24 votes

What's something that creeps you out more than it should?

There's plenty of stuff that's supposed to be creepy out there, but then there's stuff that really shouldn't be unsettling but, for whatever reason, has a really powerful effect. These are different for everyone, but I'd wager we almost all have them. They can be at the level of a classical "phobia" or something less pronounced but still puts you on edge.

What is an example of something that creeps you out more than it should, and why do you think it bothers you so much?

42 comments

  1. [6]
    rogue_cricket
    (edited )
    Link
    I have a few holdovers from when I was a kid, but the most inappropriate thing I find spooky is probably lighthearted PC game series The Sims. I think I played The Sims for the first time the...

    I have a few holdovers from when I was a kid, but the most inappropriate thing I find spooky is probably
    lighthearted PC game series The Sims.

    I think I played The Sims for the first time the summer after it came out, I got it as a gift from my uncle one day when he came to visit. The absolute first thing I did was move the two pre-made "Roomies" sims into a house and get one of them trapped behind a couch like a lost remote. I think some kind of queued action prevented me from moving the couch, or maybe I was just really struggling with the interface, but she got stuck there long enough that she died of either exhaustion or starvation.

    The second Roomie sim was upset and began wandering around, weeping, until then the ghost of the first one appeared to haunt her that ingame evening. Now - that alone was a little spooky, but would be entirely manageable for sensitive young me. But did you know that in the original unpatched The Sims game, there was a small chance for a Sim to spontaneously combust? And there there was also a glitch which occasionally caused fire to be invisible?

    So wouldn't you know it, but shortly after the ghost appeared on my very first attempt at the game, my remaining sim triggered both these uncommon effects at the same time and started screaming and thrashing for what appeared to be no reason. The little chat bubbles indicated "fire!", but no fire was otherwise visible. She quickly died and I was left with an empty house.

    This was all within maybe 20-30 minutes of me playing this game for the first time and I was convinced my game was fully haunted. For years afterwards I couldn't find any explanation for this (this was before search engines were any good).

    The very same summer I could play Diablo II late into the night, but The Sims? Nope, had to be lights on, had to have my brothers or my dad in the room with me. The Sims was way too spooky to be faced alone.

    To this day I'm still a little creeped out by them. They're just a little too autonomous, and they have that weird sim language. I just don't trust 'em.

    17 votes
    1. [3]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      I hope you don't mind me saying so, but that is both tragic and hilarious. My wife played for many years. I think she ended up playing through The Sims 3, or something. I would often play with...

      I hope you don't mind me saying so, but that is both tragic and hilarious. My wife played for many years. I think she ended up playing through The Sims 3, or something. I would often play with her, just the 2 of us sitting at the computer making them do various silly things. We still sing the songs from the TV shows that would come on while your Sims were watching it. "Da ba! Da bobu dabu da!" etc.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        rogue_cricket
        Link Parent
        It is pretty funny in retrospect! It didn't help that even to this day people think the "invisible fire" glitch as more of an urban legend (I think because it was very uncommon and only in the 1st...

        It is pretty funny in retrospect! It didn't help that even to this day people think the "invisible fire" glitch as more of an urban legend (I think because it was very uncommon and only in the 1st version), but the memory imprinted on me really strongly. Even if it wasn't spontaneous combustion, something caused my sim to scream and die outside her front door.

        I have always been the type of person to ascribe feelings and desires to inanimate objects and it was especially strong when I was young, stuff like Neopets, Tamagotchis, and Pokemon were like crack to me. So the idea that the sim could be angry at me had a basis for sure, and my... loose understanding of how computers worked at the time (they seemed kind of magical) made me worried that somehow there was this consciousness was still on there and able to mess with the PC. I had nightmares about getting AIM pings in the middle of the night and finding messages from the "dead" sims. Phew!

