Spine-Chilling Encounters With Strangers

October 30, 2023 | Samantha Henman

Spine-Chilling Encounters With Strangers

As children, we are constantly warned about “stranger danger,” and rightfully so. As these people have come to realize, peril lurks everywhere. Their spine-chilling encounters with weird strangers will terrify even the most stoic reader. Their fear is real.

1. Supermarket Stalker

During my routine grocery shopping trip, I was approached by a man who complimented me and asked for my number right off the bat. No formalities, no small talk, he went straight to the point. I kindly declined his request, explaining I wasn't interested. Despite my refusal, he kept insisting, forcing me to take his number just to defuse the situation.

Once I got his number, I went back to my shopping thinking everything was fine. Little did I know, I was so, so wrong. He was watching me all along from the dairy section as I was perusing the grocery aisles. Just as I was getting ready to check out, he decided to confront me again.

This time around, he wasn't calm at all. He started raising his voice, questioning my refusal to give him my number. Deciding to confront the situation head-on, I told him firmly that I wasn't interested and there was no way I would give my number to a stranger. This didn't sit well with him and his outrage escalated to such an extent that store personnel had to escort him out.

I then walked to my parked car, only to discover that he was still trailing me outside the store. I realized he was following me when I got to my street. Instead of stopping at my house, I drove in the direction of the sherriff's station for safety. Once he recognized where I was headed, he quickly drove away. Fortunately, I haven't encountered him since that day.

A homeless man is standing in parking lot.MART PRODUCTION, Pexels

2. A Batty Walk From Wrigley

One night, after finishing my shift at Wrigley Field in Chicago, I began my routine late-night trek home. I've made this journey countless times, headphones in but never blasting, always maintaining awareness of my surroundings. This particular night, a distant voice punctured the otherwise quiet journey for a good mile, though I couldn't make out what was being said.

Feeling a touch uneasy, I decided to lower my music and listen. The voice grew clearer as the distance closed, but the words remained indecipherable until a startling phrase, “I just really, really don't like gay people,” caught my ear. Spinning around, I spotted an unkempt, older man charging towards me, arms flailing wildly.

I swiftly made a decision, opting to cross the road. Glancing back, the man had slowed to a walk, maintaining his side of the street. As we found ourselves on opposite sides but mirrored steps, he shared, without looking at me, “That’s exactly what I would have done,” before continuing on his way.

He eventually veered left into a nearby train station. Though I was prepared and ready to defend myself if need be, the interaction left me with an eerie chill. His bizarre demeanor and odd gait were unlike anything I had ever encountered.

Insane Exes factsPexels

3. O, Pink Lady

Once, I lived near a park where I'd jog daily. During one sweltering summer day, a woman appeared. Heat clearly wasn't her friend. Her skin blushed pink, matching her brightly colored outfit. From afar, she appeared to pant heavily. In my mind, it seemed she couldn't have picked a worse day to begin working out in the park.

Upon my return home that day, I noticed her sitting by a park statue, eyeing me intently. This scene played out twice more. The final time we crossed paths, I greeted her with a friendly wave and a 'hi'. She froze in place, her gaze amped into a stare and then, she did something that carved itself into my memory.

As she walked, her mouth formed a perfect "O". But upon stopping, her mouth transitioned from that "O" through various expressions, culminating in a grin. This rapid transformation resembled a sequence from a stop-motion animation, then it returned to the original "O". It was downright one of the eeriest things I've ever seen.Embarrassing Crush MomentsPexels

4. The Neighbor Knew Better

I was hanging out at the edge of the mobile home community when a man drove up in a fancy convertible. Claiming to know my mom, he held up an instant photo of a woman towards me from his car. But something was off. The woman's hair color was wrong and I told him so. He seemed annoyed and urged me to come closer to check, but I refused.

Politely declining, I said, "Sorry, I need to go grab some lunch". He responded with a disingenuous smile and drove off. Shortly after, my next-door neighbor approached, holding a peculiar look and her handbag tightly. It turns out she had a small handgun in her bag. It was only years later that I discovered there had been a repeat offender preying on young boys in our city during that period.

My Neighbor Is A Creep!Shutterstock


5. Transformation To Terror

Once, when my son was just a wee one, I had to dash to our local Walgreens, a store that was open all hours, to get his prescription. The shop was located in the heart of a busy city, right beside a subway station. It was a magnet for people round the clock, and hardly anyone drove there, meaning parking was always a bit of a challenge.

I eventually found a spot, albeit a bit of a distance from the store. As I returned to my car, I was approached by a relatively young, ordinary-looking guy. He came near my window, which I cautiously rolled down a tad. He mentioned he recognized me from this certain place, '[xyz]'. Now, I had been to that place, so I took a moment to try and place him in my memory. But in that fleeting moment of uncertainty, I noticed his eyes darken completely.

His entire face seemed to change and, shockingly, he lunged for my car door handle, attempting to yank it open. Without a second thought, I jammed the car into gear and took off like a shot, keeping my focus straight ahead. It was only when I stopped at a traffic light a little while later did I notice that the inside light was on. He had somehow managed to pry my car door ajar without me even realizing.

His face, that sudden transformation, is burned into my memory. It reminded me of a description from one of Ted Bundy's survivors who portrayed his face shifting from a regular, pleasant, attractive look, to dark-eyed, unrecognizable, and wildly frenzied. As eerie as it sounds, considering the case of some women going missing in our city around that time, I often find myself wondering—could he have been involved?Creepy Experiences factsShutterstock

6. The Creeper In The Caddy

As I was driving down a quiet country road one night on my way to my folks' place, a Cadillac began tailing me. The road was a narrow one, the night was inky-dark, and it was trickling rain off and on. I clocked that this car had been on my tail for slightly more than two miles.

