People Share Dark Secrets From Their Small Towns

Small towns make for the best stories, don't they? The ability of a small group of people to close ranks and pretend nothing happened is mystifying. See, I grew up in Manhattan - where there was no way small town style secrets were happening. We may not snitch to any authorities, but we absolutely know and we absolutely talk about it while we're in line to get a slice. New Yorkers know, we just tend not to care. We don't have time to judge or keep secrets for generations - we're busy checking the MTA to see where the f*@! our train is at.

Small towns, though... that's where the secretive magic happens. One Reddit user asked:

Whats a small town dark secret you know?

Get your popcorn, folks. There's enough murder and mayhem in here for a Tarantino film; and Satan makes an appearance more than once! Here are some of the more popular responses.

Arson And The Town's Image


When I was a firefighter we had an arsonist in the city. They would walk around at night until they found a garage door that was left open, and then they'd start a fire in the garage. It did not matter if the residents were home or not.

We had no leads other than it was a college student, as there was a discernible pattern of the fires stopping during winter and summer breaks.

The police, fire department, and the highest levels of local government worked to keep the nature of fires a secret as they were worried about how it would impact the town's image. So, instead of telling people to close their garage doors at night, nearly 20 families lost their homes. The arsonist was never caught, and presumably is still lighting fires in some other town.

- TerraWoods

Satanic Lesbians? 

The "Devil House."

Now, it had been around my hometown for decades. Enough different generations of kids had their own mythos. I had an English teacher that went to the same school in the late 80s. By then it was vacant but someone had painted a pentagram on the wall. You had to know where it was. Pull over on the old highway coming in to town at a certain point. There was no driveway or anything, but you could see a gate if you knew where to look. Then you go into the woods a bit and BAM, it almost appears out of nowhere on you. That's how well it was hidden. For the most part, every high school class would have a couple of people venture out to see it and leave their own small mark. Everyone was just sure Satanists or witches were meeting there occasionally.

But later, I found out the real story from my Dad. I'd asked him, but he didn't make the connection between that house's original purpose and the later myths until I showed him. The reason that hidden house was built was for a former wealthy farmer's lesbian daughter. Didn't have the heart to disown her, so he hid her away there in the late 60s. Because 60s, there were some wild parties out there and girls were "converted" to lesbianism (read, already knew damn well they were gay) so of course that small southern town assumed the devil was behind it.

- rougepenguin

The Makeout Mines

There are these old abandoned mines (as in mineral mines- think man-made caves in the side of a mountain) near my hometown town where kids used to go to smoke weed and make out before they put metal gates over them.

When I was in high school there was this huge thing where a cop went missing, car and all, while he was on-duty. He just didn't show up at shift change. (This was before gps and smart phones etc.) People thought he'd been killed by gang members or something (there were no gangs in the town but everyone was convinced that they came down from the nearest big city to do crimes).

Eventually they announced, they found him, accidental death, very sad. Wife & young kids etc.

What wasn't in the news, but everyone knew through word-of-mouth: he and another cop's wife were having an affair and they were found in his patrol car in one of the makeout mines, dead of carbon monoxide poisoning.

- tossup654

The Famous Addict

My hometown has a "famous" drug addict - i.e. everyone knows who he is, he's lived there for ~70 years and his crimes are town gossip. Most of the time it's small stuff: Stolen bikes (and once a canoe) that he just leaves somewhere, living in a park when he doesn't feel like going home for a few days, shit like that. He's mostly seen as a harmless, funny character. His brain is seriously damaged after hard drug use since his early teens.

What is rarely mentioned is that when he still had a house he used to steal dogs and beat them to death in his basement.

- DaJoW

"Accidental Shooting" 

This was in a small town, generally run by a half dozen big family names that almost act like redneck mafia families / cartels. If you're related to one of those families, you can figuratively get away with murder... and sometimes quite literally.

Years back, one of the locals "R", was supposedly out deer hunting & drinking, and noticed a "not from around here" guy out horse riding in the woods. R just shot him and left him out in the woods to die... either for shits and giggles, or because the guy was "from California", as R likes to claim. He tends to gets drunk and brags about it frequently, so it's more common knowledge than a secret... nothing has ever been done though, since he's from one of the "big families" in the area, and is related to several officers, a former judge, and a decent chunk of the town. The cops never bothered investigating - just said it was an accidental shooting, and there was no evidence or suspects.

