Growing up, everybody learned about “stranger danger” and knew to be on guard when someone they don’t know tries to talk to them. Many of us are still on alert when it comes to getting approached by a stranger. If things start to feel weird, fight or flight mode can turn on. These moments tend to get seared into our memories, and a group of Redditors came together to share their creepiest or scariest encounters with strangers they’ve come across. Get ready to be spooked!
1. Straight Shooter
I was at a bookstore with my parents looking for some books on skyscrapers. This was a just a few days after a mass shooting and this old guy sitting at a table at the cafe looks up at me as I was walking by and said something so disturbing it’s impossible to forget: “You see how you’re walking around like that? That’s what those people were doing when they were all shot.”
2. Close Second
I worked with a girl who casually told the story of someone almost kidnapping her little sister. One day she walked outside to tell her sister who was about six to come inside, and her sister was climbing into the open door of a car at the end of the driveway. My coworker screamed and the car drove off without the sister. Such a close call.
3. Unsung Hero
I went down to the local creek with my friend. We were probably 10 or so. The local creepy teenager shows up, drunk out of his mind. I immediately knew this was bad. He mumbles something under his breath, and I looked at my friend with the “we need to get out of here look.” He stepped closer towards us and another guy, older and probably twice the size, ran up and grabbed him.
He told us to go home and not come back. Later the creepy guy was involved in a robbery that turned violent. I still feel so thankful that that other guy who was there.
4. Doesn’t Hold Water
There was this time I stopped at a rest stop on 280 toward San Francisco at night. I wasn’t yet aware that rest stops were sketchy places and had no qualms about getting out to go to the bathroom. After I had done my business and returned to my car, I was trying to send a text message and suddenly a guy appeared outside my window.
I cracked my door open a bit and he said, “your car is leaking water,” and I was so irritated I just said, “I KNOW” and slammed the door. I didn’t really care since I had the AC running not too long before it got dark. Anyway, I resume texting, and about five minutes later, I hear a car door slam. I look in my rearview and the guy is starting to approach my car again.
I pretty much just said screw it and turned on the car and started to back out noticing that there wasn’t a single drop of water on the ground under my car. I was immediately creeped out to the max. I watched him in the rearview as I exited the rest stop, and he just stood where he was in the middle of the lot, watching me leave.
5. No Smoking Gun
A delivery driver I used to work with pointed a gun at my head as I was bending down to get something from the cooler I was working near. I cracked a joke about him and when I stood up, I felt it at my temple. He started laughing and I laughed it off too, got him his order as soon as possible and when he left, I went home and called my boss, and didn’t go back until he was fired.
After a few years after the incident, he was involved in a horrifying crime where he took his ex-wife’s life and his soon after.
6. Creeper Gauge
I was heading home from my mom’s and was at a light next to a gas station when the person next to me told me there was something wrong with my tire. I pulled into the gas station and when I saw the person follow me in, I felt something off, so I didn’t get out. Instead I called my mom on my cellphone and when the guy pulled next to me, I gave him a thumbs up through the windshield.
I then drove back to my mom’s, which I had just left and was only a few minutes away. I get there, get out, we look at my tires and they are just fine.
7. Trip to the Store
When I was about 3 or 4, my parents were building a big house and the lead contractor was always extra friendly to me. My parents were always a little bit hands-off so I somehow ended up alone with the lead contractor in a half-finished house. I vaguely remember him and honestly don’t know how long I was alone with him. My family always refused to say.
Later, I learned the dark truth. My mom caught him right as he was loading me into his truck and snatched me up while screaming at him, all while he’s insisting, he “just wanted to buy your daughter candy at the store!” They never reported him. I still can’t understand why.
8. Red Light, Green Light
I was driving through a somewhat rough neighborhood at night and while sitting at a light, we saw this guy in a beat-up car take a bump next to us. We make eye contact. As the light turns green, he merged behind us and then proceeds to follow us around flashing his lights and honking his horn for several blocks.
We pull up to another red light he pulls up next to us yelling at us to roll down the window. I was terrified—but it turned out he just wanted to let us know we had a tail light out. After he told us, he drove away.
A few years ago, my wife and I went to a haunted corn maze a couple days before Halloween. We’d been drinking a little bit so we managed to get very lost. We had wondered around for about 20 minutes when this weird looking guy starts following us around. We made a turn and ended up at a dead end. When we turn around to find another way the guy was right behind us.
He looked at both of us and said, in the most terrifyingly calm voice, “Some psycho could come here and hurt people, everyone would just think it’s part of the show.” He scared the heck out of us. I have no idea if the guy worked for the maze or what, but we got out of there by cheating and walking through the walls of the maze.
10. Bad Feeling
I worked with this guy who was a hard partier. He seemed pretty cool when we were working, so when he mentioned a band that I liked was playing at a little country bar right outside of town, I agreed to go with him. We had a blast and I ended up wasted. He kept my drinks flowing all night which was fun for me because I was only 19.
We get back into town and he parks behind a bar that had a strict ID policy. He says he’ll be right back. At this point, I’m not feeling good at all. Not drunk sick, but something different. I got out and made my way to my usual bar hangout across the street. A regular noticed me and later said that I didn’t look right.
He got a number for my friend from the phone book and called him to come get me. The last thing I remember was the guy came in looking for me and the guy helping me refused to let him take me home. He left pretty quickly. I remember nothing else until I woke up the next day tucked in on my friend’s couch. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
I’m pretty sure the original guy roofied me and my instincts kicked in before he could accomplish anything. I avoided him like the plague at work after that. The good thing was, the guy that helped me at the bar ended up becoming one of my best friends.
