A lot of small towns seem idyllic.
Places where danger stops at the city limits and neighbors are more like family.
When you’re dealing with families, though, you know sometimes they can be harboring a dark side – and almost every small town in America has at least one dark secret.
These people are sharing theirs and they’re pretty wild.
Check them out.
1. Kids will be…terrible.
Oh I have a doozy. Short version: popular kids in high school run a secret towel fight club and accidentally k**l one of their friends in the house of a local politician, who proceeds to bury the story.
Towel fight club: tape towels over your hands and beat each other up. It’s supposed to be just boxing but it sounds like they got out of control and hardly could call it that.
2. What a horrible human being.
This was around 15 years ago, but there was a Sheriff’s Deputy that was seemingly a really cool guy. Friendly, cracked a lot of great jokes, etc. He was working at the local high school as a School Resource Officer and was apparently almost universally well regarded.
Well, it turns out that he repeatedly r**ed a 14 year old. He told the boy that he’d k**l his parents if he reported the officer. I don’t remember all the details, but I believe this went on for weeks or months before it was found out and the officer was arrested and eventually went to prison.
3. My heart.
This is a sad one to me. 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 them had an older brother who was a gangbanger in the nearest big city. During a visit, he snuck his 15 year old younger bro a handgun. Younger bro ended up holding up a local gas station and k**led three people. One of them was my friend’s cousin.
The foster parents lost whatever credentials they needed to do what they did, the kids went back into the system, and the giant house has been abandoned since around 2009.
4. He wasn’t alone.
Ours was a football coach and history teacher.
When he was coaching, we won almost every game. When he wasn’t, we lost most of them, so I had to assume that meant he was a great coach. I had him for 2 history classes and even though his jokes were mean and inappropriate, we loved it and learned a lot. He had the highest test scores out of all the history teachers in our school.
A little over a decade after I graduated, he went to jail for s**ually assaulting a 15-year-old girl. I wish I could feel like justice was served, but we had several male teachers who regularly made inappropriate passes and gestures towards the female students (starting at age 11) like spanking us and making us sit still while they gave us awkward massages. He was not one of those teachers…
5. At least they fixed it.
There’s a half submerged submarine from the war 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 at was having a look around.
The tide came in and he drowned. If I remember rightly the whole hatch was filled with cement, then welded shut to stop it happening again.
6. Truly tragic.
Two sisters got picked up by a group of men.
Both were r**ed and thrown off a bridge that is 45 minutes outside of town.
One sister survived but Later in life went back and jumped off the bridge.
7. All too common.
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?) heavily addicted to opioids. Every, single, one. Opioid addiction is obviously an epidemic 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 my friend’s mom was the hairdresser for basically every single one of those wives. I was homeless my senior year of HS, and one of the sports player wives heard about me from her, and she gifted me an iPhone. That phone was pennies to her, but I still wish I’d expressed my thanks more, because that wife d**d of an overdose not long after.
8. A bit of a bungle.
This is more comical than dark.
A house burned down in this small town of 600 population. One block from the fire station. It being 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 whether the house owner burned it down for the insurance. Strange that there was nothing valuable inside.
9. Only one reason to go there.
Our local pizza place was a known KKK hub.
Everyone knew it, and still to this day, if you Google “[town] kkk” the first thing that pops up is this pizza shop.
They had some nasty pizza too.
10. We may never know.
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, sans 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?
11. It’s hard to blame them.
About 30 years ago a local 8 yo girl went missing during the annual carnival downtown. After a few days they found a suspect that was seen near the girl right before she went missing.
The guy confessed to her horrific m**der And r**e and t**ture. He was the kids next door neighbor and friend to the kid’s dad. ( I’ll spare the details but it was really bad). He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years or so.
After 8 years he was paroled and returned to the same house with his parents, right next door (laws were a bit different then) to the family of the girl and former friend.
About a week later the man never showed up at his parole office. His parents filed a missing persons report.
Rumor has it that several friends of the victims father took care of him. If you talk to them they just say that they are sure that he won’t be back.
12. One wild ride.
I don’t know if it’s considered a dark secret, but we had a soldier d** under some extremely questionable circumstances.
They said he was high/dr**k/experiencing mental distress and raided a nursery (the plant kind). They claimed he was attacked by wasps and ran.
He called 911 several times and claimed that someone was chasing him, and was trying to kidnap him. In the last 911 call, he said everything was fine suddenly.
Just 14-15 minutes later, he was struck by a woman who stopped and called 911. He was ran over 2 more times, and d**d. The autopsy showed no signs of bee or wasp stings.
The connection to the nursery is due to the fact that it was just up the road from where he d**d, the place was ransacked, pizza eaten, money taken. But his 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” since the soldier wasn’t from this part of the state. So the family had a private investigator look into it. They analyzed the 911 recordings, and found several instances of other people talking in the background, though most of it couldn’t be made out. Except one. In the 911 call where he 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 soldier, even though his phone and wallet were there in the building.
