and we didn’t want to use flashlights to alert anyone of our presence. A half hour goes by with us trying to see things. My partner finally pulls out his flashlight, only it didn’t turn on, and he couldn’t figure out why. It was almost out of a horror film, except we found out what was wrong with the flashlight: The batteries were removed…
31. Plushy Murders
Old psych hospital closed for 20-something years… There were staged ritualistic murders using plush animals. Also, in really dark places, there were small writings on the walls and furniture that said: “I’m watching you.” Small enough to ignore in the daylight. Big enough to get caught in the beam of the flashlight.
30. We’re Being Watched
Exploring an abandoned construction site.
It’s a site out in redneck country that’s got a bunch of old construction vehicles getting overgrown with plants. My girlfriend and I decided to go check it out, see what it’s all about. We looked around and didn’t see a whole lot. It was about to rain so we decided to head out. As we were getting in my car, my girlfriend froze and said, “There’s a guy in the woods watching us.” I poop myself and ask if she’s sure. She repeats herself and says he saw her see him and laid flat on the ground to hide.
Noped out of there really quick.
29. Out Of Nowhere
I was exploring some factory ruins. I went through a few rooms with tarpaper floors just ready to collapse and nowhere to hide. After wandering around and taking photos a bit, I turned around and saw a guy standing where I’d just been looking, and nobody had been there before.
28. Gut Feelings
I’m walking through an abandoned asylum and find an old building in the woods my friends and I didn’t know was there. We walk in and the temperature drops noticeably. It is incredibly dilapidated and smells like asbestos. Turns out, it was a high security/solitary confinement building which means everything there is in a cage or nailed in. After leaving, we see a figure move in the woods. Obviously, we think it’s our friend but realize we’re all together and no one could possibly have moved like that. I look and there’s nothing to be seen. On that same day, my friend Camden and I immediately feel something. I don’t believe in ghosts but something felt off in a way. It felt like we weren’t supposed to be there. After following our guts and splitting off the group to leave, we get a text from our friend Madi who says after we left the cops showed up. Thank god we followed our guts.
27. Breaking Beams
I explored an old iron factory that no one bothered to demolish. It was damp and dark in there, really terrible. The whole time I was always glancing around at the machinery because I had an overwhelming feeling I was being watched, but aside from my two friends and me, it was empty. Then one of the wooden beams on the side of the room holding up a catwalk collapsed inexplicably, and we booked it.
26. Insane Artist
This just happened about a month ago: My friends and I were exploring an abandoned WWII ammunitions factory which was absolutely massive and already had creepy vibes. There was more graffiti about violence than anywhere else I had been.
So we come to this room, and keep in mind we are already two or three miles inside the complex, and there is tons of graffiti from just one guy. It turns out it was the shrine of an infamously crazy local graffiti artist. There are bones hanging at different heights from the ceiling, a whole area full of deceased baby birds, and graffiti saying to get out. As we are leaving, we hear some glass break behind us and see what I assume to be the crazy graffiti artist, probably on something as he normally is. We all bolt like there’s no tomorrow and run all the way back to the entrance we came in through, not caring about visibility and just running out into a major roadway.
25. Walked Right Past Him
I explored an abandoned youth-hostel on the coast of the Baltic Sea. I went up to the roof, out a roof-window and climbed across one of the houses. I found a spot halfway up the highest roof (second or third story) in the sun with a nice view of the coastline. Suddenly, a police car stopped out front, and the two officers ran into the building. My friend and I just curled up, tried to stay in the cover of the roof and the chimneys. It took a few minutes for the cops to come back out, escorting some dude who tried to insult them the whole time. Later, I found out that he’d spent the night in the building and nearby residents had seen him pee on their fence. My friend and I must’ve walked past him twice without noticing.
24. The Third Floor Was Different
I went to an abandoned factory that was being prepped for demolition. This was at the core of a major city, by the way. Seeing that the best time to go alone was after sundown, I find myself wandering around the main floor looking for the stairwell going up.
My goal was to get to the rooftop since there was an abandoned billboard atop of it overlooking the freeway and some highrises, so finding the right set of stairs was key.