11. Reaching Out for Help
I was driving with my friend through a popular park in our city when we came to a dead-end parking lot trying to find a certain trail. We started to turn around when a man who was at the trunk of his car ran up to the passenger side of my car, panicking and throwing his arms up. I immediately think he’s broken down or needs help or maybe something is wrong with my car.
I lock the doors and roll the window down a crack to hear what the issue was. When he came closer, I got a very uneasy feeling. The guy just didn’t seem right. He smiled and asked if we had ever been to some store in the local area. He offered us candy and tells us to take a look at what we wanted in the back of his car. Keep in mind, I was 21 or so at the time, not a child.
At that point, I’m accelerating to get out of there and as we’re pulling away there was another man coming down the hill with a huge stick in his hand and immediately tried to flag us down too. I sped off and saw them talking together and watch as I drove away. On the road out, we saw a woman jogging towards where we had just had this super creepy encounter and I pulled over immediately and told her to turn around.
I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I had just let her jog into a weird situation like that. I have no idea if those men wanted to kidnap someone or hurt someone or what, but I’m glad we got out of there. I haven’t been to that park since.
12. Wrong Person
I was jogging on the greenway, and a stranger ran up and grabbed me from behind in a chokehold. He dragged/carried me into some bushes, where we fell together. I am tiny and I was terrified. We struggled for a moment, and he stood up while I was on the ground. I said, “Please don’t do this. I have two kids.”
For some reason, I was certain he was going to kill me. I think I had that idea because I couldn’t breathe when he grabbed me, so I assumed he meant to choke me. In retrospect, I’m not sure that’s true. He put his hands in his waistband like he was going to undo his pants, and then he suddenly said, “Oh my god! I thought you were someone else.”
I was so freaked out, I said, “That’s okay, please just go.” He said, “Oh my god!” one more time, and then ran off. I flagged down a cyclist who walked with me to find a cop. They never found the guy. It’s the biggest unsolved mystery of my personal experience. Did he mean to hurt me? Did he get cold feet? Did he think I was someone else that he meant to hurt, like an ex? Did he think I was someone else that he meant to do some kind of freaky consensual play with? Because I am small-statured, did he think I was a child? Did he suddenly recognize me and change his mind?
It has been 6 or 7 years since. I realize I’ll never know what he was thinking. I’m a hopeless optimist, so I like to imagine that he went home, freaked out, and never offended again. But who knows?
13. Eyes Followed
I was walking to class one morning as a college sophomore and made the mistake of making eye contact with a random guy walking the opposite direction. I smiled, to be polite. The guy proceeded to change directions and follow me into the library. I watched him out of the corner of my eye; he waited at an empty computer in the lab while I did my work, and then followed me out of the library.
He never logged on to the computer he was sitting at and he never touched the keys. He was just watching me. I was creeped out but unsure of what to do. I booked it to class and he tried to follow me in. Thankfully the classroom was small and there were no extra seats available. He had to leave. Class was a 3-hour lecture; he was gone by the time class ended.
He was probably just a lonely guy with poor social skills, but I did not enjoy being followed all morning.
14. Adult Supervision
Back when I was in high school, my mom, dad, kid brother, and I went grocery shopping at Walmart. A teenage girl who was about my age at the time approached us and awkwardly said she thought some sketchy men had been following her around the store. I guess my family doesn’t look very threatening, because she asked my dad if he would be willing to walk her out to her car.
She seemed embarrassed and kept saying she was probably overreacting, but my dad was quick to say that he would never want me, his teenage daughter, walking out alone if I suspected someone was following me. My mom, brother, and I stayed with our cart, and my dad went out into the parking lot with the girl. Several minutes later, they both came back inside and we knew something must’ve happened.
It turns out that an old van was parked and idling right next to her car. When the driver and passenger noticed the girl was with my dad, it sped away. The police were called, the girl’s parents showed up, and my dad and the girl provided statements to the officer. The officer applauded the girl for going with her gut by asking my dad to walk her out, because based on the evidence, there very well could’ve been a much scarier ending to the story.
15. Homeland Insecurity
When I was 15, I was regularly at home by myself since both of my parents worked full time and my brother had moved away to college. One day during the summer, I was just relaxing at home, when all of a sudden, someone knocks on the front door. I get up and check the peephole, and see two guys just standing in the driveway just off the porch.
One of them is wearing a suit, and the other is wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, but facing away from the house like he’s playing lookout. I decide to ignore them, because they’ll go away, right? Well, I was dead wrong. They continue knocking, knocking, knocking but getting progressively louder and more aggressive.
Finally, I decide to call the sheriff’s department and ask for a non-emergency check since they’re trespassing. My dumb brain decides to yell through the door that I had called, and before I can even realize how dumb it is, the guy starts kicking the front door. I freak out, run back toward the center of the house. That’s when I made a chilling realization. There’s a third guy trying to kick in the back door as well.
At this point I call 9-1-1 and start screaming about these three guys trying to break into my house. Notoriously, it took the sheriff’s deputies longer to get there than anyone would imagine, and they see the guys walking down the road later. They stopped them for questioning, but didn’t arrest them. Thanks for nothing.
When I was 10 years old, I had a really freaky thing happen at my house. I woke up in the middle of the night really thirsty. It was around 1 in the morning and the entire house was dark. I got out of bed and went downstairs to get a drink. Conveniently, my mom had just gotten up to do the same thing. We head downstairs to the kitchen for some water.
Right when we got in the kitchen a random car pulled into our driveway and a man got out. My mom and I are standing in the kitchen watching him very aggressively start coming towards our door. He was a really big burly dude wearing a hoodie and black gloves. Right before he reached the door, my mom flipped on the light. Since the entire house was dark, he couldn’t see us but we could see him.
