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12 of the Scariest Small Towns in America as Voted by Travelers

Exploring new places can be an exciting and eye-opening experience, but sometimes it can be downright creepy. Recently on an online platform, people have shared some small towns across the United States that have left a lasting impression on travelers due to their eerie atmosphere and strange occurrences.

1. Colorado City, AZ

Colorado City City Limits Sign Founded by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps / Shutterstock.com

Brace yourself for a chilling encounter in Colorado City, AZ, warns a lone adventurer. This fearless soul cautions that if you pass through this small town, you may be shadowed by several white SUVs. The eerie sensation of being trailed by unknown parties can be likened to a scene straight out of a horror flick. Other commenters agreed with this statement and had similar experiences while driving through. They suggested it is due to the town having a “cult” of sorts.

2. Hillsville, PA

One user shared an intriguing story about Hillsville, PA, known as “Zombieland.” According to local legends, the town has a haunted bridge, graveyard, and murder house. To begin the journey, one must light a torch in the woods, adding to the spookiness of the experience. The user mentioned visiting the town in high school and described a creepy underpass adorned with hundreds of statues of Mother Mary. To reach the top of the hills, one must drive up what feels like a 90-degree incline, making the journey even more eerie. 

3. Rulo, NE

Are you brave enough to explore Rulo, Nebraska, a small town with a dark, haunted past? An intrepid explorer describes this place as eerily empty, with numerous abandoned buildings. But what makes Rulo truly unsettling is its history as the home of a Christian Identity cult led by the infamous Michael Ryan. The cult’s atrocities, which included torture and murder of its members, have forever marked this town as a place with a disturbing past.

4. Skidmore, MO

Visit Skidmore, MO, but be prepared to encounter an unsettling history that still lingers. The town was once plagued by a bully named Ken McElroy, who terrorized residents with theft, rape, and intimidation. Eventually, the townspeople took matters into their own hands and gunned him down outside a local bar. Despite this, the memory of this event lingers, and visitors may notice an eerie vibe from the locals. Perhaps they are still affected by the unwanted attention and notoriety the town has garnered. Whatever the reason, the dark history of Skidmore will leave a lasting impression.

Orangeburg Confederate Memorial (in Orangeburg, South Carolina) on a rare winter day with a fresh dusting of snow. The monument was erected by Women of Orangeburg in 1893.
Photo credit: LesPalenik / Shutterstock.com

5. Orangeburg, SC

According to an explorer, Orangeburg, SC, is a small town that can leave visitors with an uneasy feeling. Despite being there for work, the town’s eerie quietness gave off a post-apocalyptic vibe, leaving the traveler feeling depressed. The hotel they stayed at was filled with drug activity, and the voyager even had to switch hotels in the middle of the night due to feeling unsafe. The week dragged on, and the sightseer left as soon as possible, relieved once they hit the highway. Orangeburg, SC, may only be suitable for some, as the oppressive atmosphere can be overwhelming. Several other commenters agreed with this and said they had similar feelings about Orangeburg. 

Cairo, Illinois - United States - March 19th, 2023: Old abandoned buildings and storefronts in Cairo, Illinois USA.
Photo credit: Eddie J. Rodriquez / Shutterstock.com

6. Cairo, IL

Cairo, Illinois, is a town that left a road tripper feeling uneasy after passing through it several times with their truck driver boyfriend. The town’s spooky and dark atmosphere was punctuated by the fact that the only open place was a Subway restaurant with all the lights in the parking lot turned off.  Upon further research, they discovered that a flood had devastated the town years before, leaving behind a desolate and eerie place that left them feeling discomfort.

7. Newtown, MO

A traveler recently visited Newtown, MO, and what they found there was far from comforting. The town’s eerie atmosphere was evident when they arrived, with perfectly lined trees, no noise, and identical houses made to look like they were from a bygone era. The downtown area was equally strange, with animal statues and buildings that resembled the Parthenon. This artificial, unnatural feel some travelers feeling like they were in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

HAWTHORNE, NV, USA - NOVEMBER 27, 2018: Buildings designed for harsh desert environments withstand the test of time.
Photo credit: Toshifumi Hotchi / Shutterstock.com

8. Hawthorne, NV

Another adventurer shared that Hawthorne, Nevada, is a small town shrouded in mystery and unease. The town’s naval base and rumored submarine tunnel to the Pacific Ocean only added to the unsettling vibe. When the traveler stopped for gas, they couldn’t shake the feeling that the locals were watching them. Hawthorne, Nevada, is not a place for those seeking peace and tranquility.

9. Many, LA

Embark on a journey to Many, Louisiana, but beware of the creepy ambiance that surrounds this small town. While the town boasts delicious Mexican food and a welcoming atmosphere, things get dark once you leave its confines. The roads leading out of town are in disrepair, and it can take up to 30 minutes to reach the highway. Along the way, you may come across abandoned houses hidden in the woods and wild dogs roaming. Some areas, such as Coushetta, are too dangerous even for the locals to venture into. With no cell service and a map that doesn’t match reality, the unsettling atmosphere around Manly will leave you feeling unease.

10. Samoa, CA

A visitor to Samoa, California, has described it as one of the creepiest small towns they have ever visited. The eerie energy of the place left a lasting impression on the traveler, who compared the atmosphere to the works of horror masters Stephen King, David Lynch, and John Carpenter. The unsettling vibe of Samoa, California, was so intense that the visitor invited others to confirm their feelings about the place.

11. Carpenter, WY

Carpenter, Wyoming, is a small town that left an unsettling impression on an explorer passing through. The desolate atmosphere of the town, coupled with the eerie vibes, left the traveler feeling uneasy. They only encountered a young girl outside the town hall, who stared at them with shaking heads as they drove by. This unsettling encounter only added to the mysterious vibe of Carpenter, Wyoming.

Aerial View of Downtown Gary, Indiana and its Steel Mill.
Photo credit: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock.com

12. Gary, IN

An adventurer recently shared their harrowing experience passing through Gary, Indiana, which left them with an unnerving feeling. The GPS had rerouted them through a neighborhood where they encountered a car burning for quite some time, yet no one was around. This unsettling scene convinced the traveler that Gary, Indiana, may be a town best avoided by those looking for a peaceful and safe journey.

Source: Reddit

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ATX City Skyline Texas Flag patriotic National Pride Displays the Lone Star State with a Colorful Austin Texas Skyline Cityscape Capital Cities Background on a Nice Sunny Summer Blue Sky Day
Editorial credit: Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock.com

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