        I think the house-building aspect of the more modern sims games looks really fun, and I actually did grab a couple of the free games from Origin last year although I didn't really play them. The sims themselves look a lot different now; the new designs have this clean and cartoonish look that comes off to me as aggressively friendly and over-the-top. Like a doll or fashion mannequin that's come to life. No thanks!

        3 votes
        1. joplin
          Link Parent
          Oh man, that was something that freaked me out as a kid. In the 60s and 70s there were a variety of movies and TV shows where ventriloquist's dummies or store mannequins would come to life. I...

          Like a doll or fashion mannequin that's come to life. No thanks!

          Oh man, that was something that freaked me out as a kid. In the 60s and 70s there were a variety of movies and TV shows where ventriloquist's dummies or store mannequins would come to life. I specifically remember an episode of The Twilight Zone and another one from Fantasy Island about those sorts of things. I thought it was really creepy as a kid. Now I think it's hilarious.

    2. Douglas
      Link Parent
      I love that story. My wife is very into The Sims 3, and has a lot of the DLC from it, and to this day she still discovers new things in that game that are a bit creepy. Like I think the other day...

      I love that story.

      My wife is very into The Sims 3, and has a lot of the DLC from it, and to this day she still discovers new things in that game that are a bit creepy.

      Like I think the other day her sim got a letter from an anonymous person telling her to meet here at x and y coordinates, and when her sim went out there, their house was robbed. And then they got a phone call teasing them about it.

      I love it. I know GTA has its share of "spooky" stuff, as does Oblivion and Skyrim, but I'd kill for an open world game that's mostly innocuous and friendly except for a rabbit hole of spooky, creepy stuff that you can discover in the background.

      4 votes
    3. elcuello
      Link Parent
      That would freak me out too. Reminds me of this clip of an invisible methanol fire. Scary shit.

      That would freak me out too. Reminds me of this clip of an invisible methanol fire. Scary shit.

  2. [7]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    I'll be having a hard time sleeping sharing these, as I want to show them. I was always a high-strung kid, and had a stressful childhood, so I guess I was basically set up to be easily sketched...

    I'll be having a hard time sleeping sharing these, as I want to show them. I was always a high-strung kid, and had a stressful childhood, so I guess I was basically set up to be easily sketched out, but there's quite the list, and all of these things still get me. I think there's a common thread here. I'm 30 now, but all of these bug me just as bad as when I was a kid, I'm just better at restraining myself.

    PBS, apparently. There's something about channel IDs that has always spooked me. Nickelodeon's through the 90s *when I was a kid and watched it most) got me particularly bad. I watched that first clip when I was 14, we were going to my dad's house (two bros and I), and I was on edge the whole ride.

    The Playstation loading screen. It always put me on edge, but when my dad got the game Nightmare Creatures, it amplified. If I set up an emulator, I have to disable it.

    Large dark shapes do it. I was playing around in MS Paint when I was 10, tried to make the Pepsi logo. Started with a black circle, walked away, watched TV for a bit, and kept looking at the monitor. The circle was almost staring back at me. If Richard Serra's Out of Round X, which I became familiar with as the cover of Sunn O)))'s "Monoliths and Dimensions," it's probably similar, but less intense. I have a fascination with large, voidy primitive objects that take up immense amount of space, however, and have been trying to figure out a way to draw them in a way that is as oppressive as I feel them. I think it may have something to do with that.

    I can similarly become scared from sound. There's stuff like numbers stations that do a similar thing to me as the channel idents, but this track scared the hell out of me when I made it. I recently made one much worse, and had to delete it. It's like its existence left a dark mark on my psyche or something, and I avoid making this sort of drone music because it makes me uncomfortable. Oddly, I can listen to stuff like Merzbow or Sunn 0))) with no problem, and actually really enjoy the latter (never understood harsh noise).

    I'm trying to figure this all out, and I think I can tie it together because it bugs me. I think it's something to do with space, maybe an old biological drive that stems from fear of being attacked in an open space? The AV experiences that mess with me are simple. The shapes that mess with me are almost like a dark space, so I think something just gets filled in subconsciously, and I have a physiological reaction to it.

