I Used AI To Make Horrifying Images Of 28 People's Nightmares, And I Instantly Regretted It

·11 min read

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their worst nightmares so I could develop an AI photo or photoset using DALL·E Mini to bring them to life. Here were some of my favorites:

1."Gummy bears eating my grandma in her nursing home."

AI generated photos of grandmas being swarmed by gummy bears

"Had this dream at 4 years old and 16 years later I still remember it"


Screenshot from DALL·E mini

2."I had a recurring nightmare as a kid that a huge black octopus would slowly drag itself across the room towards my bed, and I couldn’t move or scream or do anything but watch. Right as it reached my bed and stretched out a tentacle to strangle me I would wake up and start screaming for my mom."

AI generated photos of a black octopus on a bed

"I was an extremely anxious child."


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3."One of my earliest memories of a nightmare was of a scary pirate who stole people's heads."

AI generated photos of pirates holding heads

"They screwed off like lightbulbs, metal screwy bit and all. He took my mom's head but it fell out of his very full pouch where I could see many heads. Her head rolled to my feet, and blinked."


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4."The 3 little pigs chasing me through a forest."

AI generated photo of pigs chasing a girl
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5."I had a recurring dream where my sister and I got stranded in the middle of nowhere. No hills, no trees, nothing but this big black mansion. Everything was black, even the furniture. The door was cracked so we peered inside and asked if anyone was home. We walk into the foyer and inside this all-black house there was one yellow slide with round windows all the way down it. It looked like it went on forever but you couldn’t ever find the end of it. We decide to go down the slide and at first it was fun. Soon a clown started popping up in every one of the windows going down."

AI generated photos of clowns looking at you

"He had red fuzzy hair, all-white face makeup and red eyes. I see a red ball pit at the end of the slide and before I hit the bottom I wake up."


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6."My worst nightmare, I get it once every couple of months, is a zombie apocalypse. It always ends with me running into an abandoned house or apartment complex, going into a room with no exits..."

AI generated photos of zombies running at you in a hallway

"...And I have to choose to jump out the highest point or be eaten. Right before I’m grabbed or decide to jump, I wake up."


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7."This polar bear was chasing me in this wintry park, but like ONLY me, not anyone else there. I was with a kid I babysit and I threw this kid across the park and started running with the bear chasing me. I ended up at the White House and everyone was hanging themselves upside down by their feet, so I did the same, and was safe from the polar bear."

AI generated photo of a polar bear charging at you down a hallway

"The polar bear then turned into a human, did the same, but polar bears can’t do that in this dreamworld so he burst into flames...I don’t know why but I woke up in a cold sweat and wouldn’t go back to sleep for fear the dream would return."


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8."Mine was trying to swim away from some weird river monster. The river bank never got closer and the monster kept getting bigger. It had a round diver's mask and had weeds draped over it like a cloak."

AI generated photos of a seaweed monster wearing diving goggles

"If I end up having that dream again tonight, I will not be impressed!"


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9."It's dark and things are fuzzy visually. It feels like I'm at the bottom of a deep well. There are muffled baby cries, with a shadowy figure leaning over above..."

AI generated photo of a shadow in a well

"...and starting to envelop me as the cries increase and it goes further away as the cries decrease. There is a feeling of oppression and helplessness."


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10."I was waiting to be picked up from school, somehow was tricked into getting into a car that wasn’t mine and then drove off, then I realized I was in the wrong car when I saw my mum’s. I told them I was in the wrong car but they didn’t care..."

AI generated photo of a scary-looking man in a car

"...And took me somewhere where lots of children were doing labor such as mining gold for these people."


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11."I am always on a road trip with my family and the world starts to end. Massive waves on the beach, glass skyscrapers and malls shattering, everyone running trying to find safety and their loved ones."

AI generated photo of people running from a burning world

"It sucks."


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12."Walking into a room and everyone slowly turns and stares at me with pure evil in their eyes and wicked smiles and gets so silent that it’s loud…I have no idea what their intentions are, idk why I’m there and where I’m going. This thought has always scared the f*** out of me…"

AI generated photos of creepy people smiling

"...I have no idea why this is so creepy but ughhh I get chills just thinking about it 🫣🫥😵‍💫"


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13."I remember one nightmare very vividly from my childhood. My dad and I were going out towards an island in a motorboat. The island had a volcano in the center of it. As we neared the island, the sky overhead started going dark and stormy. We got out of the boat and onto the beach of the island. For some reason, my dad left me alone to go walk down the beach, telling me to stay with the boat. Smoke began to billow from the volcano and the sky went from grey to red. I heard a demonic laughing as something horrible began to rise from the volcano."

AI generated photos of evil-looking volcanoes

"As the laughing got louder and deeper, the dream went back to where I stood on the beach, except I was just a skeleton.

Then I woke up. Had that dream when I was about 8 and I'm in my 30s now. I still remember it so vividly. It was a recurring dream I had multiple times too."


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14."Had a dream me and my sister were playing cards. All of a sudden the cards jumped out of our hands and started running being chased by fire. They were kings and queens and Jacks."