At the get go, I shrugged it off as my mind playing tricks, so I tried the old trick of using my turning signal, and sure enough, they mirrored every move I made. What happened next made my blood run cold. Suddenly, a single piercing blue light flashed from their hood. I believe they were trying to get me to pull over at this point.

Without wasting a moment, I dialed 9-1-1 and stayed on the line until law enforcement arrived to intervene. Turns out, the driver was a wanted fugitive who had jumped bail on an assault charge.Unsolved mysteriesUnsplash

7. The Sneak Got Freaked

While on a cross-country adventure with my spouse and our pooch, we pulled over at a service station near midnight. Emerging from the restroom, I noticed the janitor, who'd been mopping earlier, had frozen in place. He was glued to the scene unfolding outside the window, where my wife, fresh from walking our dog, was steadily making her way back to our vehicle. To my horror, I spotted an ominous figure trailing her at a clandestine pace.

Though he was about 20 feet behind, he was closing the gap with silent stealth, and my wife was oblivious. I darted out of the station and made my presence known, embracing our pup and suggesting we hit the road again. The moment I approached them, the stranger spun on his heel and dashed off. It wasn't until we were safely back on the highway that I informed my wife about the close call she'd had.Person filling gasSkitterphoto, Pexels

8. Using Bread As Bait

Over my Christmas break, I found myself in Vienna. In the city center, a massive outdoor market thrived. It was buzzing with thousands of people who were feasting, shopping, and simply enjoying themselves. Out of nowhere, a stunning blonde lady with pale blue eyes accidentally bumped into me. With a foreign accent, she said she was sorry in English. I responded with a friendly "No worries," and we started to engage in a conversation.

She revealed to me that she was from Poland and that she was in town to spend New Year's with a friend. When I told her I was American but of Polish ancestry, we found more to talk about. After a while, she confessed that she was feeling peckish. Wanting to be polite, I offered to get her some pizza from a nearby stall. We both had a slice, but she had a bite and suddenly didn't seem to like it.

She suggested that we move to a quieter location away from the bustling city center. However, something about her instant dislike for the pizza, which was actually quite tasty, raised some concerns. Opting to be cautious, I wished her a good evening and decided to leave. As I circled back around the city center, I oddly found her in an alley, flanked by two burly men, one on either side. That's when I made a disturbing realization. 

The situation immediately made sense. She was using herself as bait to lure me into the alley, where her companions would then rob me.Ruined ChristmasPixabay

9. Run, Boy, Run

One day, when I was about 13, a man in his 40s asked me for some change in the street. He then told me, "Do you think I won't catch you if you try to bolt"? I reassured him that I didn't have any money, and I suppose my fear was quite obvious. I sprinted back to my house as quickly as I could, and luckily, he didn't give chase.

Runner running on a dark misty nightErlo Brown, Shutterstock


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10. The Makings Of A Maniac

Back when I was working in a store, I was on a smoke break when a man around his 40s approached me. Although his English was broken, we made small talk. He had a strange look about him. He went inside the store to shop and selected some magazines and some household cleaning products.

He looked at me, nudged his eyebrows up and suggested with a smirk, "I'm planning a fun-filled night at my house; why don't you drop by"? I gave him a firm 'no' with a look of disgust, after which he left. Minutes later, a young guy on a skateboard stopped by, picked up a Coke, and left. I heard some conversation happening outside but couldn't step out as I had customers to attend to.

After a while, the older man came back and this time bought some beer and a roll of duct tape. He seemed a bit more aloof this time, didn't make any conversation, and rather firmly requested a black bag for his purchases. Bagging his items, I watched as he left and started talking again outside, this time to the skateboarder.

The man rushed putting his bag into his truck but took out a can. He then walked over to the passenger side, opened it, placed the can inside, and gestured the teen over. I intervened, walking up to the boy asking him about his intentions. He defensively said, "None of your business, man," to which I responded, "I don't care about the beer he got for you.

“What's unsettling is he bought duct tape, cleaning stuff, and risque magazines. The beer isn't my concern. I'm contemplating alerting the authorities on this guy. His offer might not be safe". The teenager looked shocked and told me, "He just offered me a ride home. I'm not into weird stuff". In the middle of this conversation, the older man got agitated, brandished a blade and started cursing in Spanish.

Quickly, I pretended to record him with my phone, which wasn't functional due to a damaged screen, and I only used it to take calls. However, I did manage to memorize his license plate number as he was getting into his truck. Once he left, I informed the authorities straight away. Interestingly though, he used his credit card to pay for the cleaning products and magazines but cash for the beer and duct tape.

The authorities informed me that there was a warrant out for the truck and license plate but didn't divulge the details. They assured me they'd track him down and appreciated me for alerting the teenager.

Chilling Night Shift EncountersUnsplash, Kaihao Zhao


11. Tee’d Off Predator

When I was just a kid, about 9 years old, my uncle took me and my little sister to K-Mart. This particular Saturday morning, we found ourselves in the TV section. He plonked us there—telling us to become engrossed with cartoons on the big screens—while he went off in search of a store employee.

Just moments after he left, two strange men came up to us. They attempted to coax us into leaving the store with them, leaving us terrified. Neither of us spoke a word out of fright.

To our horror, they eventually tried picking up my sister with the intention to move us away from the store. They reached out towards me next. It was then that my sister wet herself out of fear—right there on the man holding her. Startled, he dropped her, and she let out an agonizing cry.

Hearing her wail, my uncle rushed back in our direction, causing the men to take off immediately. I revisit that memory often, considering just how fortunate we were on that day.

Creeps get caughtShutterstock

12. All Was Not Quite Ducky

One day, my wife, daughter, who was 7 years old at the time, and I decided to enjoy a day out at the park. While my wife took some time alone to admire the trees, I accompanied our daughter towards the lake's edge. Out of nowhere, an unsettling man approached us, addressing my daughter directly while completely sidestepping me.