After walking around the bottom floor for quite some time using a tiny flashlight to guide myself in the darkness, I find a set of stairs to go up.
The second floor is equally dark but still, I decide to explore it as much as possible. The layout is genuinely interesting since it’s a 100-year-old building.
I notice that every floor seems to have a different layout, so there’s a lot to take in. I grow accustomed to using a small flashlight to cut through the darkness.
I go up to the third floor and make a right into a pocket of darkness. I can sense it’s a big open space. And when I swing the flashlight, the first thing I notice is some type of patterned drawing on the walls. And I realize it’s all drawn in red. Then I realize I’m in a room where the drawings are on all the walls surrounding me. Then it sinks in that the graffiti is actually symbols written in some glyph-like language. Then I recognize some symbols as looking like your typical satanic drawings. Then I see a mural depicting some really satanic stuff on the pillars. Serpents, glyphs, etc. I think I froze for a good ten minutes expecting to be jumped by some fanatics. I noped the heck out of that one.
23. Face In The Basement Window
Just two days ago, I went on a little adventure here in northern Michigan. I had seen this old abandoned home way off the road a few times and finally got up the nerve to explore.
So I parked in this field that was overgrown and made my way to the house. Behind the house their in an old building that is collapsing at this point. I go in the front door which was unlocked and right away it felt creepy. I started talking loudly right away just in case someone was in there. To my left was a dining table with a bunch of family photos on it. I must say the entire interior looks like someone bailed very quickly a long time ago. They left most everything, a microwave, fridge, dishes, its weird. I looked through some newspapers and the most current ones were from 1992.
Now I had to go upstairs and here it is really weird. At the top of the stairs was a bedroom with a beautiful rolltop desk and papers on it that looked like someone had been working there recently. There was a huge closet with clothing as well as boxes of old magazines from 1989. In the other bedroom on the floor, it looked like someone had made themselves a bed out of old blankets and a sleeping bag… very creepy. I peeked in the bathroom and noticed someone had used the floor in front of the toilet instead of on it. I looked around a little more and made my way back to the main level.
I did find a door to the basement and told myself there was no way I’m going down there. I swear I heard something moving around and they didn’t respond to my yells. Let me just say, I’m not a small guy—six foot one and 270 pounds—so I’m not afraid of much, but this creeped me out. I left the house and went out back to the other building but didn’t go in there.
Funny thing, I did find a rusted 1932 Ford coupe that still has potential. Now I’m going to say something and you will all think I’m crazy, but when I walked back by the house to my car, I swear I saw someone looking out a basement window at me. I’m not for sure on that but it looked like a face. I want to go back, but not alone or unarmed. Scary place.
22. One Candle
When I was in college, a few friends and I went to this local abandoned hotel. It was a swanky place back in like the 50s but had just been sitting around abandoned and fenced off ever since. We walked by and saw an open window on a second story ledge and ended up finding an old wooden ladder nearby on the property. We went in and hung around and saw a bit of great graffiti. The whole place was trashed with actual garbage as well as bits of the building that were falling apart. We made it up the staircase to the third floor looking in each of the rooms. The area we were in used to be the housing for the staff of the hotel. The third floor was covered in garbage from throughout the years. We got to the last room on the third floor and looked in to find a lit candle with no one else around. Realizing we were not alone, we booked it out of there and once we were outside, looked up to see someone watching us from one of the windows. Now, we went to college in a city with a significant homeless problem and assumed we had just stumbled onto someone’s home but still freaked us out. They cemented up the place after another explorer fell down an open elevator shaft and broke his legs. It has recently been renovated and they are turning it into an apartment building.
21. Chair Pile
Exploring an abandoned psych hospital in England. I climbed up into the attic; there was only one way in and one way out. I stayed up there about half an hour and went to leave but the trap door was shut and won’t budge. Unfortunately, we had to kick our way out through the floor (I really didn’t wanna have to do that as prefer to leave things as they’re found). The door had chairs piled up from the floor to the roof. I still hope to this day someone was just messing with us!
