We all know that feeling of our hearts stopping for just a second—whether it’s wondering where we left our keys, or even where we left our kids. While this is a perfectly normal part of life, not all of those moments that scare us senseless are so mundane. From sinking boats to near-misses with death, these people show that sometimes our worst fears can come true.
1. Buried Alive
I once had to watch as my best friend was swept away by a massive avalanche while we were skiing. I then proceeded to have to locate him and dig him out after he was fully buried. I’ll never forget that. Still makes me shiver. He got carried a total of 1,400 meters over an elevation drop of 900 meters. He was fully buried, but luckily not too deep.
We were able to locate and rescue him within eight minutes all the while knowing we were completely exposed to being buried in another slide ourselves. It was pretty scary.
2. Claustrophobia Engaged
When I was young I once snorkeled in a reef. I went through a reef cave and got disoriented and stuck. I panicked, found a very small hole in the roof of the cave and crammed myself through it. That was a huge mistake. It wound up cutting my flanks. I was half convulsing and seeing the grey blur closing in on the edges of my vision as I surfaced.
That was over 20 years ago and I still remember everything about the experience.
3. Lost And Found
When I was 10 years old, I was abducted while my family and I were camping at a state lake. My parents had to run some errands, so all of us kids were left with one of our aunts. I went to a creek next to where our camper was to go fishing, probably about 75 yards away or so. I had forgotten my bait and didn’t wanna go back for it.
(Un)lucky for me, a man was there so I asked him for some worms. He said they were in his car just around the corner. He guided me there, and that’s when it happened. I was gagged and taken to a different part of the park grounds. What happened next, as one could imagine, are the things my nightmares were made of for countless years to come.
I’m 33 now and still recall with vivid detail what happened. Thankfully, I was found within about two hours of my abduction. Unlucky for him, it was my father who found us first. The man somehow managed to escape my father’s wrath and fled. He was apprehended by state troopers and local PD about 30 minutes later. Queue all the court proceedings and sentencing.
The dude was a repeat offender and still only received like 12 years in prison. My family kept tabs on him while he was in custody and were notified of his release. The second scariest thing was the day he was released; my heart dropped. He’s long been a fragment of the past and I learned to not live in fear over that any longer.
A girl I knew passed out in front of me on the beach after turning yellow. I saw after she passed out that she had a bloody hand. But that wasn’t the scariest part. The worst part of it was that I screamed for help in five different languages. So many people were close (20-30 of them were closer than 50 meters) to me and yet no one came.
They did not even turn around to check what was happening. I still have nightmares to this day.
5. High Stress
Despite having no history of epilepsy or related issues, I had a series of seizures at work back in 2018. It started with the simple “walk into a room and forget why” at the time, except I completely forgot the few seconds it took me to walk there. Then it escalated and I could feel something coming on. I didn’t have convulsions, but my body couldn’t respond to anything.
I was just stuck, staring straight ahead unable to speak or move. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. EEG and vitamin deficiency tests all came back okay in the hospital, so it was written off as stress. I’m constantly worried about it happening again.
6. Scared Off By Grandpa
Me (I was seven at the time), my cousin (who was four at the time) and my dad went to the beach and my cousin tripped and hurt herself pretty badly, so my dad had to run back to the house with her to get access to the first aid kit. I didn’t really want to run so I walked home. It was only about a five-minute walk anyway.
On the way home I passed this man’s house (who I want to say was about 40?) and he started catcalling me. I didn’t really know what that was so I just stared at him and kept walking. He didn’t like that I didn’t respond I guess and he started chasing me. My grandpa saw and started yelling at the man and the guy ran off. If I wasn’t in view of our house, so if he hadn’t been there, who knows what would’ve happened to me.
7. Good Samaritans
One of my husband’s sisters got married at this super cute lodge in a very small town. His other sister came to get my son for pictures and said she’d bring him back when they were done. I warned her he had lost his hearing and wouldn’t understand directions. She responded with a huff and said she would bring him back. I should never have let them go.
She was just a college kid with no experience with babies or toddlers. When they were done, she set my two-year-old down outside the building (that he’d never been to before), told him to go find me, and left to follow a friend. He tried to follow her and then couldn’t find his way back. She wasn’t being malicious or anything.
