Everybody has secrets—but the ones you keep from your own family tend to be the most twisted. From second families to shocking past lives, the next family reunion is going to be pretty uncomfortable after these dark family secrets come to light.
This is the worst thing I've ever done—but I did it out of love. I secretly bought my son from someone else after my wife had lost our biological child during the birth process. This is quite easy to do in my country, considering that there are a lot of very poor parents willing to give their children away. My wife regained consciousness after 4 days. Neither she nor my son know about this.
The secret is not revealed yet, but when I was in college and my parents got divorced, my dad gave me all the information on what to do if he passes. He told me where things are, and had me go to his bank to sign a document for access to his account after he passes. When we were leaving the bank, he looked at me very seriously and said something so ominous—I'll never forget it.
“Your mother is not who you think she is. Everything you need to know is in my deposit box.” I have no clue what he could be talking about—he never elaborated—and my mom laughed it off when I told her about it. Guess I’ll find out one day.
My father passed when I was 17. At the funeral home during a viewing, a young lady and her boyfriend showed up. She was probably two or three years older than me. Nobody recognized her so she was asked why she was there. Her answer shocked the room. She stated she was there to see her father. My siblings and I are naturally confused, and our mom is just standing there shaking her head.
My uncles ask her to leave, and she leaves crying in her boyfriend's arms. Our mother then takes us to a private area and explains that our father had an affair years ago and that was our half-sister. I never heard any more about her, never learned her name, and have never met her. I would like to meet her and apologize for my family. Seeing her rejected and crying because she couldn't even attend a viewing for her father bothers me to this day, and this was over 40 years ago.
The dark family secret I discovered is that my favorite cousin wasn't really missing as I had always been told. He was 13 years older than me and all I knew growing up was that he would come and go a lot. He lived with us when I was a baby, and after some time, he moved out. He would visit every six months or so out of the blue, but we never called or visited him ourselves.
His visits were one of my most favorite things in the world. I loved him like a brother. By the time I was a teenager, I began to understand that he had issues with his parents. They had kicked him out when he was 13 and my parents took him in. But that kind of childhood messes with you. In between visits to my parents’ place, he avoided the rest of the family, moved around a lot, and didn't hold jobs for long.
That’s part of the reason why my parents didn't always know where he was. But in my later teens, he stopped coming over at all. I asked repeatedly if anyone had heard from him, and I was always told no. I asked about contacting him and was told that no one had a number or address for him. I assumed he would come around when he felt like it.
But his absence stretched on for years. I really worried that he had somehow passed, and I really missed him. In my late twenties, I finally found out the shocking truth—everyone knew where he was the whole time. He was serving a sentence behind bars for shooting someone. From what I hear, though, it was actually somewhat justified. He was defending his new wife, who I never got to meet.
I also found out some super awful things about how the extended family sided with his messed-up parents and refused to help him or his wife when he got taken in. They also shamed my dad for not helping either. I tried to send a message to him recently, but I don't know if he ever got it. I wish he knew that I didn't turn my back on him for decades as everyone else did. I just didn't know.
My step-grandfather had a completely hidden life in Australia before he met my grandmother. He had a family and kids in Australia, and then faked his own death by driving his car off a cliff then moving to America. His kids thought he was long gone until my grandmother found out about them and reached out years later.
His son actually became a famous comedian over there, and from what I know has a joke he does at his shows about his father faking his death to disconnect from them.
This happened around 2013—Instagram wasn’t totally new but it was still a much smaller platform and centered a lot around visual artists. Through Instagram, a friend of mine found a profile that was my gosh darn doppelganger. Like, this guy looked so much like me that I sent multiple photos of him to my mom and she was convinced it was me even after I told her it wasn’t.
Now, for the purpose of the story I’ll just say I am incredibly unique looking. Dark brown hair, fiery red beard, almost a full bodysuit of tattoos. Same for this guy. The brands of clothes I wore, even down to the gold and black Ray-Ban Clubmasters. I am a professional tattoo artist and he is a painter who owns an art gallery.
So, in keeping with how the internet worked back then, we said hey and joked about meeting and occasionally would call or FaceTime the other to prove a point. Then, I got an opportunity to travel to NYC for work. This guy lived in NYC as well, so we made plans to meet up! I bought plane tickets, made arrangements, and we even talked about how funny it would be to get a photo together.
Then we started talking about how funny it would be if we really were long lost brothers, and he goes: “That’s entirely possible! My dad was never in the picture. He was a traveling biker who just hooked up with my mom one night.” A chill ran through my body. This was REALLY weird because my dad was a tattoo artist and notorious biker who traveled in the area this guy lived when he was growing up.
I thought it was a long shot but I said, “Hey! Ask your mom if his name is James Jobin! Wouldn’t that be crazy if we are brothers?!” He laughed and agreed that would be funny, and said he’d ask his mom the next morning before I got into town. Then he blocked me on everything. Instagram, Facebook, text. Absolute radio silence.
I’ve made other accounts to check up on him and see how he’s doing, but I’ve never reached back out. The thought that I could really have a brother is bittersweet for me—I respect his right to have contact with me or not, but it does break my heart a little every time I think about him. Plus, I just don’t have a closure on what the truth really is.
One of my aunts raised another aunt’s baby as her own. My mom had four sisters and a brother, all of whom got married and had kids, so I have around 20 cousins. Unfortunately, three of my aunts got breast cancer in their 30s. All three recovered, but years later the youngest, Maria, got it again and it got worse. Maria needed a bone marrow transplant.
All her sisters and children got tested, but no one matched. The family then revealed the truth. Maria had had a teenage pregnancy, and her first child was actually my cousin John, who had been adopted and raised by my oldest aunt as her second child. None of the cousins knew about this, including John and his revealed-to-be adoptive siblings.
As a result, the family asked John to get tested and he was a match, so he agreed to donate bone marrow to his birth mom, Maria. John was in his late 20s at the time and had had very little contact with Maria over his life. The transplant took, but Maria eventually succumbed a year or so later. Luckily, none of my female (or male) cousins have gotten breast cancer since. We are all still vigilant and self-check ourselves regularly.
My brother Russell was 12 years older than me, and I cannot remember a day of my childhood without thinking of him. My earliest memories are of him and me at a park. We shared a room together and I remember the fun we used to have late at night playing pillow forts and telling stories. I loved Russell and still do. When I was seven, he perished in a car accident.
At his funeral, I found out that Russell was not my brother, but someone my parents took in because he had a bad home life. It messed my head up trying to grasp this, but I am happy that my parents had the compassion to take care of him and treat him as their own and that he was such a big part of my life. To this day, I still consider him my brother and miss him every day. I love you, Russell.
My grandma didn't drive. I thought she couldn't, but it was just never discussed. One day when I was maybe seven or eight, I'd been trying to get someone, anyone, to drive me to the store for candy. We were visiting my aunt and uncle, and my grandma lived with them. They had Bit-O-Honey at the local store, which I could no longer get at home, but no one would take me to the store.
Finally, I said I'd just ask grandma, and my cousin chimes in with, "Grandma can't drive." She had an immediate comeback. "Oh, you bet your sweet behind I can drive. They just don't let me!" Grandma had overheard and she was very offended. But that's all that was said about it at the time and my aunt finally took me to the store, so I forgot about it…until much later.
Years later, when I'd just gotten my license, I asked my mom what was up with grandma not driving. The whole story came out. She explained that during prohibition, grandma boot-legged moonshine, and she was very successful at it. She was so successful at it, in fact, that when the moonshiners were finally busted, even though the revenuers never caught my grandma, her license was suspended by the state "to never be reissued."
Later in life, she was told she could petition for it back but it came with an admission of guilt or some such. She told 'em to get lost.
After my grandfather passed, we found out he had fathered a child when he was posted in Italy during WWII. But that’s just the beginning of the saga. He never knew, because his mother intercepted any letters from the Italian girl who was the mother. So my grandfather finally came home, met and married my grandmother, and had four children.
I forget who in the family found out and how. It's crazy to think we have a whole Italian family out there! My oldest aunt is 77 so this “kid” would be at least 79 by now I would think. We've considered doing the DNA testing, but some family members aren't comfortable with how those companies could use the information.
It's a really sad story, but if his mother hadn't intercepted the letters, I wouldn't exist. It's a weird place to be in emotionally!
When I was a kid, my dad would take my brother and me to a woman named Kathy’s house. Kathy would buy us computer games and stuff so, of course, we loved her at the time. The weird thing was that my mother really hated Kathy and I never understood why. When I turned 18 my mom told me the secret about Kathy: She was having an affair with my dad.
Weirdly, Kathy ended up marrying my dad's best friend. As an adult, I was never nice to her and my dad would give me grief about it. I finally told him that I knew about her and that mom had told me everything. He just said, "Oh, alright then." He never gave me trouble about it again.
When I was eight, I got a cat named Toes. She was a big, fluffy, gray, long-haired kitty with white feet. A really sweet kitty. I went away to visit my grandparents for the weekend and when I came home, my mom broke the news to me that Toes had been hit by a car and passed. I was terribly upset, but mom took me to a shelter and we adopted a new kitty almost right away.
Many years later, when I was probably 21, my mother called me and sounded very upset. She said she had something to tell me. It turns out that Toes had not been hit by a car that weekend. He had, instead, climbed into the warm clothes dryer to sleep and mom didn't see him and loaded the dryer with a blanket she had washed. She then found Toes when she opened the dryer an hour later.
My dad's mom and his grandma, my grandmother and great-grandmother, stepped in and arranged to move my family—dad, mom, me, and my two siblings—into a ranch-style home in a nice suburb. They also arranged for my dad to attend night school to become an electrician. He previously worked at golf courses in the clubhouse or pro shop.
My mom worked in various retail jobs when us kids were very small. My folks had always rented, and the house we were staying in was a rundown shack with a terrible landlord. So, my dad's mom wanted to help us improve our lives. They wanted our family to have a chance at homeownership and just a generally better quality of life.
When I became an adult, mom revealed to me that, as they were getting ready to move, they were quite far behind on the rent. They were stressing about how they'd pay it back on top of the new house payments. Well, that is until the landlord suddenly stopped harassing them. No more phone calls, never showed up at the door again. Just gone.
