People Discuss the Craziest Things Seen on Surveillance Cameras
Whether it's a business or a home, surveillance cameras are key in identifying unwanted situations on a property. While footage might show a frightening intruder, sometimes the cameras end up recording some seriously bizarre situations. These Redditors describe some of the craziest things they've seen on surveillance cameras. From surprising animals to property destruction, the footage is pretty unforgettable — and crazy.
This Wasn't Simba
I had a game camera out once and I had a neighbor who would just walk through my property. I didn't care; the place is pretty and there's no back fence. But I kept having sheep go missing, so I set out a camera.
The camera caught my neighbor walking by. Then, like 30 seconds later, a mountain lion walked by, stalking him. It apparently never attacked as he was fine, but he had no idea how close he was to that thing.
Wrong Floor, Pal
I used to work overnights at a hotel and would monitor the security cameras. They would detect motion, and a little indicator would blink when motion was detected. Anyway, it always gave me the creeps when I'd hear the elevator ding. I'd run out to the lobby to greet the guest to make sure they didn't need something, and nobody would get off the elevator. I'd watch the tapes and see the motion indicator blinking on a floor, then see the elevator open on that floor. Then I’d see the elevator open on the ground floor and the motion indicator blink on the camera down the hall. It gave me the heebie-jeebies.
Stranger in the House
I was house-sitting in a huge place and set up a security camera near the bedroom. I had an uneasy feeling someone else was in the house with me, so I set up the camera just to make sure no one came near my room. In the middle of the night, someone approached the camera from behind and turned it so it faced a blank wall. Then a few minutes later they turned it back the way it was before. It tripped the security settings and I got a notification on my phone. I saw it and searched the house thoroughly the next morning but never found anything. Needless to say, I slept with my door locked the rest of my time there.
On the Loose
I worked in a maximum-security prison for a while. I was assigned to central control one night, which is where the camera screens were.
One of the cameras was for the classifications room. I glanced at it and there was an inmate in there. This was super odd because it was 2 a.m. and nobody was supposed to be in there. Everyone who had keys to that room went home at 5.
So, this inmate is just sitting in there doing nothing. I got the sergeant's attention, told him someone was in there and gave him the spare key to the room. He went to go check it out with a couple of other people, but by the time they got there, the room was empty. They searched for like 15 minutes but there was definitely no one in there.
Taken for a Ride
I used to have an apartment pretty close to my office. The office building was kind of in a business district, but it was also kind of off on its own relative to the city's commercial district "footprint."
I sold the apartment and, before moving into my new home, I left my bicycle chained to the building's bike rack. It was only going to be there for a few days in that no man's land before I was able to move into the new place.
Anyway, one day in the middle of the week, I come into the office, walk past the bike rack and notice that it's completely empty. The building has a bunch of security cameras and one more or less is facing the bike rack since it's adjacent to the front entryway. I sit and watch the security tape with the IT guy. We're watching. We see everyone leave the office the night before and see the bike. We keep watching, and all of a sudden, poof — the bike is gone. In the tape's timestamp it literally happened in one second. I assume my bike got taken to the Upside Down.
A Ghost Probably Did It
I used to work security at a college dorm, and I once witnessed one of the doors on a washing machine slowly open itself and proceed to tear itself clean off of the machine. I told my boss this creepy story and showed him the video. He made me review camera footage for the rest of the night to find out who broke the machine, despite the fact that he watched it break itself.
Survival of the Fittest
I used to manage a retail swimming pool store, and we had a nice koi pond in the side yard. I chiefly cared for it, feeding the fish and cleaning out the leaves/filter. I named all the fish and grew to care about them.
Then one day I was walking through the side yard to get to the back office when I noticed there were no fish in the pond. It's not a big pond, maybe a foot or so at its deepest and 7 feet long. It's not like they were all hiding! At first I thought someone hopped the fence at night and stole the fish — koi are expensive, after all. I reviewed the security footage from the night before to try and catch the cretin who did this. And at 6 a.m., I caught him.
A giant heron with a 6-foot wingspan came down and helped himself to some fish for breakfast. Luckily one of the fish survived. He later came out of some hidey hole in the wall. He was named Subway because he was about a foot long. We bought more fish to keep him company and I made a rock cove covering over half the pond so they could flee in case the heron came back.
