All families have their secrets...some are just darker than others. From escaped convicts and disgraced former Nazis, to murderers with actual skeletons in their closets, these people share the chilling stories that their families would prefer to be left as secrets.
"My Nan, when she was little youngin', would always walk past this Aboriginal man's house. Her mother would say to her whenever she did this, 'Don't go near that man. Don't even look at him. He's a bad man.' Nan didn't understand why this was a bad man, or why her mother was so worried about him, but she obeyed.
As she grew up, she started to wonder why this old man was so feared by her family. She would ask every now and then, but she was just met with head shakes and stern looks. No matter who she asked in the family, they wouldn't want to answer. She would ask her friends and their families why they would be cautious, but the only thing they could think of was that he was an Aboriginal man (Ah, good ol' Australia. Fearing the black man that they themselves slaughtered).
Fast forward to about 5 years ago. We get a call from Nan's sister. Apparently she had done some research into the family. That Aboriginal man was their Grandfather. They were part Aboriginal. The family was ashamed at the time because mixed race kids were something to be frowned upon.
Nan felt bad for avoiding him all her life, now knowing that he was her grandfather. But she made up for it by treating her mixed race granddaughter a lot better than her family would have treated me."
"Grandad was a professional hitman for the Brits. It got my family out of the old country after WWII, but it estranged our branch from the whole family for 80 years and counting.
He turned out really awful - abusive, unstable father. But he is the reason we live in here now, and didn't spend three generations in the Soviet Union. He died the same month I was born, so I never met him, but I've spent 5 years compiling family stories and writing a book about our weird folks.
He was a killer. Occasionally told stories about it when he was plastered, but mostly he suffered in silence. When I went back to the old country about five years ago, I got a lot more information out of his surviving siblings.
Basically he was a competitive marksman and a rally car driver, who happened to speak German, English, Russian, Polish, Czechoslovak, and Yugoslavian. Sometime in the late 30s era, he was recruited and remained working for the Brits until at least the mid-1960s. Emigrated to Australia, got a woman pregnant, married her, had twins, and began a slow slide into a broken life.
I feel so bad for him. All through the communist era, he smuggled money and goods back to his family, but because he could never get most of them out, a whole lot of people despise him. His brother died before my grandfather was able to return, and his sister's kids refuse to talk to us. I think a big part is resentment. Growing up in the west gave my father and all of us a huge advantage in life - we have British and US passports, can travel the world freely, and are all educated polyglots. By comparison, the rest of the family lost everything and were forced back to peasantry for 80 years."
"My grandfather beat my father, his brothers, and his mom. My dad quit school and worked three jobs to save money without telling anyone. When he had enough money, after like 2-3 years of doing that, he moved him, his mom and his brothers out of the house in the middle of the night when his dad was out drinking, never to return. The guy was upset, to the point he somehow tracked down my dad at the factory he worked. He entered the building with an axe and tried to kill my dad, who apparently was able to defend himself and my grandmother somehow. Not sure why he wasn't arrested, but he came back with a sidearm on another day and waited in the parking lot since they had his picture at the factory and were told to keep him out. Luckily my dad wasn't working that day. For whatever reason the grandfather decided to kill himself instead. There was some note on him about how much he hated my dad for ruining his life, and he was sure they'd see each other with the devil after he took them both there. A very messed up thing on all fronts."
"My father killed my mom's brother on my third birthday. I witnessed it. It wasn't immediate. My mom's brother, Dean, and my dad, Carl, we're inebriated. Dean called my mom a floozy (unsure why) and my dad punched him square in the nose. Unbeknownst to us, Dean was suffering from a brain aneurysm and one punch was all it took. He was brain-dead and my grandma decided to pull the plug. My father did time for involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to nearly 10 years. He didn't serve all of his time. He was released from prison in May 2002; the incident happened in July of 97. On Monday, November 11, 2002, I walked in to find my dad dead on the floor. He was 45. I was 8. According to my mom I said to her 'Mommy, daddy is sleeping funny' and I remember her checking for a pulse to no avail."
