10 CREEPY Campfire Stories
Welcome to Top10archive! These folklores are the nightmares of our youth, the spooky ghost stories and tales of madmen that kept us sleeping with the light on. In this installment, we want you all to gather around the campfire as we recount ten uncanny fables and urban legends that have been told time and time again, all across the globe. As these are passed through generations, locations and scenarios tend to change from one telling to the next, so there may be some differences in the version you've heard. Grab your favorite blankie and a flashlight, for it’s going to be a long sleepless night.
The Dog’s Lick
When you’re left home alone, chances are you get the sneaking suspicion at least once throughout the night that you’re not really alone. Even with man’s best friend at your side, you may be swept into a sudden bout of fear that someone is there with you. In this fabulously devilish tale, we learn that sometimes that gut feeling is right. In this urban legend, a young girl or an old lady is home alone with no one but her pet dog. As these stories tend to go, on this night, a crazed killer had escaped from prison, so our heroine is already on edge. On the floor next to her bed, her dog lay, licking her hand occasionally to let her know all is well. In the midst of the night, she hears a steady dripping. She checks the dog, who licks her hand again, and heads downstairs, sure that it’s just a leaking tap in the kitchen. When she see’s no sign of water dripping from the faucet, she heads back to bed. Within her shower, her dog is mutilated, hanging from the shower-head, its organs stretched to the floor. On her mirror, a warning is written thick in blood – “People can lick, too.”
The Spider Bite
If you don’t already have arachnophobia, chances are you will at the end of this fantastical 1970’s tale. Though it is popularly known for its place in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark anthology, it is a gem that has been retold countless times across the globe. Unlike other stories, this one mostly remains the same, though the location may change depending on region. A girl sleeping peacefully in the comfort of her own home is visited by a spider that rests for a moment on her cheek before continuing on its creepy crawly life. The girl awakens to a nice red blemish on her face that she is easily able to cover with make-up. As the days go on, the blemish grows larger and larger, becoming more grotesque in nature and looking far less like a pimple and more like an infected bite. The night before her mother is able to take her to the doctor to have it looked at, the gruesome boil bursts open, unleashing a distressing amount of tiny spiders all over her face. In some versions, the girl drops dead from a heart attack or shock – and really, who could blame her?
The Killer’s Reflection
In the realm of scary stories, being alone in your house is pretty much a death omen. This tale of a young girl watching television alone while her parents gallivant across town is certainly no different. After a heavy snowfall, a young girl sits in her living room watching TV next to the large sliding glass door that leads to the large backyard that is blanketed in freshly fallen flakes. During one commercial intermission in the midst of whatever nameless show she was watching, her eyes catch a glimpse of something at the window. It looks to be a large enough figure to warrant her taking interest in, and when she does, she finds herself face to face with a nondescript man standing outside, his hands gripped around what appears to be a knife. Despite her panic, she is able to call the police, who arrive quickly to investigate the scene. When they arrive, they find the snow outside the sliding glass door undisturbed and immediately figure the girl to have allowed her loneliness get the best of her. When they go to speak to the girl, who is trembling back on her couch, one officer notices the wet footprints leading up to behind the chair. Just one second longer, and this story could have taken a far more grisly turn.
The Ghostly Handprints
Everything is big in Texas, even their most popular ghost stories. There is a local legend involving the railroad crossing at Villamain and Shane Road and a bus filled with children coming home from their day at school. The bus stalled on the tracks, which led to the tragic crash that killed everyone aboard the bus. The story begins with a husband and wife driving home from a party at a friends house. They reach the same tracks at Villamain and, just like the ill-fated bus, the car breaks down just as a train starts barreling towards them. Panic fills up the car as the couple do everything but actually leave the vehicle. As they’re about to meet the front end of the train, they feel a push as their car rolls off of the tracks to safety. Regrouping outside of the vehicle and to find their savior, the couple are met with an empty road, the only sign of who helped them being the tiny glowing hand-prints that now decorated the rear of their vehicle.
Stand in front of a mirror in a completely dark room, one that not even the light of the moon could penetrate the blackness, and face the mirror. Close your eyes and recite the name “Bloody Mary” three times, slowly and deliberately, ensuring that every syllable is audible and clear. Legend has it, when you open your eyes, the grotesque and bloodied face of the infamous Bloody Mary will be staring right back at you, her dead eyes piercing you to the very core. In some versions, Bloody Mary is a deadly apparition and is the last thing you will ever see – which may make some wonder how the legend began. Other iterations state that the ritual allows Bloody Mary into your life and she will terrorize you mercilessly. The more popular retelling just pegs Mary as a terrifying site that gets in a quick scare before you throw the lights back on. Regardless of what version you’ve heard, it’s a popular Urban Legend that has been passed down from generation to generation, giving sleepovers all over the world something to do in the wee hours of the morning. Think it’s all bunk? Than surely you’re brave enough to find out for yourself.
