Ever gotten an inkling, a tiny voice in one's head, a sudden, overwhelming feeling that something just isn't right? It could be as small as feeling like the car keys were left on the counter or as big as feeling like a loved one is about to pass. The most spine-chilling instances are when that instinct actually saves one from a dangerous situation. These people share their harrowing accounts of when their gut feeling proved to be life-saving.
All content has been edited for clarity.
"This was a few years back. I came out of a club in my home town after a long night of fun. I was a student then, and out with a lot of university friends - friends that I lost during the night. I was alone.
I was going to get a taxi home, but thought I could do with some McDonald's first (we have a big 24-hour one in our town).
During my slow walk towards the McDonald's I heard crying coming from one of the dark narrow alleyways nearby. I followed the noise down the alleyway until I came across a woman with her face towards the wall. She had a hood covering her face and had no distinguishing features. At first glance I thought that maybe she'd been mugged or attacked. Why else would there be a woman crying in an alleyway?
Anyway, as I got closer to her in that poorly-lit alleyway, I saw 2 giant industrial bins between her and myself. It wasn't until I got within a few feet of the bins that I stopped. It was like a giant shock went through my body. I don't know how to adequately explain it other than a primal instinct. Within 2 seconds of seeing the bins - that are large enough for people to hide behind - the dark lighting of the alleyway, and the faceless woman crying, I was sure I was prey.
I felt an urge to run away. It was like something inhuman in me was telling me to turn and run my legs right out of that dark place.
When I got to the light at the end of the alleyway, I turned to see if anybody was chasing me. Nobody was, but nobody was crying also."
"It was Christmas Day and I’m driving to my parent's at 6 am. It’s extremely dark out when I see a horrible accident in front of me taking up the two right lanes. Both vehicles don’t have their hazard lights on. I pull in front of them, switch my hazard lights on, and get out of my car on the freeway hoping I can help them and make sure they’re okay. I’m walking toward the first driver, who looks to be around 18/19-years-old and badly injured. He asks me to help him talk to 911 because he could only speak in broken English. Then I go to the second driver, who's in his 60s, to see if he’s okay, and he just blames me for the accident. I just responded that I didn’t do it. The operator then tells me to get everyone on the side of the freeway, which is only 2-3 feet from the slowest lane.
Suddenly, I have this gut feeling to look to my left and as I do, I see a SUV racing toward us and I realize he’s not going to stop and he’s about to hit the first vehicle. The rest happened within a few seconds. The only thing I can think of is 'get out of the way' and the only way was to go backwards. At the time I didn’t know, but there was an overpass behind us. As I’m about to fully fall back, I bothered to look where I was falling and saw how far the drop was. I reasoned I was either going to get hit by the SUV or be crippled from the fall and get hit by a car below me. Big 'nope' from my part, I hurled myself back up and as I’m doing so, I watch the SUV hit my leg. The only thing I’m thinking is 'relax relax relax'.
I came out with no injuries and the young man wasn’t hit. Unfortunately, the older man next to me was hit and killed on impact. After hitting the man, the guy in the SUV hit my car and then swerved through all 5 lanes of traffic and crashed into the center divider. He stayed in his car for a while and when he tried to get out, he was frantic and tried to cross all 5 lanes while cars were going by. I screamed and told him please not to cross.
The guy that was hit was knocked like 100 feet from where we were standing, past were my car was parked. His shoes, socks, money, everything was scattered across the freeway. All this was happening while I was still on the phone with 911. The operator asked me what had happened and asked me if I could drag him off the freeway. I couldn’t do it, I was afraid someone else might not see the accident, hit my car, and then me.
It’s been over a year since the accident and the police report isn’t out yet. The guy in the SUV has insurance and a lawyer though. After the accident, a CHP told me that he’s seen accidents like this where the good samaritan was killed trying to help. The main takeaway from this: do not get out of your vehicle on the freeway."
"When I was in college, I lived in a sketchy part of Chicago (Humboldt Park/Logan Square area before gentrification).
I liked to take late night strolls, even when I was living in that neighborhood as a 20-year-old woman. Yeah, I know, it was pretty dumb of me.
One night, I was feeling stressed out so I embarked on one of my late night strolls.
I was walking along a somewhat busy road. Cars were zooming past me. Pretty normal. I wasn't paying much attention because I was too wrapped up in whatever was stressing me out that night. Suddenly, a chill shot up my spine. Hyper vigilance washed over me and I became more alert than I had ever been. Something was wrong. Someone was watching me.