What Did the Barrier Do to Her?
I used to work as hospital security, and we had video cameras accessible in the office. Once we were eating lunch, watching the cams in the parkade. There was a barrier that went down to block the exit until you paid. Some lady in a minivan pulled up really slowly to the arm, stopped and then put the pedal to the metal. She blasted through the arm blockade, snapping it into smithereens. She then stopped on the other side for a good 30 seconds before casually driving off. Because she did it so casually, we assume it was intentional.
A Burning Issue
I worked IT for a string of retail stores. I was asked to back up the data from an incident. It was a disheveled-looking man who came into the store just before midnight. He had crazy hair. He went right to the lighter display and started selecting lighters and placing them directly to his ear. To hear the hissing of the butane? I don't know. But on the fifth lighter or so, he hit the flint. The lighter fired up, and his crazy hair burst into flames. He swatted at his hair with great speed. The flames went out, but his hair was...singed. Badly.
I had a good laugh, backed up the data to a USB stick and handed it to the staff. No idea how it all played out.
Cops Took Out the Real Trash
This was on my home surveillance system. There was a home invasion robbery near me, so after the cops came (and arrested the perps) I checked for surveillance footage.
There's me, taking out the trash. Less than 10 feet from me, the two cars (a total of six criminals) made a U-turn in front of my house before committing the crime.
So the criminals literally drove past me and then drove up the street to do a robbery. They broke in the back door of a house where two teenagers were home alone. The kids hid and called the cops. Nobody got hurt, and the cops arrested all the crooks.
Seize the Day
I help run tech support for a regional convenience store chain. About two months ago, we had a crazy occurrence of three people having seizures in our stores (three different stores) in the same day. Here's the kicker: They all happened within a range of 10 minutes. I have access to each store’s tapes and watched the first happen, and then two minutes later saw the seizure at another store. Then seven minutes later I saw it happen at a third store.
Orb to be Wild
I was installing CCTV in a retirement residence apartment and didn't have a hard drive to save the recording. I set up four cameras with the monitor in the bedroom. The other tech and I were in the bedroom looking at the screen, and we noticed a glowing orb on the living room camera going around the room and heading towards the hallway.
We checked the hallway camera and the orb moved to that screen and went down the hall towards the door of the room we were standing in. We both, without saying anything, just turned and stared at the door, but nothing appeared. I’ve worked with CCTV for many years and never saw any orbs like that before or ever again.
Nothing Like a Challenge
I work nights at a hotel, and there's this kind of odd family living on the floor above me. I watch the cameras so I can sit and chill. Fairly often in the middle of the night, an older lady who lives there comes out and runs backwards to the exit, I assume for a smoke. It’s nothing terribly abnormal for a night-owl family, I guess, but she RUNS and runs BACKWARDS every time she comes out. Really odd.
Gone to the Dogs
I have cameras up around the front of my house because we had our car broken into three times one year before the police shut down the gang doing it.
One Christmas Eve, we’re about 45 minutes from the house. My neighbor calls and tells me that my two Rottweilers are sitting on my porch and won't let anyone approach them. I race home and find the gate open. I immediately put them back in the yard and go get a lock for the fence. The whole time this is going on, my wife is telling me that the dogs probably pushed the gate open, which is a reasonable assumption.
So it’s really bugging me because I’ve never had a lock on my fences and neither dog had tried to escape in three years. I review the tape, and these two guys go to the side gate and attempt to steal my dogs! The male is easily 85 pounds and the female is 65 pounds. The video was hilarious because these two guys were running for their lives to an SUV parked two houses down with both dogs all over them. Then after they left, the dogs went to the porch to lie down to wait.
A Wild Turn of Events
I used to be the barback at a pizza place/brewery, and on most nights that included bouncing duties to kick out unruly people. The place was right by the beach so we had a lot of people who were homeless come through. One night an older man came in with a bamboo staff and was waving it around like he was going to hit someone. I had to grab the guy and take his staff and drag him outside.