So, my parents just kinda shrugged it off, eventually forgetting the debt. The truth was absolutely horrific. It turned out that the landlord had fallen down a well and perished before he was found. Mom and dad eventually heard about it a couple of months after we moved into the new house. It turned out the next of kin couldn't locate the rental agreement, so couldn't prove anything as far as the back rent.
My mom was cheating on my dad with my now-stepfather. My parents divorced when I was really young (about one year old), so I don't remember anything about that. When I would ask as a curious kid why they split up, they both said that they just fell out of love. I already had a feeling that this was not true because through my grandma I knew the divorce was in 1996, but my mom and stepfather started dating in 1995.
On my 18th birthday, my stepfather confessed to me in private that they had an affair all that time ago and he still feels awful, because he feels like he broke up that family. I told him that it was okay, because everyone is happy now and I already kind of knew it. Some years later, though, more information came to light. My stepmother told me that my mom actually kicked out my dad without telling him why.
She said she just "needed a break"—remember she just had a newborn and my dad could barely see me at the beginning. My dad later found out through the landlord that my stepfather had moved in. Like, moved into the house my dad rented with his wife where his newborn daughter was now living with a stranger. To this day, I don't know how my dad managed to overcome this without starting a huge fight.
I never talked to my parents about it. Just once when my mom was having a rant about a neighbor who left her husband for another man, I told her that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I hope you know what that saying means—she definitely did.
My dad always had weird behavior around toy pistols and stuff like that. He seemed to be afraid of them. It was only when I was 18 years old that my mom decided to tell me the reason. My dad was 15 years old and he was hanging out with a bunch of friends at one of their houses. Everyone was having a good time until the worst thing imaginable happened.
The kid whose house they were at suddenly went upstairs, grabbed his father's pistol, and came back down calling everyone's attention. He then put the pistol to his head, squeezed the trigger, and collapsed behind a couch. They all thought it was some sort of sick joke at first until they looked over the couch and saw his body and the blood.
I'm amazed how my dad turned out to be such a great man having to experience something awful like that at such a young age, but according to him, it's something that never left him either. He still has nightmares about it and gets really uneasy in movies and TV shows when they show someone getting shot in the head.
When I was 24 years old, I went with my father to have our wills and other important documents updated. That is when he told me that if he passed, "someone" may come claiming to be his daughter, but that it wasn't true and instructed me on how to properly defend his estate from such an event. He wouldn't give me any details though, and I just dropped it.
Then, about a year ago, the supposed daughter found and contacted me on Facebook. I didn't respond at first, because I thought it was some junk friend request, but they also contacted my mother, who verified that it was who they said they were. So, yeah, I had a short conversation with her through Messenger. She sounded honest enough, but I was cautious and skeptical.
That’s when I brought it up to my father, who got really really mad and told me the following...
Basically, my father moved away from his dysfunctional, poor family in Florida to Texas where he had a job lined up. He was out on his own and finally making money, though not much. I don't know how he met this woman, but they did get together and got married within a short time. She was quick to move in and share everything with him.
The woman soon got pregnant and my presumed sister was born. My father loved her. In fact, I recently found pictures of the two of them together, and he was definitely happy. Then "something" happened. From my father’s rantings, I can piece together that his wife took almost everything he earned, ran up a lot of credit debt, and that sort of thing.
When he complained to her about it, her family started threatening him. To quote him, "they were the type of people, who would show up at your work causing trouble, and destroy your car as they left, just because they didn't like you." Now, by this time his daughter was almost three years old, and besides these supposed events, they had been living happily the entire time.
Surprisingly, it was his wife who started the divorce. Her family had money, and my father—who was alone—did not, and they went hard on him in false accusations. My father was still fighting though, but when it looked like he might "win", they claimed that his daughter was not his and how his wife had always been sleeping with some other man.
It was apparently convincing enough that my father still believes that to be true to this day. There was never a paternity test—as far as I know, anyway—but my father apparently signed away any claim to be her father and he wasn't ordered to pay any child support. But that wasn’t the last we heard of her. No, not at all.
According to my mother, his supposed daughter would show up at our house or apartment alone occasionally, trying to talk with my father, even once on my 9th birthday—though I don't remember her. However, that strikes me as a little odd, as she couldn't have been more than 12 years old at the time. I guess someone would've had to know where we lived and driven her there.
We are still friends on Facebook, but we kind of have an understanding that we may or may not be brother and sister. The only way we would know for sure is to have a sibling paternity test, which could let us know within a reasonable probability, but not for certain, unless my father participated too. And we pretty much decided that we couldn't put him through that as he seems to be very traumatized by whatever happened back then.
She is a mother and has a caring family now though. Supposedly, her mother remarried, then something happened to her mother, who's no longer in her life. Her step-father took her in, and she hasn't had any contact with her biological family. I suppose that is part of the reason why she wanted to get to know my father, he is the only one she knows that could be her biological father.
When I was a kid, my dad built an animal enclosure for our bunnies, guinea pigs, chinchillas, and hamsters. One morning I went outside and saw the enclosure was moved to the dirt and all the animals were gone! It looked like they dug under the gate and ran away. I thought that’s what happened but over 10 years later I was told the truth.
My mom told me that some psycho teenagers opened the cage and let their dog loose and it destroyed all our animals. She said that on that fateful morning, she and my dad had to quickly clean all the blood and body parts before any of us woke up. That’s one of the reasons we moved. I wish I never knew that.
My father tried to kill my mother while she was pregnant with me. He never got charged, and I found out about this when I was 20, after my mom told me in private. She said back then, my father had a drinking problem and he would get really violent sometimes. She said something to him one time so he grabbed a knife, pushed her next to an open window, and put the knife at her throat.
He then made her choose between jumping from the fourth floor or getting her throat slit. My mom said she cried and begged him to think of the unborn baby (me). Some neighbors heard the noise and intervened. They managed to take the knife away from him, and she was safe. But here's the brutal kicker. My mom is religious and doesn't believe in divorce, and they're still together after 45 years.
His violent tendencies toned down after me and my brothers were old enough to knock him out if he tried that again. However, I'm the only one in my family, besides my mom, who knows this happened. I've always had problems with him, but I hated him bitterly after my mom told me what happened then and other times as well.
My dad was born in rural Texas in 1915. He was the youngest of 10 kids, all a year apart, so his oldest sibling, Henry, was about 11 years older than him. My dad’s father passed in an accident not long after he was born, so Henry became the “man of the house” at about age 11. When my dad was about nine years old, in 1924, disaster struck.
A gang of men came through their small town, kidnapping children to work picking cotton about 400 miles away. Apparently this was not an unusual occurrence at the time. My dad and two of his siblings were taken. Henry, who was now 18, came home from working on a cattle drive about a week later, and found his mother in pieces about the kidnapping of three of her children.
Being the man of the house, Henry strapped on his father’s six guns—dual holsters, one on each hip—and set out to get his three siblings back. He gathered clues about the gang from other townsfolk who also had children who were taken. He headed east to where he was pretty certain the kids were taken, riding in empty train boxcars and even on the roofs of moving trains.
It took him several weeks, but through talking to locals along the way who heard rumors of child abductions, he finally narrowed it down to a few cotton farms where he thought the kids were. My dad had tears in his eyes when he told me this part of the story. He and two of his brothers, along with about a dozen other kidnapped kids, had been held captive on this cotton ranch for over two months.
They had given up ever seeing home or the rest of their family again. They were kept locked in a barn, fed scraps, and forced to pick cotton in the hot Texas sun. They were beaten if they cried or refused to work. One day, working in the fields, they heard a miraculous sound. It was Henry’s voice calling their names. They looked up and saw my uncle Henry walking towards them.
They started running toward him when one of their captors rode up on a horse and started yelling. Henry pulled one of his pistols and shot the man. My dad wasn’t even sure if the man had a weapon, and it didn’t matter. The shot drew a couple more of the rancher/captors over, and Henry shot them both as well. My dad ran up and hugged my uncle, and he told them “let’s go home.”
My dad tells me they rode on and in train boxcars all the way back west to their little Texas town, along with a couple other kids who were taken from the town. When they got back to their small farm, my dad said his mom fainted when she saw them. He said Henry put the six guns away, and never touched them again. Not ever.
There was no law enforcement, no investigation about what had happened, no mention in town that my uncle had taken the lives of three men to get his siblings back. It was basically still the “Wild West” in Texas in the 1920s. The boys eventually all served and survived WWII. My dad didn’t tell me this story until after Henry had passed.
I had always known my uncle Henry as a sweet, soft-spoken, diminutive (he was about five foot four, and maybe 100 pounds) man who went on to own a printing shop. I would never have imagined him capable of the feats of heroics he performed, at age 18, to bring his family back together. Obviously, I'm so grateful he found it in himself.
My biological grandfather threatened to kill my grandmother while she was very young and pregnant with my uncle. Long story short, my grandfather was engaged to someone else at the time. My grandmother became a nervous wreck while pregnant and wouldn’t leave the house, and my grandfather used to throw bricks through her window.
Eventually, she told some of her friends about what he’d threatened to do to her. Shortly after that he went missing, never to be seen or heard from again. We always kind of laughed and joked that one of her friends must have threatened him or “ran him out of town.” We would even go as far as to say someone might have offed him for her.
It wasn’t until we were going through her boxes of photos and “love letters” that we realized she was actually friends with the infamous British mobsters the Kray twins...
My uncle tells the story that when he was a kid, his older brother wanted him to go out hunting with him in the woods near their house. They woke up really early and started walking much deeper into the woods than they usually did, and way off the normal trails they used. Then my uncle realized his brother was letting him get further and further ahead.
He stopped and turned around—and witnessed a horrific sight. He saw his brother starting to bring the shotgun up in his direction. He asked him what the heck was he doing, and his brother said, "Oh, I thought I saw something." My uncle decided to go back at that point. Later that week, he went back and found a pit that someone had dug a bit further off the trail.
He never went anywhere with his brother alone again. Both of them are my mother’s brothers, and the wannabe Cain was a narcissist of the "not letting a silly thing like being married get in the way of his dating life" variety. He actually decided he had big dreams and bailed on his family when I was a kid, then proceeded to fatally overdose.