He was busy explaining how to attract the ducks and tried to place himself between us. I quickly strategized a plan to forcefully trip him on the lake's border ropes, which would cause him to fall into the water. Holding my daughter's hand tightly, I interrupted him mid-sentence and swiftly led her away.

Without any delay, the man darted back to his car and drove off. I had a strong gut feeling that he had ulterior motives to abduct my daughter. The fright I got from this incident continues to linger even after many years.

The Most Bone-Chilling Encounters EverPexels

13. A Signal Something Was Wrong

When I was only about six years old, I used to ride my big wheel bike around my neighborhood, which was nestled in a DC suburb. My street was structured in such a way that at the end of the block, there was an entrance to an alleyway. This alleyway bordered the backsides of all our houses. It was common for me to take a turn down this alley, ride behind our house, and then roll through the back gate to get home.

One day, as I was nearing the end of my street, I saw a car approaching. I decided to stop my bike and gesture with my hand, signaling them to go ahead, as I intended to wait for them to pass. However, the driver of car declined to move first, insisting that I should make my turn. So, I followed their direction, turning into the alley. As I made my way down the alley, not yet reaching my house, I was suddenly grabbed from behind.

It was the driver, and she was mad. She had turned into the alley after me, drove down, parked her car in the middle of the alley, and got out. She yanked me up by the arm and screamed in my face, "Don't you ever use police signals with me!" I immediately began crying and ran to my house and told my parents. By the time they ran out the back door, the driver was gone.

Angry woman is driving a car.Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock

14. Some Hair-Raising Hoops

When I was 12, we relocated from Illinois to Florida. One weekend morning, I woke up early and decided to hit the apartment complex basketball court. As I played, a hatchback appeared, and a man stepped out, asking to join me in a game of basketball.

He later informed me about a job interview he had, mentioning he needed a comb. He questioned if I had one. I confirmed I did, and when he requested to borrow it, I agreed. But I had to fetch it, so I told him, "Sure, I'll need to pop over to my apartment to get it". His offer to drive me home felt odd as my home was a mere stone's throw away. But he seemed quite determined to give me a lift.

Ultimately, I assured him I'd return shortly and started heading in the direction of home, cutting through the courtyard, but I didn't actually go there. Hiding around a corner, I watched to see his next move. Coincidentally, an older girl I often played basketball with arrived. A few moments later, the guy left. The entire incident felt strangely unsettling.Wilt Chamberlain factsPixabay

15. Camp Follower?

Nearly ten years back, a couple of pals and I had to evacuate our mountainside camp in the middle of the night due to heavy storms that made our campsite uninhabitable. We reached the small town at the foot of the mountain around 2 in the morning. We checked out the usual camping spots in the town, but they were in no better shape—all mucked up and waterlogged. We even spotted a tent standing amidst the mess.

As we moved away from the drenched campground, we noticed an old man with a bushy white beard, clad in black, walking away from the site just as we were. As we approached the main road, the man faded from our view. The original plan was to park the car in a nearby town and use a bus service to reach our hiking spot. Being stuck in this town wasn't part of the itinerary.

Considering our lack of transport and soaking wet clothes, we decided to take shelter for the night and resume our hike once the weather got better. We aimed at crashing in a cozy hotel room, but the tiny town's hotels were all booked full. After an hour of wandering in the drizzle, we finally took refuge under the roof of a gas station.

Thankfully, a kind-hearted employee informed us that the post office remained unlocked through the night, often serving as a shelter for stranded hikers like us. So, we headed there, laid down our sleeping pads, and tried to catch some shut-eye. Soon, one of my friends startled whispering that someone was snooping on us from outside. Turning to look, we saw the white-bearded man, glued to the windowpane, just staring at us. After giving us the heebie-jeebies for a few minutes, he strolled away, frequently glancing back at us.

We agreed to ditch the post office before things got weirder. We wondered if maybe the man intended to take shelter there, considering the flooded campsite. Nevertheless, we nested ourselves in a covered bus stop and drowned our trepidation in the last drinks in our backpacks, accompanied by a brilliant lightning show. Before long, we spotted the white-bearded man across the street from us, sitting in front of a restaurant, occasionally peeking at us and occasionally laying his head on the table.

This little game of hide-and-seek continued until the rain stopped around 6 am, after which he simply left, and soon we followed suit. Later, we learned that he was a local homeless person who just wanted a place to sleep. Over the years, I've seen him several times, loitering around that same restaurant. The townies claim he's just a harmless, lost soul.

Man in the woodsRon Lach , Pexels

16. That Blank Look Had Me Buggin’

Previously, my job was at a rehabilitation center. With most patients, it's important to stay alert yet you still find yourself encountering ordinary, pleasant individuals who've had a tough time. Every so often, there would be an outburst or some aggressive behavior, but these were situations we were equipped to handle. One day, I came across a new patient who had just arrived the prior day.

Our first interaction was during lunchtime monitoring. He walked up to me, and immediate chills hit me, triggering a warning bell in my mind. Although he introduced himself politely, his eyes had a disconcerting void, completely emotionless. While being courteous in return, I quickly ended the conversation, given it's necessary to trust your instinct.

He labeled me as introverted and nicknamed me as "Shy Stevie". From then on, he always made a point to engage with me. Oddly enough, despite his seemingly calm demeanor, there was an ominous presence about him that was hard to pinpoint. As he was transitioning out, I was given the task to accompany him to retrieve his belongings. Thankfully, a senior colleague intervened, mentioning her discomfort with the way he looked at me. I felt a sense of relief.

After his departure, I was updating his records when I came across an alarming fact. He had earlier been in a psychiatric hospital for an extended period, where he had broken the protective glass at the nursing station and attempted to harm a nurse. Among his diagnoses was antisocial personality disorder. This was rather unsettling to discover, especially because such important information should have been shared with us before his arrival.Creepy hospitalShutterstock

17. Another Craigslist Kook

In my quest for an apartment in Berlin, I turned to Craigslist in hopes of finding something suitable. Quickly, I found a woman seeking a roommate and after sending her an email, she responded right away. We made plans to tour her apartment the next evening, which happened to be a rainy one.

