October 20, 2023 | Scott Mazza

Skeletons In The Closet: People Share The Dark Secrets From Their Small Towns

When you live in a small town, you tend to know everything about everyone—and it’s not just about who just got a new job and who’s getting married. From illicit affairs to mysterious disappearances, small towns are full of dark secrets—and these Redditors came together to share the most jaw-dropping ones from their small towns. Buckle in, because you’re never going to look at your neighbor the same again.

1. How To Disappear Completely

15 years ago, the local district attorney called his longtime girlfriend and told her he was taking the day off from work and that he loved her. He parked his car in town and went for a stroll past the local shops. He hasn't been seen since. His car was found where he had parked it the next day—he had left his cellphone in the car, but his keys and wallet were missing.

Later that year, his laptop, without its hard drive, was found under a bridge at a nearby river. The hard drive was eventually discovered by a local woman walking along the bank of the river, but it was too damaged to recover any data from. Interestingly, investigators discovered that someone had done a search on his home computer for "how to wreck a hard drive."

Did he jump from a local bridge, did he encounter someone whom he had prosecuted who did him harm, or did he escape his life to start a new one?

Small Town Secrets

2. From Halfway To Nowhere

This is a sad one. There was an older couple here who ran a halfway house for troubled kids who’d recently gotten out of juvie, they fostered a few as well. They were loved in the community, wonderful people. One of the kids that they were taking care of had an older brother who was a gang member in the nearest big city.

During a visit, he snuck his brother, this 15-year-old kid, a handgun. The kid ended up holding up a local gas station and took down three people in the process—and the aftermath was utterly devastating. The foster parents lost whatever credentials they needed to do what they did, the kids they were taking care of went back into the system, and the giant house they lived in has been abandoned since around 2009.

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3. Above The Law

There was this girl that was in the grade above me. Years after we graduated, she became a teacher at the same school we both went to. She was very stuck up and thought she was better than everyone else. Apparently, she was working out at the weight room when one of her students came in, said hi to her, then went to the back with her. They were hooking up when someone walks in on them. It was a huge scandal.

You'd think she would be detained for something like this, but no. Her father was one of our football coaches/the health teacher and I’m sure he pleaded with the boy’s parents not to press charges. It must have worked, because she didn’t go away for it, but she did lose her job. Being “privileged” shouldn’t pardon you for your inexcusable actions.

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4. The Call Is Coming From Inside The House

My mom’s from a very small town, with just one main street with a single stoplight. Back then, I don’t know if they even had the stoplight. When she was a teen, there was a string of burglaries at the nicer houses. By the time law enforcement got there each time, the burglars were gone and so were the expensive items, like TVs. Since it was such a tiny town, this was a huge scandal. But the burglaries were nothing compared to who was behind them.

Law enforcement officers were the ones taking stuff from the houses! They’d take stuff when they knew the owners were out of town, and then would call themselves up so they could show up and act bamboozled that the burglars got away again.

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5. Turn Of The Tide

There's a half-submerged submarine from WWII in the bay where I live, you can walk out to it when the tide is out. In the late 80s, somebody cut open the hatch—one of the only visible parts left sticking out the sand—climbed in, and was having a look around. That’s when disaster struck. The tide came in and he drowned.

If I remember correctly, the whole hatch was filled with cement, then welded shut to stop it from happening again.

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6. A Cry For Help

In the county I lived in as a teen, we had a local soldier pass under some extremely questionable circumstances. They said he was high or experiencing mental distress and raided a nursery—the plant kind. It was reported that he was hunted by wasps and ran. He called 9-1-1 several times and claimed that someone was chasing him.

But then in the last 9-1-1 call, he suddenly said everything was fine. Just 14-15 minutes later, he was struck by a car, then run over two more times, and passed from his injuries. The autopsy showed no signs of bee or wasp stings. The connection to the nursery is because it was just up the road from where his body was found. The place was ransacked, trashed, money taken. But the man's wallet and phone were sitting on the counter, undisturbed.

However…the family was not ok with that explanation, especially because he had previously texted that there were some problems with the "local boys." So the family had a private investigator look into his passing. They analyzed the 9-1-1 recordings, and found several instances of other people talking in the background, though most of it couldn't be made out. Except for one, and its contents were chilling.

