Some people are truly lucky to be alive and these are their stories. These folks share the unforgettably bone-chilling moment that shook them to their core.
“I volunteered for a marathon once and was put in the middle of the track to hand out cups of Gatorade to thousands of exhausted runners. I was facing them and giving out the little cups when I looked back down the racecourse towards the finish line. The runners were shuffling past me when I heard a MASSIVE boom erupt from the horizon. Just a huge plume of smoke rising into the sky.
Everybody jumped. It was so loud that everyone on the track turned their head to see. Just hundreds of faces that a second ago were facing me were all now swiveled the other way.
The puff of smoke went rolling up the side of a church. An eerie hush of silence fell upon the crowd as everybody watched the pillar of smoke advance toward us. Then there was this weird, distant, high-pitched sound.
‘Could that possibly have been a…?’ someone muttered before another second explosion erupted on the street. The boom echoed through the city before we heard the distant wave of screams. Desperate, blood-curdling screams. The screams take a couple of seconds to reach our ears and they all have this frightening tone; this pitchy raggedness of sheer terror.
This obviously tripped some alarm bells in my head, and every single one of those thousands of exhausted runners, who had all been barely able to walk seconds before, just all launched forward, almost levitating, and went SPRINTING past me. The look of that entire crowd just launching into motion in synchrony, all those hundreds of faces whipping toward me again and every single person pushing off into this sprint - I will never forget that. The volunteers around me run too, everybody runs except the cops. These cops who had been standing nearby chitchatting are instinctively running TOWARD the booms. I have never seen a huge crowd flee in panic before, let alone a crowd that had been so exhausted before. And I have never seen cops in the moment of the crisis run toward danger before.
A second later a wheelchair comes bolting toward us, this cluster of people are around it and this white-faced volunteer pushing it and there's a guy in it who I think is sitting with his legs folded under him, and he's holding these two red sticks out in front of him for some reason. He goes all the way past me before I realize the two red sticks are his tibias; he is not sitting with his legs folded under him; his legs have been blasted off. He was the first of 26 gravely wounded people I saw that day, followed by countless hundreds of others with chunks of flesh gouged out, eyes missing. I was in Boston. The date was April 15, 2013. I had just witnessed the deadly Boston Marathon bombing."
"My group of friends liked to play this game we called ‘Run.’
We would play late at night, starting around 1 am when the streets would be empty (our town is very small). We'd walk down to Main Street and stand around outside the post office or grocery store. We'd hang out, talking and teasing, until the local police officer drove by. We'd stand there just long enough for him to see us, and then we'd all scatter and run in different directions. The cop would chase us through town for the rest of the night. As long as we stopped if he turned his lights/siren on we wouldn't get in any trouble. We did this all the time and the cops seemed to enjoy the sport. Sometimes they would even get out of the car and pursue us on foot. It was exhilarating and so much fun.
Anyways, one night we were playing this game until around 4 am. The birds started singing and the sky started turning gray, so we decided to head home. As we're walking along a road parallel to the main highway, we hear this HUGE boom. We thought a bomb had gone off. We ran as fast as we could to where the sound had come from. We get to the local auto part store and see that a truck had plowed right into the side of it. There weren't any police or emergency services there yet, and this was before cell phones, so one of my friends sprinted off to the nearest house to call 911 while the rest of us cautiously approached the vehicle to see if the driver was okay.
I can't even describe what we saw. It was like the bottom part of this guy was sitting in the driver's seat, but his top half had just sort of... shifted over to the passenger side. He was in two pieces. I remember thinking how weird it seemed because it all looked so... normal. I mean, not normal, obviously, but in movies, blood and guts seem a little surreal and stylized, and this was just... his mangled body was just sitting there. I'm not sure why it shocked me so much, it's not as if ominous music and mood lighting appear around every dead body in real life.