The apartment was perched at the top of a building, without an elevator in sight. As she welcomed me inside, I had a gut feeling that something was off about the situation. She appeared drowsy and her speech, while fluent, was peculiar. While the kitchen and prospective bedroom were tidy, I caught sight of her room which was in disarray and had an unpleasant scent.

The bathroom's focal point was a bathtub overflowing with water. I jokingly questioned whether she planned to bathe, to which she only shrugged and claimed it was out of order. This didn't entirely add up. We moved to the kitchen for a chat and she positioned me with my back facing the entrance, restricting my view of the other rooms.

Soon after, I heard movement coming from another room and asked if she had company. She didn't reply directly, instead launching into a separate topic. Red flags began to wave and something instinctive urged me to exit immediately. I abruptly got up, snatched my shoes, and made a hasty exit, shouting a casual "Thanks" whilst bolting down the stairs. Later that night, I got a five-page email filled with peculiar religious ramblings from her. Needless to say, I hit the block button and crossed my fingers to never bump into her again.

Jennifer Lawrence factsFlickr

18. Neighboring On Creepy

When I was about seven years old, I saw one of our neighbors strolling by while I was playing out in our lawn. She approached me and we exchanged small talk. Soon, my mom emerged from our house and spoke with her, everything seemed perfectly ordinary. So, my mom returned indoors. Then, I resumed playing with my dollies in the grass. But then, my neighbor approached me again.

She voiced something along the lines of, "You could be my little doll. I could dress you up and take care of you. You could be my adorable, helpless toy". After saying this, I remember her placing a kiss on me. This scared me, causing me to dash back into my house. My mom came outside and confronted the woman, but she didn't believe my side of the story.Crying dollAnnashou, Shutterstock


19. Hitchhiking Horror

I used to really love hitchhiking when I lived in California. The vast majority, 99% of drivers were the coolest folks, and I had some wonderful experiences. However, 1 in 100 of them were somewhat creepy or peculiar. The eeriest encounter happened during a month-long hitchhike along the 101. This time, in the middle of the night, I found myself stepping into a rather shabby van.

No sooner did I get into the vehicle than warning signs began flashing in my mind. The van was a rubbish dump, the smell was awful, and the driver was noticeably and quite disgustingly unhygienic. Making an effort to lighten the mood, I introduced myself and tried a bit of small talk but he remained silent, just carried on driving. Out of nowhere, he eerily observed, "Not very many murders this year, huh"?

His sudden statement had me laughing nervously while simultaneously scheming an escape plan. Soon the harsh reality dawned on me: the van's door locks had been chopped off. They were the pop-type ones, and someone had whittled them down, making it impossible to unlock the door. Panic began creeping in, and his speeding didn’t help either.

Pretending to be on the verge of throwing up, I convinced him to pull over. But he neither switched off the vehicle nor unlocked the doors. In desperation, I scrambled to the back of the van, managed to pry the trunk open, and made a run for it into the wilderness. Even thinking of that chilling episode sends a shiver down my spine.Real-Life Plot TwistsShutterstock

20. The Man In The Van

I was standing solo at the gas station when a man in a coffee-colored suit, clasping a container filled with a rosy fluid, stepped out of his blank white van and approached me. He tried to sell me the pink solution, marketing it as some sort of carpet freshener. I hadn't moved out of my folks' house yet and had no urge to increase our cleaning arsenal, especially with a mysterious liquid that resembled varnish stripper.

I laid out my reasons to the man while an uneasy feeling washed over me. I couldn't precisely put a finger on why, but my instincts were firing warning shots. When he asked about my destination, I made a minor board game gathering with my buddies sound like a full-blown shindig at a mate's place. An amused smile crept onto his face as he jested, "I wager you're quite popular with the ladies at such bashes. I was the same in my younger days".

However, his expression suddenly shifted, and my internal alarm bells quieted down. "We're good, pal," he assured me with a friendly smile before he vanished back into his stark white van. Some might view it as a straightforward encounter, but even after all these years, I still feel things might have turned south real quick if we hadn't ended on good terms.Customer Service IIPexels

21. A False Sense Of Security

When I was 12 years old, I was staying in a hotel room next to my parents in Dallas. One evening, the hotel phone rang, and I answered. It was a terrifying mistake. A man who said he was from hotel security instructed me to unfasten my door for an upcoming security inspection during their patrol. I agreed and ended the call.

Afterward, I went to my parents' room and mentioned they should also unlock their doors for the security team's check. Clearly upset by this, they explained that the locks on the doors were a security measure for our safety. Later in the night, I was awakened by a tugging noise at my door. It was definitely a weird experience.

Blown Away Stupid FactsWikipedia, Emily Barrett

22. Well, I’ll Be Dogged!

One day, I found myself at the house of a guy who was a mutual friend. Whether we were there for basketball, soccer, or boxing, I can't exactly recall. My buddy was invited over to watch a game, and because we happened to be together, I got an invite as well. Our host spent the entire day waxing lyrical about his dogs—discussing their appearance, size, lineage, and their trained skills.

As it got closer to 7 pm, everyone was settled in the living room, having a few drinks and enjoying the ambiance when a commotion broke out in the kitchen. It turns out, one of his dogs had bitten his daughter. Reacting instantly, he led the dog outside by its collar. A few moments later, the abrupt noise of a shot echoed.

After a while, he returned as if nothing extraordinary had occurred and slipped back into the game banter. I was so flabbergasted, I must have been glaring at him because soon he mocked me with a hearty laugh, saying, "Yeah, that's right. And I don't even like you".