The instant the light flipped on, he stopped, looked right at us, ran back to his car, and couldn’t get out of our driveway fast enough to go down the road. We never saw the guy again. I don’t know if he was trying to break in or what he was planning to do, but I had nightmares about it for weeks. I was scared to death.
17. Intrusive Company
My mom had a really bad encounter in the early 90s. She and her best friend had gone out drinking one night. While they were at the bar two strangers were trying to flirt with them, but just came off as creepy. The creeps wouldn’t leave mom and her friend alone so they decided to leave. They went back to the friend’s place who lived in a trailer park then and my mom stayed the night.
Some time after they got back, they heard a small noise at the door. What happened next is so terrifying I can’t believe it. They looked out the window and saw the two men from the bar at the front door quietly trying to break into the trailer—but it gets worse. The friend grabbed the phone to call 9-1-1 and the line was dead.
If I remember correctly, they grabbed large kitchen knives, banged on the window and showed they were armed and let them know they would kill them if they came in. The men took off and neither mom nor friend slept that night. Next day they found out the phone was dead because the men had cut the phone line to the trailer before they tried to break in.
18. Got Eyes on You
I was sitting at a coffee shop one afternoon minding my own business when a stranger came in the door, awkwardly glanced in my direction then looked me dead in the eye and said, “You’re being watched.” My heart jumped and I just kind of responded in fear, “Excuse me?” A little more sternly, he proclaimed, “You’re being watched,” once more.
I must’ve had this look of terror on my face because he quickly chuckles and tells me someone is standing outside the window behind me staring at me, I look behind me and it’s my brother.
19. Mysterious Find
I’m a biologist that often has to do field work surveying unmaintained private properties in the middle of nowhere. Once, we find a body face-up in a stream deep in a thickly wooded wetland. The body looked several months old at least. No clothes, no tools, no shelter, nothing nearby to suggest who he is or how he got there. We couldn’t even tell race or gender from what we saw.
We call the police and they immediately tell us it’s probably the missing person who ditched his car nearby. They apparently searched for weeks with dogs, horses, and ATVs but didn’t find any sign of the guy. All they found was his family car loaded with cash and a handgun. They also tell us he seemed to be running from someone or something, real or imagined, they weren’t sure.
Apparently, the man didn’t even close his car door—just ditched it at a rail crossing and took off running into the woods in a tremendous hurry. I find his clothes about 30 yards up the stream bank from where the body was found. His pants were neatly folded and placed on top of his nice brown loafers, underpants and socks on top of those. He placed his glasses atop his socks, very orderly and in a nice pile. His shirt and undershirt were hanging from a tree branch right above those as if to dry.
I mean, the whole thing creeps me out even a year on. But what unsettles me is the fact that he ran from his family, drove several hours from his home, ditched his car, and fought a mile through briars and thick woods only to stop and carefully fold and hang his clothes before meeting his end. I look him up every now and then and still can’t find any more info about what happened or why.
20. The Call a Friend Lifeline
When I was 13, I just got dropped off from the school bus, so I had a bit of ways to walk home. As I get close to the corner of my street, some guy in a dark blue car rolls up and asked where I was headed. I told him I was going home. The guy then excruciatingly slowed his car down to match my walk and asked if I wanted a ride home. I told him no thanks I’m almost home.
Then he continued to ask where I live and if I still wanted a ride home. Luckily, I had a phone at this age, and pulled out my Nokia phone and pretended to call my mom even though she wouldn’t have picked up the phone and I was almost home. The guy saw what I was doing and sped off like crazy. From the age of 13, I started carrying pepper spray.
21. Keep Out
While I was maybe 6 or 7, my mom left me in the car to get some beer or something in a liquor store. While she was in the store, a man tried to open the car door on my side but the door was locked and the windows were up. He smiled and walked away as soon as he felt the door was locked.
22. Hide and Squat
I was at my uncle’s house in some countryside with my sister and we were playing hide and seek. My uncle went out to buy some food for us. I was hiding downstairs in this weird closet/attic thing I found. I heard a little banging noise and got a little spooked. I then chalked it up to a little rat or something and continued to hide.
I then heard a snore and a groan. I immediately got out and ran to my sister. We both sat at the door together, crying, until my uncle got home. My uncle just laughed it off and we were relieved. A decade later, an old man’s body was found when my uncle tried to sell the house. Soon after, we learned the dark truth.
He had been squatting there for almost a decade, and he had written in a notebook how he was going to get rid of my uncle and keep the home for himself. I really think that would’ve happened if he hadn’t passed away first.
23. Baring It All
A few years ago, I went for a leisurely jog in my quiet suburban neighborhood around dusk. I ended up making eye contact with a naked man about 25 feet off the trail. He started running towards me, so my rational response was to run into the middle of a busy road, flag down a car, jump in, and beg a complete stranger to drive me home.
I called the police, and later found out the naked man was caught asking a 13-year-old girl if he could impregnate her.
24. A Hop, Skip, and Jump Away
I was on a jobsite in a very poor, rural area of southern Virginia. I was there with a small crew, sampling people’s drinking water. The area was so poor, two of the homes didn’t have running water. One collected water from a nearby creek, the other had that same creek actually running THROUGH their house and that was their water supply. This was in a fairly hilly/low mountain area, and the road grades were steep.
There was a guy, young-ish man, maybe early 20s, that we noticed skipping up the hill, the way a kid would skip across a playground. It was no effort for him. We were sampling an outdoor tap at one of the homes, and he skipped up to us and just stopped and stood, staring at us, shaking. He was built like a professional football player, really muscular, maybe 6′ tall and a very good 200, maybe 225lbs.
