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Summer camps can be a place where kids form some of the best memories. In contrast, without proper oversight summer camps can lead to some disturbing experiences. From unlikely accidents to scare tactics, some people may not reflect on their time spend fondly.

We had an excellent summer camp close to where I grew up, we went every year and it was amazing. One summer stuck out more than the rest and looking back was a bit creepy. The speakers at that year's bike camp were, let's say, conservative. We had the example give that when we (a group of 12/13-year-olds) sin that God a big ultimate being hates it and will then oppose us. Fire, brimstone, gnashing of teeth, you can fill in the rest.


There was a path down a wooded hillside where logs had been put into the side ending in a fire pit at the bottom. Kind of like a christen camp amphitheater. One night in an act of "cleansing" following a sermon like mentioned above, we were instructed to burn anything that wants of God. These were emblems on t-shirts, fiction books that spoke of magic, and entire CD collections worth hundreds of dollars. One parent threatened to sue after their was encouraged to daughter burn one such collection. I'm not sure if they still officially do this but looking back the brainwashing techniques used were seriously creepy.

Redditor whatsthatpidge wanted to hear more unnerving experiences and asked:

"People who have gone to summer camp as a child, what was your creepy/scary experience?"

Some nightmare fuel...

Went on a camping trip. I was one of the first ones out of the bus and had to use the public bathroom. I notice a few daddy long legs on the wall outside the bathroom and think nothing if it. I open the door and am immediately greeted by thousands if not millions of daddy long legs that are covering the bathroom from top to bottom. (The bathroom was big as well, like 3 stalls and 3 urinals.)”

“That and coupled with the fact that our camp counselors were sadistic and told us pre-teens a bunch of scary stories then jumped out of the woods in the middle of the night screaming with bloody Jason masks. I stayed in my tent most of the time after that.” krill482

Too close for comfort.

As a 13 year old kid, I went out into the woods at like 1am with a headlamp to pee, just immediately behind my cabin, because I didn't want to walk to the wash house. While I'm peeing, I look forward and see a large bear, just staring at me. Would have pissed myself if not for the fact that I was already peeing.”

“Either way, I just finished my stream while he stared at me, and walked backwards back to the cabin. He turned around and walked away, but there was no chance in hell that I would turn my back on a bear and run the other way.“ thevetrenairygamer

Moving Pictures Reaction GIF Giphy

Intruder alert!

“My youth group stayed at a camp site for a weekend trip. We were all in the cabin playing card games when someone with a gorilla suit ran by the cabin and started banging on the door. It really freaked everyone out because it was no one in our group. They came back a couple times until one of the adults confronted the person and they ran away. They never found out who the person was.” iBTGx43

“Helen Keller could have pointed out the breaks on my x-rays."

We were playing soccer and someone shattered my leg, broke it in 8 places. There was no swelling so they said I was faking it and they wouldn't take me to the hospital, they sent me back to my cabin for the night. I hopped around for a day but the next night I was in too much pain to sleep so I limped to the nurses office, broke in and took a handful of benadryl just so I could sleep.”

“That night, a group was doing an overnight in a three sided shelter and decided to have a peanut butter fight before bed. One kid fell asleep with peanut butter in his hair and woke up when a skunk walked into the shelter and pulled a piece of his scalp out.”

The kid punted the skunk out of the shelter, which caused it to spray everyone on the overnight. So they "had" to take the kid for rabies shots so they "might as well" take me along to get x-rays since they were going anyway. Helen Keller could have pointed out the breaks on my x-rays.” Gnarbuttah

Freezing temps...

“My camp counselor thought it'd be a good idea to take her group of 11 year old's out of the warm cabin we were sleeping in and instead sleep overnight on the outdoor stage they used for camp plays. It must've been 10 degrees out. I was so cold, it was unbearable.”

“I couldn't conserve any body heat bc I had a stick for a body and my sleeping bag wasn't made for that type of camping. I remember being tense and scrunched up in a ball. Every movement I made was like dipping my legs in ice. The outside of my sleeping bag was wet and cold from condensation which made it worse. Eventually we walked back at 4am bc all the kids couldn't take it anymore. It wasn't creepy but it was scary to be so so cold and tired in the dark. I still remember it!” 211adderall

They made her sit in the sun and wouldn't allow her to have any water...”