Horrified People Share The Moment They Realized “I’m the Jerk Here”Shutterstock

23. I Almost Became A Memory

When I was just a kid, I was outside playing near the street. Suddenly, a woman stopped her car and began talking to me. Out of nowhere, my mom rushed over, tightly holding my hand. The stranger mentioned that I looked a lot like her son, who had sadly passed on. For a moment, I was scared she might try to take me away.Home Alone FactsShutterstock

24. A Close Call

I'm a small-framed woman who was out walking my dog in the early morning before going on a hike. I passed by a man heading the opposite way, shared a nod and a friendly smile with him. Unexpectedly, the man decided to change his direction and started following me. When I made a turn, he did the same. This repeated for a few blocks.

By the third turn, his following me became more apparent, so I picked up my pace into a light jog—but to my surprise, he started jogging too. I had to come up with a plan in an instant. Acting on instinct, I pulled out my cell phone and quickly woke up my husband with a call. I loudly projected my voice into the phone, saying, "Hey, I'm almost home, can you come out and meet me"? I repeated this request while staying on the line with my husband, who was initially bemused but went along with my request. As soon as I rounded the last corner to our block, the man veered off in a different direction.

The entire experience left me seriously rattled. As soon as I reached my husband, who was waiting outside for me, a rush of emotions took over and I started crying. Even now, I can't help but ponder over what that man's intentions could have been and what might have occurred if I hadn't thought to take out my phone and call my husband.Heart-pounding momentsShutterstock


25. Neck-Licking Nut

One day I was on my way home on the bus after a long day at work. As I was a handful of stops from home, a woman got on the bus. This was before the pandemic, so her mask was unusual. She made quite an entrance, loudly informing the passengers, "I have SARS, Ebola, and HIV"! Unfortunately, she chose the seat right behind me.

Throughout the journey, she had several loud, odd outbursts. The passengers, sensing something wasn't right with her mentally, just chose to give her space. When we were about 3 or 4 stops from my regular stop, she caught me off guard. Leaning in, she whispered, "I'm going to lick your neck," and she actually did it.

Young people in overcrowded busGeorgy Dzyura, Shutterstock

26. A Helping Hand Took A Horrifying Turn

When I was 19, I found myself stranded on the highway with my 3-month-old daughter during a harsh December night. We'd been heading home after my late shift, but our car chose that particular moment to give up on us. Thankfully, a kind stranger stopped and gave us a lift, and I felt so indebted that I promised myself I'd return the favor to someone else in need. Little did I know the dangerous position this would put me in.

Months later, I spotted a man seemingly abandoned with a broken-down semi-truck. I was supervising a local truck stop during an era not everyone had pocket cell phones. He seemed to be on his way to call for help from his company, so I offered him a ride. However, my intuition started ringing alarm bells when he hopped into my car and asked how long I could drive him.

He was acting strange, eyes fixed forward, hands firmly on his lap. His reply to my casual inquiry about his destination threw me—he claimed to be walking all the way to Alabama from our location in central Kentucky, to retrieve his car. Unsettled, but not wanting to be rude, I intended to drop him off at the next exit and part ways.

My relief at reaching the gas station didn't last long. After I gave him my leftover cigarettes and some spare change, he didn't move; he just sat there, gripping the items and staring blankly ahead. His silence made the situation even more terrifying. I desperately tried to unfasten my seatbelt and open the car door without provoking his attention.

Things got worse when he finally turned his glance towards me. He cautioned me against picking up strangers and confessed he had malicious intentions for me. He then left, without causing me any harm. That encounter changed my perspective. Even though I still desire to assist others, I've decided never to pick up hitchhikers ever again. Occasionally, I encounter faces that remind me of that man, reminding me of the potential danger I escaped.Psych Ward Nurses Tell AllFlickr, Matt Lemmon

27. A Compliment That Went Too Far

When I was only 13, I hopped on a bus and headed to my neighborhood Walmart. On my way in, a lady made a point to compliment the bag I was holding—it was an artsy, funky style which I'd borrowed from my mom. I showered her with thanks and shared that it was my mom's bag. She seemed impressed by my honesty and suddenly offered a ride home with her and her husband.

This whole situation made me uneasy, so I politely declined. She didn't leave empty-handed though, handing me a business card related to some car business she was running, and asked me to drop her an email. I continued on my journey and decided not to email her. Looking back, I can't help but feel disturbed by the encounter, almost as if I'd narrowly escaped being trafficked or something near to that.Survivors of High School Share Their Most Dramatic Class Reunion StoriesShutterstock

28. Something Dirty Was Going Down

Back when my apartment didn't have its own washing machine, I often found myself using the communal laundry facilities in a separate building within my housing complex. In order to prevent any mischief, the laundry room was always kept locked, and each tenant had a unique key for access.

One evening, while I was returning from the laundry room with my freshly dried clothes, I heard a voice behind me saying, "Excuse me”. I spun around to find a man I didn't recognize. He was staring at me with a serious expression and narrowed eyes. There wasn't anything particularly odd about his appearance...but something about him made all my internal warning bells start ringing.

Here was an average-looking guy with nothing about his body language suggesting danger, but his conversation stirred an unsettling feeling within me. He explained, "I recently moved in and I don’t have a key to the laundry room yet. Would you mind opening the door for me"? I tried to recall if I'd noticed anyone new moving in recently.

While I did remember spotting a moving truck a few days back, I decided to play it safe. I replied, "Sure, I'm happy to unlock it for you". To this, he suggested borrowing my key and returning it to my mailbox once done using the room. I responded, "No, I will unlock the door; you can use the doorstop inside to keep it open". He simply said, "Okay. Thanks".

After opening the door for him, I started to head back to my place. On a hunch, I glanced back and saw him watching me from the doorway. This made me uncomfortable, so I quickly took a detour and entered my building through a different entrance. I didn't want this unfamiliar face to have knowledge of my location.