A few seconds later the Tribal police from a casino 40 minutes away pulled up with their sirens blaring. A few minutes after that the police, ambulances, and fire department start to arrive. Apparently, this guy had stolen some money from the casino. The Tribal police had been chasing him, but he ended up getting ahead of them. It had been raining, and there's a decent curve in the road by the auto parts store, and this guy had drifted over the curb and slammed sideways into the building.
The really disturbing part was how the entire freaking town came out to gawk at the accident. It took them hours to get the guy's body out of the vehicle. People were camped out on every lawn and sidewalk, trying to catch a glimpse of the body. At one point a few volunteers grabbed a bunch of sheets and tarps to hold up around the scene - and then people starting going up on rooftops so they could see from above. This guy had died in a really horrific and brutal way, and all people cared about was seeing his corpse."
“I was walking up Eighth Avenue in New York City with my then girlfriend. We were heading to the movie theater on 23rd Street and running pretty late, so I was doing that ultra-focused New Yorker tunnel vision walk just trying to shut out the world and get where I'm going.
We were between 20th and 21st Street and I hear my girlfriend say 'Wait, is that real?'
I look up and there's this hulking dude up ahead of us, just a big guy. Probably around six foot three and not skinny. Wide-shouldered dude. And he's got this blonde woman by the hair and he's just dragging her up the street. She's falling down behind him and he's hoisting her up by her hair and it's disturbing.
This is the center of Chelsea in New York City right around dinner time, and dozens of people are just frozen with their jaws open, watching. And I feel myself running towards these two people. And I'm NOT trying to paint myself as some sort of hero better than the people watching, because it wasn't a conscious decision on my part to approach. In the same way that those people saw this and short circuited into freezing up, I short circuited into running forward.
I'm not a fighter, I'm only like five foot eight. I am a nerdy guy. But I get up right behind him and put my hand up to grab him by the shoulder and right before I do this thought pops into my head - 'This might not end well.' And that's when I almost shat a brick because it was that moment of realizing, 'How did I even get this close to this guy? Why am I doing this?' But I was already in it, and my hand came down on his shoulder. I yank down on it.
He lets go of the lady's hair and turns around and looks at me. I don't say any tough guy stuff or anything heroic. I just go 'Hey, you can't... you can't do that, man. Stop doing that.' I'm not yelling, it's meek. I am so overwhelmed and confused.
And the guy doesn't say anything, but he locks eyes with me and kind of flexes his shoulders out so he's looming over me. And this guy was so wasted. Just plastered and gone. And his eyes were cloudy and stormy. He was not there, there was no humanity in his eyes. And he was making sure his size was kind of overshadowing and enveloping me, and not to be dramatic but every time since then that a female friend of mine has talked about feeling physically intimidated by a dude I'm like, 'I get it,' and I only had to feel that terror - because legit, that's what it was - for about six seconds.
The guy doesn't say anything. He's just kind of... inebriated and grinning, but not really grinning, his mouth is hanging open and he's breathing really heavy. And he's lurching towards me with this weird grin and these empty hollow eyes.
And this is so weird, but I feel bound to include it - he had on one of those string backpacks that college kids were wearing around then, like something a 19 year old would wear to a music festival. But he was a dude in his late 30s or early 40s. And that as much as anything else made me feel like he was truly unhinged, I don't know why.
He's already close to me and getting closer and I'm realizing I may have just sacrificed myself for this lady, but before I can even process that thought about six or seven Mexican staff pour out of the restaurant I'm in front of and circle up behind me. Before I even realize they have, I see this guy's eyes recognize something and change and I turn to realize now I'm over half a dozen guys strong. And one of these new dudes (who it turned out was the actual host of the restaurant that night) is just yelling, 'What do you want to do? How do you want this to go?'
And the big guy, he turns and sprints down 22nd Street. Just flies out of there.
I thank the host and all the dudes and everyone's got that crazy adrenaline. I also - and again, not to get on a high horse - I live in New York City, and these were Mexican restaurant staff and if you know New York it's safe to assume not all of them were legal, and I always think of this incident when I hear about building a wall because of the rapists and dealers. These were good guys working a tough job who put it on hold to do the right thing and put themselves in harm's way doing so.
