Throughout our lives, we often encounter a variety of, shall we say, anxiety-inducing experiences. You know, the "scream your head off in terror" kind of anxiety. From almost going down in a plane to being approached by a stranger in the woods, read on as these people reveal their most heart-pounding moments.
1. Close To The Edge
My grandma has a summer beach house and you can only get there by boat. One time, we took the boat to go to the house, but the boat straight up stopped working. I looked off the side and my stomach dropped. We were right next to some very sharp-looking rocks, and after it, a small but pretty scary waterfall.
So, the boat is freaking dead, it won’t do anything, and the boat starts moving toward the super sharp rocks followed by the waterfall! So we’re all scared as heck at this point, and my dad is desperately trying to get this thing to work. Then, the boat engine starts working again and we finally get the heck out of there! I actually thought we were going to die.
2. Requesting A Hairdresser
When I was 12 or so, my family went camping at a campground in the Shenandoah Valley. It wasn't the middle of nowhere but more like an isolated mountain town. I went to take our dog for a walk out on a trail at the edge of the campground with some pretty dense woods all around. All of a sudden, I got a terrible feeling. My dog suddenly froze and wouldn’t budge, right as I heard some rustling in the woods behind me.
I spun around to see some random, middle-aged guy emerge from the trees and begin to approach me. I was too surprised to really react, and my dog was super old at that point so he didn’t do much other than freeze. Then the guy goes, “Hey, this is going to seem like a weird question, but could you come back to my cabin and help me cut my hair? I can’t see the back of my neck and could really use your help.”
I quickly said something like, “No sorry, my parents are waiting for me for dinner so I should get going.” He just shrugged and walked back into the woods. I made it back to our campsite safely and told my parents. I had thought maybe he was a campground employee, but only after my parents’ reaction did I realize how weird the interaction was.
They immediately went to the campground staff and told them what happened. They searched the campground but never found the guy. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
3. Enough To Keep You Up
I was in bed when I heard a rustle. I looked around but saw nothing. So, I laid back down. I heard a louder rustle, looked around again, and then looked under the bed. I laid back down with my heart in my throat. Something large landed on my face and chest. It was the stupid poster over my bed. To this day, I’m proud I didn’t soil myself.
4. Shaken Like A Leaf
I was already on the worst date of my life with a barely coherent guy who smelled like he hadn’t showered in a week. I was dropping him off on his bike after a glass at a fancy bar where he “knew a guy” who wasn’t working that night. So, guess who has two thumbs and paid for both drinks? This guy! Suddenly the dude yells, “LOOK OUT!” and I slam the brakes.
I missed getting demolished by inches by an SUV blasting through a stop sign and across an arterial road. I later found out that it crashed into someone’s house shortly thereafter. Anyways, I was shaking like a leaf after that. That guy saved both our lives. I wish I could say it was cute, but I never saw him again.
5. On The Way Home
In college one weekend, I crashed at a friend's house and woke up early in the morning. It was probably seven or so in the morning. I decided to walk five minutes back to my dorm to get some more sleep in my own bed. As I got close to my dorm, I noticed a man following me. No one else is out walking. He doesn’t look college-aged either. I start walking quickly to the front door. It was after the night security guard, AKA paid students, left.
So, there was no one at the door. I still had to swipe my ID card to get in and he was very close behind me. I swipe my card and he sneaks in before the door fully closes and relocks. I bolted up the one flight of stairs to my floor and down the hallway to my room. As I fumbled with my keys, I saw the man enter the walkway, looking left and right to see where I went. I slipped in my room and locked my door. I didn’t fall back asleep that morning.
6. Is My Will Up To Date?
The most scared I’ve been in my life was during a high-speed taxi ride in Istanbul several years ago. The driver ducked and wove through stagnant rush hour traffic. I think he drove on the sidewalk for part of it. There were more close scrapes than a Hollywood car chase. I literally was thinking about it when I had last updated my will. I really thought I would end up in the hospital or worse.
7. Behind The Wheel
It was around two in the morning and towards the end of a long drive when I fell asleep behind the wheel. I barely missed a light pole and ended up in a ditch. That's when I found out that AAA doesn't tow if you don't have all four tires on the ground. In the middle of a call with a towing company, I was looking at a $240 charge, when a nice guy in a pickup truck stopped and asked if I wanted to be pulled out.
I got lucky in that the only damage to my car was a small piece of the bumper that popped out from the guy's tow strap.