"My grandfather was an illegal immigrant.
He was born in Czechoslovakia to a Jewish mother and Catholic father and lived in Prague. When Germany took over Czechoslovakia in '39, my grandfather got Catholic papers and joined the Hitler Youth. When he was old enough, he became a merchant seaman. In June of '39 or '40, he was unloading cargo in New York and fled. Family friends hid him for a while and he surfaced with a whole new identity.
He was brave, they all were. I think it took the whole family working together with his father's church to get them out. They got his sister out before and she was waiting for him in NY, terrified that the FBI was on her trail. The rest of the family left behind in Prague perished from what I know.
It was a deep secret for a very long time, they were terrified they would be deported and killed. Maybe it was a blameless secret but it had dark origins I suppose. I only this year learned my grandfather's true name, and he has been dead almost 40 years."
"My grandfather is a monster. He violated me, all my siblings and cousins, and all my aunts and uncles. Instead of calling the police on him, they told us to shut up and kinda locked him in a shed where he watched us play through the windows. On the rare occasions where they let him out during the day and made us hug him, he would be inappropriate while my parents looked on. But that wasn't as bad as him sneaking into our rooms at night, so whatever. When my father found out, he replied that everyone makes mistakes and invited him over MORE. Luckily I haven't seen him in years.
My father drank constantly. When I was younger, he would beat us so bad for any perceived slight. We had problems sitting because our whole back of our body was black from bruising. I remember sitting on the swing and crying because it hurt too much to play. My father also used to come into my room with no pants on and stroke mine and my sisters' hair while we were in bed. When he got wasted when we were older, he would just barge into mine and my sisters room while we were getting dressed and comment on how attractive we were. Everyone thinks he's a great guy and he is constantly meeting sports celebrities and getting accolades for his work. I don't talk to him anymore.
The most recent thing everyone is covering up is the fact that my brother violated my sister. It came out recently and my whole family is rallying around my brother. My mom straight up told my sister to go see him in person and forgive him. I'm the only one who is standing by her and have disowned my brother. Everyone else is excited about attending his destination wedding and pretending he's not an evil monster."
"My grandad made hundreds of millions through his business and investments by the time he died. Most of it, though, only happened a few years before he passed. He never got on well with the rest of the family apart from my parents.
As a result, he left everything to charity in his will. Of course, the family weren't happy about this and wanted to get rich from his hard work, so they lawyered up and fought for years to get the money. Unfortunately, they eventually won (not all of it but most), taking millions from needy charities and spending it on houses, cars, holidays and gambling. Lots and lots of gambling.
Needless to say, we don't talk to that part of the family."
"You know Bertolli? They sell pasta sauces, frozen dinners, olive oil, etc. Back in they day, they focused on olive oil, which was like gold, thus making my ancestors pretty rich. My great grandmother was one of three kids in the family, but the only daughter, of the Bertolli empire. But when she was in her 20s, she ended up getting knocked up by a commoner. Her family was so angry they disowned her (my family suspects the two brothers did it so they had a larger inheritance).
My great grandfather had some connections in the US, so they immigrated to the States, where my grandfather was born. My great grandmother hated it, though, and spent the rest of her life in a deep depression. She refused to learn English, mourned the loss of her home, and ended up dying at a really young age. We suspect it was suicide, but it's something my grandfather never talked about.
My great grandfather, on the other hand, was involved in organized crime. My wedding ring is inherited, and came from a gambling debt he 'collected' on. He was supposedly a horrible person, and was found shot dead in a park.
My grandpa lied about his age to join the army and escape his dad (after my great grandmother had passed away). He was a paratrooper at Normandy. Unfortunately he died before I ever spoke to him, so my family's knowledge of all this is limited."
"My grandfather was a very bad man.