    8 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      This gets activated for me with planets. Like, I've always been mildly threatened by pictures of Jupiter, especially when you get a sense of how absolutely huge it is. I remember playing around...

      I have a fascination with large, voidy primitive objects that take up immense amount of space

      This gets activated for me with planets. Like, I've always been mildly threatened by pictures of Jupiter, especially when you get a sense of how absolutely huge it is. I remember playing around with software called Celestia and I accidentally navigated to the dark side of a planet and my screen was just a large dark circle, much like Out-of-Round X. I immediately panicked. It's not the image or the shape that gets to me so much as the implication of size. I felt so small and it felt so ominous, imposing, and massive.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      asoftbird
      Link Parent
      Kind of surprised you didn't mention the THX intro. Pretty sure that frightened 90% of the kids at the time.

      Kind of surprised you didn't mention the THX intro. Pretty sure that frightened 90% of the kids at the time.

      4 votes
    3. [2]
      Deltalizer
      Link Parent
      Following up on the dark primative objects bit, the monolith from 2001 a space odyssey is a perfect example of that for me, that thing really creeped me out as a kid and still does now, especially...

      Following up on the dark primative objects bit, the monolith from 2001 a space odyssey is a perfect example of that for me, that thing really creeped me out as a kid and still does now, especially with the way it's presented in the movie. I think it's something to do with the way it stands out from it's environment, a perfect shape against such a natural scene.

      2 votes
      1. knocklessmonster
        Link Parent
        I find it weird because some stuff designed to be imposing, like the monolith, does its job, but nothing more. It may have been that my first exposure was through Monster Rancher, which has a...

        I find it weird because some stuff designed to be imposing, like the monolith, does its job, but nothing more. It may have been that my first exposure was through Monster Rancher, which has a character inspired by it (weird franchise, btw), but it worked for me in its original context.

  3. [7]
    Wishkah
    Link
    This is only a test. Emergency Broadcast System always did it for me. Maybe it's the thought of one day hearing "this is NOT a test".

    This is only a test. Emergency Broadcast System always did it for me. Maybe it's the thought of one day hearing "this is NOT a test".

    8 votes
    1. MimicSquid
      Link Parent
      Air raid sirens, even when they're at the normal time and date for the test.

      Air raid sirens, even when they're at the normal time and date for the test.

      3 votes
    2. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      For me it was always the intensity they bring. Growing up, my brothers and I would put on a local classical station, and at midnight on Wednesdays they did the EAS test. If I couldn't sleep that...

      For me it was always the intensity they bring. Growing up, my brothers and I would put on a local classical station, and at midnight on Wednesdays they did the EAS test. If I couldn't sleep that night, I lost another hour.

      3 votes
    3. CALICO
      Link Parent
      We have sirens here on Kandahar Airfield for mortars and rocket attacks. Attacks used to happen so frequently that I'd got accustomed to them. (a dud rocket did once fuck up the dryer I had...

      We have sirens here on Kandahar Airfield for mortars and rocket attacks. Attacks used to happen so frequently that I'd got accustomed to them. (a dud rocket did once fuck up the dryer I had intended to put my clothes in—I was not present at the time—and that was kind of annoying)
      Except that ever since we had that nuclear war with Iran in January, I'm on edge for all of them since; when you're expecting the Big Voice to call out "ROCKET ATTACK" or "INCOMING", and instead you hear, "MISSILE ATTACK. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER", you'd be forgiven for shitting yourself a little bit as you run to a bunker.
      Ended up being a false alarm, but fuck brah now I go fight-or-flight until I hear that it's just a test or only rockets.

      3 votes
    4. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      Same. And to reenforce it, a few times it hasn't been a test. Usually a tornado. One time, it was a pandemic.

      Same. And to reenforce it, a few times it hasn't been a test. Usually a tornado. One time, it was a pandemic.