8. Never To Be Found
I believed my life was in danger. My sister was a live-in nanny for a wealthy couple in an upscale suburb. She got kidney stones and asked if I could cover for her because I had experience with babysitting and I could stay with her when she was sick. I went to help. These people were really out there, but it was only for a few days.
The mother went to a concert with her girlfriend that night. The father didn't live there because they were separated. I had literally just met them. There was a seven-year-old boy and twin four-year-olds, one boy and one girl. These poor kids had issues because a lot was going on. They were in bed and my sister and I were in her room watching TV when we suddenly heard a loud noise coming from downstairs.
We went to check things out and my sister found that a big piece of wood that blocked the basement door had been pushed in. We have the lights on, doors locked, and we call 9-1-1. The seven-year-old heard the noise and he was scared. I told my sister to take him upstairs and I would wait for the officer. I grabbed a knife from the block and I waited downstairs alone for the officers to show up.
It took about ten minutes, but it felt like forever. I am not a violent person, but all I could think was that there were innocent kids upstairs and if someone attacked I needed to protect them. The officers told us they didn't find anything and left. We couldn't get a hold of either parent this whole time. I tried to put the whole thing behind me. But it wasn't over.
The next day, I was playing with the kids in the yard. I was pushing the twins on the swings when the seven-year-old said he found something cool and wanted to show me. It was a knife. I asked him if I could please see it. I didn't want to scare him. I take it inside and call the officers back. Unfortunately, I had to touch it to get it away from the kid.
It wasn't a small knife and it was by the entrance to the basement. They never found the person.
9. Right By The Restroom
Back in university, I went to the restroom. When I came out, there was this guy I’d never seen before waiting in the hall by the women’s restroom. He started talking to me as if he knew me and kept asking for help on a specific assignment. I kept telling him that I wasn’t in that class while trying to get away. Every time I took a step to the side to walk past him, he would block me and walk towards me, cornering me back into the bathroom with every step.
Even though it was broad daylight, I was terrified and I could tell by his demeanor that something wasn’t right. My back was to the bathroom door when he began to pull something out of his backpack. I never saw what it was because at that very moment another guy walked past and asked if everything was alright and the first guy left very quickly.
10. Get In The Car!
I lived about five blocks from my job as an espresso stand barista and was walking to work one morning along a really busy street. There was a Jack-In-The-Box kitty-corner from the espresso stand and, as I was walking past the parking lot, a guy in a 70s muscle car stopped me to ask if I knew where this random high school was.
I told him it was on the other side of town, but he insisted there was one right in the neighborhood where we were. There was a private school a few blocks away, but it wasn't a high school. As I was talking to him, his passenger had gotten out and walked around on the sidewalk so he was behind me. I gave them directions to the private school. I literally said, "Go down this road three blocks, turn left at the brown duplex with the pine trees in the front yard, drive two more blocks and you're in the parking lot," but they were just certain they'd get lost.
They really wanted me to get in the car and go with them. Every hair on the back of my neck was at attention. I told them my boss was waiting for me and pointed to where not just my boss stood, but a bunch of the larger guys from the car detailing/windshield installation strip mall were keeping an eye on the situation. I shook as I crossed that street. A couple of the big windshield dudes crossed to meet me and the guys in the car took off.
11. Stop Blinking, Please
When I was nine or 10, my brother punched me in the eye with a stick. Somehow, it went through my lower eyelid and up through my eyebrow without scratching my cornea too badly. The scary part, once I realized I wasn't blind, was getting stitches on the eyelid. Imagine looking into a bright light and watching a giant curved needle come straight at your eyeball a dozen times. "Stop blinking, please."
12. Just Lucky To Be Here
I was chartering a plane, flying to a remote community, and had the pilot miss-read the windsock. This resulted in the plane crashing and flipping over on landing. One wing bent up and broke partially, rupturing the fuel tank. The landing gear sheared off and the plane was totaled. I walked away with some bruises and a sore knee, though if the fuel had ignited I wouldn't be here typing this.
13. Easy In, Hard To Get Out
I flew off the edge of a ski trail at high speed into a heavily wooded 15 foot (1.5m) lapse. Time slowed down and I could see every tree go past me as I flew through the thicket. I managed not to hit a single tree, but got stuck in really deep snow. They had to toss me a rope and wrangle me in. I've also been on a flight I was certain was going to end in a burning pile of rubble.
