They say that things go bump in the night. Fortunately, most people are already asleep by then and their deep slumber keeps them living inside their dreams, oblivious to the outside world and unfazed by any harsh realities that plague the darker ends of the world. How can we be aware of such happenings when we should be in bed? Just ask these people.
Employee who have been stuck working overnight shifts are our greatest source to what happens when the sun goes down. The night is darkest just before the dawn, and for them dawn cannot come soon enough, especially when they are faced with erratic customers and disturbing solicitors. They have bravely looked back on their most terrifying tales working the graveyard shift and shared them to Reddit, and these are the most haunting of the bunch. Reader beware.
Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was a bartender for a few years, and one night around 1:30 am, I had this car pull up on the side street in front of the bar. I was talking to a guy at the bar and noticed the car pull up with its lights off and just sit there.
I had probably a dozen or so people in my bar, so it wasn't empty. I got a bad feeling about it, so I went over and locked the front door. I didn't even get back behind the bar before a car tore into the parking lot, two guys jumped out the passenger side, and started trying to force the door open.
When they couldn't, they jumped back into the car and peeled out of the parking lot with the car that was sitting on the street peeling out after them. I will admit that it was dark, but I swear I saw at least one of them carrying a weapon.
The worst part was that the owner didn't even believe me when I told him what happened the next day. He had to hear it from two other people who were in the bar."
"I used to work in bars starting at age 16 (I'm from the UK). I would walk home from the city to where my parents lived out in the country. It was a 1.5 hour walk from work (taking a taxi would use up all the money I made actually working and there were no buses at 3 in the morning).
One day, I was outside the city limits on the country roads. Nothing but fields and patches of woodland around me. I ran into a woman on the street, walking really funny and limping, and muttering to herself. She was dressed in a nice dress, and had clearly removed or lost her shoes.
I tried not to make eye contact, as I thought she was just tipsy and trying to head home. It didn't occur to me that she could be lost or in trouble, but in retrospect, she was probably lost at the very least.
She passed, and I kept walking a few feet. Then I turned around and she was standing in the middle of the road only ten feet away, staring at me. Suddenly she ran straight towards me, grabbed me by my work shirt, and pushed me to the ground. She was screaming obscenities at me the whole time.
I pushed her off, then ran full pelt home. No idea if she followed me after. My brother thought she must have been on something. But it was honestly terrifying, and I never saw her again."
"I work at a hotel. I had a woman come in in a T-shirt and jeans (in the middle of winter, in Canada) totally hysterical and muttering to herself. So far, so normal for a Saturday night.
Then, she came up to the desk and I asked if she was all right. She stopped moving completely and stared at me, then whispered to me, 'You need to call the police and have me locked away.'
Now, at that point, I was more than a little bit freaked out, but I asked her why I should call the police because forget paperwork, basically. She leaned closer and said, with a completely straight face and terror in her eyes, 'I'm a werewolf and if I don't get locked up I'm going to hurt a lot of people.'
I told her to sit down while I called the police, then went in the back and, choking down laughter, called the RCMP non-emergency line. The operator laughed so hard she started crying. Eventually, some officers came and took her away. No clue if she turned into a werewolf or not, but it was one of the funniest things to ever happen to me."
"I worked at a distribution center. Basically, I was the guy that made sure all the trucks left at the end of the night. So my typical quitting time was around 3 am. I lived maybe 20 minutes from the distribution center. I would ride my motorcycle if the weather was nice. Saves money on gas, more fun. It just made sense.
So, I was riding home one night. I pulled up to a stop sign at this three-way intersection. There was a bush on either side of the road. I looked to my right and there was a dude standing in the bushes.
Just standing there.
In the bushes.
On the side of the road.
At 3 am.
We were about a mile from anything, so no soul had any business being on foot at this spot, much less at 3 am and in the bushes.
We made eye contact, and he rushed out of the bushes toward me. There was a street light (some bicyclist got hit by a car so the city had to put one up), so as he stepped into the light I could see his face. He was the very stereotype of a crystal addict. He had a glassy look in his eyes, long greasy hair, baggy skin on the face, looked like some missing teeth. I couldn't get out of there quick enough. I popped the clutch and almost killed the engine. I peeled out and got the heck out of there. A mile or so down the road I pulled over and called the cops. Cops checked it out, and couldn't find anything. No sign anyone was ever there.
Didn't ride my motorcycle at night for a while after that one."
