Sometimes, real life is scarier than fiction.
People on Reddit share the scariest encounter they've ever had. Content has been edited for clarity.
They Rode In Silence For The Rest Of The Way
“Back in 2007, my buddies and I were headed to a Jimmy Buffett concert in Pennsylvania. We were driving down the highway when we saw a four-door sedan in the right-hand lane in front of us start serving erratically. Okay, now that was a bit concerning.
We just figured they were headed to the concert too and pregamed a bit too much. Anyway, we decided to pass these people because we didn’t want to get involved in an accident. As we pulled up, we craned our necks over to see what was going on behind the wheel. We sped up on their left and saw something absolutely crazy.
From the driver’s side window, we saw a couple in their 50s struggling back and forth. Something was going on. That’s when I saw a fist fly from behind the wheel! The husband who was driving is throwing absolute haymakers at his wife right in the face. Bam, bam, bam. With each punch, the car swerved from side to side.
At that moment time seemed to slow down. We had to do something. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I opened the window and started flailing my arms and shouting like an insane person to get the crazy guy’s attention. Remind you, we were going 55 miles per hour during this frenzy. He looked over, obviously overwhelmed by the commotion, and had to let off the gas. At least it stopped the punching. Somehow we managed to block that car and slow him down. Meanwhile, my friend was in the backseat with 911 to get a cop out here. In the end, up we slowed the car down to a crawl for cops to show up. The officers took our statement and arrested the dude. It was a pretty quiet drive to that concert after that.”
“A Morning I Will Remember For The Rest Of My Life”
“One morning when I was a teenager, I woke up to the stark sound of an angle grinder. I knew it was my younger brother because he often used it for projects, so I went right back to sleep. A couple of minutes later, I heard another noise. This time it was the peculiar sound of liquid splashing and sloshing around as you hear in slasher movies. I wasn’t sure if it was all a dream or not because I was still half asleep. Moments later, my brother walked into my room holding his right hand with his other hand. I was in shock. It was like that scene from Saving Private Ryan.
He looked me right in the eyes and said, ‘Don’t let me die.’ I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I picked something up like a towel and wrapped it around his arm, then called 911. I was so shocked though I couldn’t even talk for like a minute. I put myself together finally and told the operator what happened while we waited for an ambulance. I don’t know how long it took them to arrive, but all that time I sat there with my brother trying to keep him awake. I watched how slowly the light in his eyes faded.
He passed out a few times in my arms. When the ambulance came, I went out of the house to get some air while they worked to save his life. The first thing I saw was the angle grinder with the power cable cut off and a line of blood about two meters long. There was no time for an ambulance to get him to the hospital fast enough, so they called a helicopter. I remember the chopper lifting off from our street and off into the distance with him. Miraculously, my brother survived. He can move that arm and even carry stuff with it, but lost most of its dexterity, which sucks because he is right-handed. This happened three years ago. It’s a morning I will remember for the rest of my life.”
“That Memory Will Forever Be In My Mind”
“Back when I was a kid living in Atlanta, I was walking home from school when I heard a bunch of scuffling coming between these two buildings up the way. Curious I took a peek and found something I wish I hadn’t walked into. In the alleyway, there were three gang members absolutely beating the heck out of this guy by some dumpsters. All of them had ski masks on. I froze and one of them made eye contact with me.
He put his hand up and slowly walked over to me calmly. He was wearing a bright orange ski mask which he pulled off carefully, then got on one knee to my level. This massive guy stared me straight in the eyes and said, ‘I’m sorry you had to see this, but this is a very bad man and we’re teaching him a lesson, okay?’
I was so scared, but I nodded my head. ‘Don’t tell anyone you saw this okay? This is our secret,’ he said while putting a finger over his mouth in a shushing gesture. I nodded again.
‘Run along now, okay?’ he said to me.
I nodded once again and instantly took off running. I ran all the way home and just sat on the porch shaking. The violence was absolutely scary to witness. Thinking back now, that man obviously took off his mask to make me feel less scared. But if he was a different person, that kind that killed kids, he could’ve taken off his mask because he didn’t care if I saw his face, which only means he was going to kill me. That memory will forever be in my mind.”