20. Horror Acoustics
There’s an old abandoned mental institution by my house we broke into one summer. There was also a prison, juvenile ward, police HQ, and fallout shelter all attached via underground tunnels. We found ourselves at the end of the fall out shelter, a very long underground tunnel with childlike paintings all over the walls and two large jail cell doors at the beginning and end (both were opened). We got to end of the tunnel and there was a final stairwell that went down to pitched blackness. All we could see via our flashlights was an individual chair in the middle of what seemed like a large pitched black room. We opted not to enter and turned to head back down the tunnel. About halfway through we heard a loud “BANG!” The problem is the acoustics were insane in this tunnel, it sounded like it came from everywhere. We stayed calm; I suggested nobody run or someone will get hurt. We briskly got the heck out of that building. I can’t say for certain, but it really felt like the noise came from behind us. At the time I assumed it was the cell door, I wasn’t going to look then but I really want to go back now.
19. Not An Echo Of Us
We were kids exploring an underground flood channel… There were spots where we could climb up and dangle our arms out of the storm drains on the street, but that required crawling up weird diagonal tunnels.
There were four of us, maybe 12 years old. One flashlight.
The walls were all graffitied with a lot of stuff, and even warnings to turn back… blah blah blah…. we just took it as other kids who were bored.
We got to the spot where the ceiling angled down quite low to the point the opening was so small we had to crawl to continue…
Challenge accepted. It looked like it opened up again shortly. So we crawled through five or six feet of the low area and when it opened back up, it looked like we were in a large round concrete pipe (before it was square or rectangular).
Still lots of graffiti.
We started yelling and playing with the echoes, then we thought we heard something so we got quiet.
Then a really loud “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE” came echoing from the darkness…
The kid with the flashlight ran so fast that the rest of us were left in absolute darkness.
The rest of us ended up quietly and slowly walking out in the darkness.
18. Poor Dobermans
We were climbing/exploring an abandoned factory me and my friend. On the rooftop, there was a kind of secondary elevated flat rooftop. When we managed to climb over there, we found two animal heads. They were in a semi-advanced state of decay but it was obvious they were dobermans. It was weird and super creepy.
17. Innocence And Butchery
As a young man in rural Alabama, I would explore an old brick house that burned down in the 1940s that we (my cousins and I) called the “Break Down House.” It was totally isolated in the woods, and very overgrown. All that was left were three walls and a chimney, the concrete slab of the foundation, and globules of melted glass strewn about the area. When I was over at my grandparents’ house (WAY out in the country, like two miles to the next door neighbor), the cousins and I would go out and mess around out there (not like that, we’re not that kind of Alabaman). It never scared me and was more just cool than anything else.
Until I found an eviscerated dog hanging from a tree there. One day I went and there was literally a dog strung up from a tree like someone had put it there on purpose. It was definitely a dog. There was what looked like an empty tent further up the hill, tucked up behind a stand of trees. And it looked like somebody lived there. There were clotheslines with children’s clothing on them… and more cans than you can count just thrown on the ground. Must have been over a hundred.
I guess it might have been a homeless family or something. But the spectacle of it was just very unsettling. A dog and clothes lines with Winnie the Pooh children’s clothing on them…
I never went back.
16. Dying Lights
I was exploring a pitch black basement full of corridors and rooms of a seven-story abandoned building that was used for production of camera film when my phone dies from the cold (it was winter in Canada). My friend’s phone dies a moment after, and our third friend is the only source of light with only 18% battery left. We panicked our way out of that labyrinth.
15. Exploding Tag
I was exploring an abandoned facility at one point owned by a defense contractor. The place is up in the hills, near a pretty large chunk of residents surrounding the hill. To get to the fence, you need to hike three miles, followed by another mile to get to the buildings after the other mile. This place was originally like 800 acres but is now down to about 700 after developers began building near it. The place is SUPER contaminated with uranium, perchlorate, agent orange, and other chemicals. I had a gas mask and protective coveralls on, so I would imagine I already looked pretty creepy.
