People are weird. It’s as simple as that. Hop on any subway, enter any public library or just walk down the street and there's a 99% chance that no matter what time of the day it is, you will witness something that will make you question whether to leave the comfort of your own home ever again. At least at home, the only weird behavior you have to deal with is your own.
Then again, there are some people who not only seek out the strangeness of this sublunary world but actively embrace it (hence the existence of every show on TLC). And fair enough! There's something therapeutic about hearing other people’s strange encounters or even sharing their own, and there is no place better to do that than Reddit, where these stories were pulled from.
So, get ready to cringe, laugh, and possibly even say to yourself, "Hey! That happened to me, too!" as you read this list of the most baffling and bizarre things people have ever seen go down in public.
1. Power Nap
I stopped at a red light and saw a lady in the car next to me with really sporadic head movements. Not the head-bob dancing type, but just kind of crazy. After like 10-15 seconds of this, her neck went limp and her head just hung forward. The light turned green and I hesitated a moment wondering if she needed medical care. I almost pulled in front of her to check on her when her head abruptly jerked back up and she drove off without hesitation.
2. Gotta Cut Loose, Footloose
I used to work the night shift repairing broken down trains. One night, I was called out to a train parked up on a siding in the next town. After I made the repair, I sat in the driver's seat chilling and puffing a dart before heading back.
I looked outside the train window and saw an industrial estate with a bunch of units. One seemed to be operating, with a loading bay door open. A security guy came out of the door, stood there, and looked out for a minute or so before starting to dance. And what a dance it was. From a wiggle, it grew into a full on Michael Jackson style routine with moonwalks.
That was already unusual, but he then stopped dancing, lay down on the floor, and started rolling sideways back and forth. Maybe five times left and five times right. Then he got up and went back in. I can see how he got a bit carried away with the music on in his headphones or in his head or whatever that led to the dance, but I will never understand the ground rolls!
3. The World is His Stage
As the bars closed in downtown Portland one night, I saw a guy dressed very purposefully in basically rags for clothes and this giant, strange looking sculpted head. It looked like something out of a college production of Pan's Labyrinth. He was carrying a large box. I pointed him out to my boyfriend saying, "I wonder what that's about". My boyfriend then proceeds to go up and indeed ask him what the getup was about.
Turns out he's a cross-country traveling performance artist. We gave him five bucks and he proceeded to open his box of goodies. He unfolded the box into a little stage and did the best, most bizarre, weirdest, surreal, creepy, and thought-provoking puppet show I've ever seen. He had tons of strange little props and musical instruments. He ended up drawing a crowd of about 20 people. I'll never forget it. It was amazing.
4. Poor Man’s Flashlight
I moved to a town that had a bit of a bad reputation. The first thing I saw when I got there was a man walking down the street with a bunch of plastic bags on fire. He was holding them like a lantern and was so casual about it despite the flaming plastic dripping onto him. I actually like the town though. It’s got character.
5. The Restaurant With the Cleanest Food
My husband and I went to eat at a Chinese buffet type restaurant. There was a man sitting by himself close to us. The restaurant wasn't crowded so there was nothing else to catch my eye between him and us. At one point, he filled a plate with grapes and slowly cleaned and polished each grape for a long time, stopping to inspect them closely—almost touching his nose to the grape, that’s how close he was—before more cleaning and polishing.
After he finished the whole plate in this manner, he lined them all up on the table. I never saw him eat any of the grapes or have any other kind of food. He did stop a waitress and address her in a foreign language—possibly Chinese, I don’t know. I assumed he was berating her for something but I can’t be sure. Maybe he was the manager? If so, weird but okay. If not, what the???
6. In Case of Pant Emergencies
I wrestled in high school and lost about 9 kg (20 lbs) for a tournament. As the team walked back to the hotel after weigh-ins, my pants kept falling down. My buddy's dad asked if I needed a belt, and I said sure, thinking it was a joke, or maybe he had an extra one in the hotel. He proceeds to take off his belt, give it to me, and then pulls out a second belt from his front pocket and put it on.
