Everyone has secrets, and sometimes these secrets are so much larger than one person. Sometimes, they involve a whole family.
Here, people reveal the darkest family secret they’ve ever stumbled upon.
1. This guy should be a detective.
When I first started dating my girlfriend, I was invited to her very conservative catholic parent’s 25th wedding anniversary party. I was hanging out with her and her 24 year old older brother afterwords, and she was talking about how her mom found her birth control earlier that week and lectured her about how wrong premarital sex was (we weren’t having sex). I quick did some mental math and said, “She shouldn’t talk since your brother’s birthday is in 5 months.”
They both looked at me in utter shock. They had never figured that out.
2. Family tree or Festivus pole?
I found out, when my mother went off on a furious rant, that most of my cousins aren’t legitimate, and most of my aunts had lied to their husbands about the true father of their children.
I also found out that there was a very large branch of the family I had never met and that no one really admits to – because they’re all inbred.
3. This is why you shouldn’t read diaries…
My grandmother’s cousin married a man she met in college. They had a daughter and were married for maybe 40 years. 3 years ago, he passed with cancer. We were not shocked at this. After all, he was approaching 70 and had a bad form of cancer, and it was spreading fast. We were prepared for this.
What we weren’t prepared for was that after he passed, his wife found a journal of his which explained that for 35 years, he was having a another relationship with a man.
It was a shock to all of us. He was so committed to his wife, that he never left. But at the same time, it must have killed him to stay silent for such a long time.
4. Your mom is like a bag of bread…
I found out last night that my mom’s nickname in High School was “Little Miss Sunbeam”. That’s because Sunbeam bread used to be advertised as the bread with “No-holes texture” and my mom refused to put out…
5. Mom is friends with a zombie?
A long time ago, back when I was still in middle school my mom’s best friend died. She wouldn’t tell me how she died. Only that it was sudden. When I asked why we weren’t going to the funeral she told me that there wouldn’t be one because “her body was being donated to science.”
I didn’t ask any more questions. That was the last time we ever talked about her.
Well, five months ago my mom handed me her phone to find the number for Domino’s and as I’m scrolling through her recent calls, I come across the phone number of the dead best friend. Biggest WTF moment of my life. The next day I called it from a pay phone at Waffle House and she picked up. I instantly recognized the voice and accent. She’s not dead. Second biggest WTF moment of my life.
6. I am my own grandfather.
My cousin is actually most likely my sister.
7. Some things are supposed to be priceless.
My grandmother has all the dirty little secrets but she’s too proper to spill anything. Until this one night…
She told me about my grandfather’s (her husband’s) family.. Essentially they were poor, living off the streets and trying to earn money during Australia’s gold rush. Anyways, the family had too many kids and not enough money so they sold one of their kids.
He would’ve been my grandfather’s great uncle I suppose. She had kept it secret all this time.
8. You gotta be pretty tough to get thrown out of Russia.
I found out that one of my ancestors was exiled from Russia for challenging an army officer to a duel (with swords) and winning. My ancestor worked in the czar’s stable, and the argument arose when the army officer insisted on riding my ancestor’s horse. The horse threw him off and the army officer shot it.
We’ve always been horse people.
9. When is the coronation?
I recently learned that my mother is the child of an affair. And that my grandfather was illegitimate royal blood from Russia.
10. You slipped through the cracks.
My uncle was angry at my dad once, and decided to poke holes in all of his condoms. He was dating my mother at the time, and that is how I came about. I wasn’t supposed to know, but my uncle told me once when he was drunk.
11. Shoulda gone to the ‘spam’ folder.
This happened in May of this year. I have a sister who is four years older than me and a half-brother who is 14 years older than me (from a different father).
My aunt, my mom’s sister, sent out an email to the entire family that vented about 60 years of hatred toward my mother. Right at the end of the email, my aunt clearly indicated that my mom had another kid that no one knew about and had given the kid up for adoption. Huge news to my family who knew nothing about this.
I asked my mom about this and found out that the father of the kid was my brother’s dad, but my mom and him weren’t married when this happened 45~ years ago, so it was looked down upon by others. My mom eventually married my brother’s father and had him, but that was a few years later. After they got a divorce, she got married to my dad about 8 years later.
12. The hospital has a “no returns” policy.
My parents used to always joke about how “we picked the wrong boy at the hospital.” I never thought much of it. A year ago (I’m now 17), they told me that when I was born in the almost exact time as a boy whose parents abandoned him. The boy was almost the same size as well.