The big guy comes around the corner again. Now, dozens of New Yorkers get in between him and his girl. Again, he's not speaking words just grunting these inebriated roar sounds. He turns and runs again.
The host calls the cops and my girlfriend and I sit on a stoop and we wait with the lady. We are so scared the big guy's going to come back. New Yorkers start to peel away.
The cops get there and we explain what happened. The lady is super wasted too. She's crying and worked up and it's my ex mostly talking to the cops, explaining that she's in trouble.
The hotel worker says they'll do their best to keep an eye out, but their whole tone is tinged with that corporate protection voice. I don't have faith they can or will do much.
My girlfriend and I were so shaken up.
I'll never forget looking into the eyes of a super wasted, super big guy and realizing 'This is not a human being anymore.' It was just so scary. I really can't explain how scary it was to realize that a person big enough to really hurt me was too plastered to be in control, and was directing it at me. Those few seconds messed my head up for years.
But if I'm being truly honest, the most bone-chilling moment I've ever witnessed was that cab turning the corner as I realized I'd failed to truly help and I'd never know how things turned out for her.”
"Years ago I lived next door to a very reclusive addicted middle-aged father and young adult son. They shared a basement studio apartment in a very old building with paper-thin walls. Not that it mattered, since they were up until ungodly hours screaming at each other in Korean and throwing things at the walls. But god forbid I make any noise at all in my apartment. I'm talking about closing my kitchen cabinets or turning on my sink. Then they were banging on my walls, screaming at me, and sometimes opening their door and yelling down the hallway at my door. It was impossible to deal with. I already have anxiety and this was not helping me.
One day I got a package in the mail and apparently, it was delivered early in the morning in front of my door. I suppose the package was in their way maybe? It wasn't big but something about it made the guy snap. I wake up sometime later to hysterical howling and much louder banging noise, like cracking wood, and it's coming from the inside of my apartment. I run into my living room in PJ's, still half asleep, to see my front door barely hanging onto the splinters of the frame. Neighbor is using all his strength to try to kick my front door down and throwing his whole body weight at it, and I'm watching the cracks in the frame slowly travel the length of the frame. I'm terrified, as a 5'1, 20-year-old girl, home alone with no weapons and no means to defend myself. Honestly, I thought that if he broke into my apartment he was going to try to kill me. He then backs off and enters his apartment as if nothing happened. I spent the remainder of the day crying in my closet, on the phone with my then-boyfriend.
I moved out of there pretty quickly after that."
"So last December I went on a trip to Costa Rica with two of my friends, one of them being an experienced surfer and solo traveler. He pretty much planned the whole trip and I was just kind of along for the ride.
So we stayed in a small tourist surfer town called Tamarindo. It is a really beautiful town with a beautiful beach that just so happens to be right next to the mouth of a river, creating brackish waters where apparently crocodiles love to hang out. We were two sections over from the river surfing, pretty much worry-free because the crocs don't really like pure saltwater.
So I was sitting in the water on a 9-foot board, and I felt something hard brush my leg. I thought it was just some rock or something. I looked down and all I see is this MASSIVE tail that's obviously connected to a behemoth of a crocodile.
So a few things went through my mind really quickly as soon as I first sighted that monster:
First: You're about to get chewed up into tiny pieces so tell your friend to swim to safety. I had a friend sitting on a board about 15 yards away so I told him to swim to shore as calmly as possible.
Second: You're about to get chewed up into tiny pieces, better pray so if heaven is real at least you can snag that last-minute ticket in. Went something like, ‘Please God don't let me die, Please god don't let me die, Please god don't let me die!’
Third: You're still about to get chewed up into tiny pieces, but maybe you won't if you put your legs on the board and pretend like ur driftwood. So I put my legs up and slowly paddled with nothing but my hands on either side super slowly because I didn't wanna make any splashes.