Well, there is a guard at the facility 24/7, and maybe another party or two also exploring. We all hear noises caused by the other party so we kept avoiding each other. While the guard was searching for us, we were avoiding him, and the other group (who we thought was military personnel). We were screwed if we got caught. The other group was avoiding me because they got nervous with my choice of uniform, and the guard was searching for me to see what my intentions were. I found some rubble from a building that was probably destroyed sometime earlier. The destroyed building was the protective observation deck for explosive mine testing back in the day, and the field still contains some remaining landmines. We heard a LOUD explosion and saw chunks flying everywhere. I thought I was in the deepest mess I could possibly be in, with people blowing up while following me. Turns out there are cows in the hills.
14. Unknown Laughter
There’s an old abandoned factory in my city that’s been shut down about 40 years now and since it was abandoned people have explored and left weird stuff in certain rooms. There’s a whole room filled with ’80s memorabilia; never opened cassettes, old dolls, etc. Of course, there’s the usual graffiti, creepy writing on the wall and symbols that are supposed to look like they’re part of some ritual. Like any abandoned place, there are a lot of urban legends surrounding it. No believable claims but they’re enough to freak people out.
A couple years back my friend and I decide to go check it out. Once we get there, we circle the whole factory trying to find the best way to get in and it looks pretty much boarded up. The old loading docks are locked to the ground to keep them from opening, windows boarded up, metal doors locked and chained. We finally find a rolling door that looks like it could open up. It takes about 30 minutes but we’re able to get it about a foot or so off the ground, enough for us to army crawl under. Looking around the room, there are some old moth-eaten mannequins and a bent up bike but nothing too unusual or creepy. We walk about 10 feet into the room when we hear a chuckle coming from the corridor maybe 50 feet away. Like a deep throaty laugh. Needless to say, we booked it out of there pretty fast.
13. One Thing Unbroken
There used to be an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan that my friends and I would explore on the weekend nights in 2003. It was four floors plus a basement (which included a morgue) and we explored every nook and cranny of that place.
Judging by the most recent magazines in the fourth-floor waiting room, it seemed to have closed in 1990. The previous institution just up and left everything Chernobyl-style (furniture, equipment, drugs, patient files… even found some suicide reports!). By 2003, the place was broken and trashed by vandals while the building itself decayed. It looked worse than the hospitals in the Silent Hill games. That’s not even the creepiest, most mysterious part.
I once entered a room and saw a mirror that wasn’t broken.
Everything in this entire building was destroyed, except this one pristine mirror still mounted on the wall. I’ve never seen anything more out-of-place and I get chills just thinking about it.
12. Church Footsteps
My friends and I were exploring an abandoned asylum. There was a separate building outside, turns out it was a church. Inside the church, there were Satanic symbols and broken glass everywhere. We all went quiet, as we heard loud footsteps on both sides outside of the building. After 30 seconds of silence, we slowly went outside to find nothing was there. Noped the heck out and ran to the car.
11. The Ladder
My mates and I went to an abandoned factory. I had been there a few times before and wanted to show it off to my mates. So we decided to chill on the roof of the factory and watch the sun go down. It was all chill until we decided to go back down. I went down first, my two other friends came soon after that. As soon as I reach the ground and get off I turn around and see my friends holding onto a slowly falling ladder. One friend was okay thankfully but unfortunately the other broke his back. Absolutely terrifying.
10. The Long Dark
It was nothing really. I broke into an abandoned Sanatorium in France (location scouting for a short horror movie). The only way in was through that bared window, leading to a Sanatorium’s underground corridor (that was incredibly long and dark) accessible from a ditch behind the building. I was totally alone, with my camera and its light as only company. Staring into the pitch black void of this corridor left a huge terrifying impression on me. Then, from that corridor I found a staircase leading me to the upper floors. The whole visit was creepy, but this corridor (and knowing my only way out was also through it) really stayed in my mind.