14. Didn’t Expect The Unexpected
I was born with a heart condition, and had to go to Seattle once a year for a check up. I was a tween at this time. My parents parked in a different area of the parking lot. I didn't think anything of it. Then, they led me to the surgery elevators. They must be mistaken, but I don't want to be rude so I don't say anything. Then it dawned me.
I proceeded to check-in for surgery, got called back, and was handed a plastic shot glass of pink syrup-like liquid. No one said anything to me on the five hour drive over about this. I still have trust issues, and am still mad about this.
15. Relieve Some Pressure, Release The Blood
My doctor cut open an abscess in my groin area to release pressure, put some bandage on it, and sent me home. On the way home, I noticed I was leaking down there and I was in a lot of pain, way more than the previous time I had it done. I got out of the car crying from the pain and noticed the seat was all blood.
As it turns out, my doctor hit an artery and I was bleeding out. My mom drove me to the hospital and I truly felt like I was dying, fighting to stay awake. That's gonna stick with me for a while.
16. Straight Down The Slide
When I was maybe eight years old, I slid down an ice slide at my nearest playground. Many people didn't use a sled while sliding it because they got to such a quick speed. Well anyway, I slid down it and landed at the bottom with a girl. I saw a person sliding down with two sleds which were on top of each other with people sitting on them. I couldn't react until it was too late.
I was right in the middle of the slide when it hit me. I did a half flip, and hit my teeth on the ice. My upper two teeth went through from the skin below the lip and then hit the ground. It didn't hurt because it happened so fast. I was so scared. Everyone was saying, "You are bleeding very badly," and similar things.
I went home crying from the fear, and when I got home, my mother cleaned it and said that we needed to go to the hospital where I would need to get stitches. I started crying more because I was scared about how they would stitch it. "Would they put a needle into my skin?" I thought. I went to the hospital and they didn't stitch it. They put glue-like stuff on it and now I have a scar there.
17. Appearing Out Of Nowhere
Growing up, my best friend’s family were all sleepwalkers. One night, I was sleeping at her house and I was standing in the kitchen with her and her mom. Out of nowhere we saw a shadow of a man through the back patio windows and we all started screaming. It took a minute, but her mom realized it was her dad sleepwalking outside!
It was the scariest thing. He was totally fast asleep and she had to help gently walk him back to bed because you should never wake a sleeping person. They can sometimes get violent and he was a really big guy.
18. What Was The Reason?
Growing up, I lived one block away from a street specifically for the elderly with an elderly home right across the street from it. I remember when I was in the sixth grade, I was walking home with my sister and as we were about to cross the sidewalk, this couple stopped their car right on the sidewalk and just stared at me blankly for a solid 30 seconds, without blinking or any movement whatsoever before driving off. I have no clue why they stared at me but it scared the heck out of me.
19. Not A Pleasant Wake-Up
I was staying in a hotel by myself and decided to watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose. It was a terrible decision. Some guy had played the cruelest hotel prank, and they had set the alarm clock radio to go off on full volume to a Gregorian chant channel…AKA, Catholic monk music played at four in the morning. I've never moved so fast in my life.
I jumped halfway across the room trying to figure out what was happening. I did not get back to sleep that night and have checked every hotel alarm since. I’ve also read that the actresses in that movie had some messed up things happen with radios during filming. What a weird coincidence.
20. Lights Out
I had a lucid dream where it felt like my bedsheets were floating and like there was a presence nearby. I woke up literally terrified and immediately turned on my bedside light. There was a lot of static in the air, so much so that the sheets crackled when I moved them. Then, the light randomly went out on its own.
I immediately turned it back on in a panic. That was the end of whatever went on. I never experienced anything like that again in my life.
21. Almost Caught In An Ambush
I volunteered in Rwanda in 1997. When I was driving back alone to my project area, I drove through a heavily forested area around noon. I found out later in the day that the local governor got assassinated in an ambush in that same area. 12 people were assassinated, two vehicles were burned. He’d passed through about an hour after I went through.
22. Half A Second Away
The day after my 21st birthday I took a long trolley ride home from my friend’s house and I was in deep thought regarding some poor choices I’d just made. I got off the Southbound trolley and crossed the Northbound trolley tracks, still deep in thought I stepped up onto the platform just in time for the Northbound trolley to zoom past my face.
I was about half a second away from being turned into a red mist.
