Video game Easter eggs are often fun to discover and it’s always cool to pick up on the little details inserted by game developers. But sometimes, Easter eggs can be scary to stumble across too. While in some more ‘adult’ games, creepy Easter eggs can help add another layer of horror, in other, more wholesome titles they can inject a little spookiness into an otherwise completely innocent game.

We’ve rounded up the 20 creepiest video game Easter eggs from a range of classic video game properties – read on to see if you’ve ever encountered any of them.

20. The Children of Goldshire in World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft has a bunch of creepy Easter eggs, but surely this one concerning demonic children is the creepiest of them all. If you head to Goldshire at 7:00am server time, you’ll see these spooky children leave their house. They’ll run around the surrounding area in a pentagram formation before returning to their house at around 7:40am.

If you follow the children into their house and up onto the second floor, you’ll usually be greeted by some disturbing audio. Some players hear screaming, while others hear a woman crying. Sometimes C’Thun’s voice will bellow out “you will die” or “death is close.” There’s been no explanation for this Easter egg yet – although some believe the children are all named after Blizzard employees.

19. “Who are you running from?” in the Game Boy Camera

The “Who are you running from?” Easter egg is pretty well-known amongst old Game Boy Camera users. The console’s main menu has the following options: SHOOT, ITEMS, MAGIC, CHECK and RUN. Most of these relate to the camera. Clicking on RUN would usually load a picture of Africa and the words “You are now crossing the Equator. Jambo Nintendo!”

But sometimes, horrifying and doodled-on faces would pop up after you selected RUN, accompanied with the question “Who are you running from?” There were a few different faces that could appear – one would also state “Don’t be so silly!” Why or how this was included in a video game accessory meant for kids is still very unclear.

18. Haunting Mode on the original Xbox dashboard

If you ever fell asleep after leaving your Xbox open on the dashboard screen, you were in for a serious fright. Xbox consoles were programmed to come out with eerie noises if you idled on the menu screen for too long. If you left it long enough, you’d begin to hear unintelligible (but distinctly creepy) voices, as the volume would get louder and louder.

It’s kind of hard to hear what these alien-like voices are saying, but some people at the time reported hearing things like “I own your soul.” As it happens, the sounds were actually NASA transmissions which had been distorted beyond recognition. Still – hearing freaky voices coming out of your Xbox was literally the stuff of nightmares.

17. Winter Lodge in Fable II

If you explore the optional area of Winter Lodge in Fable II, you’ll find a wintry cabin that looks like it could have come straight out of a Christmas card. But the second you walk in the door, the cosy facade instantly disappears to reveal something straight out of a horror movie. The lights will go out but you’ll still be able to make out skeletons and torture devices strewn all over the cabin. The dining room table becomes a torture rack, while a cupboard becomes an iron maiden.

The world outside changes too – you’ll find that the woodcutting block outside the cabin now has a body lying next to it. Upstairs in the cabin, you’ll find a chest with a sword inside it. Other than that, there’s not much else to see or do, and there’s no way of knowing how all those skeletons met their fate.

16. The island from Lost in Just Cause 2

There’s nothing overtly supernatural about Just Cause 2, and all in all, it’s a pretty standard action-adventure game. However, that all changes if you go out of your way to fly over one particular island on the game’s map. If you do, your plane will spontaneously combust and crash spectacularly onto the island below.

You’ll soon realise that the game’s developers included the island as a nod to the popular TV show Lost. On the island, you can find the burnt out remains of the Oceanic 815 flight, as well as a giant SOS in the sand. If you make it to the north of the island, you’ll find an enemy shrouded in black smoke that’s almost impossible to kill – an unambiguous nod to the show’s smoke monster.

15. The witch in Payday: The Heist

The spookiest Easter eggs are often those that are least expected – and one instance in Payday: The Heist is a perfect example of this. During the No Mercy mission, players are required to steal a virus sample from a hospital. The hospital is called ‘Mercy Hospital’ – a location borrowed from the game Left 4 Dead.

The location isn’t all that’s been borrowed from Left 4 Dead – one of the game’s most haunting characters also makes a cameo in Payday: The Heist. It’s quite easy to miss if you don’t happen to look through the right door at the right time. But if you do happen to look in through the right door, you’ll be greeted with a nice little jump scare as the witch from Left 4 Dead lunges at you.

14. The Tumbleweed dog in Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption and its successor Red Dead Redemption 2 are jam-packed full of creepy stuff. One of the creepiest locations in both games is Tumbleweed – a ghost town in Gaptooth Ridge. Tumbleweed is spooky enough as it is – what’s not scary about a deserted town? – but the freakiest thing about the place has to be the demon dog.