No idea why he had two identical leather belts with him that day, but I appreciated it.
7. The Power of Song
I was in a bathroom stall the other day when a little boy, maybe six years old, goes in the stall beside me. He sits on the toilet and starts humming some made-up tune. That was already a little funny but nothing uncommon. Then he starts aggressively humming louder and louder. It gets to the point where it’s almost just shrieking and then he suddenly stops because he’s out of breath.
Two seconds later I here a plop in the toilet and he then begins singing, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah! I just pooped in the toilettttttttt!" and repeats this a few times. I almost passed out from trying to hide my laughter.
8. Next Level Boredom
I once saw a man standing next to an extremely expensive looking home. He jumped headfirst into a hedge, pulled himself out, looked at the hedge, and jumped back in. He continued to do this until someone nearby asked him if he was okay, to which he responded, "don't worry, this is my hedge. I'm just bored". Still, to this day, I respect his casual not giving a care vibe.
9. No Time to Duck Around
I’m standing in line at a store in the mall when I hear a weird sound from a woman’s large tote bag. This is also when I notice that the bag is moving. As I tried to listen more closely, I swear I heard a quack? It couldn’t be though, right? But it was. She saw me looking at her bag, confused, so she opened it and showed me that she had half a dozen ducklings in there.
She said she had errands to run and couldn’t leave them in the car because of the heat. Made sense, but I think carrying around half a dozen baby ducks in a bag is pretty strange.
10. When Your Car is in the Shop
I once saw a man unicycling through a mall parking lot with grocery bags in each hand, during a snow storm. No one ever believes me. They don't believe me when I first tell them and assume I said bicycle. They really don't believe me when I correct them and say "no, unicycle, as in one wheel. I wouldn't have bothered telling you this if there had been two wheels".
11. Friendly Fist Fight
Right in front of my house, a couple of guys stopped their car, left it in the middle of the street, and began a fistfight. After a couple of minutes of each of them throwing more-or-less ineffectual punches, they both stopped and got back in the car (together!) and drove away. It's that last part that makes it so strange. If an argument had proceeded to blows, then I wouldn't just get back in the car with the other guy as if nothing ever happened.
12. Tale as Old as Time
I once went on a drunken walk alone. At one point, while walking though a part of my suburb, I heard "hello!" shouted from across the street. I looked over and saw what appeared to be a man who was also walking around inebriated. Well, he must have been even worse than me, because he proceeded to hug a nearby telephone pole and slowly slide down it until he was lying on the ground, still holding the pole. Legend has it that every great love song is about this man and his pole.
13. What’s in the Box?
I brought my kids to the ocean—long drive but we started early—and as the kids enjoyed the water for the first time, a middle aged woman wearing a uniform of some kind walked by carrying a large—about the size of a small suitcase—cardboard box. She stopped and stared at my kids. It was kind of odd so I said, "Excuse me, ma'am…" and she wheeled on me and started shouting in some foreign language.
I had no idea what she was saying but she sounded furious. She was literally spitting as she yelled at me. My kids noticed and ran back onto the beach. Then she shook this big box at me and there was a dull thud as whatever was inside banged around. I dashed around her, grabbed my kids by their hands and jogged away from her. I looked back and she was still standing there. This was at a state park so there were no houses anywhere near there. Weird.
14. Mind (Some of) Your Manners
I was riding the Paris Metro when this middle-aged man sits down about half a car away and starts non-stop screaming the most foul, vulgar curses in French at no one in particular. Then suddenly, he hiccups, puts his hand to his mouth and says, "oh, excusez-moi!" and, after a second, resumes his rant. I had to turn around and hold my mouth to keep from laughing out loud.
15. Tales From Downtown
I saw a white-haired old man wearing a sparkly sequinned jacket, fiddling with this massive, ancient silver boombox. The boombox started playing some funky disco music, and the dude hoisted the boombox up on his shoulder and just started strutting down the street in time with the beat. Son of a gun had his own theme music.
