May 8, 2023 | Brendan Da Costa

"I've Got A Bad Feeling About This": Terrifying Experiences That Had People Running

From life-threatening situations to funny jobs that no one would do for all of the money in the world, these are the stories that had people running for the hills. When their instincts told them to get out, they did. And not one moment too soon…

1. Baltimore’s Bad Side

I was living in Baltimore some years back. It can be a scary place at times, believe me. I was driving home through a rough area of the city one night and I came to a stop at some traffic lights behind another stopped car. Then, I noticed that another car pulled up next to me on the right. I should have clued in that something was off.

While I wasn’t really thinking anything suspicious of these two other cars, I got a “sixth sense” when the light turned green. Neither of those cars moved. Out of instinct (living in Baltimore, you get good instincts), I checked my rear-view mirror. Sure enough, I saw another car in the distance zipping up behind me. I clued in real fast.

I looked to my left and I saw these two guys running towards me. That was when I knew that I had to get out of there or else. Fortunately, I had left a decent amount of space between myself and the car in front of me. Knowing that I was in a bad situation, I floored it and swerved around the car in front of me, speeding off into the night.

I don’t know exactly what those guys had been planning but I’m pretty sure that I was going to be the victim of a carjacking...or maybe something much worse. In the end, I’m glad that they didn’t time their little heist very well—they were clearly amateurs. The lesson here is: always keep your head on a swivel in Baltimore.

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2. Manhattan Madness

This was years ago. I was in downtown New York, just a couple of blocks away from the WTC gawking. There was a fire in the distance and tons of people were milling around, watching. They had blocked off some streets that I usually take to get where I was going. I didn’t think much of it. It’s New York, after all—there’s always something.

Anyway, I asked this officer how I could get around the blocked streets and go further downtown. He told me which streets they had closed and which ones were still open, but explained that they might expand the closures. He advised me to move fast before the closures expanded. The conversation was pretty casual. I wasn’t afraid yet.

As I started walking away, I looked back and the officer I just spoke to had his radio to his ear. Whatever he heard in that instant made him panic. The blood drained from his face and he turned as white as a ghost. He started yelling for people to move further back. I don’t know what came over me—maybe it was the fear in the officer’s face—but I turned tail and jogged all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

That's when the first tower came down.

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3. An Unfriendly Shake

I was sitting outside of my dance class with a friend. We were both about 12 and 13 at the time. We were just hanging out when, for some reason, these two random bigger dudes walked by. We thought nothing of it at first since it was a public street and people walk by. But something about the situation just felt so, so off.

One of the guys turned and approached us. He introduced himself and demanded to shake our hands. I was already a little creeped out by his behavior, so his insistence was really odd to me. Some animal instinct kicked in and I began looking for an exit from this situation just in case things went south. And they were about to go very far south.

I noticed that the door to the dance studio that usually locked automatically had actually, somehow, remained propped open. I shook hands with the guy to keep him from getting angry, but that was the wrong move. The guy started sobbing and said, "I'm so sorry. I was supposed to let you go.”

I screamed at my friend to run. The guy had a really good grip on my hand but I somehow yanked myself free. We bolted for the door and slammed it shut behind us before the guy could catch us. Both of those guys stalked the building until officers showed up. I never figured out what they were planning to do. And I don't want to know.

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4. A Firework Fiesta

When I was just a kid, my dad and I went out to check a fire that had started not too far away. He approached one of the officers on the scene who happened to be an old colleague and told him that he was pretty sure the burning building was a local fireworks storage unit. The officers double-checked the information.

It turned out that my dad was right. And that was the moment he decided that we needed to get out of there. We managed to make it only about 100 to 200 meters away before the whole thing went “KABOOM!” I dropped my bike and we just ran. I remember seeing the shockwave knocking out the windows of all the buildings, street by street.

It was a pretty cool experience but only because I wasn’t injured.

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5. Consult With Your Witch Doctor

I was in Burkina Faso once. I was riding around on top of a small van, just casually taking in the sights. We came to a village where the people had all filed out onto the streets. There were so many people that our van couldn’t advance, and we were just stuck. In the middle of the street, there were all of these witch doctors.

They had dressed in very eccentric and "intimidating" clothing. Some of them were carrying weird objects to look more intimidating. They were trying to impress the villagers with their terrifying displays because the "top dog" had recently passed on and they were vying to replace him. It all seemed like a harmless cultural display...but I was dead wrong.

At some point, one guy sped past a witch doctor on a motorcycle. The witch doctor cracked a really long whip at the motorcycle driver as he went by. In that instant, I knew that the costumes and terrible display weren’t just for show. These guys meant business. As we got further into the village, the streets got more and more crowded until our van came to a complete stop.

The villagers had completely surrounded our van and some of them began screaming at me in a language I couldn't understand. When I asked my friend who lived there to interpret, he just shook his head. And the witch doctors were getting nearer. Sitting on top of the van, I was completely exposed in the middle of a mob of people, going nowhere.

I was ready to leave.

