Did something just move out the window? Did that light just blink? These people went through the truly horrifying experience of being stalked, usually by someone that they knew quite personally. It was beyond chilling, and it required extreme action to gain freedom from these awful people. Content has been edited for clarity.
Content warning: these stories contain disturbing experiences, as well as online and in-person harassment.
"I’m a musician/singer, and I had fan online who regularly talked to me. We built up a friendly relationship over time. She worked in public relations in the UK. I am happily married and not a cheater. This is important context for later. Eventually over a couple of years, I ended up trusting her enough that she started helping with PR and various things. It was actually a godsend at the time, as I was doing absolutely everything myself and working myself into the ground. I was also sick of the ongoing liars and thieves I was having to deal with in this horrifically toxic industry. She helped me with magazine, online advertisements, and radio stuff. She even ended up getting involved in booking tours, even though she had no experience. She was proving to be a massive help to me, and I paid her for her work and good PR advice.
This went very well for quite a while and was really helping my visibility and career. One night she was wasted online and just started getting inappropriate with me whilst messaging. I politely declined and told her to go to bed. It wasn’t going to be a problem for me, but I needed to draw a line in the sand. INSTANTLY this woman, who I’d known a few years now and had not shown any kind of behavior that she was obsessed, just went crazy angry.
Full on abuse. Threats. I’d been using her. I’d been cheating on my wife with her. I’d stolen money from her. Everyone was going to find out about it. I was going to be ruined. This was back when iOS couldn’t block phone numbers. Over two or three weeks, it got so bad with the endless stream of hateful, devious and psychologically damaging messages 24/7 that I had to change my phone number and I tried to get the police involved. I was waking up every morning and turning my phone on to hundreds of messages from every app I had. She would just go anonymous and start new accounts. Apart from just unplugging totally, you quickly realize that you can’t ever get away from someone like this.
Back then, I was really limited in what I could do legally to try to get rid of her, as she was located in an entirely different country. This escalated to the point that she found my wife’s phone number at work and through that found her mobile number too. She started the endless abuse and ‘revelations’ about me and my character. She ended started calling my wife's boss and caused deep problems at my wife's work that very nearly got her fired. It seemed at one time like everyone I’d ever spoken to in my life were poisoned against me. It was truly the creepiest things I’ve ever experienced. I was getting people who were once friendly fans and white knights threatening me wherever I went online.
My very successful Facebook page was banned. I still can’t use social media, as I’m banned for life without any way to contact them for whatever I have apparently done. I could write a book on it. It deeply affected my music career and probably helped end it. It ruined most of my self-confidence and trust in life certainly. The worst of it finally ended in probably one of the weirdest incidents in my life.
The police in both countries by this time had been heavily involved, but she always managed to not just keep her job (she was doing a lot of it using her resources at work), she managed to get nothing more than repeated warnings from the police. I was also receiving the same warnings and even threats of arrest, as they even suspected me despite the huge amount of evidence to the contrary. She was extremely manipulative. One night I got a visit from the police. They had been contacted by the police in the UK to say she had been removed from her own house ‘for her safety’. She had been having a massive episode and was cutting her arms apart with kitchen knives. The police got there to blood sprayed all over the walls of her apartment and the apartment walls were covered in framed photos of my music art design covers, articles and various photos of me with obvious knife stabs through them. She was committed to hospital for a while, but it started up again as soon as she got out. A bullish, scary and relentless lawyer helped with this in the end at great cost.
She’s still out there. She still pokes through online once in a while with her various anonymous accounts everywhere. I still get nightmares and severe anxiety about it."
"My mother is so obsessed with being the perfect Christian woman. It would be great if she was actually like that away from the public eye. To her friends, she said she wanted a kid because it would make her a good Christian woman. But in reality, she wanted a slave that she could manipulate and keep forever, so she wouldn't have to do anything around the house. She was obsessed to the point of not letting me have friends because that would take time away from things I could be doing so she didn't have to.
Around 16 I had to fight to get a bank account, fight to get a job, both of which she routinely took my money from, stating that I would get it back as an allowance (spoiler: I never saw any of that money again) and wasn't allowed to get a driver's license. Thankfully one of the people from her church saw her for what she really was and decided to help me. This person helped me set up a bank account where she couldn't access anything and took me to get my driver's license and gave me their old beat-up car.