He served in both WWI and WWII. When he got back, he had a horrible drinking problem and when he was inebriated he tended to spill his guts about all the horrible things he did overseas, which included violating multiple Asian women both on his own and with his fellow soldiers.
My mother was maybe six years old the first time she heard one of these stories from him and she told me about it many years later when I was a teenager (he went into extreme detail about all of it with her and her siblings but she refused to repeat most of the details to me, I think because she was horrified over it and didn't want me to have to live with thinking about it, too). My grandfather fathered one child with one of the women he assaulted that we know of, another 'secret' he blurted out while wasted, but the family has never had any contact with this child and we have no clue who they are or anything about them other than the fact that the baby was a boy. My grandmother also apparently attempted suicide several times throughout the years over this because it upset her so much; one of these attempts was when she was pregnant with my mother which happened very shortly after my grandfather first mentioned that he'd fathered that child.
Now that both of my grandparents are dead and have been for a long while (my grandfather died before I was born, my grandmother when I was I think 5 or 6) no one in the family talks about any of this. We never talk about my grandfather at all and on the rare occasions he comes up, it's very uncomfortable and awkward and the subject is changed as quickly as possible."
"My great grandmother had a drinking problem. She would stay up to 3-4 am getting wasted and chain smoking. She was a rather frightening woman, especially when I was a kid. One night, my great uncle was going to take me fishing in the morning, and we were both staying with my great grand parents. I got up late at night to use the bathroom, and great grandma was sitting at the bar drinking. She stopped me and said, 'I want you to know something,' then proceeded to tell me about the baby she had that died soon after birth.
In those days (30s-40s), in the area she lived in, you didn't just go to the hospital to have a baby, you did it at home. She told me that her husband buried it in the basement (dirt floor basement), then a few years later, the house burned down for some unknown reason. They built a new house where the old house was, and the baby was still buried there. I had a hard time going back to sleep that night. Years later, I asked some of my aunts and uncles about it. They all heard the story, but only half of them believed it. The half that said it wasn't true sounded more like they were trying to convince themselves it wasn't real. As for me, I don't doubt it at all."
"My mum's distant relative was an Olympic marksman shooter for Bangladesh. One day a street kid was messing around by her property walking on the walls by her driveway and she threatened to shoot the kid with a pellet if he didn't get down. The kid didn't listen and she fired a shot that made him fall off the wall causing him to crack his skull as he landed. He died almost instantly.
She got away with it because of the messed up class system in that country which meant she was practically untouchable.
This was in the 80s, my family in Bangladesh have completely forgotten about it and this relative is now married with kids probably the same age as the one she killed."
"My cousin's grandmother was killed by her ex boyfriend. He cut up her limbs and hid them all over 3 different counties. I remember my mother yelling at the news crews that had gathered like vultures around the funeral home when I was 9. After he was sentenced to life in prison, he wrote to our local paper and admitted to 13 other murders. In 2011, he killed his cellmate.
Also, a different cousin killed his friend. The story my dad told me is that he was high on some heavy stuff and playing Russian roulette with some guys, everyone had taken their turn and the weapon hadn't fired, it was down to the last round and obviously the bullet was in that one. The guy didn't want to do it knowing for sure it'd kill him, so the cousin shot him. This cousin is all around a piece of trash, so I believe what my dad said. But I am not able to verify much about the story, because his name is Eric Garner, so searching his name always comes up with the man that was killed by the police. The only thing I've been able to uncover is his picture and an arrest record from 2006 but that's it...no news articles...nothing."
"My grandfathers were Nazis, my grandfather on my father's side was rather high ranking in the party. According to my research, he administered Poland's occupation during the war.
Our family grew up in Australia, ostensibly as Portuguese-Austrians. I discovered some photos at my parents house during Christmas, it was a man in uniform during his wedding. I knew it was my grandfather because we have the same eyes and smile. The handwriting on the back had the German version of his name (think Fernando and Ferdinand) and a different surname to our family name.
