We're all afraid of different things. Sometimes our imaginations get the best of us, other times our gut feeling is spot on. Regardless, fear is a feeling that can stop us dead in our tracks. The adrenaline kicks in and it's either fight or flight. Whether it's in our heads or happening right behind us, fear that chills us to the bone isn't something we should ignore. These Reddit users have shared the moment that froze them in complete fear and how they handled it. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My wife and son were out of town, so I had the house to myself. I used that opportunity to do something I never get to do - have a shower with the washroom door open.
Small things like that make me happy.
Anyway, I was just getting out of the shower, when - without a sound - I see someone’s head slowly go by in the dark corridor outside the washroom door!
I nearly shat myself in terror; the doors were all locked, how did anyone get in? And there was something unnatural and menacing about that slow silent glide by the door. Like they must have known I was there, but they just didn’t care. Plus whoever it was, was really tall - the head was seven feet off the ground. My heart raced so fast I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
Wet and terrified, I peered out of the door ...
... to find the mystery solved: the 'head' was my son’s helium balloon toy, partly deflated over time, floating by on the slight air current.
In short, I had nearly been frightened to death by my kid’s toy. Not my proudest moment."
"When I was still a beginning driver, I basically misjudged a turn at a highway exit when it was raining. My car swiveled and turned around. Somehow I managed to get it to stop, but I ended up bumping the side railing with the back of my car, and the car turning more than 180 degrees on the road before coming to a halt.
This is a very busy exit, and if someone had been right behind me I'd have been dead.
Somehow I managed to gather my wits, restart the car, turn it around, and drive off before another car hit me.
I stopped at the earliest possible parking opportunity, and that was when I felt it - the fear. I just started shaking uncontrollably."
"A few years back I was in a toxic relationship with an individual suffering from several mental illness. He refused to take medications. I had not a clue how bad it had gotten until he was driving us back to our apartment.
He started rambling about how God chose him to save my soul and I was a fallen angel. He would send me back to heaven. He floored the gas on a short dead end road and almost drove into a cement wall. I remember briefly wondering if I should jump put the car at 50 mph, or stay in and pray the airbag saved me. He slammed the brake last minute as I was about to open the door and jump.
Absolute fear. I ended up hospitalized a few days later due to other relationship related events and never saw him again.
Hands down, one of the more terrifying moments of my life, but not the only one I experienced by being with him."
"This was a combination of fear and shock, but two years ago my now wife’s landlord/roommate committed suicide. The day before he did, he texted me asking if I could come by after work to feed his cats. He said he would be leaving and wouldn’t be back in time to feed them. It was a brutal 13-hour day, I came home first, grabbed my wife (then girlfriend) who was at my apartment to come with me so we could feed his cats and then go grab a late dinner. When we arrived, we opened the front door which led directly to the stairs (town home type setup, garage first floor, main living area on the second). On the stairs there was an envelope addressed to me, and the note inside was pretty much face value. My wife and I were joking and in high spirits on the way over there, and she really needed to pee. So she was a few steps in front of me, as I was reading the note, which seemed like a fantasy. This is where my reality turned into a haze.
The second sentence was 'there’s no mess, but I have killed myself and I’m upstairs in my bedroom with the door closed.' As soon as I read this I very sternly told my wife 'get down here right now and wait outside.' I made the short trek up the stairs, glanced to my right and saw his bedroom door closed... this is where my fear was at its peak hoping this was just a messed up hallucination. But when I reached for the door knob and opened I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
He had a large medical sized tank of nitrous that he had rigged up to a suicide bag that he placed over his head, and secured with a headband around his throat. His whole head was so purple and blue. I could feel myself about to puke and I kind of tripped going back down the stairs and outside. I took my phone out without saying anything to my girlfriend, and she only found out when I told the 911 dispatcher that 'my girlfriends roommate had committed suicide.' After somewhat composing myself and heeding the dispatcher's advice, I ran back upstairs and removed the bag and began giving CPR, but I only made it like 10 'pumps' because fluids began coming out his mouth and his eyes rolled open, and they were just, glosses over and lifeless and gone.
The paramedics said he was gone for a while and there wasn’t anything more I could have done, but I still wonder had I not gone downstairs first after discovering him to make the call, and if I would’ve taken that plastic bag off immediately he might have had a chance.
But, there ya have it. My most fearful event. To anyone reading, this is the first I’ve ever written about this, and getting it out was very cathartic. Suicide is messed up. Please reach out if you are struggling, life is amazing. And the friends and family you leave behind are scarred forever.
Please, please, please reach out and talk to someone, ANYONE, even me or other kind internet strangers.
Do not make a permanent decision for a temporary problem."
"I was flying an airliner. We were maybe 1,000 above the ground while on approach to land at a smaller airport. There were thunderstorms in the area and we ended up in a micro burst with zero visibility. We got a wind shear warning in the cockpit and started to go around. At full throttle and the nose up we were still sinking at around 400ft/min. Everything seemed to be running in slow motion both me and the other pilot were running through our required actions and call outs due to the training. In the back of my mind all I could think about was I can’t see the ground and we are falling. I know there is a hill out here somewhere, this is where I am going to die. The plane got down to around 400ft off the ground before it finally started to climb. This was the most fear I had ever felt in my life."