9. Down The Chute
An abandoned mental hospital in Texas. A few friends from college and I decided to explore it one evening. It was overall creepy, typical old used hospital beds and equipment thrown. Then we found an entrance to a laundry chute and decided to slide down to see where we ended up. I was first to go down and hit the floor to where it was pitch dark. One of my friends lit a lighter and once he did we saw the walls were filled with red pentagrams and demonic writings. Luckily, the chute wasn’t too steep or narrow and we quickly went back up and ran out to our cars. The place has since been torn down and now has private property signs all around the area.
8. Waving Goodbye
So this happened in high school, five of my friends and I went and explored an abandoned military hospital on the outskirts of town. We had a great time and explored the place from top to bottom, tons of graffiti, lots of old furniture, nothing creepy because most of the actual hospital stuff had been torn down long ago.
After about an hour, we are all hanging out in the reception area when we hear what sounds like faint footsteps above us. We have run into many homeless people before on our explorations so it really wasn’t anything to be worried about but we were creeped out because we had searched the place top to bottom and there were no signs of someone living there nor did we see anyone.
Under the assumption this creepy sound is coming from a homeless person we yell out that we didn’t mean to invade their space and that we would be on our way. That’s when something from upstairs let out a high pitched blood-curdling scream that sent chills down my spine just thinking of it now. Paralyzed by fear for a moment, we all looked at each other in utter terror. Someone then began stomping heavily on the ceiling and it seemed like the whole thing was going to collapse. We immediately sprinted out of the hospital screaming the whole time not stopping till we’d cleared the grounds. When we had caught our breath and looked back at the building, we saw someone in one of the second story windows slowly waving to us.
7. At Least He Was A Friendly Ghost
Every once in awhile I’ll go “urban exploring” with one of my friends. Usually, he just checks out abandoned houses and the odd factory or two, it can be a really cool experience for anyone who is into history or photography or asbestos inhalation.
Today though, he decided we’re going to a local abandoned hospital, at night, with just the two of us, because it’ll be more “intense” that way and he’s evidently never seen a single horror movie in his life. Despite my mild hesitations we end up getting to this place as it’s starting to get dark.
We make our way in through a window that someone has torn the boarding off of and my friend gives his usual yell throughout the building announcing his presence so we don’t startle anyone else who might be inside by saying, “WE’RE NOT THE COPS. WE’RE JUST LOOKING AROUND AND TAKING SOME PICTURES.” By his logic, we’re doing a courtesy to anyone else exploring the building who might panic if they heard us coming otherwise; by my logic, we’re announcing our presence to every homeless person in the building who might want to steal a camera from two dumb kids.
We make it through the building going through multiple floors and checking out the roof last. We get a ton of cool pictures and take a look at some of the creepy old bathtubs and tables they left in the place. There’s some really cool graffiti inside as well mixed in with your usual lame tags. The whole building is pitch black except for the few spots where moonlight shines through so we literally can only see whatever we happen to be pointing our phones at at the time, or by using the flash on the camera.
Even though I’m still worried about being attacked, I’m glad I went and I’m less freaked out as we’re making our way back to the window we came in. We get back to the room and I hop out the window first and have my buddy pass me the camera. As I take it from him and he starts climbing out the window a soft voice from what sounds like just 10 feet or so inside the building says “Wait…” I look around my friend and can just barely see a silhouette standing in the doorway from where we entered the room.
Now, I’m not proud of what happened next but at that moment the force with which my butt puckered propelled me away from that building with enough forward momentum to last until I was at the edge of the property back towards the road. My friend followed after me quickly, more so to laugh at me than out of fear. He didn’t seem to be too worried about it, though he agreed we definitely weren’t going back.
I know this isn’t the most exciting story, but what terrified me at the time was that I was 100% sure we were alone in that building. It was dead silent aside from us. The fact that the man (?) waited until right as we were leaving horrified me as it made me realize they could have been watching and following us throughout that entire building. Just listening to us talk, watching us taking pictures… just following us.
Needless to say, I don’t do too much urban exploring anymore, at least not at night in old spooky buildings constructed prior to WW1.