You’ll be able to hear near-constant howling in Tumbleweed in Red Dead Redemption, but you’ll never be able to find a single dog there. However, you will be able to find a message which alludes to the ghostly howling in a church in Tumbleweed. If you find the church, you’ll see the words “The devil has got into that beast” scrawled on the pulpit.

13. Ra’s al Ghul’s resurrection in Batman: Arkham Asylum

Ra’s al Ghul is one of the creepiest supervillains in DC’s fictional universe due to his ability to rise from the dead. By using Lazarus Pits – mystical pools which can restore life to the dying – Ra’s al Ghul has been resurrected many, many times. There’s even a nod to Ra’s al Ghul’s ability to come back to life in Batman: Arkham Asylum.

If you investigate the Asylum’s morgue, the Riddler will give Batman a riddle to solve. To solve the riddle, use Detective Mode to take a snapshot of Ra’s al Ghul’s corpse in a body bag which will reveal the answer. However – if you return to the morgue at any time after this, the body will be missing from its slab. Spooky stuff.

12. The UFO in Fallout 3

If you look at a certain part of the map in Fallout 3, you’ll be able to find a UFO that has crashed. The UFO is directly north of Minefield – you’ll be able to tell you’re getting closer as you’ll pick up a signal called Recon Craft Theta Beacon. Follow the noise and eventually you’ll find this crashed alien ship. You’ll also be able to see an unlucky alien that did not survive the crash.

The alien will be holding a gun called the Alien Blaster, one of the best weapons in the whole game. You’ll have to act quickly, as you’ll start to become more and more irradiated the longer you stick around. It’s a pretty cool Easter egg just to witness, but it’s definitely worth finding just to get your hands on the Alien Blaster gun.

11. The hidden Sonic CD message

By pressing down, down, down, left, right on the Sonic CD game’s title screen, you’ll be able to access a secret sound test screen. Then, change the numbers on your screen into the following order – FM No. 46, PCM No. 12, and DA No. 25. Press start, you’ll be greeted with a message in Japanese (which reportedly translates as “Fun is infinite with Sega Enterprises. Signed by Majin”).

Sounds innocent enough, but the message pops up over a repeated image of a freaky, deformed Sonic with an uncanny human face. The background music is pretty jarring too. Thanks Sega, we didn’t want to sleep anyway. Apparently, this is a message from game designer Masato Nishimura, whose childhood nickname was ‘Majin.’ Why the message had to be so creepy is less clear.

10. Zombies screaming for help in Half-Life 2

Half-Life 2’s headcrab zombies are notorious for running at you while screeching terrifying, garbled noises. It’s terrifying stuff. As if this wasn’t frightening enough, there’s actually a doubly disturbing Easter egg concealed within their screams. If you play their moans in reverse, you’ll be able to hear a distinctly human voice.

While this doesn’t impact gameplay at all, it does suggest a dark detail about the headcrabs and their victims. This added detail seems to imply that innocent headcrab ‘hosts’ are actually still conscious and can feel every bit of pain you inflict on them. At least by killing them you’re putting them out of their misery, right?

9. Jolene Cranley-Evans’ ghost in Grand Theft Auto V

The GTA series is full of spooky urban legends, but more often than not these stories end up debunked – just like the idea that you could see Bigfoot in San Andreas. There is, however, one spooky Easter egg that is definitely real: the ghost of Mount Gordo. If you traverse the Mount Gordo cliff edge between 11 pm and midnight and zoom in from a distance with a sniper scope, you’ll see a ghost that looks a lot like the girl from The Ring.

She’ll disappear if you get too close, but if you look at the rocks underneath her you’ll find a message scrawled in blood: JOCK. ‘Jock’ refers to Jock Cranley, an in-game politician who appears in advertisements supporting his bid to become governor of San Andreas. The ghost, Jolene Cranley-Evans, is the spirit of his late wife, who was murdered by her husband.

8. The Blackwater Athletics Team in Red Dead Redemption 2

While wandering through Red Dead Redemption 2, you may stumble across a pile of bodies dressed in athletic kit. Some of the dead appear to have sacks over their heads. If we take one of the many newspaper articles within RDR2 at face value, this is the final resting place of the Blackwater Athletic Team.

The newspaper article in question mentions that the Blackwater Athletic team went missing on their way to a group athletics run. How the team met their fate is unclear, but there are many freaky fan theories. Some have suggested the Easter Egg is a nod to a real life case involving the killed members of the Los Maniceros football team.

7. The 3:33 am alien broadcast in Animal Crossing: New Leaf

You wouldn’t think that Animal Crossing would have any eerie Easter eggs – but there is one which is pretty disturbing. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, if you turn on a TV at 3:33 am on a Sunday or Monday, you’ll be greeted with a pretty spooky sight. The TV screen will initially be filled with static, before a black alien with red eyes appears and talks to you through the screen.

