Learning all your friends’ or significant others’ secrets? Great, cathartic, brings everyone closer together. Learning all your family secrets? Well, based on these stories, it’s an absolutely terrible idea. From the heartbreaking to the deeply disturbing, these are real-life stories about people learning that one thing about their family they were never supposed to. And I thought my family was messed up…
1. Decking The Halls
Not very much a secret, but took me until I was older to understand what was happening. My mom would sometimes have us play a game called “soldiers,” which consisted of me, my mom, and my siblings crawling around our apartment as if we were hiding in trenches. It was kind of a hide-and-seek style game. She would yell “hit the deck!” randomly, and we would all drop and find a hiding spot.
We would giggle and giggle while my mom crawled around on the ground, looking for us. We loved the game so much. I realized a few years ago while retelling the story that there was a chilling secret behind the game we were playing. In reality, it was not a game at all—we lived in a really terrible neighborhood, and she would yell it out whenever she heard shots being fired outside the building. I’m assuming she was worried about stray bullets.
When I realized what had been going on, I shared my appreciation with my mom, and she shed a tear. She feels very appreciated!
2. The Ex-Files
I found this out about two weeks ago. In my teenage years, my grandmother started dating a rough guy. For about four years, we didn’t see her anymore unless we were picking her up from the hospital after he beat on her. Obviously, we were worried about her having this guy in her life. After a recent visit from my mom, I found out the whole truth, and it completely shocked me.
Apparently, my grandmother’s boyfriend was a large-scale dealer who routinely, and without consequences, beat people in public. The authorities wouldn’t pursue him, and people who knew who he was wouldn’t press charges. My mother and her sisters went to county law enforcement. When they learned the man’s name and looked up who he was, they literally gasped.
They were amazed that this individual was in their county, and said that they could not discuss him further without consequence. My dad worked for a major hotel and resort, and had the head of security (a retired secret service agent) make some calls. Two days later, an FBI agent showed up in the doorway of his office, flashed credentials, and asked why my dad was looking into this man.
After a brief explanation of the story, the agent told my dad “let it go,” and left. The man was in my family’s life from 1993-1997, when he passed from a heart attack. My grandmother also passed a few months later. We’ve speculated on everything from “mob boss” to “high value witness protection program participant.” I’m 40 years old and I still have no answers on this VERY dark chunk of my family’s history.
3. The Man In The Mirror
This happened around 2013—Instagram wasn’t totally new but it was still a much smaller platform and centered a lot around visual artists. Through Instagram, a friend of mine found a profile that was my gosh darn doppelganger. Like, this guy looked so much like me that I sent multiple photos of him to my mom and she was convinced it was me even after I told her it wasn’t.
Now, for the purpose of the story I’ll just say I am incredibly unique looking. Dark brown hair, fiery red beard, almost a full bodysuit of tattoos. Same for this guy. The brands of clothes I wore, even down to the gold and black Ray-Ban Clubmasters. I am a professional tattoo artist and he is a painter who owns an art gallery.
So, in keeping with how the internet worked back then, we said hey and joked about meeting and occasionally would call or FaceTime the other to prove a point. Then, I got an opportunity to travel to NYC for work. This guy lived in NYC as well, so we made plans to meet up! I bought plane tickets, made arrangements, and we even talked about how funny it would be to get a photo together.
Then we started talking about how funny it would be if we really were long lost brothers, and he goes: “That’s entirely possible! My dad was never in the picture. He was a traveling biker who just hooked up with my mom one night.” A chill ran through my body. This was REALLY weird because my dad was a tattoo artist and notorious biker who traveled in the area this guy lived when he was growing up.
I thought it was a long shot but I said, “Hey! Ask your mom if his name is James Jobin! Wouldn’t that be crazy if we are brothers?!” He laughed and agreed that would be funny, and said he’d ask his mom the next morning before I got into town. Then he blocked me on everything. Instagram, Facebook, text. Absolute radio silence.
I’ve made other accounts to check up on him and see how he’s doing, but I’ve never reached back out. The thought that I could really have a brother is bittersweet for me—I respect his right to have contact with me or not, but it does break my heart a little every time I think about him. Plus, I just don’t have a closure on what the truth really is.
4. Glass Half Empty
I’m my family’s big secret! I’m adopted and at some point, I managed to find my biological father. He begged me not to reach out to any of my half-siblings as it would “ruin his life and standing in the community.” But that’s not even the worst part. I’m actually not even his first secret child. I have an older half-sister that he also begged not to reach out to the family.
So that’s two kids he’s had because he cheated on his wife. I can only imagine how often he actually cheats on whoever woman he’s with. My half-sister and I refer to 23andMe as “23andMark,” because who knows how many more kids he might have out there. I’m pretty sure he’s been terrified since at-home DNA kits became a thing.
When I tell this story, people usually ask me why I don’t tell his wife. I just tell them I don’t need to. She already knew about my half-sister, and now me, because she answered his phone when I first called asking questions and promptly told me to leave her family the heck alone. Also, screw him for asking me to stay quiet.
But at the same time, I don’t plan to blow up his life or reach out to my half-siblings. In fact, it is largely because of my half-siblings that I haven’t done anything. I did not sign up to be a wrecking ball or to destroy a family. Imagine finding out that everything you thought you knew about your dad was a lie in the worst way possible. I know I’d be devastated.
I may not have met them but they are still my half-siblings and I do care about them on some level. They are just as innocent in all this as I am, so I don’t want to be the one to hurt them like that. I really hope that he will just realize one day that he can’t keep a secret like this forever and that he will have to come clean to them himself.
Then there’s the question of why I don’t just mail his kids DNA testing kits anonymously. Realistically, it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets curious and does it on their own or gets gifted one from an unwitting family member or friend. Believe it or not, some people even ask me why I don’t just blackmail or demand money from the guy.
He’s a terrible person, so he should pay for what he did, right? The answer to that is pretty simple. That’s just not the kind of person I am. I don’t want his money, and I never have. I go to bed every night with a clear conscience, which is more than I can say for him. And that’s worth a lot more to me than anything that money could possibly buy in my opinion.
I have a roof over my head, a husband who loves me, a beautiful daughter, a great dad, and two new half-siblings that I adore from a distance. From my perspective, I’m already rich.
5. Ancient History
One of my aunts raised another aunt’s baby as her own. My mom had four sisters and a brother, all of whom got married and had kids, so I have around 20 cousins. Unfortunately, three of my aunts got breast cancer in their 30s. All three recovered, but years later the youngest, Maria, got it again and it got worse. Maria needed a bone marrow transplant.
All her sisters and children got tested, but no one matched. The family then revealed the truth. Maria had had a teenage pregnancy, and her first child was actually my cousin John, who had been adopted and raised by my oldest aunt as her second child. None of the cousins knew about this, including John and his revealed-to-be adoptive siblings.
As a result, the family asked John to get tested and he was a match, so he agreed to donate bone marrow to his birth mom, Maria. John was in his late 20s at the time and had had very little contact with Maria over his life. The transplant took, but Maria eventually succumbed a year or so later. Luckily, none of my female (or male) cousins have gotten breast cancer since. We are all still vigilant and self-check ourselves regularly.
6. A Time Everyone Would Rather Forget
My step-grandfather has always had a serious drinking problem. As a child, he even taught me how to mix his favorite drink. As a kid at the age of about six years old, I would mix his drink as he liked it and bring it to him in the living room. Don’t ask what the drink was a mix of, ’cause I literally can’t remember. And then, as you’d expect, my grandpa always acted “funny” after he drank it.
I always liked spending time with him because I found him so funny. I never saw the bad side of his drinking, and he never made me drink with him or anything like that, so he didn’t have a negative impact on me at all. But before I was born, there were times where he apparently got so intoxicated he almost took my grandma’s life.
One time, he got into a car accident and came home, bleeding badly from his head. He started saying that my grandma shot him. He even threw out some of the wedding pictures my parents had. I never knew how horrible he was before that moment. I guess I was older when I witnessed that happen—he definitely toned his behavior down when I was little.
He would make me cocoa, watch Garfield with me, and everything, so it was so weird to me when I found out these things about him. Before he passed, though, he really regretted drinking. He even completely stopped at one point. He became really depressed until his biological granddaughter was born.
He was so happy about his granddaughter. He passed on, regretting basically everything. By that point, he was a sober man who was just happy to have been able to meet his one and only biological granddaughter. Regardless of everything, he really changed in the end and everyone was really upset when we lost him.
7. A Real Hero
My dad was born in rural Texas in 1915. He was the youngest of 10 kids, all a year apart, so his oldest sibling, Henry, was about 11 years older than him. My dad’s father passed in an accident not long after he was born, so Henry became the “man of the house” at about age 11. When my dad was about nine years old, in 1924, disaster struck.
A gang of men came through their small town, kidnapping children to work picking cotton about 400 miles away. Apparently this was not an unusual occurrence at the time. My dad and two of his siblings were taken. Henry, who was now 18, came home from working on a cattle drive about a week later, and found his mother in pieces about the kidnapping of three of her children.
Being the man of the house, Henry strapped on his father’s six revolvers—dual holsters, one on each hip—and set out to get his three siblings back. He gathered clues about the gang from other townsfolk who also had children who were taken. He headed east to where he was pretty certain the kids were taken, riding in empty train boxcars and even on the roofs of moving trains.
It took him several weeks, but through talking to locals along the way who heard rumors of child abductions, he finally narrowed it down to a few cotton farms where he thought the kids were. My dad had tears in his eyes when he told me this part of the story. He and two of his brothers, along with about a dozen other kidnapped kids, had been held captive on this cotton ranch for over two months.
They had given up ever seeing home or the rest of their family again. They were kept locked in a barn, fed scraps, and forced to pick cotton in the hot Texas sun. They were beaten if they cried or refused to work. One day, working in the fields, they heard a miraculous sound. It was Henry’s voice calling their names. They looked up and saw my uncle Henry walking towards them.