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6. The Basement Is Alive

I was doing a home cable installation once. This particular customer had a basement I needed to go in. It was unavoidable. Otherwise, I would have had to rewire the entire house on the outside and the customer definitely didn’t want that. Anyway, this customer’s basement had to be the most horrifying place on earth.

The whole area was teeming with crickets. But they weren’t nice crickets—They were these cave crickets and spider crickets. Each one was terrifying all on its own, but there were thousands of them just hanging out down there. At first, I didn’t even know they were crickets; I thought they were spawns of the devil. But then they started jumping and flying everywhere. They lined the walls and the ceilings and the floor. I had to get through three rooms of them, then spend about five minutes trying to work on the wiring next to their hive.

The best part of it all was that the basement had no lights. I only had my flashlight with me. When I had to go back, I went with like four entire cans of hornet spray and emptied them all. It was like the crickets didn’t even notice. I hated that whole experience.

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7. Not For All The Money I’m Not Getting Paid

My first job out of college was at a sewer treatment plant. The pay was supposed to be pretty decent; something like $20 an hour. Oh, and full-time, of course. I thought I had lucked out, but really, I was in for the rudest awakening ever. It was my "Welcome to the real world" moment. I knew on my first day that I was going to hate it and wish I had never graduated.

So, I got the offer, accepted it, and started on my first day. When I got in, my boss informed me that the local board of government didn't fully approve the funds for a new position, so the job changed a bit. Instead of the cushy job I thought I was getting, I was getting something much worse. It became a part-time, $14-an-hour job that was less management-based and more labor-based.

I took it in stride. No one’s first job is great. By my second day, I already had enough. I had to sift through a filter full of used feminine hygiene products and had a ton of waste sprayed on me. I did not go in for my third day. I'm sure they still talking about the kid who couldn’t cut for even three days, but whatever. That work was awful. I had to get out of there.

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8. The Opportunity Of A Lifetime

In my freshman year in college, I was looking for a job and saw an advertisement for “amazing opportunities” with a company called Vector Knives. Being the broke student that I was, I decided to check it out. It started off as a group interview, then the interviewers placed us in some kind of room. It felt more like an interrogation than anything else.

I’m pretty sure there were other interviewers observing our behavior through a camera or one-way glass. At some point, the person in charge of the interview process gave us a demo of their product while explaining how the company operated and how we could expect to make money. Oh, so much money. And that’s when it dawned on me.

It wasn’t a job opportunity at all. It was one of those pyramid schemes where you work on 100% commission and have to sell to your friends and family. I politely excused myself from the interview and left. The guy came chasing after me and was manically trying to convince me that I was missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime.

Yeah, right buddy.

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9. I Cannot Wait To Get On The Road Again

I was driving north on I-65 once. I was in the middle of Indiana. The sky was starting to get pretty dark and the wind was picking up. Then it started to hail. I had a pretty good idea of what was coming next but I turned on the radio just to be sure that I wasn’t being paranoid. Sure, enough all of the signs were right. I was in big trouble.

I heard on the radio that a giant tornado was near my location. I was able to determine that it was behind me, quickly gaining speed. The tornado was going from southwest to northeast and it was just about to cross over the interstate. The other cars were driving slowly or pulling over because of the rain and hail. They should have kept going.

I put the pedal to the metal and got out there.

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10. Backing Out Of Trouble

This didn’t happen to me—I like to think that I’d keep a cooler head in a situation like this one. A guy I knew stopped behind another car at a four-way stop. As soon as he stopped, the people in the car in front of him jumped out and started running towards him. My guy was like, “Nope! Not today, Satan.”

He floored his car in reverse and ended up smashing into the car behind him. Turns out, the people in front had only run around their car to change sides. They were just switching drivers. I  have to commend him on his instincts, though.

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11. The Luck O’ The Irish

This happened on St Patrick’s Day a while back. I was walking home from the Irish bar I worked at. On my way home, I saw a lad attacking a girl, but he ran off when he saw me. I checked on the lass to make sure she was alright and stayed with her until officers arrived. I gave them my statement about what I had witnessed.

I told them I was nervous about walking home after what I had seen. Two guys who were also there offered to walk me home. One of the officers was like, “There you go, you’re sorted,” and then they just dipped and left me. That’s right, instead of performing their duty and taking me home, they sent me off with two complete strangers.

I scolded myself for being so nervous. I told myself it was really nice of these two guys to offer to walk me home. We were about halfway to my house when they started talking about what they’d witnessed, how that girl deserved the attack. Then they went on talking as though I wasn’t there. They were saying that their friend (the attacker) had done nothing wrong.

That's when my “Spidey senses” started tingling. We were coming up to the last populated street before a dark alleyway and a park that I needed to walk through to get home. I knew if I kept walking with these guys, I was in danger. I just knew it in my bones. I had to do something.

Thinking quickly, I pretended to “check” my phone and told them my friend was in the all-too-convenient club just across the road. I thanked them for their offer to walk me home and headed to the club entry before they could say anything. After I crossed the street, I jumped in a taxi. As we drove past the alleyway, those two guys were just standing there, waiting for me.