Around 18, I made a deposit on an apartment and paid that month's rent with my own money from my secret bank account, then I started packing to leave and she freaked out. She threatened to call the cops because I was her son and she had absolute control over me. I just started walking to the church where my car was parked and put my stuff in it. Then she actually did call the police, because she thought I didn't have a license and I stole a car. The cop was cool and I showed him my license and the person who helped me came down and explained that it was okay for me to use the car. The whole time she was wailing and carrying on about how I was abandoning her and how could I do this to her after everything she has given me. I just hopped in the car and asked the cop to not let her follow me.
I haven't heard from her since, but from what the friend told me, she had a mental breakdown and admitted to all the abuse she put me through, hoping to gain sympathy because she just did what every parent does. They basically kicked her out of her church and her reputation is pretty much ruined. I changed my name and appearance so she has no way of finding me, and if she does, my roommates' dad is a cop and he knows the situation. I like to think I'm pretty safe."
"I was friends with someone in community college. We weren't like super close, but we were like 'group friends', meaning a bunch of us would hang out sometimes and he was always there. I didn't have any classes or anything with him. One day, he told us to meet at the mall around the holidays because he had a present for me. He said it was a 'Birthday/Christmas gift' and singled me out because my birthday had just passed. I was kind of weirded out in the first place because we never agreed to give each other presents, but we all met at the mall any way. He hands me the present and tells me to open it in front of every one. I do.
It's a lacy red thong. I'm standing there in the middle of a crowded mall (it's around the holidays), holding this thong, absolutely mortified. He tries to look debonair and says to me, 'Your gift to me would be you wearing it.'
I laughed it off but never hung out with him again. He kept pursuing me over the years and showing up at my job, which was at the mall where we all met. He would come in wearing these suits and kept telling me about his 'big opportunity', and how if I 'joined him for a quick meeting' he could 'set me up for life'.
I was having NONE OF IT and literally looked around my boring retail job and said, 'Nah, I'm good.' He said he moved to New York, but I think he went to jail. He became pretty much a loner after that and every one told him that present was beyond weird. He didn't seem to understand or comprehend that giving someone who you're not romantically involved with underwear is SUPER weird."
"I had been friends with a guy for a few years. He's about 20 years older that me, and we met due to being regulars at the same bar. I'll call him Steve. I stayed with him in between apartments for a couple of weeks at one point. To this day I swear he took a photo of me while I was in bed, he denied that. Basically, I saw a flash of light through my eyelids, and when I confronted him, he said he was just using the flashlight to make sure I was okay after hearing a noise. Sure.
Whatever, I've had worse, I let it go and we moved on. Honestly I probably wouldn't have minded if he just wanted a picture at that point, I was single, and I used to do some pretty explicit modeling. Anyway, some more years go by, we're still tight, and I'm about to get married to someone Steve and I both knew, (again, me and my fiancé were bar regulars).
I asked Steve to be my 'Man-of-Honor' for our destination wedding. He came and stood with me, and it was all very picturesque and nice. Not a week after we all get back home, he starts acting strangely. Steve brings up how he 'knew I wanted him', due to a remembered conversation about old romantic partners from years back. I honestly forgot all about that, but he was using it as an example of me being into him because I was comfortable talking about doing it around him? Okay, anyway, no. Steve starts getting really clingy, saying I never should have married my husband, that he only went to the wedding to try to talk me out of it, but he chickened out.
Things ramp up, he's more persistent about me leaving my husband for him, or at least 'helping him get a woman just like me'. I decline to do any of that. My Husband was in the loop on all of this, and finally Steve gets banned from the bar, and I cease contact. That didn't stop him from sending pages long emails to me. I actually still have them, and I'll copy and paste some quotes below, all from fall of 2014:
'Can you think of ANY way I could have a woman EXACTLY like you in my life? I would never be happy with anyone less than someone exactly like YOU. Know what I mean?'
'I would happily compromise long held principles just to be with a woman exactly like you.'
'I think the best way I will be able to show respect to (my husband) would be another long letter.'
'I want to say what I see about him, and what I see him doing to you. I will explain my anger towards him in a straight forward manner with no expletives or characterizations. I will provide information to help him understand himself better, and I will encourage him to seek help.'
'Sorry for the erratic behavior lately. My anxiety has been high. I need time to calm down and focus. This is hard.'