They started running toward him when one of their captors rode up on a horse and started yelling. Henry pulled one of his revolvers and shot the man. My dad wasn’t even sure if the man had a weapon, and it didn’t matter. The shot drew a couple more of the rancher/captors over, and Henry shot them both as well. My dad ran up and hugged my uncle, and he told them “let’s go home.”
My dad tells me they rode on and in train boxcars all the way back west to their little Texas town, along with a couple other kids who were taken from the town. When they got back to their small farm, my dad said his mom fainted when she saw them. He said Henry put the revolvers away, and never touched them again. Not ever.
There was no law enforcement, no investigation about what had happened, no mention in town that my uncle had taken the lives of three men to get his siblings back. It was basically still the “Wild West” in Texas in the 1920s. The boys eventually all served and survived WWII. My dad didn’t tell me this story until after Henry had passed.
I had always known my uncle Henry as a sweet, soft-spoken, diminutive (he was about five foot four, and maybe 100 pounds) man who went on to own a printing shop. I would never have imagined him capable of the feats of heroics he performed, at age 18, to bring his family back together. Obviously, I’m so grateful he found it in himself.
8. Fiscal Responsibility
When I was young, I thought it was really nice that my nanna lived with my aunt and her family since she was getting on a bit and it meant she was always being looked after. My aunt has six kids, so the house was never a lonely place. Occasionally, my aunt would gripe about being the one looking after nanna, since she is also one of many kids and her siblings didn’t really help out.
Being young, I sympathized, but given that they all spent loads of time with nanna too, I didn’t think it was a big deal. You don’t think about financial responsibility when you’re young, I think. Well, it turns out there was a lot more to the story than I had ever realized when I was a kid…and let’s just say the truth wasn’t pretty.
Turns out, the real reason why my nanna lived with my aunt is that my aunt and her husband convinced her to put the house in their name so they could “look after her affairs.” They then sold it out from under her and invested the money in a pyramid scheme, so it’s all gone now. Because of this, her siblings refuse to give my aunt a penny towards looking after my nanna, since it’s her own fault that our nanna has no money or assets.
Instead, the other siblings pay to take my nanna out all the time, including for meals, shopping, and activities. But they let my aunt struggle under the weight of my nanna’s general living expenses. My aunt’s kids are all independent now, so they are not going to be impacted by money problems.
Now, I look back at her griping with annoyance and realize what a terrible person she is.
9. Sibling Rivalry
My uncle tells the story that when he was a kid, his older brother wanted him to go out hunting with him in the woods near their house. They woke up really early and started walking much deeper into the woods than they usually did, and way off the normal trails they used. Then my uncle realized his brother was letting him get further and further ahead.
He stopped and turned around—and witnessed a horrific sight. He saw his brother starting to bring the shotgun up in his direction. He asked him what the heck was he doing, and his brother said, “Oh, I thought I saw something.” My uncle decided to go back at that point. Later that week, he went back and found a pit that someone had dug a bit further off the trail.
He never went anywhere with his brother alone again. Both of them are my mother’s brothers, and the wannabe Cain was a narcissist of the “not letting a silly thing like being married get in the way of his dating life” variety. He actually decided he had big dreams and bailed on his family when I was a kid, then proceeded to fatally overdose.
I usually don’t think of him as my uncle because I didn’t have a real relationship with him. I’m not sure why he didn’t shoot my uncle—sometimes I think he might have wanted it to look more like an accident, or didn’t want to look his brother in the eye. I obviously can’t prove the story, but the way that my other uncle described it, he was really afraid of his brother and thought he was capable of fratricide.
10. Loose Lips
My parents had a nasty divorce, which was often accompanied by a lot of trash talking about each other. There was a lot of “well your mother blah blah blah” and “your dad is such and such,” most of which I would just ignore because it was incredibly immature and embarrassing, until one day my mom broke out an enormous revelation.
My siblings and I were just watching TV in the living room one day and the conversation moved to my dad coming to town to visit, and my mom overheard. The mere mention of dad prompted this woman to stop whatever she was doing, come into the living room, and say something along the lines of: “Talking about your dad again, huh? Did you know that he was molested?”
My dad had never mentioned anything about this in the 18 years that I lived with him, which is understandable. To this day, I have no idea why my mom felt the need to blurt that out to the three of us, or why it is she thought that being a victim was a stain on someone’s character, but it was a really weird way to find out something so deeply personal about my dad.
Just to ease my conscience, my mom was actually a great mom. She practically raised us on her own, and the divorce wasn’t her fault in the slightest. She got hit with the passing of both of her parents and a divorce all within a two-year time span, on top of losing the house. This was completely out of character for her, which is part of why it caught all of us off guard.
She’s a good woman who said something awful that she now regrets, but it’s out there now.
11. An Accident Within An Accident
My grandfather took his youngest brother’s life to get out of going to Vietnam. He, his brother, and two of their friends had their numbers called in the draft for Vietnam. They didn’t want to go, obviously, but they didn’t come from money and they all worked to support their families. If they got taken behind bars for failing to serve, they’d lose their jobs and their families would lose their income.
So they decided on a different plan to get out of going. They would drive to get their medical checks together and, on the way there, they would crash the car into a tree. The plan was to get too injured to get sent to serve, but not so injured as to be permanently crippled. And it had to look like an accident so that nobody got in trouble.
This was in rural Western Australia, so they were all going to say they swerved to miss a kangaroo, then hit the tree in the process. My grandfather was driving with his friend in the passenger seat, and the other two were in the back. His brother was behind the passenger seat. They hit the tree doing about 40 kilometers per hour…more than enough to be serious.
A broken leg for my grandfather, a broken arm for the guy behind him, and broken ribs all around. They definitely weren’t going to fight. But there was a huge problem they didn’t anticipate—they weren’t wearing seatbelts. Their plan seemed solid enough, except they didn’t consider the risk of getting internal injuries or possibly dying from the feat.
Tragically, my grandfather’s brother bled to his demise from a ruptured spleen in the back seat. He was gone before they could get him to a hospital. My grandfather never forgave himself for what he did, and he never talked about it. My grandma was the only one he ever told, as far as we know, and she didn’t tell my mother and me until long after his passing.
We found a small box in their bedroom when we were cleaning out the house after she passed last year. It had a clipping from the local newspaper at the time about the accident. It said that they had swerved to miss a roo, and the headline called it a tragedy. I don’t think my mother told any of her siblings, so technically this is still the family secret. I guess now you’re all in on it too.
12. Friends In High Places
My biological grandfather threatened to kill my grandmother while she was very young and pregnant with my uncle. Long story short, my grandfather was engaged to someone else at the time. My grandmother became a nervous wreck while pregnant and wouldn’t leave the house, and my grandfather used to throw bricks through her window.
Eventually, she told some of her friends about what he’d threatened to do to her. Shortly after that he went missing, never to be seen or heard from again. We always kind of laughed and joked that one of her friends must have threatened him or “ran him out of town.” We would even go as far as to say someone might have offed him for her.
It wasn’t until we were going through her boxes of photos and “love letters” that we realized she was actually friends with the infamous British mobsters the Kray twins…
13. Wild Goose Chase
This should be obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. Terry, Iris, and Joan are pseudonyms. Please don’t go around trying to dox every woman named Joan. Moving on. As a teen, I’d heard that my cousin Terry’s engagement had failed just a short time before their scheduled wedding date, and that was all that anyone cared to say about the situation.
In recent years, I was given more detail. Apparently, Terry and Joan became engaged after he got her pregnant. All was well at first, but two weeks before the wedding, Terry’s mom Iris became violently ill and actually nearly passed. I can’t remember what the disease was. This was many years ago. Terry asked if Joan would postpone the wedding just until Iris got better so that she could attend.
Joan instead called off the wedding entirely over the phone. Now, here comes the dark bit—when Terry went home to see her, their home was cleaned out. Only Terry’s meager belongings remained. Even their bed was gone. Terry called Joan. No answer. He called her folks. No answer. He went to her folks’ place only to find it completely empty.
Not a trace of them was left behind. No note, no nothing. All of their social media accounts were erased and their phone numbers were deactivated. Even Joan’s siblings had no clue where they’d gone. It was as if they’d vanished. Turns out, they had gathered their possessions and moved from coast to coast. In fact, they would have moved overseas if Terry hadn’t caught them in time.
Joan tried to leave the country with their baby just because Terry wanted his mom to attend their wedding. This whole saga lasted three years. After a long court battle, Terry won primary custody of his child. He is currently a single dad who soaks up every moment they have together. I haven’t been told what became of Joan and I’m certainly not going to ask him.
14. Daddy Issues
My father tried to kill my mother while she was pregnant with me. He never got charged, and I found out about this when I was 20, after my mom told me in private. She said back then, my father had a drinking problem and he would get really violent sometimes. She said something to him one time so he grabbed a knife, pushed her next to an open window, and put the knife at her throat.
He then made her choose between jumping from the fourth floor or getting her throat slit. My mom said she cried and begged him to think of the unborn baby (me). Some neighbors heard the noise and intervened. They managed to take the knife away from him, and she was safe. But here’s the brutal kicker. My mom is religious and doesn’t believe in divorce, and they’re still together after 45 years.
His violent tendencies toned down after me and my brothers were old enough to knock him out if he tried that again. However, I’m the only one in my family, besides my mom, who knows this happened. I’ve always had problems with him, but I hated him bitterly after my mom told me what happened then and other times as well.
15. Father Of Mine
I’m the only child between my mom and dad, but they both had children from previous relationships. All of my siblings were 15+ years older than me. When I was seven, everything unraveled in the most brutal way. My mom and dad split because my dad “had feelings” for my mom’s oldest daughter, who actually already had four kids.
Ok, gross, but both adults, so whatever. Cut to 13 years or so later and my dad is suddenly all involved in the life of one of the kids of that sister. 20-year-old me was oblivious as to why this was happening. It took me another seven years to put all the pieces together that my dad was actually the father of that kid. I had grown up thinking she was just my niece, but she was in reality my half-sister-niece.
