You feel a tug in your gut, sweat forms on the back of your neck, and suddenly all the food you've eaten in the last 4 hours starts churning. Everything in your mind screams to not be here, and honestly, you should have listened to your intuition when the map said, 'Turn Right," but you wanted to turn left.
Road trips can be fun, until you find yourself in a space no living person should ever be allowed to go.
Reddit user, u/salemwinona, wanted all ears on the eeriest spots when they asked:
Have you ever been to a town, village, truck stop, gas station, diner, etc. during a roadtrip that just didn't "feel right", like time seemed to pass differently there, or the people there gave you the creeps? What was your experience there?
Not "Where," But Rather "When"
My girlfriend and I went to an AirBnB in a town called Tiger, Georgia to see a bunch of her old college friends. There was one other couple who got there about the same time we did. By day the cabin looks pleasant enough- 3 stories of rustic comfort with a hot tub overlooking the forest and sunrise. We didn't get there by day. We got there as the sun was sinking low. Rooms seemed to shrink and tighten. The stairwells were only as wide as a single body. And at the bottom of the basement stairs, a rug hid a padlocked trapdoor. It felt like the start of a horror movie.
We're trying to ignore the weird vibes and decide to go to dinner. We spent nearly an hour driving around searching for a place to eat. Steakhouses closed by 7pm, an Italian joint which was now someone's house. A Mexican eatery now abandoned and overgrown with vines...
Finally we find something. It's suitably called "The Last Dive Bar On Earth", and it's sitting on the edge of a retention pond. The parking lot is full of pick up trucks all festooned with old political bumper stickers from the late 90s and early 2000s. We head in. It's like we've entered another decade. But the beer is good, they have pizza, and the prices aren't bad. We eat in a hurry and get out of there.
As we get back to the cabin, the other couples are there and talking about how they had such a nice time in town. It was only by daylight at the end of the weekend that as we descended the mountain we found a ton of local shops and restaurants that I swear to f-cking god were not there the first night.
On the first night, the electrical outlets in the house fried my phone, leaving me with no way to contact the outside world.
The weekend ended up being nice, but the entire time we all felt like we had fallen through a crack into somewhen else.
Stripes And Chains? I'm Out.
Yep, stopped in a no name town in Texas for gas. Bunch of guys wearing nothing but denim hanging out in front of the gas station. Denim, cow boy hats, cow boy boots. It wasn't just a lot of people, EVERYONE was wearing that. Their drawls were so thick I could barely understand what they were saying to one another, a lot of hooting and hollering.
About 50 yards away, there was a guy sitting under a tree. He was wearing a black and white striped jump suit...and was chained to the tree by a shackle on his leg. Didn't see any law enforcement around, maybe they dropped him off? A girl with huge boobs, one and a half arms, and an eye-patch complimented my car and smiled at me when I was pumping gas. I saw a cow trotting down the side of the road, no one seemed to be chasing it. The fact it was twilight seemed to make everything surreal.
I unassed myself from that place as quickly as I could.
Mexican Ingredients Are Hard To Come By
Coatesville, Pennsylvania. I was with a friend who had come up from Mexico and we were staying a few nights at his grandmother's ranch nearby. Coatesville was the only town around where we could find Mexican ingredients. This is an old steel town that feels post-apocalyptic, everyone there didn't really seem to be doing anything or going anywhere, it was so creepy. The store we ended up going to had nearly empty shelves and I think the guys were a bit surprised to see us there.
All in all just very strange and eerie.
Where There's Smoke, There's No One?
I used to live in Southern Africa and we did charity work in a lot of very remote, rural areas, and when I say remote, I mean several hours rough driving on roads that can barely be called roads. Many times we would come across settlements that were not on any map, just a collection of cinderblock and mud houses sometimes well off the road. Usually these were what we called "working villages" as in there is some worksite, maybe a small brickwork, or farm, or something like that nearby (though when I say "near" the workers could be walking an hour or so to where they need to be.) When we would stumble upon places like this, we would stop, find coordinates and landmarks, make some records and pass it along back to our office.
One day, we are working in the area near the borders of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana, and we see some smoke well off the road. Thinking it may be a village, we decide to go off road to take a look. It was fairly well hidden, behind a small hill, and from the road you would have never known it was there if it were not for the column of smoke on the horizon. We get to it, and sure enough it looks like one of these unmarked working villages, maybe 10 or so huts, but something seemed very off.
