While most people are sleeping, some work the graveyard shift. Sure, it pays better, but you also have to deal with things that go bump in the night... or that scream... or want to eat you...
Awsaf_ asked night guards of Reddit: What's the scariest experience you can share with us?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
They can smell fear.
I used to work security for a ski resort, I was swing shift, 4 to midnight.
After every shift I had about a 20 minute walk down a dark mountain road through the woods to reach my bus stop, also there were no streetlights. There's dark and then there's in-the-woods-in-the-shadow-of-a-mountain dark.
After a week or so I started getting stalked by a pack of coyotes.
One coyote isn't terribly impressive, like an ugly medium sized dog, two coyotes aren't super intimidating either, but three or more is a different story, once it's a proper pack they get bold.
The first couple nights it was just one or two, I could see their eye shine about 40 or 50 yards in the woods, they'd check me out then run off. After a week or two more started showing up, 4 or 5 at a time but once I counted 8.
The thing is, once there were 3 or more they didn't run off, they'd follow me from the treeline, every once and a while crossing the street in front of or behind me, they also stopped keeping their distance, they'd come as close as 20 feet or less.
Seeing 8 pairs of glowing eyes is creepy but the noises they make, holy f*ck.
So yeah, I carried bear mace at the ready during my walks to the bus stop for the whole season.
King of the urinals.
Not a night guard, but I was a janitor for a little bit a while ago in a building that was only accessible by a key fob. You'd need one to get into the front door, and you'd have to use it again to enter the offices.
The shift was from 4pm to midnight, and if I finished early, I got to leave while still being paid until midnight.
Each night I'd hang out with my co-workers in the office until 5 P.M., then we'd all head out to our buildings. I'd empty all the trash bins first, vacuum and mop where needed, take care of any scheduled cleanings like steam cleaning the curtains, and I'd hit the bathrooms last since everyone would normally be out of the office at that time.
Most nights I was finished between 8 P.M. and 9 P.M.
There was a night when I was finishing up, and all I had to do was clean the bathrooms. I did the woman's room without any issues, and then I headed into the men's room. When I went in, the lights turned on because of that sensor, and there was some man I had never seen before just standing in the middle of the bathroom.
I have no idea who he was, or how long he was in there, but he had to have stood still long enough for the lights to go off, and then remain motionless so they wouldn't turn back on.
When I saw him, I just turned around and left for the night.
Lmfao I laughed so hard when I read the last part. Just a "lol nah that ain't my job" moment.
They're just doggos.
I worked at an airport and while I was not a guard, I was the only one working graveyard shift at my job.
One night I was sitting at the front desk playing a game on my phone and the sliding doors to the lobby opened. I looked up didn't see anyone, thought it was weird and went back to my phone. A few seconds later I heard a clacking noise on the tile floor in front of the desk. I very slowly stood up and then froze.
Two of the biggest rottweilers I had ever seen were standing in front of the desk staring at me. If they decided to attack me there was no way I could fight off both of them and being alone until the next shift meant they would probably kill me.
After what felt like an hour of watching them their body language didn't seem aggressive so I came around the desk and it turned out they were actually both super chill dogs named Sophie and Mac. They also knew how to sit, give their paw and lay down on command.
They belonged to a boat shop about a mile away and it turns out airport security were very familiar with them as they had a habit of escaping the boat shop and wandering the airport.
They ended up hanging out with me for the rest of my shift until security picked them up and gave them a lift back home.
Not so silent.
I do rounds in a factory. During shutdown with maybe ten lights on in a giant plant for holidays, one of the freaking monstrous machines lets out a blowhorn sound that mirrored the raid sirens in silent hill.
I cannot begin to tell you the dread that inspired.
I would have ran for my life.
Dude. When I was 17, I went urbexing in this cavernous vacant PCB factory. Sprawling factory floor, all the equipment gone, just a few token lights on to sort of illuminate the place.
I was walking right in the middle of that massive empty space when that exact sound happened, ear-splittingly loud, with no warning whatsoever.
Man, I f*cking sh*t. I leapt halfway out of my skin, snapped back into it, and bolted out of there faster than I'd ever run in my life. Across the factory floor, out the unlocked door, to the edge of the property, threw myself into the gravel to speed-crawl under a gate, and ran another four blocks to my car so I could burn rubber all the way home. Literally expected paint to start peeling off the walls.
