Real life is way more scary than any horror movie. These unlucky few found themselves confronting deadly experience head on, often without any warning beforehand. Unlike the movies, there's no guarantee of a happy ending here. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was held prisoner for several hours by my neighbor. He asked me to come over to babysit his girlfriend's kids while he took her out for a date. When I got there, there were no kids or girlfriend. He attacked me and threatened my life. I completely shut down and didn't fight back. He dragged me into his truck and took me to this local restaurant/arcade. He shoved his weapon into my ribs and told me to find some of my girlfriends. I knew I was done for, because I didn't have friends of any gender. After telling me what to say, this neighbor marched me inside and sat at a table, so he could keep an eye on my while he did his bidding. I was trying to figure out a way to get out of there when I ran into this guy from school. He said hello to me and I answered. He could immediately tell something was wrong. If my face wasn’t a dead giveaway, then me speaking to him surely was. He started chatting me up, asking me about what I was up to, complimenting my shirt, and doing his best to draw me into conversation. As fearful and distracted as I was, I told him I was looking for my friends because my neighbor was throwing a party. I was known as an outsider who didn’t go to parties.
As I wandered around the arcade, he stuck with me, keeping me talking. My neighbor was on edge, and I knew that as soon as we left, I was going to die. My brain shut down at this point. The guy who was with me went up to my neighbor and talked to him for a moment. All of a sudden, my neighbor grabbed my arm and dragged me out. Before we got to the door, the guy hollered out, 'I’ll see you at school on Monday, Sherry!' and then he said something about my house. I looked back at him and shook my head. I knew that I wouldn’t live out the night.
My neighbor shoved me into the truck and started it up. Instead of taking me to some dark secluded place where his weapon wouldn’t be heard, he took me home. Before letting me go, he shoved the weapon in my ribs and told me he would kill my entire family if I said a word. I didn’t. But the next day it was in the paper that he had been arrested for for the assault of his girlfriend. I went into hysterics knowing that could have been me if I hadn’t had a guardian angel looking out for me. I still think about my guardian angel from time to time."
"Nobody in my family or close circle of friends actually knows about this. During the late 90s, there was a civil war in Kosovo and the neighboring region. My mother's family is from this southern Serbian town with an active military conflict between the Serbian government and local Albanian fighters. I won't go into a ton on Balkan history, so I'll try to keep things brief. my grandfather was quite sick at the time with pancreatic cancer. He very very little time left. I would travel from my neighboring country to visit him, even during this active military conflict. I looked up to him as a hero. I credit him for instilling a good work ethic in me. He taught me how to be fair and honest with those around me. One weekend after my visit, I was waiting for the train to take me back home. My grandfather dropped me, needing to go back home to rest instead of waiting for me to board the train. Twenty minutes after he left, I noticed three armed Serbian policemen walking towards me.
One of the men came up and grabbed my backpack, taking everything out of it and throwing it in the mud. The other guy asked me for my passport, and as I handed it to him, he shoved me against the wall. He took out his weapon and put it right into my mouth. He pulled the slide back, and I could see the bullet go into the chamber. He muttered something in Serbian, but I was too terrified to remember what he said. I genuinely thought I would be murdered in broad daylight. I peed myself out of pure terror, which cause these two dudes to laugh and finally let me go. Finally, the train arrived, and I was able to change into some new pants I kept in my backpack. I cried the entire two-hour train ride back home. I was thirteen when this happened, and I've never actually told anyone about what happened to me on this terrifying day."
"Back when I was about six years old, my family lived in a house with a large hill behind it. There was a lot of dry brush back there, but enough clear ground to make it an ideal setting for games of make-believe involving mazes, labyrinth-like fortresses, or curiously well-lit sewer systems. I got to know the area so well that I scarcely needed to look where I was walking, and I would frequently rush around without paying too much attention to my surroundings. As a result, I have absolutely no idea where my assailant came from. One afternoon, while I was using a stick to fight imaginary monsters, I felt a sharp sting on the side of my neck. I quickly slapped and squished whatever had attacked me, then went back to my quest, more irritated by the interruption than actually hurt. It wasn't until later in the evening that I gave the attack a second thought, when my parents scolded me for picking at what they assumed was a mosquito bite. 'You need to keep your fingers off it,' my mother told me. 'It already looks like it's getting infected.'