AI generated photo of a playing card on fire

"Little legs and hands coming out of the cards. When they burned, they turned into real people."


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15."It is the end of the world and I am driving around my state looking for a place to sleep in. Most people have abandoned their homes so I can walk right up to houses and look into them. I don’t want anything too close to the road or someone can see into it and I will be in danger. All humans are dangerous at this point. I find a mansion that is way back from the road and there is a little garden path that leads to this house. As I’m walking to the house I see this group of people in business attire. I thought I was quiet enough that I could sneak back to my car but they all turned to look at me in silent unison and then began to run toward me at an inhuman speed."

AI generated photo of business people in a garden running at you

"I make it to my car just in time to wake up."


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16."I have a lot of bad dreams, so this one isn't the worst I've had, but it is the most WTF dream I had. It has to do with a skyscraper-sized George Washington robot that comes out at night."

AI generated photos of giant George Washington attacking a city

"It has lasers and a spotlight. If the spotlight found you, you were instantly killed."


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17."I had a recurring dream from the age of nine to eighteen. I am falling down a black hole with a white light at the bottom. It felt like ten minutes to fall and it was a first-person view so I didn't see myself falling. As I reach the bottom it's not a white light but a chess board and I am always about to hit the white square that the knight sits on in the lower right corner of the board."

AI generated photo of you falling onto a chess board

"Just before impact I'm at the top and falling all over again."


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18."I have this nightmare, it comes occasionally, it’s really weird and freaks me out. It’s the body of my dead rooster, he was a sleek black metallic color. He had a big long tail...it also has lizard legs and they were right under the wings. It eats babies to tweens. Flying birds also attack his head relentlessly."

AI generated photo of a black rooster

"And it freaks me out. Even though it’s not that bad to some people, in my nightmares, it’s soooo so so much worse than you might think. *shudders*"


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19."I vividly remember whenever my mother would cuddle me at night, I would never let go of her hand until I fell asleep because I imagined Alex the lion from Madagascar would come into my room..."

AI generated photo of Alex from "Madagascar" lunging at you

"...And attack us."


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20."A spider landed on me and started biting my hand. My thumb punctured its body and acid came out..."

AI generated photos of a spider biting a hand

"...And was burning my skin off."


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21.I have three…I’m in a pitch-black haunted house and we have to find a zombie witch but we can’t disturb her or else she will snap out of her trance and eviscerate my friends and me. Second, I am in a jewelry store with a helpful talking dog, a crazy ax murderer breaks in, chases us through the back hallways and eventually corners us. Third, I’m hiding in a mobile home that is filled with badly taxidermied animals, I have to go deeper and deeper into this filthy house/trailer to remain hidden, whoever it is (think demon joe dirt) eventually finds me.

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22."I once had a nightmare that my bed was filled with ants the size of my fists. They were under the fitted sheet, on the wall, and on the floor."

AI generated photos of ants covering a bed

"I actually woke up screaming."


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23."My earliest one I can remember (I was 7 or 8) was one where King Ramses from Courage the Cowardly Dog emerged from a pond and dragged me under to his secret lair."

AI generated image of a tall, skinny creature ascending from a pond at night
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24."The worst one I had was where I was trapped with a clown in an all-white basement with a table of power tools in front of him. He held the tools up to my pleading parents to taunt them."

AI generated photos of a clown in a white room
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25."Monsters under the bed or in my closet."

AI generated photo of monsters on a bed

"Stupid ik but does anyone really know what’s going on in the dark?"


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26."I’ve had insomnia since I was a child. When I did sleep I was plagued with nightmares. The one that affected me the most was also the most bizarre. I was about five and it was late at night (my family was sleeping) and I was stuck outside endlessly walking the block on a loop unable to stop. Then I walked over a sewer grate. I looked down and inside was a cowboy with a maniacal smile and wide eyes staring at me and screaming without making any noise. He was riding a bucking horse and I remember the horse having giant ticks covering its entire face so it was stuck in this hell with no way to see or scream."

AI generated photo of a smiling cowboy that looks scary

"I’ve never felt so alone. I still hold my breath walking near sewer grates. My parents just laughed at me."


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27."I had horrible nightmares while in a medical coma. One was more prominent than the others because it felt so real. An old lady was on top of me and trying to get inside me to possess me. She has snags instead of teeth, huge red eyes, age spots and scabs and wrinkles everywhere. Her hair was extremely messed up and sticking out everywhere. Her tongue was a red snake and she was trying to stick it inside me, anywhere she could find."

AI generated photos of a woman with a red snake tongue

"Ugh very awful sleep paralysis-type dream."


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28."I was about 9-10 years old and I still remember it vividly. I was using a public bathroom and all of a sudden, this contorted, jackal-faced thing started sliding under the stall wall..."

AI generated photo of a jackal head in a bathroom

"...And I kept trying to get away and I couldn’t bust the door down or scream."


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What's a childhood nightmare that has stayed with you? Tell us in the comments for a chance to be featured in a BuzzFeed Community post!

(A big thank you to everyone in the BF community that shared their nightmares with me!)