I waited too long to check on them, thinking that little kids are difficult to pose for photos and knowing they didn’t want me in their “family only” photos. The sheriff found him over an hour later after coordinating the men into a search party. Some tourists had found him wandering near the highway, stopped to catch him, and then had to walk to get a cell phone signal to call law enforcement.
They stopped another man from taking him because my son was scared to go with a stranger. They explained that they hadn’t cared who that man was. A child that young, found completely alone by the highway, was going to be turned over to law enforcement and no one else. They wouldn’t let me pay them a reward. I don’t even know their names.
The officers checked him over and confirmed he didn’t show any signs of being harmed. Those strangers kept him safe.
8. A Sleepwalker Possessed
My younger brother used to sleepwalk. He would just stand by my bed, silently, until I’d snap awake and see his silhouette looming over me. Sometimes, he’d turn on the lights when he was sleepwalking. I woke up one night, and he was standing there, turning the lights on and off, on and off. I got him back to bed and I went downstairs to sleep for the rest of the night.
Around 4 AM, I woke up to see all of the lights downstairs were switched on. I knew it was him, but it was still so creepy.
9. Speed Kills
I was driving down a B road in the UK and moved into the turn right lane in the middle of the road. No one was coming so I indicated and started to turn right when the guy behind me who was driving like a maniac overtook me by going into the wrong side of the road at about 100mph. If I was about one second quicker in turning, he’d have gone into my driver’s side at 100+. I remember pulling over after and taking a deep breath after that.
10. That’s Not In The Scout Oath
When I was 14, I had gone camping with the Boy Scouts and we met another troop and decided to play a game of capture the flag. Since it was the night before we were leaving and the other troop showed up at 9 PM, our scoutmaster said we couldn’t play. About 15 minutes later, we were heading to the bathroom in pairs and we ran into a group of boys from the other troop, my bathroom buddy ducks out as one of them puts an arm around my neck and drags me out into a field. It was already terrifying—but that was just the start of my nightmare.
I kept trying to explain that we weren’t playing and that there was a misunderstanding, and then the punches started flying. I had been training in martial arts since I was 8 and it’s nothing like the movies. I was trying to throw off a blow from one guy while five others were throwing punches and kicks at me. I may have landed two or three hits before I was knocked down and then all I could do was curl into a ball as they all kicked me.
After what felt like a lifetime but was more than likely only a few seconds of getting kicked they ran off. One kid chose to run back and kick me one last time and I bear-hugged his leg as he made contact and I’m pretty sure I punched him in his crotch as hard as I could. I got clocked in the head as I heard a weird groan. I can’t be sure that it wasn’t me though.
After a few minutes, I was able to collect myself enough to get up and make it back to my group where I detailed what happened. As we’re getting worked up about this, the other troop shows up and starts asking what’s wrong. I recognize a few faces and point them out and one dude was limping hard so I pointed him out too.
They all denied it though so nothing came of it. Sunday morning after breakfast before we were leaving we sat in a circle and had to say what we were thankful for. I got in trouble for saying I was thankful for being alive. I never went to another Boy Scout camp out after that.
11. He Didn’t Start The Fire
I lived in a second-story apartment for a few years. I was woken up around 2:00 AM one morning to someone banging on my door and someone yelling, “Fire!” When I opened the door, everything was bright orange and I could hear the very loud crackling of burning wood. I thought it was either my apartment or the apartment underneath mine that was on fire, and my first reaction was to find my cat and get her out.
Halfway through grabbing her, I realized I may have been putting myself in serious danger and thought I’d have to escape off the balcony. Thankfully (for me), it was the apartment across from mine that was on fire, so I was able to get downstairs and to safety with my cat. The next hour or so was a completely different kind of scary as I crossed my fingers the fire wouldn’t spread to my apartment.
It didn’t, but two buildings were destroyed, 14 residents were displaced, two cats lost their lives, and a firefighter was hospitalized.
12. Silence Is A Virtue
A random man came up to me late one evening when I was putting groceries in my truck. He was sitting on a bike and asked me for a ride. I told him, no, but he continued to insist. I went to put the cart away and he had put his bike into the bed of my truck and climbed into the passenger seat. I had no phone, no one was out, and I froze.