He wouldn't leave, so we called the police and I had to wait there for the cops to show up. Once they got there, I told them what happened and went back inside to take my break. I was in the office watching the police talk to the guy on the outside cameras when all of a sudden a Lotus pulled up behind the cop car. A guy in a suit got out and talked to the cop as he uncuffed the man. The man got in the Lotus with the guy in the suit and they drove off. It was pretty weird.
A Sneaky Deal
I used to work surveillance for a casino. I’ve seen people smoke and proceed to clean their cars for an hour or more at like 4 a.m. The funniest thing I've seen is someone literally selling the stock stereo out of his truck (it wasn't stolen; he was a regular and always drove the truck).
Anyway, they do the deal and the guy comes to trade the money for I think singles or something. The money is counterfeit. We had a good laugh at that one for a while. Also, be careful with your phones; our cameras could see everything people texted if we thought someone was sketchy or we were just bored.
Up Against the Wall
I work in a retail store, and for a while, I worked security there. Watching the security cameras wasn’t technically my job, but we were consistently short-staffed in that department and the manager was grooming me for promotion. So, I got to fill in and watch the cameras occasionally.
One day when we were reviewing footage from overnights, we saw this teenager calmly set down his shopping basket, take off his hat and glasses and just charge at a wall. He hit it head-on. He did this two more times. When he was done, his face was a mess, and he put his hat and glasses back on and just left.
That Was a Present, Dude
I used to work IT at a university, and last Easter we had a break-in. We found the footage of the guy going in at 2 p.m., leaving at around 3 and not really taking anything. Fast forward to 7 p.m. The guy comes back in and is walking around the auditorium until 6 a.m. the next morning. In that time he proceeded to strip into his underwear, steal and wear a mask the Japanese exchange students made for the teacher and then steal six full bags of random items.
An Almost Tragic Fall
I worked at a hydropower plant in NC. The top was a walkway with a 30-foot drop off the back. A drunk group of guys is playing around on the edge. We see them on the cams, so we call the authorities. In the meantime, one of them falls.
The thing is, the water on the back side is being pulled into the dam. He falls into the penstock. We think he's dead after the 30-foot fall, getting sucked underwater, going through the cage and coming out. We go out to find the body, and we find him, coughing and bruised.
I used to work from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. At around 3 or 4 a.m., I would start seeing things due to isolation and lack of sleep. There were many times I jumped to the cameras to see if what I was seeing was real or not. I often thought I saw people watching me and jumping off the parking garage next door.
But it was never real, so I stopped worrying about it — until one night I saw someone watching me and thought nothing of it. That was until I went to do a patrol and it turned out the person was real and had been staring at me for 20 minutes. At that point, I just ran back inside and decided I was done with my patrols for the night.
Let the Bottle Hit the Floor
I worked as a valet back in the day at a very high-end hotel and had some friends who worked in other areas of the hotel as bartenders, servers and security. After busy Friday and Saturday nights, we all get called in like all hands on deck — every member of the staff. The hotel manager is fuming. They had set out a bottle of wine that cost something like $25,000. When they came in Sunday morning in preparation for a very important guest, the wine bottle was smashed on the floor. Everyone denied doing anything, so it just kind of went away without anyone hearing about what happened.
A few days later, my buddy in security showed me the bar footage. I can clearly see the manager place the bottle on the bar and then leave and close up. Then I see the bottle is slightly moved, almost like a cat knocking a pen off the table. Then, bam! The bottle hits the ground and shatters. There are what look like footprints without shoes going back and forth. There were tons of various stories about the place being haunted, but that was the first video evidence I’d seen.
Making Sheep's Eyes at You
I worked in a 24/7 filling station outside of a large town in Ireland. The area is pretty rural and is really dark at night. The forecourt has a motion-activated buzzer that lets night crew inside know there's movement outside. The buzzer went off one time during my shift, so I looked outside but couldn't see anyone...
...just a heavily pregnant ewe staring back at me, I went to phone my dad for him to come to see if he knew who it belonged to. As I dialed his number, the ewe turned around. There were two little legs sticking out; it was giving birth right then and there.