We tried to talk to him, some friendly conversation, but he just stood there and shook. I realized if he got mad, we were in big trouble. I’m not particularly big, there were two smallish women on the crew, and one older guy. For a very long moment it wasn’t clear how things were going to go. Then he peaced out and resumed skipping up and down the hills. I was so confused—until I learned the heartbreaking truth.
He was a local kid who had suffered a traumatic brain injury and was harmless. But he did scare the heck out of us.
25. Sticky Staredown
A while back my sister came to visit me. One evening, she says she’s going for a walk, which was code for she wants to smoke. She comes back and tells me there was this guy standing in the middle of the street with a long stick just staring at her. Of course, I don’t believe her as I attribute it to her being high.
But then, after she goes back home, I see this guy with a stick, EVERYWHERE. I see him at the park, in the street, in random driveways. I even saw him downtown one time. This happens almost every single day and he never says anything. He just stares at me. I’ve seen some messed up stuff in my life being ex-army infantry, but this guy creeps me out.
26. All Waiter’d Out
A friend and I went to Atlantic City in the early 2000s and we had a great time, but on the way back to my friend’s shore house we got lost. My Blackberry had spotty service at the time and we were lost somewhere in New Jersey. We stopped at a restaurant and decided to try and get directions. The restaurant was the only one around for miles and on a Friday night we were the only ones there.
We ordered water and the waiter brought us Coke. Our waiter was super creepy and after eating, another waiter brought us the bill—which we didn’t even think about. While we were leaving in the parking lot, I noticed someone smoking in the car next to me. Our waiter was sitting in a car watching us and smoking.
My friend and I looked at each other and got in the car as fast as possible. I pulled out slowly and noticed he had pulled out too. He followed us back to my friend’s shore house over 40 miles away. We freaked out the entire time, debating on whether to go to the house or keep driving. I only had about 20 more miles of gas left, and we had less than half the drive, so we were debating getting gas, but every gas station we passed was empty and we didn’t want to take a chance. It was scary.
There was no one at my friend’s house and we had a terrible feeling the entire time he was serving us. We drove to another street, hoping to lose him. We parked in a random driveway and as we parked, he pulled up beside us. We backed up full speed and drove to the local police station that was down another kind of sketchy street. He followed us and just drove past the police station as we pulled in.
We reported it, but with a vague idea of who he was, didn’t know his license plate number, there was nothing really done. We still talk about this even though it happened almost 20 years ago—two girls together can be in danger, even though you feel safe.
27. Kitchen Encounter
There’s an abandoned hotel near where I live. It closed about 10 years ago and it’s been knocked down now sadly. I went in with my friends when it was still up when we were about 12 and we snuck in for like the 1,000th time. We went into the old kitchen, but this time it was different. There was this guy in there with his back turned to us, wearing a parka.
He looked about 20 and he just slowly started turning around, one foot at a time. When he turned around fully, he was wearing one of those cheap theater masks. We booked it and I cut my leg on the fence we climbed through. When we got about half a kilometer away my friend just started crying because he was so shocked.
Looking back, I think that guy was just exploring and heard us and decided to scare us, but still it was awful.
28. Canine Interception
In our mid-20s, my husband and I lived in a townhome without a yard in a pretty nice area of town. We knew we were purchasing a house soon, so we went ahead and got our first puppy! I’m a morning person, whilst my husband is not, so I would usually get up around 5 am and take the puppy out to the little patch of grass across the street from out townhome still inside the entire complex. I did this for several months, no big deal.
Well one morning while out waiting on the puppy, an old Ford van, all beat up with no windows, slowly drives by and goes back behind another building. A few minutes later as I’m getting ready to cross the street and go back inside, the van comes back up the road to where I was getting ready to cross, stops in the middle of the road and turns off its lights. I waved them on in front of me and at that point, both doors of the van started to open.
All I remember was seeing someone start to get out before both the dog and I felt the undeniable urge to run across the street and inside as fast as possible. Once inside, the van sped off and disappeared. But it gets even creepier. I went upstairs to wake my husband, only to find out he was in the middle of a dream where I’d been kidnapped. To this day, I refuse to run outside or go on walks alone, even on our quiet country roads. And big old vans still creep me out.
29. Political Following
While on a walk through a park with my wife I was stopped mid-sentence by a feeling of dread. Just a creepy feeling of evil like I’ve never felt before of something behind us—even crazier, my wife felt it too. This small blue truck pulled up and a guy and two dogs got out. They guy looked like he hadn’t had a hair cut in years and was wearing grubby clothes.
We kept walking around while he walked his dogs. As we walked around, he kept close to us while paying attention to his dogs. We sat at a bench and his dog walking brought him so close to us that we could hear him mumbling names of politicians. We quickly had enough and left. Two blocks down the road he drives by us. He drove by again the other way.
When we got home, I waited out of sight and saw him driving around, I am pretty sure he was looking for us. I locked the door that night and felt pretty uneasy for a while.
30. Wheels on the Bus
I was about 14 or 15. School had just ended so the bus home was packed with other school kids too. We were a couple stops away from where everyone got on when this guy with a huge jacket, hood up and mask on, which was odd because we were in the middle of a heatwave, got on the bus, stormed upstairs past me and my friends and threw down this huge bag he was carrying.
He screamed “THIS IS A BOMB” and ran off the bus. It took everyone a few seconds to process what just happened, but after those few seconds I experienced the craziest panic I’ve ever seen. Everyone bolted downstairs and tried to get out, but the doors were closed. I remember this huge dude just punched the glass out of the door like it was nothing and people were just dragging themselves through it.
When I got to the door, I hit the emergency release to make it easier to jump off. Once we were out, we sprinted at least 500 meters down the road and crouched for the explosion—except there was no explosion. It was just a hoax. It turned out that the guy that did it was someone from my school that had previously been expelled.
