Every year around the end of October, people start looking for scary stories to help bring in the Halloween season. Most scary stories are works of fiction, but the scariest stories are the ones that can’t be made up. If you’d prefer not to sleep tonight, check out these three true unsolved mysteries that will haunt your dreams. Don’t forget to keep your flashlight handy!

Hinterkaifek murders

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In the 1920s a German farmer started to notice strange happenings around his farm. Footsteps could be heard in the attic, newspapers would appear in the house without anyone having picked them up, and keys would go missing. The family chalked it up to the farm being haunted.

Suddenly, people stopped seeing the family in town. When neighbors went to check on them, they found the entire family murdered. Most of the family was led to the barn one-by-one and killed with a pickaxe. Two were killed in their beds. There was no motive or suspects. Nobody knows what really happened.

Dyatlov Pass

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In the winter of 1959, nine experienced hikers began a trek into the Ural Mountains of Russia, never to be seen again.

The group failed to check in via telegram after more than a month, so a search party was sent to retrieve them. The campsite was found along with some pictures and diaries. One of the tents was ripped open from the inside out, and most of the hikers’ belongings were still inside. There were several sets of footprints leading to nearby woods, some only in socks and some with one shoe. Despite temperatures reaching nearly -22 Fahrenheit, five of the bodies were found shoeless and wearing only their underwear. Their official cause of death was hypothermia, but when the other bodies were found, the case got interesting.

The other bodies were found in a nearby ravine. They all had blunt force trauma to different parts of their bodies. One had a skull fracture. The other’s ribs were crushed in as if he was in a car accident. The strangest was that one of the hikers did not have the blunt force trauma, but instead her tongue was removed. These bodies were found wearing the missing clothing of the other five, leading investigators to believe they died at different times. Even more strange, their bodies were also slightly radioactive.

No conclusion has been offered for this strange mystery. Some theories involve an avalanche, USSR weapons testing, a Russian version of the Yeti, and even extraterrestrials, but no one knows the truth. Russian officials recently reopened the case to hopefully shed some new light on the strange mystery.

Circleville letters

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This tale takes place in a small town called Circleville, Ohio. Circleville is a typical small town where everybody knows everybody else. One day, in 1976, letters started to appear. The letters were sent to multiple people throughout the town, each more vulgar and violent than the next. Some even included lewd drawings. The information included in the letters was very personal, and some information could not have been known by anyone but the recipient.

While the letters were sent to many of the town’s residents, one person was singled out. The letters accused a local school bus driver, Mary Gillespie, and the school superintendent of having an affair. The letters stated personal facts about Gillespie and said that her house was under surveillance. It was requested that she stop the affair. For a while, Mary did a good job concealing the letters and hiding her terror — until letters started being addressed to her husband Ron.

The letters sent to Mary’s husband, Ron, were quick and to the point. They said he should put an end to the affair or die. Mary denied having an affair, and Ron believed her. They began to think of who could be sending these letters and thought they could be from Ron’s brother-in-law, Paul Freshour. The couple started sending Freshour similar letters asking him to stop. The strategy seemed to work as the letters stopped for some time.

In 1977, the phone rang at the Gillespie household. Ron answered. It was the author of the letters. Ron became irate, grabbed his pistol and ran out the door, never to return again. Ron’s car was found crashed into a tree a short distance from his house. The sheriff declared it an accident. The strange part was that despite Ron being a non-drinker, his blood-alcohol level was 1.5 times the legal limit.

After Ron’s death, the letters started again in full force. One day Mary found a box hanging from a street post. When she opened it, a booby-trapped pistol was inside to greet her. Luckily, the trap didn’t work, and the pistol didn’t fire. Police traced the serial number on the pistol to none other than Paul Freshour. Freshour claimed that the gun was stolen long ago, but that excuse didn’t stick. He was sent to prison in 1983.

Even with Freshour in prison, the letters continued. Freshour maintained his innocence until his death in 2012, and to this day, nobody knows for certain who was sending the letters or who killed Ron Gillespie.