In the 9-1-1 call where the man told the operator that everything was fine, a male voice could be heard saying "Tell her." And the nursery? There was no DNA, no fingerprints, no footprints that lead back to the deceased man, even though his phone and wallet were there in the building. A lot of people, his family included, think he was taken out by some of the local guys after they got into a fight about something.

They chased him down, and caught him. He was able to run again after the final 9-1-1 call, and was hit by a driver while trying to get help. And law enforcement in the county covered the entire thing up because the boys involved were connected to the department somehow. Of the three drivers, none were charged for hitting/running over him.

I think only the first driver stopped, but it was discovered that one of the other drivers was connected to the department either through family or friendship. I wouldn't be too surprised since there is a lot of shady stuff happening in small town law enforcement departments, including covering up bad stuff committed by their own officers. I really hope his family gets him justice.

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7. Hot Tamale!

A few houses down from us, there was this older couple—a husband and wife. The husband would came out during the mornings with homemade donuts to sell, whereas the wife would come out during the night with tamales for sale as well. Everyone in the neighborhood knew them and liked them, until one day, the husband suddenly passed.

He had a massive heart attack, as old people do. Everyone came to give their condolences to the wife, who was destroyed. When the funeral came, there was no body because, as she said, her husband had already been cremated. Afterward, she kept on selling tamales. Some people complained that they tasted different…I think it's pretty obvious what happened.

That same night, some locals stormed into her house and found something there to confirm their suspicions. It had to be pretty disturbing, because my mom wouldn’t tell me what it was…

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8. Wild Horses Should Drag Him Away

The janitor of the school in my home town had the nickname “Schimmelreiter,” which means white horse rider. He got that nickname because he would sneak into the nearby stables and climb onto the horses there…without clothes. Oh, but it gets worse. Once up on the horse, he would start to pleasure himself. He got caught several times—and got a bloody nose several times too.

My father once got into an argument with the weirdo’s wife, because she blamed my father for her husband’s little obsession. Apparently, my father didn't lock his stable well enough. Yeah, like that's the real problem here.

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9. That’s Not Santa

A freshman at my school with Asperger’s had a really terrible home life. He was a problem child and often got in trouble on purpose, but no one went too hard on him because everyone knew how awful his parents were. In the end, he was a well-loved kid at school and in the community. Looking back, that just made what happened to him even worse.

One day just before holiday break in December, the freshman got really sick, but his mom sent him to school anyway. She locked him out of the house, so he decided to try and get into one of the empty houses down the street, through the chimney. Now this kid was the size of a second-grader, but he was still too big to fit through, since chimneys get thinner as they go down. His mom never answered her phone when the school reported him missing.

His awful mother actually went a whole day before reporting her kid missing. No one knew what had happened to him. It was about a month and a half—and then, the horrifying truth came out. We all thought he had run away and was alive somewhere. Maybe he went to his sister’s house. Nope. His body was found in the chimney.

The schools organized an entire week of counseling, they wore pink for a day and handed out little pink ribbons on pins for him since his favorite color was pink. Everyone was hit really hard by it. That's how our small town started 2020. It hasn't gotten any better, as you can imagine. So weird that its almost been a year now...

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10. Things Are Getting Heated

A female volunteer firefighter let the cat out of the bag that there apparently was, according to her, "Hanky-panky going on upstairs on the third level of the old firehouse, just above the pole." Some citizens thought that may explain why there had been so many delayed responses to emergency calls, but it was never proven.

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11. He Never Left

In my town, a local high school student went missing back in the 80s. Apparently, the chief of local law enforcement didn't like the father of the kid, so they didn't investigate the case very well and it went unsolved. The father went around all the time complaining about the department and the town council, saying that they were part of a cover-up.

15 years later, the kid’s body was found next to a popular walking trail downtown. It was almost in plain sight, in our downtown, for 15 years. I probably walked past without noticing it at least 100 times.

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12. Sweet’n High

I got fired from my first job bussing tables when I was like 13 for taking a dare to snort a line of Sweet’n Low sugar substitute when we had no customers. The boss had heard about it and flipped his lid. It turns out it was because he was—not so subtly—selling tons of nose candy out of the shop. It became a well-known front and he got busted shortly after.

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13. That’s Ice Cold

After like 20 years, the local grocery store closed to finally remodel. I remember my mom always saying the store smelled weird. Well, during the remodel, they made a chilling discovery. They found a body of a man that had been missing for decades. He had hidden behind a freezer, gotten stuck, passed out, and perished. No one found him until they took the building apart.