I usually don't think of him as my uncle because I didn't have a real relationship with him. I’m not sure why he didn't shoot my uncle—sometimes I think he might have wanted it to look more like an accident, or didn't want to look his brother in the eye. I obviously can’t prove the story, but the way that my other uncle described it, he was really afraid of his brother and thought he was capable of fratricide.
My parents had a nasty divorce, which was often accompanied by a lot of trash talking about each other. There was a lot of “well your mother blah blah blah” and “your dad is such and such,” most of which I would just ignore because it was incredibly immature and embarrassing, until one day my mom broke out an enormous revelation.
My siblings and I were just watching TV in the living room one day and the conversation moved to my dad coming to town to visit, and my mom overheard. The mere mention of dad prompted this woman to stop whatever she was doing, come into the living room, and say something along the lines of: “Talking about your dad again, huh? Did you know that he was molested?”
My dad had never mentioned anything about this in the 18 years that I lived with him, which is understandable. To this day, I have no idea why my mom felt the need to blurt that out to the three of us, or why it is she thought that being a victim was a stain on someone’s character, but it was a really weird way to find out something so deeply personal about my dad.
Just to ease my conscience, my mom was actually a great mom. She practically raised us on her own, and the divorce wasn’t her fault in the slightest. She got hit with the passing of both of her parents and a divorce all within a two-year time span, on top of losing the house. This was completely out of character for her, which is part of why it caught all of us off guard.
She’s a good woman who said something awful that she now regrets, but it's out there now.
My great uncle was slain along with his wife. Meanwhile, the suspect was run down and got stuck in a swamp before shooting himself in the head. The strange particulars: My uncle, his wife, and the suspect were all deaf/mute, and the suspect was renting a room from them. This happened in the 40s, and no one ever found the motive…until recently.
A few years ago, I took a DNA test, and found that I had cousins who were descended from the suspect’s wife. Yep, turns out my great uncle was cuckolding the guy.
My mom and older brother are not biologically related to me. My bio mom passed sometime after I was born, leaving me, my sister, and my dad behind. My brother was the one that told me. My parents never told me because they wanted to protect me from the truth, but my brother thought that was a stupid reason for me to not know. I don't know if my parents know that I know the truth, but I don't want to bring it up either.
My biological mom immigrated here along with my older brother when he was a kid. My dad also immigrated here and my sister and I were born after he came. I don't know much about our family history beyond that. My brother revealed this information around when I was 18. He isn't the type to lie about something like this. He also said my sister is apparently aware of the truth because she has a memory of my bio mom being in physical contact with her.
I don't think too differently about my family because of this, my mom is still my mom.
My father got a girl pregnant and she decided to go it alone, so she moved across the state and had my half-sister. She met a guy, married, and he raised her like she was his own. They had no other children, and she didn't reveal my dad's identity until after he passed. Apparently, the woman had contacted my grandma and mom, but they kept it from us. Instead, it came out in the worst way.
Years later, my half-sister had a kid with medical issues and needed to know family medical history. She contacts mom and grandma, who again don't tell us. Meanwhile, after dad passed, my uncle had prints made of a favorite picture of dad. He gets them framed and gives them to all us kids, as well as my grandma, aunts, and uncles. Mom gets a picture to our half-sister after their secret meeting. Fast forward another few years.
My brother and his roommate live in a nearby large city, hit a bar, and pick up and bring home some ladies to "sleep over." The next morning, my half-sister sees a photo on the mantle and turns white. She asks, "Whose picture is that?" "Oh, that's my roommate's dad. He passed on a long time ago." "I need to talk to your roommate." She lived her entire life across the state.
Hundreds of miles. Her friend was going to school in a large city near our hometown. She was visiting, and they decided to go to the bar. They get picked up by my brother and his roommate. That's how we found out. My brother went to my grandma and asked about her, and grandma first denied it, then gave in and spilled the beans. Small world. And thank GOD she slept with the roommate and not him.
After my mom passed, I found out the real story behind my parent's marriage. She came to my father's country to visit some of her relatives. She met my father, and after just one week she asked him to marry her so she could stay in the country. My father accepted because he had no one else and his parents were pressing him to get married already anyway.
But the highlight of the story is that over some time, the two of them fell in love with each other. Their love only grew over time and they were really happy together. My mother spent her last days very ill, and she would accept only my father by her bedside. He swears to this day that she was an angel sent from God to take care of him. I am shocked that they got married just like that, out of the blue, and ended up loving each other so, so, so deeply.
I can only hope to have as good and loving of a marriage as they had.
As a young teenager, my grandma shot her horrific father in the back while he was sleeping. He had been mistreating her and all her siblings, and she ran away after being hidden by her brother for some time. Her father survived, though. Thankfully, my grandma never faced any consequences, but she was batty until the day she passed. My aunt told me all this at her funeral because I asked why grandma was the way she was.
My mom's parents divorced not long before I was born, then two years later my grandfather remarried a woman I’ll call Patty. Then, my biological grandmother passed, so, when I was growing up, my grandfather's new wife, Patty, was basically my grandmother. Now, Patty is a little weird. She means well but tends to put her foot in her mouth and ask people weirdly personal questions. Still, she's family, so whatever.
Except, growing up, my mom and her two siblings hated Patty. When I was younger it was kind of minor, just occasional snide comments behind her back, but as I got older it became increasingly clear that they couldn't stand the woman. It was always so odd to me—yeah she was a goof, but whatever, lots of people in our family had quirks.
Then, when I was in my 20s, my grandfather passed. As I was sitting down with my mom, going over some old photos of my grandad, there was a picture of Patty that my mom immediately made a rude comment about. I finally asked, "Why do you guys hate her so much?" My mom looked at me, confused, then realization dawned on her. "Oh, we never told you, did we?"
So, it turned out that the reason my biological grandparents got divorced was because my grandfather had been cheating on my grandmother with Patty. This had been going on for more than a decade before the divorce. My mother and her siblings didn't hate her because she was weird, they hated her because she was a homewrecker.
It seemed kind of unfair to me that they directed all their hate at Patty since my grandfather was just as, if not more, guilty, but I guess that's what people do. The funeral I think actually kind of gave my Mom and her siblings a chance to put those bad feelings to rest, because after it, they all started being a lot nicer and more civil towards Patty.
When I was a kid, I used to be friends with the woman next door, who was about 20 years old. I’ll call her Anne. Anne was my best friend because she would read to me, or play with me or take me for walks. One morning, I woke up and her dad was at my house and gave me a painting she made. Then my parents told me that Anne had to move to another city for work and she left me the painting to remember her.
Sometime later, we moved to another city, but then we returned, years after when my dad passed. I was surprised that Anne’s dad and sister were still living there. They told me the horrible truth about dear Anne. Anne hadn’t moved for work, she’d perished in a car accident back then. They decided to lie to me because they didn’t want to hurt me.
A somewhat distant cousin of mine came home from WWI completely shell-shocked and was institutionalized. One day, he turned up at home, saying he was cured and released. Nothing could be further from the truth. He then took his family to a cliff-side park to celebrate with a picnic. About halfway through the picnic, he took their two older children to the edge of the cliff and pushed them over.
He then took his baby from his wife's arms and threw the child over the side. His wife fell over the cliff trying to get to the children. He then jumped over after all of them. As you can imagine, it was all over the national papers. I only found all of this out one day when I thought I'd take a little break during my lunch to do some genealogy stuff. It was not the lunch break I had planned.
I'm the only child between my mom and dad, but they both had children from previous relationships. All of my siblings were 15+ years older than me. When I was seven, everything unraveled in the most brutal way. My mom and dad split because my dad "had feelings" for my mom's oldest daughter, who actually already had four kids.
Ok, gross, but both adults, so whatever. Cut to 13 years or so later and my dad is suddenly all involved in the life of one of the kids of that sister. 20-year-old me was oblivious as to why this was happening. It took me another seven years to put all the pieces together that my dad was actually the father of that kid. I had grown up thinking she was just my niece, but she was in reality my half-sister-niece.
I've never discussed it with anyone in my family. My mom passed before I put all the pieces together. But wait...there's more! My family and I are all from Mississippi. Cue Deliverance banjo music. My dad was born in 1945, so unsurprisingly, he's super prejudiced. Well, that sister-niece of mine? She ended up having two kids with a Black man.
Anyway, karma's a witch. Cheat on my mom with your step-daughter, get her knocked up, basically have nothing to do with said child's life, then the child goes and commits, in his eyes, probably the biggest betrayal possible. I would throw a chef's kiss right here except all I really care about from this story is the pain it must have put my mom through, and I was too young or oblivious to be there for her. Miss you, Cotty.
A few years before he passed, my dad and I had a long heart-to-heart, at the end of which he told me he wasn’t the one to first sleep with my mom on their honeymoon. And the plot thickens. Apparently, he caught her in bed with her cousin, who she had been in love with for a long time. He spoke with their pastor, who told him to forgive and forget.
That worked...until six years later, when he caught her again with the same cousin. He told me he wanted to leave with me but ultimately decided to stay, because he wanted me to have a family. With all that happened in my childhood, and to him (workaholic, diabetes, heart attack), I wish he’d left that day and been happy instead.
My great uncle told his wife that their son passed right after being born. But that was a huge lie. Instead, he gave him up to the state because he had Down's Syndrome. They had twins, a boy and a girl, and he somehow hid it from the whole family for about 40 years that both of them had actually survived, but they’d only brought the girl home.
We only found out when the family lawyer had terminal cancer and, overwrought with guilt, he contacted the twin sister to tell her she has a living brother who lives in a home run by the state. I guess the lawyer had helped my great uncle with the whole thing and still felt terrible about it. Also, for some added context, my great uncle was extremely wealthy. He could have easily paid for multiple caregivers to help his son, and it wouldn't have affected his life at all.
My mother had a child when she was a teenager, and she had given him up for adoption to a family. After this, she went to college, got her degree, married my father, and gave birth to my four siblings and myself. ~30 years after giving her child up for adoption, I remember her getting a phone call and immediately locking herself in her room. I was about 12 at the time.