      2 votes
    5. balooga
      Link Parent
      The horrible grinding tone of the EAS is what does it for me, more than the "this is not a test" messaging.

      The horrible grinding tone of the EAS is what does it for me, more than the "this is not a test" messaging.

      1 vote
    6. Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      If you're me and TV has been synonymous with either Netflix, CNN or Fox news for as long as you can remember, this.

      If you're me and TV has been synonymous with either Netflix, CNN or Fox news for as long as you can remember, this.

  4. [4]
    hamstergeddon
    Link
    There's an early episode of The Magic School Bus where Miss Frizzle and the kids go inside of Arnold's body to learn about the digestive system. Well at some point in the episode there's a shot...

    There's an early episode of The Magic School Bus where Miss Frizzle and the kids go inside of Arnold's body to learn about the digestive system. Well at some point in the episode there's a shot where the kids are all talking to each other inside of the bus, while inside of Arnold's stomach. In the very back of the bus is Arnold just sitting there. Not talking, not even animated. Just sitting there inside of a bus that's inside of his own body.

    Obviously just some reused animation or a mistake or something, but the first time I saw it it freaked me out.

    7 votes
    1. Silbern
      Link Parent
      Duuude, I remember that episode! Holy hell, does that bring up some memories. I remember the flight episode with the remote control planes, and the one with the crocodile in the bathtub, and the...

      Duuude, I remember that episode! Holy hell, does that bring up some memories. I remember the flight episode with the remote control planes, and the one with the crocodile in the bathtub, and the episode about the triathalon. Good times man :)

      Oh shit, and to not get off topic, I nominate the scene where Arnold pulled off his helmet on Pluto and left us with this horrifying image as the series' peak scary moment. It really shocked me as a kid, I never thought they'd go there, and it's even creepier as an adult if you know the horrific effects that would cause. A really meta moment in what was otherwise a lighthearted kid's educational show, haha.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I had to look it up. It's just a recycled shot. I remember the episode, and that's a sharp eye you've got, but I could definitely see how it would make a kid uncomfortable.

      I had to look it up. It's just a recycled shot. I remember the episode, and that's a sharp eye you've got, but I could definitely see how it would make a kid uncomfortable.

      1 vote
      1. hamstergeddon
        Link Parent
        Oh I wasn't even a kid. This was a few years ago, in my 20s. It was just really weird.

        Oh I wasn't even a kid. This was a few years ago, in my 20s. It was just really weird.

        1 vote
  5. Wes
    Link
    Sprouting potatoes. Hate looking at them. Don't even like eating mashed potatoes which I know used to be sprouted. Irrational, yes. Still don't like those damned alien-looking tubers.

    Sprouting potatoes. Hate looking at them. Don't even like eating mashed potatoes which I know used to be sprouted.

    Irrational, yes. Still don't like those damned alien-looking tubers.

    6 votes
  6. [2]
    autumn
    Link
    I regularly have nightmares about being pregnant. (I’m a woman on very effective birth control.) Terrifying things where I end up with a kid I don’t want and am terrible at taking care of. It...

    I regularly have nightmares about being pregnant. (I’m a woman on very effective birth control.) Terrifying things where I end up with a kid I don’t want and am terrible at taking care of. It makes me queasy to think about. I’m better about handling other people being pregnant (that used to be worse), but I’ve never had the desire to touch a pregnant belly like many people do. It just seems alien to me.

    6 votes
    1. mrbig
      Link Parent
      As a man I seriously consider vasectomy.

      As a man I seriously consider vasectomy.

      2 votes
  7. kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    I was inspired to make this thread because I was lying in bed, in the dark, listening to music, when a track came on with an audio clip intended to sound like the broadcast from a numbers station....

    I was inspired to make this thread because I was lying in bed, in the dark, listening to music, when a track came on with an audio clip intended to sound like the broadcast from a numbers station. I immediately got head-to-toe willies and felt a discomfort spread through my entire body, buttressed by a minor bit of terror-in-the-dark panic. You know, the kind you get when it's 3 AM and you've awoken to an unexpected sound in your house.

