People Describe The Scariest Small Towns In America
Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

When driving around on a long trip, you're liable to pass through towns of all stripes. You'll wind through big cities, inspiring earthly landscapes, and small, unknown little dots on the map.

And those tiny little towns can seriously pack a punch.

You might only drive through for about 15 minutes, maybe fill up the gas tank and grab a drink from the corner store, but that's all it takes to catch a vibe.

There's something about the buildings, the people, or the desolate quality of the entire place that's enough to make your skin crawl.

Some Redditors took a moment to describe the towns that freaked them out completely.

sorvivordemigod asked, "What are some of the Scariest Small Towns in America?"

Plenty of people described the places that legitimately seemed haunted. Some people even treated readers to the backstory and broader context of the creepy place left behind.

Other times, they could just tell.

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Creepy Kids 

"Carpenter, WY. It's a super tiny town. I've only driven through once, so I can't say it's super scary, definitely creepy though. The one time I was there there was nobody outside except this little girl outside the town hall that just stared at us while we drove by, shaking her head the whole time."

"On the way out of town we did see a kid playing basketball in his backyard, so that mitigated the creepiness of the little girl."

-- oneandonlyE

A Mix of Influences

"Samoa, California. I've been in some weird places. Nowhere has ever creeped me out like that little village of the damned."

"Imagine Stephen King and David Lynch fell asleep playing Silent Hill, and shared a fever dream directed by John Carpenter."

"Anyone who's been there feel free to back me up. There's a straight up evil energy there."

-- fishsupper

Remnants of a Cult 

"Rulo, Nebraska. The town has a real haunted vibe to it. Lots of abandoned buildings with no one around."

"Plus it was home to a Christian Identity cult lead by Michael Ryan in the early 1980's that tortured and murdered several members. Ryan was sentenced to death for the murders but ended up dying in prison before the sentence was carried out."

"Rod Colvin wrote a book about this cult called 'Evil Harvest.' "

-- JeanValjean81

Lived In, But Empty 

"Yellowdog, PA. Here's one account."

"I guess it's not super scary, but one of my elementary school friends grew up there and I probably stayed there every other week for like ten years. They eventually moved out. It took maybe five years later and the whole place was abandoned."

"We went to visit not that long ago and it's fu**ing creepy. There are still toys and stuffed animals just lying around. The houses are in bad shape but they're all still standing, and you can absolutely just go in and have a look around."

-- lessmiserables


"Hillsville, PA aka Zombieland. Some crazy local legends brewed up about that place over the years. Involving lighting a torch in the woods to begin your journey, a haunted bridge, graveyard & murder house."

"Was really fun to go there back in High school. Theres a really creepy underpass decorated in hundreds of statues of mother Mary before going up what seems a 90 degree incline to actually get up into the hills."

-- BerserkMike

Other people explored creepy towns that drew their horror from more secular sources. The actual behavior of people and other man-made entities can sometimes be as scary as old legends or haunted ghosts.

A Fleet in Pursuit 

"Colorado City, AZ if you are not known there, you will be followed by several white SUVs." -- brockdaywatch

"First place that came to my mind! You get a weird vibe driving through and seeing all these half built compounds and people just stare at you as you drive by" -- libtech1776

Just Something Awry

"Orangeburg, SC Had to spend a week there for work once. From the moment I arrived, I felt uneasy. The town was eerily quiet when I drove in. I felt like I was in a post-apocalyptic movie of some sort. I'm a pretty happy guy and I loved my job but I felt depressed all week and don't think I smiled once while I was there. Not one person I worked with that week seemed happy either."

"The hotel I stayed at gave me the creeps. There was quite a bit of drug activity going on in the parking lot which made the situation worse. I had to move to another hotel in the middle of the night because I didn't feel safe. The week went by so slow. On my departure day, I woke up early and booked it tf out of there. Once I was on the highway headed to the airport, I felt such relief."

-- aarogar

Let It Burn 

"My GPS re routed me through Gary Indiana last week. There was a literal car fire in a neighborhood it routed me through."