I remember feeling scared because I could hear my mom crying, but she didn’t want to see anybody or talk about why she was crying. On an evening later that week, my parents sat each of us kids down and told us about my mom’s past and explained that my half-brother had reached out to my mom, wanting to meet her and get to know her. My dad had known ever since he and mom were dating in college, and I believe my oldest sister had been told previous to this point.
But the rest of my siblings and I and all of the in-laws on my dad’s side didn’t know about this part of her past. We are fairly religious and conservative, so it was really shocking at first. My mom then flew out to the state where my half-brother lived and met him. Both my mom and my half-brother were very nervous about the whole thing, but by the end of their trip and meeting each other, they got to rebuild a relationship.
After a bit of time, my siblings and I got to meet him too. Fast-forwarding to now, he’s since moved to our same state and we see him much more frequently. He’s in all of our family pictures, we see him occasionally for holidays and birthdays, and we all see him as part of our family. We’re a very close-knit and extroverted family, while he is much shyer, so at times he can be a bit more distant than we would like, but we give him his space.
I know my mom stays in close touch with him, and we love it when he’s able to make it for family dinners and whatnot. Back then, I was the youngest and, up until then, the only boy in my family, so I loved learning that I had an older brother. Now that I’m an adult, I sometimes get his old clothes because we’re roughly the same size. He’s got good taste too so I really lucked out, ha.
I love that this family secret was spilled and that we were able to welcome my brother into our family and have him in our lives.
My Grandparents had moved the family around a bit before settling down here in Hawaii when my parents were very young: Mainland US, Europe, and Africa. One day, my siblings and I went over to my grandpa's house and there was a gentleman there who I've never seen before. He seems familiar with my grandparents and seems like an old foreign university acquaintance.
After dinner, this stranger takes me and the other grandkids aside privately and sits us down. We were all like "What's happening and who exactly is this guy?" Then he just erupts into tears. He then goes on a massive rant about how amazing my grandfather is. During his travels, my grandfather was teaching English to children in Nigeria.
While there, the village "assigned" him an unpaid laborer to take care of the day-to-day chores. The laborer did things around the house like doing laundry, defending my dad against snakes, and making sure my toddler father didn't step into a trail of army ants. Anyway, that laborer had a bunch of kids. Apparently, my mild-mannered anorexic-looking grandpa has spent the last 40 plus years sending money to this laborer.
The laborer used the money for his kids and it helped send them to school and college. Now, the eldest son—who was the stranger we were talking to—is a doctor with a family of his own. I was kind of amazed. My Grandpa had kept that close to the vest for over 40 years. Talk about humility.
My mom regularly says things without thinking and will reveal truths she forgot she told me about. When I was a kid, her boss would babysit me at her work so she didn’t have to get daycare. He would always put on the Horton Hears A Who VHS and let me look through his rock collection. He was great and we thought of him as family. So, when he passed from illness after we moved, I was very bummed.
A few years later, I was at my mom’s house, and something reminded me of him. I mentioned him to my mom and she says: “Oh yeah, it’s so crazy that he committed suicide.” I told my mom that she was wrong, that he’d gotten sick. Then she told me the truth. They’d lied about his illness and he’d actually hung himself. It was very sad that someone who brought so much joy to my life was going through such a struggle and I never knew.
1990, I was five years old. I'm at my dad's house after he left for four months to Tennessee. He frequently did that because he supposedly loved the state. My mom is watching America's Most Wanted, and a segment involved a man in Tennessee being slain, with a sketch of the last person to see the victim alive. When I saw it, my blood ran cold.
The sketch was an exact image of my dad. Supposedly, a mutual friend of my parents went to the local law enforcement on other business and the deputy asked, "Hey, have you seen Rich lately?" The friend responded, "Sure, a couple of weeks ago I saw him downtown." They insisted that if anyone saw my dad, they needed to talk to him.
If he did do it, he's an extremely good liar because he was never brought on charges to my knowledge. I've been estranged from him since I was eight.
We once found a "family photo album" in my whacky aunt’s house. We started flipping through the plastic pages and BOOM! Photos of my aunt at a very graphic swinger’s party. There had to be like 20-30 people in these photos. It was back in the 80s, I’d imagine, and everyone was so hairy and ugly. I guess Aunt Jan has some specific tastes.
It's a funny story that only me and my brothers know. We've always considered our Aunt Jan to be very weird, but after seeing that album it all kind of all made sense. Nice lady, though.
My dad's grandfather and his friends took the life of a Fish and Wildlife ranger, more or less openly, and got away with it. They would go on an annual hunting trip, and this was long enough ago that they did this by taking a train of pack mules out into the wilderness in rural Northern California. They would spend a couple of weeks at least nominally hunting, but mostly drinking really heavily.
One year, a ranger shot one of my great-grandpa’s friends. The ranger (who I'm inclined to believe, for what it's worth) said it was an accident. What certainly wasn't an accident, although they maintained in their story that it was, was that on the next year's trip, they encountered the same ranger, and that time the ranger was the one who was shot and perished.
It was ruled accidental, no charges were ever filed, but I've heard enough other stories about what kind of man my great-grandfather was to know that what he did to that man was 100% on purpose. I never met him, but my dad knew him well and believes the same thing as me. To me, it's a really frightening example of the kinds of things people got away with in small towns and in rural areas back then.
It was an extremely isolated area...there were hardly any roads even. My dad says he remembers my great-grandfather bragging in the bar about it, and nothing ever came of it.
I had some family move to Las Vegas with a local church’s money—it was close to a million dollars—to open a new church for them in Sin City. Well, they gambled it all away. They came back and, unsurprisingly, the church told them to screw off. Instead of thinking about their choices, they started their own church that allowed them to buy multi-million dollar houses, brand new cars for them and their kids, basically a luxury lifestyle.
They now sell merchandise at the front door to their church, and members are required to provide bank information. These family members tithe 10% of the monthly household income from all families. If you don't pay up, they kick you out. They also tell you how to eat and exercise. If you don't follow these rules, guess what? They kick you out.
They put the church in an old movie theatre, so they have multiple stages, full lighting, and AV crews. They do love offerings when they need extra cash. God tells them to take trips—like, apparently they told their congregation God told them to ride motorcycles through the Grand Canyon. One of my relatives even claimed he had healing powers for a short amount of time and got SAINT tattooed down his arm.
The whole nine yards. They've cut contact with all our family because we won't be part of their church. Also, their church is well known in our city and local area, but no one has stepped foot in it.
My dad's friend shot himself in the head in front of my dad and some other friends when he was 15 years old. They were all hanging out at the friend's house having a good time when the friend went upstairs, grabbed his father's pistol, and came back down, calling everyone's attention as he did so. He then put the pistol to his head, squeezed the trigger, and collapsed behind a couch.
They all thought it was some sort of sick joke at first, until they looked over the couch and saw his body and the blood. I first heard this story from my mom when I was 18, which explained some of my dad's behavior toward toy guns when I was a kid, but I never brought it up with him. I just hoped that one day he would open up to me about it. Eventually he did, but we haven't talked about it since then.
I'm amazed at how my dad turned out to be such a great man after having to experience something awful like that at such a young age. According to him, it's something that never left him, either. He still has nightmares about it and gets really uneasy in movies and television shows when they show someone getting shot in the head.
My mother supposedly has a fraternal twin. My grandmother couldn't handle the thought of two kids, so she gave the male child away to someone she knew who was moving away. My mom found this out in the worst way. In a rage one night way back when, my grandmother screamed at my mom that she kept the wrong child; this event was never mentioned before or after that moment.
My mom was roughly 12 at the time. She asked my great-grandmother about it, and she knew the boy's name but not where they moved to or who he was living with. My mom actually had met him once but didn't know who he actually was. My grandmother now denies it ever happened and my grandfather felt that "surely they'd have had to tell me." I doubt they would have, though.
When she was pregnant with me, my mom asked my great-grandmother what my middle name should be: My middle name is actually her long-lost brother’s middle name.
In the late 1960s, my maternal grandmother’s husband divorced her and gave her partial custody of their two boys. During one of the visits, she took off with her two kids and moved them from North Dakota to California. Her entire family was Seventh Day Adventist, which is a tight-knit community. So when she moved to California, she found an area that was very Seventh Day Adventist and sort of waited, knowing that the community would protect her from the authorities.
Keep in mind that her previous husband had not been accused of anything and she was just mad that she did not get full custody of the children. This arrangement lasted from about 1968 until 1971, until finally she had a falling out between either her adopted mother or her cousin and they called up her husband, who then came and got the kids.
My grandmother did not receive any real charges for the kidnapping but was not permitted to see the kids again. As far as I know, she has not seen either child since 1971. The Seventh Day Adventist Church later paired her with another parishioner who would become my grandfather. Neither my mom nor my aunts have ever met their half-brothers.
This was never kept secret from the family, it’s just not something that we bring up a lot. Also, my grandmother continued to talk about them obsessively right into her old age. According to my mom, she had a framed picture of them walking away from her. The story behind the picture is that they did not like living with her and so when their dad came for them, they walked away from her and did not look back for the last photo.
My mom and dad were in high school when they had me. They were broken up and on bad terms before I was even born. My dad moved to California for the Marines and school. I stayed in the South with my mom. My grandmother—my dad's mom—stepped in to fill the void my dad left and helped my mom raise me. My dad was the classic estranged father.
I'd maybe see my dad for a few days every year or two, but by the time I was close to becoming a teenager, there'd be years between visits. When I was younger, I always had him on a pedestal even though I hardly ever saw him or spoke to him. But I could always count on hearing from him when a new game console came out.
I've been a huge gamer my entire life, so my dad would always buy and send whatever the newest console/gaming innovation was at the time. It's always been our thing, starting with a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Gold all the way to the PS4 Pro. Even over the last few months, he had been talking about getting me the new Xbox.
My grandmother passed away last month, so I've had to see and speak with my dad a lot more than usual. He told me he had been having trouble finding an Xbox but assured me that it would happen once everything settled down. I was talking with my Mom afterward and I mentioned the conversation in passing. She couldn’t help herself...and spilled a secret that broke my heart.