'My wanting you to divorce is partially because of what I know about your relationship, how you were when you were going into it, and what I've heard and seen about him since I met him. It is also partially because I love you deeply, and have recently realized exactly how deeply. I fell in love with you back around the time when you met (my husband). I didn't think of it as love at the time, but I bonded with you then. We've been very close ever since, and my love for you has grown deep and strong. I know everything about you and have no judgements on you. I accept everything you've done (including a husband-related tattoo) and everything you are. I'm in unknown territory with you. I've never felt a love like this before. There's been no head in the clouds infatuation. No sweet romance. It's at such a low level and I feel no apprehension over it. I have absolute trust in you. I don't know yet, but I hope you feel something similar. '
So yeah. I have had no further contact with Steve until years later, where I ran into him at a different bar frequented by neighborhood regulars. We're sitting near each other, and some small talk is exchanged. Then he launches into a saga of how he's gone off all his meds (not good), and he knows and has evidence that I have been hacking his electronics and sending his personal information to private investigators and the government (very very not good, also no I am not). So yeah, I told him that was ridiculous, that I hope he could get the help he needs, and that I would be leaving and if I saw him around again, I would not interact with him.
Not a terribly satisfying conclusion, but that's the story."
"I had a friend who was a bit eccentric. We were really close until she started going totally off the edge. She hid my bicycle, stood outside my house screaming obscenities, told everyone we had an intimate relationship, belittled my abusive past, and screamed right into my face. She tried to stab our mutual friend twice. The thing that pulled alarms in my head was when I told her that I'll be heading home from my boyfriend's soon, and she can come for a visit in a couple of hours if she wants. I got home in under an hour, and she was waiting near my apartment building and started accusing me of lying to her. There was absolutely no telling her that I wanted to go inside, take a shower, and eat something.
I managed to cut her out of my life. A few years later, she started blowing up my mother's phone demanding for her to give my number, explaining all this petty lunatic nonsense. It turns out that she needed me because I'm one of her apostles, and she needs me to start her own religion. Supposedly, she is 'his son, another of Adam and Eve', and this was not even the craziest thing. It turns out that this girl had a delusion that she was the re-incarnated Jesus. So yeah, that was the point I was more than sure she was obsessed with me."
"My husband was deployed in Afghanistan, so I had to go to church alone. One week, an older man (maybe 65) approached and asked, 'Can I sit here?'
I said sure. We had a bit of conversation and he said, 'My wife died a few weeks ago, and I was just praying this morning for God to send an angel I could sit with at church today.'
He seemed like a sweetheart, and I felt bad for him. He sat next to me for a few weeks in a row. It didn’t bother me too much. I brought him some homemade jam. He told me about how his son was also deployed.
I mentioned that he should really try getting into a church small group, that it would be great company for him. I set him up with one of the best. He said he wasn’t sure how to get to the venue. If he gave me his number, could I tell him where the place was? He was confused, so I said sure. Well, once I texted him the directions, I don’t think he ever went to the group, but he had my phone number. He started calling me over eight times a day, saying 'Hello beautiful,' and begging me to meet him at the nearby Waffle House.
For the remainder of my husband’s 6-month deployment, I did not go to church. I was really worried about running into that guy. I blocked his number and luckily have never seen him again. Months after my husband got back, I told him what happened, and of course he was livid.
The part that made me the most angry was I had a church group I saw once a week and told them about it. I asked them if I could sit with any of them at church because I didn’t feel safe. Everyone had an excuse and wouldn’t let me sit with them. Thankfully, shortly after my husband came back, the military moved us to a new town and we found a much better church!"
"I had just gotten out of a ten-year relationship that had turned sour, and I was pretty protective of my personal time and space. One of the guys in my larger friend group wanted to date me. I told him we could hang out from time to time, but I wasn't looking for a relationship, and I specifically I wasn't looking for a relationship with him. We got along okay, but I didn't love him and I told him that. Pretty soon, he was dominating all my time. If I went out with girls, he would be there. If I went to shows or galleries or carnivals or other family events, there he was. He turned up on my doorstep constantly, and if I faked not being home he would leave notes and gifts on my car. Eventually I had to tell him that we weren't in a relationship, marriage wasn't in the cards, and he could stop thinking up baby names. I started sneaking around just to see my friends.
At some point, he had to move back home out of state to take care of a family issue, and I got blessed peace from him. He was gone for about eight months, during which I insisted on very limited phone contact. When he got back, he found out that I had traveled with a male coworker on a business trip, and he flipped all the way out. The email was four nasty pages long, accusing me of being a gold-digger and that I had led him on. That he had been about to marry me and I had destroyed his whole life. That I had ruined everything. I figured the only way out of this for me was to be an absolute total horrible monster to him, which I was in spades, making sure he knew that I would destroy with fire everything he had ever loved if he even tried to make contact with me again.