Now, you’d think that this would never happen, but I was born in China at a hospital that somehow mixed us two up. Essentially, they weren’t exactly sure if I was the son of my parents. My mom looked at the two of us and swore that I was the one, despite the nurses’ tags stating otherwise. Genetic tests were (relatively) expensive then and were refused by my mother. They didn’t care at the time since there was no parent to claim the other boy.
Now, I’m about to go off to college, and I have no intention of finding out whether or not I’m the biological son. Strange when I think about the other boy though. People always say I do look like my parents though, so I have little doubt that mother knew best.
13. Not all nicknames are affectionate.
My family is mostly Portuguese. It used to be completely so, but my paternal grandfather married a French woman. All my life my grandfather called her something in Portuguese that I couldn’t understand. Last year at Thanksgiving I found out it meant “The French Whore”. My grandfather’s parents hated her and called her that. My grandfather decided to own it and made it a pet name.
14. You should go into the family business.
All this time my family thought that my weird Hungarian last name meant “boat builder.” Well, recently we were enlightened to learn that the closest meaning is actually “man who goes around the village at night and picks up the crap buckets from doorsteps.”
15. A priest and a drunk dad walk into a bar…
My great uncle, who became a Catholic priest at a young age, came out to his parents as an atheist while in seminary. They threatened to disown him if he ever told anyone else, or if he left the seminary. So he stayed, became an excellent priest, and apparently never told anyone until my dad asked him for advice when he was considering the priesthood as well.
I discovered all this about a year and a half ago, when my dad was extremely drunk and ranting against religion. Completely shook my view of my great-uncle and great-grandparents- they always sounded like the model family, and my uncle was an amazingly peaceful and humble man, didn’t stop working in the community until shortly before his death three years ago. If anything I think it made me respect him more, in the end.
16. Mistress manifest destiny.
The only reason my family is in California instead of New York is because my dad’s father wanted to follow his mistress (which nobody knew about until he died) to California, so he uprooted his entire family and made them move over here.
17. Did they think he would forget about his brother?
My grandfather had a younger brother who was mentally disabled. He pretty much took care of this brother completely until he was about 18, when he left for college. He came back and the brother had been put in a mental institution for months/years. No one had told my grandfather. My mother only recently found out about him.
18. On second thought… let’s talk politics.
We had a family christmas dinner a few years ago where my aunt and uncles from both sides were staying over at our house. There were probably 10 or 11 of us at the dinner table, and everyone is getting along well like we always do.
My cousin, around 14 or 15 at the time, brings up something about how he laid a massive poop earlier that day. the kids laugh and the adults were like “that’s not table conversation”. Then i jump in and say “yea, theres things we don’t talk at the dinner table, like politics and illegitimate children.” Every adult at the table drops their eyes to their plate and goes silent.
What I didn’t know is that my uncle had an illegitimate child many years ago and thats always been a point of contention between my aunt and him. They also had been arguing about that earlier in the day, and all the adults knew it.
19. These aren’t the kind of home movies Bob Saget likes…
An ex of mine was telling me that her father made films as a hobby of sorts and he actually had some success on the indie horror cult classic scene. So one day I was bored and decided to google his name and found a bunch of his films. In most of them, the main character was my ex’s mother and she had at least one full frontal nudity scene in each. She was pretty attractive and I’m open-minded about nudity anyways, but I have to say I felt a little weird when I watched one of the sex scenes between the mother and the father. I couldn’t look her in the eyes after that point.
20. “Hello. We’re the other Joneses.”
So my grandfather is roughly 80 and has five kids (one of which is my father). Well about three years ago, he had a knock on the door, and it turns out that he had a family before he met my grandmother in Iowa and never told anyone.
He had married his first wife in California when he was sent out there in the Navy, and had two or three kids with her. He went and got himself deployed, and she apparently left with the kids while he was gone. Being the mid 1900’s, he never found them, so he went on a cross country trip to New York for some reason. Luckily for me, he met my grandmother and had five kids, never telling anyone about his former life.
21. What people don’t know you know can definitely hurt you.
My dad doesn’t know that I know that I have two younger brothers and a sister.
I’m also trying to look for them.
