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.
"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 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’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."