As You Wish
I worked at a hobby card shop about 12 years ago. I get to work one morning and the police are already there. We’d had a break-in and had some stuff stolen. Our IT guy gets in and pulls up the video from the night before. We see a person’s shadow walk in front of the door a few times, and then eventually the thief throws an object through the glass, smashing it. He runs in, hops the counter, throws some Yu-Gi-Oh! booster boxes into a trash bag and runs back out.
We rewind and freeze the picture to get a good look at the intruder. We then realize the thief is wearing a Boba Fett helmet. We all exclaim, "It’s Boba Fett!" and start laughing hysterically just as one of the officers walks up. She says, "Oh, so you know the guy?" We then proceed to lose it even more. Needless to say, Orlando’s Finest never caught up to Boba Fett.
Going Out With a Bang
I was a cop in the Air Force. One night while working the operations center, I notice it looks like one of the gates to our airfield, shared with a major business and local airport, is on the ground.
I radio my patrols to go check it out and all I hear is, "Uh, control?" I say, "The gate is on the ground isn't it?" I set up a makeshift checkpoint with my people and call the airport and local police.
After they arrive I review the footage and see this car stop at our gate, back up maybe half a mile, pause for a few minutes and then floor it. He turns toward our part of the airfield and either sees our large cargo planes or the two cops not paying attention on the flight line. He turns around. (Both of these officers got in trouble later for not seeing this.)
He then floors it towards oncoming air traffic and is gone. I notify airport police that some guy is out there dodging airplanes, and their dispatcher leaves without hanging up the phone assuming to assist. They finally catch him after a short chase ending in a ditch with two empty bottles of vodka in the car. He's killing a third when they pull him out.
Smell a Rat
It was the middle of the night and I was working alone (watching security cameras) in an African country. Suddenly, a BIG animal jumps off the roof and scuttles away into our courtyard by the front door. Terrified and about to call for backup, I pull up the recorded camera footage and replay it until I finally figure out what it was — a giant rat. I’m not sure how big those things can get, but this one looked like a medium-sized dog.
Scream Your Guts Out
The creepiest I’ve seen involved our neighbors. The lady had walked into the street at about 2 a.m. She was staring at the storm drain at the curb for about five minutes before she pulled a huge knife (it seemed like it was a foot long) out of her waistband and knelt down with her head in the drain, screaming. This went on for about 10 minutes. Then she stood there and screamed at the ground before going inside.
The Register Isn't That Way, Sir
I found a would-be burglar in the back of a department store where I worked security. After a pretty scary confrontation, the cops came and I had to pull video and write a report. He had been lurking around the back storage area for a solid 30 minutes before we closed and I found him. It scared me to see team members walking around with him lurking in the shadows, going in and out of aisles in the back. I carried mace and was a total scaredy cat for a solid year or so afterwards.
A Flurry of Papers
I worked the overnight shift as an asset protection officer for a department store distribution center. When I was hired, people joked about it being haunted, and some warned me about it.
I was outside checking in my coworker who worked assisting the truckers, and I was watching their cameras. I watched my office being torn apart by...no one. Papers being thrown, office chair pushed aside. I saw and heard a lot of weird things during my time there, but that scared me the most. And knowing I had to go back inside after my outdoor rounds scared me even more.
The Old Switcheroo
Twenty-three years ago I was doing a job that involved monitoring some people through a CCTV camera on a bus. It was hidden behind the mirror the driver uses to watch passengers. Well, it was odd because a guy was standing at the front near the yellow line watching the road with the driver.
Then I see it. A middle-aged woman in the front has her purse on her lap with her hands resting on top of it. Seconds later, the purse kind of flashes away from her hands and is under the seat. Then it’s back to being on her lap. Then it’s away again underneath her seat. Then it’s back to being where it started on top of her lap. It was so infuriating that I went on a rampage.
Trick or Treat
I actually do watch security cameras for a living — for a high-rise in a big city. Every Halloween, like a dozen of the folks in the company that works in there do a big group Halloween costume. One year the theme was presidents. One year it was different characters from the same TV show. So on this particular Halloween, I'm watching the cameras, not really thinking about Halloween. I glance at the elevator cameras to see an elevator door open, and a dozen women all dressed like The Grudge ghost enter the elevator at once. It spooked me for a second!