They had called my bluff about going into the club and they were watching out for me. I don’t know what they were planning on doing but that’s my biggest “listen to your instincts” story. I was kicking myself because my manager (who was also my friend) had offered to walk me home, but I didn’t want him having to walk all the way home by himself in the other direction after.

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12. I’m Feeling A Little Gassy

I was on a construction site, digging out some dirt and rocks to make room for some steps to the lower portion of a patio. There was a gas line running to a fire pit near where we were digging, so we knew we had to be careful. I was there with my boss and my supervisor when all of a sudden, I heard this whooshing sound that sent chills up my spine.

I knew that sound well. It was the sound of the gas line depressurizing. Without a second thought, I cleared the area and sprinted away. That thing could have gone up at the slightest spark. Turns out, the line only had regular air in it at the time and not gas. We just had to get someone to fix the hole and there was actually no need to evacuate the job site.

My boss was pretty upset with me for the disruption I caused, but honestly, I’d do it again. I’m not messing around with ruptured gas lines.

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13. Shelter In Place

Three years ago, a serious earthquake hit the center of Mexico. I was on the third floor of my school building when the seismic alarm went off and the building began shaking like Jell-o. Bookshelves were falling, parts of the ceiling were crumbling over, and people were screaming. It was honestly like something out of a disaster movie.

In all of that madness, my only instinct was to get the heck out of that crumbling, shaking building. I just kept thinking that tons of steel and concrete would fall over me if I didn't get out. But I later learned that instinct is totally wrong—unless you're on the ground floor of the building (that is, you don't have to take any stairs or elevators to get out and the exit is nearby), you must fight against the instinct to run at all costs.

It is vital to stay put and crawl next to a desk, chair, or bed—anything that can serve as a shield against the debris of the falling building. The thing is...if the building collapses and you are midway to the exit, your survival chances are pretty thin (even more so considering that stairs are the first structures to collapse in an earthquake).

So, I fought the urge to run, screaming in one spot as the earthquake raged on. All of my classmates and I stayed in the fetal position next to our desks, fighting against our instincts and waiting for the earthquake to pass. In the end, thankfully, our school didn't collapse in the earthquake but several buildings in the vicinity did.

The interesting thing I learned from that experience is that the silence immediately after an earthquake is terrifying. It goes from this ear-shattering rumble that drowns out everything else to total silence. Then, after the quake, you start hearing dogs barking, helicopters buzzing overhead, and sirens.

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14. Coyote Very Ugly

I used to want to be a survival expert...but then this happened to me and I forgot about that crazy idea altogether. I was solo camping in the woods, just working on my survival skills. I hiked out one day, miles away from any roads or buildings, and built a shelter far out into the woods. I then hiked back the way I had come.

Less than a mile away from my camp, I found a coyote. Coyotes aren’t that scary but this one was, um, a sight to behold. Someone who was clearly disturbed had decapitated, gutted, and laid out the coyote in what appeared to be some sort of sacrificial setting. They had gouged out the eyes strung the carcass out across a big, flat rock.

I had used that rock as a marker on my way into the woods, so I knew that that gruesome scene had not been there the day before. That meant that some deranged person was lurking around the woods in the same area as me. I wasn’t about to hang around to meet them. I ran out of there as fast as I could, knife at the ready.

I still have no idea who could have done such a terrible thing but I know I didn't want to run into them in the woods alone.

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15. Mad Dog, Bad Dog

I ignored my instinct to get out of a dangerous situation. I was walking back to my house after visiting my ex very early in the morning one day. On my way back, I saw this little girl with a backpack running for her life. Behind her were two big street dogs. If I had any sense of self-preservation, I would have turned tail and run just like that little girl. But I had to be the hero.

As soon as I saw the dogs, without even thinking twice about it, I ran towards them. I missed a kick and the two dogs came after me, biting my legs and arms. Those dogs were out of control—totally rabid. It was the longest five minutes of my life, trying to fight off these dogs. I couldn’t stop them from biting me, but fortunately, the little girl kept running until she was out of sight.

I tried to climb a fence to get away but I was pretty badly injured and I just couldn’t make it. I was sure that it was game over for me. That’s when a taxi driver stopped and came out of his car with a short stick, trying to scare off the dogs. He distracted them long enough to give me a chance to run. The cab was the nearest safe haven so I just jumped in there.

The dogs chased the taxi driver around the car a few times before he managed to get in. Once he was inside, he just floored it. He took me to the hospital where I got a lot of stitches on my legs, arms, and hands. That guy is my hero. Every now and then, I go to his taxi stop and give them sandwiches or something. We never knew what happened to those dogs.

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16. Roll Out The Red Carpet

I was living in Chechnya around 1995. There were obviously a lot of moments where I thought I had to run, but there was one that stood out to me. I was walking back to the apartment block I was staying in and I realized the entire area was empty. Not only that, but someone had moved all of the cars out of the way and there was a carpet laid out about 20 feet in front of me.

I had no idea why that carpet was there, but it just felt so suspicious. My first instincts kicked in right away and I decided to run. The second I turned around, someone from far away opened fire at me. I had no idea where they were firing from. Then I heard someone shouting and screaming orders for men to run and get me.