23. An Act Of Selflessness
When I was in middle school, I was walking down the last flight of stairs and slipped forward. I can't tell you how many steps I was falling for, it felt like a lot more than it probably was. Some guy who was walking behind me saw me slip and flew down the stairs and caught my head just as it was about to hit the tile at the bottom. I didn't even know him, he was just acting so selflessly.
24. One Of Two
My dad got half of his hand crushed in a dump truck. My mother and I had to help him get out and I was terrified of what we would have to do if we couldn’t get it out. Long story short, he crushed his pinkie finger, and ring finger along with the right side of his hand. He had to get the pinkie amputated and as for the ring finger? It’s a miracle that the doctor could save it.
25. Red In The Sky
The mountain at the boarding school I attended caught on fire. I will never forget looking over the balcony of the dining hall to a huge smoke cloud that was pouring through the sky. The fire turned it all red. Ash was falling from the sky as we all walked into town as a big long line. The younger kids were evacuated by bus off the mountain, but older kids were told to get into peoples’ cars. Everyone frantically got into random cars and drove down the burning mountain.
26. Have You Seen My Wallet?
When I was young, probably about five or six, I was sitting on the curb in front of my mom's work playing with rocks or whatever little kids do to amuse themselves, while my mom and grandma smoked in the car. A strange man approached me while asking if I was alone. I guess he didn't see them in the car. I just froze and stared at him.
My mom noticed me acting weird. So she got out of the car and told me to get in the car and asked him what he said to me. He lied and said he asked if I saw his wallet. So, my mom brought me to report it and they had me look through some books to try to point out who had been talking to me. It was a book of pictures of people they had incarcerated. I'm 33 now so some of the memory might be wrong, but it's stuck with me all these years.
27. A Really Close Call
A hunter fired a 12 gauge at a buck that was close to my cabin while I was asleep inside. They didn't know my cabin was even there because the roof was shallow and covered in the same stuff the hills around me were and four pellets landed in the wall just above my chest. They were aiming at its lungs, hit low, and the rest of the spray went over the ridge and into my cabin.
They were really apologetic and I knew them both, so a few days later they generously gave me the back straps and a few other good pieces.
28. It’s More Common Than You Think
I had a mental breakdown last year, and one night I was lying in bed and all of the sudden the walls around me started crumbling matrix-style. My world was just collapsing and up popped the devil who revealed himself to me. He told me my entire life was just a simulation and I would now be going to the underworld.
I told my psychiatrist about it and she said it's actually a very common hallucination.
29. I Knew Something Was Up
I went to the hospital with a terrible headache and learned I had a cancerous tumor in the middle of my chest. It was blocking the superior vena cava, hence the headache. I knew there was something wrong but I never thought it would be that. It's a long time ago, I'm grand now, thanks!
30. Straight To The ER
The scariest moment I ever experienced was when I was watching my brother nearly die from anaphylactic shock when I was six and he was only 18 months old. I was out with my mom when the person who was watching him called us to tell us that he had a rash and to come home immediately. I still remember being absolutely horrified at how he looked. He was covered in hives and his eyes were swollen shut.
I had to sit in the back seat with him on the way to the hospital. I remember not being able to look at him because it scared me too much. By the time we pulled up to the ER, he was making these weird noises since his throat was nearly closed, and a nurse grabbed him out of my mom's arms, called a code blue, and rushed him into a room.
I was outside the room watching doctors rush in. All I heard were monitors and yelling, so I assumed that he'd suffocated. That was quite honestly the worst feeling that I've ever felt. I couldn't do anything but sit in a chair and cry and shake. A nurse came out after they stabilized him enough to know that he was going to survive and pointed out that he was crying. She held my hand and gave me a popsicle and told me that as long as he was crying then he was OK.
He's 12 now, I'm 18, and I will forever have PTSD from that. Just typing this made me shake. I can't watch movies or shows with allergic reaction scenes or jokes. I can't even read books like that...I couldn't get through the beginning of One of Us is Lying because of the reaction. He's still allergic to peanuts like so many other kids.
It makes me mad when people make jokes about food allergies, especially because of how deadly they can be.
31. At Peace With It
When I was 14, I needed to get an operation on my knee because pieces of it were breaking off and needed to be reattached. The operation was successful, but about 10 minutes after I woke up from the anesthesia, I started to cough. At first it was just a little, but gradually it got worse and worse until I couldn’t breathe.