16. Giving Back in His Own Way
First let me say, I think this is strange in an awesome way and not a bad way.
There’s a man in the city where I live. I don't know what he used to do for a living, but he got injured and is now on disability payments from the government. He was so grateful to the country, the community, and the people who are taking care of him now that he can’t work at his carrier that he went out and bought a bicycle and cleaning supplies. Now, he cycles around singing merry songs and wishing everyone a lovely day while going from shop to shop asking if he’d be allowed to wash their windows as a thank you for his welfare checks. Super strange and super awesome! I've talked to him a few times and he'll be the first to state proudly that he is in fact strange. He just thinks we need more strange people in the world.
Like, he'll see someone sitting on a bench, just staring at the ground and he'll bicycle right up to them and ask if they're OK. "Look up, my good friend! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and it's a lovely day!" He won't pry, he'll just point out some positives and wish you a lovely day before breaking into song as he pedals towards his next shop window.
17. Call of the Wild
One time, I was at the zoo near the rhino exhibit when an old lady started leaning on the fence with outstretched arms Titanic style and proceeded to yodel. I swear to God, the rhino got up from lying down, pranced—not ran—PRANCED over, did a circle, then ran back and laid down. She got off the fence and kept walking. Nobody believes me.
18. Where Are His Parents?
There's a guy on the Upper East Side of New York who cosplays as a baby in a pretty interesting way. He'll walk down Fifth Avenue pulling a wagon with toys. Every few blocks he'll upturn the whole thing and throw a "tantrum"—toys everywhere, crying, fists pounding, etc. After a few minutes, he'll calmly put everything back in the wagon and do it all over again.
19. Perspective Is Everything
When I was a teen, my friends and I would always visit buffet restaurants and stuff as much pizza in our faces as possible. Our favorite place took a long time to clear tables, so we would just move tables after we got seconds. This one time, we finished our first plates, went to the buffet, and went straight to the second table. An older couple sat down by our first table while we were getting our seconds.
We finished and as we walked by our first table, I grabbed some food off my original plate, munched on it, and looked at the lady. She was frozen in mid-cringe, horrified. Her eyes were massive. Her mouth was at an odd angle. And she just glared at me. It didn't strike me until after I left that she had no idea that was my plate and just assumed that I was a child monster living on the streets eating other people's slobbery leftovers.
20. Should’ve Taken the Scenic Route
I stayed at a ton of hotels back when I travelled a lot for work. One night, I couldn't sleep so I stepped out for a smoke at around three AM. Next to the hotel was a six-lane highway. What do I see careening down the middle of the road? A man wearing nothing but short shorts and roller skates just barreling along the road like greased lightning.
21. Sounds Bad but Different
I was on a bus in Mexico when an old man with a guitar gets on and attempts to play the instrument. I say attempts because it was really more like him rhythmically tearing the strings off the guitar in a misguided effort to perform music. When that didn’t get him enough attention he started wailing in a rhythmic tone. He then started to screech random Spanish words in a way that was almost reminiscent of metalcore vocals. I looked over at my brother—who speaks Spanish—and he said the guy was literally stringing completely random words together.
He then starts to jump up and down hard enough to shake the entire bus, all while he is still singing and tearing at his guitar strings. After a couple minutes of him screaming random words, he takes a bow and pulls a folded up baseball hat out of his underwear, asking for tips. I gave him a couple pesos simply because I’d never seen anything like that in my life.
There’s no doubt I would listen to scary Mexican prog Rock again.
22. Hungry, Hungry Squirrel
I was heading back to my dorm after class when I heard a noise up a tree. I looked up and saw this squirrel holding three quarters of a very big hamburger. My college campus had its share of fat squirrels but I had never seen one with such a huge amount of food. I stopped in my tracks and just watched as this squirrel proceeded to scarf down the burger.
A friend of mine approached me and asked what was up. I just silently pointed up and we both stood there in awe, watching this squirrel devour his burger.