    It's not the idea of a numbers station I find creepy but the actual broadcasts themselves. If I had to speculate, it's probably because I mentally link them to a sort of techno-horror -- the idea that the broadcasts come not from recordings but more from a sort of sentient computer/being. Something about a human-ish voice reading numbers in a slow, robotic way, manifests an uncomfortable image in my subconscious -- I have no mouth, and I must scream count.

    That said, this is pure supposition on my part. I really can't identify why they creep me out, only that they do. They pop up in post-rock albums sometimes and I always have to stop listening.

    To anyone interested, this was the track I was listening to. It's not the best example as it's actually intended to be a bit creepy (the game it's from has a small horror vibe in places), but even so, I can acknowledge that my response to it was completely disproportionate. It shouldn't be nearly as powerful as it is for me, but wow does it get under my skin.

    5 votes
  8. MimicSquid
    Link
    Anything sharp that might skewer my eyes if I fell or moved wrong. Low wrought iron fences, coathooks at or below eye height, people's hands coming at my face too quick... I had a bad experience...

    Anything sharp that might skewer my eyes if I fell or moved wrong. Low wrought iron fences, coathooks at or below eye height, people's hands coming at my face too quick... I had a bad experience when I was young and I can't handle sharp things near my face. Even the shower striking my face directly creeps me out.

    5 votes
  9. [6]
    CALICO
    Link
    Caves, I think. But only when I can't see the outside. I'm not claustrophobic by any means, but there's something about being subterranean in a geological feature that gives me the willies....

    Caves, I think. But only when I can't see the outside.
    I'm not claustrophobic by any means, but there's something about being subterranean in a geological feature that gives me the willies.
    Basements are fine. Subway tunnels are fine. Small spaces are fine. The dark is fine.
    Being inside the Earth, seeing nothing but earth and rock around me? I dunno what it is, but I do not like it.
    Like, what the fuck is this?.
    Are you kidding me?

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      hamstergeddon
      Link Parent
      Those caves where the only way into the deeper chambers is via a tiny gap you can barely fit through terrify me. What if there's an earthquake and you get smooshed mid-traverse? Or what if it...

      Those caves where the only way into the deeper chambers is via a tiny gap you can barely fit through terrify me. What if there's an earthquake and you get smooshed mid-traverse? Or what if it happens while you're on the other side and suddenly you don't fit in that gap any more? What if you get stuck in the gap and have to life the rest of your life as that weirdo stuck in a cave and you became a tourist attraction?!

      But of course it's a silly fear because I'm not stepping foot in a cave unless it's a guided tour like Luray Caverns. And I don't think those places have "try the small gap" part of the tour.

      4 votes
      1. frostycakes
        Link Parent
        I took a tour of a cave with my family as a kid that had two options, one the guided part that's all large open spaces, and the other the "real caving experience". I attempted to do that part with...

        I took a tour of a cave with my family as a kid that had two options, one the guided part that's all large open spaces, and the other the "real caving experience". I attempted to do that part with my stepdad, until we got to the first section that was barely wider than myself. I don't think I've ever felt as terrified in my life as I did crammed in between two rocks in the damp, warm dark with just my headlamp to see. Never fucking again, I was a teary mess by the end of that.

        And then you hear about stuff like Nutty Putty Cave, absolutely fucking not. Caving requires a special brand of crazy I definitely don't possess.

        2 votes
      2. joplin
        Link Parent
        Sounds similar to what happened to Floyd Collins. When I was a kid, my mother worked with a woman who was on the National Cave Research team and who had the keys to the cave where Mr. Collins got...

        What if you get stuck in the gap and have to life the rest of your life as that weirdo stuck in a cave and you became a tourist attraction?!