Same story they gave when some kids found a couple dead migrant workers in a drainage ditch behind the high school my senior year - cops just said "we'll never know" and that was it.

God, I hate that town.

- cynical_euphemism

Attacking A Pony


A few months ago there was a brief media kerfuffle in the local papers about someone breaking into a barn and "attacking" a pony.

- JakeGrey

Sh*t In The Sink

I live in a super small town (see all the same people constantly). And back in the 80s there was a group of guys my mom went to high school with who were rumored to have killed this poor old man in town and rob his house blind of drugs and nice belongings. They got away clean except for one of the idiots decided to shit in the sink. The police collected the sample but at the time there wasn't the technology to find out who the shit belonged to. Well around 10-15 years later they finally had the technology and they tested that sample. They found out who it belonged to and the guy ended up in prison after getting away with it for so long.

- dojacat96

Swinging Satanists

Back in the 80s they'd closed down the old middle school in my town and built a new one fairly close to it. Because the building wasn't that run down, they'd let the little league (grades 2-6) teams practice in the old school and leave big kids alone at the new school. I'm not really sure how, but a rumor started that there was a satanist club underneath the gym. People claimed they could hear chanting and loud banging noises from under the floor and it freaked everyone tf out so the school mostly stopped using it.

I found out the truth recently from my friend's mom. Apparently some locals ran a swingers club down there and she knew because went once just to see what it was like.

- musical-bambi

"I Heard The Gunshot." 

At my high school, years ago, we had a kid commit suicide with a gun in the annex bathroom during school. It was awful and everybody was distraught that something like this would happen.

What they didn't tell people, which I know now because my parents were administrators at the time, is that the suicide was an accident. He hid a shotgun in the ceiling over a toilet and the investigators determined that the gun shot would was not that of someone who was intentionally trying to kill themselves. He also had more ammo and homemade explosive devices in his locker.

Basically, he was about to go ape shit on my school but shot himself trying to retrieve his weapon from the bathroom ceiling.

All of the news reports and letters sent home said that he was disturbed and sadly killed himself at school. My parents waited a few years to tell me but it gives me goosebumps to this day. I was in gym class, which was the closest room with people in it. I heard the gunshot.

- Pruzzy24

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We always think we know what is right and what is wrong, what's the truth and what's a lie. The reality is that most of what we know is just an opinion or a partial truth that we've filled in with our own rational (or irrational) explanation. These opinions that we pass off as 'facts' are far from it and it takes a lot of courage to look at yourself and admit you were wrong or misinformed about something. Everyone likes to pretend they're on a different level, but the truth is you're not so different from the people you disagree with. Meditate on that.

Here are a some people admitting strong opinions they no longer have, and what it took to change those views. Redditor u/segafarm asks:

What is the strongest opinion you once held but no longer hold, and what make you change your mind?

Jade-Colored Glasses

I used to think that being cynical/negative was realistic and somehow smarter than being positive. I've since realized that a "be prepared for the worst but expect the best" is far better. We can't control the outcome of anything in life. Being negative makes you miserable rather than protected from bad things happening.


Cant' Have A Conversation With A Parrot

I used to be a conspiracy theorist. Believed that 9/11 was committed by the US government and that we never landed on the moon.

Once I started looking outside of the echo chamber I was in and started looking at alternate explanations, theories and listening to different viewpoints I soon realized how ridiculous those notions were.


A Big, Mysterious Universe

I used to be a strict, hardline atheist. I was the kind of bastard that would bring the subject up for no reason, just to argue. I don't know what the hell my problem was. Now I feel like, the universe is big, I don't know what all might be out there, I don't really care. I live as if there is no afterlife, because that makes sense to me. But if you don't, and you believe in one, that's perfectly fine, and maybe you're right. Who knows?


Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

I used to believe anyone can be a successful artist if they just put the time and effort into it. There is no such thing as talent, only hard work.

