People Revealed The Creepiest, Cult-Like Towns Across The United States, And Personally, I'd Take Note Of These

Recently, Reddit user _Persona-Non-Grata posed the intriguing question, "What are some mysterious, cult-like, bad-vibes towns across the USA?" to the people of AskReddit. Suffice it to say, as someone who's been on many roadtrips, I just had to know what they said. Check it out:

Note: Some of these stories contain mentions of racism and sexual assault. Also, apologies if your hometown is on this list...but, maybe you agree with what these people experienced.

1."Powers, Oregon — Stopped in the diner for coffee once on a drive-thru. I shit you not, like straight out of a movie, the other patrons just turned and quietly stared, not touching their plates, until we left."

an old diner

2."Clearwater, Florida — I had known it was the HQ for Scientology but had never been there. Last month, I was visiting family in Florida, and my best friend lives a few towns over from Clearwater. He took me to a place that entailed driving through downtown Clearwater. It is impossible not to notice that every building had brand new paint, all the shops looked sparkling clean, and there was not a soul to be seen. All the neighboring towns had hundreds of people milling about, but Clearwater looked like a ghost town. It looked like the set of a Twilight Zone episode."

Clearwater, Florida
Freer Law / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3."Moscow, Idaho — Moscow has a cult-like church with thousands of followers. Their leader, a self-ordained pastor, has publicly stated he wants to take over the town and turn it into a theocracy. They are deeply misogynistic (marital rape isn’t 'possible') and have a history of sexual abuse within their group. Their members keep running for local office and failing, but they are buying up all the property in town and moving in people from all over the country to attend their private school, theology 'college,' and church. Moscow also happens to be the town where the four University of Idaho students were murdered in 2022."

Moscow, Idaho
Shunyu Fan / Getty Images/iStockphoto

4."Seabrook, Washington — It is idyllic. Perfectly idyllic. Too much so. Strong Stepford Wives vibes. I read somewhere that it was inspired by the town in The Truman Show."

Seabrook, Washington

5."Rural Wyoming — Man, this was years ago, but it was around 1998 or 1999, when I was 9 years old. My family drove us to Mount Rushmore from Denver. We stopped off the highway in a random Wyoming town with a population of just over 100. We had a choice between two restaurants and entered one. Straight from a horror movie, when we walked in, the entire restaurant, packed with most of the town, fell silent. We ate, and everyone was staring at us. My sister and I believed they were going to murder us. We left, and it turns out our parents also thought we were going to be murdered."

A town in Wyoming
Wirestock / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6."Colorado City, Arizona — Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stronghold. Lots of inbreeding."

a dirt road
George Frey / Getty Images

7."Northern Minnesota — We were looking at buying 40 acres on I believe Upper Red Lake. We entered a diner at about 6 p.m., it was dark out, and everyone stopped and stared. We were seated, ordered drinks, and noticed how silent it was. No chatter, and everyone was staring at us. Dad left a 20 on the table, and we left before ordering food. Suuuuuper bizarre."

aerial view of a town
Wirestock / Getty Images/iStockphoto

8."Dodgeville, Wisconsin — Some friends and I experienced the same kind of thing in a bar/bowling alley in Wisconsin on our roadtrip to House on the Rock. We decided to go out for bowling, and when we walked into the bar in the front, it was like it went from bustling to very hushed, and everyone was watching us. The bowling alley in the back was totally deserted and eerie. It was super awkward to be the only people playing, and I swear anytime we glanced behind us toward the bar, we'd catch everyone staring. We all agreed it was one of the creepiest experiences we've had."

a bowling alley
Glasshouse Images / Getty Images

9."Ithaca, New York — I can’t explain it, but Ithaca gives off old money, 'we-are-very-nice-and-well-educated-progressives-who-happen-to-hold-a-yearly-lottery-to-see-who-gets-sacrificed-to-appease-the-ancient-one' vibes."