"I work at a 24 hour store and the usual night person quit, so I stepped up and decided to take three of their shifts one week. Usually you get people bugging out for whatever reason at 3 or 4 in the morning, looking for snacks or just wandering around, probably on something. But on the second night, some really freaky stuff happened.
Some giant guy, like 6"4' and 360 lbs walks in at 2 a.m. I do the usual greeting and ask him if he needs help finding anything. That's when he says in a PeeWee Herman type voice, 'Vaseline. It's a special night and I can't seem to find it anywhere. The biggest ones you've got.'
So I show him where it is, and he goes and gets a cart, only to take all the Vaseline we have on the shelves. Must've been at least 20 tubes of the stuff. That's when he approaches me again and asks in that weird voice if we have marshmallows. I tell him yes, and again, he clears the shelf.
Now I've seen some weird customers at this time of night, as has my manager on duty, so she asks me to keep an eye on him. I find him in the hosiery section buying all sorts of pantyhose, and now I'm curious as heck.
I ask him if he needs another cart, (his was filled to the brim with the three items) and he looks at me and says in that high pitched voice, 'Thank you, honey. You're so sweet. I would love another one.'
That's when I notice his pupils are ultra-dilated, like I could see my reflection in those things. So I get him another cart and he thanks me, then proceeds to check out, which was weird since he didn't use that second cart at all.
I ring everything up and it comes to about $170, and that's when it gets really weird. He takes out a knife from his pocket and says, 'Oh, do I still have to pay you?' I'm freaking out but I keep my cool and say, 'Yeah, that would be nice.'
He puts the knife back, staring at me dead in the eyes the entire time, and hands me his card. I swipe it and give it back to him, all the while he's still staring at me. The receipt prints and he says, 'I don't want it. You can burn it. Thanks, and have a very special night darling.'
He then proceeds to put the empty cart back, and rides the other one kiddie style out into the parking lot, shouting, 'Fun! Fun! Fun!'
I was paranoid the whole night and vowed never to work overnight again. That guy still haunts me, and I constantly wonder what the heck someone's going to do with $170 worth of Vaseline, marshmallows, and pantyhose."
"I was working the graveyard shift at the gas station Sunday through Thursday night. My customers were typical wasted people, vacationers fueling up, and morning zombies coming for their coffees.
My scariest experience was when a guy started to hit on me and ask for my number. He would not take no for an answer and was always there when I came in for my shift. Mind you, I am a woman alone. I was not allowed to have anything to defend myself, because it was against company policy (though I had easy access to phone the police).
Well, this one particular night he wanted to touch me. I wasn't having it. My throat started getting hot, and before I was about to verbally assault this creep, a regular walked in the door with her hand on her weapon. She is my hero, a security officer who stops by to grab lollipops before heading to the field. He left hurriedly and I have never seen him since."
"I work the night shifts doing security at a smallish hospital often solo crewed. We have to manage with what we have. One night, I was alone and received a call to attend level 3 by a car park entrance. This was locked at night except for staff. I was met with what looked like pinkish water in a trail leading around to another wing. The staff with me was not willing to investigate with me, so I followed the trail. At that point, I could tell it was blood.
My heart was racing and all sorts of things were going through my head. I came across a visitor rest area where there were appliances and some vending machines and chairs. This area was split into small rooms for privacy. I heard a low humming noise from one of these and I couldn't really turn back now.
I walked over with my hand ready on the radio to call for anyone who was listening. Upon entering the room, I quickly scanned it and saw a homeless looking man trying to hide while the microwave hummed behind him.
I asked if he was hurt and he pointed to the microwave and there was a large piece of raw meat rotating. He said he just needed somewhere to cook it and he would be on his way. I stayed and chatted with him for a little while and it turned out it had thawed and started leaking through his bag hence the trail. He had then taken it from his bag and caused it to leak out even more."
"I worked at a psychiatric hospital for a few years. On the adolescent unit of the floor I worked on, we had a kid who was schizophrenic. He was severely paranoid and refused to sleep.
He dragged a chair into the doorway of his room and would sit in the chair, staring at me most of the night. He'd fall asleep eventually, but for most of the night it was staring. One night, in particular, he kept talking to himself and would randomly hiss, 'Satan.' I could ignore the random mumbling, but the 'Satans' cut through the silence like a knife. It was weird.
