They tell you not to judge a book by its cover. But sometimes the book turns out to be Mein Kampf. Thank you to the Quorans who shared their stories. To read them all, follow the link on the last page.
My husband brought a guy home after work one night. When I opened the door and saw him, I suddenly felt as if I were looking the devil in the eyes. I have never before or since felt such fear.
His name was Joe. He seemed nice, didn’t do or say anything wrong, but this feeling was getting stronger.
We had two little girls, about 6 and 11/2. Eventually, I couldn’t handle the feeling any more, so I took the girls to a neighbor’s house.
I called my husband in tears and told him to get the guy out of the house and never bring him back. My husband thought I had lost my mind but he asked the guy to leave. I couldn’t explain why, only how I felt.
A few years later, Joe was arrested for assaulting two three-year-old girls. Always listen to your gut.
Deborah Kyger Wheeler
Last year, I had no choice but to re-home a dog. I put an ad on Craigslist. I know its a sketchy site, but I’m very picky whenever we re-home strays we find. We make sure the people are truthful, we require a vet reference, and they have to be open to a home visit.
I got one call where I knew that this was definitely not the right person. After talking to the guy on the phone, I could tell he wanted to use my dog as bait in a dog fighting ring. I wouldn’t have been more certain if the guy had come out and literally told me that.
Luckily, the very next call was a woman who was looking for a companion for her disabled daughter. They got along beautifully (love at first sight for both the dog and the daughter). They live on a half-acre lot not far away.
I got a phone call a few weeks later telling me that Ninja was now a certified service dog. Apparently, the daughter is also diabetic, and he could tell when her sugar was low! I’m so happy I could put the two of them together.
When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, my mom had this boyfriend. When he first came over, I got this weird vibe. My dog, Dude, did as well. He was growling the entire time. Dude was a fairly nice dog, so this surprised my eight year old self. My mom didnt take notice. (continued…)
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Now, this guy didnt look sketchy. He didnt act sketchy. But he gave me an iffy vibe.
They dated for three weeks or so. I tried to tell my mom that I didnt like him. Then, one day, I came home from school to find the front door wide open. My mother was passed out on the floor, and my two-year-old sister was running around the house unattended. She could have gone outside and nobody would have realized.
I didnt know how long my mom had been passed out for, so I just woke her up. She came to and started walking around the house, looking for something.
HE STOLE ALL MY STUFF!
It turns out that guy stole my moms TV, phone, cash, and iPod. I knew something was up. I was right. Dude was right.
But what would an eight year old know?
When I was an adolescent, my dad’s cousin came to town. Both my mom and dad had gobs of cousins, and it wasn’t unusual to meet one I had never even heard of before. This particular cousin had been very close with my dad when they were kids, but his father had accepted a job on the west coast and it had been decades since they had been in touch.
My mother invited him to have dinner at our home with our family of 6. Throughout the meal, he told stories of the pranks they pulled growing up, his military service, and his own family of 6.
The visit went well; he thanked my mother for the meal and hugged my dad goodbye.
As they were getting ready for bed that night, my mom mentioned to my dad that she had been creeped out the entire night, and wanted him to promise her that he would never leave that man alone with any of us kids.
Dad was indignant and demanded to know what exactly he did to deserve that type of treatment. Mom had no idea, but her instinct was strong.
I did not know the rest of the story until I was an adult with a child of my own. (continued…)
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The year I went off to college, my family found out that Dad’s cousin had been arrested for murder. It was discovered that he was responsible for at least 17 deaths over a span of 23 years. He is currently on death row.
Despite his healthy childhood, military service, and appearances of being a family man, my mother’s instincts were spot on.
When I worked at the library a decade ago, a young girl came in one day and stood at the desk. She looked perfectly normal, but I sensed something off, something not quite right. I couldnt put my finger on it.
I smiled at her as I took her library card. After I tucked the printout into the book on the top of the stack, she started talking. For a while, I stood and listened.
Another patron came up to check out their items, and I had to ask her to move. She moved, but she kept right on talking. She followed me as I straightened the New Items shelf. She kept talking as I walked back and forth from the desk to the movies section with an armload of DVDs.
She didnt stop until I gave the secret signal (a tug on the ear) and one of my co-workers rescued me by pretending I had a phone call that I needed to take in the back.
She came in every week. She didnt say anything bad or creepy – she just gave me a bad vibe. It felt like I had bugs crawling all over my skin. Like I wasnt safe, like no one was safe, around her.
Shes just a kid. A bored, lonely fourteen-year-old, I kept telling myself. But the feeling never went away.
Then, she started stalking me. Or was she? Was I just imagining it? Was it a coincidence that Id find her waiting outside the library when I got off work every night? Or maybe she just followed me around because I was nice to her when no one else was.
My mom, sisters and I ran into her one night at the county fair. My sisters knew her from their afternoons spent at the library, but my mom didnt. We had told mom about the girl, but she’d never seen her. So when she asked where we lived and if she could spend the night, Mom said yes and started to give her directions. (continued…)
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My sisters and I all shouted over mom, but the girl caught enough of it to have an idea of where we lived. I pulled my mother aside and whispered in her ear as my sisters said, No, our moms talking about our old address. We just moved last week.