23. Heads Up!
At a picnic bench outside of my college apartment, a red tailed hawk swooped into the little tree right next to me with a pretty big dead rabbit in its beak. Weird, because I was in the middle of town, and I honestly don't know where he would have gotten such a big rabbit. The hawk starts tearing into it, and I'm just watching, all amazed because it's so close, and I'd never seen a hawk eat its kill before.
Then, the super-prim family of a super-prim girl I knew walked up. The mom asked what I was looking at, and just as I took a breath to tell her, the hawk dropped a big chunk of guts from the rabbit and it splattered on her shoe. I laughed, she didn't, and the hawk didn't care either way.
24. That Escalated Quickly
I work in city transit—bus service—as a street level supervisor. I have seen a lot of strange things, but this one takes the cake.
I got a call about two women arguing on a bus when suddenly, the operator gets cut off. When I arrive, I see two slightly older women, one in an electric wheelchair/scooter and the other standing. The woman in the wheelchair tries to get up but the other one—who I quickly find out was her sister—won't let her because she owes her five dollars.
I manage to convince them to get off the bus, turn to help the operator with the wheelchair ramp, only to turn around and find both women fighting. The woman in the electric wheelchair/scooter is on her feet swinging at her sister. They then grab twigs—yes, twigs—and try to shank each other. I'm standing like Chris Pratt in Jurassic World trying to hold back the velociraptors. Once they stop, I grab their twig-shanks and dispose of them. That's when the authorities arrive and take care of the situation. Weird day.
25. Maybe Put on a Helmet
I once saw a bald guy with bandages around his head and face head-butt a metal pole really hard, for no real reason. As he walked off, his friend said in a quiet tone, "Paul, we talked about this".
26. It’s Been in the Family for Decades
I've seen this guy twice now. He looks just like any other businessman cycling to work in the morning with one exception. He rides a penny-farthing bicycle. The front wheel is easily six feet in diameter so his head height is well above 10 feet off the road. And yet he rides this death machine through rush hour traffic in the city. As an additional point, he doesn't seem to be able to stop without dismounting so he just goes through all the red lights and oncoming traffic.
27. Quite the Morning Routine
In downtown Charlotte there's this huge building with a giant marble orb in front. About 15 years ago, we drove by it and watched a man in a clown costume and makeup with a very depressed, almost empty look in his eyes walk right up to it and start humping it furiously. Not one person stopped to stare or anything—no audience. Just like it was a normal occurrence or something.
28. Our Little Secret
I went to the local library with my friend and some of her acquaintances. I hadn't met any of them before so I tried to keep to casual with some small talk. I noticed one of those waxy house plants in the corner and made a comment about whether it was real or not, and this man—let's call him Charlie—just straight up picked a leaf off of the plant, and ate it, all while looking me straight in the eyes. Real, he says.
I turned to my friend and the rest of the group and asked if any of them saw that. None of them did and none of them believed me when I told them what he just did. They went back to talking and Charlie bent down and whispered in my ear, "no one will ever believe you". He was right.
29. When You Gotta Go
I'm sitting in some soul-crushing traffic. In the next lane, I notice that an open car door. I see a woman, dressed in a pretty standard business suit with a skirt, start to shimmy over toward the opening. Keep in mind that the car is still following along with traffic, so she's managing to do this while operating the steering wheel and brakes, at least.
Soon, she's got one hand on the top of the doorframe, another on the steering wheel, and a good portion of her torso hanging out over the street. I'm watching the process, rapt. My thought process was something like this, "oh my God, she's going to pee on the street". Well, I was wrong. Instead, she pulled up the back of her skirt and dropped the biggest log I've ever seen ejected from a moving vehicle by the driver.
I was stunned. She proceeded to pull her skirt back down while sliding back into the vehicle, closed the door, and stared straight ahead for at least as long as she remained in view. I mean, it's not like she was going to leave the scene quickly. All I could feel was a disturbing combination of revulsion and like, dang, I'm kinda impressed.