I’ve never discussed it with anyone in my family. My mom passed before I put all the pieces together. But wait…there’s more! My family and I are all from Mississippi. Cue Deliverance banjo music. My dad was born in 1945, so unsurprisingly, he’s super prejudiced. Well, that sister-niece of mine? She ended up having two kids with a Black man.
Anyway, karma’s a witch. Cheat on my mom with your step-daughter, get her knocked up, basically have nothing to do with said child’s life, then the child goes and commits, in his eyes, probably the biggest betrayal possible. I would throw a chef’s kiss right here except all I really care about from this story is the pain it must have put my mom through, and I was too young or oblivious to be there for her. Miss you, Cotty.
16. He Sounds Like A Questionable Guy
My father met my mother in the Philippines when he was stationed there in the Navy. He married her there and they conceived me. He then went away to finish his tour of duty. My mother moved to America when she was a month away from giving birth to me. She moved in with relatives in Texas. My father’s tour ended while he was in Hawaii.
That’s when things got super messy. He met a woman there and called my mom in America, asking for a divorce. He wanted to take back his recent marriage to her, despite having a kid on the way, all because he had a hot one-night stand. My mother was already scared, being in a new country and not knowing much English. Add to this that she was pregnant, about to give birth, and her husband was dumping her.
My Texan uncle got on a plane to Hawaii, prepared to kick my father’s behind. He somehow talked my father into being a man and taking responsibility for his wife and child. The fact that the fling dumped his sorry behind surely helped. He was back by the time I was born. I learned all of this when I was 11 years old, around the time my parents got divorced.
It was only the first of countless “dark family secrets” I would come to learn during my teenage years.
17. Fighting Back
My family secret is more cool than horrifying, so in that sense, I’m proud of this one. My grandfather was an amazing guy. He was a paratrooper during WWII. He always refused to talk about his experiences. I learned later that he was dishonorably discharged after an injury. Turns out, the Sergeant in his squad was an absolute jerk.
He had to go behind enemy lines to set a post up, and the plane was flying too low for a safe jump. He protested it to the Sergeant, who proceeded to shove him out of the plane after calling him a coward. Both my grandfather and his spotter partner were seriously injured in the landing. His partner, who he never really knew, was paralyzed and lost a leg as a result of the incident.
My grandfather broke both of his legs, an arm, a hand, and some ribs. They both were rescued shortly after and taken to a hospital. That’s not what got him discharged, though. Turns out, the Sergeant showed up to visit them in the infirmary, and my grandfather punched him square in the face with his only good hand, twice.
If his only army buddy we ever knew is to be believed, since he was apparently also visiting at the time and witnessed the punch, my grandfather absolutely floored the guy. After that, and on top of his injuries, the army sent him home for good. We found this all out after he had passed on and we had to go through his stuff.
There were a bunch of newspaper and article clippings about the folks involved that he had kept. The Sergeant was also discharged after a similar incident cost the lives of two other members of his squad a year later. Those guys weren’t so lucky. The man apparently drank himself to an early grave many years later. We found all these written but unsent letters to his Sergeant talking about what happened.
We also found photos of my grandfather’s squad, which included the two that lost their lives posing with him. It was heartbreaking to see. I never knew any of this. He was such a fun, kind, and goofy guy. You’d never think that anything like this would happen to him. Now I know why my parents always said never to bring up the army around him.
I miss you, grandpa. I’d have punched the jerk, too!
18. The Fugitive
1990, I was five years old. I’m at my dad’s house after he left for four months to Tennessee. He frequently did that because he supposedly loved the state. My mom is watching America’s Most Wanted, and a segment involved a man in Tennessee being slain, with a sketch of the last person to see the victim alive. When I saw it, my blood ran cold.
The sketch was an exact image of my dad. Supposedly, a mutual friend of my parents went to the local law enforcement on other business and the deputy asked, “Hey, have you seen Rich lately?” The friend responded, “Sure, a couple of weeks ago I saw him downtown.” They insisted that if anyone saw my dad, they needed to talk to him.
If he did do it, he’s an extremely good liar because he was never brought on charges to my knowledge. I’ve been estranged from him since I was eight.
19. What Happens In North Carolina
My dad’s grandfather and his friends took the life of a Fish and Wildlife ranger, more or less openly, and got away with it. They would go on an annual hunting trip, and this was long enough ago that they did this by taking a train of pack mules out into the wilderness in rural Northern California. They would spend a couple of weeks at least nominally hunting, but mostly drinking really heavily.
One year, a ranger shot one of my great-grandpa’s friends. The ranger (who I’m inclined to believe, for what it’s worth) said it was an accident. What certainly wasn’t an accident, although they maintained in their story that it was, was that on the next year’s trip, they encountered the same ranger, and that time the ranger was the one who was shot and perished.
It was ruled accidental, no charges were ever filed, but I’ve heard enough other stories about what kind of man my great-grandfather was to know that what he did to that man was 100% on purpose. I never met him, but my dad knew him well and believes the same thing as me. To me, it’s a really frightening example of the kinds of things people got away with in small towns and in rural areas back then.
It was an extremely isolated area…there were hardly any roads even. My dad says he remembers my great-grandfather bragging in the bar about it, and nothing ever came of it.
20. Divine Intervention
I had some family move to Las Vegas with a local church’s money—it was close to a million dollars—to open a new church for them in Sin City. Well, they gambled it all away. They came back and, unsurprisingly, the church told them to screw off. Instead of thinking about their choices, they started their own church that allowed them to buy multi-million dollar houses, brand new cars for them and their kids, basically a luxury lifestyle.
They now sell merchandise at the front door to their church, and members are required to provide bank information. These family members tithe 10% of the monthly household income from all families. If you don’t pay up, they kick you out. They also tell you how to eat and exercise. If you don’t follow these rules, guess what? They kick you out.
They put the church in an old movie theatre, so they have multiple stages, full lighting, and AV crews. They do love offerings when they need extra cash. God tells them to take trips—like, apparently they told their congregation God told them to ride motorcycles through the Grand Canyon. One of my relatives even claimed he had healing powers for a short amount of time and got SAINT tattooed down his arm.
The whole nine yards. They’ve cut contact with all our family because we won’t be part of their church. Also, their church is well known in our city and local area, but no one has stepped foot in it.
21. Early Trauma
My dad’s friend shot himself in the head in front of my dad and some other friends when he was 15 years old. They were all hanging out at the friend’s house having a good time when the friend went upstairs, grabbed his father’s pistol, and came back down, calling everyone’s attention as he did so. He then put the pistol to his head, squeezed the trigger, and collapsed behind a couch.
They all thought it was some sort of sick joke at first, until they looked over the couch and saw his body and the blood. I first heard this story from my mom when I was 18, which explained some of my dad’s behavior toward toy guns when I was a kid, but I never brought it up with him. I just hoped that one day he would open up to me about it. Eventually he did, but we haven’t talked about it since then.
I’m amazed at how my dad turned out to be such a great man after having to experience something awful like that at such a young age. According to him, it’s something that never left him, either. He still has nightmares about it and gets really uneasy in movies and television shows when they show someone getting shot in the head.
22. Double Trouble
My mother supposedly has a fraternal twin. My grandmother couldn’t handle the thought of two kids, so she gave the male child away to someone she knew who was moving away. My mom found this out in the worst way. In a rage one night way back when, my grandmother screamed at my mom that she kept the wrong child; this event was never mentioned before or after that moment.
My mom was roughly 12 at the time. She asked my great-grandmother about it, and she knew the boy’s name but not where they moved to or who he was living with. My mom actually had met him once but didn’t know who he actually was. My grandmother now denies it ever happened and my grandfather felt that “surely they’d have had to tell me.” I doubt they would have, though.
When she was pregnant with me, my mom asked my great-grandmother what my middle name should be: My middle name is actually her long-lost brother’s middle name.
23. All Mine
In the late 1960s, my maternal grandmother’s husband divorced her and gave her partial custody of their two boys. During one of the visits, she took off with her two kids and moved them from North Dakota to California. Her entire family was Seventh Day Adventist, which is a tight-knit community. So when she moved to California, she found an area that was very Seventh Day Adventist and sort of waited, knowing that the community would protect her from the authorities.
Keep in mind that her previous husband had not been accused of anything and she was just mad that she did not get full custody of the children. This arrangement lasted from about 1968 until 1971, until finally she had a falling out between either her adopted mother or her cousin and they called up her husband, who then came and got the kids.
My grandmother did not receive any real charges for the kidnapping but was not permitted to see the kids again. As far as I know, she has not seen either child since 1971. The Seventh Day Adventist Church later paired her with another parishioner who would become my grandfather. Neither my mom nor my aunts have ever met their half-brothers.
This was never kept secret from the family, it’s just not something that we bring up a lot. Also, my grandmother continued to talk about them obsessively right into her old age. According to my mom, she had a framed picture of them walking away from her. The story behind the picture is that they did not like living with her and so when their dad came for them, they walked away from her and did not look back for the last photo.
24. The Grand Scheme Of Things
My great-grandpa was a fascist and sentenced to execution. Later on, the sentence was reduced to life behind bars, and then reduced even further. It’s debatable how fair that was. My other great-grandpa was shot by some man in front of his son, i.e. my grandpa. My grandpa would have lost his life too, but luckily he started running and managed to get away in time, only getting shot in the arm.
But it gets much, much worse—turns out, his mom knew who was behind the attack but refused to tell him and his brother so that they wouldn’t try to get revenge. She didn’t admit this to them until just before her own passing. My great-grandma read tarot cards for a regional political figure during an important political decision; though I think her role might be overly exaggerated by our family. I’d rather not give the details.
My grandma’s brother was adored by a famous female poet, but he was gay and was one of his lovers took his life. This was really a big secret because his mom was very religious. My family only found out much later. My grandma loved him a lot too, and never fully got over his passing. Sadly and somewhat ironically, my grandpa was a good actor and was allegedly offered projects in Hollywood, but he turned them down because he thought people there were too gay.