They were too far away and there was no chance that they were going to catch me. It was frightening though. Especially that, I won't ever forget that carpet. My best guess is that they dug a hole under the carpet for people like me to fall into.

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17. Bowling Strikes

This wasn’t a dangerous situation, but I almost would have preferred wrestling with a bear. It was so embarrassing. Anyway, I took this girl bowling on our second date. I really liked her and hoped things would work out. I was trying to impress her with my bowling game, but I was maybe pushing too hard...Definitely pushing too hard.

When I went in for my next bowl, I ripped my pants accidentally, I also happened to be going commando that night. I bowled a frame or two before noticing. She met the whole family—long John and the twins—that night. I was so embarrassed that I would have preferred being the bowling pin. I got out of that date so fast.

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18. Take The Wheel

I was leaving a bar one night in a sketchy northern Canadian town. Some girls I had met talked me into riding with them to another party, so I got in the back of the car. And then, out of nowhere, about eight more people crammed themselves into this car. Before I could squirm my way out, the driver jumped in and pulled off.

I don’t know what the driver was on but he started driving like a maniac. To make matters worse, the roads were icy. This guy was driving way, way too fast, and swerving all over both sides of the road. So many people had crammed themselves into the car that I couldn't see much. I just closed my eyes and waited for the crash.

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19. Escape From Arabia

I woke up one Friday in a hotel. I was bored and wanted to surf the Internet, but the connection was down. I went to the hotel lobby to see what was happening. When I got down there, I stopped dead in my tracks. It was obvious something bad was happening. A crowd had gathered around the TVs in the lobby, even the hotel staff. On the screens were multiple scenes of chaos.

One employee told me the government had shut down the Internet to test it. The scenes on the TV were the first protests of the Arab spring. It was January 25. Needless to say, I spent my energy over the next few days trying to get out of the country. I was able to leave, but many of the people I was working with weren’t as lucky.

The revolution started in Benghazi less than two weeks later. It was surreal watching Anderson Cooper broadcasting live from the hotel I had just been staying in.

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20. Now That’s Cooking With Fire

I was in a restaurant once when I kind of overreacted to a potentially dangerous situation. The restaurant was using a propane tank to power an outdoor heater. Suddenly, the tank started to catch fire. Seeing a propane tank on fire, my instincts kicked in. I got out of there faster than a racehorse gets out of the gates. I just took off.

The staff calmly turned the tank off and everyone laughed at me for overreacting. Whatever, man, I’m not playing games with propane tanks and fire.

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21. Lost In Translation

I was working at a Hispanic restaurant a while back. I didn’t speak Spanish and I probably should have learned. It was a great experience until…it wasn’t. One night after work, one of my co-workers invited me to drink at their house. It was a pretty chill scene. We were drinking and even started dancing at one point. There was no hint of what came next.

I stepped outside onto the back patio with a friend. When we went back inside, the guy who owned the house was standing there with a knife, yelling at three of my other co-workers. He was blocking the front door and yelling in Spanish, saying that no one was allowed to leave. My friend grabbed me and pleaded with the guy just to let us out since we had no part of what was going on.

The homeowner thought about it and then let us both out. I asked my friend what that whole thing was about. He told me that the guy with the knife accused three of my co-workers of sleeping with his wife. I got in my car and got the heck out of there.

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22. The Worst Bath Time Ever

I used to work for an agency that helps people with their daily tasks for home healthcare. I had this one client, a man, whose insurance prohibited personal care (like showers). I didn’t question it at first—I just figured that it had something to do with whatever policy he had selected. Turns out, there was a good reason for this prohibition.

He was very upset during my visit when I declined his request for a bath. I felt bad at first. The guy just wanted to be clean—or so I thought—and I couldn’t help him. He quickly became very angry with me and that’s when my sympathy faded. He accused me of all kinds of things and started pacing around the room like he was looking for something.

Between his odd behavior and terrible rage, I slipped out of the house and drove to a safer place. I reported the incident to my employer and later found out that this guy had had similar run-ins with other female caregivers. He had even attacked a woman. Who knows what he was planning that day? Maybe nothing. But I'm glad that I left.

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23. Rev That Engine

This is more of a laughable story. To my embarrassment, my dad really likes to tell this story. I was with my dad at a car shop that his friend owned. He was visiting his friend and had just brought me along. They were working on some old car. I wasn't paying much attention as an eight-year-old. I should have been paying attention. I was in for the surprise of my life.

My dad and his friend sprayed something on the engine of the car they were working on. When they turned the car on and revved the engine, this giant flame shot up for just a second or two. Well, that’s all it took. I ran several yards towards the street. I had seen way too many Hollywood movies to know that a car on fire was not a good thing.

When I looked back, there were like five men including my dad and his friend all standing around laughing hysterically at me.

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24. The Sad Semi

My husband and I were heading out of town when we saw a guy on the side of the highway. He was pacing around under the overpass and something about it seemed suspicious to me. I really didn’t want to drive past the guy. I asked my husband to take the next exit, go on the overpass and re-enter the highway on the other side. I’m so glad he took my advice.