31. How Can We Help?
I was mid-way through a 12-hour road trip alone driving all my college apartment stuff back to my parents’ house. Car was totally overpacked with boxes, a bike, keyboard, and the like. I’m very low on gas, so I pull over to a gas station in the Middle of Nowheretown, Georgia. Sun is dipping low, and the gas station is empty, just off the side of the main road intersecting the highway. A few cars meander past on that road, but it’s a quiet town.
As I’m pumping gas, a scraggly thin guy walks up and starts mumbling about asking for the time. I tell him the time and make small talk, but not a word this man said was intelligible. All the while, he’s circling the car and commenting on my stuff, but, again, I can’t really understand his words too clearly. I make an excuse to duck into the convenience store, which I needed to do anyways–my bike was rattling loose and I wanted a bungee cable to affix it more securely.
As I go into the store and search for a cable, I notice scraggly man also entered and he’s now talking with the female clerk of the store. I find my cable and as I approach the register, she makes small talk about noting my car overpacked and asked if I was moving somewhere, all the like. She asks about the cable and I explain it’s to secure my bike more firmly.
She then tells me I should drive my car behind the gas station and they’ll help me tie it up tight. Speaking in the plural, implying what I kind of already deduced: she and the man are associates somehow. Again, my car is just outside the window of the shop, in clear view of the main road. She tells me I should drive it behind the building, where nobody could see it, for them to help me tie it up. As though that help couldn’t be done in the normal refueling area.
At this point, my “get out of here” meter is maxing out at 3.4 region so I thank her but tell her I’ll be ok, and then I practically jog to my car and get in, locking the doors immediately. As I leave, I watch through the window as the woman and man are in a very animated conversation, gesticulating towards my fleeing vehicle. Could I have been misreading these people because they kind of looked messed up? Sure. But making an offer that sketchy is not a very normal thing to do.
32. Defying Evil
I worked downtown Houston for 9-1-1 on the overnight shift. On a break I went out to my car. While sitting in there a homeless guy came and knocked on my window, which wasn’t at all unusual. He rolled his fingers like “roll down your window.” I cannot explain what came over me but all of a sudden, my hair stood on end and I was flooded with the strangest feeling.
I felt fight or flight come over me. I didn’t know where it came from, didn’t even feel like my voice, but I yelled no! And I was pointing my finger at him. I sat there shaking all over, but his face was seared into my mind. So, a few days later on my day off was watching the news and the SAME damn homeless dude had been arrested that morning because he was the suspect for this horrific case that they had been searching for.
There had been a string of strangulations of mostly homeless women downtown. I could not believe it when his mugshot popped up on my TV. I just went cold. I’m so grateful though for what I assume was my intuition or guardian angel alerting me to danger.
33. Cover Up
When I was a child in New Hampshire I went exploring by myself and got lost in the woods. I was not worried about it in the least and was just walking around. All of a sudden, I noticed someone standing about 25 feet away from me, and he was just standing perfectly still facing me. He was all bundled up in a bunch of shirts and jackets one over the other over the other, and his face was completely hidden by what looked like dirty rags. He was wearing big flat lensed goggle. He just stood there staring at me.
I stared back for a few seconds and then turned and ran. Maybe 30 minutes later I managed to find my way back to the edge of the lake, and was able to get back to where we were staying.
34. Near Miss
I worked for a rent to own furniture place between my junior and senior year in college. I’m 6’3″ tall and 280 lbs., so I’m built for lifting. The other delivery guy was a prison guard before, so he was fairly well built as well. Now, 95% of the job is delivering furniture. However, since rent to own requires, you know, rent, you tend to get those who get behind on their payments.
If they get too far behind, we pick up their stuff. Most people are actually happy since that means the phone calls from the manager stop. Some would rather run and hide. We’ve tracked people across town, to different towns, even one that moved across the country, no idea how the manager and corporate did that.
One day, we get told that after we make a delivery, we are supposed to check out an address. Supposedly, this girl and her baby daddy are eight months behind and keep moving to avoid us. The place is out in the country, but we live in a rural part of the world so that’s no big deal. We find the place, with a half mile long drive way, leading to a trailer house.
There’s a truck in the yard, doors open, hood up, lights on, someone was working on it, recently. We also notice that the front door to the house is wide open. Odd, when its 95+ outside. There is absolutely nobody around this place. Then, on the picnic table just outside the front door, we see a pretty new box of shotgun shells. It’s open, and a few are missing.
Now, we had pulled up to this place, got out of the truck, but hadn’t said a word. We just looked at each other, got back in the truck, and drove back to the store. We both just had that feeling that something bad was in the air. A couple of months later, after I had quit and went back to college, I saw that that girl and baby daddy had been picked up for their part in selling illegal substances. Crazy enough to shoot us? Probably.
35. Close Up
I was working a closing shift with a female coworker and she was trying to lock the door, but the key wouldn’t lock it properly. Then I hear her screaming my name so I run over to see what was wrong, this homeless guy had apparently locked eyes with her and was running for the door like sprinting for it. I held it shut and she managed to properly lock it right before he made it to us, and he just gave us a nasty look and walked off.
I don’t know what that guy wanted or if he just wanted to scare two young girls but I’m just glad I’m leaving that place soon for a better job.
36. Barking Mad
When I was very visibly pregnant, I ran to the grocery store one evening. For some random reason, I took my dog with me. She wasn’t big or intimidating, all black but short like a corgi and super sweet. She never growled at anybody. I guess I just thought she would enjoy the car trip, not something I usually did for a quick grocery run.
Anyways, I bought my groceries and noticed nothing unusual in the store. It was just after dusk and I rolled the cart full of groceries out to the car. As I walked out, I noticed a man sitting in the driver’s seat of a car facing my vehicle, but one parking lane over. He looked as though he was waiting for someone, but something about it creeped me out.