"Seemed to have been burning for a one around. 👍"

-- PleasehaIp


"Cairo, Illinois."

"Protected by levies. Mostly abandoned."

" 'What is it, would you say, you actually do here?' "

-- Harai_Goatse

Constantly Watched

"The area around Manly, Lousiana. The town was nice, great Mexican food. But once you're out of's 30 min on bad roads to the highway. I was sent out there for a job. Nothing is paved, 'county roads' are gravel or dead end into gully's, wild dogs roaming, and random houses are just abandoned in the woods. Locals from town won't go into some of the areas like Coushetta. Nothing matches the map, and there was no cell service. I passed an abandoned hospital? Or something, it was a sign and then foundations in the woods."

"The creepiest part was I was talking to some locals and a guy tells me out of no where 'oh yeah, I saw you by the lake, figured you weren't from here' I hadn't seen him there at all. It was a one lane dirt road. He kept talking and it turned he knew where I'd been all day. He and his friends had kept tabs on me. And his smile scared the hell out of me. I've never left a town so fast."

"I feel like this comment doesn't fully explain the weirdness and creepiness of the abandoned houses, wild dogs and locals keeping tabs on me all day."

-- Revolutionary-Yak-47

Guardians of the Tunnel 

"Hawthorne Nevada was a very strange place. It has a navel base in the middle of the desert and a lake called walker lake that's rumored to have a tunnel for subs to go to the pacific."

"When I drove thru and stopped for gas there everyone wouldn't stop staring and it just gave me a vibe."

-- snackattack747

Finally, some people could point to a very true, historic reason for the way a place turned out. Natural disasters and other mass tragedies laid the groundwork for total eeriness.

The Influence of One Man

"Skidmore, MO. The whole town cowered down to a bully, Ken McElroy for years as he stole, raped, and intimidated the residents. Then one day they had enough and gunned him down outside the local bar."

"I visited the town several years later while in the area on business and I got the weirdest vibe from the townsfolk. Perhaps it was because I was an outsider and they were probably sick of the notoriety and unwanted attention. Whatever it was, I couldn't get out of there fast enough."

-- PatrickTurnerMustDie

Too Pristine 

"Newtown, MO. Part of St Charles I'm pretty sure. Place is eerie. The trees line up too perfectly. No noise. No dogs barking. No kids playing. Nobody just waking around."

"The houses are all less than 10 years old but nearly identical and made to look like 1910s-20s bungalows. Landscaping is pristine. Then 'downtown' there are frikkin massive animal statues and the buildings all look like the Parthenon."

"It feels like those videos demonstrating the effects of a nuke, if a place could feel like that."

-- Jollygreengiantess5

Toxic Ruins 

"I'm surprised no one mentioned Picher, OK."

"When the Tornado went through in 2008, it destroyed a majority of the town. However, it was known for their piles 'chat' a residue that comes from Zinc mining. Little did the realize how incredibly toxic this was as it was used for building roads, sidewalks, and sandboxes."

"Kids of the area would even play in the piles unbeknownst to them the dangers associated with it. Eventually there would be an influx of cases of children having learning disabilities and a school guidance counselor sought to have the tests done to check for lead poisoning. The town became a toxic waste ground and the EPA had to force residences to evacuate the area."

"Going into that town know, it's nothing more than a grave-site - this video shows a documentary filmmaker (Dan Bell) walking through the town and showing what remains. Truly scary and at the same time depressing."

-- Some_Suggestion_1760

Dried Up 

"Cairo, Illinois. Drove through a few times with my boyfriend when he was a truck driver. Had a very spooky and dark feeling to it. Only place open was a subway.. and all the lights in the parking lot were out."

"I looked the town up and apparently a flood had come through and destroyed most of the town years before. What was left was probably the most unwelcome, eeiry place I've had the dissatisfaction of visiting."

-- MommaPLSPiggo

There's no doubt you've passed through just such a town in your day.

The question then becomes, did it pique your interest enough to go back, or spook you so much you never will?

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