22. Grandma was an actress.
My grandmother just confessed to me last week that she was a borderline alcoholic and at age 50 started going to AA by herself (at the synagogue so she wouldn’t run into her catholic friends) and quit drinking then. No one even noticed because she had hid her drinking so well from her husband and 5 children. She didn’t tell her husband for almost 30 years and he was shocked.
23. Boardwalk Empire is basically a home movie for me.
My grandfather and his brothers were arrested during prohibition for making and distributing bootleg alcohol as part of a major underground project.
I discovered this while doing a school project at the library in high school which gave me access to old newspaper archives. I obviously searched for my last name. The first hit matched my grandfather and his siblings.
24. A match made in prison.
My mom was born in Colombia and moved to the US when she was 12. I never knew much about her family. I was already aware that the Italian side of my family (paternal) had ties to the mob in NJ and eventually moved to Miami where my parents would eventually meet. Through google, I also found out that my grandfather was a snitch, ended up in the witness protection program after being implicated in a murder and being indicted for selling massive amounts of cocaine. Ok, I thought, I can deal with that knowledge. Crappy about the coke, but maybe my mom’s side wasn’t so bad?
Thanks to ancestry websites and google, I soon discovered multiple newspaper articles from the 1980s that would indicate that my maternal Colombian grandparents were the leaders of a massive pot smuggling ring which, at the time, was referred to as the largest pot smuggling operations ever carried out in the US. Both my grandparents were sentenced to over 250 years each, but after that my trail ran cold and do not know how or when they died.
25. He must have struck a chord.
I found out that my mom had an affair with my piano teacher. Not sure that my dad even knows…
26. Where did she disappear to?
My dad recently told me a family story of one of his older, distant relatives; we’ll call her Jill. This all happened some 70 years ago, a good 20 years before my father was born. It’s a bit unclear what actually happened, but I’ll try my best to piece it together.
Jill was a “plain” looking girl who was raised on a small, country farm. Being a bit of a quiet tomboy, she didn’t go to school, but took care of the farm’s horses instead.
One day in her teenage years, Jill was in the stables when something spooked one of the horses. It reared up and kicked Jill in the face. Since there was very limited medical surgery, she ended up somewhat disfigured and scarred. She withdrew from much of society and lived solely on the farm as a hermit.
Years of isolation pass and one day, Jill vanishes (story continued on the next page…)
Perhaps her immediate family knew, but no extended family were ever told what happened. That is it, until they were notified of her death four years later. You see it turns out, Jill had run away and enlisted in the army. She had fought overseas in WWII, and had been killed.
Now that might not seem like much of a story, but keep in mind that only men fought in WWII. Jill had somehow managed to pose as a man for four years in the army without being detected, and it was her death that gave her away.
Considering the rest of my family history isn’t very exciting, I think it’s a pretty cool story.
27. The boys from Brazil.
I married this woman a few years ago.
After dating her a while, I could tell there was something strange about her family. She claimed that she didn’t know what part of the world her ancestors were from, didn’t know where her last name came from, her parents had blonde hair and blue eyes, but had latino accents. I later found out their first language was Portugese and they were from Brazil.
Anyway, about a year after we were married, she sat down with me and explained that her grandparents were avid Nazis who fled to Brazil just before the war ended.
She obviously didn’t like for people to know this, and had a hard time finding a way to tell me. I didn’t really care. I told her that I loved her for who she was and it didn’t matter who her grandparents were, all that mattered was who she was.
28. That’s the wrong way to get in the papers.
My cousin is very serious about his genealogy hobby. He finds relatives we didn’t know existed and jets out to meet them, exchanging stories, tintypes, and the like. Back in 2007 he was visiting such relatives in Iowa and discovered that our ancestor committed suicide by cutting his throat with a pocket-knife while on board a U.P. Train, about 6 Miles West of Kearney Nebraska. I have a transcribed account of the December 1881 newspaper story, which was unnervingly detailed. The headline reads, ‘THE SAD ENDING OF JIM HARRIS’. It is a very spooky, interesting read.
29. Like father like son?
Thought my parents divorced just as a mutual agreement but my father had an affair. He was a cop and slept with his partner’s wife. Up there for biggest piece of crap award. I was 6 years old when this all happened, 19 now and just found out a couple months ago.
Father also hates me because I decided to get out of the Army after breaking both of my legs at airborne school.
Found out he got out of the Marines for having flat feet that hurt. Aunt (his sister) told me that he drove from Georgia to Florida every weekend because he hated his time in the Marines so much. Tries to tell me I am a wuss and disowned me.