The hospital was old, and lots of people claimed it was haunted. I didn't pay much mind to that claim until the toilets starting flushing by themselves every so often. The bathrooms were separate from the rooms, and locked. People had to ask us to unlock the door to get in. I'd hear noises like people shuffling around in empty units.
Now I work as a nurse aide at a convent and have handled several deaths, as these women are all between 70-100. Every so often I see a nun out of the corner of my eye, in the traditional habit (though only a few really wear the full outfit anymore), or a light will be on in a room that hasn't been occupied for weeks/months since the lady who lived there died. Weird stuff."
"When I was in my early twenties, I worked at a small pet store that had two shops in different cities, and I would commute between them every day. Sometimes customers would special order products that were out of stock at one location but happened to be in stock at the other, so I would swing by one of the stores at night on my way home (anywhere from 10 pm to 3 am) and grab what the customers needed before returning to work the next morning.
Anyway, I had a particularly short list of items to grab one night, so I didn't bother locking the back door behind me when I entered. I'll just be in and out, I thought. No one's gonna sneak in behind me. Big. Mistake.
As I'm turning on the lights and starting to grab the items I need, I suddenly hear a strange man's voice coming from somewhere in the store.
'Hello?' he says. I freeze, and my blood turns ice cold.
I'm a girl, completely alone and unarmed in a closed store with a strange man who snuck in.
'Uh...h-hello?' I respond.
'Hello?' he asks again.
Terrified, I slowly make my way toward the opposite side of the store, peeking around the aisles trying to see where he is. I round the corner of an aisle. 'Uh, sir...' I say as I round the corner of another aisle. 'I'm sorry but the store is clo...' And there, staring me in the face... was a blue and gold macaw in a cage. Someone had donated their parrot that day.
'Hello?' it said.
I just about died."
"My father was a paramedic and got called out one night to pick up a guy who was found dead in his truck. The dude had apparently been there a while because rigor mortis set in. To make things creepier, it was apparently during a large thunderstorm.
My dad and his partner got the dude out of the car and managed to straighten all the limbs out well enough to put the dead guy on the stretcher. It was, like, 3 am and the mortician wouldn't get into the morgue until 4. They opted to drive around waiting instead of posting up at the station. About 15 minutes into the drive, the dead dude apparently sat straight up and let out a large moan. The dude was still dead but it scared the crap out of everyone.
Later my dad figured out that when you straighten out a rigored body, gasses shift and cause weird things."
"I used to work at a gas station during the graveyard shift. One night, a customer I had never seen before came in and asked to use the phone. I was already behind, and let him do it despite being told not to.
He told me he was calling a cab because his ride wasn't coming for him anymore and he didn't want to walk the 30 miles home. So I gave him the phone, and he called the cops. He told them that he was schizophrenic and was hearing voices.
He stated that the voices were telling him to kill people and that he was a danger to himself and others. He handed me back the phone and sat outside. I locked the door on him, and within five minutes, three cop cars, two fire trucks, and one ambulance took him away."
"One night I saw what looked like a faceless man walking on the side of the road on my drive into work, and mentioned it to my boss when I clocked in. Maybe two hours later, I was walking out of the bathroom and my boss comes up, doing that scared half-run thing.
She says she just saw him in the parking lot circling my car. We freaked out for a couple minutes, then ran out with the biggest shelf stocker, only to find footprints in the snow leading up to my car, handprints in the frost on my windows, and then a trail of footprints walking out the other side of the parking lot.
Security footage showed NOTHING, but the cameras weren't good enough to show the handprints appearing on my windows. It didn't show anyone approaching my car either.
I keep telling myself it was a dumb prank she did with the stocker guy, but there weren't prints leading from the gas station to the little area out behind the dumpsters where the employees parked."
"I'm an EMT. Maybe a year ago, I picked up overtime working 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. At around 3AM, we got a call with no supplemental information. We headed over, and the address was an ENORMOUS Masonic temple. Huge pillars, lots of marble etc. We found a woman pounding hysterically on the giant oak doors. They were solidly 12 feet tall, and felt like they were a foot thick.
She told us that her boyfriend, who was in charge of locking up at night, texted her about an hour earlier saying he had chest pain, shortness of breath, and was extremely nauseous (classic symptoms of a heart attack). She reported he was no longer answering his phone, and was locked inside somewhere. We called fire fighters to come break down the door, which they did, with considerable effort. Having gained entry, we realized that our work had just begun. The temple was five stories tall, and about half a city block.