It was the usual Nice Guy Manifesto, full of how all this affected him, and his needs, and his expectations, and his wants, and how I was the evil succubus that didn't recognize his Nice Guy self right in front of her. And how could I have traveled (again, it was a business trip) with this guy? Was his bank account bigger? Was he bigger? He mentioned how I had led him to believe we had a future. (I didn't) and how he was willing to trust me again if I just came back to him (I didn't).
Don't fret too much about him. He married another gal not long after this. This was my one and only brush with a Nice Guy, and it was a doozy."
"I’ve had a couple guys have had an unhealthy obsession with me, and it’s one of the nastiest things to happen to someone, but this was one of the worst experiences. I started working in an auto body shop at 17, just getting some low level experience as college credits. There were a couple other guys around my age group, but I was one of three girls in the whole shop. There was this thirty-something guy who did back alley racing in his gross car and thought he was hot stuff, and he started hitting on me.
He just started calling me beautiful and would get like super close, and I would always just move away and glare at him. Then, after a while, he started saying stuff like I wasn’t allowed to wear tight shirts or squat down or do anything suggestive until I was of age. I dismissed him several times and stood my ground. Then he said he couldn’t wait until I was 18 so we could have some fun. Of course, he never said this with anyone else around, so nobody ever believed me when I tried to ask for help. Eventually, it got to a point where I avoided him around the shop and my boss noticed.
He asked me what was wrong and I told him, and I guess he talked to the guy or something, because the next day this creep talked to me about it. He said something along the lines of, 'I thought you wanted it because why else would a young girl be in the automotive industry, if not for attention?'
I left soon after, and I’ll never work in a shop full of men again."
"I had a job working at a local department store years ago. I met a nice guy close to my age, we'll call him Bill, who worked in another area of the store. I had no more interaction with Bill than with any of the dozens of other coworkers. I'd exchange pleasantries if I walked past, but I was not super talkative. He always seemed very enthusiastic when trying to talk to me.
Bill drove the same kind of car as me, as I saw one day when walking in for a morning shift, so I told him that I liked his car. Not an innuendo for anything, not being coy, I genuinely thought his automobile was nice as it was very similar to my own. That was the extent of any sort of compliment (if that's even really a compliment). A little while goes by and my car needs some work done, so it's in the shop. I mentioned to my boss that I'd need to leave by a certain time so I could catch the bus home. Bill overhears and kindly asks if I lived far (I didn't), and he offers to drive me home, since our shifts would end at the same time. He is very insistent and says public transportation is dangerous. I thank him and he drives me the 10-minute drive to my house and drops me off. Next thing I know, he has apparently told everyone at work that we are dating, and he told me he drove his grandma past my house to show her where his girlfriend lives and told her that I was coming to Thanksgiving dinner.
I had to have a serious talk with him. He thought I was actually his girlfriend for months apparently, because I was nice and let him talk to me in the break room. He thought driving me home was a next step in our 'relationship' and that we'd be going out soon. That's what you get for being nice."
"I had two instances when I was younger.
One was the first 'boyfriend' I ever had. It was my 8th grade summer going into my first year of high school. We broke up after homecoming (because of some very stupid young person drama), and he went absolutely psycho after that. Constant texts and phone calls, getting his friends to talk to me and harass me, etc, you know, the typical stuff. It culminated in him carving my name into his arm. He died of an overdose in like 2016.
The second time was more of a slow burn. This was back in the day when online messaging was everything. This guy I kind of knew from high school added me online. He was a senior (actually a 'super senior', which makes it worse) when I was a freshman, and he had been dating a fellow freshman classmate of mine for a while. We had similar music tastes and talked about this one band a lot. We talked for a long time actually, just platonically (or so I thought). Instant messaging was kind of the thing back in the day and I talked to A LOT of people. I didn’t have any cause for concern with him. He was someone that used to go to my high school and we liked the same band. When the band we both liked was in town, he was like, 'Dude let’s go! I’ll get you a ticket!'
I was like, 'You don’t have to pay for me, I will pay for my own.'
But he insisted. Keep in mind that he and that girl were long long past broken up, and also keep in mind that he was about 21 or 22 at this point and I had just turned 16.
So he also insists on driving. I was like score, I’m saving on gas. The whole time he is kind of touching me a lot and acting really excited and whatever, and I’m just getting a vibe. The concert was fine, kind of uneventful and kind of a let down, because the band really acted like that was the last place on earth they wanted to be. This guy just would not stop trying to hold my hand, grab my hips, just way too handsy. And then I realized I had to drive home with him.