6. Stumbled Upon A Sacrifice
In my town, there was an old insane complex spread out through multiple buildings. (Not one giant building like most people think.) Most of it has been torn down or re-purposed over the years. However, one of the buildings that remained looked to be an old radio room or something. As I was walking around this small room I noticed stairs that lead below. The basement of the building was flooded around two feet high. Around this time, I remembered they build maintenance tunnels throughout the complex and though this would be a good entrance. I left and came back with boots and waders. When I got down to the basement, there was just trash floating around, but the entrance to the tunnels was bricked off. Then I tripped on something as I stopped to look around and take it in… I realized the bottom was filled with various animal parts, bones, etc. Then I looked down… There was an animal that was obviously taken down by human hands. I apparently stumbled on some deranged persons animal sacrifice room or something. I got out of there really fast. A week later someone set the building on fire.
5. Creepy Wobbles
I worked in a giant semiconductor factory on a graveyard shift. My company routinely builds a new factory next to the old ones and leaves the old ones abandoned. One night was slow and boring so I offered to my recently hired friend to show him where I used to work, in the old abandoned factory next door. We weren’t really allowed to go over there but it wasn’t hard to access. It was really creepy with minimal lighting, yellow lighting used in semiconductor manufacturing, a gutted factory with light fixtures hanging down, dark hallways, and an eerie quietness. As we were in a particularly dark hallway we heard something fall. It sounded like it was round, wobbling around before coming to a rest. That’s when my friend and I decided it was time to get out of there.
4. The Children’s Section
There’s an abandoned insane asylum called Letchworth Village near where I grew up, and it also has a morgue in it. This place is so creepy. It’s like a big campus with multiple buildings. One time, my friends and I went to check it out, and we found a children’s section. There were still drawings the kids made on some of the walls and the floors. One drawing showed some kind of bloody scene with stick figures. Another had writing in crayon that said something like, “If Jimmy doesn’t finish his homework, he doesn’t get to eat today…”
3. They Were Welded Shut
Not too long ago, a friend and I were filming for a school project in a series of abandoned WWII bunkers. We were in an underground section setting up some lights (it was completely pitch black in there) when we heard what sounded like a heavy door with rusty hinges slamming shut. This scared the complete poop out of us since all the doors to the structure were welded shut. We booked it out of there like any sane human being.
2. Miniature Circus
A few friends and I were exploring an old abandoned house once, this thing was super creepy. It had an old spiral staircase that twisted up three stories and onto the roof. At the very bottom of the house was where it got really creepy, there was a basement/kitchen type room which had tables and counters in it. On one of the tables was a deceased cat and on the counter across the way was a miniature circus toy set with creepy little clown characters and circus tents and everything. We heard a scuffling coming from some pantry like doors and we bolted out of that house faster then I thought possible.
1. Silhouettes Absorbing Light
It was Pennhurst in Spring City, Pennsylvania around June of 2013 if I remember correctly. There are a series of tunnels and sub-tunnels that connect all the buildings together underground. We were standing in the tunnel entrance which used to be a cafeteria which is called, “dietary.” Now the basement to this building had double doors and one of them was bolted shut; the other was wide open. The basement was lit from foundation windows to near daylight. The three of us are facing each other in a sort of triangle talking three feet to the left of this door. Now besides our headlamps, the only light is from this room and the tunnels are total darkness.
Out of the corner of my eye, the room next to me appears to go dark and I go silent. Now what was the scariest part of this was that I quickly realized they also went silent. I turned my head and there was a black silhouette vaguely resembling a person in the doorway. Except larger and more distorted than any normal human would ever be. Almost encompassing the entire doorway. As I sit here and look at whatever this is, my headlamp is completely absorbed by it and I can see the daylight from the basement behind it. As I turned my head to basically say “What the heck?” my friends had already started running as they also saw it. The one had a direct view of it and said it just kind of materialized in the doorway. I ran until I couldn’t anymore. The energy in the moment just seemed to completely leave me and my legs felt so rubbery. I looked right at this thing from feet away and my light did nothing. I was always so skeptical of such things prior to that. I’ve been up and down the east coast, across the country, on top of bridges and buildings, in tunnels. Friends do it abroad. I’ve never experienced anything even close to that before.