I wasn’t in my home country and only my mom was with me. She started to panic watching me cough uncontrollably and didn’t know what to do. I pressed the red button to call the nurse but I was starting to lose consciousness by the time the nurse came. They wheeled me to another room and I started to black out and I truly thought I wasn't going to make it.
I was at peace with it, but I just felt guilty my mom was gonna have to witness me go out like that. When I woke up, the doctors told me one of my lungs had collapsed because I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia and my lung had filled with fluid. That was 6 years ago but I can still remember how scary it was to be so sure I was going to die.
32. Frozen In Place
The first and only time I had sleep paralysis made my heart absolutely pound. It was one of the few times I had slept in my parent’s basement. It had happened twice in one night and both times it felt like the start of an assault. I was frozen in place on my back and hands/arms are coming up and wrapping around my body.
I couldn’t move and they were just getting closer. It was like I could feel the breath on my neck. I still have trauma from it, and I will never sleep in my parents' basement again.
33. Out Of The Way
I was once walking with some friends, two guys and two girls, and we didn't realize the sidewalk was closed due to construction until we were right up on it. We looked both ways and all that, trying to make sure we were clear to pass. One guy was still on the corner, out of the street fiddling with something. The other guy was in front of me with his arms around the girls.
To my left, I notice a white car approaching very fast and picking up speed. I didn't really think, I just pushed the guy as hard as I could, and the girls went with him. I was almost out of the way. Almost. It felt like I walked into a wall. Then everything was black. It was an instant, but felt like an eternity. When I could open my eyes, I was sliding on my elbows.
I had blurry vision and heard people yelling. There was a white car shrinking into the distance. My shoes were in front of me. I realized I was lying down, and didn't want to be in the street, so I stood up and walked to the curb. A passerby jumped out of his truck and yelled at me to lie down and not move anymore. The guy I pushed frantically called my parents while someone else called an ambulance.
My parents were there first, only three blocks away. I had a broken clavicle, nerve damage on my forehead, 16 stitches on my shoulder. The local anesthetic didn't work, so I felt the suture needle the entire time. That, and the volcanic rock of a sponge they used to clear the road debris from the wound. All things considered, I was lucky. I was 14 at the time. 15 years later, and it's still painful to recount.
34. Living With Gratitude
Three months ago, I went to the doctor for bloating and constipation. The symptoms had been coming and going over the previous two months and then finally getting progressively worse in the last couple weeks. One CT scan later, I learned I have advanced ovarian cancer. There were terrifying statistics regarding prognosis.
I’m living with gratitude every day that I have access to excellent care and tons of loving support from family, friends, and neighbors.
35. Spinning Out Of Control
This past Monday, I was traveling by myself so I could see my grandparents. I took the long way because I wasn't comfortable driving through a canyon in the winter. When I was about 30 miles (48km) from their house, the snow got horrible. I ran over some ice and lost control. That led me to hit the semi on my right twice before I spun out towards the center barrier.
I wasn't injured, but it was honestly the scariest thing that has happened to me, especially now that I'm living out on my own. I now have some anxiety surrounding driving and had to "fix" my car myself.
36. Trying To Keep On Living
My most heart-pounding moment was being told that I've developed a functional neurological disorder that's likely incurable. I get dizzy and nauseous, and feel weak at times. Other times, it gets so bad I collapse and throw up. It’s not exactly passing out, but it's very much like being super intoxicated. The room will spin and move.
At the beginning, they believed it was benign vertigo, but after running almost every perceivable test they could think of on every conceivable part of me, they gave me that diagnosis. It wrecked my life. Now, it's just dealing with that on a daily basis and trying to live.
37. Get Out Of The Water
I am a Swede, so I'm not that used to sharks and other large fishes. When I was in Spain last year, I loved the big waves and I was in the water 24/7. But, just when the biggest wave of them all came, there was a long shark in it. I have never felt panic like that. I was running up to the beach with my heart pounding like it would explode and the image of the shark stuck in my head.
38. Defeats The Point
My most heart-pounding moment was being in an Army C-130 in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 500 miles (805km) from the nearest landmass, as the plane started rapidly losing hydraulic pressure. All I could think was, “I joined the Army because I’d rather get shot or blown up than drown, and now I’m about to crash into the ocean in a screwed-up C-130?” Jesus Christ.