To this day, I can’t tell you what about him creeped me out specifically. I just unlocked the back of my Jeep and started putting my grocery bags in. I hear a car door and turn to see he is out of the car and asking if I need help. I said no thank you and just kept going, making sure to not turn my back to him.
But he keeps coming towards my car saying, “Are you sure? I can help.” I keep saying no thanks, but he keeps coming. At this point, I am trying to check if anyone else is in the lot and even though it’s full of cars, no one else is out there. He is almost at the back of my car and my sweet doggy, in what seemed instantly, left her spot on the front passenger seat and was over the back seat and standing on the back bumper, teeth bared and growling at this guy.
Even though it seemed like only a half beat, it seemed like he considered whether this short dog was a serious threat or not. He held up his hands and said “nevermind” and walked away back to his vehicle. I drove home with no trouble and told hubby what happened and gave my doggy extra treats and snuggles.
The rational part of my brain says it was probably nothing, but what if my dog hadn’t been there?! He clearly had no regard for my no thanks answers. It still creeps me out, 15 years later.
37. Vetting Danger
My boyfriend and I and one of his friends had been partying in the woods behind another friend’s apartment complex. We were leaving and had just gotten into his buddy’s pickup. I was sitting in the middle. We heard yelling, and suddenly there was a man pointing a rifle with a freaking bayonet on it through the driver side window. He was carrying on about us partying in the woods or whatever, but I was mostly focused on watching my boyfriend out of the corner of my eye.
He spent a lot of time thinking about fighting, and he had previously told me about his theory on how a full beer can could be used as a weapon. I could see his hand sliding down towards the bag of beer on the floor. I thought, he’s going to try to bonk this nut case on the head, and I’m going to get shot, or stabbed, or both.
Fortunately, our friend started talking calmly to bayonet guy, apologizing and asking if he’d been in the service, saying he was a vet too, hey man, you don’t want to get in trouble here, etc. The dude ended up wandering off, and I didn’t get to find out whether you can disable an armed man with a can of Budweiser.
38. Bloody Trail
Me and my boyfriend came back at like 2 am from a night out. We were both quite drunk and stumbled into the hallway to the elevator when we see drops of something on the floor—and when I realized what it was, I felt ice in my veins. It definitely was blood. Fresh and wet. The elevator button and door were covered in bloody hand prints as well.
My boyfriend called the elevator, pushing me aside not knowing what would be in it. Luckily there was nothing except for a puddle of blood. The elevator came from the fifth floor. So, we went investigating. The trail of blood ended at a door with huge hand smears of blood on the door. It took all our courage to ring. But I am so glad we did.
An elderly man opened the door. He looked like straight out of a horror movie covered in blood from head to toe. His grey sweater was red. His hair was wet. His shoes were filled with blood. We immediately sobered up. I called an ambulance which arrived in two minutes. My boyfriend went inside the flat helping the man sit down. There was so much blood, I had never seen anything like that in my life.
We didn’t know what happened to him until we met him properly for the first time. He recognized my boyfriend’s glasses. He was drunk, wanted to ride his bike home, crashed somehow, and got a huge cut on his head. He takes heart medicine which thins his blood that’s why he lost so much. If we wouldn’t have rung the doorbell, he would have bled to death. He actually gave us money and a super expensive bottle of champagne to thank us for investigating and saving his life.
39. Shuttled Away
In college, I was waiting for the bus shuttle to arrive and take me back to my apartment complex. This young man sits next to me, but does so that he’s looking right at me while I’m just looking ahead at the street. He’s maybe 17 or 18 years old. He starts talking to me but his cadence was very unnerving. Like someone with a bomb strapped to their chest being compelled to follow a set of instructions.
I can’t recall the exact words he used, but I remember him talking about Bible and the end of the world. This didn’t feel like your average recruitment attempt. This felt like a man on a verge of a breakdown. I would smile while offering short and polite replies. Every time I would say something, he would nod very slowly and look down a bit, and would then return to his fixed gaze.
There was noticeable sweat on his brow, but I don’t recall it being a hot day. In the back of my head I considered the possibility that I was about to become victim #1 of this guy. It was the longest five minutes of my life. When I boarded that shuttle and it pulled away from him, I was so relieved.
40. Unscheduled Showing
I was selling my former home, and had a “For Sale” sign out front with the contact information of the realtor in it. One afternoon, a guy knocks on the door, says he’s thinking about buying it, but would like a tour. I told him to contact the realtor as she was scheduling showings. He tried persuading me to “just give him a quick tour” but I noped out of it.
Fast forward a couple of days and I had a friend over, and his brother was coming by as well for a drink. So, when there was a knock on the door at 9:30, I thought nothing of it. Except it wasn’t my friend’s brother. It was that guy. He said he still really wanted a tour, and that he also wanted to take me out. At this point, I was living alone with my daughter, and I was REALLY sketched out.
Luckily, my friend, concerned when I didn’t come right back in, came out and basically acted like my live-in boyfriend, which definitely seemed to deter the guy. I was definitely grateful my friend was there that night-maybe he was just a lonely, awkward dude, but I still am glad I wasn’t alone when he dropped by the second time.
41. Photo Evidence
When I was 12, my family and I went to Sam’s Club. Being a little jerk, I decided that I didn’t want to walk with my family, so I wandered around looking at clothes and books. An employee kept watching me like staring really bad. I figured he thought I was going to steal, so I smiled at him so he knew I wasn’t Bad™. He smiled back.