His brother, though, had minor roles in some minor movies. He always carried arms around and acted like a celebrity. Some of this sounds almost made up, but I think those were just interesting times to be alive in…
25. The Truth Comes Out
Turns out, the reason my mom’s parents divorced wasn’t that they “fell out of love,” but because my father had an affair with another married woman from their church. The families had known each other for years and my mom was good friends with the other woman’s kids. They ended up getting married less than a year after their respective divorces. They each had three kids.
It was especially sad because my new step grandmother’s children suffered pretty badly. Neither she nor her ex-husband were functional adults. Their kids grew up fast and the oldest daughter basically became the family’s mom and maid at the ripe old age of twelve, since her dad refused to step up. I don’t mean that she literally had a kid when she was twelve, but the housekeeping duties of the family basically all fell on her and the other females in the house since her dad just refused to learn how to cook or clean.
My biological grandmother, bless her, didn’t tell a soul about this. When I told her I knew, she sort of smiled and nodded like it was a relief that someone else knew besides her. I can’t imagine keeping a secret like that for so long and not being able to tell your kids that it really wasn’t your fault that you divorced and up-ended their lives.
So yeah, I learned that little gem while helping with my step grandmother’s hospice care this past fall. She was always a chatty person, but end-of-life substances really amped it up. It was pretty shocking because my grandfather is a pretty laid back, kind, straight-laced, churchgoing type of person. You would never suspect him of cheating.
The worst part is that, in my shock and confusion, I told my mother about it and it was pretty obvious that she had no clue prior to my telling her. I really wish I could take that back. Also, this may sound surprising based on the story, but I actually had a pretty good relationship with my step-grandmother over the years. That probably would have been different if I’d known what I know now. It kind of sucks when stuff like this comes up.
I still love her and my grandfather, but darn. They caused so much suffering for their kids, just for the sake of being together. That’s hard to overlook.
26. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
My dad used to send me birthday cards every year when I was a young girl. My mother left my dad while she was pregnant with me, and for good reason too. Even though I never got to meet him when I was young, I was glad to still receive a card from him with a few bucks acknowledging that I was alive and that he would one day come to see me.
But then, around the age of 14 or 15, I learned a horrible secret about those letters. My mother had actually written every single one of them, and my grandfather would mail it to our address to make it seem legit. I never ever actually received any letter from him. In reality, my dad was a pretty terrible guy. Without airing all my family’s dirty laundry, suffice it to say that he was the worst kind of human.
I eventually did meet him…two times in fact: Once at my aunt’s funeral when I was 17, where he wrote me a long letter about how he wished he was better, and again when I was 19 when he tried to establish a relationship. He gave me terrible vibes and I never answered his attempts to reach out after that. Besides, I’m much happier this way.
My mom raised two kids by herself. Unfortunately, my family has its issues. They’ve got drinking issues and my mother herself has deep mental health issues. Growing up with her wasn’t always easy and it still isn’t now. Some days, she is lucid and a wonderful mother, then other days, she’s violent and unstable. But I know deep down inside her where she is well and unafflicted by her illness, she is an incredible mother and a kind person.
I just have to try and remember the good times. My family and I are estranged these days, but it makes me want to work harder to be a stable and loving mother if I become one someday. At the end of everything, I do still love my mom and am thankful she shielded me from him.
27. About Time
My parents told us they were “married in secret” until they found out my mom was expecting, and then they told their families about the marriage. It later came to light that they actually married on the same day that they found out my mom was pregnant, and lied to both their parents and to us to cover up that they had been having pre-marital relations. But that wasn’t the doozy.
My father was an only child and his parents absolutely idolized him. They were very strict Catholics and very strict with my dad, never allowing him to play sports because they feared losing him or whatnot. My paternal grandmother had like five miscarriages. Anyway, after my dad’s parents passed, he was going through their documents and he learned THEY had to get married in the same way, too.
Their wedding license was dated two months AFTER the date he had always been told! A very Catholic secret in a very Catholic family…
28. Everybody’s Got A Story
My favorite aunt and uncle, who were together for 15 years but never married, lived in a trailer park. Growing up, they were the funniest to be around. We would bake cookies, do paintings together, etc. Then my uncle passed in his sleep one day. I was told as a child, when I was maybe 10, that he passed from his diabetes; I’d seen him inject his stomach before, so I believed them.
Fast forward about six years. My aunt lived with my grandma at that point and was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now, I knew my aunt always smoked and drank a lot, but my mom decided to tell me then that she was also an addict, and up until my uncle passed they did a lot of hard substances together. That’s when it dawned on me. My uncle most likely overdosed.
This still didn’t change the fact that I loved my aunt. She got sicker and sicker with cancer, and it even spread to her throat. She went into remission, but once it came back she gave up. I miss her so much.
29. The Modern World
I found out two years ago that my mother had a baby she gave up for adoption 18 months before she had me, and then had another baby when I was three that she also gave up for adoption. All three of us have different fathers, and I think the only reason she kept me was that my father married her, even though that marriage only lasted a year.
My mother remarried when I was five and my half-brother was born when I was seven. As far as I knew for 59 years, he and I were our mother’s only children. I never saw her pregnant with the second baby either, because she sent me to live with my great-grandparents across the country during her pregnancy. My mother and grandmother were the only people who knew about this, and they both took the secret to their graves.
In fact, the only reason any of it was found out is because of all of the DNA testing people do now. This discovery really impacted my sense of identity for a while, my view of my mother, and our relationship. I’ve met my half-siblings, an older sister and younger brother. I like them and I’m glad I’ve been able to answer some of their questions, but the initial discovery really messed with me for a bit.
This all happened in the mid-late 1950s with my mother. Condoms weren’t available to teenagers at the time, and there wasn’t really abortion available, only homes for unwed mothers. She went to one when she got pregnant with my older sister because she was only 16. I don’t know how my mother managed her pregnancy with my brother.
She would have been around 21 years old and probably made up some story about a long-gone husband or divorce or something with the help of her mother. I have never done DNA testing, but the half-siblings have done it, including the one I grew up with. The siblings found other relatives first and made their way to me eventually.
I don’t think I will ever do DNA testing, because I’m done with surprises. The other relatives were the ones who told me about the siblings. Still, the story gets even wackier. The relatives were actually my mother’s half-sisters, from the father she never met, who she never knew existed. They found me eight years ago after extensive genealogy research.
I also have a half-brother from my biological dad, whom I met for the first time a couple of months ago. I’ve known he existed since I was 19 but wasn’t able to find him, and he finally found me. I’m 62 now. Quite frankly though, my adopted siblings were better off. Both my parents and my stepfather are now gone, though I don’t believe my stepfather ever knew about the adopted babies. I think the only other person who knew was my grandmother.
30. About Schmidt
My husband’s name wasn’t actually his name. To be honest, he didn’t know about this either. It was when we went to get his birth certificate for our marriage license that it all hit the fan. So lets say my husband’s name is John Schmidt. Well, his birth certificate said John Jones. Our license says John Schmidt, and my husband swears when he got the license 20+ years ago, the birth certificate said John Schmidt.
The clerk’s office states that this was impossible. The only person they have on file is Jones. So, after calling and researching and digging around, the conclusion that I came to was this. Back in the 80s, he was “adopted” by his stepdad Papa Schmidt. But since it was the 80s and nobody cared about anything, instead of doing a proper name change, they just started using the last name Schmidt.
So my husband had to do an official name change, but it still doesn’t explain how he had a birth certificate at one point that says Schmidt on it and not Jones. He swears up and down that’s what it said. So either it’s a fake memory or we are living in an alternate universe. Either way, $300 later and his name is officially Schmidt, which makes me one too…
31. Wrong Place, Wrong Time
My great-grandma passed when my grandma was four, and her father remarried a woman who had kids of her own. Well, my step-great-grandma used to beat my grandma and her siblings horrifically as soon as their father left the house. She also locked them in the basement all day, horrible stuff like that. Obviously, this had a negative effect on them.
My grandma grew up to do this to her own kids, for instance. More to the point, one of my great-uncles became an alcoholic. He also robbed graves. Apparently, he had kind of a thing for gold teeth, but he also took jewelry and stuff that he could sell to buy booze. My mom says she could remember him showing up at the backdoor when she was a kid, covered in dirt, and her mom would always take him in for a while, feed him, clothe him, etc.
Then he’d go right back out to drinking and doing the same stuff. Anyway, my mom always told me that this uncle passed in an accident. Several years ago, though, one of my uncles informed me that what really happened. He was found passed out on someone’s front lawn. They had called the authorities and when they arrived and tried to detain him, he woke up and started resisting, fighting the officers. So they used fatal force.
32. Just Passing Through
My cousins used to stay with us a lot. I remember my male cousin was just a small baby when he first came to us. He would scream and scream all night, and my mom put him in my room, so I used to spend the night cuddling with him or playing peekaboo. My other cousin was my age at the time. That was all there was to it when I was five years old.
But later on, I found out that my auntie had been an addict and that she even sold her body on the streets. My cousins were the result of her interaction with clients, and my male cousin, in particular, was actually born whilst my auntie was heavily using. As a result, he was going through withdrawal after his birth. My grandparents ended up flying in from Wales to take custody of them, and they also put my auntie on a plane so she could go off on her own.
It was one of the saddest days of my life that I never understood. I thought they were going to be my brother and sister and I wasn’t sure why all of a sudden they were taken from me. Now that I’m grown up, I understand what was really going on. Thankfully, my auntie has since made it out of that life. She prefers to be alone and doesn’t have anything really to do with the family anymore.
She still lives in the same little Welsh village as my grandparents. The whole situation was swept under the rug so much that I thought I was being dramatic or exaggerating some of the memories in my head. Talking to people about it now and making sense of the situation after so long is very validating, and I am thankful for that.
33. You Know What He’s Going Through
My uncle was attacked as a young boy. My grandparents not only didn’t believe him, but they beat him and disowned him for “bringing such lies” into their house. The sad thing is that I was attacked as a kid too; and while dealing with that, my dad told me what had happened to my uncle. I assume he told me about it so I wouldn’t feel so alone.