The second we took the exit, the guy jumped right in front of a semi. Needless to say, he did not survive. Turns out, he was just a freshman in college. I don’t know what convinced him to do what he did, but it’s so sad. The semi driver was a 72-year-old man who was just three weeks away from retiring. I can’t imagine what the driver must have gone through.

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25. How To Ditch A Date

When I was 17, I went on a date with a 23-year-old guy. I can’t remember his name for the life of me. It’s probably for the best. I had just gotten out of a horrible relationship and was trying to distract myself. We had dinner and when the waiter brought the check, the guy told me he had forgotten his wallet in his car. He asked me to go with him so he could grab it. That was red flag #1.

I told him it was fine and paid for the meal myself. Afterward, we went into a couple of different shops and he kept asking me questions about my ex-boyfriend. He also mentioned that he had served time but wouldn’t tell me what for. Needless to say, that made me pretty nervous. At that point, for all I knew, he could have been dangerous. Then things really got scary.

At some point, he kept insisting that I go to his car to listen to music. He kept getting increasingly anxious every time I declined. I was so scared. I immediately pretended to have a period emergency so I could get out of there. Luckily, I had parked in a different lot than he did. I still have no idea what his intentions were but man that was terrifying.

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26. I Have To Go Potty

When I was in high school, I went to a party in a recently abandoned house on the outskirts of town. There were a lot of people I knew there, but also a lot of shady folks I was unfamiliar with. Things started out pretty chill—that is, as chill as things can be with a bunch of partying teenagers. As the night went on, people started destroying things; I guess because the place was abandoned.

I left when someone threw a toilet out of an upstairs window. I found out later that officers showed up. Several people ran from them through a nearby cornfield but the officers caught them anyway. A friend of mine ran right into a barbed wire fence and ended up in the hospital. I, on the other hand, was safely at home.

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27. Too Little, Too Late

I was driving in the middle of winter in Iowa—that means snow and ice galore. I saw this dude behind me, clearly speeding in dangerous conditions. The next thing I knew, he started fishtailing all over the road while gaining speed. My instincts kicked in, but it was too late—things were about to get disastrous.

Eventually, he came up right on my rear. I tried to move over to let him speed through, but it was too late. My gut feeling had been right, I just acted too late. He lost complete traction as he was passing me, nicked the side of my car, and sent me spinning out. I flew right into a snowplow.

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28. Lurking In The Shadows

I had a situation one night in downtown Minneapolis. I went to a bus station late at night and when I got there, the bus driver was on his break; just chilling in the bus. There was some dude just standing around in the shadows nearby. I thought it was no big deal at first; I told myself he was waiting for the bus like I was.

I leaned up against the wall waiting for the driver to turn the lights on and signal that the bus was in service. While I was there, I noticed the weirdo lurking in the shadows looking my way occasionally. I didn't love that, but I ignored it. Then out of nowhere, things went from zero to one hundred real fast.

The guy from the shadows just started sprinting towards me. I tossed my phone in my pocket and braced myself for a fight. But the guy just ran past me as if I wasn’t even there. The bus driver watched the whole thing go down and a second later, he opened up the door and said, "Hey man, maybe you should just wait in here." I was like, yup.

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29. Waiting For The Crash

I was in Springfield once. I decided to get in a car and head over to a party with a bunch of people who had obviously been drinking…including the driver. At one point, he started driving so recklessly...all I could do was hope the impact would be swift and painless. He decided to cruise the main strip, squealing the tires and drifting.

Obviously, this guy wasn’t too smart. He was pulling all of these stunts right in front of a squad car. Before that moment, I never thought I would be so relieved to hear sirens...but I certainly feel that those officers who pulled us over saved my life. The officers booked everyone else in the car and took them into the station.

I received a stern lecture about my choice of friends. The officers gave me the keys to the car to take home and told me to have a good night.

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30. Always Tip Your Delivery Guy

When I was in high school, I delivered pizzas for a very small shop in my town. The town itself was so small that the addresses didn’t even show up on the internet. I had more than a few dicey encounters running pizzas, but this one, in particular, gave the creeps. This one guy called in with his order and I took it down no problem. Then he gave me the directions to get to his place.

He led me a mile down some dirt road into the middle of the woods. I had gone to some creepy places before, but this place was different. I immediately freaked out. I pulled up to what looked like a burned-down trailer and the guy was just standing on his porch with a giant bird on his shoulder.

I swallowed my stomach and gave the guy his pizza. He started flipping dollar bills in his hand, counting them one-by-one while staring into my soul. Then, he was like, “Do you wanna pet my bird?" I politely told him no and he cursed at me. He didn't even tip me. What a jerk.

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31. Ante Up And All In

I was in Thailand back in 2010. We were hopping around the southern islands after a full moon party. My friend and I were talking to two girls who invited us to play poker. We went and sat down with two German guys (who were also obviously tourists) and two burly Thai guys. The Thai guys had tons of tattoos and looked pretty tough, but we began to play anyway.

The buy-in was $10. We lost some pots, won some pots, and overall, it was a happy experience. The Thai guys beat us for the most part, but I managed to claw my chips back up to about eight dollars. At one point, my friend was starting to look tired, so I gave him a nod, thanked the guys for the game, and prepared to leave.