        Sounds similar to what happened to Floyd Collins. When I was a kid, my mother worked with a woman who was on the National Cave Research team and who had the keys to the cave where Mr. Collins got trapped and died. We took the whole family into the cave! His body was still there, in a coffin that was chained shut. But you could lift up the lid a little and see his body (it was under glass as described in the Wikipedia article). It also smelled like bananas because apparently the thieves who stole it in the late 1920s preserved it in banana oil. I guess we got lucky seeing it because according the above article the reinterred him in a local cemetery in 1989.

        2 votes
    2. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Have you ever seen those videos where the ground is riddled with these tiny pools of water, where someone jumps in one headfirst and comes out of another because they are actually tiny caves full...

      Have you ever seen those videos where the ground is riddled with these tiny pools of water, where someone jumps in one headfirst and comes out of another because they are actually tiny caves full of water?

      That's my nightmare.

      For christ's sake, what happens if it's blocked or you're not thin enough to get through! You have to awkwardly try to get out backward and hope you don't die from oxygen deprivation from the exertion.

      4 votes
  10. asoftbird
    Link
    Stairs, especially when holding cups of coffee or other open fluid containers. It's like l'm suddenly drunk or lost all control as l just can't walk up or down stairs while holding fluids. Same...

    Stairs, especially when holding cups of coffee or other open fluid containers. It's like l'm suddenly drunk or lost all control as l just can't walk up or down stairs while holding fluids. Same for solids, large or small. For this reason l really don't like stairs & avoid them if possible.

    Also, powerful machinery, but way more than l should. Take a power saw for example. Starts instantly, doesn't care what it's cutting through and cuts things quite nicely. You're supposed to be sort of afraid of that, because they're dangerous.

    But l can't use it like other people do, even if they work very safely. l would like to keep any appendages as far away as possible at all times. Bandsaw or regular saw are the only tools available? Regular saw it is, even if it takes 10 times longer.

    Considering l work in a workshop this is kiiiiiind of an issue. Though recently l've been working a lot with CNC machines and l love them. Can stay 12ft away from the business end and handle stuff by pushing buttons through remote control.
    No interference necessary. If l do end up needing to touch it, l'll power it off, even though that means l need to re-align the router head.

    3 votes
  11. [3]
    acdw
    Link
    Mold skeeves me out -- though not as much as it did when I was a teenager. Still gross as hell though.

    Mold skeeves me out -- though not as much as it did when I was a teenager. Still gross as hell though.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      kfwyre
      Link Parent
      That's a big one for me too. I'm pretty diligent about getting rid of things in the fridge that might turn to the dark and fuzzy side, but in the event that I miss something my husband has to take...

      That's a big one for me too. I'm pretty diligent about getting rid of things in the fridge that might turn to the dark and fuzzy side, but in the event that I miss something my husband has to take care of it. Weirds me right out.

      2 votes
      1. acdw
        Link Parent
        Right?! Like, it's the one main thing that I do NOT want to touch. Like, revulsion. I keep distance from other things, but mold is really the only revulsion.

        Right?! Like, it's the one main thing that I do NOT want to touch. Like, revulsion. I keep distance from other things, but mold is really the only revulsion.

        1 vote
  12. Smith
    Link
    People that don't move their arms when they walk. Fucking lizard people.

    People that don't move their arms when they walk. Fucking lizard people.

    2 votes
  13. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Moist things with some other moist things. I never had peanut butter and honey but it just seems to violate some fundamental rule of the universe. I also won’t put any gravy on mash potatoes.

    Moist things with some other moist things. I never had peanut butter and honey but it just seems to violate some fundamental rule of the universe.

    I also won’t put any gravy on mash potatoes.

    2 votes
  14. Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    This doesn't really "creep" me, I just kind of can't really enjoy it. That's coconut water. I just can't figure out why do some people enjoy it.

    This doesn't really "creep" me, I just kind of can't really enjoy it.

    That's coconut water. I just can't figure out why do some people enjoy it.