Reddit’s nosleep forum is a short-horror online crucible, wherein the most horrifically unsettling content is sent to the top and merely mediocre example of the macabre die an ignoble death.
The conceit among the subreddit’s authors and commenters is that these are all true stories (they are, uh, not, I think), so they’re all grounded in something like reality, and the commentary that follows them is often as entertaining as the tale itself.
Here are some of my favourite selections. Any of them will perk you right up, should you be lying down in a dark room at night.
Dad shut himself inside his bunker at the start of the pandemic…
In this tale, a paranoid father barricades himself in a bunker he built on land that used to be an army base. What he finds inside is even more frightening than the world he’s trying to flee.
We used to live here
Netflix recently purchased the screen rights to this multi-part mind-screw of a nosleep tale, so read it now, before the mini-series drops.
In We Used to Live Here, the previous occupants of an old house visit the young couple who just purchased it. They seem like a very nice family, but they don’t want to leave…
I think I’m trapped in a Hallmark movie.
It’s not all death, gloom, and ghosts over at nosleep. This story is a refreshing horror-comedy piece in which everyone’s favourite romance-movie mill, The Hallmark Channel, becomes an existential prison of sorts.
My girlfriend would answer one question every night in her sleep.
In this creepy story, a boy’s elation over his new relationship turns sour when his new love turns out to talk in her sleep, giving a true answer to one question per night. (If this ever happens to you, ask for the next day’s lottery numbers. Under no circumstances should you ask when you will die.)
My mum left me a set of tapes to watch after she died.
A dead mother leaving videotapes to be played at specific moments in her kid’s life is creepy enough — but when she seems to know what happened after she died it’s just very, very bad.
The Orangutans are Sceptical of Changes in Their Cages
The only thing this psychological horror story has in common with the Simon and Garfunkel song “At the Zoo” is the title. If you like stories of supposedly insane people trying to piece their reality together, this one is for you.
Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone
There’s something about horror set in amusement parks that just works. In Uncle Gerry’s Family Fun Zone, intrepid urban explorers set out to locate the ruins of the titular establishment, long closed down after a boy got lost forever in the ball pit.
The Quiet Neighbour
Sometimes the best horror comes from the simplest premise. In The Quiet Neighbour, children exploring the spooky house down the street find something unspeakable inside it.
My dead girlfriend keeps messaging me on Facebook
I love this story. Not only is it super creepy, but author natesw goes the extra mile and provides links to screenshots of the messages that he received from his dead girlfriend. It really pulls you into the narrative.
The previous tenant left a survival guide
In this multi-part nosleep epic, a new renter of an apartment finds a “survival guide” written by the previous occupant. It contains entries like: “Trash day is Thursday” and “Don’t communicate with any neighbours who claim to come from flats 65-72. These flats suffered a fire in the late 80s that devastated the whole floor, all the residents died in their homes.” Useful advice.
NASA recovered a futuristic hard-drive from space.
This story of a NASA employee’s discovery of a mysterious relic from space combines horror, science fiction, and a warning for humanity. It’s awesome both for the chills it imparts and for its concise description of the far future.
I used to work as a mall Santa, but one boy’s Christmas list made me quit.
“Mall Santa” doesn’t seem like a creepy job [Editor’s note: Well, actually…], but in this nosleep story, the gig come to involve a “Santa groupie” with a fetish for men in red suits and murders, so YMMV. I like the humour-mixed-with-horror vibe here.
I took a DNA test. Turns out I’m 100% in over my head
Usually the most surprising result from a home DNA test is finding out you’re 1/32 Cherokee, but this nosleep poster found something disturbing and terrible instead: His DNA proved that a long-unidentified corpse was his sister. But his sister was alive and well.
Something’s Really Weird about My Sexy New Neighbour
You shouldn’t stare at your neighbour as they are getting undressed under any circumstances — but if your neighbour happens to be a non-human malevolent entity, you really shouldn’t stare.
I listened to a true crime podcast…about myself
I love the simplicity of this concept: What if the podcast in your earbuds started describing your own life? And what if it was about your mysterious disappearance? Would you like and subscribe and give it 5 stars on iTunes and use the promo code “IveBeenWatchingYou” to save $US50 ($67) on a boxed mattress?