“I went to girls scout camp when I was around 8 years old, so around 2001. All the counselors were young twenty year olds. There was a girl in my group who did something to piss off the counselors, I don't remember what but I know it was minor. It was the middle of summer and super hot, and she was moderately overweight. They made her sit in the sun and wouldn't allow her to have any water as punishment. They were terrible people, made me super afraid of them as a kid.” rhaianon19

“...kid holding a arrow at full draw and lets go...”

“Went to a boys scout summer camp in the mid-late 90's. They had an archery range where we all were learning how to shoot. They were big on safety, but it was the 90's so..... Anyways everyone shoots, and we are down range getting our arrows then we hear someone yell out in the covered shooting area.”

“I look up and see the semi special needs kid holding a arrow at full draw and lets go. Hits the kid standing 5 feet from me in the arm. Its chaos every ones running around and screaming. The kid with an arrow stick out of him is just standing there in shock. next year there was no more archery training.” streetmitch

camp archery GIF by Capital District YMCA Giphy

“...the reason we were in the woods was so that he wouldn't find us at the cabin.”

​“I was about 12 and I was at sleep-away camp and the councilors took us on a hike into the woods for a night. When it came time to go to bed, of course none of us were actually falling asleep and we overheard the councilors talking about the police looking for someone.”

“We later learned one of the kids was in the middle of a serious custody battle and that the dad was planning on taking the kid and that the reason we were in the woods was so that he wouldn't find us at the cabin. No idea if it was actually dangerous, but looking back it definitely is unsettling.” atlantis_airlines

Tornado warning...

“Stayed at a week-long camp in the early 80s, our cabins were a mix of old (lumber, built in the 40s or 50s) and new (cinder block from the 70s). A series of storms hit one night and my (old) cabin was shaking like a ship at sea.”

“A camp director banged on our door and told us to grab a sleeping bag, a pillow, a jacket and our shoes, and we hiked (mostly in the dark) to the Rec center basement. Tornado sirens were blaring and we could hear (but not see) trees crashing in the woods around us. We made it and hunkered down thru the storms, but that walk was the longest half mile of my life.” bladel

That had to hurt...

​“During scout camp I had a tree branch fall on my head. I was under tree when I heard a cracking noises above me. I could tell it wasn't safe so I attempted to move somewhere safer, and I guess the universe had it out for me because I only made it about four feet before the branch landed squarely on my head. Luckily it wasn't that big and was soft from being rotten so it didn't cause any major damage, did hurt like heck though and put me in a lot of shock.” saneolo

Dark figures at Camp Howard...

“I was about 10 years old. I went to a summer-camp in Oregon named Camp Howard. (Since some people have called my stories into question in the past, here's their web page: https://www.cyocamphoward.org/home )”

“This was summer 1994. The camp is a Catholic Youth Camp, but really feels more like every traditional summer-camp you might see in movies. Sneaking out in the middle of the night to go skinny-dipping, over-the-top camp-fire horror stories, all manner of activities, it was a blast.”

“This story concerns said late-night skinny dipping. 4 of us boys really hit it off. Nothing erotic, just as a disclaimer here, just that we all had similar thoughts and comfort about being nude around one another. Our cabin was near the old pool, dating back to ww2.”

“It was concrete, old, and mostly still and moving water. They had a proper lake, but none of us felt comfortable walking that far in the dark. They also had a brand-new swimming pool, but that was fenced off and had a security buoy that would screech if something disturbed it too much.”

“It was about 2 weeks into my stay (Howard offered longer blocks back then), when my new ‘camp besties’ decided some midnight skinny-dipping was in order. For the purposes of the story, I'm going to name then Sean, John, and Eric. Sean was like me in both looks and attitude.”

“Both loved pretty much the exact same things. John and Eric were quite friendly and open-minded, but our interests were a bit off outside of swimming without clothing. John loved country-music, horseback riding, and model building (I'm not), and Eric was into hardcore-Gangsta-Rap, Basketball, and DC Comics (I'm not). Sean could've been my brother.”

“Both of us were raised in very nurturing and progressive families, we both loved the same music, video games, comics, books, the work. And, both of us had discovered we were gay at an early age, so there was also that going for us.”