Totally Bizarre ExesFreepik,wayhomestudio

14. I Am Jack’s Towel-Wrapped Hand

When I was growing up, the popular kids in high school ran a secret “towel fight club.” For the uninitiated, a towel fight club if when you tape towels over your hands and beat each other up. It’s supposed to be just boxing, but it quickly spun out of control and could hardly be called boxing. What do I mean by “out of control?” Well…

During one of their “sessions,” one of the kids participating actually passed. It happened in the house of a local politician, who proceeded to bury the story.


15. Not Enough Bleach In The World

The whole town is only eight miles in area, with a population around 40,000 people. A lot of those people are homeless, with addiction issues, or mentally disadvantaged (mostly schizophrenia). There was this really old house, built in 1904, which was all but abandoned. The owner no longer lived there, and when they passed on, their family went to clean out/claim the house.

What they found was utterly jaw-dropping. It had become a homeless camp, with about 40 people living in a house that was under 2,000 square feet. They found 10 bodies, the walls were covered in poop, and they had hoarded so much garbage in the upstairs that the floor was collapsing. In any other situation, I’d imagine that the owners would just knock it to the ground, but the house is historical, so they’re restoring it to its former glory.

So far, they've cleaned what they can, removed and destroyed what they couldn't. They replaced the roof, repaired the collapsing structure, but everything that’s happened in 2020 has slowed it down tremendously. Best part? It never made the news. Its story lives on in the residents of my town.

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16. Skeletons In The Closet

My town has a pretty large ongoing case about the disappearance of a young man named Dylan. Dylan went missing like seven or eight years ago and there was a huge search for him, which resulted in someone finding his scattered remains in the mountains around our town. His father was the main suspect and law enforcement found out some horrific things about him while investigating.

It’s rumored that there were pictures of the father indulging his secret passion. Which involves wearing diapers…and eating out of them. People have pretty much come to the conclusion that the whack job got rid of his kid after he found the pictures of his dad. The case is still ongoing and really really messed up.

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17. Explosive Secrets

I grew up on a street where I played with all the other neighborhood kids. It has significantly less traffic so it became our road hockey, big group games street. Anyway, it turned out to be the location of a massive collection of homemade explosives. This was discovered when law enforcement were looking for the owner’s son, who was a suspect in a completely different case.

The amount of explosives would have leveled the entire neighborhood. When I first heard about the story, I was overseas. When I came home people asked me if I heard the news and I was pretty calm with my reaction. Then they told me the address—I nearly lost my mind. It was five houses away from mine and directly across the street from my best friend.

We most definitely played hide and seek on this dude’s property many times. Both the old man and the son are still behind bars.

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18. Rest In Pieces

The funeral director in my home town had a bad habit. Instead of spending money on cremating bodies, he spent it on illicit substances, while leaving bodies to rot back in casket storage. He’d spray them with spray-on deodorant to cover the odor. Bodies were also buried in the wrong graves, and fake ashes were given to families.

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19. The Easy Way Out

Last year a wealthy woman went missing amidst a messy divorce with her husband. I knew her and her children well. I taught three of her five kids how to swim for the past five-ish summers. We were told to never let the children leave with the father, even though he showed up and tried to take the kids a few times. She was a very sweet woman and everyone was kind of shocked she disappeared.

Weeks go on, and no trace of her. Finally, they start investigating the husband and his new girlfriend. The investigation goes on and on, he denies any kind of involvement. Later they find pieces of the woman’s clothing in dumpsters scattered around the state but no trace of her. Eventually, they trace a bloodstain to the garage of the husband’s house.

He gives some stupid story of how there was a fight and she got pushed. Finally, when it seems they have a case against him, he turns up unconscious in his own garage, in the driver’s seat of his car with the engine running, with a note. He was still alive and they rushed him to a hospital with a hyperbolic chamber.

A few days later he passed on in the hospital without ever admitting to it.

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20. Don’t They Watch Horror Movies?

In my town, there's an amusement park that was built on top of an old cemetery. The company running the park said there was nothing to worry about…but it wasn’t true. They found a hand at the bottom of a pool. There was also a cross next to the body's hand. That was days after the opening. When the park inevitably closed, everything was left in there.