A lot of people, his family included, think he was k**led by some of the local guys there after they got into a fight about something. They chased him down, and caught him. He was able to run again after the final 911 call, and was hit by a driver while trying to get help. And the police 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.
It’s a crazy story, but you can look it up. Just search Austin McGeough. I wouldn’t be too surprised since there is a lot of shady stuff happening in small town police departments, including covering up r**es that officers commit. I really hope his family gets him justice.
A guy owned a bar across the street from his house, where he lived with his wife, daughter, and granddaughter who was 5. He had a contractor working on the house.
Grandma, who took care of the child during the day, thought it would be no big deal leaving the child sleeping while she went quickly to the market.
Next thing… is the Grandpa sees the contractor running to his car and leaving the house. Curious he went home to find out what happened, only to find his granddaughter crying with blood between her legs.
After the grandmother came back… he left the child with her, went back to the bar, got his gun, and threw the keys to one of his regulars asking him to close the bar because he had to k**l someone.
When he arrived at the contractor’s home, he wasn’t there. He then spent the next 2 weeks surveying his home 24/7. Until the rapist probably thought the cost was clear… and returns home. Grandpa sees him… breaks the door, k**l the guy in front of his parents, then leaves… going directly to the precinct where he surrenders his gun and makes a full confection detailing everything.
He was tried for premeditate m**der… prosecution had all the evidence… testimony from his friends and parents of the rapist… the m**der weapon… his confession. It’s was a close and shut case. Jury voted 7-0 not guilty. (In Brazil there’s 7 jurors and you only need a majority to convict, and not unanimous like the US)
14. Just horrible.
A freshman with aspergers was being abused by his family at home. He was a problem child and got in trouble on purpose but no one went too hard on him because of his home life, he was a well loved kid at school and in the community. One day just before Holiday break in December he was really sick but his mom sent him to school anyway. Locked him out of the house.
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 2nd grader, but he was too big to fit through since chimneys taper down thinner.
Mom never answered her phone when the school reported him missing. Went a whole day without reporting her kid missing. No one knew what happened to him.
It was about a month and a half before we knew what happened to him. We all thought he ran away, was alive somewhere, maybe went to his sisters house. Nope. D**d in a chimney.
The schools organized an entire week of counseling and such, 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 see. So weird that its almost been a year now..
15. I’d say that qualifies as dark.
About 10 years ago a lot of homeless people disappeared and when the police did the investigation they found out a guy was kidnapping and eating those people.
Police found his hideout and found a half eaten body and bones from another person. People don’t like to talk about it but everyone knows what happened.
16. Talk about eccentric.
We had a crazy rich guy from the 1600-1700s who saw people robbing a grave one night so decided that when he d**d he would be laid to rest in the roof of a barn behind his house.
He believed he’d only be d**d for 30 years so requested that they lock the barn and put the key in his coffin so he could get out but nobody could get in. He requested that whoever inherited his house, fortune and belongings would have to give them back to him when he resurrected.
He did actually get his wish but of course he was never resurrected, people stole his bones and his house is a dentist now.
17. Mob justice. Shudder.
Back in the 80’s a couple were driving a motorcycle when they were stopped by three men, who then r**ed the woman while forcing her husband to watch, then they k**led both. The police caught them not so long after.
The same night that they were caught, a mob of 300+ people gathered in front of the police department, broke in and told the sheriff “You guys did an excellent job, now leave it to us”. The mob broke the cell where the three men were, beat them up and attached them (alive) into cars and dragged them for 4 miles until a park in the middle of the city, where they set them on fire (alive) while everybody was clapping and cheering.
Almost nobody talks about it now, but theres even video of it, I will try to find in case anyone is interested.
18. And he’s still there?
The headmaster of one of the elementary schools has a long history of physically, and mentally abusing young boys.
19. How is he just going to tack that on the end?
About 40% of my hometown was homeless. No one had jobs, no one could afford any kind of housing situation. Neighbor’s paid for heat where they could on houses people were squatting in and everyone invited everyone else over for dinner ever night. We didn’t know who was homeless, we just did it. We hired anyone and everyone for odd jobs.
A lot of people just lived as they would when they were kids: keep the fireplace going with trees you chopped down, gathered water by the well and traded, farmed and trapped for food. I went to school with a lot of homeless kids, we had (looking back) the most robust school breakfast program I’ve ever heard of.
thought it was normal for over half the school to show up until I moved to the city, you just gave people the dignity they deserved. No one was shamed if they dropped out at grade 10, we all knew that if they needed the job they should take it.
Looking back I realize how wild it is. Our town was so, so poor and no one was treated any different by me and mine at least. Sure, there were some rich people, but they overwhelmingly went to the other school. And there were no panhandlers, no beggars, nothing like that. I was just told the Buseys were coming over for dinner.