I was about to cash out my pot when things took a turn for the worse. As I was taking my pot, the Thai guys dropped a machete on the table. They made it pretty clear that we could leave but the money had to stay. My friend, myself, and the two German guys were like, “Yeah, keep the money. We. Are. Outta. Here.”

On the way back, the girls caught up with us and apologized. We weren’t buying their little act this time. They were clearly in on the take. Lesson learned: if pretty girls ask you to play a game, it's for nefarious reasons.

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32. Let’s Not Rock & Roll

When I was in high school in the early 1980s, I saw a lot of heavy metal bands. I had a friend who could always get us backstage access after the concerts. After one of our favorite bands played, we went backstage. I thought it was going to a pretty cool experience, meeting the band members. It was definitely an experience I’ll remember, but it was anything but cool.

At one point, the lead singer of the band said, out of nowhere: "Okay. All the girls take off your clothes or get out." I got out. The rest of the girls stayed.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

33. Get The Keys, Get The Keys, Get The Keys

I was leaving for work at 5:30 am once. It was still dark out and pretty spooky. I locked the inside door handle and walked out, pulling the door closed behind me so that I would have to get my keys in my bag to get back in. As I turned around to walk off the porch and head to my car, my life flashed before my eyes—I saw four men jump out of a van. They started running towards me at a full sprint. The street was otherwise empty.

My heart was pounding in my chest. I felt totally panicked as I started digging in my big, messy purse for my keys to unlock the door and get back to the safety of my house. The whole time, I was just thinking that these guys were going to grab me, shove me in the van, and do who knows what to me. My mind was just racing as these guys got nearer and nearer.

I was able to get back in my house before they made it to me. I was so frightened. Turns out, they were immigration officers. They were looking for someone who used to live in our house. Apparently, charging the front door is standard practice for them if they think the suspect will run!

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

34. Position Available, Apply Within

I used to live in France by myself. I was struggling to make ends meet, but thankfully, I was able to get a tutoring job. This man wanted me to teach his young daughter. On the first session, he drove me home and spent the entire time asking whether or not I had a boyfriend, where I was living, and whether or not I lived alone.

The second session was even creepier. He wanted to give me a tour of his house. I noticed that he made a habit of standing in the doorway when we went into a room so that I couldn’t get out—unless I wanted to jump out of a window. That didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Once we got to the second floor, I grabbed his daughter close so nothing would happen.

After that horrifying “tour,” I tried to quit, but he guilted me into coming three more times. Every time I went back, I got so anxious beforehand that I just wanted to puke. He offered me a ride home each time, but I told him no—that one ride with him was enough for a lifetime, thank you. Instead, I took the two-hour-long bus ride back home.

Finally, I mustered up the courage to break off the arrangement completely. I knew something bad was going to happen to me if I kept going there. I confirmed my suspicions with a few other young English-speaking women I knew. He was trying to recruit his second wife.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

35. That’s Not My Resume

After I graduated from college, I finally landed an interview with a guy who was starting his own company. The economy was circling the toilet, so I was happy for any opportunity that came my way. When I went in for the interview, however, I quickly noticed that this wasn’t a good situation. I would have been better off flipping burgers.

When I entered the interview room, he doubled locked the door behind me. It was a small office in a strip mall so it was already sketchy enough. I immediately started to panic when I realized that no one else was there. He invited me to sit down. Just two questions into the interview and things started to get really creepy.

He tried to put his hand up my skirt—I was wearing a business skirt suit. I got up, ran, and thankfully, I was able to open the locks and get the heck out of there before he could go any further. My mom accompanied me to every interview after that for a while.

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36. The Horrible Hitchhiker

I was driving to work one night and I came across this lady whose car had broken down. I decided to help her out..but never again. She said she lived close by and didn't have any family to pick her up, so I offered to drive her home. That's when she told me she needed to stop by the bank. I figured that it would be my good deed for the day, so I agreed to help her. I drove her to the bank so she could get $20 out to buy groceries.

She seemed down on her luck and I knew what that was like, so I gave her $20 out of my own pocket. She said she had another stop to make. It seemed like she was using me as a taxi. She wanted me to drive her to her friend’s place so she could tell her that her rent would be late. At that point, it was becoming a hassle and I was risking being late for work. I couldn’t risk my livelihood for a stranger.

After I got to the neighborhood where her friend lived, I became very worried. It was a sketchy area. I told her I only had time to drop her off at her house or at her friend’s house, but it was up to her as they were both close. She started screaming at me; demanding I do whatever she asked me to. That was it. Beggars can’t be choosers.

I stopped the car, looked at her straight in the eyes, and said: "You take your things and you get out of my car right now." She tried to leave without taking her stuff so I would be forced to wait for her. I said, "If you don't take your things, I will literally drive away with them." She grabbed her stuff and got out, then I sped away.

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37. Night Moves

I was walking home from the gym in Seattle once. I always used to walk by this weird house with blankets over the windows. There was also this fenced-in yard, packed with old busted RV's and garbage. On that particular night, there was some random old dude with a long white beard standing in front of the house in a bathrobe.

