There is something uniquely terrifying about loud noises that occur suddenly and possess certain horrible frequencies. More than most stimuli, they rattle us to our bodily core.
We've all experienced a terrifying sonic crash that left us breathing heavy and forced our heart to beat out of our chest.
These sounds can come in the dead of night and lurch us out of a deep sleep or they can dart into our ears from unexpected sources while we're wide awake. In any case, it is often the sudden eruption that compels our severe dread upon hearing it.
And if suddenness is not the variable, then its the quality and context of the noise that drives its horror. Perhaps it's an anguished scream and we know the dreadful originating circumstances. Maybe it's an uncommon thud that is rarely heard because it only comes about in uniquely dire incidents.
Some Redditors recently gathered to explain the circumstances and specific qualities of the most horrifying sounds they've ever heard in their lives.
Goosest asked, "What is the scariest noise you've ever heard?"
Madness via Repetition
"In my early 20s, I worked at a nuclear power plant in the laundry department... and there was an alarm for a 'nuclear event' while I was on shift. All non-essential personnel had to take shelter in the on-site bunker, and wait. For hours."
"The speakers blared an alarm and notice inside and out of the complex. The notice was something akin to 'Alert. Nuclear event in progress. Take your stations. Alert.'"
From the Haunted Walls
"The most terrified I've been from a sound was when I was working graveyard security at an old army fort converted into a school. Part of the job was to walk through the buildings every hour or so and check the doors that are supposed to be locked."
"During one check I stopped midway to use the bathroom, and while I was washing my hands I heard a sound part way between a moan and roar, that was exactly the sound you'd expect some shambling undead monstrosity to make, and it came from right outside the bathroom door. I stood there frozen in terror for a good five minutes, still holding a paper towel."
"When I didn't hear any other sounds, I turned the lights off to get accustomed to the dark, slowly opened the door, and sprinted for the exit. I didn't go in another building the rest of the night. Two days later I was back for a day shift on the weekend."
"I'd had some time to consider what had happened, so I went back to the same bathroom and flushed the toilet, a minute later, the old water pipes made the same noise again."
A Noise Only Tragedy Can Produce
"Woman howling in distress after her very young son had died due to a sudden and unexpected illness."
"Me and the nurses ran towards thinking someone had been seriously injured. We found her a completely broken and took her somewhere for privacy until her brother could arrive."
First a Pop, Then a Scream
"Girl getting her hip popped back into place in the ER with no meds after being thrown a hundred feet off a motorcycle. I will remember the scream forever."
"It seriously haunts me."
"The sound on its own wasn't actually scary. It was the fact that it came from the middle of my room, in the dark and it sounded like a person making a popping sound with their lips. I was trying to convince myself that I imagined it."
"Then I tried to make the same sound, to see if I could. I did. And then I heard it again... like an answer. Yeah, 10 year old me was scared sh**less by that. I still have no idea what that was or where it came from."
"One time at 3AM my big dog let out a full-on wolf howl in a dark room (he was dreaming)."
"I've never heard him howl, before or since."
"It was a full volume, 'Aroooooooooo' about a foot from my face while I was asleep. I seriously thought I was in mortal danger."
A Thud You Never Want to Hear
"The thunk of a car hitting my sister and the noise she made as she hit the pavement. Truly the most pants-shi**ing level of terror I've experienced and that's a deep well to draw from. She survived, after resuscitation."
"Don't drive drunk."
Out of This World Anguish
"My friend's mom wailing at his funeral. She aged 20 years in three days." -- FonkyChonkyMonky
"Same, a friend died and it's a Jewish custom to throw some dirt in the grave. As the mother did it, she wailed in a way I have not heard since. The sound of a mother's heart break is not of this world." -- SuperMcG
"When a fox screams they sound just like a woman being brutally beaten to death. Imagine waking up to that right outside your window at 3am." -- Redditpbl2009
"Jeez I thought coyotes were bad. A pack of coyotes sounds like children laughing outside your window" -- fermenttodothat
Earth's Awesome Power
"Lightning struck a tree behind my house. I was by a window on the side of the house facing it and it sounded like a huge bomb went off. Knocked stuff off shelves and scared the hell out of the cats."
"I was shaking from adrenaline for a long while after that."
"I was shot at once, and the sound of a bullet passing close by is pretty distinctive, but I didn't realize what had happened until later, so I wasn't actually frightened by it." -- Danwoll
"Was sitting on my porch in rural Indiana leaving a message for a friend when a gun shot went off really close. My message was frantic and they called around 1'am to make sure I was ok. It was a hunter hunting at night."
"What made it worse was there what I think was a gun hole in the house. I think from previous hunting misses." -- tanya-jo
An Otherworldly Wind
"The roar of a tornado that was about 1/8 of a mile from me combined with the sound of the emergency sirens and the fierce winds full of all kinds of debris." -- SquirrellyRabbit
"I live in Iowa. The sounds of the derecho that hit a while back howling around my apartment was bone chilling." -- Moth-Seraph
The Beast Comes Out at Night
"I stayed up till like 3am and just heard a super loud scream outside of my house! It wasn't just one time though. It happened a few times a week!!"
"Turns out it was a drunk dude. Still scared the sh** outta me."
"The national weather service announcements on TV/radio. The aggressive beeps followed my the muffled and staticky voice is horrifying." -- KingMorq
"That emergency alert sound when it takes over your TV. Even though 99% of the time for me it's just been tests, that sound terrifies me." -- runmuppet
The Noises of the Superhuman
"When my father held in place a stack of pallets (I don't know what they are called in English, but they are these wooden squares to place boxes or similar things on top) it must have been more than 45 pallets that were about to crush it..."
"...He used his arms and torso, managing to stop all that weight and putting it in place; I remember his cry of pain when he felt part of his stomach tear leaving him with a hernia."
Sleeping, Sleeping, Sleeping, BAM Not Sleeping
"You ever had a poster fall off a wall in the pitch black in the middle of the night? It's like 5 heart attacks at once." -- PoPo573
"Why do wall decorations always fall off in the NIGHT? This one bullsh** necklace holder fell off my wall like five times at 2am. Can't you ever fall at a nice 4:30 PM?" -- sjlwood
"Yeah. Mine had a metal frame. It echoed throughout the entire 2nd floor of the apartments I was living in. Whoops." -- SkeletonTerrarium
An Immediately Regretful Prank
"Once I was leaving my friend's house after a big barbecue party, backing up my car verrry slowly, keeping a close eye on all the children running around the yard."
"My husband (who had arrived in a different vehicle, and so wasn't in the car with me) thought it would be funny to walk up beside window and slap the glass."
"I was looking over my shoulder at that moment and didn't see him coming. For one horrible second I thought the noise of the slap was the sound of me running over a toddler."
"I slammed on the brake and started screaming before I realized what had happened. The terror was so strong that even though it only lasted a second, I couldn't stop crying for like ten minutes."
"My husband felt REAL bad...."
"Cat starting to vomit on a new sofa at 3am." -- Zerodriven
"Cat sex" -- Pu**yWhistle
"Cat fights in the middle of the night, good lord." -- Mgreenbean
"a bunny on my doorstep surrounded by 3 cats screamed...most blood curdling sound ever" -- EnzieWithSomeNumbers
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