Even though he claimed to be a new tenant at the complex, I never saw him again. I can't say with certainty that he had ill intentions, but I've never had such an ominous feeling from simply meeting a person, either before or since that experience.

Petty Revenges factsWikimedia Commons

29. Foreign Fright Night

While holidaying in Thailand, my 12-year-old cousin and I popped out for a late-night snack run. When I stepped out of the store briefly to take a phone call, a man approached my cousin, offering him pot. Immediately, I stepped in between them, shielding my cousin from the stranger and asked him to leave.

As we made our way back to the hotel, I couldn't shake the feeling that we were being followed. I kept glancing over my shoulder and when we reached the safety of the hotel lobby, I saw the man walking away. That short 10-minute walk back had me on edge, worrying what could've happened.Creepy ExperiencesShutterstock

30. The Music Man Left A Sour Note

I popped into a music shop to pick up new strings for my unique five-string violin. Due to its distinctive design, I had to purchase a standard violin string set plus a separate C-string. The store clerk assisted me at the counter, neatly tucking the C-string into the same package without adding it to my bill. I stored it all in my violin case and zipped it shut.

The next day, there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, I couldn't believe my eyes. It was that same clerk. He had somehow found my address and was accusing me of theft, warning that there was surveillance footage to prove it. It was baffling how he thought he could blame his own oversight on me. What shocked me more, however, was that he went to such lengths to shift the responsibility onto me just to cover his own mistake.Ghost Stories FactsPexels

31. A Whacko’s Warning

One frosty winter day, I was strolling with my dog by the canal when I spotted a cyclist heading our way. Seeing him approach, I shifted aside to give him room and noticed his unusual appearance—he had unkempt, long hair, wore mismatched clothes, sandals, and his bike's handlebars were decorated with pink ribbons. To top it all off, he had a wicker basket secured to the front of his bike, housing a radio.

This radio was playing an eerie tune, "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" by Tiny Tim. The cyclist slowed a bit, greeted me, and gave me a salute. I reciprocated with a hello and returned his salute. What he said next was chilling. Grinning, he advised me, “Steer clear of the path I've just ridden through, it might get a little rough”. Unsure of how to respond, I simply thanked him before he continued on his journey, pedaling away. 

The encounter was strangely peculiar, and following his suggestion, I retraced our steps. I didn't cross paths with him again after that.

Alan Turing FactsPixabay

32. Not Your Friend, Dude!

Not long ago, I was hanging out on the edge of a small hangout spot with my pals when a total stranger parked his bike directly in front of my vehicle. He watched me for a good half a minute, then plopped down next to me and greeted me with, "Hello, my friend". Normally, I'm a pretty friendly person and handle these kinds of situations well, but something about this instance just felt off. I decided to leave and head back inside.

Cheated deathUnsplash

33. Was Abduction In The Cards?

When I was about nine or ten, I narrowly avoided a super dangerous situation. The scene was set at an empty neighborhood playground, with only one man present. He noticed me and beckoned me over. Although I hadn't yet been taught about "stranger danger," I sensed something was off. He claimed to have "stumbled upon some basketball cards" and wanted to hand them to me.

However, it was evident to me that he'd just opened the packet himself. I refused his offer, but he persisted. Even so, I declined once more. I quickly hopped on my little bike and pedaled away. To the best of my knowledge, he didn't attempt to follow me. 

At that age, I didn't truly grasp the peril I had found myself in. It was only many years later, when I decided to tell my parents about the incident and the memory resurfaced, that I understood what really could have happened.

Girl playing on a swing at a playgroundAnnie Spratt, Unsplash

34. Were They Just Pulling My Strings?

During my college years, I had a side gig selling artwork. One day, a Facebook friend in my local area messaged me. She was interested in buying some art and suggested we skip the shipping costs by meeting up. It seemed sensible and we decided to meet at a nearby coffee shop.

We weren't close friends although we ran in the same circles and had only met in person a couple of times previously. When we met, she brought along her ex-boyfriend, her "still good friends" explanation seemed odd but irrelevant. I was there to sell my work. However, there was something unsettling about the situation.

Their behavior was overly normal, maybe even artificial, reminding me of Barbie and Ken play-acting. Her voice had this high-pitched accent and he posed like a lifeguard while talking in an unnaturally deep voice. They seemed to be acting out roles, which heightened my unease.

Once the artwork was exchanged for payment, they offered me a ride home. I gratefully accepted, considering the alternative was a long bus journey. But, the car ride took an odd turn. They drove aimlessly around town for four hours blasting music from Dead Kennedys, maintaining an eerie silence.

She barely uttered a word, while he occasionally broke the silence. I kept quiet due to the strangely tense atmosphere, the loud music acting like a cover for the palpable tension.

When I mentioned needing to use the bathroom, the ex-boyfriend got incredibly upset. Only after some persuasion from her did he reluctantly drive into a forested area and instructed me to do my business at the roadside.

After this, they seemed mildly annoyed with me and dropped me half a mile from my residence. We never interacted again, leaving me perpetually clueless about that bizarre event.Car on a road at nightAjdin Kamber, Shutterstock

35. Saved By A Stranger

One night, while I was on my way home with my dog on the bus, I noticed a guy a few seats away who wouldn't stop staring at me—it was more than just a quick glance, he was really fixated. This went on for almost 10 minutes until the bus arrived at the stop before mine. Something compelled me to get off early, just as the doors were about to close. There was just one problem. 

Despite being a fast walker, I noticed the chap was now on foot and had managed to catch up with me. He'd clearly exited the bus early too, which clearly wasn't his usual stop, just to keep pace with me. He started to chat about this and that, even gave me a compliment about my smile. I tried to shake him off politely and continue on my walk.