39. Living Right Through It
A few years ago, me and 10 of my cousins were all standing at the bottom of a very small dam. But, all the snow had melted recently, so the water was higher than normal. One of us fell in and couldn't get up and eventually all of us were in the water nearly drowning. Two people blacked out and had to be pulled out.
Thankfully, we all got out safely after a while, but it was scary as heck not knowing if me or my closest friends would live through it.
40. Meant To Be A Happy Occasion
My first really scary experience was when my first son was born. He was fine, but my wife was bleeding and they couldn't control it. I held her hand and talked to her while the doctors were working on her. I watched as all of the color drained out of her skin and she got cold and clammy and she started to shake uncontrollably while my mother-in-law held my son.
They ended up giving her five units of blood, which is about half of what you have in your body at any one time, and got her stabilized. It was terrifying.
41. Shockwaves Across The City
My scariest moment was being a kid during 9/11 and living in New York City. I watched the towers collapse with my own eyes and my mom took me to hide in a nearby McDonald’s with a bunch of people to avoid the incoming dust shockwave that came after. I'll never forget the sound of people just crying and trying to comfort their loved ones.
42. The Most Notable Of All
I was climbing up a small cliff and I fell into a freezing river wearing a heavy winter jacket. I had been on a road trip with my brothers and we stopped for a scenic walk in the woods. I ended up climbing down the cliff right next to the river when I fell down. The water where I was wasn’t as fast as it was in the main stream, so I made it to shore pretty quick.
I had my phone, wallet, all those kinds of things in my pockets when I fell. I let my clothes air dry for about half an hour before my brothers wanted to go. I lost about $200 in cash, some important business cards, a picture of my niece, and ultimately my phone due to water damage. This was one of a long list of stupid things I did on that trip, but it was also the most notable.
43. Straight Down The Highway
I wrecked a motorcycle going about 50 mph (80kmph) with no helmet or protective gear whatsoever. At night. I hit a dog and slid a couple of yards. I hit a curb and flipped into grass. It was eerily quiet, except for my bike still sliding down the highway. I repeated, “What the heck?” to myself about 10 times in a row and got up.
I had a very bad road rash, but no broken bones, no spleen injury, and no head injury. I didn’t even get a ticket. Every day, I think how lucky I am to be able to walk and to still see my babies.
44. The Cult Controls All
I was chased by a cult with guns after trying to rescue my friend from them. In the process, my three friends and I got banned from the town they were in at the time by the local officers. So, we had nobody to help us since the officers told us to leave, then ignored our calls. It took me driving on the interstate exceeding 100mph (161kmph) for many miles to lose several members of this cult in three different cars. It was terrifying.
45. No Pumpkin Pie Ever Again
I was in a pie-eating contest and the only rule was you were not allowed to use your hands to eat. The person next to me used their hands to hold my head in a pumpkin pie. I couldn't breath and almost choked/drowned. The smell of pumpkin pie still freaks me out and will cause me to go into fight or flight mode.
46. Hold On Tight
I carried a baby for the first time in my life at 19 years old. I miscalculated the force needed to pick him up and ended up having to catch the baby with my shoulder. I had just caught him before he went over my back and, well…I shiver every time I remember.
47. Not The Greatest Feeling
My mate had a seizure in the woods. It was the craziest thing he just turned to me and said, “I don’t feel so good,” then bam, he’s on the ground fitting. It probably lasted less than a minute, but it was pretty violent. All I could do was watch in horror. Then he just went dead still. I was basically convinced he was dead.
Anyway, long story short, he wasn’t dead. After he’d recovered a bit, I was able to walk him out to the car and drive to the hospital. He was totally out of it for like an hour. Then, he was just really sleepy. It’s a normal thing but pretty disturbing to watch in particular when you’re on your own.
48. Who Took Them?
I went out for a few drinks with friends one Saturday night, left the bar, and went back to my apartment where I live alone. I got into bed and fell asleep. The next morning, my friend sent me a message on WhatsApp saying, "Send me the photos from last night." I opened my phone, and started screaming. After the photos from that night, there were at least 20 pictures of me sleeping.
In the background of the photos, there’s a shadow of someone on the wall, clearly holding up my phone taking pictures all dated and timed during the time I would have been asleep.
49. Out To The Country And Back
My dad kidnapped me and my brothers when I was 10 or 11 years old. He has a manic/depressive disorder. He seemed normal when he picked us up from mom’s house on Friday. Very quickly we realized something wasn't right. He got rid of every phone in the house before we arrived so we had no way to call for help, and this was before cell phones.