During the car ride home, he was talking a lot and really excited and whatever, and it all kind of came out how he felt about me, and I’m trapped in the car. When he drops me off, he makes a move and I reject it. I thank him for everything, but I don’t feel that way. He got ANGRY. He blew me up online, typical stuff about how he bought my ticket, and drove a long way for that concert, and all the years we’d been talking (it had been like two), and me supposedly leading him on all this time, and apparently him and his ex actually used to FIGHT about me because I guess he was obsessed with me even back then.
It was super creepy. I was sad because I felt like I did something wrong and because I felt like I lost what I thought was a friend. I have no idea where he is or what he’s doing now. I’m about to turn 30, so all this was a long time ago now, and I’ve had other creepy experiences in my life, but I think those early ones really form a big impression."
"I was chatting with a gal online through a dating site. She was nice enough and we were having good conversations, but we had not yet even began speaking on the phone. It turns out a friend of hers was friends with one of my friends. Small world.
I'm at home one day puttering around and I hear a knock at my door. I look out the window and see a car I don't recognize. My anxiety meter starts pinging, so I pull a butcher knife, brace my foot so the door can only open a bit, and crack the door. She is standing there and tells me she got the address from my friend and is asking to come in. I was weirded out and declined, so she got upset. She started crying and telling me how this was supposed to be a pleasant surprise. I tried to send her on her way gently, and she got angry and stormed off, finally driving away.
I thought that was it. Then she starts emailing me, saying that she loves me, then starts calling me, (my idiot friend gave her my number), and even leaving gifts at my door that would be there in the morning. I lived in Mesa, AZ, and she was in Tucson, about an hour away. I eventually had to threaten her with a restraining order. My friend had talked to hers about what was going on, and she said, 'Oh yeah, she's nuts, she's done this before.'
I felt a lot better when I left the state."
"I was bartending at a local hole in the wall, and I had a regular that was nice and flirty (typical bartender/customer stuff). One day he says to me, 'You were at John's house Sunday morning. You guys a thing?'
I asked him how he knew I was there, and he said he saw my car. I was a little taken aback, but I was parked on the main road and my car was fairly distinctive, so I didn't think much of it. A couple weeks later, he'd made a joke that I was never home, because my car was always gone when he passed by. That made the hair on my neck stand up, but I don't exactly live off of the beaten path, so okay. When I finally realized that it was more than casual observation was when he started complimenting me on different outfits and hairstyles I wore on my days off or prior to my shift. He'd also make comments about receiving packages or coming home after shopping. For example, he would say, 'You should find someone who would carry those groceries into the house for you. I'd never make you carry the bags in the house after all that shopping you did on Saturday.'
It was really creepy and I couldn't shake the feeling of being watched for a long time. I stopped being friendly and was just very professional in the way I interacted with him. Eventually he stopped coming into the bar during my shifts. I don't know if that's when he stopped noticing my comings and goings, but I still felt like there were eyes on me. The whole thing made my skin crawl."
"I broke up with a physically abusive boyfriend, and at the time I worked about a 25-minute drive from where I lived (and I always drove the same road home). My schedule never changed, and I began seeing his car and occasionally his friends' cars along my drive, always parked off from the road a little and around some seriously sharp corners. At first, I didn't think anything of it, until it began happening at night (I'd do inventory every Tuesday night and be at work until 10 p.m.; this was my only full night shift). This went on for about a month, until I started switching my routes to and from work because I was getting creeped out. Easter ended up rolling around and I, again, had to stay late to help my coworker change the signage (I worked at Subway). It was getting close to 9 p.m., and the work phone began ringing off the hook (was my ex). My coworker, who knew what was going on, just muted the phone, and we continued doing what we needed to do. Shortly after, we saw my ex standing outside, in the middle of the road, staring into the restaurant. I hid behind the counter as soon as I could and my coworker ended up telling me when he left. I got calmed down enough until we got to my car to find out he broke into my car and left a bunch of weed and a threatening note.
I bought a new car the next week, fully equipped with a very loud alarm. I ended up moving to a town 6 hours away to be safe! But we all live and learn."
"It was terrifying when my dad showed up to my place of work. We had been estranged, but he knew I worked at Starbucks and had traveled from location to location, in order to figure out where I had transferred to and when my shifts were scheduled. He even had the guts to call the store and pretend to be me to get my schedule information. I saw his vehicle parked out front and freaked out and ran inside. He followed in after about thirty minutes (right as the morning rush was hitting full swing), and he started berating me in front of all my coworkers and customers.
That is the day I went and learned about restraining orders.
He had a bizarre obsession with trying to insert himself into my life. I had made it very clear that I did not want to have anything to do with him. Several times. It wasn’t until he stalked and harassed me openly that I realized the situation was getting way out of hand."