My uncle is still the only one I know personally who has experienced the same trauma as me, and I’m not meant to know so can’t talk to him about it. I’ve gotten the urge to just spill the beans to him so we can talk about it openly; however, I don’t feel comfortable bringing up someone else’s trauma. In particular, I’m not going to make my dad look bad by letting my uncle know he told me his secret.
If I knew someone I trusted had been telling other people about what had happened to me, I’d be very hurt by that, so I’m not going to put my dad or my uncle in that situation. I’m thankful to everyone who has tried to help me, and I’m not alone now. I have people I can talk to, which is nice. I’m even going to be starting a group thing at therapy where I’ll be able to speak to other victims. I think that will help too.
34. The Missing Magazines
My brother passed on in a car accident when he was 16 years old. My mom shut the door to his bedroom after his funeral and no one could bear to pack up his belongings. After about a year my dad decided it was time to clean up the room, donate some stuff and decide what to keep. Me and our oldest brother were asked to do it, my parents just couldn’t.
I had been going in his room throughout the year, dusting and vacuuming and sometimes watching TV on his bed (not going to lie, I would talk to him in there) so I was ok with it. So, we get started cleaning up; it’s a slow process because we are looking at everything, talking etc. We get to cleaning out the closet, and my brother is pulling down books, and starts busting out laughing and crying.
He starts pulling down a bunch of hidden playboy magazines that our brother had been pilfering from him. Not a huge bombshell, but our brother was pretty shy and quiet, not the sneaky kind that would take stuff without asking. So, when my big brother’s playboys went missing, he assumed it was his idiot friends. It provided some comic relief we needed.
35. The Cheater
My sister’s fiancé passed on very suddenly and very tragically from a heart attack. She was 20, and he was 23. It turned out that he had an underlying condition. In the months following his passing, she found out he had been cheating on her basically since the start of their three-year relationship. Some women were long-term and knew about her, others were just casual one-night stands that probably didn’t know.
She kind of went off the deep end a little, because now she was not only mourning a man she loved; she also had to deal with this fact without being able to ask him for answers. The silver lining though; she ended up dating and marrying one of his good friends. They sort of bonded in the aftermath of his passing. He is the best thing that ever happened to her and vice versa.
They will be married for three years this summer.
36. Paranoid Delusions
I had a brother who had some paranoid delusions (FBI, CIA following him, spying on his apartment, etc.). My brothers and I tried to get him help and he would just have no part of it. After a few years, it seemed like it had gotten better. He stopped bringing it up and we felt like it must have just passed. After he passed on, we found his journal and it was just horrifying.
Right up until the night he passed on, he detailed all of the persecution that they were inflicting on him. I can’t go into much detail—it’s hard for me to write about. Briefly, he believed that they were using some type of focused energy beam. They focused on different parts of his body at different times. Every noise that an appliance made was proof of electronic surveillance. Every bump on the wall or person walking in an adjacent apartment was a message from either the “bad” FBI agents or the “good” FBI agents.
It was just incredibly disturbing to read what an awful life he was living inside his mind while acting relatively normal outside.
37. I Gotta Get Away
My step-grandfather had a completely hidden life in Australia before he met my grandmother. He had a family and kids in Australia, and then faked his own death by driving his car off a cliff then moving to America. His kids thought he was long gone until my grandmother found out about them and reached out years later.
His son actually became a famous comedian over there, and from what I know has a joke he does at his shows about his father faking ending his life to disconnect from them.
38. The Brotherhood
My brother Russell was 12 years older than me, and I cannot remember a day of my childhood without thinking of him. My earliest memories are of him and me at a park. We shared a room together and I remember the fun we used to have late at night playing pillow forts and telling stories. I loved Russell and still do. When I was seven, he perished in a car accident.
At his funeral, I found out that Russell was not my brother, but someone my parents took in because he had a bad home life. It messed my head up trying to grasp this, but I am happy that my parents had the compassion to take care of him and treat him as their own and that he was such a big part of my life. To this day, I still consider him my brother and miss him every day. I love you, Russell.
39. They Don’t Miss Him When He’s Gone
A family friend of mine passed on last year. We met because our daughters did karate together. I was friends with both him and his wife. I’m still friends with his wife to this day. He was already in his 70s when we met, and his wife is about twenty years younger than him. He had a fascinating life story and I wanted to record it for his daughter.
She was going through some difficult times as a young teen. She acted very badly towards him and I felt, based on my own difficult teenage years and experiences with my dad, that she might one day want to know him better; especially since he was already quite old and not in great health. I felt bad that she would likely get to know her dad as an adult.
So, I spent several hours with him making recordings of his stories from his life. It was really interesting. After he passed on, I sent the recordings on USB drives to his wife. She got back to me and said they just threw them away. It came out that he had taken advantage of his daughter. I felt absolutely gut-punched and angry at this old guy who I always thought was so fun and likable.
40. Sister Day
My grandma had 13 siblings. Of them, seven women are still alive. Once a year, they have a “Sister Day” where they all get together and go somewhere together to have fun. They’ve been doing this since they were in their teens. All but one of the sisters participates in this annual event. The odd one out is the one who has been lied to her whole life about “Sister Day” because she thinks it doesn’t exist.
This is supposed to have started when that sister borrowed something and didn’t give it back…or something else trivial like that. We are all reminded whenever we get together that we’re not to talk about this because it will hurt that sister. I still can’t wrap my head around how backstabbing and petty some family members of mine are. This is just stupid.
41. The Spy
I went through a nasty break up with my oldest kid’s mom that lasted several years. We were never married and she was crazy as heck, so she told the hospital she didn’t know our kid’s father just so she could have leverage over me. You know, like a sane person does. Years later and after several investigations into child abuse, she lost custody.
Over the next several years, we kept getting oddly specific complaints about things going on in my house and my daughter and her stepmom specifically. Dumb stuff like matching clothes or details about how we do time out. Then my mom passed on. When we switched her Facebook to memorial mode, I saw that she had been talking bad about me for years to my ex and was essentially spying on me for her and twisting information.
I’m guessing it’s because she felt bad for a mother that lost her kid, but it was still a jerk move. It’s been two years and I still refuse to visit her grave with my siblings; I haven’t shed a tear for her since.
42. An Aunt’s Love Story
When I was 14, my aunt passed on very suddenly. She was only 37, but she had a lot of health problems (obesity, substance issues, drinking, etc.) As a family, we tried our best to encourage her to get healthier, but disappointingly, she never listened to us. Nonetheless, she was always happy. Smiling, laughing, and always complimenting me and saying how much she loved our family.
I never understood why someone with such cheer and utter happiness could end up in the situation she was in. While I was spending the night with a distant cousin of mine, we got into a deep conversation about my aunt. We both spoke about our feelings about the loss, including my confusion about why she had so many problems.
My cousin looked at me with an “oh no, you don’t know?” kind of look. I asked what happened but she hesitated. She asked me to not tell anyone I heard it from her. I said of course and pushed her to tell me. She explained how when my aunt was about 17, her mom (my grandma) had just gotten married to another man.
His brother (let’s call him T) was very close with my aunt. Apparently, they went out to ice cream and looked at fancy cars that he promised to buy her. When my cousin was telling me this, I was confused, because it’s just an uncle and niece type of thing. Why is that so bad? Well, one night, my aunt had to spend the night at T’s house while her parents worked graveyard shifts.
My cousin didn’t exactly know what happened, but it was heavily implied and speculated that they slept together, or even worse, he attacked her. This was because, after that night, my aunt asked to spend the night over and over again. She basically begged to see T every day. T and her parents eventually got tired of it and said that she wasn’t allowed to go over there again.
T never acted the same around her. He ignored her at family events, didn’t take her out anymore, and never brought her up or even talked about her in conversations. After that, my aunt struggled to find a real boyfriend and even tried experimenting with girls. She never knew what real love was, and it was obvious that it bugged her. She had been played with by this tool and left in the dust.
She eventually got a husband and had a kid, my favorite cousin that I love oh so much. But life wasn’t kind to her. And I guess drinking her life away was her way of coping. It hurts to think that she passed thinking that she was nothing but a waste, when in reality, she was a blessing to everyone who came in contact with her.
I wish I could tell her how much I love and appreciate her.
43. Family Drama
My cousin, only a few months older than me (in her mid-30s), lost her life tragically in really unexpected circumstances. We weren’t hugely close, but it was a real shock and has really messed up her immediate family. About six months after she passed on, I found out that my law enforcement officer brother had randomly pulled her over and breathalyzed her. She was well over the limit.
She had drunk driving charges brought against her. This was about a year before she passed on. But because she and her family are kind of stuck up and “perfect”(not the type of people to accept that they might be alcoholics), they tried to claim my brother made the reading up because of a (non-existent) family grudge and tried to have him charged with misconduct and fired.
It wasn’t successful but it made his life pretty miserable for a while. Her family don’t know I know, but you can imagine that I’m pretty conflicted over telling them how messed up they are versus recognizing the impact her loss has had on them and not adding to their troubles.
44. The Work Incident
I’ve never actually told anyone this. My dad passed on about 20 years ago when I was 15 years old. He worked putting in skylight glass for big buildings like malls and stuff. Anyway, according to the details, one of the crates on the forklift was tipping and he tried to stop it; no one came to help and it crushed him. That’s what we kids were told…
It wasn’t until three years ago I found out through a guy Dad worked with that no one was even there on the job but said guy and my dad. They were closing up shop. My dad had been discussing things like suicide with this guy. When the guy turned his back… my dad shot himself in the head. There was no forklift accident. He wasn’t crushed.
The guy made it look that way so we kids would end up with an inheritance and a lump sum payment. I freaking cried for days. Thank you Clark, for setting all that up. You didn’t have to change our lives for the better. But you did.