She told me that my grandmother had been buying everything for me and my dad was just taking the credit.
My parents told us they were "married in secret" until they found out my mom was expecting, and then they told their families about the marriage. It later came to light that they actually married on the same day that they found out my mom was pregnant, and lied to both their parents and to us to cover up that they had been having pre-marital relations. But that wasn't the doozy.
My father was an only child and his parents absolutely idolized him. They were very strict Catholics and very strict with my dad, never allowing him to play sports because they feared losing him or whatnot. My paternal grandmother had like five miscarriages. Anyway, after my dad's parents passed, he was going through their documents and he learned THEY had to get married in the same way, too.
Their wedding license was dated two months AFTER the date he had always been told! A very Catholic secret in a very Catholic family...
My stepfather was cheating on my mother. We didn’t find out because he was caught cheating; we found out because he and his mistress were drinking, got in a fight, and he punched her so hard that she fell over and died. We found out about the whole thing during the investigation, the trial, and the conviction. It was so bizarre.
It was weird to have a lawyer want to call 12-year-old me to the stand to defend the character of a man I already had very little interaction with, and certainly had a fear of—and that was before the manslaughter charge.
My favorite aunt and uncle, who were together for 15 years but never married, lived in a trailer park. Growing up, they were the funniest to be around. We would bake cookies, do paintings together, etc. Then my uncle passed in his sleep one day. I was told as a child, when I was maybe 10, that he passed from his diabetes; I'd seen him inject his stomach before, so I believed them.
Fast forward about six years. My aunt lived with my grandma at that point and was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now, I knew my aunt always smoked and drank a lot, but my mom decided to tell me then that she was also an addict, and up until my uncle passed they did a lot of hard substances together. That’s when it dawned on me. My uncle most likely overdosed.
This still didn't change the fact that I loved my aunt. She got sicker and sicker with cancer, and it even spread to her throat. She went into remission, but once it came back she gave up. I miss her so much.
I found out two years ago that my mother had a baby she gave up for adoption 18 months before she had me, and then had another baby when I was three that she also gave up for adoption. All three of us have different fathers, and I think the only reason she kept me was that my father married her, even though that marriage only lasted a year.
My mother remarried when I was five and my half-brother was born when I was seven. As far as I knew for 59 years, he and I were our mother's only children. I never saw her pregnant with the second baby either, because she sent me to live with my great-grandparents across the country during her pregnancy. My mother and grandmother were the only people who knew about this, and they both took the secret to their graves.
In fact, the only reason any of it was found out is because of all of the DNA testing people do now. This discovery really impacted my sense of identity for a while, my view of my mother, and our relationship. I've met my half-siblings, an older sister and younger brother. I like them and I'm glad I've been able to answer some of their questions, but the initial discovery really messed with me for a bit.
This all happened in the mid-late 1950s with my mother. Condoms weren't available to teenagers at the time, and there wasn't really abortion available, only homes for unwed mothers. She went to one when she got pregnant with my older sister because she was only 16. I don't know how my mother managed her pregnancy with my brother.
She would have been around 21 years old and probably made up some story about a long-gone husband or divorce or something with the help of her mother. I have never done DNA testing, but the half-siblings have done it, including the one I grew up with. The siblings found other relatives first and made their way to me eventually.
I don't think I will ever do DNA testing, because I'm done with surprises. The other relatives were the ones who told me about the siblings. Still, the story gets even wackier. The relatives were actually my mother's half-sisters, from the father she never met, who she never knew existed. They found me eight years ago after extensive genealogy research.
I also have a half-brother from my biological dad, whom I met for the first time a couple of months ago. I've known he existed since I was 19 but wasn't able to find him, and he finally found me. I'm 62 now. Quite frankly though, my adopted siblings were better off. Both my parents and my stepfather are now gone, though I don't believe my stepfather ever knew about the adopted babies. I think the only other person who knew was my grandmother.
My uncle didn’t actually have a stroke spontaneously. Rather, he deliberately stopped taking his blood thinners. He was 63 years old with a wife, four kids, and 15 grandkids, the oldest of which was 13 and the youngest was not even a year. But he was just done. His wife doesn’t know, his kids don’t know. I only know because I overheard the family doctor telling my dad.
As far as I know, only myself, the doctor, and my dad know what really happened.
When I was growing up, my grandfather hated anything Russian. If there were any news about them, he turned off the TV. If they played against any other team in hockey or something, he didn't watch it, even though he loved ice hockey and even if it was a World Cup Final or something. When I was a kid, I didn't understand why.
To me, he was just a retired carpenter and grandfather. When he passed, my uncle told me everything. How he served as a foreign volunteer for Finland in the winter war against the Soviet Union; my great-grandfather was from Finland. How his friends were taken as POWs and executed. He was even wounded and almost perished in the battle of Ilomansti, the last big battle.
My husband’s name wasn't actually his name. To be honest, he didn't know about this either. It was when we went to get his birth certificate for our marriage license that it all hit the fan. So lets say my husband's name is John Schmidt. Well, his birth certificate said John Jones. Our license says John Schmidt, and my husband swears when he got the license 20+ years ago, the birth certificate said John Schmidt.
The clerk’s office states that this was impossible. The only person they have on file is Jones. So, after calling and researching and digging around, the conclusion that I came to was this. Back in the 80s, he was “adopted” by his stepdad Papa Schmidt. But since it was the 80s and nobody cared about anything, instead of doing a proper name change, they just started using the last name Schmidt.
So my husband had to do an official name change, but it still doesn't explain how he had a birth certificate at one point that says Schmidt on it and not Jones. He swears up and down that’s what it said. So either it’s a fake memory or we are living in an alternate universe. Either way, $300 later and his name is officially Schmidt, which makes me one too...
My dad told me that before he and my mom had divorced, he hadn't been happy with her for several years. My mother even had a miscarriage at one point, which destroyed the both of them, but he couldn't leave her because he was afraid that she would hurt herself. So his only thought was to have another kid with her—me—so that motherly instinct would hopefully prevent her from hurting herself. Not a fun thing to find out.
When I was very young, my oldest cousin passed at the age of 23. I really liked him because he would take to me this local lake and we'd throw rocks into the water. I remember not understanding what was going on other than watching everyone be sadder than I ever knew was possible at the time, but I wasn't told why. Years later, I found out he took his own life. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Years after that, I found out what happened. My aunt found him hanging in the shed with a note saying he was gay, and based on how he heard the family talk about homosexuals, he thought they'd never accept him. To this day, they hold opinions I would deem hateful toward others, so honestly, I'm not sure he was completely wrong. Today he would be in his 50s.
My great-grandma passed when my grandma was four, and her father remarried a woman who had kids of her own. Well, my step-great-grandma used to beat my grandma and her siblings horrifically as soon as their father left the house. She also locked them in the basement all day, horrible stuff like that. Obviously, this had a negative effect on them.
My grandma grew up to do this to her own kids, for instance. More to the point, one of my great-uncles became an alcoholic. He also robbed graves. Apparently, he had kind of a thing for gold teeth, but he also took jewelry and stuff that he could sell to buy booze. My mom says she could remember him showing up at the backdoor when she was a kid, covered in dirt, and her mom would always take him in for a while, feed him, clothe him, etc.
Then he'd go right back out to drinking and doing the same stuff. Anyway, my mom always told me that this uncle passed in an accident. Several years ago, though, one of my uncles informed me that what really happened was that he was found passed out on someone's front lawn. They had called the authorities and when they arrived and tried to detain him, he woke up and started resisting, fighting the officers. So they used fatal force.
My mother often had stories like: "At your age, we got up at 4 am to work on the farm. After the job, we went home to have lunch with your grandfather, then we walked 10 miles to go to school, and when we were back, we used to work in the field in a tractor until it was 6 pm to go and cook dinner for your grandfather." And I would be like, "Yeah but…he didn't work the farm with you in the morning?" and she would immediately change the subject.
I learned in Easter that my grandfather had a drinking problem, got sloshed every night, didn't get up in the morning to go to work, or was in fake jobs to lie to the family and go to drink, all while the children had to go to elementary school and manage a farm. But it gets worse. He eventually went behind bars because he attacked the neighbor's children.
When he got out, he took out a loan of $30,000 in my grandmother's name and ran away with the money. Then he passed a few years later. My grandmother bought herself a used Ford LTD, and no one cried at the funeral.
When I was 28, I found out that my dad was not my biological father. This is how the news came out: My dad was battling depression and was suicidal, so I had just flown home to try to take care of him and rescue him from my mom's wrath. My mom had verbally and emotionally harmed him during their entire relationship. He loved her so much, and he tolerated it.
Well, during a solemn walk with my dad, as I tried to help him out, he made a heartbreaking confession. He confided that he's not my biological dad, and he went on to tell me he knew this all along, but my mom lied to him and tried to convince him that he was my biological father. He knew he wasn't, but he wanted to play the role. When I was 10 years old, my mom finally confessed this to him, and he was worried that upon hearing the news, officially, he'd somehow let this affect his relationship with me.
So, when I was 28 years old, during this walk with my dad, as he pours out this story to me, he frames it by telling me that his two most proud moments in his life are: (1) how I turned out and him raising me and (2) that the day he learned he wasn’t my bio dad, he had completely forgotten throughout the day and that it was only upon tucking me in that night that it briefly crossed his mind.
It was at that point that he knew nothing would ever come between us and our father-son relationship would be as awesome as ever. And then the other shoe dropped. He also confided to me that my mom used illicit substances while pregnant with me, and this broke his heart to witness firsthand. They were very poor, and my dad grew up in a foster home without parents.
My mom grew up with six siblings and ill-equipped parents. She dropped out of ninth grade, whereas all of her other siblings dropped out earlier—many of them are barely literate. I'm now in my mid-30s, and tragically, my dad did pass by suicide in mid-March 2020. I was out of the country at the time but immediately flew 30 hours and made it in time for his funeral. I do everything in his honor.
Last week I discovered that my dad passed two years ago...and no one bothered to tell me. I'd been looking for him. He was something of a drifter and most likely had Asperger's. I'm his only child. I stumbled across his headstone on findagrave.com while digging through Ancestry. His marker was labeled "beloved brother." My aunts and uncles are pieces of trash; I'm not hard to find.