He kept checking me out though, and asked me how old I was. We talked about my favorite books and video games. I remember being uncomfortable but couldn’t figure out why, because he was super nice to me. I remember wondering if he was flirting with me, but reasoned that he couldn’t be, because I’m a boy. Really weird conclusion to come to, but I was 12.
I genuinely thought he was just interested in my favorite video games. The conversation died down and I decided I needed to pee, so I went into the bathroom. Less than ten seconds later and the restroom door opens. The guy stands in front of my stall, even though there were empty ones. I recognized the guy’s shoes as the employee’s.
I stand there for a couple minutes, done, but really confused and kind of scared. I thought he followed me because he thought I was stealing. What happened next was so disturbing it’s impossible to forget. Then the guy held a camera over the stall door and took a picture of me. Like really quick, one or two pictures of me just standing there looking up at the camera. I had all of my clothes on so he was just taking a picture of me in the bathroom.
Someone else came in and he immediately went to the sink and started washing his hands like he’d just finished using the bathroom. Then he left. It was really creepy. I didn’t tell my mom anything except that “the Sam’s Club guy thinks I’m stealing.” And she laughed. I realized way later that he was a total creep.
42. A Stoned Throw Away
I was up in my third-floor bedroom chilling to music with my headphones on when I started to hear weird noises. It was weird enough for me to take my headphones off. I listened for a bit and coming from downstairs was a creepy voice I didn’t recognize mixed in with my housemate John’s voice, but he sounded like he was in pain.
I was confused so I started walking slowly down my stairs and then looked into his room and saw John on his floor holding his eyes in pain with a big dude in a hoodie shouting at him and then grabbing things off the shelves. The next thing I knew, autopilot had kicked in and I ran towards the room and the hooded dude turned and ran out the door.
That’s when I smashed into him, making us both go tumbling down the staircase trying to exchange punches on the way down. We scuffled a bit in the hallway until he eventually ran out the door. John, who at that time was on crutches, was hobbling home and went to open our front door when the hooded dude came up behind him and pepper-sprayed him in his face, blinding him.
He then took him up to his bedroom to rob him and his stuff. Poor guy had to have eye pads on for the next two days. Anyway, it was all pretty messed up, but John was ok in the end and honestly, I was so pumped with adrenaline it didn’t really feel like it was happening at the time. It was like a bad trip. We were all moved out two weeks later.
43. Hostage Negotiator
When my cousin was a teenager, maybe 18 or 19, she and her friends went out to party a lot. In my country you can legally start drinking with 16/18, so most teenagers start going to clubs at 16. Back then, hitchhiking was still pretty common and most teenagers did it to get home or to the city, since only very few had cars of their own.
My cousin and her friend want to go home after a night out and get picked up by a middle-aged guy. He’s nice enough and they make small talk while they drive—but in an instant, it all changed. Suddenly, he takes a turn onto a remote road leading into the woods. He locks the car from the inside and his friendly facade falls instead he’s suddenly tense, quiet and determined.
My cousin’s friend started crying quietly, but my cousin stays calm and starts talking to the man. She tells him about her family, her mom and dad, her brother and sister and asks if he also has a family. When he tells her that he has a wife and two children, she asks for their names and how old they are, which school they go to, what their hobbies are, all while he drives them deeper into the woods.
It must’ve triggered something, because after talking with him for a couple of minutes, he stops he car and breaks down. He starts crying and tells them that things are going well at home, that his marriage is pretty bad and he fears he’ll lose his kids. My cousin comforts him during his break down and lets him spill his heart out.
Eventually, he starts the car again, turns around and drives them home, saying he’s sorry. They get out once they reach the street my cousin lived on and when he drives off, my cousin sees him put a knife on the passenger seat that he had kept hidden next to him. They never hitchhiked again.
44. Raised by Wolves? Try Saved by One
I would visit my aunt in Ft. Lauderdale who had three adorable dogs she had rescued from crazy circumstances, and they were all awesome. Chico the hilarious Chihuahua, Patrick the lab mix who absolutely adored me despite coming from an extremely abusive home, and Zach, my grandpa’s favorite wolf/husky/shepherd gentle but very protective giant, who liked to dig holes under the house and lay in the dirt and get his white fur all covered.
Anyway, I LOVED to take them all walking around the neighborhood, usually separately. I was probably around 8 years old. Well one day I happened to be walking Zach. As he was in the little ditch on the side of the road Florida has to collect water, a white utility truck pulled up and the passenger door flew open and this mean creepy guy says, “Get. In.” as he throws the car in park.
I froze, and within the span of a second, Zach, who was otherwise not visible from where this guy was standing, LUNGED like a cheetah out of the ditch. The guy hadn’t even reached for me but Zach was snarling like nothing I had ever seen before. The guy pulled off so fast I couldn’t even process what just happened.
I’ll never ever forget it. I didn’t totally grasp what had happened. I know when I got to my aunt’s and told everyone what happened they were sort of panicked about it. But that good boy saved my life. I’ll never forget those buggers and I’ll always be thankful to Zach, the gentle protective giant.
45. The Long Haul
I was a truck driving trainer. I picked up a student who within the first 20 minutes asked me about a shooting at a company yard, and how much damage a fully loaded truck and trailer would do at full speed. I sat next to him for literally seven hours while he drove. He didn’t say anything. I’d ask him questions, but I’d get two sentence answers, and then nothing.
I have never been so scared or uncomfortable in my entire life. I dropped him off the next day. He said that he had been recording me texting when I was sending my fiancé GPS locations and selfies to let her know I was still alive and ok. He said he was going to send it to my company. I had been recording the entire exchange myself because I was so scared of what might happen.
I sent it to my company and he was fired the next day. I couldn’t sleep for a couple of days because I don’t know if he had followed me home or not. He was recently rehired, and not even a day with a trainer, he was dropped off in another state. I was told he is no longer eligible to work for my company.
46. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
I was at college one day and had an hour break between classes. I decided to take a spot at a huge empty table in a quiet courtyard just outside my next class and catch up on some reading for one of my other courses. A creepy looking guy approached me and asked if he could sit with me.
Since there were three other empty tables and no one else around, and the fact he was asking to sit with me, I thought he might be trying to sell me something. I decided to be polite and said yes. He took the bench RIGHT next to me. Our arms were touching. I moved away to get some personal space, and I was for sure creeped out, my radar was going ballistic at this point.
As I moved, he grabbed my hand, laced his fingers in mine and told me to relax. I was so scared, but he had like 100 pounds on me and I couldn’t get my hand away. He started going on about how amazing he was and all this other nonsense. I wasn’t 100% paying attention because I was hoping someone would come by and help me.
After about five minutes of him rambling on, he asks for my phone number. I told him no. He thought I was flirting with him. Then he got upset. I truly believe he would have tried to hurt me, too, if another student hadn’t come by at just the right time and sat down at the table next to us. I got out of there. Two days later when I came back for that same class, I saw him doing the same thing to another girl.
I went up to her and acted like we were best friends and I was coincidentally running into her. I was thankful I got her out of that situation. She told me she was terrified. We went to campus security and reported him. I don’t know what ever happened to him but I never did see him hanging around that area again.
47. Stranger Danger
In 2012, I was just north of Erwin, Tennessee while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Mountain area. While at our campsite maybe 25 yards off a dirt forest trail a blue F-150 pulls up and a man gets out and says he’s an “undercover forest ranger.” He says there’s been a lot of kids causing trouble up around these parts and did we have any guns or illegal substances.
It was myself and another older gentleman from New Orleans who also said he was thru-hiking and two off-duty Coast Guard who were making a weekend hiking trip together. Before that evening none of us had ever met. We discuss and decide that the guy was fairly creepy and decide to split up and scout out maybe a replacement place to camp.
We agree to each hike 15 minutes north and south and come back and report if there was a more suitable spot where we were away from the road and the guy would have a harder time finding us. After our little recon trip, we come back and decide there really was nothing all that suitable and decide to just push our tents a little deeper into the woods so as to not be spotted as easily.
Around 9pm and everyone is in bed, asleep, or nearly, and three gun shots ring out and they’re not “off in the distance.” A truck comes screaming down the path with the high beams on and the same guy from earlier gets out; brandishing a Glock with an extended magazine. He’s hysterical and tells everyone to get out of their tents and on the ground.
For the next nearly 45 minutes he kept up the charade that he was an undercover game warden and/or fish and wildlife person, the story would change. A few minutes into the ordeal, it was fairly obvious he was unstable or on something. That didn’t change the fact that he had a gun pointed at us. He would rinse and repeat the same lines over and over, “Do you have guns or money?” or, “You don’t have CASH??? HOW WILL YOU SURVIVE OUT HERE?!” or, “I’m just trying to keep you guys safe,” and, “There’s four of you and one of me. You’re going to try and jump me!”
All the while, swinging the gun around and brandishing it wildly. This whole “cycle” would usually last 6-8 minutes at a time and nearly the entire 45 minutes we were either laying on our stomachs or on our knees. Fairly early on, the guy from New Orleans jumped up and ran into the woods. We found out later with a cell phone and called the police.
They said it would take them about 45 minutes to make it out to the woods and to hold tight. Of course, I didn’t know any of this, and more importantly the guy holding us up lost his mind. Undercover Man shouted into the woods and said that if New Orleans didn’t come back, the rest of us would be sorry. The guy actually came back.
Seriously he didn’t know any of us, and even today, I genuinely don’t believe if I was in his shoes I would walk back into that situation. It’s the bravest thing I’ve ever seen someone do. The situation ended when the man demanded to search our backpacks for the aforementioned substances, guns, or money. He was kind of easing into stage three where he’s “just trying to keep us safe.”
He leans down to search my backpack and the two Coast Guard guys jump up simultaneously and tackle him. I knocked the gun out of his hand and quickly dropped the mag and discovered that there was a live round in the chamber the whole time! We tied the guy up and waited for the police, who showed up about 20 minutes after.
I was incredulous that their response was essentially, “Ooohhh that’s just crazy John, he’s really done it this time!” and “Oh John, they would have been within their rights to shoot you dead.” Here’s the best part of the story: in his truck, there was obviously empty bottles of liquor, a film canister with crushed something in it, and a cell phone with FOURTEEN missed calls from his apparent son.
That’s not even the craziest part. While his truck is being searched, it’s explained to me that he was a former minister WHO GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING and became a pill popper and weirdo ever since. He was known for messing with people, but never to that degree before. I ended up finishing my thru-hike but that was without a doubt the scariest thing that happened while I was doing it.
48. Attack of the Teen
I got chased down by the neighborhood delinquent teen with a gun when I was walking home from the bus stop with friends. I was 10, my friends were 10/11 years old too. We ran to a house for help, a middle-aged woman answered and refused to let us in or help us. She said it could be a prank, we told her it wasn’t but she was convinced we were trying to get in her house and rob her.
We ran further to my friend’s house, her mom happened to be off work early and was home. She called the police. I got to ride in a cop car and watch two cops take down this 17-year-old jerk into the pavement.
49. Lead Away
When I was about 3, I was outside playing in my front yard with my older brother. My mom came outside to check on us and I wasn’t there. She asked my brother where I was and he said that I went to the library, which was a block away. So, my mom walked to the side of our house and saw a couple walking away holding my hands. They were walking the opposite way of the library. She lost it.
My mom ran up and hit the man right in his face and started going off on them. They ended up running away.