I quickly spotted a car. It was driving in the opposite direction, a little slower than usual. It was too dark for me to see anyone inside the car, and the car was pretty unassuming. But I still knew something was off. They were watching me. I just knew.
The car drove past me and then made a u-turn. Now it was right behind me, creeping along the curb.
Luckily, there was a Walgreens a few blocks ahead. I started walking faster, and the car eventually sped past me and disappeared into a corner. I somehow knew I wasn't safe yet, so I still sprinted to Walgreens.
I told the security guard what happened, and we both went outside. The car was parked up the street, about 50-100 feet away. The security guard was a big guy who looked intimidating. He marched toward the car, and the car immediately backed up, made a u-turn, and then booked it out of there. The security guard called the cops, and they drove me home.
I never took a late night stroll again.
My gut made me more alert, but it was really the security guard who saved my life. I'm positive that if he wasn't there that night, something bad would've happened to me. I wish I could find that security guard to thank him."
"I was 8 months pregnant and it was a normal, complication-free pregnancy. One day I was walking through the grocery store and I felt a twinge of a headache. I told my husband that we needed to go home.
At home, I took a shower and relaxed a bit, but got an urgent 'impending doom' feeling. It was still just a tiny headache, not even enough for a Tylenol, but I still packed my toddler's diaper bag and requested we go to urgent care.
The whole ride there I felt fine, wondering what I was even going to tell them at check in. But that 'you're not okay' feeling was still looming.
We pulled in, I carried my sleeping two year old inside and basically said, 'I'm pregnant and something isn't right.'
My blood pressure was 256/148. I had a seizure 7 minutes after getting in the room. If I had told my husband to drive past urgent care and go to the ER, we would have been stuck in traffic, as a truck had rolled over. If I hadn't left the grocery store or my house when I did, there's a chance I wouldn't have made it.
We got a ride to the hospital when I was stable. I was induced at 35ish weeks and my son was born perfectly fine, albeit small. I stayed on blood pressure meds for 8 days before it went back to normal.
I count myself extremely lucky. My body handled the medication, the induction was textbook perfect, and a week later I was back to normal. I have no lasting issues and I got to come home with both of my sons. So much could have gone wrong but didn't, and I appreciate each new day."
"When I was 16, my dad took me deep sea fishing in Ilwaco, Washington. We left our house in Portland, stupid-early in the morning (2am) to get to the dock in time to depart by 4:30am. We had a fun day out, caught loads of fish, and were on the road driving home in the early afternoon.
I fell asleep about 30 minutes into our drive. I remember waking up, my dad singing to the radio, eating a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. My heart is pounding, and then totally clearly I hear in my head: 'Tell your dad to put his seatbelt on'.
I distinctly remember feeling teen-embarrassment, and mentally voicing, 'What the heck? No way, I'm not going to tell my dad what to do!' After a couple minutes, and more of my dad serenading me to some Willie Nelson song, I hear the voice again, this time very directly: 'Tell your dad to put his seatbelt on, and tell him right now.'
I begrudgingly oblige and say, 'Dad, you should probably put your seatbelt on.' He says, 'Oh shoot, thanks. Silly that I even need the reminder!' and he buckles up, and goes on singing and munching on his PBJ. I smile, my heartbeat settles down, I close my eyes and lean my head against the window and promptly fall asleep.
The next time I open my eyes, I'm staring at the coins that were resting on the dashboard, now floating in slow motion in front of me. I see my hands are outstretched, and for some reason they make contact with the windshield. Sunshine is flashing like a strobe light, refracting off thousands of tiny chunks of glass but also, there's dirt? Why is there dirt floating in the air, in our car? I'm very confused.
My hearing comes crashing back as this memory shifts to real-time and I can hear my dad yelling for me, the engine whining, and the screech of bending metal, the crunch of breaking glass. I can smell the dirt, the engine oil, rubber. It dawns on me we've been rolling. We finally come to a stop, and we're tipped sideways, with the driver's side up in the air. I'm disoriented, but somehow coherent. My dad is in shock and confused, asking where I am. I'm able to unbuckle myself and crawl out through the now missing windshield and after a bit of a wrestle, I help my dad get unbuckled even though all his weight is on his seatbelt buckle. He's bleeding pretty badly on his arm, but he says he's fine as we both scamper up the hill to the road.