The Pain Was Soon Forgotten
“I was jogging one morning when my leg suddenly started to hurt, so I decided to turn back and take a shortcut. I cut through this abandoned factory area by the industrial district in town. It’s a little rough looking, but figured it would be faster to just go through it than around. Just as I’m about to go into the area via a fence hole, I heard some weird rustling noises coming from that direction. Curious, I stopped and try to look around at what’s going on.
I kid you not, but there were two homeless guys sucking the Mario mushrooms off each other if you will, well, you know. You figure out the details! And a third guy who was, well, kind of just filming it with a camera on a tripod while he mashed his monkey with one hand and pointed a Smith & Wesson at his captives.
I’ll be honest, I was not interested in this group activity so I decided to nope on out of there. Fun fact, but you become pretty great at sneaking away when you don’t want to be part of some weird snuff film. And about that leg pain…what leg pain?”
The Driver Heard Her Screams
“I delivered newspapers when I was in high school. I had the route for the blocks around my house, so it was easy for me to do without a car. There was one day on my route that I will never forget. I was around 14 at the time. One day, I’m walking down our street on my route when I see sawdust on the road, obviously soaking up the large and long puddle of liquid on the road. I assumed there had been a car accident and it was there to soak up gasoline or some other car liquid, and I continued on.
A few neighbors were out talking about a block down from there, and they asked me if I heard what had happened. I hand them their newspaper and said no, I hadn’t heard. They go on to tell me that my elderly neighbor across the street was killed. This sweet, kind woman was in her 90s and had been showing signs of memory issues (asking us several times a day what time the church service would be, etc.) and should not have been living on her own.
Her husband had died a few years earlier, and she had just met a new man around her age who would pick her up and take her out to dinner and to church. It was the sweetest thing seeing him walk her to her door, and she was very happy again. Anyway, she was trying to catch the bus that day and was late (she walked very slowly) and about to miss it.
She was on the wrong side of the street for the bus stop, so while the bus was paused at the stop sign, she grabbed the side rearview mirror to get the driver’s attention. The way that the street is at that stop sign, he didn’t need to look to his left. You look to the right, up the hill, to see if a car is coming, and there were houses to the right.
So he didn’t notice her. And he hit the acceleration. She was dragged along the asphalt until the driver heard her screaming. I had to walk by it on my way home, and knowing what it was and realizing what she had gone through left me hyperventilating in the alley behind my house, sobbing. I’ve always held it against her family that they didn’t take action when she obviously needed assistance.”
What Was In The Bag?
“Grew up in a house surrounded by woods with a bike trail behind it. The other kids in the neighborhood and I spent most of our time in the woods or on the trail. We each had our own fort in the woods we built with our best friend at the time. And we did our best to keep our forts hidden, so even the other neighborhood kids couldn’t find them (though we kind of knew where each other were).
One day, we were out in the woods and I was about 11-years-old at the time, but the other three of us were between 12 and 14. We were always watching who was coming through on the trail, especially when we heard bike tires. One of our friends had recently been killed by a car while riding his bike, and we had this superstition that he’d just show up again one day on the trail on his bike (sad, I know), so we were always running out of the woods to the trail when we heard tires.
So we heard tires pass and we ran out to see who it was, and it’s this out-of-shape adult man without a shirt on with a bag slung over his shoulder. He’s riding away from us, so he doesn’t know we’re there. We recognize he’s got a whole creepy thing going on so we kept watching. He gets about 100 or so yards down the trail when he pulled off to the side. He walks into the woods with his bag and then returns a few moments later without the bag.
He grabbed his bike and gets back on as my friend shouts ‘What’s in the bag!?’
He looks down the trail and sees one or more of us (really not sure how concealed we were) and he started down the trail towards us at a much faster pace than before. We all booked it into the woods, but because none of us were really familiar with each other’s forts, we didn’t end up all going to the same place to hide but end up split up and hiding in our respective fort.
I really don’t know how long we hid. It felt like half an hour, but it could have been more. I just remember hearing movement not too far away, but not knowing whether it was the man or one of my friends.
When we all finally came out of our hiding places, the man was nowhere to be found. We eventually walked down the trail to where he’d ditched the bag and we couldn’t find anything. We assumed he’d gone back and grabbed it when he left.”
