Danger ahead. These stories are not for the faint of heart. The following people open up about some of the scariest things they've experienced from car accidents to flight turbulence; these stories are just a reminder always to stay alert and be grateful.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
“I got pulled into the ocean by a riptide. I don’t know how deep the water was, but the sun was setting making the water dark. Looking around and seeing dark water is scary because you don’t know what could be underneath. I was terrified. I swam sideways, but that didn’t work for long. I finally got out of the rip current, and thankfully, a big wave came and pushed me back in. I still had to swim a way to shore, but I made it. I don’t know what was scarier: the fear of drowning, a shark attack, or the fear itself.”
“It was during Christmas time. 5-year-old me walked downstairs in the middle of the night while happily sucking on a hard butterscotch candy. My older brother, who was about 15 at the time, was watching something naughty on the living room TV. I looked over at the TV., gasped, and immediately started choking on my butterscotch candy. My brother panicked and tried to give me the Heimlich (AFTER removing his tape from the VCR, though, as this was in the 1980s). My mother heard him yelling, and she came down and dug it out of my throat with her finger like some mom surgeon. That candy was banned from my house after that.”
Abandoned At Home
“When I was about 8 years old, we moved into a new house. A month or so after moving in, I woke up one morning and found my parents were gone, and so was our family dog. I panicked, cried, and then put on my coat and went to the neighbor’s house to tell them that my parents and my dog were missing. They called 911. All that while, I sat there panicking.
We weren’t allowed to have a fence, so our dog was outside on one of those chains with the corkscrew that you stick in the ground. My mom had not clipped the dog into the chain before unhooking her from the leash used to take her out there. As a result, our dog took off after some deer, and my parents had gone off after the dog. They weren’t aware of how long they were gone or that I would wake up early and find them missing. It was all explained as a misunderstanding to the police when my parents got back.
But yeah, 8-year-old me thought that I had just been completely abandoned by my parents in this new house, and so it felt like the scariest thing that has ever happened to me.”
Breaking And Entering
“I was about 13-years-old, and I was babysitting my little brothers. My baby brother was upstairs asleep in his crib, and I was outside playing in the backyard with my other brother who would’ve been 3 at the time. We were playing in one of those kiddy house things. Suddenly, I looked up and there was a man standing in front me. I didn’t know where he had come from. Looking back on the situation, I think he jumped our fence in the backyard. But all of a sudden, he was there and had no shirt or shoes on. He was just wearing shorts.
He asked if I had seen his friend ‘_‘, or if I knew where his friend was.
I replied, ‘No, I didn’t.’
He then asked if my parents were home (they weren’t) to which I responded, ‘Yes, they’re in the house.’
He told me to go and get them, so I grabbed my brother and said, ‘Okay, I’ll be right back!’ and started heading for the basement entrance of our house.
Our dogs had started to bark at the guy, and before I could enter the house, he all of a sudden snapped and started yelling, ‘Shut up!!’ repeatedly at the dogs. He then turned to me and screamed, ‘Hurry up and get your parents now!’
I was pretty terrified at this point. As I entered the basement entrance of the house, he ran up on the deck in our backyard and started looking in through the windows into the house. I ran inside and quickly grabbed a phone and dialed 911 and told them what was going on. The basement phone had really lousy reception, so I couldn’t really hear what the operator was saying, but after a few minutes, I heard the guy open the sliding door upstairs, and I thought I had heard his footsteps as if he had entered the house.
My 3-year-old brother was crying at this point, and I was worried because I thought the guy would hear us downstairs and come after us, so I grabbed my brother and ran back outside into the backyard. We walked towards the side of the house where I saw one of our neighbors in the street. I ran to her and gave her my little brother and told her what was going on. I looked over into my front yard, and the guy had somehow made his way into the front yard. I don’t know if he had gone through the house or what, but I ran back into my backyard and into the house and locked all of the doors.
The most frightening part was when I made it back in the house, locked the doors, and was trying to talk to the dispatcher (I had kept the phone with me the whole time), I turned a corner in my house, and there he was staring at me through a window. He started pounding on the window while screaming at me to let him in. He pounded on the window and the door, and eventually, he smashed the window right as the police showed up.
We found out afterward that he had been staying with his parents who lived around the block from us. We were told a couple of different stories. One was that he was on something and that he had had a mental breakdown, but either way, he thought one of his best friends was being held hostage and cut up into little pieces at our house.
We had a metal door at the time, and it was pretty disturbing how dented in it was. Not to mention, all of the blood.”
“This was back when I was 11 and still living at my old house. My dad was a heavy drinker and abused my mother, my siblings, and me. It got to the point where my mother didn’t want to be with him anymore, and so she started to see another man behind his back.
At this point, my dad started to have his suspicions, and they both started to fight more and more. He even tried to catch my mom in the act by putting recording tapes under their bed. My father also threatened that he would kill her in like two weeks, and at that point, my mother decided to break up with him.