Traffic has stopped, and there's now a crowd of people who gasp as we make it up road-side. 'We watched it all happen in slow motion, we just knew there wouldn't be survivors!' multiple people tell us. 'You need to sit down, you're not looking good...' one man tells me. I feel fine, but my ears are ringing, and my right ear is painful to the touch.
My dad is really dazed, and keeps asking for me even though I'm sitting right next to him, telling him, 'I'm fine,' and 'I'm right here.' It starts to dawn on me how crazy this all is as I look down and see just how far we climbed up to the road. We must have rolled 5 times AFTER flying off the road at 60 MPH. Onlookers said we hit a tree not long after we departed the road which slowed us down, but sent us rolling toward the small river below.
First responders arrive, they're all in disbelief that we walked away. As we're being lifted into the ambulance, my dad says to the firefighter who had bandaged his arm, 'Please, somewhere down there there's a cooler full of fresh salmon. It's all yours. I'd hate to see it go to waste.' I always wondered if they actually went looking for it, and if they have a shared memory of 'remember that time that father and son bailed off the road and gave us their salmon? That was the best bbq ever.'
We were whisked off to the hospital to get checked out. 'You are unbelievably lucky,' the paramedics kept telling us. 'It's not called the "bloody highway" for nothing,' says his partner. At the ER, one of them pulled my dad aside and said, 'When you go to collect your things from the tow yard, you may experience some pretty intense emotions seeing the vehicle.' Despite this warning, we were totally unprepared for the flood of emotions while walking up to our mangled, shredded (the cabin roof was totally peeled open) Ford Ranger pickup.
My dad and I often reflect back on this and make the occasional pilgrimage to Ilwaco. He thanks me at least once a year for 'listening to that voice' and my kids regularly ask for a retelling of 'that time you saved your dad's life!' And I tell it, again and again. And I tell them I'm grateful teen embarrassment lost that battle so they can grow up knowing my old man."
"Three years ago, I was planning a major fundraising event. I was working ridiculous hours trying to make sure everything was going to run smoothly. I had worst case scenarios planned out like a crazy person.
One day I was climbing the stairs after getting home rather late when I became unnaturally short of breath. As I sat on my bed, my breathing returned to normal. My face suddenly became hot with what I can only assume is considered a hot-flash in older women. I started to tingle with fear. I don't know how to explain it exactly. It was like I could feel electricity in the air, warning me something was wrong.
I immediately packed my laptop, paperwork, extra clothing, toothbrush, and so on, and I slowly walked down the stairs to my car and drove myself to the ER. As soon as I got through the doors I collapsed, unable to breathe.
I don't recall everything that happened right after that, but what I do recall was being in the hospital for 8 days because both of my lungs were littered with blood clots. I had gotten a blood clot in my lower left calf from sitting and working for too many hours on the event. It broke loose and spread throughout my lungs (the doctor said it looked like my lungs were filled with popcorn). Had I not driven myself to the hospital when I did, the nurse said I would have died. I will NEVER ignore shortness of breath again, and I WILL trust myself when I KNOW something is wrong."
"I stopped just before leaving a mall on the way home from closing up shop to send a text to my long distance boyfriend. It was the 5 minutes our schedules halfway-lined up.
This random elderly man came up and offered me a walk to my car. I had creepy feeling about him. I refused repeatedly, but he kept getting between me and the door, and the rest of the mall had gates up to prevent people from going all the way through.
So I calmly just kept denying until I came up with an excuse to dip into the restaurant next to the exit. It was closing up, but they hadn't closed the side door yet. I waited to dip in until I saw someone at the host stand. I hurriedly explained the situation. He pretended to seat me. The guy went away. The host walked me to my truck and I drove him back to the other entrance of the restaurant.
I got followed halfway home in my truck. I drove around until he turned off, drove 20 more minutes, and then went home.
Guess who's face popped up on my social media news feed the next week?
It turns out he was essentially the ring leader of a human trafficking ring."
"When I was in my early 20s, my grandmother became ill with cancer. I had moved across the country a few years prior, but she had basically raised me, and I wasn’t doing anything in my new city except waiting tables, so I moved back to help take care of her.
She was receiving hospice care pretty quickly into my stay, and there was often a night nurse that would come in so I could get some sleep. I would also sometimes use these nights to meet up with a dude I had waited tables with before I had move away; we had run into one another one day when I was out getting groceries, made a date, and things got pretty serious right away. We were both in some emotional turmoil (he was stuck living with an ex because he couldn’t afford a place on his own) and it was nice to just have some fun. After a day of reading to my grandmother, cooking food she couldn’t eat, giving her meds, bathing her, missing her even though she was technically still with me, it was good to forget for a little bit.