What changed my mind: Art school. There were quite a few people that tried hard, but just weren't able to achieve professional level art.


You're Not Your Emotions

For the longest time, I thought my emotions were in a sense the most "real" part of me. I was always a very emotional person and I didn't make a real effort to control it as I thought it was a good thing, that I was just being honest with myself. Over time though, I started to become very depressed and the negative emotions just keep adding on and on. I thought "this is just how I am I guess". Unfortunately it started hurting other relationships I had, and everything changed when my girlfriend broke up with me. After a lot of reading I found that emotions are not who we are at all. They're just reactions and there's nothing that requires us to act on them or feed them. I'm learning to let it go through me instead of hanging on like I used to.


Don't Forget Big Willie Style

I used to think that hip hop was bland, repetitive, and all about clubbing and sh*t. Then one of my friends pointed me towards people like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas and Run The Jewels, who all have great songs and clever lyrics, and I realized that Hip Hop is pretty great.


The A**holes Will Always Find A Way

I used to think that the catholic church was responsible for all of the hateful people in it. I gave people the chance to challenge my opinion and someone explained it very nicely to me. Basically, the hateful people use the church as an excuse, if you remove the church they will gladly find another excuse.


High Times


I used to tell myself that I would never stop smoking weed, and that I'd be happy if my kids grew up to be pot smokers... Now I have a kid, don't smoke, and realize what an idiot I was when all I did was smoke all day. I could probably be in a much better position if I hadn't smoked all through college.

But I mean, I still think pot's okay... Just in moderation.


The Road Less Traveled

"All taxation is theft, man! I made my money without any help from public institutions or the infrastructure they support, I should be able to keep every last dime of it!"

Naturally that was when I was 18, living at home rent free, and working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver who relied upon public roads for pretty much every cent I made.


All Those PSA's Didn't Do Much

The whole D.A.R.E anti-drugs. Yes crack and heroin is bad, but they over dramatized what happens when you do smaller drugs. Weed isn't even a gateway drug, alcohol is more of a gateway drug. When I saw weed for the first time I thought it was tobacco (This was after all the D.A.R.E training too). Letting the government teach you your morales and philosophy is a thing that sheep do. Don't be a sheep.


Where Would We Be Without The Kindness Of Strangers

I used to think people on welfare and state assistance just weren't trying hard enough. I grew up spoiled and entitled and it seemed like any kind of charity was a stigma.

Then, my husband became chronically ill, and the economy took a shit. My family has been close to homelessness more than once, and have relied on state insurance and assistance off and on throughout the past few years. There are definitely people out there who abuse the system, but some just get stuck in a horrible cycle of poverty.

I also work in a school that has a high number low income and refugee families. It has really opened my eyes to the struggles that some people face.


He's Still There For You, The Best He Can Be

I could go through life and could seek meaningful advice from my Dad who has always been there for me.

Now he has been reduced to a feeble condition, I am starting to understand I'm out there on my own, and even what he's sure of is suspect given his mental and physical facilities have been rapidly deteriorating in his late seventies. I feel horrible that I have noticed this long before he did - or at least admitted as much.


Clear Your Mind

This was before I received an ADHD diagnosis. When my doctor referred me to an ADHD specialist, first of all I refused to believe him and was kind of slighted that he even suggested that I could possibly have ADHD.

I had a very strong opinion that if I get a diagnosis that I would refuse to take prescribed amphetamines because they are "bad" and "addictive" and that they would ruin my life.

Then I actually tried the prescription and it was like magic.


Going Through The Whole Spectrum

Used to be fairly open with my views on immigration policy. Then I worked for a while down near Corpus Christie doing immigration work. I'd say one out if every hundred people that came through our office was going to somebody who actually wanted to work and try to make a living here. So many people simply wanted to exist enough to get welfare. Many were young men who we would later defend against exportation as a result of their criminal activity. I began to despise the work of defending these men and wished they would be deported.

Now, I'm dating a foreign girl and we are in the legal immigration process. She has advanced degrees and skills, so that makes things a little easier. But it does make me resent people who just bypass the system. We can't bypass the system because I imagine my participation in immigration fraud could get me disbarred.


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