So, one day while some of my siblings and I were at school (my little sister was sick and had to stay home), he decided to kill my mom by strangling her. My mom fought him off and fled the house with my little sister. She later picked us up from school. We couldn’t go back home because he had barricaded himself in there. As a result, we had to call the cops, and they took him away.”
“In 2011, I was in a car going down highway 45. I was listening to music, rocking out, and enjoying the night sky when suddenly the car behind me starts honking at me.
A guy about 5-feet-9-inches and between 170 pounds with a blonde haircut about 25 or so says, ‘Hey, one of your wheels is about to fall off. Can I fix it for you?’
I reply back, ‘Sure.’ So, he goes and fixes it.
Then, he comes up and says, ‘Its all fixed. Have a great night.’
I drive away. As I’m driving away, I notice a rattling noise when suddenly one of my wheels flies off, and I have to drive into some field. I see his car pull up and he gets out with a knife. I run as hard and as fast as I can and manage to flag someone down who can call the police.
Later, I learned about Kathleen Johns and the Texas killing fields and realized that I was almost killed by a Zodiac Killer copycat in the middle of the night, and If that one car hadn’t allowed me to get in, then I wouldn’t be here.”
“I had a similar thing on a flight from Los Angeles to Denver. About halfway, though, we hit the most intense turbulence I’ve ever experienced. For about 20 minutes, the plane was shaking, and every so often, it would drop enough that your stomach would do that thing it does when on a roller coaster. Three minutes in, the captain came on over the intercom.
‘Folks, we seem to have hit some turbulence. I’ve turned on the seatbelt sign. So, buckle up, and we’ll be though this shorty.’
Five or six minutes passed, and the turbulence had only gotten worse. You could feel the plane losing altitude and then fighting to regain it. People had started letting out yelps and gasps. The captain then came on over the intercom once again.
‘Howdy folks, this is substantial turbulence. Hold tight as we got to ride it out. It shouldn’t be that much longer now.’
Five more minutes passed, and it still had only gotten significantly worse. By now, it was also super noisy in the cabin from all of the shaking. Babies were crying and so were adults. People were praying and gripping their armrest. Then, we had the biggest drop of the event which lasted 6-8 seconds. Screams of absolute terror echoed from around the cabin from men, women, and children. 30 seconds later, it started to calm down. One more minute and it was over.
The captain chimed in (in a relieved voice),’Well, we did it! That last one was a doozy. We lost some altitude on it.’
After a brief pause, he returned to his standard captain voice and said, ‘No worries, that was only a small percentage of our total altitude. It should be smooth sailing now for the rest of the way to Denver.’
I had three separate thoughts. 1: ‘Why would you tell people that?’ 2: ‘What a nerd doing math in announcements.’ And 3: ‘Am I broken or something? I feel like I had a grin on my face the whole entire time. I wholeheartedly enjoyed it. I think it was my total lack of control. There was not a single thing that I could’ve done to stop what was happening, and for some weird reason, that filled me with peace and happiness.
It was dead silent the remainder of the flight, and when the wheels touched down, people started to cheer. I didn’t feel adrenaline like some people did. Rather, it was more like a zen feeling.”
“I had a student come and tell me that another student had a weapon in his bag. I got the school officer, the counselor, another teacher, and myself to approach this student, and we asked him to step out of the lunchroom. That moment when I was approaching a kid who may or may not have a weapon in their possession was one of the most terrifying moments in my career. Followed closely by the actual moment when the SRO looked in the bag and confirmed that there was, in fact, a weapon in the bag.”
Haunted War Museum
“I worked in a place with a war museum in it with uniforms and such donated by families, and it was a common joke that my workplace was haunted. Usually, most of the occurrences could be explained, but some of the things like our books flying off the shelves or the doors slamming on their own were harder to explain.
One night, a couple of weeks ago, I was closing by myself. After locking all of the doors and doing a walkthrough, I started my cashout. Halfway through my cashout, I heard a woman’s scream coming from the basement. It was the type of scream that you knew was a scream. I couldn’t think of a way anyone could get down there, and I watched the cameras while I called my supervisor. She told me to continue watching the cameras and then to call the police.
The police showed up, and we went downstairs. As we arrived at the bottom, we heard a loud slam from down the hall, and they took off while I stayed behind because it could be possible that someone had managed to get down there and was trying to lure me down alone. They checked all of the doors, but every single one of them was locked, so I went to the office with one of the officers, grab the master key, and head down.
They checked all of the rooms downstairs and upstairs, and then they reviewed the cameras but found nothing. They agreed to wait outside until I was done, and as I was on my way out, I could hear a woman laugh. I got out of there as fast as I could. Everything was checked the next morning, and everything was locked, and nothing was stolen. It hasn’t happened again since.”
“I went skydiving for my 18th birthday, and the first chute didn’t open correctly. Obviously, the second one did.”