For obvious reasons, we couldn’t really meet at his place or my place, so we had to get creative. For some reason I don’t remember, I had my mom’s car that night, a convertible red Miata. It was late fall and still warm, and we decided to go for a drive, out an old highway away from the city, and look for a place to park. The road is very windy and dark without a lot of shoulder; we eventually settled on an empty gravel parking lot next to a church. There was one light attached to the building that illuminated some of the parking lot and a little bit of the big field behind the church.
I parked the car, (the top was down to give us more room) and we proceeded to go after it like a couple of high school kids. We were very focused on each other, but something made me break away and look out into the field. I couldn’t see anything, it was pitch black beyond the circle of light provided by that one bulb. I turned back to him, but I kept feeling drawn to that field. I looked again, and this time I definitely saw something. I nudged the guy I was with: 'Do you see that??' He looked, and the shape of a man became distinguishable in the shadows of the field. No shirt, running all hunched and low to the ground, zig-zagging back and forth, but definitely heading toward us. And laughing.
By some miracle I had left the keys in the ignition. I started in the car, threw it in reverse, and peeled out of the parking lot, spitting gravel everywhere. The shirtless guy chased us down the road, sprinting, arms pumping, trying to catch us, even though there was no way. We lost him going around a curve.
We didn’t say anything the whole way back to the city, and things were weird between us afterwards. He decided to try and work it out with his ex. My grandma passed a few weeks later, and I ended up back out west."
"I was driving my family in our SUV and was stopped at a light to make a left turn. I get the green arrow and start to hit the gas when I hear my husband scream 'STOP!' I slam on the breaks and a giant pickup truck runs the red from our left and screeches to a stop 30 yards past the intersection. I definitely would’ve been killed and my entire family injured.
So we all take a deep breath and I tell my husband I hadn’t seen the truck so it’s a good thing he did. He says he didn’t see the truck.
'Then why did you yell 'STOP?' I ask him. He says he didn’t yell stop. The kids say no one yelled anything.
To this day I swear I heard an audible voice telling me to stop. But no one else did."
"When my sister was just a few months old, my mom set her in her bassinet one night before going to bed. My mom was lying in bed trying to sleep, but couldn't shake this feeling that something was off. I remember my her description of the event was kind of haunting in a way. She walked into the totally silent living room, where my sister's bed was.
It was December and we had a Christmas tree set up, and in the glow of the tree my mom looked in and saw my sister not breathing. If I remember correctly, she was basically choking on phlegm, turning blue. Fortunately, my mom is a lifeguard instructor, so she did back blows to clear my sister's airways a bit and got her to the hospital.
I don't know what it was that my sister had exactly, but she was horribly congested and had a fever, and it set on very quickly. The doctors got her fixed up, and she's alive and well to this day, but it's horrible to think what might have happened if not for my mom's instincts that night."
"I was a young, naive freshman in college and had basically no experience talking to boys. This guy had sat next to me for my whole 2-hour psychology lecture and casually talked to me the whole time. It was just little comments about the lecture, showing me things on his laptop - innocent stuff.
When lecture ended and we got outside it was POURING. Like, to this day I’ve seen rain like that maybe twice in my life. It was the kind of rain that would physically HURT to walk in. He offered me a ride and I said yes, but as he was pulling the car up, I thought to myself, 'Don’t get in,' and took off running to my dorm. A few months later I saw him on the news, and my stomach dropped. He had been arrested for attacking two women and forcing them to do some pretty awful stuff."
"I grew up in a small farming community. Back then, when you were the only kid on the bus who lived down a stretch of road, the bus driver dumped you off on the corner of the street and you usually walked the half mile or so to your house.
I was in detention once, so I had to ride the elementary bus home after, and no young kids lived on my road, so I was dropped off. As I got off the bus, and it started driving away, another guy pulled up to turn right. He just stared at me with dead eyes and my adrenaline simply spiked. We had just plowed the field I was in, so it was fairly rough terrain, but I knew in my heart of hearts that he was coming back. So I sprinted. As I was about halfway through the field (running parallel to the road, I know now I should have run deep) I turned and saw him charging back up towards the road I was just dropped off on. He was moving.
Long story short, I hit a corn field as he slammed on his brakes and got out of his car. By that time I was gone.
I heard him get back into his car and drive away, but I didn’t move from that field for a good 2 hours. I eventually trudged my way home."