UPDATE: Added a couple links below! Also, please check the comments for links to more good sites, and please add your own.
Scary true stories: you love 'em and I love 'em, but sometimes there just isn’t a maiden aunt handy to share the tale of how recently deceased Great Uncle Harry suddenly appeared next to his favorite chair during Thanksgiving dinner, or how all the clocks stopped the moment Grandma died. Thankfully, we will always have our real families—the internet—to pick up the slack. Here are some handy links to some of the rabbit-holiest of all scary story threads, as well as a few of my favorite individual scary tales. Most are purportedly true, some are made-up (But they could be true! Come on!), and plenty are in between. But they’re all good enough to stop your clock. If not your heart.
“Creepy stories from the outdoors”: 169 pages of scary true stories from the Survivalist Boards
I will go anywhere for a good story! These range from the supernatural to the real-life scary. (Is that a bear?) Standout story: A Voice in the Wilderness, page 95.
Her quiet voice echoed with an eerie calmness, that didn't inspire fear, so much as a discomfort of knowing that it just wasn't possible.
"I hated those knuckle-dragging daddy-fuckers": 39 pages of “disturbing and terrifying stories” on the Penny Arcade forums
NEW: Standout story 1: The Basement. I cannot believe I neglected to add this before as it's one of my favorite read-online creepy stories of all time!
In the movie "Donnie Darko", Drew Barrymore's character claims that a famous linguist (it was actually J.R.R. Tolkien) once said that the phrase "Cellar Door" is the most beautiful combination of words in the English language.
Well, he was wrong for saying it in the first place, and she was wrong for repeating it and perpetuating the idea that the phrase is somehow beautiful. It's not. It's downright disturbing.
FUCK THAT, and FUCK HER, and FUCK THAT MOVIE and FUCK TOLKIEN (even though I really did actually like the movie, and Tolkien). FUCK ALL of them right up the rear end for using that phrase.
"Cellar Door" is, to me, one of the scariest possible combination of words.
Standout story 2 (and the inspiration for the forum title): The Abandoned House, page 37.
When I got within a few paces of the door, I could tell that it was pitch black inside. The back door opened onto a small vestibule, with the stairs leading to the cellar on the right, and an open foyer into the kitchen straight ahead. I stopped and tried to stop panicking. They've all gone up to this place dozens of times, nothing has ever happened. Quit being such a baby.
“What’s your best nursing ghost story?”: Nurses share their stories in a massive (222 pages! It was started in 2005) forum at allnurses.com.
It’s not all call lights that come on in empty rooms! Standout story: Don’t Let Me Die! page 6.
This man was very much afraid to die. Every time his heart monitor beeped, he would just go into a rage screaming, "Don't let me die! Don't let me die!" The other nurse and I found out why he didn't want to die. About 0200 his cardiac monitor starts alarming V-Tach. We both rush into the room. I am pulling the crash cart behing me. When I get to the room, the other nurse is completely white.
“What is the strangest thing you’ve ever experienced?” 47 pages of stories of the supernatural, UFO-ish, governmental or just plain odd, because this is AboveTopSecret.com
Standout story: Well, these all tend to be little paragraphs of stories—but no less interesting!—but there are a couple fun little “weird unexplained instances” in a post on page 2:
When I showed it to my parents they just stared at it in silent amazement. My dad kept asking me if this was some trick I was pulling…
Also, the forum links to some other good forums if you want to just keep going and going.
Your True Tales: a monthly feature of a dozen or more stories from the readers of Paranormal.About.com that go all the way back to 1999!
Now, I’m going to warn you: I once read a hilarious comment on this site along the lines of, “They should rename this ‘Your ridiculous, poorly spelled tales.’” It can be like that. But nearly every month there’s a really good one, and none of them are so long that they’re impossible to skim.
Standout story: Paranormal.About.com gives the stories really boring names. They call this one from July 2006 “Men-in-Black Encounter,” but I like to call it “The Mail Man.”
A few weeks later, I was on my way to deliver the mail as usual to the building, and as I was nearing the building, I saw three figures crossing the street on their way toward the building. At first glance I thought they were normal. But as I looked closer, I was shocked at how strange they were.
NEW: Another story that is one of my favorites that I missed adding before: Griffith Park Creature. Why? Because it's just bizarre enough to be true.
I asked all three men to draw it for me in separate rooms. Their drawings were all eerily similar.
“Send Us Your Scariest Ghost Stories”: Not last and certainly not least, a whole heap of scary-story goodness from the readers of Jezebel!
Here’s 10 selected stories from 2011 if you don’t want to be up ALL night (reading, that is).
Standout story? The winner from 2011, “The Farm Visitor."
It's early in the AM, like just before daybreak. We're awake because these are farm freaks who wake at the crack of dawn from sheer ingrained habit. We're eating cereal when we hear someone pull up outside. Curious, we all run to the big picture window that looks onto the front yard. There is a strange truck there. No one seems to be behind the wheel, though the engine is idling.
A Few One-Off Stories and Sites Worth Exploring
Are they true? Let’s pretend they are.
What makes this story so terrifying? One, Brian Bethel is a journalist. Two, no one had ever talked about the "black-eyed kids" before he told this story on his website years ago. (The link above is to the story in its entirety on LiveLeak, for ease of reading.) Three, he insists this crazy story is true. Four, this story is terrifying.
This kid was in no way fitting the mold. His command of language was incredible and he showed no signs of fear. He spoke as if my help was a foregone conclusion. When he grinned, it was as if he was trying to say, "I know something ... and you're NOT gonna like it. But the only way you're going to find out what it is will be to do what I say ..."
Yeah, it’s a Creepypasta. A really, REALLY scary Creepypasta!
Okay guys, before I begin, I gotta give you a fair warning. This story is absolutely true unfortunately. It is also very long. It goes back to my childhood, but it wasn’t as terrifying until very recently. Now I am completely lost in fear. I am an adult man, logical and intelligent (or I’d like to believe so) sitting in my bed, scared shitless right now, goosebumps all over my body and tears of horror in my eyes.
From 2001 (Hosted on Angelfire!), this is probably the granddaddy of scary, multi-part online tales.
Due to the overwhelming number of requests I have received to tell about my discoveries and bizarre experiences in a cave not far from my home, I have created this web page. I will outline the events that happened to me during the past few months. Beginning with my journey into a familiar cave in December 2000 and ending... well, it hasn't actually ended yet.
Another multi-part story website that's very worth the read. Let’s just put it this way: Andrew was scared to death of that house.
If you aren’t fond of gore, you might want to move along. There’s not much, but there is some.
After nine days the first of them started screaming. He ran the length of the chamber repeatedly yelling at the top of his lungs for three hours straight. He continued attempting to scream, but was only able to produce occasional squeaks.
The worst story title ever belies one of the best, creepiest stories I’ve read online. Not so much may “happen,” but this first-person account of an 18-year-old Army Private stationed in an abandoned Nazi hideout during the Cold War…well, as my mom always said, you have more to fear from the living than the dead.
My guide walks me upstairs, and down to the second half of the building, through the double doors. He stops to look around and shivers.
"There is only you in the whole section. Some of us sleep in the day room for comfort." he tells me, pointing at my door.
"Why?" I ask, unlocking it and pushing it open. It smells of paint and sawdust, and something else. Something that gives me goose bumps.
He digs in his parka and pulls out a bottle of tequila and hands it to me. "Stay warm, kid.”
Stay warm, kids.