I don't even know how he passed, but I do know he went alone. The state paid for his burial. I'm not okay. I'm still processing the whole thing so I'm not ready to confront my relatives. My dad was a good guy. He had his demons and my mother was one of them, but our estrangement wasn’t his fault. I'm my father's daughter, and I say that proudly.
I'm a veteran like he was, I'm a writer like he was, and I'm autistic as well, so I understand the gaps in contact. He was kind, smart, sarcastic, and just a good guy. He loved baseball and metal detecting.
My uncle served in Vietnam. While over there, his troop found a baby that had been orphaned or abandoned, they aren't sure. My uncle was shipping back to Australia soon and wanted to adopt him, but my aunt said no. They'd only been married about four months when he was drafted, so while I don't agree with my aunt's actions and generally don't like her as a person, I can understand why she said no.
My uncle's troop found a family to raise the baby, and that's the story the whole family knows. But there’s a secret. The secret is that my uncle and some other guys from his troop stayed in contact with the family and the kid, sending them money every month to help raise him and then to help him go to university and eventually helped him and his adoptive family move to Australia in the late 90s.
My aunt and the rest of my family had no idea all this time, it only came out when my aunt and uncle divorced in 2017 and she had a forensic accountant go through their bank records. She worked at a bank for like 40 years and always noticed the money missing, but his reasons were always justified. Since we all know now, my uncle has introduced some of us to the guy and his family. They're all really lovely people.
I see a lot of stories about people finding out that who they thought were their parents weren’t the people raising them, and this one is a little bit different. My dad always thought his father who raised him wasn’t his biological dad, and the father thought the same. He was treated terribly by his father because the father was told he couldn’t have children and my father was born prematurely but at a healthy weight.
So, everyone assumed my grandmother had an affair and got pregnant with my dad. It was to the point that after my grandmother passed, my grandfather failed to even mention to his new wife that he had a son and grandchild—i.e. me. Well, years later, my dad gets an AncestryDNA test for him and me. He finds out that his dad was actually his biological dad. It was shocking and sad.
I grew up in a Mexican family and have two younger cousins. My aunt married another Latino guy who basically looked white. The oldest child was a girl and came out looking exactly like her dad, full stop. The second was a boy and came out looking like....his mom? Maybe? He was dark dark. Like, I’m half-Black and this kid is darker than me.
But his mom was pretty brown as well, so we thought nothing of it. The kid looks like his mom, no big deal. Well, fast-forward 16 years later. They’re divorced and hate each other now. The daughter was always treated like a princess. The boy was rather spoiled too, but very much sought out his dad’s approval, which he just wasn’t getting.
He couldn’t figure out why. He’s acting out, getting in trouble, running with gangs. Boohoos about his dad all the time. Well, “dad” had enough and flat-out told him, “You’re not my kid. You’re mom cheated, and I don’t know who your dad is.” He even was kind enough to offer up a paternity test. His mother never said anything about it.
She took the ostrich approach and hoped it would go away. We know now his dad was a Pacific Islander, and while there IS one guy who has always been a family friend for many years, he took a paternity test too and was completely cleared. So the mystery remains on whom she cheated on her ex with. She says she doesn’t even know or remember now.
After my mom’s passing from an apparent suicide, my grandfather revealed that when she was in her teens, she accused him of molesting her right around the time he started cheating on his wife, her mother. It led to them not speaking for years until they reconciled and she allowed him to meet me and my brother. We always knew they had a falling out but didn’t know why. Only that’s not the end of the story.
Anyways, a few months after telling me, my grandpa drove a tractor out into the woods on his property and shot himself. He’d suffered a stroke a few years prior that left him mostly paralyzed on one side and he really struggled with it. At that point, I came to realize that either my grandfather truly did mistreat my mother and was never really brought to justice for it, or my mom was a liar to spite him.
And honestly, both are legitimate possibilities and I’ll never know what’s true...
Uncle-in-law passed in a tragic way…but he fully deserved it. It came out he was mistreating his children (he had been on the run) and his youngest son found him with his sisters. The ensuing beat-down resulted in the uncle getting a stroke and being bedridden until he passed. My aunt (his wife) basically left him to perish after that, too.
My cousin, the one who did the beating, was also the one who found his body. He delivered the news a day after, completely sloshed out of his mind. The uncle’s parents and siblings refused to give him a proper funeral, which is a big “screw you” in our culture, and instead buried him without a headstone. Again, I can’t say he didn’t deserve it.
My great-grandfather didn't go from cancer. He passed from complications after being shot when one of his businesses was being robbed. Maybe. See, he also spent a lot of time in Atlantic City. He also had a lot of partners in the Teamsters and other unions in coal country. Also, everyone called him "Smiling Tony,” but his name wasn't Tony.
He passed in the 60s, long before my time, but when my great-grandmother passed 20 years ago, a very old guy showed up to the funeral in a white suit, and all of the oldest people in my family kissed his hand. When I asked, no one knew who he was. My grandfather moved his family away from central Pennsylvania in the late 60s and disconnected from all of this but…there it is.
My dad passed two years ago. He and my mom were married for 34 years, and he was a good dad and husband. I have no bad memories of him. I was so, so wrong. I just found out that for the middle 10 years he was married, he was living a double life and had many mistresses on the side. Now my whole childhood feels like a sham. I don't know what was real and what was fabricated.
A cousin in my family had been secretly stalking and harassing another cousin for like three years, to a really bad degree. He eventually admitted it, however, he didn't face any consequences. He never gave any good reason for it at all and didn't even know the other cousin very well, he just randomly decided to start doing it. A lot of family members were in denial over it because he seemed like a nice guy.
This is years ago, and I only got a few rough details, but my father-in-law wound up getting caught in a sting…trying to purchase a teenage girl. This whole thing went very, very deep. Like, he had a separate apartment all set up, transferred the funds, and when he went to the "delivery" meet, the feds scooped him right up. He’s definitely the Black Sheep of the family now.
My mom’s side of the family are farmers. One particularly dry summer we were playing around with fireworks in a pasture and accidentally lit it on fire. Luckily there was an industrial hose attached to the well nearby, and we were able to turn it on and douse the flames before it got out of control. We didn’t tell anyone until 10 years later, when it came out to my parents and my aunt and uncle.
My uncle, who farmed the land, burst out laughing and told us that it must’ve been not long after that that he was at that property and obviously noticed the burned grass and askew hose. He put two and two together, but didn’t say anything because he figured kids were being kids, and we probably learned our lesson. I think we definitely did.
This happened in the 60s or 70s. One of my mom's second or third cousins fatally shot his father. The father was a raging jerk and mistreated his wife and the son, especially when he was drinking. Well, the father came home after the bar one night, started hurting the mom, and son had had enough and shot him. The guy spent a few years behind bars, but I think he lives a fairly normal life now.
I learned that my cousin called CPS on her parents because her mom was upset that she was out for two days without picking up her phone or calling and texting. She told CPS that her parents physically harmed her. Her dad was put behind bars for some time, her mom sat with the authorities for hours, her little brother ended up traumatized, and our grandparents became sick with worry.
Then two years later, she admitted that she lied because she wanted to get out of the house and get all the money that was in the account in her name but didn't want to wait until she was 18. This witch was 17 years and eight months old.
I learned that my parents "had" to get married. They always told us they got married in 1961, but it was 1962, just three months before my sister was born. What's amusing is that my father was an accountant who was insanely fast with math. Whenever he was asked how many years they'd been married, he'd be off by one. My mother would correct him through clenched teeth and then my father would nod and agree.
When my paternal grandfather passed, bizarre things began to happen. First, the federal government reached out to do a state funeral. Now, he'd been a career army guy and a colonel, so we didn't question it at first. But then the funeral came and they went ALL OUT! A huge procession, people showing up who are really big names, like heads of departments, senators, retired senators, people from the CIA and the State Department.
It was nuts and we were all super confused. Turns out, he was a key dude in the OSI during WWII, and when the OSI splintered into the CIA and Secret Service, he went the Secret Service route. He wasn't on White House detail, but instead worked in a covert office that dealt with currency. He went blind when I was a toddler and retired from “the army.”
For whatever reason, he told no one about all his covert work with the OSI and Secret Service, and the only person who knew (my grandmother) was sworn to secrecy and never told anyone. My father grew up thinking he was just a colonel working on base. Only after his passing were we given all sorts of cool stuff like publications by him, lectures given by him, and all kinds of things from various things he did and was known for.
All I knew him as was a blind old man who was perpetually drinking and being a crotchety guy. Turns out he was a total boss and none of us knew.
This involves my father-in-law, who is a very active member and local leader of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). He's somewhat of a genius, and he built a distillery in his garage to make his own hand sanitizer. Within a few months in, he started acting a little strange. One day while explaining the distilling process to me, he gave me one of the bloated pieces of corn in the batch, and ate one himself.
That's when I realized he wasn't just making sanitizer, he was also making and drinking some pretty stout moonshine. This is the same guy who continues to look down on his kids for simply drinking coffee. His wife and adult kids have no clue and continue to blame it on other things like exhaustion, internal imbalance, etc. Nope.
I recently found out that my grand-uncle was a mob boss back in his days. I remember him from my early childhood. He was always kind, soft and smiling, willing to play with me or do anything whenever we asked for it. At the same time, he was doing some pretty nasty stuff in his "other" life. It’s still hard for me to reconcile the two sides of him.
I recently found out that my great-grandpa wasn't actually my great-grandpa. My great-grandma had conceived my grandma (her daughter) with a famous boxer who was extremely abusive. She divorced him after having kids with him, and then met my great-grandpa while she was supervising the manufacturing of munitions during WWII.
My mom and I are the only ones besides my grandparents who know the true story. I talked to my mom more about the story and it turns out that when my great-grandma’s first husband (the boxer) passed on, she wore a red dress to his funeral.
My mother was a groupie for Credence Clearwater. There are five kids in my family, and none of us know who my older sister’s biological father is. We all like to speculate about it...except for my mother and older sister, that is.
