People come to Reddit for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s to learn new skills. Sometimes it’s to connect with other likeminded individuals. And sometimes, it’s to read up about the strange and unusual — so it’s a good thing that there’s no shortage of creepy subreddits that will keep you up at night, isn’t it? Not going to lie: That’s the main reason I frequent Reddit. Because I’m a weirdo with weird hobbies, and I like to read up on weird stuff in my spare time. And I have no regrets about any of it.
If you, like me, also like to read up on weird stuff in your spare time, I’ve done a little legwork for you and assembled 11 of my favorite creepy subreddits. The list is heavy on text-based subs, rather than on image-based ones, because, well… I’m the one who wrote this post, and that’s what I find the most interesting. That said, though, there are plenty of good image-based subs about weird stuff out there; r/Creepy_GIF, for example, is full of — you guessed it — supremely creepy GIFs. But me? I’ve always loved a good story (which is perhaps unsurprising, given that words are literally my bread and butter) — whether it’s long or short, or real or not real, or something in between.
So here — have a look. Take your time; there’s plenty to read, and time enough at last. Just… maybe try to get your reading done before the sun goes down. Otherwise, you, uh… might have some problems.
For me, NoSleep is the OG creepy subreddit, even though plenty of other creepy subreddits predate it in terms of when they first hit the internet. But it’s one of the very first creepy subreddits I found when I began reading Reddit some six or seven years ago, and for a long time, I popped onto it to read all the newest stories just about every day. (I often did this alone in the house at night, which in retrospect was probably a poor decision, but whatever. I appear to have suffered no long-term negative effects from it so far.)
The stories on NoSleep are usually fiction, although every so often, a true one will make its way onto its pages (like, for example, “The Smiling Man”). They’re often told from the first person, and many of them use the existing format of Reddit itself — that of strangers talking to other strangers via the internet — to great effect. Indeed, the main draw of the sub is its cardinal rule: Everything is true here, even if it’s not. The suspension of disbelief is what makes these stories live — and, I would argue, it’s an essential quality for the most effective horror tales.
NoSleep has spawned a number of spinoffs, including a sub devoted to workshopping stories before they get posted on NoSleep proper and a podcast — but I always keep coming back to the original. If it ain’t broke, you know?
Recommended reading: “Penpal,” “Correspondence,” “I found a video tape on the beach a few weeks ago.”
Dig the idea of NoSleep, but interested in stories that are more involved and perhaps a little more polished? Library of Shadows should fit the bill nicely. Like NoSleep, it’s devoted to horror fiction; however, the work hosted on it tends to be a bit more professionally packaged. It describes itself as “Reddit’s premiere online suspense fiction magazine,” which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about its style.
I may not have quite the same emotional connection to Library of Shadows as I do to NoSleep, but there really is some spectacular writing on it. Sitting down to read it is an investment in a way that NoSleep sometimes isn’t, but it’s almost always worth it. I would almost approach it the way you would a book or a collection of short stories — something you’re going to spend at least an hour or so with at a time, rather than something you read to fill the 10-minute subway ride you have a head of you.
Like your creepiness to be true, rather than fictional? Unresolved Mysteries might be the place for you. It’s pretty much exactly what its name implies — a repository for facts and discussion of cases, crimes, and other mysteries that remain unsolved. There’s a little bit of everything here, from disappearances to serial murders and from TV, radio, and internet mysteries to events and phenomena that just… can’t be satisfactorily explained (yet). You’ll mostly find stuff from history here; one of the rules is that posts about murders or disappearances that are less than a year old will be removed. This one is a good subreddit to go and get lost in for a while; if you like to play armchair detective, it’s right up your proverbial alley.
Was I amiss in not mentioning Three Kings in the NoSleep section? Perhaps — but there’s a reason I held out, and that reason is this: It’s got its own subreddit these days.
What is Three Kings? It’s a game of sorts — an example of what’s often referred to as “ritual creepypasta” or just “ritual pasta.” It’s a particularly effective one, though, mostly because as far as I can tell, it’s not fiction at all. The point isn’t to summon ghosts or demons or anything; it’s kind of a meditative exercise that helps you explore the inner workings of your own mind. The thing is, most of us probably have things lurking in there that we might not really want to let out.
The Three Kings “recipe,” as it’s called, was originally posted to NoSleep about four years ago by a Redditor called FableForge under the heading “Please don’t actually try this,” and it quickly went viral. That’s where r/ThreeKings comes in: The game spawned its own subreddit devoted to other similar games. It’s never been quite as active as it was during the first few weeks of its existence; however, if you’re curious about these kinds of games — whether you think they’re real or not — it’s a good place to go to read up and ask questions. It also has an excellent index of creepy games.
I actually remember when Let’s Not Meet started; it was sort of a spin-off of NoSleep, with the goal being to tell stories of freaky encounters with other human beings that were absolutely true (as opposed to things that were just true while you were on the sub). It also exists as a sister site to r/LetsMeet (which is where Let’s Not Meet got its name); that sub is devoted to Redditors sharing stories about humans they’ve met that they really do want to meet again. Nice people. Not creepy people. Not the kind of people you find in the stories on Let’s Not Meet.
In many ways, I find Let’s Not Meet to be the scariest of the bunch; it’s the only one listed here that I expressly do not read while home alone at night. This is because everything on it actually happened. Why is that so scary to me? Bustle’s Emma Lord recently explained it perfectly: No matter how many people might be around you, or how seemingly OK a situation might seem, there are always “swift and brutal reminders: I am a woman existing in a space by myself, and by that virtue alone, I am not safe.” Although Let’s Not Meet features stories from people of any and all backgrounds, a lot of them are from women, and people often creep on women in ways that they don’t on men. And it's horrifying.
Sometimes the truth really is scarier than fiction.
I’m actually not really a fan of the straight-up r/Creepy subreddit; I honestly don’t find it… well, creepy. Old School Creepy, though? You guys. I just discovered this one, and it’s one of those “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?” situations. It’s a little quieter than some of the other subs on this list, but that’s OK; what’s there should keep you occupied for a while.
There aren’t a ton of rules governing this sub; the guiding principle is that whatever you post, whether it’s a story or an image, it should be “creepy and old.” You’ll find a lot of photographs here, so if you’re the kind of person who finds early photography strange and fascinating, there’s plenty to entertain you. Old School Creepy isn’t really a discussion-based sub, though, so if you want to actually chat about the things posted here, you might have to get, well, old school: Show your friends, then talk with them about it.
If NoSleep is horror fiction for the person with an average-length attention span, and Library of Shadows is horror fiction for the person with a particularly long attention span, Short Scary Stories is horror fiction for the person with a very short attention span — but in many ways, it’s my favorite of the subreddits devoted to fictional spookiness. There’s a particular kind of cleverness required to write an effective spooky story while keeping the word count under 500; they usually hinge on twists, with the final lines gut punching you in a way that you’re never prepared for, no matter how many times you experience it.
If you want something even shorter than the tales available for your perusal on Short Scary Stories, try r/TwoSentenceHorror. You’d be surprised how much you can scare a person in just two sentences.
The Truth Is Here describes itself as “Think r/NoSleep without the fiction,” so that should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from the encounters detailed within it. Although the name implies a focus on aliens — particularly for those of us who grew up during the ‘90s, the phrase “The truth is out there” will always be associated with The X-Files — any and all inexplicable encounters are welcome here, as long as they happened either to you personally or to someone you know. Ghosts, aliens, cryptids… you’ll find them all in The Truth Is Here.
Paranormal and The Truth Is Here bear some similarities — indeed, you’ll sometimes find cross-posts shared by both subs — but the big difference is in how they each approach the stories: The Truth Is Here is more just about sharing each encounter, while Paranormal examines each encounter critically, questioning it and challenging it in such a way as to attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery. Which sub you read at any given time depends largely on what you want to get out of the experience: If you want to spook yourself or know that you’re not alone in something weird you’ve experienced, head to The Truth Is Here; if you want investigative discussion about bizarre encounters, head to Paranormal.
Recommended reading: “Me and a friend found this creepy statue while hiking” and its followup thread, “My huge collection of paranormal-themed AskReddit threads,” “Man explores abandoned mine.” (Watch the videos in that last one — the second video in particular concludes on a spectacularly eerie note.)
Originally inspired by an AskReddit thread encouraging users to submit their real-life “glitch in the Matrix” experiences — “I'm talking weird occurrences, coincidences you haven’t been able to easily explain,” wrote Redditor superunhappyfuntime at the time — this subreddit might make you question your own reality. As it describes itself in the sidebar, “This is a place to share the things we usually tell ourselves to forget, because they’re just too out of step with what experience tells us reality should be like.” These things might, as they were in The Matrix, be examples of deja vu; or, they might be something else entirely. Whatever they are, though… they’re weird. Really, really weird.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet my new favorite obsession. This one is for anyone who has ever fallen down the rabbit hole of weird Wikipedia articles, because honestly, none of us really know how we start out on a page about the color blue and end up on one about books bound in human skin. There isn’t always a ton of discussion on the Creepy Wikipedia subreddit, but it is a great place to go if you just want to read about creepy stuff; it’ll point you in so many right directions that you almost won’t know where to start.
Recommended reading: “The wikipedia page on humans doesn’t sound like it was written by a human,” “Dyatlov Pass still freaks me out, and I looked this stuff up ages ago,” “Pretty spectacular… the odds.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of reading to catch up on.
This post was originally published on Aug. 19, 2016. It was updated on Aug. 27, 2019.