So flash forward about 10 seconds and I see the crocodile under me. I mean the WHOLE crocodile. Head to toe this thing was a foot longer than my board and wider... keep in mind I'm riding a 9-foot board and THAT'S NOT INCLUDING THE CROCODILE’S TAIL!
So it circles me one full time after the first sighting, and then just goes under me and out to sea...
I had never experienced raw fear until this moment. Feeling like you are being hunted by an apex predator is something else.
So I swam back as fast as possible to where the other surfers were grouped and tried for a few minutes to convince them of what I saw but I wasn't giving them a very good account because I was pretty shaken up.
I swam back to shore and sat on the sand for the next two hours contemplating life. All in all, a pretty solid vacation."
"So I'm currently going through a nasty divorce. I left my wife about four months ago and moved into a house by myself close to work. We have a 4-and-half-year-old daughter which I haven't been able to see for the last four months because my wife filed an injunction against me (nothing happened, it was just divorce tactics). Luckily, she recently came to her senses and dropped the injunction and now I have a 50/50 timeshare with my daughter- which starts next weekend.
Before we bought all these new rugs and set up my daughter's room, I kept my cat's litter box in my daughters room for the past four months while it was empty. After setting up her room I moved the litter box to another empty bedroom. Well, my cat didn't like the fact that her box was moved, apparently, she had decided that room was going to be her room... and absolutely refused to use the litter box after it was moved. Instead, she would poop and pee on all the new carpets any time my mom and I were out of the house. The entire weekend consisted of the two of us deep cleaning the new rugs with strong cleaning products every time she would poop on one. Finally, I decided to put the litter box back in my daughter's room (which is right next to mine) until I could figure out a solution. Trust me this is relevant.
Fast forward to Monday late afternoon. I had no plans that night so I spent most of the night on the couch binge-watching movies and drinking. Around 11:30 pm I was pretty hammered and stumbled to my bedroom, closed the door, locked it (because of monsters and vampires), and collapsed on my bed. I passed out instantly.
Around 4:30 am I wake up to the worst smell I think has ever hit my nose. It was so bad it actually pulled me out of my sleep. It smelled like a combination of poo, sweaty ball sack, ogre trash, and bleach all mixed together. My first thought was the cat took a deuce on the rug again. I ignored it, rolled over, and tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't. The smell was that bad. Finally, I got up, unlocked the bedroom door and peeked out into the living room to see if she left a surprise on the rug. Clean. I looked in my daughter's room and there was a nice turd in her litter box. So the smell couldn't have been my cat (at least what I was smelling). I shrugged it off, closed and locked my door, and collapsed on my bed. I laid on my bed staring into the darkness for about 30 minutes trying to fathom what I was smelling. Maybe it's a combination of my cat's poo and all the cleaning products we used over the weekend? Maybe a pipe burst somewhere? Did I forget to take the trash to the curb and I was smelling all the stuff we threw away over the weekend? No matter what conclusion I came up with none of it made sense.
A little after 5 am I get up and walk to the bathroom and sit down to do my business. I browse Reddit for a few minutes on my phone until I'm done. I flush the toilet then collapse onto my bed. You know that draining sound the toilet makes after you flush it? I'm laying there on my bed listening to the toilet do its drain cycle until it finally stopped and I was in complete silence. That's when I heard it.....a sniff and the sound of someone clearing their throat...from my CLOSET! I don't know what happened but I immediately jumped into survival mode. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my phone, unlocked my bedroom door, grabbed my car keys, and bolted out the front door, and jumped in my car. I started the car and backed out of my driveway and into my neighbor's driveway across the street. I shined my high beams at my house while I called the police. They were there within minutes. The cops approached my car and I told them there was someone in my closet. I slept in my birthday suit so the cops thought I was just some crazy guy at first but after two minutes of arguing they went in to investigate. They were in there for what seemed like hours and sure enough, they came out with a very skinny, obviously homeless man in handcuffs. They put the guy in the back of one of their cruisers and approach my car to ask me questions.