I made the poor choice to give him a ride. I was goddamn terrified and I don’t think I blinked the entire time as the man said things like, “Your husband is a lucky guy,” or “Wow your lips look nice.” Fortunately, my lack of response seemed to deter him and we finally parted ways.
13. Point Break
I was surfing about five years ago in New Jersey. There was a pre-hurricane swell and the waves were probably six or seven feet overhead, which is pretty big for me. I had been surfing a lot of my life at that point so I was pretty used to going alone. I slipped up and got pummeled by a wave. When I came up for air, my leash that holds the board to my ankle had snapped.
I was now in the break zone of six or seven feet overhead waves with no board. I got absolutely crushed for a solid 5-10 minutes straight, alone in the ocean. I felt like I was going to die. Eventually, I got super lucky and just slammed on the shore.
14. Kmart Lockdown
I witnessed this at a Kmart in the 90s. I must have been like seven or eight but I can very distinctly recall the sound of her screams. This mother was going nuts, panicking, and looking for her child, even yelling and screeching. They locked down the store and had law enforcement look around for a while. It turns out she (the two-year-old) decided to hide in one of the clothes racks and was finally found after about 45 minutes.
My mother was so distraught from second-hand experience she made me watch that Adam Walsh movie the next day after school.
15. Count Your Blessings
I watched the EMTs take my dad away as he was having a stroke during peak COVID in December. I was in shock and was so terrified that would be the last time I ever saw him. I didn’t even say goodbye. He made it, even though he had a massive stroke two days later but we weren’t able to see him for almost three weeks and then barely saw him until late February.
But that moment standing at our front door watching them take him away was the scariest moment of my entire life. I just knew that even if he lived—big if—our lives would have a before and after and I was terrified for what the after would look like whether or not he lived. It turns out it sucks more than I knew it would at the time.
16. Fire Hazard
I left a laundry basket on the space heater at my apartment because it was a warm day and we weren’t using it. We had the windows open and went somewhere. But it was late spring and the temperature dropped sharply and the space heater came on. The basket melted and dripped into the space heater and set the towels on fire.
We drove into the driveway and saw firetrucks there. The fireman asked if we lived in the apartment. My heart felt like it got squeezed in an iron fist. Things started to go black around the edges of my vision and grew until all I saw was a pinprick of light. I almost fainted. Fortunately, someone had heard our fire alarm and called the fire department. They got it just before the walls ignited. My cat was ok too. She literally jumped into my arms when I called her.
17. Bad Vibes
I used to trail run by myself a lot, not on super remote trails, but it also wouldn’t be uncommon for me to not see another person while I was out there. The last time that I went, I came around the corner and there was a guy eating blackberries from a patch along the trail. I ran past and gave one of those quick runner waves.
As I was entering the woods a little further up the trail, I glanced behind me—and what I saw shook me to my core. He was walking behind me, not directly behind me, but much closer than I felt like he should have been considering that he seemed pretty distracted by the berries not long before. I was especially freaked out because I was already tired and facing an uphill climb while he had been relaxing and I knew he’d be able to overtake me.
I sprinted into the woods, grabbed the sharpest rock that I could find, and cut through the forest parallel to the trail before I took the turn until I could get back on it and run back in the direction that I’d come from. He was probably some random guy who thought I was crazy, but I had some very bad vibes that day.
18. Mass Hysteria
It happened on Oxford Street (in London) on Black Friday. My friend and I were walking around jokingly said, “Hey, this would be the perfect place for a terrorist attack.” Famous last words. There were thousands upon thousands of people pressed together in these busy streets. I swear, like five minutes later we hear this roar of thousands of people screaming all at once.
The sound pulsed through our bodies as the mass of people around us suddenly started running. I grabbed my friend who was panicking and dragged us into a store to go hide behind a pillar. After like 30 seconds they locked the doors and people who still wanted to get in started slamming the windows. Inside the store people were crying and there even was a kid without a parent, screaming.
After a few minutes, they finally said we could go out through the back. Heavily armed cops yelled at us to run again and we went to an office building that was packed with people, again waiting for news. During all that, my parents were there too, but not with us. All my mother had sent me was a text message saying, “Shots!”