45. The Mother-in-Law
My grandma passed on when I was 10 years old. It took a decade but my mother and my other grandma (my mom’s mom) have started opening up for the first time about what a terrible jerk my grandma was. She was apparently the worst mother-in-law for my mom. My mom and dad got married at 21 years old because my mother got unexpectedly pregnant with me.
Apparently, my grandma visited my mother before the wedding and asked her to please not marry my father in church, because if you get married in church, that marriage is before God and you can only do that once. My grandma wanted her son to keep that marriage before God “for when he finds the real love of his life.”
There are many more stories like this about her and I was baffled.
46. Psycho Granny, Qu’Est-Ce-Que C’est?
When I was about 31 years old, I found out my maternal grandmother, who practically raised me, took the life of my grandfather. I was doing research trying to build out a family tree and wanted to find out about my grandfather who passed on about four years before I was born. We never really talked about him or how he passed on. I found an article about his dark fate in 1978 and had found a corresponding report number for when law enforcement detained my grandmother that same year.
I didn’t immediately put the two together, but once I did, I put in a FOIA request for the case file. Apparently, my grandfather was in ill health, had a few strokes and needed A LOT of assistance; assistance my grandmother grew tired of. One day, he was sitting in his chair and she just snapped and began to stab him numerous times, killing him.
She was detained, tried, and eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity. She spent some time in an institution, only to be let out in 1981, the year before I was born, to move in with my family. As she lived in our home, she basically raised me from a child. She was the sweetest lady in the world and this SHOOK me.
When I asked my dad if it was true and how he could let her alone in our home with me as a child, his response was, “Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, you turned out alright.”
47. The Truth Will Out
My great uncle was slain along with his wife. Meanwhile, the suspect was run down and got stuck in a swamp before shooting himself in the head. The strange particulars: My uncle, his wife, and the suspect were all deaf/mute, and the suspect was renting a room from them. This happened in the 40s, and no one ever found the motive…until recently.
A few years ago, I took a DNA test, and found that I had cousins who were descended from the suspect’s wife. Yep, turns out my great uncle was cuckolding the guy.
48. Past Lives
Two years ago, I found out that my dad had a wife before my mom, and she perished in a freak accident on their wedding night. She was sleepwalking and fell to her dark end over the balcony.
49. Don’t Go Digging Around
A somewhat distant cousin of mine came home from WWI completely shell-shocked and was institutionalized. One day, he turned up at home, saying he was cured and released. Nothing could be further from the truth. He then took his family to a cliff-side park to celebrate with a picnic. About halfway through the picnic, he took their two older children to the edge of the cliff and pushed them over.
He then took his baby from his wife’s arms and threw the child over the side. His wife fell over the cliff trying to get to the children. He then jumped over after all of them. As you can imagine, it was all over the national papers. I only found all of this out one day when I thought I’d take a little break during my lunch to do some genealogy stuff. It was not the lunch break I had planned.
50. Kissing Cousins
A few years before he passed, my dad and I had a long heart-to-heart, at the end of which he told me he wasn’t the one to first sleep with my mom on their honeymoon. And the plot thickens. Apparently, he caught her in bed with her cousin, who she had been in love with for a long time. He spoke with their pastor, who told him to forgive and forget.
That worked…until six years later, when he caught her again with the same cousin. He told me he wanted to leave with me but ultimately decided to stay, because he wanted me to have a family. With all that happened in my childhood, and to him (workaholic, diabetes, heart attack), I wish he’d left that day and been happy instead.
51. The One You Gave Away
My great uncle told his wife that their son passed right after being born. But that was a huge lie. Instead, he gave him up to the state because he had Down’s Syndrome. They had twins, a boy and a girl, and he somehow hid it from the whole family for about 40 years that both of them had actually survived, but they’d only brought the girl home.
We only found out when the family lawyer had terminal cancer and, overwrought with guilt, he contacted the twin sister to tell her she has a living brother who lives in a home run by the state. I guess the lawyer had helped my great uncle with the whole thing and still felt terrible about it. Also, for some added context, my great uncle was extremely wealthy.
He could have easily paid for multiple caregivers to help his son, and it wouldn’t have affected his life at all.
52. A Little White Lie
I found out from my dad that one of my cousins isn’t related to anyone in the family. My aunt and her mother used to work at a hospital maternity ward, and apparently, a woman came in one day and gave birth to him and then left the next day without him. My aunt decided to adopt him, but a few months later the woman showed up again asking where he was…
They both lied and said that he was given up and that they didn’t have a clue where he was. They still haven’t told my cousin anything.
53. Tough Love
I found out that my grandfather’s first wife, who he married before my grandma, passed of botulism from eating some tomatoes she had canned at home. But that’s not even the worst part. She could have been saved, but my grandfather refused to take her to the doctor because the botulism was her “fault.” He let her perish to teach her a lesson. They had two kids who he left motherless.
54. Unsolved Mysteries
There is strong debate in our family as to whether my aunt fell out of the window of her apartment, whether she jumped, or whether someone pushed her. She survived, but with brain damage, and says she can’t remember.
My stepfather was cheating on my mother. We didn’t find out because he was caught cheating; we found out because he and his mistress were drinking, got in a fight, and he punched her so hard that she fell over and died. We found out about the whole thing during the investigation, the trial, and the conviction. It was so bizarre.
It was weird to have a lawyer want to call 12-year-old me to the stand to defend the character of a man I already had very little interaction with, and certainly had a fear of—and that was before the manslaughter charge.
56. Giving It All Up
My uncle didn’t actually have a stroke spontaneously. Rather, he deliberately stopped taking his blood thinners. He was 63 years old with a wife, four kids, and 15 grandkids, the oldest of which was 13 and the youngest was not even a year. But he was just done. His wife doesn’t know, his kids don’t know. I only know because I overheard the family doctor telling my dad.
As far as I know, only myself, the doctor, and my dad know what really happened.
57. You Can’t Handle The Truth
My dad told me that before he and my mom had divorced, he hadn’t been happy with her for several years. My mother even had a miscarriage at one point, which destroyed the both of them, but he couldn’t leave her because he was afraid that she would hurt herself. So his only thought was to have another kid with her—me—so that motherly instinct would hopefully prevent her from hurting herself. Not a fun thing to find out.
58. Gone Too Soon
When I was very young, my oldest cousin passed at the age of 23. I really liked him because he would take to me this local lake and we’d throw rocks into the water. I remember not understanding what was going on other than watching everyone be sadder than I ever knew was possible at the time, but I wasn’t told why. Years later, I found out he took his own life. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Years after that, I found out what happened. My aunt found him hanging in the shed with a note saying he was gay, and based on how he heard the family talk about homosexuals, he thought they’d never accept him. To this day, they hold opinions I would deem hateful toward others, so honestly, I’m not sure he was completely wrong. Today he would be in his 50s.
59. Our Little Secret
This involves my father-in-law, who is a very active member and local leader of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). He’s somewhat of a genius, and he built a distillery in his garage to make his own hand sanitizer. Within a few months in, he started acting a little strange. One day while explaining the distilling process to me, he gave me one of the bloated pieces of corn in the batch, and ate one himself.
That’s when I realized he wasn’t just making sanitizer, he was also making and drinking some pretty stout moonshine. This is the same guy who continues to look down on his kids for simply drinking coffee. His wife and adult kids have no clue and continue to blame it on other things like exhaustion, internal imbalance, etc. Nope.
60. All In The Family
My grandparents swapped spouses. My grandmother on my mother’s side had an affair with my grandfather on my father’s side. Everyone got divorced, and then my grandfather on my mother’s side fell in love and married my grandmother on my father’s side. Family reunions were fun.
61. Sowing His Wild Oats
My mother is the youngest of four kids by a hefty gap—about 11 years—and she looks distinctly different from her siblings. They’re all brown while she is a very light tan. Turns out my grandfather (while married to my grandmother) seduced and impregnated the daughter of a white officer who stayed back after the officer’s country ended their colonial occupation.
My grandpa was in his early 40s, and the girl was 15 when he knocked her up. The agreement was he would take the child home and raise it as his own so the officer wouldn’t rip him a new one. So my mom is 1/2 white European and I’m 1/4, which explains why my brother and I have always had the lightest skin and sharpest features in the family.
My mom found out when she was 16; I found out when I was 21. My grandmother was a gosh darn saint.
62. The Whacky Aunt
We once found a “family photo album” in my whacky aunt’s house. We started flipping through the plastic pages and BOOM! Photos of my aunt at a very graphic swinger’s party. There had to be like 20-30 people in these photos. It was back in the 80s, I’d imagine, and everyone was so hairy and ugly. I guess Aunt Jan has some specific tastes.
It’s a funny story that only me and my brothers know. We’ve always considered our Aunt Jan to be very weird, but after seeing that album it all kind of all made sense. Nice lady, though.
63. In Cold Blood
I found out that my great-grandpa got away with murder. He thought that my great-grandma was cheating on him with her dentist, so he went into his office and shot him. And yes, he really got away with it. They didn’t find out that he did it until he told everybody right before he passed. As for if my great-grandma actually cheated on him…I don’t know.
But, considering he was a jerk who she was afraid to leave and he ended up being capable of chilling acts…probably.
64. Truth Or Dare
My cousins lived with us for a while and we thought that was fun because it was like getting to have a sleepover every day. One time, our mom even took us out of school to pick them up. I learned later that it was because Child Protective Services had taken my cousins away from their mom due to her mental health issues. My mom offered to take her sister’s kids in until she got her mental health back in order.
My cousins live with their mom now and she is in a much better state mentally.
65. Blatant Exploitation
My grandma retired, but she still decided to continue to work for her brother in his restaurant. She wanted to save up money for when she passes since funerals are, obviously, very expensive. She didn’t want to burden any of us with that kind of expense. She insisted that he hold onto her paychecks and pay for her funeral when her time came. He never did.
66. Teaching Everyone A Lesson
My father got my mother pregnant when he was her teacher back in high school. He was 30 years old at the time and married to someone else. But that’s not even the worst part…My mom was 16 and his student. They ended up running away together—he got a divorce from his wife and they got married in a state that allowed marriage at the age of 16.