Apparently, this guy snuck in through the back sliding glass door while I was dropping off my mom at the airport. He admitted to looking for pills or something to pawn for pills when he heard me come home, freaked out, and jumped in my closet. The smell I was smelling was his terrible B.O. coming from my closet three feet away from me... This man was in my house the entire night! What if I didn't smell him and opened my closet the next morning while getting ready? What if I had my daughter over that night? The whole thought gives me shivers."
"I never thought I would share this story but here goes. So my mother sister and I lived in a small apartment. An important thing to note is that my mother was a psychiatrist (she lost her license for attempting to kill a patient) so she had a very large collection of pain killers, psychedelics, and more. So it was my sister's 13th birthday party and my mother decided to down an entire bottle of cough syrup, enough spirits to kill most people, and probably something else. It gets to be about 11 at night and my sister started making plans for her and her friends to sleep in the living room. At this point, my mother started trying to hit on some of her friends and demands to sleep right next to them. My sister says no and gets slapped across the face so hard I could hear it clear through my bedroom door.
Next thing I know my sister grabbed the phone and told me to call the cops and my father as she started barricading my door with her body. 'I will burn this whole house down if I have to!’ my mother screamed as she broke down my door with a large knife in her hand. All I had time to do was tell the cops we needed police at our address before she pointed the knife at me and told me to give her the phone. My sister then lurched for the phone screaming for help when my mother grabbed her by the throat, picked her up, then pressed her against my window. Lucky for us, the police station was about a five-minute walk from our home so the cops were there after about 10 minutes of our little bedroom standoff. As soon as we saw the cops lights out the window my mom dropped my sister and sealed herself off in her room. I have never been able to forget the look in her eyes as she pointed the knife at me, it still gives me nightmares years later.
I would say we got a happy ending but my dad was about the same as my mom so my sister and I got split up and we both ended up homeless. I found some very good friends who I now call family to take me in, but my sister was not so lucky. I have not seen her in about a year now because her husband is abusing her even though she says he is perfect."
"When I was younger about 13 or 14-years-old, some friends and I were out drinking in a local park/field. It's a pretty big place, with lots of copses and wildly overgrown areas and such.
Anyway, it gets to around 11:30, and we've run out of cans so we decide to head home. It's autumn so really dark, and this park at night can be quite creepy (especially given some of the things that have happened in the various parts of it, including but not limited to murders, gropings, muggings etc.), and we keep hearing voices in the distance but never in any single, particular direction. As we start getting further through the park we hear the voices quite loudly, and clearly, on the other side of a relatively overgrown clearing. There's a small campfire on the other side and we can see two caravans and trucks parked up (the park was a popular place for Irish travellers to rest up for a while).
I don't really remember what they were saying, but I remember us all being quite unnerved by the whole situation, so being the clever guys we were we decided to cut through one of the copses to go around the clearing (which was between us and the park exit we needed). As we're going through the trees, snapping twigs and being loud, we notice the voices have stopped.
There's silence as we all stop walking. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up, all of us are just frozen in place. Were we about to be murdered by a bunch of Irish travellers (because hey, casually stereotyping strangers is what we do best!)?!?
Then we hear a horrifying, gut-wrenching scream, the kind of scream that we thought meant someone was dying. It made all of us jump out of our skin. It was...well...horrible.
We're staring out towards this campfire now, and see what looks like a body without a head lying next to the fire, with what looks like a head sitting a little bit further away.
Now, again, we're very clever and decided to go towards the screaming and the body and the campfire with the travellers (luckily, though, one of the trucks blinded whoever was at the campfire to our approach).
And as we get closer, inching our way out of the trees towards this campfire, the light makes everything clear. We couldn't believe it.
The body was a rolled-up sleeping bag with a jumper on it. The head was a rugby ball. The scream, as we realised once the tension washed away, was a fox. This was just a normal group of Irish travellers, sat around a campfire having a good time.
Those few minutes of slowly creeping through the woods and towards the 'body' were the most bone-chilling moments of my life, which I'm realising now has not been a very interesting life to live."