30. Fired up for Chocolate
I was browsing in my local supermarket when a postman came running into the store, frantically looking for a particular kind of chocolate bar. He snatched one up and proceeded to run to the register, where there was a line. He then impatiently jumped on the spot, tripping and mumbling under his breath while waiting in line. After he came up to the cashier and paid, he got the biggest smile on his face and STORMED out while singing. I still have many questions.
31. Finding Gandalf
I was driving down some back road when I see this guy standing at the very top of a hill, wearing a wizard hat and holding a staff in the air, like he's waiting for lighting to strike him. I told my roommate when I got back and he wanted to see it for himself, but when we went back there the guy was gone. It was pretty weird.
32. Not Appropriate
I work at an elementary school. One of the teachers just started clipping this kid's toenails while he was waiting for his ride to pick him up. His mom walked in and I wanted to be like, "um we don’t condone this".
33. He Thought It Was on Fire
I was walking in Paris midday, in the middle of summer, a few years ago. We passed a guy right next to a crepe stand dressed in a full suit with a briefcase. He was peeing on a building. We had to go way out of our way to avoid it on the sidewalk. From what I gather, that's not really unusual there. It's a really cool city but it can be really disgusting.
34. One at a Time
At a fast food joint one time, I saw a man who ordered his meal, like a normal meal with a burger, drink and fries—maybe a large fry. But what was odd was he grabbed over 50 packets of ketchup. When he sat down to eat his meal, he would empty an entire packet of ketchup straight into his mouth, then eat exactly one French fry.
35. The Rocket to Her Groot
I saw a woman pull over to the side of the road, get out of her car, walk over to a raccoon, pick it up, and walk back to her car and drive off. All that was strange enough, but it was her attitude about the whole thing. She was completely nonchalant about kidnapping a trash panda.
36. Fish Out of Water
Some guy at Wal-Mart was walking around yelling Marco so I decided to yell Polo and he took off running to my location. I see this man sprinting then stop, look around, and proceed to keep yelling Marco again.
37. Something Out of a Horror Movie
I saw a clown riding down the street on a small tricycle and I just froze up. I noticed there were no parties on my street, but I think it’s possible he had just left a party and that was his exit. He probably parked the car a good bit away to sell the joke.
38. Man of Many Voices
I used to ride the bus to work, and on the express bus to and from downtown, this one guy would talk to himself in different voices. Usually, he did entire television shows, like the $10,000 Pyramid where he voiced the announcer, the host, and three contestants. Another time he did the news where he voiced several different news anchors, did the sports and traffic, the whole bit.
The first time I ever heard this guy, he was arguing with himself about a voice message on the phone in two different voices. It was really convincing because I really thought it was two people arguing, their argument got pretty intense so I looked around for the source and it was just this one guy.
39. In Need of Answers
My sister and I went through a Taco Bell drive-thru and it led out into a large, empty parking lot of an abandoned mall. As we slowly drove through to the street, we saw somebody sitting on one of the concrete stops at the end of a parking space in a full Gumby costume. Like, it was just Gumby and as we drove past, he or she looked up from a slumped over state and watched us intently until we drove out of the line of sight.
If when I die and there's a God that Gumby is the first thing I'm getting clarification on.
40. Gotta See it
In the middle of a really good reading session at my local park, I look up and see a young blind woman with a suitcase, cane, and those big blackout sunglasses. She's got a sign that reads, "Is anyone wearing a green hat?" I look back see four people gathered around her bench, two of who were, sure enough, wearing green hats—the other two were wearing hats that weren't green.
The group was having an animated conversation and then the blind woman felt their hats with her hands. She then pointed to the two people who were wearing green hats and all four people gave her a round of applause and walked away. After they were well out of sight, the "blind woman" took off her glasses, put them and the cane in her suitcase, and walked off while reading her phone.