“The 4 of us snuck out like ninjas in the night (I was skinny as a rail back then, and quite adept at sneaking), and my eyes have always been exceptional in anything other than total darkness. Meaning no light particles at all. So, I didn't really need a flashlight, though we took one just to be safe. Our plan was to go, strip, swim, then get out and walk the trails just a little in the buff to air-dry, then return to our beds unnoticed.”

We made it to the pool, undetected. We chucked our clothes and began to swim. Sean and I sat next to one another, and were talking about boys we liked back home. Eric and John were in the middle of a 'who can hold their breath the longest' contest."

Sean was telling me about this boy in class he was sweet on, but was too afraid to ask him out or anything. I said we're still 10, lets worry about dating in high school. He agreed, worried that there might be some law or something he'd be breaking anyway."

“It was very shortly afterward that Sean put his hand on my chest, hard. I want to re-state, this wasn't a romantic advance, it's that 'oh my god' kind of slap to the chest. Much like a parent would to prevent someone from walking into danger.“

"'Oh my god. Someone's out there.' Sean shivered. (Note, the water was cold, but not freezing. It was still around 80°F outside, so I figured if I wasn't shivering then everyone else should be fine, right?) 'Where?' I asked. Sean pointed and even grabbed my chin to point me in that direction."

He was right. Even in the dark, at around say the 6-foot to 6 and a half foot height were a pair of eyes and a shadowy shape of a man. The eyes, behaved much like a cat's when it reflects light, that animal like yellow-green in the dark, yet it was at the height of a man."

Sean and I whisper to John and Eric to get over to us. They do, and we show them the shadow. John damn near screamed, but just did that sudden squeak and slapped his hands over his mouth. Eric uttered an obscenity, and wondered if it was a counselor on night patrol.”

“We asked, why wouldn't they have said anything then. Shine a flashlight, yelled ‘hey you kids!’ or something. Eric insinuated something fairly dark, that I won't repeat, but the irony of telling Eric that his argument didn't hold water isn't lost on me. Sean asked what we should do.”

“I said, we grab our clothes, and run. We hold hands so nobody gets lost, and we book it. I said I'd take the lead since my nightvision is the best. We get close to our cabins, throw our cloths back on, climb back into the cabin and get into bed.”

Turns out generations of kids have seen this same apparition.

They agreed. I counted to 3, and we ran. We grabbed our clothes. I hadn't thought to put our sandals back on, so, let me tell you running on that trail hurt for days after. We ran, looking over our shoulder.”

The figure seemed to be following, but still getting further and further away. We made it to the ‘rally point’, got dressed, and climbed into the cabin. We slipped back into our bunks, and no one was the wiser. Every now and again, while walking to camp-fire, we'd swear we'd catch glimpses of the figure.”

All summer long, it was this eerie presence. My counselor one night sat the 4 of us down. He noticed a drastic change in our moods/behaviors. We said we'd tell but we don't want to get in trouble. He said he wouldn't, on the contingent we fess up.”

“We told him the whole thing. We admitted to sneaking out, the skinny dipping, and the shadow-figure. At first, he laughed. He told us that he started going to Howard back in the 70's, and sneaking out to skinny dip was practically tradition among young boys - and we shouldn't do it, but he said it was really a no-harm-no-foul instance.”

“His expression darkened, and he confessed that as far back as 1978, the last year he attended as a youth, he also saw the same figure. He told us that he told his counselor roughly the exact same story. He and a much larger group of boys had snuck out for a skinny-dip, when they also saw the figure.”

“My counselor said, that his counselor told roughly the exact same story from when he was a camper there. In the end, we've learned that as far back as the 1960's, this phantom has appeared near the upper pool, very late at night.” Damionstjames

Good old-fashioned Bible camp yep...

“I grew up going to Baptist church and school. Summer camps were the church camp. One night while we were in the small amphitheater around the campfire (I think I have that camp photo bear the beginning of my post history), listening to some riling sermon, some girl started whispering to others that she saw the devil coming up out of the flames.”

As it spread through the kids (8-12 yr olds) girls started crying and screaming, and group hysteria took over and I still remember everyone running as a giant panicked mob across the camp grounds, back to the cabins, passing the farm area where the devil was now slaughtering pigs that we heard squealing.”