30. Don’t mess with grandma.
My Grandmother and Grandfather where part of the resistance in a country in Europe during world war 2. Part of that meant smuggling people across borders, and forging papers. I found out that my Grandma had to shoot someone when one of their operations went wrong.
31. “I ain’t saying’ nothin’.”
I recently found out my grandpa on my mother’s side was a high ranked member of a deadly biker gang (don’t know which one). I am also closely related to mob boss Vito Genevese on my father’s side. My grandmother was raised by him in Missouri and knew quite a few secrets of his life. She would never tell me or my father and she took them to her grave.
32. Barbara is like butter.
One day when I was 19 my father, who used to be a comedian of some repute in the 60’s, told me that he had not only taken Barbara Streisand’s virginity, but apparently carried on a “sordid” (in his own 76 year old words) affair with her for years to come, through her first and his first two marriages.
33. That’s why we do a census!
Not actually dark, but I’m sure it was quite scandalous at the time. I was looking over census records from the 1800s while doing genealogy, and noticed something interesting.
A female ancestor was 14 years old at one census, living with her family (let’s say their last name was Smith). At the next census, she is 24 and living with another family, we’ll say the surname is Baker. Except she is still listed with the last name Smith…and so is a 5-year-old boy, classified as “grandson”. The Bakers had a 20-year-old son listed on this census who I guess knocked up Ms. Smith when they were 15 and 19, respectively, and then she got disowned by her own family and they took her in to help raise the kid.
34. Down to clown?
Great grandma had an affair with a clown. An actual clown. And there was some question as to whether my grandpa was the son of said clown.
35. This grandma gave out more than Werther’s Originals…
My step great grandmother killed my biological great grandmother and great grandfather. She killed my biological great grandmother by pushing her off a building, everyone thought she was drunk because it was some rooftop party back in the 20’s. She wanted my great-grandfather because he was wealthy at the time. He lost almost everything in the stock market crash, and when they realized they wouldn’t recover, she left him for a man who was still wealthy, (my step-great grandfather) and poisoned my great-grandfather. She admitted all this to my mother on her death bed. Grandma Velma was a psycho.
36. Substitute grandpa.
My grandma who I thought was like a saint (doesn’t drink, smoke, swear) actually cheated on my grandpa in the 80’s. My mom would get super drunk and claim my grandpa died of a broken heart (he died of heart problems).
When I was very young I remember I use to be around my grandma and the man she cheated on my grandfather with quite often. Once my grandpa died, they saw each other a lot. I never knew who he was until I got older. I have mentioned this man recently and I guess she hates him now for some reason.
37. Three finger discount.
My dad was missing two of his fingers since before I was born. I was always told it was an accident while using a saw. Turns out he purposely did it himself to try and get some sort of insurance payout. Also he is a she now. I’m finding out more and more secrets about him everyday. My dad is a pretty crazy lady.
38. Wrong place, wronger time.
My grandfather died in the 70s of cancer but no one ever told me anything about him. Anyway I was interested one day so I looked up him up and it turned out he was in the army- the British commandos to be exact (he was Welsh.)
I did a bit more digging to see if any of his squad was alive, but I turned out every single one was dead, mostly of cancer. Eventually I decided to confront my gran and sure enough, there were the photos of him in a specific Japanese city after bomb the atom hit.
39. Kind of hard to blame the guy…
My mom and I cared for her father as he deteriorated with old age. As his mind went he told stories from the war, from his youth, and about my grandmother’s first husband.
My grandpa had a crush on her before WWII but never acted on it because he was dirt poor. He lied about his age and joined the Navy when he was somewhere between 14 and 16.
While he was away she married a man her parents liked. Her first husband beat her badly, would get drunk and assault her then make her sleep in the barn. She stayed because divorce wasn’t something you did at the time.
My grandpa got back, all snazzy in his uniform, and was told she’d married and where she lived. He showed up to say hello and there she was, a bloody mess. He took her to the Doctor, got her cleaned up, and convinced her to divorce him.
A year later they were married. Her ex kept showing up to harass them.
The story we’d always been told is that her ex finally got the hint and moved away.
The story my grandpa told me, in a lucid moment, was basically this:
“I hated him for what he’d done to her. I knew he’d never leave her alone. I made sure he’d never bother her or any other woman again.”
I think my grandpa confessed to killing his wife’s ex husband.