Of course we couldn't find any light switches anywhere, and the interior was even spookier than the exterior. We began searching room by room, floor by floor. The fact that it was the middle of the night, we were in a pitch-black unfamiliar building with freaky interior design, running around with flash lights, and that we ultimately thought we were searching for a corpse all led to a lot of jumpiness.
Each floor we climbed, things got spookier. By the fourth floor, there were lots of candles, velvet, and traditional scary stuff laying around. We got up to the fifth and final floor, and at the end of a long dark hall, we saw a closed door with a light on behind it. My partner and I were both totally freaked out at that point and, as we crept toward the door our hearts were beating faster and faster. We looked at each other, took a deep breath, threw the door open, aaaaaand the dude is pleasuring himself at his computer with headphones on. He jumped up and started screaming. We ran out of the room screaming. The firefighters heard our screams and started screaming. After we all calmed down, he explained that he had eaten a burrito earlier and had texted his girlfriend complaining of gas pains.
We left as he started to wonder out loud how we had gotten inside, given that he had locked the front doors."
"I'm a bartender, so I usually head home around 2-4 a.m. One slow Monday night, we were about to close the restaurant when a seemingly homeless woman walked into the bar. Working in a city, we're used to vagrants making their way into the bar so kicking her out would be easy.
My manager yelled to her, 'Hey sorry! We're closing up. We won't be able to serve you. You'll have to leave.' She kept walking slowly and silently toward the bar, staring straight ahead with a blank face.
As she walked closer, we realized she looked unusual for a homeless woman. Her skin was grey. I've never seen a skin color like hers in my life. It wasn't dirty or old or tanned. It was a very light grey that was tight, with almost no wrinkles. She also had a tattoo of four lines on her face, and they all started at one point in the center of her chin, then continued down her neck in a ray-like pattern. Plus she had no shoes on.
Once she reached the bar, she went to pull out a chair when my manager yelled again, 'Hey! We're closing up. Also, you can't be in here without shoes on. You need to leave now.' She continued to sit down, then turned her head slowly to me. Locking eyes with me, she said, 'I like you.'
At this point, my finger was on the bar panic button (most bars have them so they can get immediate police response). Our bouncer finally made his way over, and put his hand on her shoulder to ask her to leave.
The minute he touched her, she broke out into this extremely loud, high pitched, manic scream. It was like a scream out of a horror movie. What made it creepier, the whole time she was screaming she was looking at me dead in the eye without blinking.
She wasn't moving, so my bouncer went to forcibly remove her from the bar. I pushed the panic button, and watched my bouncer pull this woman away as she was screaming uncontrollably, all while staring straight at me. The police came fairly quickly and took her away. To this day, that is still the creepiest night I've ever had at work."
"For a while I worked the night shift at a certain Canadian 24-hour coffee and donut shop in a rather bad neighborhood (and I was the only person working). One night, a guy had come in, bought a coffee, and sat down at a table alone. There was no one else in the restaurant, but that wasn't unusual. He was there for about an hour, nursing the same cup of coffee, when I started to mop the floors. As I got close to him he asked, very quietly, if I could help him with something.
ME: 'Sure, what can I do for you?'
I stepped closer to his table.
MAN: 'I just caught my wife cheating on me. I'm going to hurt myself.' [Looks up at me, looks into my eyes] 'Or someone else.'
One of the most terrifying moments of my life. I told him I would get help, then called 911. Police and an ambulance came. They loaded him into the ambulance and took him away.
My other story is a little less dramatic, but was interesting. Same coffee shop, different night. It was about 3 a.m. and, like I said previously, this was a particularly bad neighborhood. In walked an 8-year-old boy. Alone.
I thought, This is a bit weird, but then thought maybe his parents were in a car in the parking lot and just sent him in to buy something. He walked up to the counter and ordered a dozen donuts. At that point, I was pretty sure there were no cars in the parking lot other than my own. He pulled out a debit card (not exactly a common item for an 8-year-old) to pay for the donuts. I decided to call the police before I rang him through so I told him to wait for a minute and I went into the back of the store to call the police.
Just as I told the operator what was going on, I heard the doors to the store open and close. The kid took off. Luckily some regulars (Brink's armored car drivers, who were on their way into the store) figured out what was going on and stopped the kid before he got far.
Police arrived soon afterwards. Turns out, the kid had run away from home early on the previous day and police were already looking for him all over the city. He had taken his mom's debit card (and knew her pin), was quite far from home, and figured that donuts would be a good meal."