"In the late 80s my father lived in the woods of North Carolina. My sister went to visit him from New Mexico and was driving from town to his house when she ran out of gas. She was probably about 17 years old. She was a bit naive, and so when a guy stopped to help her she was relieved, and when he told her he could get her gas but he didn't want to leave her on this little road all alone so she should pop in his car and they would go together to the gas station she agreed and got in his car.
Instead of taking her to the gas station he took her to his house. Where he told her that he she was very attractive, that he was looking forward to spending a lot of time with her, and that she needed to cook dinner. She said she stayed pretty calm and cool and acted like she thought that was a great idea. She told him if she was going to spend the night that she would need her suitcase, and she didn't want to leave her car on the side of the road where someone might worry about her and call the police.
He drove her to the car and put gas in it, and told her to follow him home. She took off like a bat out of heck and went to the police. Unfortunately she couldn't remember where he lived because she wasn't familiar with the roads, (in the woods of North Carolina they often look all alike) and she hadn't gotten his license plates.
I don't know if she was more terrified, or if I was by hearing the story"
"I used to measure roofs for a solar company.
One time I went up on a very steep roof of a two-story house alone, and without a harness. This roof plane was too steep to walk and the shingles were old and crumbing so I had to crawl so I didn't slide down towards the edge.
After about an hour of crawling around, the sun began to bake the shingles so they were too hot to touch, so I decided to bug out. As the roof was too steep to walk, the only way to the ladder was by scooting on my butt with my feet pointed towards the edge.
Every time I'd skid toward the edge my heart exploded in fear because it was hard to stop from moving. I had to use my hands to slow myself down and they were getting burned. All I could do was to rub my palms on my legs to transfer some heat, but they were being scorched. Imagine putting your hand on a hot frying pan full of grit.
I was completely alone, in a faraway town, with no one to call. It took forever to get to the ladder and by the time I did I was shaking and drenched in sweat. When I finally got back to the ground some people came out from a nearby house and said they saw me and were ready to call 911.
I had burnt blisters on both palms and I never went on a roof like that again without a helper or PPE."
"My former college roommate/ current best friend and I are avid hikers and like to do the more difficult hikes in the greater Tri-State Area (NJ, NY, PA for those not in the know). We were doing our second trip up Mt. Tammany, which is a rather steep and strenuous hike up a mountain with a great view of the Delaware river right on the NJ/PA border. After the difficult climb to the top, it's a slow and steady walk back down to the trailhead that passes by this lovely creek. We were around a mile away from getting back to the car and a few hundred feet away from the nearest other hiker, and we heard a loud CRACK out in front of us, it sounded just like a weapon... This was the week of one of several large mass- shootings in the US that year, so we exchanged a nervous laugh and kept walking forward.
We go another 30 yards or so before we heard it again, this time a rapid fire CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! And I felt pieces of wood hit my face. I froze in fear at that moment thinking some crazy person brought an AR-15 to this fairly well traveled hiking trail and is going all nuts on us... Then my friend points to my left to this giant pine tree...
It had rained a ton that spring/ summer and the outcrop that the tree had decided to make it's home had eroded away too much to support the weight of the tree, so the tree had started to lean, then buckle under its own weight right down the middle. We stood there watching as large cracks formed at the base of the tree, a crowd had started to form watching it all go down with us, eventually gravity won the day and the crowd of ~20 hikers and us watched as this 100ft tree crashed down into and over the creek to our left.
Luckily no one was hurt since it fell away from the trail, but before I knew that it was a tree succumbing to gravity, I for certain thought we were going to be the victims of a woodland mass-shooting."
"We used to go sailing in the BVIs for summer holidays when I was younger. One evening we were anchored in a bay with a party boat of teenage Americans nearby. After some drinking starting a water fight seemed like a great idea.
At some point during the ensuing chaos I ended up 'kidnapped' and held as a hostage on their tender (little motor boat for getting from sailboat to shore). They decided to drive me out to sea and once we were thoroughly out of the bay they started joking about tossing me overboard.
Under the influence me is not smart. I thought the best response to this joke threat was to stand up and yell 'YOU CANT THROW ME OVERBOARD IF I JUMP OUT' which I promptly did. They laughed and drove off...
I was left floating in the middle of the sea about half a mile from shore in the pitch black. At first the substance stopped me from panicking and I decided to just swim back. Half a mile isn’t that bad right? Now my brain was beginning to wonder what was swimming around beneath me but I was mostly calm until something bounced off my leg.
This is the point at which I need to introduce you to the villain of this story. You usually see the BVIs has lovely safe clear waters. However once every 4-5 years they get unusually high numbers of moon jellyfish. Of course moons aren’t scary at all. They rarely sting and when they do it’s not even as painful as a nettle sting. They really weren’t the problem. It was the creature that used them as a food source that was the danger.