Granted, it’s not exactly the alien from Alien, but it’s still pretty spooky for an otherwise wholesome game. Since the television is fairly hard to get a hold of in New Leaf, and most players are probably not up playing the game at 3 am, this Easter egg is pretty hard to just stumble across. You can also see the same Easter egg by doing the same thing on a Saturday on Animal Crossing New Horizons.

6. James’ dead bodies in Silent Hill 2

Silent Hill is one of the scariest video game series ever – but there’s one Easter egg in the series’ second instalment which really goes above and beyond for horror. By exploring certain areas within the game, players will stumble across dead bodies – and if you look closely, you’ll notice that they’re all replicas of the main character, James Sutherland. While sometimes you can’t see the faces of these dead bodies, you can tell that their clothes are uncannily similar to James’ own.

Far from a glitch, this was included by developers to hint at James’ troubled psyche. The corpse which most obviously resembles James is the one you encounter at the beginning of the game, slumped in front of a TV screen. This added detail is easily missed, but it certainly adds another level of creepiness to an incredibly disturbing game.

5. The elevator ghost girl in Pokemon X & Y

Pokemon can be pretty spooky at times – Lavender Town, we’re looking at you – but the Lumiose Ghost Girl is also definitely up there with some of the game’s creepiest Easter eggs. In Lumiose City, you can explore a lot of the buildings, and if you go to the second floor of a particular one on North Boulevard – you’ll be able to tell it’s the right one if there’s a little boy in the ground floor lobby – you’ll meet the Lumiose Ghost Girl. Once you get out the elevator, the screen will fade to black several times before a creepy purple-haired girl appears behind you.

She glides along the ground and says “you are not the one” before disappearing completely. You can find her again in a hotel in Lumiose City, where she tells you to be quiet so she can hear the elevator. To this day, nobody knows who she is or who she’s looking for, even though fans have pored over the evidence countless times.

4. The giant squid in Assassin’s Creed 2

In Assassin’s Creed 2, if you enter one of the hidden assassin’s tombs in Santa Maria della Visitazione, you’ll find a room partially submerged in water where you’ll need to pull a lever. After you pull the lever, look over the edge and into the water and – after about a minute – you’ll be able to see a giant squid swimming along. If you do it again, a tentacle will lurch out of the water and swipe at you.

While the squid will never drag you into the waters’ murky depths, it’s still a bit of a shock to have a giant tentacle come lunging at you. It’s hard not to get spooked out about swimming in the game after seeing what sort of creatures lurk beneath the water’s surface! This isn’t the only giant squid in the Assassin’s Creed series – you can spot another one in Assassin’s Creed 4 while exploring the Antocha Wreck.

3. The mirror ghost in Hitman: Contracts

Hitman: Contracts arguably has the most memorable Easter egg in the whole of the Hitman series. If you unlock a restricted (and incredibly spooky) wing in one of the game’s hotels, you’ll find a hotel room guarded by a policeman. Inside the room you’ll find a gruesome murder scene, and if you venture into the bathroom and look into the mirror, you’ll see a ghost staring back at you.

Given that Hitman isn’t exactly a horror game, the Easter egg is especially freaky as it’s genuinely unexpected. The ghost can’t harm you and it’ll never do more than float ominously in the mirror’s reflection, but it’s still enough to creep anyone out. You’ve really got to pluck up a lot of courage to look into any in-game mirrors after your encounter with the hotel ghost!

2. Luigi’s hanging show in Luigi’s Mansion

On the whole, Luigi’s Mansion is pretty spooky, but there’s one Easter egg that’s particularly dark. Late in the game, a bolt of lightning will strike the mansion and cause the power to go out, plunging all of the rooms into darkness. As you explore the mansion in darkness, Luigi will find a room with three phones.

If you answer the middle phone and wait for lightning to strike while Luigi holds it up to his ear, the room will illuminate and cast a shadow which looks uncannily like Luigi has been hanged. Most believe that the shadow is actually meant to be of Luigi standing there in the room, while a glitch makes it appear as though he’s hovering off the ground. Nevertheless – it’s still incredibly creepy, and not exactly something you’d expect to find in a game (supposedly) suitable for kids!

1. The Statue of Happiness in Grand Theft Auto IV

In Grand Theft Auto IV, you can reach Happiness Island, home to The Statue of Happiness. The statue is basically a creepy version of The Statue of Liberty with a perpetual, terrifying grin. If you go to the upper platform of the pedestal, right at the bottom of the statue, you’ll find a southern door with a sign that reads: ‘No Hidden Content This Way’.

If you continue through the door, you’ll find a ladder going up into the body of the statue itself. At the top of the ladder, there is a small platform where you can see the statue’s giant, chained heart. This is likely symbolic of some metaphorical comment on American society – but first and foremost, it’s a pretty jarring Easter egg.