This was just two months before my older brother was born.
67. On The Waterfront
My dad’s uncle lost his life in a boating accident with his cousins. My family eventually let me know that it might not have been an accident after all. Apparently, they believe he was drowned intentionally in the middle of the lake by his cousins because of some money issues that he had with them. No one was ever prosecuted though, and the family is still very close. Weird.
Needless to say, this is a very deeply kept secret that almost nobody knows about.
68. A Cult Following
My family’s dark and creepy secret involves my dad. As a kid, I just assumed everything my parents did was the norm…but my dad was far from normal. He was an active member of a full-fledged doomsday cult. Basically, they would predict the end of the world, then turn around to say, “Wow, your prayers just stopped the apocalypse from happening!”
It wasn’t overtly malicious or anything as far as I can tell. Like, if my mom hadn’t told me what went on behind the scenes and I hadn’t gone digging myself, I would have found nothing wrong with it. I was kind of mind-blown when I was first old enough to realize what was actually going on. The world is a pretty weird and messed up place.
69. A New Roommate
Apparently, grandma didn’t decide to move in with us because she loved us so much and wanted to spend more time with us. Grandma moved in for a much darker reason—because her son as an addict and he convinced her to put his name on the house. He then took her money out “for renovations,” leaving her homeless. She had a heart attack the night she found out, and she now has to live with a pacemaker.
Screw you, Uncle Roy.
70. The House That Disowning Built
My grandma legally disowned my mother for marrying my dad. The family house was supposed to go to my mom, but after the disowning, my grandma didn’t say who she wanted the house to go to, resulting in a decades-long family feud that has split the family even to this day. The sad thing is that my parents actually ended up divorced after 20 years of marriage.
My mom took care of my grandma until the very end and was even the one who handled the funeral arrangements when she passed two years ago. She never asked for the house back, but that’s not even the craziest part—in actuality, it’s worth millions. Nobody told me any of this until I was thirty years old. I had no idea that my family was ever anything but a typical, happy family.
71. Now You Know
This is not a secret that I was let in on, so much as one that I found out by accident. Either way, apparently my dad’s got into a serious car crash with his first girlfriend when he was 25 and she ended up losing her life in the incident. My dad lived with her father for years after her passing. Her father still occasionally comes to visit us, even 30 years later.
We were always told that he was a mentor until my sister finally pressed my mom on the subject. We then discovered that one of my sisters is even named after the girl that passed. Her middle name was the girl’s first name. We never even knew about her until last year. None of us have ever brought it up with him.
72. Parental Musical Chairs
My family’s dark secret is that my cousin is actually my half-brother. My mom got pregnant in college and my aunt and uncle decided to adopt the kid. Oh, and our other secret is that my dad isn’t my biological father. My mom and dad got divorced, and she got impregnated by another man since my dad wasn’t able to have kids of his own. Eventually, they got remarried and he raised me as his own.
73. Within An Inch Of His Life
My great-grandpa was a soldier opposing the Axis powers. He and his squad were caught by Italian fighters and given the penalty of losing their lives at the hands of a firing squad. They would all be shot together. At the time of the execution, all of his mates lost their lives in front of his eyes, but he survived—and the reason is quite mindblowing.
Apparently, the soldier in charge of the firing missed the shot when it came to his turn. Without skipping a beat, he faked his own demise by, well, lying on top of his deceased friends’ bodies and pretending to have been hit. Surprisingly, it worked and he got to escape.
74. What Will They Think Of Next?
When my grandfather passed, he wrote his will on his deathbed. He left his entire estate to my family, which was an enormous sum. His wife, however, who despised us, pulled the biggest screw-you move that I have ever seen—she wrote a directly conflicting will and forged his signature on it. This fake will left his entire estate to her family, none of whom I’ve ever met.
Then she took her own life. It took around five years of a lawyer-heavy nightmare to sort that whole situation out. We eventually did win the case in the end, but it cost so much that we couldn’t afford to keep his $3-million house anymore. I will forever despise that woman for what she did. There is absolutely no excuse for doing something that low.
75. Gone Too Soon
When I was about ten years old, my cousin and his dad passed on. I always thought it was an accident and that it occurred on the same day. When I was old enough, I was told that his dad actually took his own life, and my cousin followed him a couple of months later. It truly devastated me to learn about this; though I didn’t know either of them too well.
My grief is still there, even all these years after finding out the truth. I understand now that with professional help, both of them would likely still be here today. It just wasn’t common to seek help back then. I hope all of you out there are well. Please don’t be afraid to seek help if something is wrong. Nothing is worth losing your life over.
76. Looks Can Be Deceiving
My uncle used to miss a ton of birthday parties, family reunions, holiday dinners, and other such events when I was a kid. Turns out, the real reason wasn’t because of his “really busy job,” but something much, much darker. Rather, it was because he had become a serious addict after his wife took off with their daughter. The kicker to that whole situation? I’ve still never met that daughter (my cousin), bcause of their situation.
Oh yeah, he also tried to stab his sister in a substance-fueled rage when she went off on him about being a bum and exploiting my grandparents’ kindness. My grandpa stopped him but got beaten to the point of unconsciousness in the process. My grandparents’ neighbor heard the commotion and had to rush in and stop him at gunpoint.
I legit thought he was just a normal, nice guy who I happened to rarely see before I learned all this stuff in one night.
77. Changing Their Mind At The Last Minute
My family’s secret is that my parents were not going to go through with the pregnancy when they were expecting me, but my dad’s friend stopped him from doing so. My dad named me after his friend, and I have a great relationship with my parents now.
78. True Colors
This is quite literally a “dark” family secret. When I was a white, blond-haired, blue-eyed little kid at the age of six, I found out that my biological dad is actually black. For whatever foolish reason, that was a problem in the eyes of my relatives, so my mom kept it a secret from them. Funnily enough, my best friend at the time was whiter than me with blond hair and blue eyes also, and she too found out that she had a black biological dad.
79. Spilling The Beans
My grandmother has all the dirty little secrets of our family, but she’s too proper to spill anything…until this one night when she told me about my grandfather’s family, i.e. the family that she married into. Essentially, they were very poor back in the day. They were living on the streets and trying to earn money during Australia’s gold rush.
Anyway, the family had too many kids and not enough money, so they did something completely unforgivable—they sold one of their kids to a Chinese businessman. He would have been my grandfather’s great uncle, I suppose. No one knew about it until she blurted this out, and she hasn’t said anything about it again since that night. I think all of us were pretty darn shocked to hear her tell us about this.
80. Cave Diving
My grandparents spent some time in lockup after my grandpa took the life of their newborn baby in a shellshock-induced frenzy. They were put behind bars because they buried her body in a cave and tried to hide it. My mom and her siblings were all adopted out of that family at a very young age, and went back to their parents around eleven years or so later.
I knew about that history growing up, but I didn’t know the real reason for it until I was much older.
81. Sister Act
My dad’s sister had a secret daughter who would have been approximately my dad’s age. She was 16 years older than him, and the family didn’t tell him until he was in college. In their small town, this means there is a non-zero chance he unknowingly could have dated his own niece. For the record, my dad was about three or four years old when everything first happened.
He remembers a lot of shouting at the time but he was not aware of the topic. Also, he is definitely not the baby in question.
82. The Other Family
I had a cousin who passed on a few years ago. I went to his funeral and was walking around hugging his wife and kids and giving them my condolences when a lady and two teenage boys walked in. Nobody knew who these people were, so of course, my great aunt asked. She claimed to be his wife and the two boys were his sons. Turns out all those week-long work trips he’d been taking weren’t actually work trips.
They were trips to see his OTHER family.
83. Running from Demons
My friend was wealthy and successful; he had it all, and then one day, he told us the awful truth: He had stage 4 cancer. Passed shortly after that. I went to his funeral to find that he had actually taken his family’s entire inheritance, ran away, went AWOL and started a life in our country. That’s when I had met him. I didn’t know about his past.
His elderly parents and sister were distraught upon knowing this dude had married a foreigner and their money was stuck in a lawsuit with no sight of a resolution. It’s tainted my memory of him, I used to think he was a generous dude and kept a low profile because of wealth; now we all know he was running from his own demons.
84. College Fund For One
My father had this secret mistress and when he passed, she had the nerve to show up at his funeral. It was really terrible, but not as terrible as all the stuff we found out later. It turns out that my dad paid all of his mistress’ bills, including her college bills for when she went back to school in her early 30s.
The college thing really hurt my mom as she always wanted to get an education for herself but there was never money, or so my dad said…
85. The Gift of Debt
After my father passed on a few years ago, we learned that he had taken out about $40k of loans in my name. We share the same initials (and surname obviously). He forged my signature, and kept on applying for loans and credit, got approved and never paid a single dime back. Seeing as he was the main contact, no-one ever called me to ask me why I wasn’t paying my debt… so only after he passed on, we got contacted by institutions informing us that my father owes them money, just to find out it was actually on my name…
So now my credit record is screwed due to years of payments not being made and I need to pay back all of these loans. Fun times, right?
86. The Betrayal
She had been cheating on me all throughout our marriage. When the shock subsided, it was replaced by rage and betrayal. I lost it and I just started destroying and trashing everything of hers. The only thing I didn’t destroy or throw away was her urn. I gave that to her parents. I seriously thought about flushing her ashes down the toilet, but I decided not to.
I completely got over her in record time.
87. The Lazy Step-Dad
My stepfather was getting more and more tired, falling asleep during the middle of the day, sneaking off for a nap… really ticked off my mother and I. We were helping him renovate a house at the time and we didn’t appreciate him always dozing off. A while later, he got diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancer, which had already spread too far to be treatable.
We only really realized after his passing last spring that he was tired all the time because his cancer was already slowly killing him. I didn’t always get along with him, and I regret a lot of things I said to him. I just thought he was being lazy, I never thought he’d be dead within three years.