Copper is super valuable on the black market.
Security at a remote site at about 330 A.M.
Doing my rounds, admittedly sleep deprived, and heard a very clear "f**k" whispered from just outside the fence. Some rustling ensued and my heart started to race. Called for back up but no answer. I go to investigate on my own and find nothing.
Ff to 415 A.M.
"Just go to sleep already" from the same spot. Call for backup, no answer, investigate, nothing.
Now pissed, I go to the security office to ask where the f*ck everyone is because I'm hearing people talk in the bushes. Turns out both of my partners left. Called the operations center, nothing. I was straight up about to leave when a truck rolled up to the security gate. I'm in the office so I see it on the camera and I flip on the microphone and say "please present your ID to the camera, we'll have someone let you in shortly." NO ANSWER. Go to investigate, drunk guy took a wrong turn and thought he was at home so he fell asleep in his truck, at our gate. Call the cops cause he clearly shouldn't be driving, not that it's really my issue. Then call operations again, this time they pick up and inform me everyone is sick and that I should go home as it's against policy to work at this site on your own. Still no clue what those voices were but man that was a stressful night. Lots of break ins from copper thieves, quite often armed tho.
If you have copper thieves breaking in frequently, I'm going to hazard a guess that your job site is an abandoned building, likely a fairly large complex.
If that's the case, the mysterious voices could have been urban explorers trying to photograph the building. As an urban explorer, I can attest that sometimes there are locations out there that are only accessible by sneaking past security guards in the dead of night- and locations that require doing so are often cool enough that the risk of getting caught is worth it.
"Fu*k" and "just go to sleep already" coming from just beyond the fence line sounds like a couple of frustrated urban explorers waiting for you to move on so they can sneak past you into the complex itself. Hearing the voices 45 minutes apart is a reasonable timeframe for this explanation- I've definitely seen locations where you have to wait over an hour in a single hiding place for an opening where you can sneak past, especially if you aren't exactly sure of the security layout (guards, cameras, alarms, motion detectors, etc).
We're a pretty harmless bunch, far more afraid of you than you are of us. If an urban explorer does things right, they'll sneak in, photograph the complex, and sneak out with the guards being none the wiser.
Now this is scary.
I'm a night guard, but the story is from a colleague of mine.
So my colleague was guarding this quite big complex in which the security system was not working. So they had two guards stationed at two different locations in this building. My colleague gets a call on the radio from the other night guard that he'a hearing someone trying to break in. So my colleague rushes over there as fast as he can.
Now this building was quite the maze and required a number of keys in order to get from where he was to where the other guard was. And he finds out that he's been given wrong sets of keys. So for him to get to where the break in is happening he now has to go around the outside of the building. This took some extra time and when he arrived he found the other guard knocked down in a pool of blood.
He had tried to stop the three guys doing the break in by himself and got rewarded with a hard pipe bashed to his head. My colleague pressed his SRT, the panic alarm. And tried to tend to his friends wound. It took about 5 minutes for the police and EMT to get there but he said it felt like it took hours. Since he was pretty sure his colleague was going to die.
He ended up in a coma for 5 days and also lost some of his eyesight in his left eye. But other than that me recovered quite well.
No one got caught since the attackers just hit him blind sided and decided to get the hell out of there once they clocked him.
My colleague still work as a night guard but the other guy that got a pipe to his head had a few months to recover and now works as an EMT instead.
It's the ones with the real people that are the scary ones. Glad both of them are okay.
I agree. Seeing how animalistic people can really be will always be more terrifying to me than anything paranormal.
Sometimes a cat is just a cat.
In the winter we get homeless people sleeping in our stairwells so I have to kick them out.
One time I went down and something leaped at me. I went "phew just a cat." Then I remembered the horror movie trope and realized the real scare is coming up next so I skipped checking the stairwells that night.
Not a night guard but when I worked at Sam's Club, I took a couple of night shifts to get my department ready for a big sale event. I would get there at about 2 A.M. and be done at 10 A.M.
Our store is located on a hillside kind of back towards the woods a little bit. To get in after hours, we had to go around to the back of the store and go through the receiving entrance. It was always dark and creepy but I never felt like scared or anything.