In a shocking move, he suddenly cut in front of me, halting my forward progress. Up in my personal space, he rudely demanded to know why I didn't want to talk to him after he'd 'complimented' me. Just then, as if out of nowhere, a young woman appeared asking for directions to a nearby university. Knowing it was actually right around the corner, I could tell she was intervening deliberately.

As we both headed toward the university, the man resentfully walked back to the bus stop. To this day, I often think about that brave girl and I'm pretty certain she spared me from a potentially frightening situation.

Uma Thurman factsShutterstock

36. The Lure Of A Lost Dog

One afternoon while driving home, I almost hit a dog darting across the road. Taking it upon myself to return the dog, I scooped it up into my car and drove to the address inscribed on its tag. After knocking at the door with no response, I dialed the number on the tag, leaving a message that I had their dog and would hang around for about 10 minutes.

Seconds shy of 10 minutes, a gent in his 20s strolled up to my car. I asked for the dog's name, which was on the tag, just as an added security measure to ensure he was indeed the owner. His demeanor was somewhat off, but nothing overly unsettling.

A few years down the line, I was shocked to find out that he was the culprit behind a local woman's murder, which occurred while she was enjoying a jog on a popular trail.

Ironically, I had crossed paths with him during the time the culprit was still a mystery. In the end, he turned himself in after many years.Good KarmaShutterstock

37. The Danger Of Door-To-Door Sales

Once, while I was working in door-to-door sales, I encountered this particular gentleman who gave me an odd feeling. I brushed it off, implying to him that he probably wouldn't save money with the product I was promoting. I excused myself to leave, but he hopped into his van and started pursuing me through the neighborhood, insisting that I get in his van and pay a visit to his place.

He tried to sweeten the deal by saying I looked chilly and he could offer me some warm tea or soup. In response, I rang my colleagues and filled them in on the situation—sharing the man's address, just in case anything happened to me. He was just too eerie. Fortunately, the next door I knocked on was a lovely elder couple's residence.

I welcomed the chance to step into their home and spent the whole day elaborating on the nitty-gritty of our sales plan. This way, I didn't have to worry about being out on the streets.Small van on a roadVitpho, Shutterstock

38. Making A Run For It

I just finished up 8th grade and kicked off my summer vacation. As twilight set in, my friend and I were making our way back to his place to dive into some GTA San Andreas on his PS2. We were poised to cross an empty street when a car with about four men pulled up next to us. Under the dull orange hue of the street lamp, we could hardly make out their faces in the cab.

"Hey guys," said the driver, initiating a chat. He inquired about what we were up to, attempting small talk about the new skateboard I got for a graduation present and the video game my friend was clutching. Clearly, they could sense our fear. The driver carried the conversation solo, as no one in the back seat uttered a word. Total silence.

The front seat passenger kept glancing in his mirror, while the driver kept darting his eyes to his rearview mirror. The interaction was uneasy, peppered with quiet moments, as if they were fishing for topics to discuss. Growing up, I had this naive belief that I could wriggle out of any predicament. This fantasy was swiftly put to rest by the chilling insight that these older guys could basically control the situation.

My friend's replies were timid, verging on inaudible. His thoughts seemed scattered. A sense of dread engulfed me when they proposed giving us a lift. Without any hesitation or any need for eye contact with my friend, I said, "Run". Between the two of us, my friend was the faster runner, given his sprinting prowess, and I was more likely the one to be caught.

We darted off past their car, hurrying into a quiet alley nearby a supermarket, scuttling through random front yards. It didn't cross my mind to knock on any doors or cry out for help. The loud tire screeching signaled their departure and I realized I'd lost my friend in our frenzied escape. We eventually reunited near his home, a few miles away. Fortunately, I never encountered that car ever again.

Beautiful Acts Of KindnessShutterstock

39. His Maniacal Merriment Had Me Spooked

Back when I was a child, my parents and I often dined at a quick restaurant named Rax's, kind of like Arby's during the 80s. I vividly remember an eerie elderly man having his meal there...but that wasn't the creepy part. He spent the whole meal laughing in a quite chilling manner. It scared the living daylights out of me. He had a strange demeanor which was unsettling. I was so scared that I couldn't even move, let alone eat or talk. Even now, the memories of that terrifying man give me goosebumps.

Revenge On My Terrible BossShutterstock

40. Peril In Polynesia

One time, my cousin and I were strolling in Waikiki, sharing a joke that had us laughing heartily. Suddenly, a man who appeared to be homeless began copying our laughter in an exaggerated way. We initially found it funny, but it quickly turned scary when he started running after us full tilt. We took off running for safety. But to this day, we're still not sure what that was all about.Kid runningAdmiral General M, Pexels

41. Geezer Got Frisky

At the age of 12, I accompanied my family to visit my grandmother who was in the hospital. After a while, I decided to hang out in the vacant TV room. Not long after, an elderly gentleman in his mid-80s joined me, opting to sit right next to me despite the numerous empty seats. It struck me as odd, but I figured maybe he had poor eyesight and needed to be closer to the TV. What happened next has haunted me ever since. 

He began stroking my leg. As a young kid, it pretty much sent me into panic mode. Quietly, I stood up, switched off the TV, and hurried back to my grandmother's room. Even now, I remember that incident vividly. It was one of the most unsettling encounters I've ever had.Creepy Childhood MemoriesShutterstock

42. Look At This!

In a parking lot, I had a bizarre run-in with a couple of guys who abruptly cut in front of me. They were pretty insistent in their request, urging me again and again, to exit my car so I could take a peek at a TV they were trying to sell from the back of their truck. Their persistence gave me the impression that they were really keen on me stepping out of my vehicle. After making this request two or three times, they finally gave up and drove off from the parking lot.Trust Your Gut!Shutterstock

43. Psychic Hunting

During my senior year, after school one day, I hung around the city since I was crashing at my buddy's place. To kill some time, I decided to hit the shops. That's when this lady approached me, saying, "I tagged along with you from the [previous shop you were at] because I've got something really crucial to share with you. I'm a psychic, and I have to tell you something".