88. Ignorance Is Bliss
I had the best grandpa growing up. Like the typical movie grandpa. He was perfect. He spoiled us like crazy; great corny jokes and he always had crazy silly stories. He always saved the day. Just the best man I knew. After he passed, one of my aunts told me and my little sister he had cheated on my grandma with her own sister multiple times. We never knew.
I wish she never told us.
89. No Love Lost
My father passed on in the fall of 2009. The day after the funeral while singing his praises, it turns out he completely disowned my siblings and myself in his will. Imagine being three children, paraded around by your uncles, telling stories about the “good times,” to then be told that he didn’t love you and you would receive no financial support. We were devastated.
Our mother was there, as she always has been. She is our rock. At that point, that’s when my sister and I decided to completely cut off our father’s manipulative side of the family.
90. The Certificate
I lost my father when I was 10 years old, and I was told he had a heart attack. Fast forward eight years; I was applying for a passport and needed parental documents. My mother was out of town so I went through the documents cabinet to get his death certificate. As I read it, I burst into tears. HIV took his life. It broke my heart, but my mother has always been kind to me so I decided to not tell her that I knew.
This was ten years ago and she still doesn’t know that I know.
91. Dad’s Secret Life
Before he went into the army, my dad was, um, kind of wild. He was bi and secretly dated men, and he blew thousands of dollars 0n Hustlers-esque nights out. But the biggest revelation was that he had an affair with a married woman who was separated from her husband. When he came back on leave, she had their illegitimate son. He decided not to pursue anything with it since he was young and enlisted, and she had reconciled with her husband.
So, I’ve got a much older half-brother out there.
92. Missed Moments
My father talked about how he was there with my mom for her last dying breath. It wasn’t true. My brother-in-law (who was abusive and crazy) was searching for his wife (my sister) because she had been away from the house too long. He called my father in a freak-out-panic trying to figure out where she was, assuming that she was somewhere cheating.
While my father was trying to calm him down, my mother passed on. When my father came back to my mother, she was gone. When my brother-in-law passed on a few years later, I was surprised that my father didn’t seem that upset. Before my father passed on a few years after that, he told me why. I was in my mid-30s.
93. The Mistress
I received a phone call from my late husband’s girlfriend the day of his funeral. She was phoning his cell phone which I had turned off while he was in the hospital. She told me that my husband had been paying her rent for the last year. The bank had recently foreclosed on our house. I had no idea he was unfaithful to me, but she knew all about me.
94. An Affair To Remember
My family’s secret is that my grandmother ran off and had an affair. She then got pregnant, came back to my grandfather, and they raised the baby girl together. My father and his siblings didn’t find out until they were older. I’m not sure if my aunt knew the truth about her own origins before she passed on. It’s also rumored that there’s another half-sibling somewhere out there, so my grandad seemed to be having an affair as well. Apparently, it was just affairs all-around back in the day!
95. A Mother’s Greed
My friend’s mom took the life of her husband. She had taken a $200k life insurance policy out on him six months before his tragic end, and he passed on from not taking his medication that he’d taken no problem all of his life. My buddy was away for the weekend so he wasn’t home when it happened. After his mom passed on, we found out even more: She’d taken a life insurance policy out on my buddy at some point too, and she’d also forged his signature to sign over $100k my buddy’s dad had left to him.
She robbed my buddy blind and he had no clue. She took his inheritance from his grandma too that he’d had no clue about and gave a big chunk of it to her friends/his godparents who used it to buy a beach house… She also faked illnesses to get prescription drugs and had little books filled with info on what she’d sold and how much she’d made from selling them.
96. The Second Eldest Aunt
After my grandad passed, my great aunt told me that he was responsible for the accidental loss of their baby sister. She said that when he was young, he picked the baby up, but because he was so small, he dropped her and she hit her head. When we went to clear out the house, we found a ton of family documentation, including birth and death certificates for the family.
It turns out the little girl passed on of whooping cough. I was like, what? It turns out that my aunt let my grandad go to his grave believing he was responsible for the loss of his baby sister. I can just never get my head around why.
97. Message In A Bottle
I once got a Facebook message from a guy asking if I was related to my dad, since we don’t have a common last name. I thought he was a fan of his work because I was in college at the time and the guy was about the same age as me. And that’s how I found out that my dad had slept around and that I had a half-brother the same age as me…
98. Double Standards
Both of my mother’s parents had affairs behind each other’s backs. However, my grandmother eventually had Parkinson’s, and in one of her confused states she told my grandfather that she had an affair. Suffice to say, my grandfather was not happy—and he got a cruel revenge. That man put her right into a home. And that wasn’t all.
He then started talking to my mother, trying to figure out when it could have happened. He speculated that it happened around the same time he was having his affair, which was around 1966. My mother was shocked, since she was born in 1967. So my mother may or may not be related to the man she believed to be her father.
99. The Lion Of God
For context, my dad is the second youngest of 15 children. My oldest aunt has a son who is around the same age as my dad, we’ll call him Vince. Vince and my dad knew each other growing up, and always got along. Vince was even one of my dad’s groomsmen. A few years after that, Vince became very openly religious, and would try to get family members to go to church with him.
Except then my family started to notice that Vince would change which church he would go to after about a month. Fast forward to when I was a kid. There was a family get-together, and Vince and his girlfriend show up. It takes a dark turn. They start making people uncomfortable with their religious talk. Not the normal day-to-day stuff, but actually telling people they are going to heck for drinking.
They were also telling people that Vince is becoming a preacher and they need to attend his services, or else damnation, etc. According to my mom, I was really sick at this time and she took me to another room to give me some peace and quiet and hopefully I would stop fussing. She overheard Vince and the girlfriend in the next room talking about who they can single out and who would go along with them.
My mom freaked when she heard my dad’s name, and Vince saying that he would be easy to convince, and his job should be able to fund things. My mom immediately went and got my dad and told him what she heard. Dad confronts Vince, and a huge argument ensues. Vince ends up leaving and saying everyone is damned, they are Satan, etc.
The rest of the family then talked about what happened, and it all came clear. He was not a good guy. His sister had kicked him out because he was mooching off her, refused to get a job, and she found him taking money from her purse. My aunt had to do the same for the same reasons. The same story over and over. Basically, they realized Vince was just a scam artist trying to live off others.
Fast forward to the late 1980s, and not many people have heard from Vince recently. There is a huge family get-together again, and two aunts and a few cousins refused to attend because Vince was not welcome at the party. They were saying that Vince was the “Lion of God” and we were wrong to reject him. Another fight ensues, and the two aunts and handful of cousins don’t end up attending.
Fast forward to the mid-90s when my grandma passed. One of the two aunts comes to the funeral (the other had passed a few years earlier), with Vince in tow. Vince was warned that he could come pay his respects, but to behave himself. My aunt was timid and repressed near him, and was open and nice when he wasn’t around. It was really weird.
My parents didn’t want to talk about it. Later that night, I did some internet searches and found out the chilling truth. Apparently, Vince was now the leader of a religious cult. He sucked in my two aunts, about seven of my cousins, and about 30-40 various people through the years. All the same M.O.: They must give up their money and belongings to join and “serve God.”
He especially preyed on immigrants who came over by themselves. Basically, he bought some farmland, his disciples work the land, he sells what they grow/make, and he keeps the money. He is still active to this day, and many people who have left him have their own websites against him. It’s honestly head-spinning thinking about this guy.
100. A Brand New Start
My grandpa who passed in 2017 was a very quiet man and didn’t talk a lot. A few years before he passed, my mom (his daughter) told me why. Apparently, when he was around 10 years old back in the late 1930s or early 1940s, a girl around his age lived across the street. One time, they went out with his pistol to shoot at random things in the woods.
On their way home, there was a fence they had to get over to get home. My grandfather leaned his piece against the fence to help his friend. As she was going over, it fell over and went off, killing her in the process. After the authorities got involved, he was found to not be at fault, but the girl’s family stood out in the street at various times over the next two weeks, yelling “MURDERER” at my grandpa’s house.
He eventually couldn’t take it and ran away from home. Then in his teens, he met this guy named Rocky and befriended him. Rocky was supposedly in his early to mid-20s, and something happened where Rocky ended up passing and my grandfather took his name. I had always wondered why my grandfather had a different last name than his brothers. And it gets even weirder.
My dad was adopted and until recently, we didn’t know anything about his biological family. Well, thanks to all of the DNA tests that have become common, we ended up getting connected with his biological family. Talking to that part of the family, we have come to find out that my dad’s biological father has almost the same story as my mom’s dad. He also had accidentally taken someone’s life as a child, ran away from home, and changed his identity.
101. Lost And Found
The dark family secret I discovered is that my favorite cousin wasn’t really missing as I had always been told. He was 13 years older than me and all I knew growing up was that he would come and go a lot. He lived with us when I was a baby, and after some time, he moved out. He would visit every six months or so out of the blue, but we never called or visited him ourselves.
His visits were one of my most favorite things in the world. I loved him like a brother. By the time I was a teenager, I began to understand that he had issues with his parents. They had kicked him out when he was 13 and my parents took him in. But that kind of childhood messes with you. In between visits to my parents’ place, he avoided the rest of the family, moved around a lot, and didn’t hold jobs for long.
That’s part of the reason why my parents didn’t always know where he was. But in my later teens, he stopped coming over at all. I asked repeatedly if anyone had heard from him, and I was always told no. I asked about contacting him and was told that no one had a number or address for him. I assumed he would come around when he felt like it.
But his absence stretched on for years. I really worried that he had somehow passed, and I really missed him. In my late twenties, I finally found out the shocking truth—everyone knew where he was the whole time. He was serving a sentence behind bars for shooting someone. From what I hear, though, it was actually somewhat justified. He was defending his new wife, who I never got to meet.
I also found out some super awful things about how the extended family sided with his messed-up parents and refused to help him or his wife when he got taken in. They also shamed my dad for not helping either. I tried to send a message to him recently, but I don’t know if he ever got it. I wish he knew that I didn’t turn my back on him for decades as everyone else did. I just didn’t know.