Ithaca, New York
Bruce Yuanyue Bi / Getty Images

10."Amboy, California — Was a Route 66 boomtown, with a railroad stop. When I-40 was opened, bypassing Amboy, it withered and died. Only it didn't give up the ghost. Some famous murders occurred in that town (if you can call it a town, it's only three buildings at a crossroad). Legend has it that Charles Manson and the Manson family would frequent the diner in the 1960s as it was the closest part of civilization to their commune. The last time I was there was about 25 years ago, driving through. There's not a lot of traffic that drives through obviously, but there are people that live there, and as God is my witness, every time I've driven through, those people are outside in the scorching Mojave heat of the day staring you down as you drive past."

Closeup of Charles Manson
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

11."Vernonia, Oregon — I was 19 and had to pay a speeding ticket up there...this was 1994. I had long hippie hair, walked into the local dinner, and everyone stopped and looked at me and my was damn eerie. Before we walked in, you could hear the conversations from outside, but that stopped once we got in. We were going to get breakfast, but after that just got coffee and left and waited at the courthouse in my buddy's car till they opened. Never been back."

a diner
Cheryl Chan / Getty Images

12."Skidmore, Missouri — Hands down the most DEPRESSING town I have ever driven through. There’s this feeling you just can’t shake while you’re there."

Ken Rex McElroy

13."Centralia, Pennsylvania — It's a ghost town that is still on fire today (from a coal mine fire that started in the '60s). Though, they ruined the graffiti highway. I don't know if anybody still lives there today; when I went last, there were a handful of hangers-on."

an old town

14."Collinsville, Oklahoma — It has a diner where the local chapter [of the KKK] meets or, at least, used to meet every week. Used to have racist signs on the edge of town. It is one of the most racist places I've ever had the misfortune of finding myself."

a town street at sunset
Brandon Bell / Getty Images

15."Cairo, Illinois — It is creepy AF. At one time it was a very important commercial center because of its river location. Now it’s practically deserted and has really creepy energy. You can still see glimpses of how it might have been bustling and charming back in the day."

black and white photo of neo-nazis

16."Crestone, Colorado — It's easily the most bizarre place I've been to in the US. Lots of shoeless hippies, 'spiritualists,' cult members/followers, and the like. Just a weird vibe all over. Some of the people are nice, and there are some good artists there, but there's also a main square/park where you'll almost always see these desperate, strung-out people with an overloaded car just sitting in the park like, Well I'm here, what next? There's also an alien landing site nearby, or at least that's what it claims to be."

Screenshot from "Love Has Won"

17."Gold Bar, Washington — Beautiful view of the Cascade Mountains. Meth and white supremacists everywhere."

a forest
Mark Stevens / Getty Images/500px

18."Mora, New Mexico — It's pretty damn scary to outsiders. Lots of rural mountain towns that are isolated from tourists can be strange. I've spent a lot of time in West Virginia and Arkansas, but rural NM is probably the most hostile place to outsiders I have been."

A carnival
Sean Weaver / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19."Opp, Alabama — This town is well-known for closing all local federal buildings (besides schools, this includes libraries, banks, courts, etc.) and local businesses on Wednesday. This town was popular during the US slavery era as it has a train that runs through it. Each Wednesday, the city square would be packed with visitors and locals who were there to buy slaves. To give 'honor' to the tradition, the city still closes and shuts everything down on Wednesdays. I should mention that I haven’t lived there since 2014."

A "Closed" sign
Karl Tapales / Getty Images

20."Vidor, Texas — It's just east of Beaumont, and it's still a sundown town. Local infrastructure vendors, i.e. Telco, power, etc. know to send only white workers to that town for safety. I've been through once, and it just feels off, but I was also traveling with a Black friend."

farmland at sunset

21."Ravenden, Arkansas — I have never been, but my girlfriend took a wrong turn driving through the state and stumbled into this place. In the dark of night, she came across its defining feature: a 12-foot-tall statue of a raven. If you look up this statue on its own, you’ll find it has been burned down twice, but they keep rebuilding it. Again, I have never been, and by all means, it seems nice on Google Maps street view. But the history is a little funny, and if my girlfriend is to be believed, the statue can be a bit freaky late at night."

Ravenden, Arkansas statue

22."Lynden, Washington — A HIGHLY Christian town comprised of mostly Dutch families. No liquor stores. No weed stores. Illegal to mow your yard on Sundays. I've lived maybe 10 minutes away from it for about 20 years now and only go out there for the fair."

aerial view of a town
Seastock / Getty Images

23."Tonopah, Nevada — The Clown Motel, located next to the Tonopah Cemetery, is a popular place to stay because of all the reports of being haunted by 'ghost clowns' and miners who were killed in the 1911 Belmont Mine Fire."