My grandparents swapped spouses. My grandmother on my mother’s side had an affair with my grandfather on my father’s side. Everyone got divorced, and then my grandfather on my mother’s side fell in love and married my grandmother on my father’s side. Family reunions were fun.
Here goes: My two remaining grandparents, my father's father and my mother's mother, married each other when they were 75. This made my mother and father step-brother and step-sister. Since the son of my father's sister (my aunt) is my cousin, and the son of my mother's brother (my uncle) is also my cousin, I became both cousins. I am, therefore, my own cousin. I'll never be alone...
We recently found out that around 40 years ago, my grandfather had a seven-year-long affair with a woman in his church who was also married. During this time, he had two children with this woman that they never told anyone about. She pretended that those two children were her husband’s, despite them not looking anything like him. But it’s how we found out that was ridiculous.
A couple of years ago, I had gotten one of the 23andMe DNA kits to figure out what my ethnic background looked like. My aunt and uncle had done the same about a year ago as well. Once you get your results from 23andMe, it will also show you any DNA matches you have with relatives. A couple of days after Christmas, a woman had reached out to my aunt and uncle, asking to speak with them because 23andMe was telling her that they were her half-siblings and that I was showing up as her nephew.
Coming from a very strict Catholic family, this was very confusing and concerning to her. They ended up meeting and pieced together everything and then approached their parents about it. At first, they denied it, then came clean about the affair. It's been pretty hard on the family. For the longest time, my grandfather was too stubborn to even apologize to the family and my grandmother for all the pain he's brought, but he finally did.
Shockingly enough, my grandparents are still together despite all of this coming to light.
My great-grandfather supposedly took a man's life. The story goes that my grandma’s sister, who was five at the time, went missing from the front step of the house and was taken by a neighbor boy. When she was found and quickly identified by witnesses, he went behind bars for around six or seven years. No one in my family is clear on the details now, but the girl passed either soon after or some years later, but she did die as a result of what happened.
Eventually, the guy got out and was sent to live in a halfway house. He basically never made it and his body was dragged out of the Thames two weeks later. Apparently, he showed signs of having been restrained and beaten. My great-granddad had never taken a day off work…except for those two weeks his daughter’s attacker was missing.
The authorities knew. They came around and asked if he'd had two weeks off from work and he was like “yeah” and that was it, they left it at that. This was the 1920s. I've had a search around online since then but I can't find much about it. Still, a lot of our older buildings got destroyed during WWII where I am, so it's possible the records got lost.
The guy who took her was described by a witness, and a local officer instantly recognized the neighbor who had done it, who had fairly distinctive features and clothes. He then confessed almost as soon as he was approached and had apparently suggested to his mother just the night before that'd he'd done something terrible.
My mom and I cared for her father as he deteriorated with old age. As his mind went, he told stories from WWII and his youth, and about my grandmother's first husband. My grandpa had a crush on her before WWII but never acted on it because he was dirt poor. He lied about his age and joined the Navy when he was somewhere between 14 and 16 so he could be respectable—so he could be worthy of her.
While he was away, she married a man her parents liked. Her first husband beat her badly and would assault her and then make her sleep in the barn. She stayed because divorce wasn't something you did at the time. My grandpa got back, all snazzy in his uniform, and was told she'd married and where she lived. He showed up to say hello and there she was, a bloody mess.
He took her to the doctor, got her cleaned up, and convinced her to divorce the jerk. A year later, they were married, but her ex kept showing up to harass them. The story we'd always been told is that her ex finally got the hint and moved away. The story my grandpa told me, in a lucid moment, was basically this: "I hated him for what he'd done to her. I knew he'd never leave her alone. I made sure he'd never bother her or any other woman again."
I think my grandpa confessed to offing his wife's ex-husband. What you have to keep in mind is that this was a very rural part of the Midwest in the 1940s. Hill justice happened.
I was 35 when my mother finally admitted to me that she'd been lying about who my birth father was. She waited until after I'd reached out to his other children and we all thought we were siblings. He later confirmed I wasn't his. After that, she also refused to tell me who my biological father really was. It’s not something I can get over.
When my dad was about 18, he got into an argument with his younger brother, My uncle, a bit of a jerk now, about 15 at the time, ended the argument by telling him that their dad wasn’t his biological father. At that point, my dad confronted my grandma and the truth came out. The worst part was, the whole village knew…but not my dad.
Mad respect for my grandpa, though. He married a woman who already had a child in the 50s, which was quite controversial back then.
My uncle had tried to end his life over a love triangle. He survived and left the country afterward. This was a huge hush-hush story and ironically, I heard it from my aunt, who was the woman with whom he was in love with. Yes, I’m from one of those countries where cousins can get married, but it is discouraged due to the obvious.
From what I was told, he changed into a bit of a religious freak afterward. And no one ever spoke of what happened ever again.
When I was 16, I got my learner's permit and I decided to test for my license at 17. I had just gotten my motorcycle working and wanted to be able to ride it, but I needed the driver's license portion to attach the endorsement to. Once I had my license, my mom told me that I got one free call: she didn't care what state I was in, or how messed up I was. It didn't matter, she would come pick me up no questions asked.
About a month after that, I got a call from her at like 9 pm and she said she went out with a few friends and accidentally drank too much and needed me to come get her. Because she gave me one free call, she figured that she should also get one free call. This was weird because she never drank while growing up. She had one bottle of something or other on the top of the fridge and it was there since I could remember.
I said sure and took a bus out to the restaurant, so I could drive the car back. While in the car she started to tell me about her night with friends and how nice it was to go out. I could tell that she definitely had way too much by how she talked. Then she said something that I will never forget.
"Alice, you were my biggest mistake. I had you hoping to save the marriage with your father, if I had known children were career enders, I wouldn't have let my family push me into having a child. I would have focused on being happy instead." Then she kind of mumbled a bit and fell asleep. I was upset but I managed to get home safely and carry my mom to her bed.
I spent the night with a pack of razors thinking to myself that if I did something bad, it would only make her sacrifice a waste. The next morning when she woke up, she asked me what happened the previous night and I told her she called me from the restaurant, so I took a bus and drove her home in her car so she wouldn't have to go back to get it. I was thanked and she told me that I was the best kid ever.
About a month later, I asked if she ever regretted having children and she told me her kids were the light of her world. And that's when I realized: The secret she revealed to me is how we as a society treat ourselves and others. We avoid hard conversations and we avoid owning up to mistakes. We shy away from grief and sadness and topics on negative emotions make us uncomfortable.
It's far easier to just lie and pretend nothing is wrong than to acknowledge the feelings we have. We hide in ignorance and thrive in recklessly abandoning honesty. I also learned that growing up, our parents are our heroes. She survived 2008 with multiple kids, working in the housing industry. I always considered her my hero, and I still do. But I also learned that day that heroes aren't perfect.
For no good reason besides curiosity, my sister decided to take a DNA test to get some insight into her ancestry. She got her results back and had zero percent Italian—even though our dad is 100% Italian. My sister didn’t confront my parents right away and instead decided to wait until I took the test and received my results.
Four weeks later, I got my results back and sure enough, I also had zero percent Italian. The test actually identified my biological father, who isn’t my dad. My parents finally revealed the secret when my sister intentionally let it slip that the two of us were waiting for our DNA results. I’m 38 and it had never once come up. However, my parents' reasoning completely shocked us.
My parents had had fertility issues and went to a sperm bank. I’m honestly not sure they ever would have said anything.
When I was seven, my dad lived in a different country for work and so my eight-year-old brother and I went to visit him for two weeks. Well, we were supposed to stay two weeks, but I recall not staying over a week. Other people from my family came to get us late at night, and after a day or two, we flew back home.
No one told us why we were going home early. Once we arrived home, my mom and a lady from the school sat us down at the kitchen table and announced that our father had passed. My mom told us that it was due to some medical reasons or whatever, but it’s only years later that I found out the truth.
When I was 21 or 22, my father’s son from another marriage, who I’d only seen as a kid, suddenly came back briefly into my life. He told me that my dad had actually passed from gunshots while he was at work in his office. So, my mom didn’t actually tell me herself, and when I told her that I knew, she was upset at my stepbrother for telling me the truth about my father’s demise.
Around when I was 14, my dad sat me and my brother down and revealed that we had an older half-sister. I thought he was joking at first, but essentially before he and my mom got together he had a relationship with another woman. When he broke up with her, she immediately moved away and blocked all contact. What my father didn’t know was that she’d been pregnant when they broke up.
So, this wasn’t my dad waiting until we were old enough to know, he actually found out around the same time we did. My half-sister messaged him through Facebook and revealed she was his child. This was a massive shock for him, and then he got another one: he also had a grandchild from her—aged two.
My mom has a secret that I feel I should have been told about when I became an adult, but that conversation hasn't happened yet. A long time ago, I learned that she had a different family before she had ours. Apparently, she just up and left them. No warning was given to them from my understanding. Some point thereafter, she met my dad and started a family again.
I figure she had to have been divorced to marry my dad, based on state laws, but I don't know. I have questions for sure, but because she has never mentioned it, I haven't either. Since we're really close, I'm hoping one day she'll share that story with me. But for now, I know what I know.
A relative had a horse when I was little and I thought it was my horse. One day it passed and was buried. I wasn't told at the time what really happened. It turns out, when they dug the hole, they didn't dig it deep enough. They didn't realize this until the horse was in the hole with all four legs sticking stiffly out the top. They came up with a solution—but it was absolutely brutal.
They cut the horse's legs off with a chainsaw.
My mom was a teacher and she one day moved my sister and me to the same school where she taught—no reason given. She also gave us no reason for why the other teachers were always so bitter towards us. It felt really weird and uncalled for. It was, however, my father who, years later, finally told us the reason why we were so hated at the school.
He told us that my mom used to swipe all the money for school trips. Apparently, there was a big scandal between all the teachers, but we had no idea. The worst years of my life—finally explained.
My grandmother is the world's sweetest person of all time. She also, unfortunately, had a horrible, horrible woman as a mother. Her father, though, was incredible. She always talks about the small and sweet things that they used to do together when she was growing up and how much she still misses him to this day.