Several urban explorers found Some strange marks on walls and screams seemed to be heard at some ends of the park—but that’s not the most terrifying part. According to them, they saw a statue of Snow White that was blinking and turning its head. And as if that wasn’t enough, it’s believed that a trapped child’s cry for help can be heard in a water well.

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21. A Cross To Bear

We have a vineyard hill next to our village, on that hill there's a big wooden cross, lots of people go there to drink, have a walk or with their dogs, but almost nobody knows why the cross is here. One day I decided to look into it—and uncovered an absolutely heartbreaking story. Decades earlier, a vineyard keeper lived there with his son.

His son was recruited during WWII and the man was left alone. When it ended, his son made the journey home. He wanted to "prank" his dad by sneaking on him at night. But vineyard keeper saw him and thought he was a burglar, so he grabbed his piece and shot the burglar. When he found out it was his son, it broke his heart.

He dug a grave on top of the hill for his son and erected a big wooden cross next to the grave. When he was done, he laid next to his son and shot himself. From that day, no one worked on the vineyards and they left that big wooden cross on top of the hill. It’s been so many years now that you can't even recognize there's a grave.

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22. Blessed Be The Fruit

I’m from a village of 35 people. There’s a main church here that holds 40 people, but every farm also a small private one. So this one old mini church is only big enough for a priest and four guests—and it had a bizarre reputation. It was known for helping make women who were having trouble conceiving “extra” fertile.

From the late 30s to the early 80s, the priest would insist the women pray to certain saint and then—boom—they’d get pregnant. Well, it came out around 2005 that this all had more to do with the farmer who owned the church than any obscure saint. God only knows how many children this man has. To this day still, there are about two to three times a year when a full bus of elderly ladies comes here to visit the place and pay their respects. I suspect that it’s the same women who used the church’s services back when.

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23. Amber Alert

I grew up in a very small town. I was raised from birth there; third generation to do so. Currently, the town’s population is over 100,000, but at the time, in the 90s, the population hovered around 1,200 people. There were 69 kids in my graduating class in 2000, for reference. Some of the children in school I’d known since daycare days.

One in particular was a sweet but misunderstood girl named Amber. I enjoyed playing with her and even spent the night with her a couple of times. Her parents were divorced and she lived with her dad, even though her mom also lived nearby. Her mom was “interesting,” according to my parents. Amber ended up moving away and though I was sad, I didn’t think much of it.

A few years pass and finally, I was old enough to learn the dark truth. Amber’s mom babysat a baby boy for a family in the next town over. She suddenly disappeared one day with the baby boy. The family was understandably freaked out and worried. Amber’s mom was finally tracked down at a relative’s residence in another state. There was no baby boy with her though.

It turns out that she had “dropped” him and he passed. She panicked and decided to bury him out in the country off a major interstate highway. It’s such a sad story…

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24. The Bloody Boogeyman

In my town, it’s rumored that if you harm anyone in your family, you get drowned by a man made of blood. I didn’t believe it at first, but almost all of the people who’ve hurt someone in their family have ended up drowned within the next week. It’s happened so much that I’m starting to believe the story is actually true.

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25. Stranger Danger

This is my sister’s story. I was five years old and she was 11 years old at the time. I lived in Georgia for a few months while my parents were deployed there, and we stayed on a base in a relatively small area. In our neighborhood, everyone knew everyone and since ours was connected to a civilian neighborhood, we would all play together.

I was on a walk with my older sister and apparently, this old man started following us. We didn’t notice at first but he started walking faster. When he got too close, my sister turned around and he walked up to a house and went up to the door. My sister started to freak out and we hurried home. She told our mom and she asked around. No one knew who that guy was.

She contacted the president of the homeowners’ association of the nearby neighborhood and he said the same thing, that he didn’t know who he was. Later, we found out the disturbing truth. After we saw him, he had tried to take another kid that lived a few houses down from us. There was a full investigation and my sister had to give a statement.

I'll never stop being grateful to my sister, cause we could have gotten nabbed that day.

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26. The Word Hangover Doesn’t Quite Cover It

There was a woman who was cheating on her husband and got pregnant with her lover. When she had the child, it was quite clearly not the husband’s child, so he kicked her out of the house. The woman broke down and went out drinking, then when she was about to return to her husband she did something so disturbing, it’s unforgettable.