The Tale of the Headless Horseman
The small town of Sleepy Hollow is best known for a televised series and Washington Irving’s classic tale of Ichabod Crane, but there is legendary folklore that gave this spooky town its haunted history long before either. A Dutchman making the trek home from a tavern in Tarrytown to Sleepy Hollow comes across the small town’s cemetery, where a headless Hessian soldier was buried long ago. Rumors of a headless rider were popular in the Tarrytown establishment, but the Dutchman paid no mind to them until he was faced with the spectra legend himself. A white mist formed in front of him from an unmarked grave, the mist suddenly taking the form of the beheaded soldier on a massive steed. Fearing for his life, the Dutchman ran, the steed galloping close behind him. Remembering an old belief that spirits cannot cross water, the Dutchman ran to a nearby bridge. Surviving the ordeal, the Dutchman told his wife, and soon his tale was told and retold all over Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, embedding it in history as one of New York’s most legendary ghost stories.
When you first start driving, you’re warned never to pick up strangers, and this legendary tale may be a good reason to listen to that advice. Depending on where the story is being told, the name of the road will change to give it a more localized feel, but regardless of which route the couple in this story takes, the events remain the same. Along their seemingly peaceful ride home, the pair decide to take the infamous route home, foolishly hoping to catch a glimpse of the spectral hitchhiker that all of their friends claimed to have seen. While joking about the phantom, the passenger catches site of a lone man standing on the side of the road. He has sorrow in his eyes as the car drives past and both passenger and driver chalk the hitchhiker up to a vagrant that has lost his way – that is until the driver glances at the rear-view mirror to see the same man sitting in the vehicle’s back seat, his expression typically one of malice. The pair survive the ordeal, else there would be no story, but they do so with a whole new appreciation of ghost stories.
It’s a cold night at Lover’s Lane, where a couple are canoodling within the comfort of the boyfriends car. Their mood music set the tone for the night, allowing them a romantic evening with no interruptions by friends or family. What they didn’t count on was the interruption of a radio broadcast, announcing that a serial killer with a hook for his right hand escaped a nearby asylum, one not too far from the favored lover’s nest. The mood ruined by the ominous broadcast, the girlfriend pleads to leave, her beau more interested in furthering their escapade than the warning of the crazed killer. After a heated argument, the car shook gently, as if a strong wind had gusted by – but there was no wind. Pushing the girl over the edge of fear, the boyfriend gave in and drove the two away. Once safely at her home, the girlfriend rushed out of the car, the two sharing no warm goodbyes. When she closed her door, though, she let out a curdling scream as her eyes fell upon the bloodied hook lodged into the passenger’s side door.
This is a popular tale that seems to have originated in Head of Harbor, Long Island, New York, but has been retold many times, so much so that the location changes with each retelling. The versions vary from tragic to haunting, but the most terrifying iteration tells that, long ago, a local woman named Mary was tried as a witch and hung for the deaths of many children. Her final resting place, which was nearby the spot of her hanging, also happens to be a minefield for children that try to brave the legendary tales of her return from the afterlife. It is said that if any child is to go to her grave at night, the accused witch will appear to them and kill them. Another telling has Mary as the bride of a sailer who dies at sea. After the death of her husband, she kills herself and haunts her home while one of the less popular ones paints Mary as a girl that wanders the streets after having snapped and murdered her abusive mother with an axe.
The next time you think you’re having a bad day, you may want to think about Screaming Jenny, the pauper who simply wanted to enjoy some soup by a roaring fire. Life wasn’t too kind for Jenny, her shack along an old railroad being the only real thing she had to cling to. It was a cold evening in autumn in West Virginia and Jenny was trying to warm up in her tiny shack with a fire and a bowl of broth. The poor lass was enjoying her evening as much she could, unaware that an ember from the fire had caught her skirt until it seared through the material and started to burn her flesh. Jenny’s knee-jerk reaction was to extinguish the flame with her broth, but it did nothing to quell the flames, and before she knew it, Jenny was slowly being engulfed in flames. In a panic, the poor lass ran to the nearest railroad station, screaming for help in hopes that someone would rush to her aid. Her frantic state brought her to rush to the tracks and all she was met with was an on-coming train that couldn’t stop in time. Completely engulfed in flames, as the pain coursed through her, Jenny’s misery ended when the train slammed into her. Jenny’s body still burned, even after her death; but the station crew and engineer at least gave her a proper burial. Legend has it, trains that careen around the corner are met with the flaming ghost of Jenny, who is still looking for someone to put her out.