I had never seen anyone in front of the house before. Then, all of a sudden, the weirdest thing happened—I heard what sounded like a small car pulling up to a stoplight. When I looked over, it wasn’t a small car at all. In fact, several squad cars had rolled up with their and lights off. I don't even know how they managed to move so quietly. They were like squad car ninjas.

I saw a few officers approaching the house and the old man. They were completely silent and moved in a raid formation or something. They were obviously conducting some major operation and I was caught right in the middle of it. One of them made eye contact with me and signaled for me to go in a different direction.

They didn’t have to ask me twice. I was out of there. About a month later, I learned that the city had torn down that house. I have no idea what happened that night...and I'm glad I didn't have to find out.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

38. It’s Ssssso Nice To Make Your Acquaintance

I was nine or so when I had a total nightmare encounter. I was about to go wading in a creek when I noticed a snake in the water. I don’t like snakes, but it was just a little snake, maybe a foot long. It was just hanging out, mostly vertical with its tail in some mud and reeds and stuff, and its nostrils sticking out of the water.

I thought, okay, no big deal; I just won't wade where the snake was hanging out. So, I moved downstream about five feet or so...and guess what? There were two more little snakes, hanging out right where I wanted to put my bare feet. That's when I realized—I had unknowingly infiltrated a snake den.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

39. Just Like Herding Sheep

I live on a cattle farm, so dangerous situations are always just around the corner. One time, my dad, granddad, and I had to move a bull into another pen so that we could give him medicine for his injured leg. To do this, we spread out in a fan with big rattles on sticks to make noise and get him to go in the direction we wanted.

When we got to the open gate, the bull looked at it and decided there must be a better way to go. He turned and faced us, poised for a showdown. We made noise to get him to turn around and he considered us for a moment. Finally, he started freaking out. He wasn’t going inside of any pen, he decided.

He turned to face me directly and then lunged at me. I found my inner track star at that moment and climbed the fence to safety. Needless to say, we left him alone after that.

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40. Timber!

I was digging a trench along the side of my yard once. It was during a massive flood and I wanted to get the water moving again. I was going to be the one doing the moving, though. As I was digging, I heard a loud series of cracking noises behind me. When I turned around, I gasped—I saw the branches of a large oak tree starting to give way.

When the cracking got louder and the branches began to actually fall off, I sprinted out toward the street. Twigs whipped my body all over before I was safely away.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

41. The Payday Payload

I was working at a call center, trying to sell cell phone plans. I wasn’t making a salary or hourly wage. It a total commission-based paid scheme. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my manager was a real piece of work. After a couple of months, the floor manager pulled me aside and buttered me up real nice before he put me right into the toaster oven and burned me.

He said something along the lines of, “You aren’t the best salesperson we have, but you also know how to use the software better than anyone else around here. We have a new group of staff just coming out of training and I’d like you to spend a couple of weeks with them, showing them how to use the computer programs as you do.”

Being young and naïve, it seemed like a good opportunity for me to do something different. My younger self never got a pay agreement in writing. All I had was the word of my manager that he’d give me what I was earning on average, plus 25%. After two weeks, payday rolled around and I didn’t get a single cent. I made no sales and therefore made nothing.

The amount of time that elapsed between me getting that “paycheck” and me storming out the door, never to return, was no longer than 90 seconds. I literally just grabbed my backpack from my desk and walked off into the sunset.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

42. Our Neighbors, Ourselves

I was living at a pretty upscale apartment complex. The ground level units were these really nice town-home-style units. This one guy moved into one. He was kind of odd, but I figured he must have been at least somewhat sane because those were the expensive units. Turns out, you actually can’t actually tell that much about someone from where they live.

On warm days, this guy would walk around shirtless in the complex’s park. It was weird, but nothing alarming. But then he started pasting Bible verses to his window. Now, I’m not saying liking the Bible is an issue, but that was a red flag. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he started writing in charcoal over the Bible verses.

One night, I took my dogs for a walk. It was during an evening when my dogs weren’t sleeping much and needed to walk at all kinds of ungodly hours of the morning. I went down to the open park in front of the expensive townhome units. There were lots of bushes and trees down there that my dogs liked to play around in.

Suddenly, one of my dogs got low and started growling. When I looked in the direction my dog was growling, my whole body froze. I noticed that there were boots in the bushes. I looked around and saw a dozen figures in black tactical gear and masks. They were virtually invisible. I froze in a moment of total panic. It was like seeing ghosts.

One of them put their finger to their mouth to signal to me to remain silent. I got the hint and noped right on out of there. Right as I got to the entrance of my apartment, I saw them take a battering ram to the door and drag the Bible verse guy out of his apartment. The unit smelled horrible (I inspected it later) and management had left it as it was for months.

Eventually, a nice couple moved in. I asked the building management what happened, but they gave me the “You don’t want to know,” look. I moved out.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

43. Cry-Cry-Chrysler

I was doing some urban exploring with some friends at the old Packard Plant in Detroit. We were hanging out for a while on the top floor, playing our guitars when all of a sudden, I heard this loud sound of glass smashing from afar. It actually sounded like a whole pane of glass had shattered, it was so loud.