After I spoke to mom, she told the girl that she was so forgetful and had given her the wrong address, but we really had to be going because she totally forgot that we had made plans to be somewhere else, didnt we, girls?
A few years ago, I came across a newspaper article saying that the girl, who had by then grown into a woman, had been booked on very severe child abuse charges.
I was riding the train home from work one sunny Saturday afternoon when I was in my early twenties. A guy got on the train and sat beside me. There were many, many empty seats, so it threw me off that he did this. It was really hot on that train, and I felt claustrophobic immediately.
He asked me my name. When I made eye contact with him, it felt like someone had cut a hole in the bottom of my stomach. I felt like there was something wrong. Something really, really wrong.
When he asked how old I was and if I had a boyfriend, I said, I’m in my 20s and I am in a committed relationship. He responded with, Do guys ever tell you that you look a lot younger? I thought you were like 17!
He looked like he was at least in his late 30s. I’m thinking – why does it matter how old I look? I told him I’m in a relationship, why is he still talking? I try to make eye contact with anyone else on the train. I scan the seats up front and behind us.
But I soon realized: there was no one else in the car. After he saw we were alone, he not so casually put his hand on my thigh. It was the middle of summer and I was wearing a dress so his hand was touching my bare skin.
I jumped up and pushed my way past him and to the doors, planning on getting off at the next station and just waiting for another train. He followed me.
He stood right beside me and asked if the next station is my stop. I ignored him, and moved to the other set of doors. He followed again and he put his arm around my waist. The feeling of someone you don’t know touching you in such a familiar way is one that no person should ever feel.
I found my voice, some courage, and said: Stop now.
I didn’t have a phone, no one was expecting me anywhere. I felt like something very very bad was about to happen to me.
I was praying, praying that we would get to the station already, praying there was a transit officer there, that there was anyone there. (continued…)
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My heart leapt when I saw the platform approach. The train slowed down, stopped and the doors opened. There were people there, thank goodness.
I could see out of the corner of my eye that creepy guy was sitting down again and I rushed out of the train and ran to the pay phones to call my boyfriend to come pick me up.
That night, safe at home, we watched TV while we ate dinner. Suddenly our show was interrupted by an update about an earlier news bulletin that I hadn’t seen.
There were pictures of the guy from the train. He was in some kind of halfway house after being released from prison and wasn’t there for curfew the night before. The news warning was released because he was a sex offender.
They were updating to say that police had just located him and he was back in custody.
I did learn that day that I need to trust my instincts. I should have just stood up and got off the train, because I knew that he was bad news.
I was working as a church secretary, and a guy dropped by the office to pick up some free tickets that we were offering to members.
He was a good-looking guy in his late fifties, and he laid on the charm like you would not believe. I have never experienced such a full-court press. It was extremely well-done — never offensive or pushy, but warm and friendly and very well-calculated to appeal to me in particular, even though we had never met.
Heres the thing, though: it was way out of proportion to what he was asking for. I had a pile of tickets, and we were offering them to any member. All anybody had to say was, Can I have a couple of tickets? All I had to do was reach out my hand and pass them over.
The way this guy was going on, you would have thought he was trying to charm me into putting my job on the line to give him something worth thousands of dollars.
Later, I mentioned this to one of the other staffers. Oh, him, he said. Yeah, you havent met him because he was in jail for fraud. He persuaded an old lady to give him her life savings.
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My mom is a social butterfly. She has a large friend group, and the bunch of them organize parties and get-togethers all the time.
One day, one of the women in the group introduces one of her new friends to everyone and she becomes part of the group as well. I’ll call her Sarah.
My mother immediately doesn’t like Sarah. Maybe it’s the fake tan. The way she laughs. The way she handles her kids. Something seemed really off to her. So while Sarah was part of the friend group, she and my mother weren’t especially close.
Fast forward a couple years. My mom finds some emails that reveal her husband has been sleeping with another woman for the past eight months. She’s absolutely devastated.
My mom calls Sarah, and she comes over to comfort my mom. She cries and talks about what’s happened, Sarah consoling her and giving her kind words of sympathy.
A few days later, she finds out Sarah was the one sleeping with her now ex-husband.
Many years ago, at my old job, a new guy started working there. He was really nice, always willing to help out, and seemed caring. However, every time I was around him longer than a minute I would get panic attacks. It continued to happen so frequently that I mentioned something to my co-workers.
I attempted to avoid him at all costs. Something didnt seem right. I felt scared, constantly, when around him, for no reason.
One day, he got fired. He was so angry that he Facebook messaged all of the employees threatening them (including me). He continued to harass us for a couple of weeks, saying things like, Wait until I see you again and, Youll never know its coming. He blamed us for him getting fired even though it had nothing to do with us.
Oh, and to make matters worse, his Facebook profile picture was of a knife stabbed into a table.
Gut instincts are there for a reason. Its amazing what our bodies and minds will do when we sense danger. It should never be overlooked.