I swear, thinking about how I felt that evening still gives me shivers. In those moments, you really believe people are shooting at you. There’s nothing louder than the collective screams of people around you. The event even has a Wikipedia page: “Oxford Circus Panic.”
19. There’s A Reason You Need A License For Forklifts
I was working at a warehouse and there was a forklift that had an awkward load, like the guy sifted it a little bit. I went up to straighten the little bit off on it. Well, the guy operating the forklift was a complete idiot and backed through a doorway with the load quite a ways into the air and it smacked into the top of the doorway at great speed. He had gunned that forklift like he was racing the thing.
Now, back to me. I am right in front of this load that is now coming at me at high speed. The load was poorly stacked and heavy as lead metal. Time stopped. Two thoughts went through my head: try to stop it or get out of there. I went with getting out of there, which was the right choice because when that stuff hit the floor it left massive dents and gouges in the cement floor, there was no way I could have stopped that, too much weight, and too much speed.
20. Attic Invasion
I’ve been through a lot of scary stuff but I think the most legitimately terrifying was someone breaking into our house from an adjoining attic crawl space to rummage for pills in our medicine cabinet. My (now) ex was working swing shift and my very pregnant self thought it was him coming home after the night shift to shower. I thought it was weird he didn’t kiss me but figured he’d had a bad night at work and went to shower immediately.
Imagine my surprise when he DID come in and kiss me a while later and I had a whole revelation moment that there had been a man in there earlier who was not my husband. It made it worse than I was pregnant at the time and extra emotional.
21. A Lion’s Trip To The City
I used to go out for these long walks in the woods at night, as depression makes me value my personal safety less than a few minutes of peace. I thought my worst-case scenario was a creepy stranger—I was so wrong. I went for these walks often, until one day I got stalked by a mountain lion that had wandered into the city.
The feeling of having an apex predator follow you is a nearly indescribable, primal thing. It’s so disconnected from any fear I’ve felt in my modern life, but at the same time unmistakable for anything other than what it is. It’s baked right into every cell of your body. You practically glow with terror. Externally, I was just walking home, but internally, I was absolutely and totally aware that there was a big cat behind me.
I knew that it wanted to eat me, and I couldn’t stop it if it decided to do this.
22. Genius Ideas
I had a snowboarding accident. I was stupid and went with my brother up to the top of the mountain for one last run as a snowstorm was about to start. By the time we got to the top, it was getting worse. We had another genius idea and decided to go through the fun off-piste area. About five minutes down the mountain the wind had started gusting heavily.
My brother had an easier time as he’s on skis and is heavier than me. A gust managed to knock me over and I fell on my arm, breaking it. I was in too much pain to continue down in that kind of weather so we decided that my brother would continue and then alert the ski patrol about the situation. Sitting there on the mountain off-piste in the middle of a heavy snowstorm with a broken arm all alone just waiting was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been.
I honestly don’t remember how long it took them to find me again but it was likely an hour or so. But seeing the lights of a snowmobile coming towards me was amazing. They got me down the mountain with no issues and then I received the standard lecture from my mom about safety. You know what I’m talking about.
23. He Knows Too Much
I was 17 and was coming home from my girlfriend’s place around three or four in the morning. I live in an apartment and would regularly jump my backyard fence. I climbed up to the second floor and came down the stairs to climb through my window on the first floor. I got to the fence and heard a bone-chilling sound. It was a car screeching its tires at top speed.
Even worse, I got to the top of the fence and I heard footsteps running towards where I was. I was caught off guard because no one should be back there at that time. I landed and turned around to see who it was. It was a neighbor who lives in the building. This 32-year-old gangster. I felt relief because we were on decent terms and he knew who I was growing up—but he had an Uzi in his hand.
He half pointed it at me, shaking as he did so. I was so frightened. But he lowered it realizing who I was as I said “… What’s up?” He was obviously high. He asked me to hold the firearm so he could pee. He pushed it into my chest as he did so. I could feel him shaking from adrenaline and illicit substances. I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I was stuck for a second but I managed to take a step back raise my hands and say, “Nah bro. I cant.”