41. Late on an Order
In high school, I took the bus before I got my license. One day, the bus stopped and about 12 guys carrying live chickens, oranges, fresh fish, and other produce came on the bus. They were probably going to the summer market. Weird, but not the strangest thing you’ve ever heard of. You might think the bus driver would have said something about the live chickens but nope, nothing.
These twelve guys are all yelling loudly and passing samples of fruit to the other people on the bus. I guess it was their way of making peace with everyone. After about 10 minutes of these people yelling, chickens doing their chicken thing, and other people looking confused as all heck, one guy takes a seat and beckons the chicken guy to pass him one.
This guy pulls out a clever and a cutting board and lops off the chicken’s head on the bus. He then proceeds to process the chicken right there on the bus, putting all the excess into the bus’s trash bin. No way this was anything close to sanitary. I got off the bus soon after that and never even looked at the meat at the local market again.
42. Conjuring up Something
There's a guy who lives around the corner from me who used to be out in his front yard all day, surrounded by an assortment of crystals and other artifacts. Sometimes he’d have sneakers on the ground pointed in specific directions, occasionally with an empty aquarium tank next to him, and one time a two-foot-tall water pipe. He'd sit out there and either stare at the sun or film the sun.
We have never been able to figure out what he's trying to do. He also replaced his actual house numbers with 777. We know that's not his real address because the door of the other side of the duplex says 10 something. I'm actually a little worried about him because all his weird yard paraphernalia disappeared at the beginning of the summer and I haven't seen him in a while. I hope he just moved and I hope he's okay and I hope he someday achieves whatever it was he was trying to do.
43. Someone Has to Feed Them
I took the subway home from work after my shift one day. It was probably 10PM by this point, so the subway wasn't overly busy. I sat down and two or three stops later this man walks in and sits down across from me. The first thing I notice is this guy has two pigeons with him, one on his shoulder and one in his hand. He's also carrying a McDonald's bag.
He opens the bag, takes out a sandwich, rips off a small piece, forcibly opens bird A's mouth, and shoves the food into its mouth. He does this a few more times and then switches to bird B, repeating the feeding. I understand that the birds need to eat, but that's definitely not what I was expecting to see when I got on the subway.
44. Doubling Down
My husband and I were walking up a hill towards a four-way stop. A car was pulled up to the intersection coming from our direction and was about to pull out when a car blasts through the stop sign, nearly hitting it. The guy who was nearly hit honks, which is understandable since it's a four way stop and he could have gotten T-boned.
Up until now, just your average traffic nonsense, but this is where it gets weird. Stop sign runner slams on his breaks, backs up back into the intersection, and proceeds to start cursing at the guy he nearly hit. He was intense about it too! He clearly felt he had been gravely wronged by the well-deserved honk. After a few minutes of this, stop sign runner guy pulls off and the original guy is finally able to leave. It was very WTF.
45. Quite Monkeying Around!
My daughter and I were at Bloomingdale’s for lunch. Two men sitting across the aisle were hiding their baby monkey—wearing a diaper—under the table. Everyone thought it was cute so no one said a word to the server. The problem was the baby kept crawling onto their laps. They’d quickly push her back under the table. We knew the server wasn’t fooled when she hid a smile every time she walked by us.
Eventually, she stopped and said that since the monkey was already there, they didn’t have to push her under the table any more. This was 25 years ago. I don’t know what they’d say now with regulations being tightened. It was the highlight of our trip to New York.
46. Auditioning for Birdman
Late at night in NYC, I noticed an odd looking guy holding on to one of the poles on the subway. He had a huge feather in his hat, like he was attempting to make some sort of bird costume but stopped at his hat. Every few minutes he would let out a very loud "CAWW" like he thought he was an actual bird. He wouldn’t look at anyone, but just stare straight ahead and caw.
When he would caw, other people on the train would kind of look awkward, or have a WTF look on their face, or some people would giggle. I was going up to the Bronx, so I was on the train for the long haul. He eventually got off before me—thank God—so I don’t know what happened to him. I assumed he continued walking around NYC cawing randomly the rest of the night.