She picked her baby up, dropped it down a rubbish chute, and left it there. The next morning she remembered what she did and went back to find the baby, but of course, only people with access to the shoot can go inside. She had to wait hours, maybe longer, for someone to unlock it and go inside. The baby was long gone by then.

The woman took her own life after. This developed into a ghost story later. People say you can hear the baby crying from inside the rubbish shoot, and you can hear the woman crying on one of the stairways.

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27. Creepspotting

In the 90s, the woods that overlooked my town were a suspected site of some shady stuff. People said that kids had gone missing up there, as well as other weird stuff happening, so eventually, the town fenced the area off. I always thought it was just a local legend, until one day. In early December of each year, the school would organize a carol singing event where students and their parents go into town and sing door to door.

One year when we were done, we went to an area near the woods and waited for our , my friends, me and a few adults noticed a guy up behind the wire fence amongst the trees overlooking the school, just watching the kids from the shadows. I think as soon as enough of us were looking up in his direction he realized he’d been seen, and retreated further into the woods.

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28. Turning A Blind Eye

This guy was blue collar, but then ran for local political office. He came home one day to find a man on top of his wife of seven years. He whips out a piece and shoots the guy a few times. Somehow, the other man survives. That’s how this guy, the husband, find out that his wife has been cheating on him. Here’s where it gets dirty.

So…law enforcement want to press charges against him. They claim that he “knew his wife played around” so he couldn’t have been surprised when he walked in on her that day. Then, the District Attorney comes to him and tells him to stop running for office and withdraw. He does and magically…the charges go away. No problem here, folks!

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29. Hiding In Plain Sight

About a decade ago, things got really dangerous in my small town. It was really bad because one cartel tried to displace the other, and because we're a teeny town across the border from the US, we're prime real estate. However, when they weren't tearing each other up in the streets, they would get rid of their rivals until eventually, one cartel managed to keep the town.

One thing that baffled the authorities was their stealth. They came out of nowhere, struck their target and vanished into the shadows. That may be possible for a small unit or even a lone agent, but that's unheard of in a larger group. Federal investigations were made, and no one was able to find the headquarters.

It had to be big because they had arms, vehicles, metal shops, dorms, kitchens, and equipment to dispose of their rivals. They looked everywhere: nearby ranches, warehouses, junkyards…nothing. Until they looked were no one thought to look. A few kilometers outside of my town is a fully operational state lock-up that they were using as their headquarters.

Everyone was in on it, from the inmates to the guards to the warden to the governor. People were taken there, burned in steel drums, and the drums were dumped in a nearby river. Since then the operation has been shut down, and the former governor is a wanted man by Interpol. Pretty insane for a town of less than 200,000 people.

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30. The Frogurt Is Also Cursed

Some dude that owned a frozen yogurt shop had a breakdown and knocked one of his female employees unconscious. She woke up inside this soundproof room that he had built inside said yogurt shop, bound up, and wearing a friggin' diaper. Miraculously, she managed to escape and call law enforcement. They took in her boss on the spot.

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31. A Silent Scream

A couple of houses down from my granny, there was this couple with a five-year-old autistic son. One day, the husband goes missing. The wife says he just walked out. But his family files a missing person report, because that’s not like him. Law enforcement shows up to investigate and the wife tells them not to go in the basement, because there was just a water leak.

If you can believe it, they say okay and don’t even bother looking down there. Later, the disturbing truth came out. She was keeping his body down there. The messed up part is that the kid was in the house the whole time, but couldn’t say anything to anyone about it, because he’s non-verbal. Law enforcement messed up big time.

The guy's parents ended up hiring a private investigator to figure out what happened.

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32. Cold As Charity

There was this small local charity society that met at a local restaurant. One of the biggest things they did was a clothing and food drive, usually around the holidays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They would take donations throughout the year, but this was the only time they advertised it, or had members actively out collecting clothing and canned food.

There were rumors that some members would use these donations to lure in homeless people in a large adjacent city and off them. There was an investigation by law enforcement, but it went nowhere. However, there was a dark twist—around that time of year, in that city, there was always a spike in missing persons reports. Weird, right?

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33. Some Questions Are Never Answered

A young teenager went missing where I live. She was my older brother's age, and would be in her mid-40s by now. My hometown is a very small one on the coast of Australia with plenty of bushland that meets dense creeks and mangroves. I was playing football for the local team when I was around 13, and my friends and I would always explore the bush behind the footy fields before training after school.

One time, we found a burnt tent with a burnt wallet and some cards and a purse. We told our coach, and after that, law enforcement showed up and we were not allowed to go back down there again after that. Years later I got a job with the local council with a friend that played football with me. We got assigned to a crew with an older man in it.

He was very particular with his job and constantly made sure his hands were clean and everything was perfect. He was always so grumpy and would fly off the handle at the smallest imperfections. My friend and I thought he was just some grumpy weird old guy. I came home and told my brother about him—that’s when I learned the gut-wrenching truth about the man. 

My brother explained he was the father of the girl who went missing all those years ago. He told me that a skate park was being built back then. Before the cement trucks came to unload, the father was there trying to pull the tarps up because he was sure his daughter was buried under there. To this day, I don't think they have found out what happened to her.

Someone became a suspect but I don't remember hearing about it going any further. I felt horrible for him, the work I was doing for the council only lasted a few months so when the time came to move on, I shook his hand and left it at that. Looking back now he would have to be one of the hardest-working men there.

Having had daughters of my own since then, I can now understand sort of the struggles he faced every day.

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34. The Devil Is In The Details

Gardiner, Maine. A small, idyllic town that I will always have fond memories of—but it has a twisted side. It’s known to have an active cult that is very secretive and supposedly related to devil worship—not to be confused with Satanists. Every time I visit I can’t help but think some of these super nice locals are a part of it. This is something I didn’t learn until I was much older, but the state supposedly has a lot of cult activity.

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35. Hiding In Plain Sight

There were rumors that a man in town had been on the wrong side of things during WWII, but a lot of people said that you can't claim that everyone that moved to the US shortly after WWII with a German-y accent was on the wrong side of the conflict. After all, there were a lot of innocent people that moved here. Then, one day, the government shows up at his door, which of course, fuels the rumor mill.

But nothing happens afterward, they don't come back, and the man continues living in peace. We come to find out several years later, that the government group were investigating bad men who escaped Germany after WWII. They came to accuse him. He told them: "Find something with my signature, I have done nothing wrong.”

Then, the Soviet Union fell, and it turns out that some of the records kept by the Soviets included incriminating details about WWII. Lithuania had page after page after page of his signature on warrants, I think they even had a picture of him and a pit. He was extradited and put behind bars—and that’s where he eventually passed on.

Whenever you'd bring it up in my town, an older person would always tell you that that was just rumors and it never happened. Despite the news story from the LA Times and the extensive records at the Holocaust Museum, everyone claims there wasn't a German officer hiding in our town for almost 50 years, and that a town like ours would never harbor someone like that.

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36. Preacher Comforts

The pastor was sleeping with a number of married women that he was supposedly counseling. It’s amazing, because he was no prize. The best part? It all came undone because one of the housewives he was shagging found out about another housewife he had banged, and she was jealous, so she showed up at the other lady's house...

It was a complete disaster that only became even funnier when the pastor confessed to the congregation on a Sunday. Half the crowd wanted to go across the street to the other church.

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37. Hold Your Horses

My high school had a farm on campus. We had an Agricultural Science program and everything, so the farm was a natural fit. There were horses, a cow, pigs, chickens, alpacas, etc. at any given time, which had mostly been donated to the school. The year or two before I started there, the seniors decided to play a prank and release the farm animals in the school one night.

In my mind, not a bad prank, kinda funny overall if planned right—but sadly, it took a chilling turn. Our school is three stories tall and they didn't think to close the doors to the staircases. I don’t know if you've ever seen a horse on a slick surface—like well-waxed school floors—but it isn't a pretty sight. Combined with the fact that they can't really go down stairs...I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Unfortunately, the horse broke its leg and had to be put to sleep. Of course, the school was looking to press charges on whoever had a hand in it, but nobody said anything. People DEFINITELY knew who did it. It was the talk of the school just about up until I graduated. But no one said a word, and now it's just a dark secret that someone's carrying around with them.

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38. Get A Room

In my town, we have a dude who absolutely will not stop using inflatable pool toys in public…to pleasure himself. Like orcas and dolphins. It just keeps happening year after year.