Clown Motel
Josh Brasted / Getty Images

24."Breezewood, Pennsylvania — I got stranded there once after wrecking the family car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It’s the town from the meme about how awful American urban planning is. Basically just a series of roads and strip malls. I went into the hotel bar where we were staying the first night and this shirtless redneck was so drunk he could barely stand. He had his trashed wife and two crying kids there with him. Some truckers at the bar were talking about where to score meth. I walked up to the bar’s jukebox out of curiosity, and the shirtless redneck threatened to kick my face in if I played any nonwhite music. Except he used more offensive language."

"this is the outside you have made"

25."Ocean Grove, New Jersey — They call it 'God's square mile on the Jersey Shore' so at least you know it's culty going in. Lovely old houses with the creepiest Stepford vibe I've ever encountered. They close the beach on Sunday mornings and actually enforce it, or try to. The whole town was founded as a Christian camp, and to this day there are tents that families use as their summer homes. I think they're owned by the church, but the right to rent them is passed down from generation to generation. I live across the lake in Asbury Park, which is known for its gay community. There are footbridges over the lake connecting the two towns, but Ocean Grove puts gates on their side that they lock at night to keep us deviants out. You can still get from one side to the other, but you have to either walk along the boardwalk or go all the way out to the main road."

beachside homes
Denistangneyjr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

26."Waco, Texas — Just has a weird energy about it."

Two men in a cemetery

27."Cushing, Oklahoma — I was visiting a distant relative a few years ago, and we drove through at night. The streets were lined with MAGA and Confederate flags. We stopped for gas, and a white man came outside and stared at us. My friend was not white, I was. I made him sit in the car with the door locked while I pumped gas. We tried to leave quickly. As we drove down the main road, we saw a Nazi flag on a window storefront. As we passed, I realized it was a shrine to Donald and Melania Trump complete with mannequins, makeup, wigs, American flags, and a sign that said 'Make America Great Again.' As we almost got out of town, there was a rundown house spray painted with the words 'lock her up.' It was fucking surreal and terrifying."

"Cushing, OKLA."
Miflippo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

28."Island Pond, Vermont — It's home to one of the Twelve Tribes communities. Twelve Tribes is a fundamentalist Christian cult known for its misogyny, racism, child abuse, and workplace exploitation. They operate the Yellow Deli restaurants."

News report about the Twelve Tribes

29."Elko, Nevada — Stopped at a bar there on a roadtrip. Seemed like a fun place from the outside. Some woman walks up to us and says, 'Hi! I'm so and so... What are you doing here? You're not from around here...' Got lots of stares. Went to a casino across the street to escape. The casino was completely empty but lit up. Felt almost post-apocalyptic except for one janitor. We noped the hell out of there fast. Felt like something really bad was going to happen. We decided not to find a local hotel and bounced. This was in 2010."

Route 80
Matt Mawson / Getty Images

30."Gallup, New Mexico — Drove through on Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago and stopped for gas for five minutes and almost got robbed. I would recommend you ~gallup~ on through if going that route and get gas before or after. Creepy vibes pulling in. Later found out it has one of the highest per capita crime rates in the country."

A New Mexico street

31.Finally, "Noxon, Montana — Father of a 6-year-old and thought we'd try an Easter egg hunt in a place we've never been and do lunch. Pretty big hunt with lots of eggs. Well organized and overall kind of awesome. Afterward, the kids brought the eggs they found to the front and exchanged them for candy. I'm in the line with my excited little guy answering a ton of questions and generally just trying to keep my bundle of squirrels in check. Wasn't paying attention much as we worked up to the table. I look up as the kid hands his eggs up to...a lady in a Daily Stormer hoodie. Daily fucking Stormer."

A man with a swastika on his head

Note: Some responses have been edited or length and/or clarity.

Have you had a similar creepy experience while traveling through the United States? What mysterious, cult-like, or bad-vibes town have you been to? Tell us about it in the comments below or via this totally anonymous form, and maybe there will be a part two.