Intrigued, I responded, "Alright, what's up"? However, she insisted, "I need you to follow me to my booth". Honestly, I was not really on board with that, but she was so adamant that my energy was giving off these powerful signs that I had to know. It felt super strange, but I eventually complied and followed her outside the shop, along the road, and into her ground-level apartment.

In her place, she had her crystal ball and other paraphernalia laid out on a table between the hallway entrance and her apartment door. For the life of me, I can't fathom why I decided to go along with it. Nonetheless, I thank my lucky stars nothing bad happened—no harm came to me, I wasn't trafficked or anything of the sort. Honestly, I don't recall what she said while reading my palm, but at that moment, most of what she predicted seemed ridiculous!Creepiest Place FactsShutterstock

44. The Man And The Menacing Dog

When I was about nine years old, my mom, siblings and I were out for a walk and we came upon an odd looking man ahead of us. He was quite unusual, donned in a long, black coat, sunglasses, a black hat, and gave off a mysterious aura. On top of that, he had a rather large dog by his side which seemed to mirror his peculiar demeanor.

My lively young brothers were quite energetic and their actions grabbed the attention of the man's dog. The dog became fixed on watching my brothers' play. Out of nowhere, the man slowly looked our way and queried, "Did you just talk to my dog"? He had a smooth yet slightly chilling voice—a total match to his peculiar presence. Given we were in a country where English wasn't the dominant language, his question caught us off guard.

His voice had a cool yet intense quality, like Mike or Gus from the show Breaking Bad. We quickly denied saying anything and he smoothly swiveled his head back and carried on his way. The encounter left my brothers in an unusually calm state until the strange man and his dog finally disappeared down a different path.Breaking Bad factsBreaking Bad, Sony Pictures Television

45. Dinner With Dr Sicko

I once shared a meal with Dr John Schneeberger during a conference. He appeared to be utterly ordinary and exhibited no unusual behaviorsI picked up on nothing odd at the time. Yet, it came to light that he was a deeply troubled individual. He would subdue his victims using anesthesia and take advantage of their vulnerability in the hospital setting. 

Horrifyingly, he even harmed his own daughter and used another patient's blood to deceive a DNA test. It sends shivers down my spine, thinking that I wasn't able to detect his abnormalities. Who else might I be overlooking in my day-to-day interactions?Charlotte Of Wales FactsShutterstock

46. The Priest And His Personal Questions

When I was in my early teens, my mom made a sudden decision that we were going to adopt the Mormon faith. There's a practice within this religion where young boys can earn the "priesthood" by fulfilling additional responsibilities around the church. Against my own wishes, my mom made me participate. This led to an interview with the bishop characterizing our local congregation, a man in his mid-60s I'd never met before.

In the confines of a room at the church, he proceeded to ask me a couple of unsettling questions. The first was whether I had been intimate with anyone, and the second, which really threw me off, was along the lines of, "Do you engage in self-gratification"? Being 14, this made me feel uncomfortable. I ended up telling a small lie in response. Truth be told, I couldn't stand being there.Priest counting money on a wooden tableDaniel Jedzura, Shutterstock

47. The Pushy-Dope Peddler

While strolling through my town, a man cycled over to me. He adamantly urged me to purchase illicit substances from him. Politely, I declined his offer, expressing that I wasn't interested. However, he repeatedly pressed on. After my third refusal, I decided to leave, at which point he began shouting at me, threatening to harm me if he saw me again.

He included threats against my family, in case he ever saw them accompanying me. I cautiously headed back home, hoping to avoid a possible mugging or even worse. While these individuals tend to be all talk, the situation was certainly frightening. Later, I crossed paths with this man again, but fortunately, he didn't seem to remember me and nothing came of it.

Creepy Camping Experiences FactsShutterstock

48. Red-Eye Terror Ride

I caught a redeye flight from Raleigh-Durham to Los Angeles with my child. Instead of dealing with the fuss of hiring a car, I opted to book a driver from a well-known limo service. As it was nearing 2 in the morning and my child was sound asleep, the driver helped stowed our luggage in the trunk, a gesture I appreciated. But my relief was short-lived, as soon as we hit I-5, he started texting and the car started weaving across lanes—it was utterly nail-biting.

About 30 minutes in, he then alarmingly declared we were not going to my parents' place but instead to meet his buddies. I knew I had to do something. Internally, I was grappling with whether to physically confront him, risking an accident with my child onboard, or to stealthily text my parents. I chose to text.

While one of my parents dialed the authorities, the other kept me company over the phone. I followed their advice via text and downloaded Glympse, an app that allowed them to track my exact location in real time. I strongly believe that Glympse rescued both me and my child from whatever grim fate the driver had in mind. The experience was so terrifying that I've since sworn off booking drivers or cabs.

Creepy Real-Life ExperiencesShutterstock

49. The Old-Timey Oddball

When I was around the age of 5, I noticed a woman dressed in rather old-fashioned attire entering our church. The sight of her made me a bit frightened, as she reminded me of a witch. She headed straight for the children's area and made a chilling request. She asked our Sunday school teacher if she could lead the class. Nobody recognized her, considering our church was rather small. 

The teacher, naturally, denied her request, after which she seemed quite irritable and exited the church. This experience always remained with me; it was my first encounter with getting an unsettling feeling from a stranger. I never crossed paths with her after that.Not In Medical SchoolShutterstock

50. Feet Finder

This elderly gentleman approached my vehicle just as I was loading up my grocery bags, and he said to me, "I couldn't ignore the sheer beauty of your feet. Would you mind if I capture them in a few photos"? All this happened around 9 pm, so it was quite dark, and the parking lot was almost deserted. I quickly drove away from there.

Not Right in the Head FactsShutterstock

Sources:  Reddit,

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