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39. A Recipe For Disaster

In the mid-2000s, a super nice Chinese restaurant was built in our town. The owners were a young couple with a baby. They ran the restaurant downstairs and lived upstairs. It was a popular place and probably one of the nicest restaurants in the area. I was a child back then but my mum said that it was a well-decorated, quite fancy place, with the best food around.

Needless to say, this place and the owners were loved and well-liked in town…which makes what happened next even sadder. One night, around midnight, the husband of a waitress was worried because she didn't came home. He drove to the Chinese restaurant. He found her, another waitress, the cook, and the owners lying on the floor, each executed with one precise shot.

The baby was still alive. No one had heard anything, the restaurant had shut down only an hour before. Law enforcement arrived and turned the whole house on its head. Special units from the nearby city were called in. It was absolute chaos. Patrols were controlling cars on all highways and larger streets. The flat of the couple had been searched by the culprits.

They had taken a laptop and a bit of jewelry but there were still a lot of things off value in the house. In the next couple of days, law enforcement managed to find and catch those responsible, who were five men in a van. They said that it had been a burglary and are still in lock-up but nobody actually believes that.

We still don't really know why everyone had to be offed like that. There hasn't been a place selling Asian food in town until like 2015, but that place burned down last year. It was never rebuilt. It's ridiculous but most here believe that owning a place selling Asian food is some kind of curse in our town.

Small town secretsUnsplash

40. Bad Timing

A woman went missing on 9/12/2001. Due to everything happening, all the local emergency crews had gone to NYC, leaving no one to conduct a thorough search of the property where she’d lived. Later, they found blood, signs of a struggle, etc. in the home, but no body was ever discovered. Whoever did it had days before a proper investigation was done, allowing them to get rid of valuable evidence.

Her ex-husband has been on trial four times, but is always found not guilty.

Small town secretsPexels

41. M Is For Misdirection

A friend announced that he was going to run for mayor of the town he lived in. The town was probably around 4,000 people or a little more, but was a sister city to a bigger town across the river, so the mayor actually had a little bit of power. A couple of days after he announced his run, he noticed something strange: law enforcement kept driving by his place.

They would stop and run the plate of every person that visited his house. They would then pull those people over and give them a “warning” about a minor infraction. I was pulled over five times in two weeks because I "didn't fully stop at that stop sign." Then, flyers start getting put up about how my friend was super corrupt, only running for mayor to make money, and so on.

Eventually, he dropped out because he didn't want to deal with it and tada! No more corruption accusations.

Small town secretsShutterstock

42. Right Place, Wrong Time

A house burned down in this small town of 600 people, just one block from the fire station. Since it was a volunteer fire department, nobody was at the station. They tried to get the pumper truck out, but one of the volunteers had run it into a brick building the week before and it was still at the shop. We're still undecided about whether the house owner burned it down for the insurance.

There was nothing valuable left inside the house—strange, right? It’s more comical than dark, but it’s definitely small town stuff.

Petty 911Unsplash

43. Money Can’t Buy Happiness

The town I was raised in wasn't exactly small, but here's the one "dark secret" I know. My hometown was where lots and lots of sports players had their mansions. And so of course, their wives and children were out and about in the community a lot. Every single sports-player-wife in that town was (is?) dealing with a serious addiction to opioids. Every, single, one.

This kind of problem is obviously an issue all over the country, but among the rich wives in the town, it had a 100% 'infection' rate, so to speak. I know because one of the sports player wives passed from addiction a few months after moving to our town. It was sad. She was troubled, but she was so kind. She even gave the homeless man in town an iPhone just out of the goodness of her heart.

Small town secretsUnsplash

44. Smile, You’re On Candid Camera

The new chief’s bachelor party was held at the local bar. It was captured on video when video was still new. Afterward, law enforcement broke in to the place looking for the tape but didn’t get it. The new chief lost the job within a month.

Small town secretsUnsplash

45. Permit One

Not far from me, some years back a farmer decided to extend his farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere. He didn't get planning permission—which is needed here if you want to build anything worthwhile—and somehow the authorities caught up with him and ordered him to knock it down. He said no, it was his land, it wasn't harming anyone, that's that.

It gained local media attention, TV cameras turned up and this man suddenly had cameras in his face and his name known all around town. Because of the attention, the authorities made sure to make an example out of him and kept pressing. They were sneakily trying to demolish his property during the night while he was sleeping. That’s when it took a dark turn. 