It took a second and we realized that there was no one around, and yet it seemed as if whoever lived there was there only moments before. We head to where the smoke came from, and it was a large bonfire, when we looked closer, we noticed bones in it, goat and cattle bones. Other than the sound of the fire, there was not a peep from anything else. Once I stepped out of our truck to get a closer look, I had this overwhelming sense that I was being watched from afar, and that I was not welcomed here. The other guys in the truck said they felt the same, and that we needed to go. So we did.
A couple of weeks later when we were driving back, curiosity got the better of me and I decided I wanted to check the site again. This time however, the village was stripped bare. Anything that could be taken was gone. All that was left was the shells of the huts and a black patch of ash where the fire was. There was one thing that was still there though, the sense of being watched. We didn't stay any longer and never went back.
Heed Their Warnings
Gary, Indiana. I got off the highway to get gas.
Driving through the city was like a post apocalyptic movie complete with burned out cars, crazy guy in underwear walking down the middle of the street with a baseball bat and all the windows were broken or boarded up.
I stopped at a gas station and then guy came out and said 'Get back on the highway son. It's not safe here.' I had enough gas to get to a safer rest stop to refuel.
This was around 1994-95.
Sometimes, People Are Exactly Who You Imagine
I was traveling through Arkansas with my friend in the army. He was a big ol black dude and I was a medium height white dude. Everyone in McDonalds literally stopped and just stared at us until we ordered food and left. It was super weird and we made sure to bypass the place on the way back to post.
Just Waiting For The Air To Clear For The Bullets To Fly
This is my girlfriends story but is kinda up the alley of what you are asking for.
My partner went to Florida with her family when she was younger and they were driving around trying to find some food until they found a Chinese restaurant and they went in and had some food.
There were no other customers, lots of staff, everyone seemed very tense but the food was great.
They left and had a lovely rest of their day.
During breakfast the next morning they turned on their tele and the news showed the place they had eaten and they were like 'wow look we went there'. Then the story started and it turns out no more than 10 minutes after they left there was a massive shoot up and they all killed one another.
Turns out that the ignorant british tourists just sat in-between some kind of asian turf war.
Drop The Apple
I was on a roadtrip to go to Tallahassee with two of my cousins and my mom.
Like halfway between A and B, the driver he has to go pee, so we decided to stop in the next no name rest stop settlement. As soon as we drove in, I immediately felt something was wrong. The cars that were driving were all banged up and looked like they came straight from the 70s, confederate flags in a couple of places, ran down shanty looking houses, lots of Confederate flags, the American flags that were around were pretty banged up and/or torn, the people stared at us as we drove passed by, and everyone just looked "dead" inside. Honestly, if someone told me that there was a Klan rally right up the street, I would 100% believe them. That's the kind of vibe I got from this place.
So my cousin pulls into this decent looking rest stop/gas station and jogs into the bathroom. While my mom and my other cousin were knocked out, I decide to go in the stop with the intentions of going in, getting a snack, and getting out.
As soon as I walk in, it feels like time stopped and everyone (that I can see) is staring at me. It felt like something out of a horror movie ngl. Luckily for me, there were a pile of apples near the door, so I move my way there, and then I noticed the few people around me stopped dead in their tracks just to look at me. For example, their like hands were still on the items, and this man even stop reading his little cereal box to stare at me. Since I'm black, this place wasn't sitting well with me at all.
I put back the apple I was holding and I casually walked out (no need to cause a scene or anything) without getting anything. F-ck. That. Place.
When my cousin came back, we booked it tf out of there.
A Town That Wasn't There Before
Wife and I were driving up the blue mountains (big mountain range in Australia) to visit friends who were staying in a holiday place up there. It's crazy foggy in the late afternoon/early evening, so we can't see much as we're going up. But it's pretty much a straight run up so we take it slow and pull over sometimes when the fog gets too thick to give it a minute to lighten a bit. Super creepy but nothing weird, that's just how it is.
We stayed the night at friends and drove back down the next afternoon - lovely and sunny. We drove through a cute little town that hugged the sides of the main road, so you could drive straight through it without turning or hitting any major intersections. My wife said "oh are we going home a different way". No, no we were not.