Known colloquially as the stinging cauliflower. They were purple balls of pure evil. In our marine life books they were the only jellyfish that got the same danger/pain rating as the man-o-war jellyfish. Earlier that holiday a young girl from another boat got stung while playing on the beach. We heard her scream from about a quarter of a mile out the bay at anchor. She went into anaphylactic shock and almost died. (Side story, the vinegar and talcum powder we had stocked for jellyfish stings apparently saved her life according to the emergency responders because we zoomed it over when we heard the mayday on the radio).
Anyway, back to my story.... there I was half a mile out from shore in the pitch black with no idea if these kids were going to come back and get me or if they would even be able to find me again in the dark since I had no idea if I was drifting with any current. A moon jellyfish had just bounced off my leg and where there are moons there were always cauliflowers. I was pretty certain if I swam into one and got stung chances are I wouldn’t be able to stay afloat and I would drown. I start to feel genuinely sick and scared, struggle to keep my breathing under control etc.
But there’s nothing to do except swim and hope to high heaven I don’t hit one. So that’s what I did. It was over 15 minutes before the prick heads came back to get me. By this point the panic and swimming had turned my muscles to jelly and they had to literally haul me back into the boat.
I never told my family or friends on the holiday, didn’t want to ruin their fun. I just quietly told folks I was tired and went to bed.
To this day I can still taste the salt in my mouth and feel my heart rate and breathing increase when I tell that story."
"I drank a lot and got poisoning but it didn’t hit till I was on a train. I had gone to the train bathroom to throw up, but I was dry heaving and I didn’t have water, and I could feel myself starting to black out, I was so messed up I couldn’t even see straight enough to figure out how to open the door, and I started to think 'oh my god, I’m going to die in a train bathroom with my skirt hiked up, they’re going to take pictures of this oh my god people are going to see me like this.' It was the most afraid for my life I’ve ever been, not because I was going to die, but because I was going to die alone, in a train bathroom, because I was too stupid to stop doing shots.
As I started to see spots, someone grabbed me by the hair, forced a water bottle between my lips and was like 'swallow' and I did, and I puked. And I did again, and I puked. And he got another bottle and did the same. And we went like that until I held down a few sips, and blood started flowing to my head again.
He got off at my stop and walked me home, waited while I threw up a couple of times, and made sure my boyfriend was there to take care of me when I got home.
The whole time, he was just...yelling at me. Just a nonstop flow of 'do you understand how much of a burden you’ve put on other people? I am going to be 3 hours late getting home because I missed my stop making sure you were alright. This is irresponsible, you need to take better care of yourself, learn your limits, and for pete's sake, if you’re not going to do that at least wear pants!' Just nonstop.
He was right, on all counts, of course. That’s what I love about Boston. People are rude, all of them, but they’re rude people that look out for one another."
"I came home on my lunch break to check on my ill 12-year old.
My abusive ex-husband's car was in my driveway. I had previous restraining orders against him (expired) but divorce decree states he was not allowed in my home for any reason.
Clearly, he was there also checking in on our child. (Child was fine, by the way, he just had a sinus infection). So I rationally entered my own home.
This surprised my ex. He yelled, 'WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING HERE?!' I calmly replied, 'Um...because I live here and I'm checking on Mike? The bigger question is what are YOU doing in MY house? There is a legal order of protection against you.'
He yelled again, 'MY GOD DO I HATE YOU! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!!!' and he pushed me as he ran to his car.
We are both avid weapon owners. Sport, protection (conceal/carry certified), hunting, the whole 9 yards.
Is he going to his car for his weapon? How is my son? What was he doing inside my house?
Lock the door and check it all out.
Son is fine. Nothing is out of order. Ok. Fine.
BAM BAM BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM BAM! Ex is pounding on the front door demanding my son leave with him.
Well. Either this is just kind of messed up or this is when an abusive man 'breaks' and actually kills the woman he hates the most.
Obviously, I survived."
"When I was 8 years old, the place where we lived had a really creepy basement with wood for our furnace. Light switch at the bottom of the stairs, and really steep stair-steps. Being 8, I smashed the light switch and started sprinting up while holding a bag with wood over my back. Me being clumsy as always, stepped over due to the heavy weight of the wood and stumbled down from the top. The floor was made of concrete. I woke up some time later without knowing how long I was unconscious for and I couldn't move my legs without screeching with pain. I also destroyed my back pretty hard, so I just couldn't get up. It was pitch black and I didn't know where in the room I was. Hours went by, pitch blackness, I felt I was going to die alone in darkness. I screamed and screamed and nothing. We had rats in our basement, unbeknownst to me at the time, as this was on the property of a farm. So now and then I heard noises. Heard something move. Suddenly extremely close, suddenly from afar. Being 8 this was extremely frightening.
My step-dad ended up finding me, he got annoyed I didn't come with the wood so he decided to get it himself. I was down there for 4 hours. Don't know how much of those hours was spent unconscious, but that was the time in my life where time went by the slowest."