He said it was all good, telling me to use my shirt to hold it so he could pee. I repeated, “Nah. I can’t. Put it on the floor. And do what you gotta do. I’ll keep watch.” He proceeded to pee. He was turning my way every other second because his loaded firearm is on the floor between us. I looked the other way. I was trying to not make him nervous.
I looked into the sky and hear a helicopter approaching. It was low and its searchlight was scanning the area. I told him, “Yo, I gotta go.” He asked if I had keys to the backyard door. I nervously pull them out and said, “Yeah I do. Let’s go through.” I hurriedly walked to the door. I opened it for us. He lives on the first floor as well. We went opposite ways. It was a huge relief.
I had to jump through my window still. I could barely manage to get the screen off because I was shaking so much. I managed to get in 10 seconds later and was shaking and was nervous from what just happened. I washed my face and changed my clothes. I got ready for bed and tried to calm down. I began to think my nightmare was finally over—but it wasn’t.
I put Adult Swim on and tried to relax and drift to sleep. Twenty minutes later, as I’m drifting off to sleep, a red laser points through my curtains. I’m was scared because my bed was visible and the dot seemed like it was shaky and searching. I was terrified. My only thought was he went and got high again, thought about what happened, and decided I saw too much.
I was literally hugging my wall standing on my bed trying to avoid the laser beam. I thought I was dead. Then the light shut off. It flicked on and off a couple of times. I noticed the angle wasn’t floor level. It was coming in from the second floor. A neighbor girl I used to talk to had two younger sisters and their window was across from mine but on the second floor.
They were shining a laser in my room. Most likely they saw me jumping into my room and decided it was a good idea that night to shine a laser beam into my room. I was angry and sent her a few texts blowing up about them shining a laser into my room that late at night. She understood without me having to explain and they stopped immediately.
But jeez, the thoughts that were running through my head. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry about the situation.
24. Not Playing Games
My scariest experience was probably when I went to the park with my seven-month-old puppy and he got attacked. Two dogs came running at him and he thought they wanted to play, but nope. They lunged at him and one had him by the neck while the other had his back hind leg. My mother had to pry open the dog’s mouth to get it off of my dog’s neck. Somehow he had no scratches or bruises at all, but it was really scary.
25. Rethinking Life
I fell from a height of seven and a half meters, ruptured my lungs, broke three vertebrae, two teeth, and a jaw bone. I was unconscious for about a minute, then started spitting loads of blood while lying on my back. I got anesthetized and put into a helicopter in about 15 minutes, but it sure as heck felt like an eternity.
One would think that the most significant thing you feel is pain, but the shock just hits you so hard that although you scream in pain, on the inside it’s just this wild state of delirium, fear, and thinking, “This is it.” The drugged nightmares were also something else, especially since they had to give me two times the anesthetics and kept me in an induced coma for about three days.
The fear in this situation doesn’t only come from the first-person perspective, but also from the camp kids that were around to see me fall and most importantly my family nearly losing me. It’s definitely made me rethink my life choices and my view on life in general.
26. No Laughing Matter
I had metastatic thyroid cancer and my third surgery was to remove lymph nodes that were adhered to the nerve that controls my voice. There was a possibility that I could lose my voice altogether…and I’m a professional comedian & actor. Going in for that surgery was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Fortunately, I didn’t lose my voice!
27. Panic Mode
The scariest thing that instantly comes into my mind is about my son who was at that time one year old. He was sleeping on the couch next to me and his mother was sleeping too (at his feet). For some reason, I’d had a bad feeling and as I touched his forehead, I made a disturbing realization. It was ice cold even though he was sweating. At that moment I realized that this was going to be serious. He had an epileptic cramp.
My brain was in panic mode. I grabbed him, holding him close to me, waking his mother up. We both were in a state of fear and panic we’ve never experienced before. As he cramped up I tried to call the ambulance and somehow between all the crying and stuttering, I was able to give them the proper details. After I hung up he cramped so hard that he got all stiff-looking, with big dead eyes to the ceiling and in the next moment his body relaxed.
He became like jelly. He was unconscious and we thought he had died at that moment as there were no signs of life whatsoever. His eyes were closed and I had a hard time holding him as his body was like running out of my arms. I really hope I never have such a moment again in my life. Finally, an ambulance came and I went with him to the hospital.