There was basically an entire small town we'd driven through the night before right near the house and we never saw a single indication of it. We hadn't seen any lights/street lights, other cars, "Welcome to Spookyville, pop 1" signs, anything. We had pulled over to check the map (pre-smartphones) to make sure we hadn't missed the turn off and we would have been practically in the middle of the town. It's amazing how something so big can disappear in the fog so easily. Early evening and not one house light? Mole people I reckon.
I know there's a logical explanation but it's 20 years later and I still think "nah not going back up there"
My family was driving through a really rural part of the Philippines when my sister announced she had to go asap. It was very late.
My dad stopped at the first place he could ~ a little shop that sold weird antique stuff, with an old lady at the counter. My dad talked to the old lady while us kids headed for the bathroom (an outhouse separate from the shop/main house).
We didn't think much about it and stayed a few days in our province. On our way back to the city, my dad said he wanted to stop by that shop again to thank the old woman and when we got to the place where my dad swore the store was, there was nothing. Just the highway and thick forest on both sides. We still bring it up sometimes because thinking about it gives everyone in the family chills.
No One In Derry Ever Really Dies
YES! Oh man, quite a few times and in quite a few different places. I've driven all over the US - both coasts, the Midwest, and along a lot of the northern Canadian border. I have driven through more than a few towns that Society has seemingly forgotten about, yet people just keep living there all the same. I have gotten a creepy vibe from a few of them, but I wouldn't say it's the right word to apply to all these towns. I would say it's more just a general feeling of… Discomfort. Just being in the town, driving through it doesn't give you a warm fuzzy for the town, and it's often accompanied with a strange feeling relating to the passing of time. Like the town is stuck in some timeframe from the past and you may end up stuck there if you stick around too long.
Two For Two
During a road trip with a friend, we decided to follow this road to a compound that had a gate, cameras and a sign that said unauthorized personnel will be shot on site. We turn around as fast as we could and drove and a few miles down the road there was a trunk stop and a Mexican restaurant. We were shaken by the sign and we're hungry so we go to the restaurant. I'm not kidding when I say it was silent and everyone looked at us as we walked through the door. What made it weirder is literally no one had food.
Anyways the food wasn't bad but we are quickly and got the heck out of there as soon as possible.
Martians On Venus
Back in the late 80s and early 90s when I was a teenager me and my friends were in a hard core punk band. We mostly played shows in our medium sized city, the surrounding area and occasionally the major city 2 hours away. A member of one the bands we would play with had set up a punk showcase in their home town about 3 or 4 hours away and asked my band if we could play. It paid and we were able to sell merch so we decided it was worth the trip. Most of the time we played just for fun since we rarely made any money on shows and we would be lucky if we sold 10 t-shirts and CDs. But playing small towns we could usually sell everything we brought with us.
So we loaded up our gear in 2 cars and convoyed to this town. None of had heard of it and we had to spend an afternoon with a map trying to figure out where it was and how to get there. We got there hours before the show and all I can say was that we constantly referenced "Footloose". People were looking at us like we were from Mars or something. According to movies we should've been flattered but the reality is that we were more than a little put off. It's like c'mon; you people have cable TV so it's not like you haven't ever seen a person with a mohawk or blue hair in the 15+ years that style has existed.
The show was cool though. And we did sell everything we brought. But everyone we met smoked really shitty weed so luckily we brought our own.
I was driving between Midland and Alma Michigan late one night, and this area has some of the darkest, loneliest country roads I've ever driven on. There are also a bunch of windmills in this area and at the top of every windmill was a blinking red light so that planes could see them, but the lights blinked in sync, so it would be dark, and then all of a sudden, the red lights of the seemingly 100s of windmills would all blink on. Absolutely creepy.
Wrong Place, Wrong Everything
My friends had a story about visiting Dublin and wandering out of the touristy area looking for a drink. They walked into a little pub, but when they tried to order a round, they noticed the bartender was acting nervous. They looked across the room to see four of the meanest, toughest Irishmen they'd ever seen giving them the evil eye. After the bartender served them, he quietly suggested they leave once their drinks were finished, and as they sat and chatted, a couple of the men passed back and forth across their booth like sharks. When they left, they learned from a local that they had just wandered into a very serious IRA pub.
Ever been to a spot when things seemed just a bit off? Tell us all about it!