Sadly, we were good at managing irrational adults by that age, so we managed to survive most of the weekend unscathed, except my older brother was beaten very badly on Saturday morning. On Sunday, he loaded us in the car to “take us home.” He then proceeded to race through the city, out to the country, and up and down highways and country roads for 15 hours.
We were supposed to be home at mom’s by 11 AM on Sunday. He kept us until about three Monday morning. Intermittently, he would pull his truck over and ask us to do random tasks, like hand him a hanger, or give directions, or tune the radio. If one of us failed to do it to his satisfaction, he would make us all run around the truck until he allowed us back in.
He was also having auditory hallucinations that led him to accuse us of saying disrespectful things, changing the radio station, etc. Sometimes, he would get out of the truck, stand in front of it, pray for a long time, then raise his hands to praise god and spin. I tried to get help when he stopped at a gas station once, but was too afraid of the punishment if dad caught me.
My dad picked us up at five on Friday, and returned us at three Monday morning. He did not feed us the entire time. Mom spent her night calling for officers begging them to look for us, and they kept saying it hadn’t been long enough. She had seen a movie in which a mother and stepfather blew up the kids rather than return them to the stable parent, and it really affected her.
Also, my dad had knives and guns and was known to be violent while intoxicated. When we finally arrived home, we collapsed as soon as the door closed behind us. All three of us crumpled to the ground in relief and exhaustion. It has been nearly 20 years and I still tense and shake when I think about it.
50. The Final Straw
I moved to a new city for college and was trying to make friends. There was a comic book store near my apartment and I signed up for a Dungeons and Dragons group. I used my first name, phone number, and a gamer email address. This turned out to be a horrible mistake. The store employee and I made some casual conversation about our favorite comic book series. We both really liked Batman so we talked for a good 15 to 20 minutes before I purchased a book with my credit card.
Around nine in the evening, the employee texted me like, “Hey, this is [store employee]. I really enjoyed talking with you today.” I was a little unnerved by this because the only way he had my phone number was because of the Dungeons and Dragons sign-up sheet. I didn’t really want to respond at first, but I didn’t want to appear unfriendly and not be invited to the Dungeons and Dragons group, so I responded.
“Yeah…I’m glad to have found [comic book store]. I Can’t wait to meet the DnD group. See you next time!” He proceeded to text me a few more times that night, but I didn’t respond. He tries to add me on social media. He got my last name from my credit card. The final straw was I was on my college campus after hours studying in the library. I’m packing up my things when he calls me. I look at the phone, hit ignore, and put my phone on the table.
HE THEN APPEARS FROM BEHIND A BOOKSHELF A FEW FEET AWAY and has the balls to ask, “Hey, why did you ignore my call?” I literally had this feeling…like a wave of cold water from my head to my toes. I broke out in a cold sweat. I managed to put on my professional retail smile and was like, “Oh my god, hi! Sorry I ignored your call, I was just trying to pack up and head home for the day. How are you?!”
I was talking very girly and loudly because I honestly just hoped I can either make him happy enough not to murder me or to get someone’s attention because I’m being loud in a library. He was oddly calm and he was smiling but not in a warm way. “Why haven’t you been returning my texts?” Without missing a beat, “I have to pay for my data. I have the cheapo Walmart plan. Look at this phone, it’s ancient! Anyway…I can’t wait for DnD on Friday though! I am so ready to socialize and relax.”
Then he talked about the campaign and roles that are open. He asked to walk me to my car and I lied and said, “No thank you, my boyfriend is coming to meet me in a few minutes.” His face turned for a minute and I was so scared. I remember kicking myself because it was a straight up lie, but I didn’t know what to say to have him not follow me to my car.
Then, I don’t know if god is real or what, but one of my male classmates walked by and I took my chance. “OMG [male classmate]! Hey, one minute!” I turned to [store employee] and said, “Hey, sorry…I need to catch up with [male classmate], I’ll see you friday!” I bolted for my classmate. I grabbed his arm like we were best friends and I just started talking about class.
I walked us outside and he got me to my car. It was pitch black outside. I was so scared, but the classmate was so sweet. He got in my car, chilled for a bit, and I drove him to his car. I never went back to the comic book store. I still go to conventions and I saw the store employee a few times but we never spoke again.