Like I mentioned before, he had a cramp, fell unconscious, and we knew that he had a mild form of epilepsy. He’s now nine years old, perfectly fine, and the epilepsy is gone. Or at least there are no signs that can be detected by neurologists. I hope no one has the feeling that we had that night.
28. Catcalls Gone (Even More) Wrong
My boyfriend, his sister, her boyfriend, and I were walking home from a bar in downtown Houston to her boyfriend’s apartment after a long night. A car full of teenage kids, some of whom may have been in their 20s, offered us some bud and we said no. They then continued to drive down the road catcalling me and my boyfriend’s sister.
The boys with us were telling them to get out of here and they eventually hopped out of their car and ran at us. Thankfully nothing really came of it but I was scared they would either 1) be armed or 2) get really physical with us. I was taking a video after some time and they literally parked in the middle of the road and charged us for just trying to get them to leave us alone.
29. Hard Restart
My scariest experience was when my heart stopped beating one night. When this happens, your body screams for oxygen. You breathe and still suffocate because no blood is moving the oxygen from the lungs to the brain. You go into ultimate panic mode and see your life pass before your eyes. Eternities later (or, at least, that’s how it felt to me), or about three to five seconds later (according to the doctor who explained the process to me), my heart restarted with one of the “backup systems” the heart seems to have.
30. Deer Runs Into The Headlights
I was leaving work late at night, around two or three in the morning, for a half-hour drive back home. The town I was working in had lots of deer around. As I was leaving town, there was a deer that was at the side of the road trying to decide whether or not it was going to go. I slowed down to well below the speed limit—25–30 miles per hour—if I recall correctly.
It looked like the deer was backing off, so I sped up slightly, up to 40 or 45, and then at the last second, right as I cross the deer’s path, it jumped into the road. I hit the brakes and lost control of the wheel. My car flipped halfway up and I was convinced at that moment I was about to have a very bad, possibly fatal accident.
But the car came back down and I was facing the opposite direction in the other lane. Had anything had been just slightly different—a stiff breeze, an oncoming truck (two-lane road), a rancher farting in the wind—I would have probably been dead. If the car finished its roll, it would’ve been down a fairly steep grade off the side of the road. There would’ve been no way I would have walked away from that.
31. Premature Birth
My firstborn son was born four weeks early. He had severely underdeveloped lungs. He was taken down to a better hospital in Anchorage. It was practically out of state. The little champ fought a little over six weeks before being discharged to our home in Fairbanks. It inspired me to be an EMT. But, jeez, no child should have to go through such things.
I’m happy to say, he is six now, and just fine but he is still my baby boy and I love that little guy to bits and pieces.
32. Missing Elevator
My experience was short but definitely super scary. When I was a kid my mom and I were waiting for an elevator. When it came, I opened the exterior door and started stepping in. My mom grabbed me quickly on the shoulder and pulled me back. When I looked forward, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The elevator was not there at all.
It was a black void, basically. My mom saved me from certain doom there. That was a fall from the eighth floor in an elevator shaft.
33. Mistaken Identity
One time when I was about eight or so, my apartment got raided by the SWAT team and all that. I woke up at four in the morning, hearing banging on the door and my dad went up to open the door. When he opened it SWAT members rammed into him and got him in handcuffs. I went down to see what was happening and they all yelled, “Careful, there are kids in here.”
They went rummaging through all the rooms making holes in the walls, breaking doors—all that jazz—and my dad got incarcerated for a month for possession of a firearm and worse. The thing is, he didn’t even do what he was accused of. He just looked like the guy they needed.
34. Hooligans on Motorcycles
I got stranded in a strip mall parking lot at night and these two guys with full helmets on in sports motorcycles kept circling the parking lot and stopping in front of me. I got really nervous so I got up when I thought they had gone away I went to cross the parking lot to a store that still had all the lights on inside.
They came out of nowhere and drove up onto the walkway and blocked me in on both sides. I tried my best to look unfazed but I was terrified. I stepped around them and kept walking and they started charging at me and faking out at the last minute. I just kept going until I reached the store and they sped out of the parking lot finally.