“I was on patrol in an open field in Afghanistan when we got ambushed from fairly close. I was in the middle of our two elements. So, I was one of the furthest people from cover. I low crawled to a berm and tried to get a little concealment, but I was exposed in foot tall grass while rounds from our lead element flew overhead one way and rounds from the enemy from the other.
After I finally sprinted to cover, I watched as the last of my platoon did the same and provided covering fire. Once everyone was there, I realized that my buddy was missing and immediately got on the net and asked, ‘Where is my buddy?!’ Everyone started screaming his name, but I knew he had probably gotten smoked in the opening of the ambush. So, I told my lieutenant that I knew where he was and would go and get him if they laid down fire.
Right as I was about to go back into the field, my buddy pops up and sprints for his life towards us. It turns out, he had just gotten scared and froze. Those couple minutes where we thought he was dead were one of the scariest moments of my life.”
“There was a ‘shooter on campus’ alert on the campus at my university a few months ago. I was sitting in the cafeteria and saw people in the courtyard running away and falling all over. I left the cafeteria to find myself in front of a school security person who yelled, ‘Run away from there.’ I got to a safe place and started worrying about my friends, let my people know that they shouldn’t come to school, getting calls from family and friends who had heard the news. After maybe an hour in my safe spot (with friends), the school sent out an email to let students know that it was a false alarm. It felt real for a little while.”
“I went inside a house in Afghanistan as part of a two-person team to check out a civilian report on an RPG warhead lodged into a wall. I went upstairs to find an OG-7 lodged in an interior wall about five feet from the floor that had come in through an open window. The other person on my team took a step closer in the room to take a look at how we should handle the situation. His mere step caused the thing to fall out of the wall and straight to the hard-packed floor. It was one of the loudest clanks that I had ever heard, and that was how we determined that it was safe to carry outside.”
“I got pregnant at 18 and had to tell my parents.”
Lifeguard On Duty
“I’m a lifeguard and had to save people coming out of a certain slide a lot. It’s pretty deep water, too. I’ve had to save a number of people who grab onto me and not the tube and are drowning me. I know how to get out of that, so it’s not that horrible, but the initial moment of being shoved underwater is still the scariest. I’ve never had to do any CPR yet, thankfully, but I’ve had friends who have had to, and they say that it was terrifying.”
“My twin brother had a breakdown when we were 11. He was threatening all of us and himself with a steak knife. I get cold sweats from just remembering him holding that knife up to his throat. It got to the point where I was throwing up from fear.”
Almost Fatal Car Pileup
“I was driving with my mom from Reno to Seattle. We had gone through my late Nana’s belongings, so our trunk was packed with boxes which meant that there was a LOT of weight in the back.
I admit that I was driving faster than I should’ve been, but I was still going with the flow along with the all of the other cars that were in the left lane on the I-9. That’s when the guy in the middle lane decided to switch lanes without using his blinker and was also going very slow. Anybody paying attention to their surroundings would’ve been able to tell the speed that I was going at was not his opportune moment to make this decision especially since he didn’t even TRY to merge at a faster speed.
I felt my life flash. I knew for sure we were going to get in a horrendous crash and there would be a pileup, but we didn’t. It’s like I went into autopilot mode due to the shock. I didn’t slam on the breaks as that would have done us over. I could feel the weight in the back shifting causing our car to swerve through several lanes, but I held the steering wheel tight and eventually managed to bring the car back to the center lane.
The guy just threw his hands up in the air since he obviously saw the whole thing happen in an ‘Oops, my bad?’ kind of way. I had to pull over at the next rest stop for a bit so that I could collect myself after that.”
Loud And Clear
“I was around 14 or 15. I was living with my great-aunt at the time. She was an older woman who would normally go to bed fairly early and took her hearing aids out before bed. You had to scream in her ear for her to hear you without them. She had an awesome roommate, who like me, was a night owl.
I somehow managed to break a fairly large vein close to the surface of my skin. Blood was spraying EVERYWHERE at an alarmingly fast rate. I went to the roommate’s bedroom. I was stark white and on the brink of passing out from blood loss while holding a red, dripping washcloth. I knocked on his door and calmly managed to get out the words, ‘I need help.’ It was the fastest that I had ever seen that man move.
He sat me down on his bathroom counter and got out any medical stuff that we had. He held down gauze after gauze on my hand until the bleeding slowed down enough for a band-aid (or in this case, my hand being completely wrapped in gauze and hospital tape for the rest of the night). He even encouraged me to stay awake. Everything went well from there. He stayed with me and had the phone ready in case we had to call for service. Luckily, with his care, the phone wasn’t needed.
I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done if he wasn’t there. My aunt wouldn’t have been able to hear me, and if she did, she would have tried her best but would have been flipping out; we both have severe anxiety, especially in dire situations like that. Sadly, cancer took him from us about a year and a half ago. Rest in peace, my good friend.”