One day when law enforcement turned up to enforce things, he pulled out a piece, there was a short stand-off all caught on camera, and point blank shot one officer. Of course, it's never right to do such a thing, but I can't imagine the mental and emotional strain put on this man who just wanted to live in peace only to suddenly have his face splattered everywhere.

He got sent behind bars for his actions, and passed on shortly after being released.

Small town secretsUnsplash

46. Stranger Than Fiction

So, a woman wrote what was essentially a tell-all bodice ripper about the doctor-patient scandals going on in my small town. I believe she had recently moved there, and was disgusted when she heard about it, whereas all the residents were either in on it or totally dedicated to maintaining the fiction of the "pure" town.

She was sued for libel, although I'm not sure what the result was. She was also harassed quite substantially and her house was vandalized. The local chief at the time had warned her that it would happen but, of course, did nothing to prevent it. The original printing run of the book was about 200,000 copies, most of which have now vanished.

When it pops up, it usually sells for around $500. If you find a copy, odds are you'll find notes in the margins trying to piece together who was who.

Small town secretsPexels

47. A Secret Literally Carried To The Grave

Sometime in the early 90s, my brother passed on in a car crash. For years I grew up idolizing him. My family held him in a very high esteem: He was going to be a lawyer and his loss was seen as the worst possible tragedy. When I was 16, I discovered a box hidden in a compartment in his closet. What I found inside made my blood run cold. There were journals, sketches, and essentially a plan to take and get rid of a girl from his school.

Whether this would have ever come to fruition or was just a fantasy, I’ll never know…but it messed me up for a good few years.

Paranormal emergencyShutterstock

48. Search Party

A few years ago, a boy who was around my age—he would be 23 by now if he was still around—was up at his family cabin in the mountains. He was from the next province over, and was living there to work at the ski resort during the winter holiday. One night he went to a party at a house. He only lived a five-minute walk from there.

He was walking home with some friends, and when one of his friends looked back, he was gone. Just vanished into thin air. There was a search for him, but he was never found. And here's the weird part: There was no struggle or any footprints in the snow. Law enforcement asked the people who were at the party but a lot refused to answer questions about what happened or said they didn’t know. He’s been missing for three years now, I think.

Sadly, his mom hasn’t stopped looking for him and she goes to their cabin once a month for a few days to search for him. She is aware at this point he most likely passed but she wants to find him so that she can be at peace. Many think that the people who were at the party know exactly what happened to the kid, so there could possibly be a secret we don’t know about.

Small town secretsUnsplash

49. An Huge Surprise

There was an old man who would cut, chop, and stack his own firewood all summer and fall to heat his house during the winter. One year, someone started taking wood from his pile at night. Which was really unnecessary because if they had just asked him he probably would have given them whatever they needed.

It went on for a few weeks and the local cop couldn’t really do anything about it. So the old man came up with a chilling plan. He bored holes into a few logs and filled them with black powder and plugged the bores. Like a week later, a house on the other side of town’s fireplace went up in flames. No one said anything at all. We pretty much all agreed they deserved it.

Small town secretsPixabay

50. They Say He’s A Real Blockhead

We grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in my state. It was really rough. Anyway, 80s childhood being what it was, we used to ride our bikes everywhere, regardless of danger. Our home street was divided into three parts. The upper and middle parts were relatively okay in the daytime. The lower part was off limits no matter what, because that’s where the creeps and dealers lived.

We moved out finally and went somewhere a lot safer. Years pass. Our old neighborhood makes the news every so often for various outrages. One day, I saw in the newspaper that a woman had recently been found deceased in her house—she’d been sitting there for a month on her couch. It was already sad, but then things took a horrific turn. 

When authorities showed up to deal with the situation, they discovered a big slab of cement in a strange place in the backyard. A neighbor told them that they’d frequently seen her at night sitting near and talking to the slab. If you knew how strange the people were in our neighborhood were, you’d have brushed this off as yet another weirdo.

Well, it turns out it was her husband. Only they weren’t officially married, so when he passed on—it was suspected to be natural causes, surprisingly—she  couldn’t live without his Social Security check every month, so she buried him in the backyard and kept up the pretense that he was alive and living with his out-of-state relatives.

We used to ride by that house frequently when he was already buried in the yard. Oh, the 1980s.

Small town secretsShutterstock

Sources:  Reddit


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