Recently, she told me that her mother would always tell her, "He isn't your real father, you know" whenever she felt like hurting my grandmother some more. This continued for as long as they knew her. Eventually, her father escaped her mother’s mistreatment, and the two of them never spoke to the mother ever again.
My Nana doesn't blame him at all for what happened, and she still loves him very, very much to this day. But at one point, she decided to get some ancestry tests done. She said that she needed to know the truth about her father before she passed; although she said it wouldn't change anything about how she felt about him one way or the other.
So she took the test. When the results came back, she held her breath and read them out loud. A tear immediately fell down her cheek. As it turns out, her wicked mother was right after all. My grandmother eventually found her biological family and loves to talk about her French heritage with them. This is a heritage that she's only now starting to learn about. To this day, she doesn't hold anything against her non-biological dad and she loves him very deeply.
He took care of my grandmother when her own mother wouldn't. He loved her, soothed her, and nurtured her through everything as if she was his own. He saved my grandmother's spirit, I'll tell you that much. He helped shape her into the most miraculous human being that I've ever met.
To this day, I will always refer to that man as my great-grandfather, and if I ever have a son of my own, I’ll definitely be naming him after him. This story always gets me teary-eyed. But the thought of Alistair, my Nana’s pretend dad, and his unwavering kindness always makes me really happy. I know it makes her happy, too.
I once got a Facebook message from a guy asking if I was related to my dad, since we don't have a common last name. I thought he was a fan of his work because I was in college at the time and the guy was about the same age as me. And that's how I found out that my dad had slept around and that I had a half-brother the same age as me...
It was the day of my husband's funeral. I answered a call from an unknown number—that’s when everything fell apart. There was a woman on the other end claiming to be his girlfriend. She’d been calling his cell for weeks but I’d had it turned off when he was in the hospital. I had no idea that he'd been unfaithful, but it was about to get worse. She told me that he'd been paying her rent for a year—while the bank had been about to foreclose on our house.
This is probably not as messed up as others, but here goes. My family had a dirty clothes pile. We didn't have a dirty clothes basket or anything like that. We'd pile it near the washer and whenever my mom had time to do it, she'd throw it in the wash. This pile was next to my bedroom door—which gave me an idea that I now realize is absolutely horrifying. Using my stupid kid logic, I decided that instead of walking down the hall to the bathroom, I'd just pee on the pile.
Made perfect sense at the time; the clothes were dirty anyway! My poor mother had to wash really foul-smelling dirty clothes as the pile usually took about three days before it was enough clothes to be washed. I still feel bad about it. Love you Mom!
My brother who passed on. We never, ever talk about him. It’s so strange, growing up I knew I had a brother and I knew he was hit and killed by a car walking home, but I don’t know anything about him aside from that. I’ve seen his pictures, I know what he looked like. I don’t know anything about his personality, his likes or his dislikes, the type of music he listened to. I once found his comics in my mom’s closet when I was younger, but that was about it.
It is almost like it’s just a story and he wasn’t a real person. It wasn’t until my grandfather passed on about 11 years ago that my mother and I walked to his grave. She broke down into an inaudible mess, and it really hit me for the first time ever that he was a real person, as crazy as that sounds. I don’t understand that pain of losing a child, but it hurt to see my mom mourn like that, almost as if it had just happened.
The only time since then he was ever mentioned was by my dad a few months ago. Out of my mother, father, and sisters, I’m the tallest. My dad told me how the only one of us who was taller than me was Jimmy, and how he always seemed to keep growing, how he probably would have towered over me. I almost cried. I wish I got to know him.
My dad wanted to take us outside of the Scottsdale, AZ, city limits to see Halley's comet. We drove about 45 minutes north of town into deep desert. We spent some time viewing it. We had heard dogs barking in the distance when we first got there. But they seemed closer now. Then closer. It was pitch black. I think we had a flashlight but that was it.
We started heading back to the car, shone the flashlight at a fence in the distance and about five terrifying looking dogs started right at us. We literally got the doors to the car shut just as drooling, snarling, dogs started jumping up to the windows and getting in the bed of the truck. We peeled out, and dad said, “Don’t tell mom about the dogs, ok? Your mom's brother was almost eaten by dogs when he was little.”
When I was 20 years old my brother let me know that I was adopted. Everyone in the family—I'm the youngest of five—knew and kept it a secret. It turns out my mom and birth mom are distant cousins. My birth dad was in a biker gang and he and my mom both had addiction problems and had absolutely no clue how to care for a baby.
After I found this out, I saw some pictures of my birth dad, I was shocked. Turns out I recognized him. He was a regular in the restaurant I worked at the year before I found out about being adopted. He was always very kind to me and told me he knew some of my distant family but left it at that. It turns out he wasn’t there for the food, he just wanted to see who his daughter was and know that I was turning out ok.
So, my mom remarried about two years ago. My dad passed on when I was twelve so she had been widowed for over ten years. This new relationship was very whirlwind with her meeting the guy, dating him, and getting married within three months. I didn't know much about the guy, but my mom was happy, so I just tried to be supportive. She moved into his house in upstate Virginia and invited me and my fiancé to spend a weekend in her new home getting to know her new husband.
My mom's new home was pretty isolated. It sat on a few hundred acres of lovely rolling hills, and was very picturesque. I was nervous about getting to know this guy, but really trying to make the most of it. Over the course of our first day there though, I started to feel more and more uneasy. We were being made to feel very at home, yet I still couldn't shake this oppressive feeling. I finally chalked it up to me being more upset about my mom getting remarried than I was willing to admit to myself.
That night, my fiancé and I showered together. When I turned my back to him he stopped talking mid-sentence and asked, "What did you do to your back?" Well, nothing. Why? "You have a large bruise." I hopped out to try and see it in the mirror. He was right. It was so strange; I had no idea how it got there, and the whole thing made me feel even more creeped out.
The next morning I had a complete meltdown. I woke up and just couldn't stop crying. I told my fiancé we had to leave. He tried to calm me down by telling me all the things I had been telling myself. My feelings of anxiety were just a result of seeing my mom with someone. The longer I spent with them the easier it would become. But I just had to leave, I felt completely hysterical. I knew I was on the verge of a panic attack, so in the end, my fiancé drove me away.
As soon as we were on the road I felt like a weight had been lifted. I was even feeling embarrassed for my behavior, hoping I hadn't insulted my mom's husband by leaving early. Then my fiancé broke the silence, "That bruise on your back....did you get a good look at it?" I had. It looked like some had touched the middle of my back, with fingers spread wide, with their hand at a tilt. I want to make completely clear, no one had touched my back the previous day, especially hard enough to bruise me.
Cut to three weeks later. My mom comes to visit me. The entire time she's hounding me to come stay with her again. After finally trying to change the subject for the fifth time, I level with her. Before I've even finished telling the story her face is white as a sheet. She tells me she has been feeling the same way in the house. She hates it. She wants them to move as soon as possible. And the real kicker...her new husband's previous wife shot and killed herself in the house.
A long time ago, back when I was still in middle school my mom's best friend passed. She wouldn't tell me how she passed. Only that it was sudden. When I asked why we weren't going to the funeral she told me that there wouldn't be one because "her body was being donated to science." I didn't ask any more questions. That was the last time we ever talked about her.
Well, five months ago my mom handed me her phone to find the number for Domino's and as I'm scrolling through her contacts I come across the phone number of the dead best friend. Biggest "what the heck" moment of my life. The next day I called it from a pay-phone at Waffle House and she picked up. I instantly recognized the voice and accent. She's not dead. Second biggest "what the heck" moment of my life.
Turns out, my mom had been lying all these years about her BEST FRIEND BEING DEAD. It was beyond messed up.
For context, my dad is the second youngest of 15 children. My oldest aunt has a son who is around the same age as my dad, we'll call him Vince. Vince and my dad knew each other growing up, and always got along. Vince was even one of my dad's groomsmen. A few years after that, Vince became very openly religious, and would try to get family members to go to church with him.
Except then my family started to notice that Vince would change which church he would go to after about a month. Fast forward to when I was a kid. There was a family get-together, and Vince and his girlfriend show up. It takes a dark turn. They start making people uncomfortable with their religious talk. Not the normal day-to-day stuff, but actually telling people they are going to heck for drinking.
They were also telling people that Vince is becoming a preacher and they need to attend his services, or else damnation, etc. According to my mom, I was really sick at this time and she took me to another room to give me some peace and quiet and hopefully I would stop fussing. She overheard Vince and the girlfriend in the next room talking about who they can single out and who would go along with them.
My mom freaked when she heard my dad's name, and Vince saying that he would be easy to convince, and his job should be able to fund things. My mom immediately went and got my dad and told him what she heard. Dad confronts Vince, and a huge argument ensues. Vince ends up leaving and saying everyone is damned, they are Satan, etc.
The rest of the family then talked about what happened, and it all came clear. He was not a good guy. His sister had kicked him out because he was mooching off her, refused to get a job, and she found him taking money from her purse. My aunt had to do the same for the same reasons. The same story over and over. Basically, they realized Vince was just a scam artist trying to live off others.
Fast forward to the late 1980s, and not many people have heard from Vince recently. There is a huge family get-together again, and two aunts and a few cousins refused to attend because Vince was not welcome at the party. They were saying that Vince was the "Lion of God" and we were wrong to reject him. Another fight ensues, and the two aunts and handful of cousins don't end up attending.
Fast forward to the mid-90s when my grandma passed. One of the two aunts comes to the funeral (the other had passed a few years earlier), with Vince in tow. Vince was warned that he could come pay his respects, but to behave himself. My aunt was timid and repressed near him, and was open and nice when he wasn't around. It was really weird.
My parents didn't want to talk about it. Later that night, I did some internet searches and found out the chilling truth. Apparently, Vince was now the leader of a religious cult. He sucked in my two aunts, about seven of my cousins, and about 30-40 various people through the years. All the same M.O.: They must give up their money and belongings to join and "serve God."
He especially preyed on immigrants who came over by themselves. Basically, he bought some farmland, his disciples work the land, he sells what they grow/make, and he keeps the money. He is still active to this day, and many people who have left him have their own websites against him. It’s honestly head-spinning thinking about this guy.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at email@example.com. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team
If you like humaverse you may also consider subscribing to these newsletters: