Urban Exploring or ‘Urbex’ is a popular subculture that attracts the adventurers, explorers and curious individuals of the world. Often dancing the line between law-abiding and trespassing, urban explorers enter abandoned places in search of the perfect Instagram snap, YouTube video or simply to have a good mooch about. Whether it be spooky happenings or places that aren’t quite abandoned, these urban explorations don’t always go to plan and so Reddit asked people to share the creepiest moments from their urban adventures – we’ve put together 10 of the most unsettling and creepy tales below
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1. ‘In It Was A Human Sized Cage’
“I was exploring an abandoned hospital near my house with my buddies. The complex was huge, it had a college, living areas and a massive main treatment center.
After several weekends of exploring the area we found lots of cool things: old surgical equipment, rooms blocked off and covered with radiation warnings, and massive machines we could only guess the purpose for.
One weekend we were way lost in the main area and found a back staircase in some random back room that went up to a floor that wasn’t marked on the floor plans or main stairways. The floor had no windows at all so we had to rely entirely on our shitty flip phone screens on full brightness as flashlights.
We went in the first room and the only thing in it was a human sized cage. It had a locking door and that little sliding thing on the bottom to put food trays in. There was only a small cot in it and a very small toilet.
We were a little spooked out and tried to pretend it was possibly something else, but then we went down the hallway and looked in each room and found only the same large cages in each room. We quickly dipped out of there and unfortunately they have since torn down the complex.”
2. ‘We Have To Leave, Now’
“When I was a kid, I lived just down the road from what used to be a small museum. It was on the side of a large university that we used to explore daily.
One day, we noticed a man going into the museum. It was the only building on campus we hadn’t found a way into, and we realized this might be our only chance. As the man walked through the door that he had just unlocked, we snuck up and slid a large stick between the door and its frame. When he had vanished from sight, we giddily entered the museum.
The first thing we saw was a large dinosaur skeleton, probably a reproduction, but all ours to view none the less. We started walking down a dark hall way when my friend grabbed my wrist. I tried to swat her hand away before she whispered: “we have to leave, now.”
I rolled my eyes and turned to see what she was looking at: a man – probably the man who had just entered the building – was standing in a large, lit bathroom with the door wide open. He was in front of a mirror, with his completely bare back to us.
The man was completely naked, not even a sock on him, standing erect in front of the bathroom mirror. I stood in shock for what felt like an eternity, until suddenly, his eyes met mine in the mirror, and he grinned.
Needless to say we hightailed it out of there as fast as our legs could manage. We stopped exploring the university after that, and I never told a soul what we had seen.”
3. ‘There Were 6 Total’
“My college folklore professor was a very interesting woman. Once in class she told us the story of how she and her friend were working for a professor while they were in grad school in the 70s, doing research on ghost stories in a Southern Indiana small town. They were tipped off to check out an old abandoned farm house and barn outside of town. Story was that a cowboy hung himself in the barn and you could still hear his spurs and see the marks in the wood where they dug into the support post when his feet thrashed around.
So they go, don’t find anything interesting in the barn, and decide to check out the farm house. The place is missing all the windows, the doors are hanging off hinges, and there’s lots of leaf coverage and dirt in the entryway. But further into the house, its clean. Too clean, for a place left to the elements for a few decades with no windows. My professor heard her friend shriek from the back entry, followed by the cry “THERE’S A LEG!”
So she rushes back to see and finds what looks like an animal leg sticking out over the top of the stairs. They go up to see and find a freshly killed pig carcass, head missing and hind legs bound by barbed wire, but otherwise intact. It had been there maybe a few days.
But then they see more pig carcasses, lined up heading down the hall, each one laying in the exact same position and bound by wire but in varying stages of decomp. The room at the end of the hall was missing the door and they could see the pigs go straight into the room.
In the room was a circle of all the pigs heads. There were 6 total. She said the oddest thing that struck in her mind was that she didn’t remember there being a smell, despite it being early summer and there being 6 rotting carcasses.
They decided it was time to get the hell out, but when they were walking back to their car, a beater truck pulled up with two men in it. They just stared and stared at my professor and her friend, who tried to explain why they were there and apologize.
She said after several minutes, the driver said “Ain’t no problem” and gave her a really creepy smile, then backed out of the drive without ever even getting out of the truck.”
4. ‘Leftovers From An Accident Another Group Had’
“Exploring an abandoned mental hospital/home for troubled children. The place itself was cool but the unsettling thing was what looked like the leftovers from an accident another group had.
A big hole in the floor above us and underneath that hole was a table broken in two with what looked like dried blood on it and a medical book turned to the page on how to perform CPR was next to the table.”
5. ‘He Points His Light At It Freaking Out’
“Fifteen years ago I was in the Air Force and got assigned to provide mobile security to missile launch facilities located in Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska. Riding around in a Humvee for 12 hours a day 4 days a week in the middle of nowhere got pretty boring so we would often go into the many abandoned houses located within our patrol area.
One was unlike the rest. It was a red brick ranch style house that looked like it was built in the 70’s and was in decent condition on the outside for it sitting there with no one living in it. I passed the place everyday I worked so I was pretty confident it was abandoned but I still waited a few months before entering.
One night my curiosity got the best of me so I decided to stop by and check the place out with my team. It was 1 am so we had to use our mag lights to light our way. We never went into places that were locked so I was excited to see the back door wide opened and the front unlocked. We also looked in the windows before entering to ensure the place was indeed vacant since we had to carry our weapons on us.
Upon entering it was a normal abandoned place. Shit scattered everywhere dusty as hell. We explore some then find out the place has a basement. Open the door and slowly make our way down into the abyss shining our lights around and something catches the eye of one of the guys. He points his light at it freaking out.
It is a human figure standing there with their back towards us wearing a cowboy hat. There is no movement and then I noticed that this person isn’t touching the ground so I point my light up to see that a rope is around their neck and they are hanging by the rafters.
We start freaking out wondering what the fuck to do. So we get closer to ensure it is indeed what we think it is before alerting authorities. I get within range to knock its hat with my M4 and and I’m met with a burlap sack.
Someone thought it would be funny to hang a scarecrow on the rafters. Well it did a good job at scaring.
6. ‘I Never Knew A Pregnant Woman Could Run That Fast’
“My SO was 8 months pregnant and we were still at our old apartment. We were taking a walk down our street, which was a dead end street, with a few abandoned apartments and house. She had the bright idea to explore one.
So we go up this short set of stairs that turns around the building, and see a door that is busted in. We start to enter when, sitting in a chair in the middle of the room is a giant stuffed rabbit. Or someone in a rabbit suit.
I turn to my SO to give a “wtf” but I swear she was just a cartoon smoke outline. I never knew a pregnant woman could run that fast.”
7. ‘They Felt Stuff All Around Their Legs’
“Not my story, but my English teacher in high school’s story.
He used to be into exploring abandoned houses and places thought to be haunted, so he got word of some abandoned places way out in the middle of nowhere. You would go into the town park and instead of taking a path, you’d walk off into the brush between two paths for some number of miles.
So him and his friend do this, and they eventually find this big old house with absolutely no roads leading to it. It was super strange how it was literally in the middle of nowhere, because how could this house be built so far off from everything? So they approach it, and all the doors are blocked off and they can’t get in. So they end up somehow being able to climb up the side of the house and enter through the second story window. All of the other windows were boarded shut.
This is where it gets pretty weird. They manage to hop in through the window, but it’s super dark so they can’t see anything. But they felt stuff all around their legs. Literally the entire house was filled up to their waist with chicken feathers. Tons and tons of chicken feathers. So they got freaked out and got out of the house, since everything else in there was pretty much broken and obviously abandoned.
So they leave but it’s starting to get dark. I guess they saw another building in the distance (or it could have been further and they just kept exploring, don’t remember). So they go to this other building and it’s an abandoned church.
But when they go inside they find a place that was definitely used for some sort of cult activity. There was a ton of blood and dead animals and bones, etc around and especially right at the altar. They had been performing sacrifices there and some of the blood was fresh – like past day fresh.
There were also cult symbols written all over the walls. Some of them were symbols for blood and others for sex, so some weird things were happening there (he studied cult symbols or something, so he knew what they were) They had been planning on sleeping there over night once they found the building but they scratched that idea and booked it out of there. Who knows what would have happened if someone had been there.”
8. ‘We Followed The Howling’
“A friend and I were exploring a newly abandoned building in the middle of the night…but that’s not where the creepiness happened unless you count a giant pentagram spray painted on the floor. – it was a college town so we didn’t think much of it.
Before we really got much exploring done, we heard a dog barking nearby so we went to see if we could find it. We did. Well, sort of. The dog was wearing a collar so we were trying to get close enough to read the owner’s information. It would let us get a couple of feet away before taking off again at lightning speed. Not that abnormal, but it got weirder.
At one point we had it cornered at the bottom of a set of stairs into what was essentially a walled pit behind one of the dormitories. We watched it go down the stairs. My friend followed the dog down the stairs while I stood on the top of the brick wall to watch the dog as it ran behind one of the dumpsters.
When my friend reached the area where the dumpsters were, the dog wasn’t there. The door to the building was locked. I had not seen it run back up the steps and had been keeping an eye on the whole area so it’s doubtful I would’ve missed it.
Then we heard the dog howling nearby, but not from where we thought it would be. Somewhat strange, but still this could be possible, right?? So we followed the howling, because at this point, it was getting a bit eerie.
We didn’t see the dog again for a while, but kept hearing it howling nearby. It was definitely moving. We followed it up a steep hill which led off campus into a wooded area. At this point we’d been chasing this dog for several hours, as the sun was about to come up. We were still determined, especially after a whole night of chasing this mysterious dog. And this is where it got even weirder.
We reached a steep embankment as we drew closer to the howling, whose tone had become almost mournful. We wondered if the dog was sick or hurt, so we climbed up to the top. What we found up there was not what we’d expected. There was no dog.
Instead there was a very old cabin which had almost completely collapsed with all the former owners’ possessions still inside. There were no other cabins around, but that in itself wasn’t terribly strange so much as it was interesting. And then, beside the cabin, we discovered what remained of an old dog house, its pen knocked over and covered by pine needles.
We never found the dog, and its howling stopped as soon as we reached the abandoned structure.”
9. ‘The Creepy Part Was When We Ventured Into The Basement’
“Out exploring around 11:30 at night in the middle of a forest. We stumbled upon an old abandoned house, didn’t seem too creepy at first until we stepped foot inside. Everything was pitch black and boarded off.
Turning on our phone flashlights revealed children’s toys scattered all access the floors in every room along with tons of sex dolls and sex toys. The creepy part was when we ventured into the basement, the moment I turned the corner going down the stairs and looked in the basement I heard a music box start playing from the other end of the room.
Needless to say the three of us booked it out of there as fast as we could.”
10. ‘Still Cannot Explain It’
“I was exploring a large abandoned hospital complex and came across a house on the property, I assume it once belonged to the head of the hospital and his family as the complex was incredibly isolated and a self-sustaining place. We climb in through a downstairs window and the house is in fairly decent shape and mostly empty… all apart from an old baby’s cradle.
This thing was old. It looked Victorian, like it had been lifted off an old fashioned pram or stroller. Very Gothic looking, if I’m honest, and definitely not the kind of thing you would see any more. We walked past and made some standard that’s creepy comments and quickly checked out the rest of the house (there wasn’t much).
We have to go back through the baby cradle room to get out the window, and as we walk in I stop dead in my tracks. My friend asks what’s wrong and then sees for himself.
The cradle has moved several feet and is rocking. There is no breeze and even if there was, that thing is heavy enough to have left light scratches in the wooden floor. We heard and saw no one else in the area. Still cannot explain it.”
Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be venturing into any crumbling buildings anytime soon. Don’t fancy running into any squatters or some sort of poltergeist intent on scaring anyone who dares enter.
I once explored an abandoned garden centre with some friends which was pretty eerie, especially when a phone started ringing in an old shed. Turns out it wasn’t actually abandoned, just a very absent owner who let it become overgrown and rundown. Not quite the adventure we thought it would be, but it still creeped our child minds out all the same. Be prepared to get weird if you try this yourself.
For more tales from the world of Urbex, check out the time Urban Explorers heard dead children’s voices.