Did I like them, no, I kinda think they were d*cks. But never did I make them feel uncomfortable, and most just ate, had some tea, and left.
And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, a whale washed up on shore one week and all the guys in the local high school took turns having s^x with it. All of them.
20. A ghost baby.
There was a woman who was cheating on her husband and got pregnant with him. When she has the child it was quite clearly not the husbands 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 picked her baby up, dropped it down a rubbish shoot 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 so she had to wait hours possibly days for someone to unlock it and go inside.
The baby was long d**d by then. The woman k**led herself shortly 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.
21. I don’t think he should be in charge.
The mayor of the town I live just outside of was m**dered by his girlfriend a little while back. And there was a realtor that was using his company as a front for smuggling drugs.
Other than that it’s the usual small southern town crap.
22. People have short memories.
Look up the Gainesville Ripper.
K**led a bunch of students and dismembered the bodies in really gross ways.
This was about 30 years ago.
I guess it’s not really a secret if there are podcasts about it but it’s slowly being forgotten.
23. Someone just passing through?
When I was growing up my small town had a spate of m**ders. About 6 in about as many months.
This was in the 70s nothing like it before or after.
24. They got away with it.
I think I was senior in high school when this happened but it was in our local paper every day for a long time.
The details are hazy but I’ll do my best to recount them. 4 athletic male students had s**ually assaulted a female sophomore student. One male had access to keys of the room it happened because his parent worked for the administration. They apparently picked her up to get food and then went to the school locker room. Two of them pressured her to participate in an act she did not want to and thought she was in physical danger had she not done anything.
The female student 100% went to court and then they completely turned it around on her, that she asked for it, that it was her fault, etc. they said if she really did not want to comply, she would have fought harder or her clothes would have been torn or bloodied up. she just left that school and moved instead of staying. I don’t believe much happened to the male students at all.
As for the male students? No one had to register for anything, no one went to jail, their futures were all in tact. I think two had to do service hours and probation, but that was it.
25. A sad, sad story.
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.
During war, a vineyard keeper lived there with his son. His son was recruited and the man was left alone. When war ended, his son survived and wanted to “prank” his dad by sneaking on him at night. But vineyard keeper saw him and thought he was a robber, so he grabbed his rifle and shot the robber, 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 there’s a big wooden cross on top of the hill. Now, you can’t even recognize there’s a grave.
26. He should not have been in charge.
No one thought to look there.
About a decade ago there was a crime spike here. It was really bad because one cartel tried to displace the other, and because we’re a sleepy town across the border from the US, we’re prime cartel real estate.
However, when they weren’t tearing each other up in the streets, they would abduct, interrogate, k**l and dispose of the bodies 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 cartel.
Federal investigations were made, and no one was able to find the cartel’s hq. It had to be big because they had weapons, vehicles, metal shops, dorms, kitchens and the corpse disposal equipment. They looked everywhere: nearby ranches, warehouses, junkyards, nothing.
Until they looked were no one thought to look. A few kilometers outside of here is a fully operational state prison that they were using as their hq. Everyone was in on it, from the inmates to the guards to the warden to the Governor. People were k**led there, dissolved in acid and the drums were dumped in a nearby river.
Since then the prison operation has been shut down, and the former governor is a wanted man by the interpol.
27. That’s…not funny.
Some high school football players shoved broomsticks up freshman players a**es in the locker room after a practice.
The coach found out and did nothing about it.
The whole town knew and nothing happened to anyone in the form of punishment.
Every game for the rest of the year, opposing team’s fans brought broomsticks to games
28. Of course he did.
A girl I went to high school with vanished one day. From day one everyone was telling the police that her ex boyfriend had something to do with it, she already had a restraining order cause he held a knife to her throat and threatened to kidnap and k**l her but with no evidence they couldn’t do anything. Over the years several people went to the police saying that he had admitted to k**ling her but they did nothing. He eventually got in trouble for threatening to k**l another girlfriend and choking her and went to prison for 3 years.
After prison he came back to town and eventually asked another ex of his for a ride home from a party and then she went missing after that night and they found her car burned and they arrested him again and he had burns on his hands. A few months later someone found a set of remains outside of town and during the recovery they found another set of much older remains. He k**led them both and the failure of our local police department caused the second girl to be m**dered.
29. Someone’s always up to something.
As a teen in high school, the health teacher got caught sleeping with student, everyone magically passed that year (including me who skipped almost every day lol)
Then a few years ago in another small town, two different scandals within the space of 5 years.
First one, teachers at a preschool were dosing children with melatonin at nap time.
Second one, a very well known and respected funeral home went under investigation for selling body parts.
I don’t know why I enjoy stories like these, but I do.
If you’re from a small town, tell us its secret down in the comments!