Until my last night shift. I got the unsettling feeling of being watched. Like hairs on the back of your neck standing up, heart beating out of your chest unsettling.
I booked it into the store and slammed the door shut behind me. One of the night crew asked what was wrong and I told him. He laughed and told me welcome to the night shift.
About ten minutes later, one of the night crew went out that same door for a cigarette and a bear climbed out of the dumpster beside the door.
You've left that on a bit of a cliffhanger there...
The story probably ends there. Not every tale has a movie-like climax to finish on. Sometimes, I like those stories the best, because that's how life usually works.
Phantom screams at night in a hospital? Nope.
While I was on a night shift as a nurse with one of my colleagues, we would sit in little room that was wall to wall with the elevators. The one right next to us was only for employees and was barely used at night. We were minding our own business when we heard the most ear-piercing and terrifying "scream" coming from the elevator. We sat there looking at each other, unwilling to actually check it out, but when we rushed out shortly after the elevator wasn't in use. Needless to say we were on the edge for the entire rest of the shift. We never found out what caused it, and it never happened again.
Maybe someone had a bad reaction to a spider on them or something.
I'm more convinced it may have had something to do with the reinforced cables expanding/retracting in the cold weather. The whole thing didn't exactly sound human.
During my time as a Sheriff's Deputy, I worked as a night guard for a local branch of a massive investment firm for extra cash, and worked the 4pm-12am shift on weekends. There was only two guards on shift at any time, and because it was a financial building, they allowed those of us certified to be armed if we had the certificates.
The facility was three buildings across a 4 acre property, was gated, and was on the tail end of an industrial park, on the border of a really rough neighborhood, where break ins and shootings were not uncommon.
One night I was on guard during December, a lot of the desks were covered in Christmas decorations and wrapping paper, and a lot of the employees would leave little treats and bowls of candy out for us to thank us for being there for them. We all really appreciated it and it helped take our minds off of the long hours while we were there alone, and it reminded us of why we did it.
That particular night the other guard I was with was a fellow soldier with me in the National Guard, so we both knew we were trained and had each other's backs, which had me pretty at ease as I walked down the long dark empty hallways with my flashlight. Suddenly my radio lit up, and my buddy tells me the cameras in one of the cubicle areas was feeding black, and he thinks the lights went out, and my job was to walk over there and reset the breaker and get the lights back on.
I turned around and began to walk down the hallway, it was absolutely pitch black, no service lights, no door lights, no faint glow of computers left on, nothing. The air felt cold, my flashlight felt darker than normal, something wasn't right.
My heartbeat began to speed up as I remembered that the breaker room was all the way in the back, near the server, and I had to walk down nearly 40 rows of cubicles to get there. I listened carefully in case it was someone versus something that caused it, and I kept hearing this odd clicking sound as I began to slowly walk through the cubicle row.
Suddenly, I saw a silhouette "crouched" down between two cubicles in the back, I knelt down and drew my gun, thinking I caught someone in the building, I pinged the radio twice to signal my buddy to get 9-1-1 on standby, and began to slowly walk towards it, issuing verbal commands.
"Stand up, face me, NOW!" I yelled at the silhouette, wondering why it wasn't moving. As my flashlight hit it, it was a godd*mned clown statue holding a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
I laughed and holstered my gun, my hands were shaking, I was sweaty, I genuinely was happy I didn't have to use force or possibly take a life that night. I felt so relieved. I walked up to, planning to move it back inside of a cubicle to get it out of our way.
Suddenly the little f*cker lit up "BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" it laughed, loudly and sharply.
I took off running like. The thing absolutely caught me off guard and scared the living sh*t out of me. I've caught bums in our dumpster, crack heads on our roof, we even had a multiple shooting in the apartments nearby. Nothing scared me as much as that f*cking clown laughing at me. Eyes and nose glowing red. I ran all the way back to the front desk and made my buddy get the lights in there.
I'm not even scared of clowns normally, but that one in particular would continue to creep me out for the rest of the time I worked there.
Sad thing is, nothing I encountered in my time in the Military or Law Enforcement ever scared me as much as that clown.
There's just not enough good "Clown Training" nowadays.
F*ck that clown.