“If Someone Is Watching, They’ll Just Follow”
“About three years ago, I lived alone in my apartment. My ex-boyfriend had come over late to spend the night with me. About three am, someone tried to kick my front door in. It was seriously the loudest explosion I’d ever heard. We were sure they were in my apartment. My dogs were going crazy. I had no weapon to protect us. My boyfriend grabbed a bat and stood at my bedroom door while I hid in the closet, trying to call a neighbor and the police. Finally, neighbors and cops get there. Some dude peed ALL OVER my front door (never broke in though).
About a week later, I was cleaning my apartment and had the glass sliding door leading to my patio open (I was on the first floor) but I had the screen door locked…stupid, I know. Anyway, I’m cleaning along, and my dog started ferociously growling. I hurried to the living room and some dude was under my patio just having a stand-off with my 150lbs bull mastiff. Once he saw me and realized my dog could disembowel him, he ran away.
Two days later, I had three long stem roses sitting on my patio. The only access to my patio was either through my apartment or you had to jump the little fence that surrounds it.
About a week later, I noticed the screen door was cut along the edge, making an entrance big enough to fit through. Around the same time, one of my neighbor’s called me to make sure my doors were locked because there was some guy pacing back and forth in front of my front door.
I THINK this was all that happened. There was a detective assigned to me during this. She suggested someone might be stalking me. I wanted to move, but her response was, ‘If someone is watching you, they’ll just follow you.’
So freaking helpless until suddenly it all stopped. I can only imagine that whoever it was either found someone else or something terrible happened to them.
The pee, the kick, the flowers…..heeby jeebies.”
What Did The Dog See?
“I was up late one night watching TV alone in the living room when I was about 12. Heard my dog growling in the kitchen. Sometimes he does that when he sees something in the backyard – a cat, a squirrel, a plastic bag blowing in the wind, the moon, whatever.
So I go to investigate and see him standing at the door with the hair on his back standing way the heck up. Like the way I’ve only ever seen it when he’s about to get into a fight. Or wants to. So I creep over and look out. I see nothing. After watching for a minute or two, I figure it was probably a raccoon that’s left by this point, so I open the door to let the dog out.
He steps out a few feet and stops in front of me, looking off towards the shed in the back corner of the yard. It’s the middle of the night, and only the back porch light is on, which isn’t enough to really light up the whole yard. I look off towards the shed, scan around it.. nothing. Then my eyes drift upwards, towards the tree that hangs over the shed. There’s some dark, undefined shape up in the tree, and the instant my eyes fix on it, it quickly “floats” up like a wisp of smoke being blown away, and disappears in the backdrop of the night sky. No sound whatsoever, no flapping of wings, not even the rustling of branches.
My dog goes freaking mental, and starts barking at it. He’s still right in front of the door, so I reach forward and grab his collar, yank him inside and book it the heck out of the kitchen. I try to wake my mom up, blabbering about some dark cloud in the tree, but she’s fast asleep.
To this day, I have no idea what it could’ve been.”
What Was That Weight?
“This happened as a junior in high school. Some background- my bedroom was on the top floor and had a door that went out to a balcony. I always locked the door before going to bed.
Anyway, so I was getting ready for bed around 11 and I was sleeping when I heard my balcony door open and then shut. I was sleeping with my back to that door. I kind of wake up and think I’m probably having a dream. But then I heard footsteps and, like, whispering, all around me. It wasn’t coherent words, just sounded like a ton of people whispering. I hadn’t gotten the courage to turn over at this point because I was freaked out. This kept going for probably 20 minutes.
My feet were near my bedroom door and my sister was three doors down from me. I hears her door open and absolutely everything stops. My room just goes silent. She was 10 I think at the time. I heard her go and use the bathroom and then go back into her room. Literally the minute she shut her door the footsteps and whispering started again, but a little louder.
At this point, I’m trying to get the courage to jump off my bed and go in my parent’s room. My dad was out of town, so it was just my mom. I grabbed my blanket and run into her room and stared shaking her. She literally would not wake up for anything, and normally she’s a very light sleeper. I shook her, was saying her name, crying, and nothing. I laid down on her floor with my blanket for a while completely freaked out and eventually think I’m being silly and maybe I was imagining it, so I go back to my room.