I asked my father about the photos of the Germans and he said, we are volksdeutsche son; he didn't even hide it; he said it upsets my mother so I shouldn't discuss it. In hindsight, it was rather obvious. The more research I do the more I want to ask my father."
"In 1907, my great-great uncle bashed in his two daughters' and pregnant wife's skulls with a sledgehammer while they slept, then slit his own throat with a straight razor.
My great-grandfather (his brother) found out about it from the newspaper he was reading on the train to go visit them. I still have the article.
It was definitely caused by his mental illness. Their father committed suicide. A couple of years after this happened, their brother committed suicide while confined to an asylum. Technically my great-grandfather also committed suicide. But only William, the great, great uncle, took others with him to the grave.
William was unhappy with this situation and thought that his farm in Canada was going to go to ruin. In the weeks leading up to the murder/suicide, he had been acting very erratically. In his suicide note (I have the transcript because THEY PRINTED IT IN THE NEWSPAPER), he said that he couldn't bear to live and be such a failure, but he also couldn't let his family live without him given the hardship and shame they would suffer after his suicide."
"My great grandfather was a fairly wealthy man during his time from monopolizing land in Mexico. Anyway this caused many to have hate towards him. Well one night while he was drinking on his ranch, a group of 10 men decided they had enough and beat him to death. When the oldest of my great grandfathers sons found out he immediately took up the job of slaying each one of the men that killed his father over what my dad said was about thirty years.
My great uncle only told my dad of how he killed one man. He met him in the fields of a small ranch where he and his family stayed and he said that man immediately recognized him. Knowing he stood no chance, my great uncle was a massive six foot four inches, he asked that my great uncle does whatever he wants to him but leaves his family alone.
My great uncle then proceeded to beat the man till he was unconscious and then put his leg on the man's lower back and pulled at his neck till he heard bones crunching. The last time my dad saw his uncle, he said he showed no emotion but you could tell he had done horrible things from the scars on his hands. After he told my grandmother that he finished killing all the men he disappeared and we never heard from him again."
"Supposedly my family picked the wrong side in the French revolution and sided with the French royalty and had to flee to England after some of them lost their heads. Money buys favor, and they were given land in Scotland by the crown, all was well and good till they ticked off the church and after some of them lost their heads, they had to flee to Canada. Now we wait to tick off the Canadian government and see who losses their heads and where we have to go next. My grandfather has a French family crest and an English coat of arms tabards that no one wants to talk about, I only found out about them after helping him move after my grandmother died."
"I am adopted (not a secret) and my father (he and my mom adopted me at birth) abused me from the age of about 4 (I'm guessing, its some of my earliest memories) until I was 11. It only stopped because I told a friend on the playground one day at school and she told her parents who called the cops.
He confessed and the judge gave him a strange sentence. It was however many years but within the first 180 days I think, the judge allowed him to leave prison on probation with time served. I remember my mom being very happy and excited about it. He was on probation for several years, meaning he rented a camper nearby but would come home for dinner every night. So in my eyes, nothing really changed. He'd come home like he always did and work until I went to bed. Then I think it was my freshman year of HS maybe, he moved back in. Maybe later, I can't remember exactly.
I remember visiting him in prison a few times, that was weird. My mom also said that my dad's employer kept paying my mom his paycheck during the whole thing. I never saw anything in the papers about it, my mom hid them from me and I never looked anything up. Life was tough enough.
This all happened 24 years ago in a rural midwest town but I am still confused about his sentence. How and why can a judge just call and say, "ok, you are done now?" Seriously? It was all very messed up as my mom didn't know how to live without my dad so she did everything she could to get things back to the way they were. My thoughts and feelings weren't really considered. Good times.
While the family knows about this, it's not something we talk about openly with other people. I do have a relationship with them now, but it's on my terms. I call them about once every 3-6 months and see them 1-2 times a year. That is enough time around them. They aren't awful people to be around but I definitely didn't get remorse from them for their actions when I was actively dealing with everything so that made me decide to not have them be a large part of my life."