It was ~40 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I drove up to the camp last summer with my dog to look around. It's all exactly as I remember it. Church camp. Good times.reubal

Fire Burn GIF by Burger Records Giphy

“...watching them try to shake her limp body awake...”

My girl scout troop went camping one year, and stayed in the same area as another troop. I went with 3 girls from the other troop to go hang out in the woods by the lake next to camp. I was sitting under a tree reading, and the other 3 were climbing up this big tree that had fallen sideways.”

“They'd gotten up on this huge branch, and one girl wanted to keep going while the other 2 wanted to stop. So she started trying to climb over the other two. I heard a scream, and looked over just in time to see the girl who'd been climbing over falling out of the tree, straight on her back.”

“She hit hard and didn't move when she landed. We all scrambled over to her, and she wasn't moving or responding. The other two kept insisting that she's a prankster and must be faking. When she finally came to and started crying, they finally realized how serious this was. She miraculously didn't break anything and only had a concussion, but I will never be able to forget watching them try to shake her limp body awake and thinking that I had watched someone die.” JeSiusShortie522

People are f**ked up."

Stayed at a YMCA camp in the Texas Hill Country (Kerrville) in the 1970's. In high school I worked one of those jobs cleaning tables at the picnic court in the local mall. An obese man came to the mall one day and he knew my boss. I told my boss that I recognized same obese guy from when I was at summer camp.”

“When this guy found out I remembered him, we reminisced for a few minutes. He then asked me if I wanted to go with him to Vegas and make some good money. I politely declined.”

“I realized right there and then that when I was at summer camp with my friends that we were surrounded by pedophiles. They were eventually arrested a few years later. People are f**ked up.” EK92409

walked in the girls cabin and watched them sleep...”

This happened when I was 10, my parents sent me to summer camp when I got on the bus going to the campsite our camp counselor was like a old dude in his late 40s , one night I decided to go the the restrooms to pee while I was walking by the girls cabins I noticed that the counselor walked in the girls cabin and watched them sleep for 15 mins and walked out, he saw me and said ‘dont tell anyone’ I ran back to out cabin.”

The next night I saw the counselor walked back to his cabin and I noticed that he left his bag outside, curious I peeked through the window to make sure his asleep and he is, I opened the bag only to see girls underwear, when I got home from summercamp I told my parent of what happened and they called the cops to start an investigation it turns out that the man was a child pedophile and rapist. I was left traumatized for 7 years after that incident.” Crying_Child_2015

Encounter with a brown recluse...

My trip to a local two week summer camp. Everyone had bunk beds. So, the guy I was going to be sharing the bed with and I decided to play Rock Paper Scissors for the top bunk. He beat me. Well, fast forward to the next evening and he got bit by a Brown Recluse on his hand.”

“His skin had become necrotic (turning black and beginning to fall off) around the bite and he was taken away in an ambulance. I never found out if he ended up being okay. I also slept in a different cabin after that. F**k Brown Recluses.” ComcastDirect

Arson and a machete at church camp...​

Church camp I think freshman or sophomore year of high school. One of the other church pastor's grandson and a couple of his friends were attending that year and they were a little troubled. Started out with small pranks, knocking on doors at 1AM, toothpaste on handles etc. All in good fun we thought But then they caught the carpet outside our door on fire, somehow cut the power in the dorms we were in, and on the last night they began wander the halls in scream masks holding machetes.”

They got reported and rooms were searched. The friends of the grandson pretty much flipped on him immediately and in his room were the machetes and a loaded gun amongst party favors. He booked it and was on the run the entire night. Cops found him the next morning looking like he'd been sleeping in a thornbush.” FleetRiskSoultions

Creepy counselers...

“A grown a**, like 30+ yo male counselor standing in our cabin in total darkness and observing us quietly for like 20 minutes ‘waiting for us to fall asleep’ because we ‘were making noise after the curfew’. The thing is we were quiet before he went into our cabin, just had our lights on for late reading/brushing teeth etc.”

We were 13 yo girls back then, and we started arguing with him so he finally left but after that I slept with a heavy flashlight under my pillow for a few days in case he decided to get closer to us. I'm not sure why we didn't say anything to other camp counsellors, it was recently that I recalled this memory and realised how creepy he was” swietlistosc

If one thing is for certain after reading these accounts, parents really need to research and review camps before sending the kids away. Yikes!

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