Everything seemed fine, and the only noticeable thing was my balcony was unlocked. I locked it, got into bed, and tried to go back to sleep. I hear the door open AGAIN. I had the blankets over my face because I’m terrified and I’m crying. Slowly, my blanket started getting tugged down off my face. Every time I pulled it back up, it would get pulled down. I also felt what felt like fingers poking my body. I was sobbing the whole time and begging for whatever was happening to stop.
Then I felt a huge weight on my chest, and I couldn’t breathe. I tried to yell for my mom, and my mouth was open, but no noise would come out. It was like trying to talk when you’ve lost your voice. I started praying in my head and the weight left, but the pulling and poking continued. Around what I would guess was four a.m., everything stopped and I dozed off crying myself to sleep.
My alarm went off at 6:30 and I got up and got ready for school and left. During my third period class, I started crying uncontrollably and got sent home because I was pretty much having a nervous breakdown. I went home and told my mom what happened, and she had a bishop come over and bless our house. It was awful, and I couldn’t bring myself to go into my room until after the bishop came. Even after that, I slept with the lights on for a while.
Nothing like that ever happened again, but sometimes my books and papers on my shelf and desk would be on the floor when I came home.”
She Handled That Really Well
“I was 24 and living by myself for the first time. I was a tad paranoid at first – you know, thinking weird noises were burglars, things like that. One night, I was getting ready for bed and thought I saw a silhouette through the curtain that covered the window on my front door. Thinking I was once again getting spooked for no reason, I lifted the curtain and found myself staring directly at a man standing on the other side. He was looking at the ground and didn’t seem to notice me. I ran into my bedroom and frantically called my boyfriend, who immediately started heading to my place. So I’m sitting on my bed, freaking the heck out, when I started thinking, ‘I’m not going to let this bully get the best of me.’
I got emergency calling queued up on my phone – had 9-1-1 entered so I’d only have to hit send; something like that – and grabbed my biggest kitchen knife. This was at least five minutes later and he was still out there. I opened the door and said, ‘Hey, I don’t know where you think you are, but this is my place and you need to get the heck out of here right now or I’m going to call the police.’
He just stared at me with these huge eyes and quietly said ‘Okay,’ but wasn’t moving.
Me, louder this time: ‘I’m serious, dude. I’m going to call the police. Get the heck out of here.’
He looked all annoyed, said ‘Okay!’ and walked off my porch. In retrospect, I think he was tripping or something because his pupils were massive and he just looked totally bewildered. When my boyfriend arrived, he said he saw a guy sitting on the sidewalk down the street; pretty sure it was the same dude.
I realize this was a massively stupid thing for me to do, considering he could’ve had a weapon or even if he hadn’t, could’ve easily overpowered me. But I did feel pretty cool and my paranoia over home intruders pretty much ended after that.”
“Creepiest Thing I’ve Seen In Real Life”
“A few weeks back, I (20 female) went to Sam’s club to pick up a vegetable tray. I ventured through the store and I noticed a woman and her daughter to the right, then I turned my head and noticed an old man to the left, a little behind the woman and her daughter. The man seemed innocent enough, scrolling through his phone. After a second, I realized the angle his phone was positioned toward the woman and her daughter.
Luckily, I had to go right next to him and check for a vegetable tray. I use this opportunity to take a look at his phone and confirm my suspicion. It broke my heart and filled me with anxiety. I was scared, but I knew I had to do something. So I confronted him about it. He told me he was taking photos of the display and offered me to take a look at his phone. So I did and I was right, he was taking short videos of this woman and her daughter.
So I deleted them, and knowing how apple phones work, I had to go into ‘recently deleted,’ and made sure he couldn’t get them back. This is when he gets upset and tries to grab his phone out of my hand, which leads to me dropping it. I pick it up, finish what I need to do and tell him to get lost and get the heck out of here. He walks away for a second and comes back telling me, ‘You’re right!’
The whole thing ends with me telling him to get the heck away from me, and that was the last I saw of him.
Creepiest thing I’ve seen in real life so far. Kept me up that night. I still feel like I could’ve done better. Unfortunately, I’m sure I’ll see it again, but now I know what I can do and how it will go in the future.”