I walked over and looked down through the dilapidated floorboards to this "courtyard" down below. There were a few guys down there, smashing up a very nice Chrysler 300 with baseball bats. They did not see or hear us, but I imagine if they had, things would have gone a lot differently. I ran back over to my friends and said, "Don't make a sound. We have to go."

We made it out fine. The Chrysler didn’t. That’s Detroit for you.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

44. Fireworks Plus Forest, Equals…

I was at a high school party once. It was out in a field behind the host's house. All was going well until some guy brought fireworks. I was young and naïve, but even I knew that teenagers and fireworks don’t mix. To make matters worse, it had been a super dry season. The writing was on the walls for me—this was going to get bad and fast.

I didn’t wait around to see what would happen and instead headed straight home. I heard the next day that almost two whole acres went up in flames. Fire crews paid the host and his folks a visit. I can’t imagine they were happy.

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45. Mommy Issues

This happened to me back in Russia when I was 14. I decided, foolishly, that it was a good idea to walk home alone from a party at two in the morning. I was walking in a rural area (we had a summer home outside of Moscow, literally the middle of nowhere) and suddenly, a car pulled up next to me. The guy driving the car, who looked to be in his 30s, asked me if I needed a ride.

I should have known better than to accept a ride from a stranger, but being young and dumb, I said "Sure," and got into his car. As he pulled up to the gates of our dacha community, he stopped and asked me if I wanted to come with him to a party with his friends. Right then, my heart skipped a beat.

I looked at the car door to look for an escape plan and I saw that the door handle was missing from the inside. At that point, I felt my heart beating in my stomach. I said, "No, sorry. My mom is waiting for me." All of a sudden he said, "Well, the mother is a sacred thing. You better go."

He got out, walked around the car, and let me out. It was the last time that I hiked alone. I got insanely lucky that nothing bad happened.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

46. I Think I’m Turning Japanese

I went to Japan for a solo vacation some time ago. I was a hopeless tourist and I lost my sense of direction while wandering around Shibuya at like three in the morning. I gave up my exploration and decided that I needed to find a train station. Out of nowhere, some creepy dude popped up and offered to bring me to it. I later realized that I was being way too trusting when I accepted the guy’s offer. Things got real scary, real quick.

Instead of taking me to the station, however, he took me in the complete opposite direction and we ended up at a hotel. The next thing I knew, he started spouting some pathetic pickup lines and talking about how he had fallen in love with me. When he said he wanted to spend the night with me, I was like, “Nope. Bye.”

I ended up taking a taxi instead.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

47. A Whirlwind Adventure

As a young teenager (maybe 13 years old), I went camping in the backcountry. I was with my summer camp friends in the midwestern United States. On the second to the last night of the trip, we started seeing Mammatus clouds and the sky turned green. Being the good midwestern kids that we were, we knew what those signs meant. A mean storm was on its way.

There was no immediate rain or hail when the clouds formed, but we knew it would only be a matter of time. We were able to find semi-solid shelter just before the storm hit. When we got out of the backcountry, we found out that the storm had been even worse than we imagined. Three major tornados had touched down had gotten as close as half a kilometer to our original campsite.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

48. Skeleton Crew

I was waiting for my bus at a station. It was two in the morning in Minneapolis. A security guard outside told me to stay within the camera zone. That should have been warning enough for me to know that I wasn’t in a safe area. I sat down anyway and waited. It was pretty much alone except for a couple of junkies in another part of the station.

Suddenly this guy came in and walks right up to me. When I looked up at him, I got chills up my spine. He was wearing a black hoodie and a skeleton mask. He stood right in front of me and didn't say a word. He just stared at me from behind his mask, being a total creep. When he started to walk away, I bolted out of there. I ran down the street and luckily found a 24-7 convenience store to seek refuge in.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

49. Party Crasher

Every once in a while, you get that gut instinct telling you something is up. I was at a party and at one point, I got that tingling feeling. I knew I was in danger. I finally just decided to leave with a few friends to chill at my place. A few hours later, I got a phone call from another friend asking me if I was OK. When I asked what happened, my blood ran cold.

Apparently, the house where the party was held belonged to a guy who was affiliated with some gangs. Some thugs tried to crash the party and when the host tried to kick them out, they started fighting people. The whole thing devolved into a giant brawl and a few people ended up in the hospital. The authorities ended up shutting down the party.

Meanwhile, I was at home playing video games with a couple of friends. Sometimes your gut's right.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

50. The Bus Stop Blues

A co-worker of mine had a close call once. She was getting off of the bus one night in Scarborough, Ontario when some guy stepped out from behind the bus shelter. He started calling for her to wait up for him, and at some point, he ran right up to her. At that moment, she screamed "I don't know you!" and ran into a convenience store to seek help from strangers.

The guy hung around outside for a few minutes, then walked over to a vehicle and drove off. She waited for a neighbor in her apartment complex to walk her home. She later filed a report about the incident and learned that she had narrowly escaped Paul Bernardo. If you don’t know who that is, look him up.

Scariest ExperiencesShutterstock

Sources: Reddit, ,

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