35. In Need Of Adrenaline
My daughter was five and went into anaphylaxis. We drove to the hospital as she turned purple and pink and spoke in delirium, then went flaccid and even beyond flaccid (it’s hard to describe; it was like her spine relaxed). I thought she had died in my arms. They gave her adrenaline and she came back. It was 20 years ago and I still feel freaked out when I think about it.
36. Frozen Toes
I was on a tugboat that sank last winter at midnight and I spent 8-to-10 hours on the beach in -40°C weather. I ended up with fourth-degree frostbite and I lost two toes. All I was wearing was PJ pants and a long sleeve shirt with no socks or shoes.
37. True Fear
On an inner canyon hiking trip, I took the wrong way back up and had to climb a small section and grabbed a rock that moved three inches towards me. You never experience true fear until it’s something that’s out of your control.
38. Smells Like Fear
I was in Africa and every evening a big male lion would walk through the camp. He would roar outside my tent and it was blood-curdling. I could even smell him he was so close. Nothing separated me from him but a thin layer of canvas. He would hang around for 45 minutes to an hour at a time. You cannot imagine the horror of that sound.
39. Screw Your Guys, I’m Going Home
I was at a park with my dog. He was playing with other dogs off-leash and having fun. Then a dog started messing with him and trying to pin him to the ground. He basically said screw this and ran out of the park. My heart stopped. He started trying to run home, but he has no idea how traffic works so he just bolted down the middle of the street.
I ran after him as fast as I could. Fortunately, he was a puppy so he hadn’t reached his full running potential yet. I caught up to him and grabbed his tail (the only thing I could reach) and pulled on it and he stopped and yelped. He missed getting hit by cross traffic by about three inches.
40. The Dangers Of Sharing The Road
I was riding my motorbike. Suddenly, a bus turned into the next lane. I wasn’t going fast—I was under the speed limit—but it was so sudden I was sure I would hit it. I hit the brakes hard and went into the longest skid of my life. I went on driving for 500 meters shaking as adrenaline was pumping in my veins. I stopped and drank half of my water bottle.
I decided to never drive behind a bus ever again.
41. Eat Your Potatoes
My scariest experience was the time I wasn’t able to control my hands or fingers, and couldn’t speak properly due to a sudden drop in my blood potassium levels when driving home. I called an ambulance because I thought I was having a stroke. Then I started getting better at the ER and cried thinking it was a panic attack and thought I had wasted everyone’s time. Well, I was in for a surprise.
They ran an EKG that was normal but looked odd compared to my history and they checked my blood. I had a potassium level of 2.2 which is apparently very, very bad as it causes muscles to seize up. What they were seeing on the EKG was that it was having some effect on my heart. Yeah. That was scary. Eat your potatoes.
42. Your Periodic Warning Against Drinking And Driving
I used to live near a large open stormwater drain with no fencing around it. Three intoxicated guys drove their car straight into it. The scene was horrific. I went out and found the driver trying to get his friend’s foot out of the windshield. On the field on the other side of the drain, I saw the third passenger who was covered in blood. I asked if they were okay and my neighbor called the ambulance.
The blood-covered friend passed out and was twitching so I ran to the car, grabbed a towel from the back seat, and ran to help him. I found a large, deep cut on the back of his neck and head. I rolled him to his back and used the weight of his head to put pressure on the wound. I was talking to him, trying to keep him awake and he went into shock, twitching, and was unresponsive.
This was the moment I thought a man died in my hands. I was able to wake him and the ambulance took over from there. That was the most harrowing moment of my life.
43. Close Call
Doctors informed me that our two-year-old daughter had high white blood cell counts and is likely an indicator of pediatric cancer while my wife was traveling for work. I had to go get additional blood work and wait days for the results. It turns out she was fighting some bug and was healthy, but those precious few days were the scariest time of my life.
44. Down The Mountain
Earlier this year while backing our truck up at night on a mountain road, our rear tire slipped off the road. The truck rolled twice down the side of the very steep mountain. We miraculously landed upright on a fire road below the road we’d been on originally. The moment the first tire went off the side and I could feel us falling was by far the scariest moment of my life.
45. Revenge Of The Oxygen Tank
My oxygen tank cut off the air while I was on a scuba dive 15 meters underwater at NIGHT. To this day, no one knows how the oxygen tank closed. It wasn’t malfunctioning because I realized the problem 20 minutes into the dive. For 20 minutes, there was absolutely no problem.
46. Mystery Box
My boyfriend went through something with his gallbladder last year. This is a dude who never goes to the doctor or hospital. He could barely stand and before we left for the hospital, he put a lockbox down on my dresser and said if he dies then everything inside it was mine. I’ve never seen him like that before it was really weird and scary.
I still don’t know what’s in that lockbox.
47. Revenge Of The Frightened Parents
I was over at a friend’s place playing some board games and just hanging out. Out of nowhere, we heard knocking. We ignored the first couple because the sound was very light. Eventually, we started checking the doors and we saw no one was there. We went down to her basement—and what I witnessed made my blood run cold.
I saw the palm of a hand smash against the basement window. We ran upstairs and grabbed knives. I ran towards my phone and called the cops. While telling them the address, my friend yells, “It’s just my mom!” Apparently, my friend had been out on a long walk with her phone off for hours and her parents got scared when they couldn’t reach her. So, they scared her as revenge.
48. An Unexpected Dinner Guest
My wife and I were eating dinner one night when a stranger walked into our house. I’ll never forget looking up and seeing the look on his face as he stood there. He told us he was the angel of doom and was collecting souls for the apocalypse. He said there were demons outside everywhere. I thought “This is it, we’re done for.”
Luckily he didn’t have a weapon and didn’t attack us. I talked him into walking outside with me so I could help him out. As soon as he stepped through the door I slammed it shut, locked it, and called law enforcement. By that time he was in the road screaming nonsense. It turned out he was high on some really weird stuff.
The whole thing didn’t last too long but being told the angel of doom is in my house to collect souls almost paralyzed me with fear.
49. Stray Bullet
When I was 10, my school, St. Anthony’s in South Bend, Indiana, had a fair that featured a ride called the Bullet. How it worked was two people sat in a revolving barrel that’s a small bullet-shaped cage that revolves as you go around a circle like a Ferris wheel at average Ferris wheel height. Well, a six-year-old and I were getting on and the guy is loading us in and starts having us put on our belts, which I start to do. As the kid is getting in the seat, that’s when disaster struck.
The ride fired up accidentally. The operator ran to turn it off, but it was too late. We shot up to the top super fast, probably around 30-40 miles per hour. Remember how I said it revolves? It turned so the door we came in was pointing straight down and since it started suddenly, it was not latched shut. I was really lucky and had belted the top portion so my chest and upper body were held with my legs splayed out against the small cage above the door.
The poor kid though hadn’t had anything on, but I had grabbed him and he was doing the same thing with his legs holding onto the seat, with the doors swinging open below us to probably about a 100-foot drop to concrete. Everyone started screaming and gathering as the operator started slowly climbing up to us and we were just hanging there as a huge crowd formed.
I locked on to him for life and oddly enough, never got tired holding his likely 60 lbs. I also remember being very calm about everything just watching the crowd and the tree line and thinking how embarrassed I was for the attention. We said very little. I just asked if he was okay and he looked at me and nodded with a pale face and that was it.
We just clung there, waiting for the operator for what felt like forever. I remember at one point someone yelling for us to switch places because he was so young, which was weird but there was no way I was going to move or adjust my grip for fear of falling. Though it felt like forever it was likely about 20 minutes for the guy to finally get to us and close the door.
He told us to put on our belts as best we could. Then he climbed down, started it up, and we got down and off. My parents were pretty absent so, of course, they weren’t there to scream at the guy. I just remember being in a daze until my parents came and got me.
50. Peering Into The Inner Self
My mother had to spend a few months in an asylum due to her being maniacally depressed. There was a woman in the asylum who painted the “inner selves“ of visitors. When she spotted me, her reaction was chilling. She started crying and screaming and called me a monster and devil and so on. It was my first visit there and I had never talked to her before.
After a few weeks, my dad and I went to the asylum to take my mother back home. One of the nurses approached me and handed me a painting from the lady who was so afraid of me. It literally was a black canvas with only two red eyes. It still creeps the heck out of me.