I insisted that I hadn't touched my neck, but nobody believed me. I continued to receive admonishments over the course of the next two days. During that time, a growing section of my skin started to look like it was literally rotting away, which prompted a number of home remedies to be attempted. When none of them seemed to have any effect, I was finally brought to the hospital. The nurse took one look at my neck and called for the doctor. The doctor took one look at my neck, expressed his disbelief, and called for the surgeon. The surgeon took one look at my neck, booked an operating room, and told my parents that I would be going under the knife within an hour.
I've since been told that the progression of the venom, an unwanted gift from a brown recluse spider, had come dangerously close to entering my bloodstream. Had there been any further delay in excising the lesion, well, it might not have ended well for me. I still have a rather large scar on my neck, along with an acute case of arachnophobia. I've learned to be much more diligent about examining those places where I might encounter a web. Unfortunately, I didn't get any spider-based superpowers, so I still feel like I got ripped off."
"I moved across the country and tried to learn how to surf with my roommate, who was much better than I was at it. Catching some waves was a huge rush, but I never really got past waves that were like two feet. For some context, waves are measured from the back, so what is a one or two foot wave looks like a three or four foot wave from the front. One day, we went to the beach and the waves were more like six feet. If I could stand on the water, the crest would have been over my head. Against better instincts, I decided I would still give it a try. Well I finally was about to catch one, I went to stand up, and I got tossed from the board. I was still too new at this to get a real breath in before getting slammed into the water, so I was a little freaked out. I began to swim as hard as I could to the surface. I felt my hands break through to open air. Then the next wave came and ripped my long board to the bottom of the sea. Oh, and I was still attached to it. Nothing like having something grab you by your ankle and rip you to the bottom of the ocean. I barely had enough air in my lungs to get out the first time and at this point, I literally said to myself, 'This is it. This is how I die...'
I scrambled and ripped the thing off my ankle, and I honestly couldn't even tell you how I got out. I have a memory of just thinking, 'I just need a little breath,' and thought I tried to breathe, but clearly that didn't happen. I remember stumbling out of the ocean unaided and just plopped down on the beach and laid there. Eventually, my buddy walked over and sat down next to me. He had not seen any of this happen. He asked me if I was alright. I said I was, and that I was totally done. I never tried to surf again after that one time."
"When I was probably in the third grade, I was hanging out around a ballpark where my brother had baseball practice. I was really bored, so I wandered into this empty batting cage made out of a pretty tall chain link fence. I noticed there was a lot of extra fencing leaning against the side of the cage, so I touched it. The entire metal fence began to fall, and I realized what was happening but couldn’t move out of the way. It fell on top of me and knocked me out briefly. I had multiple appliances in my mouth to correct my jaw growth and my bite, and because I fell to the side, they all became displaced and rammed into the other side of my mouth, filling my mouth with blood. I was only out for a few seconds, but no one noticed what had happened, so when I was conscious again, I was just stuck. Parents, including my mom, were sitting on the bleachers a little ways away, and all of them were unaware. I was actually facing towards them, but I couldn’t speak, and I couldn’t move. It must have been half an hour before someone walked past the batting cage and said, 'Oh my god, I think there’s a little girl under there!'
All the adults started freaking out, and at least six grown men had to lift that thing off of me because it was so heavy. In the end, I was fine, but it was terrifying. I mainly just remember the seconds where I realized that thing was falling on me, and I remember being stuck on the ground, bleeding out of my mouth, unable to move or talk as I stared at my mom and all the parents in the distance, who had no idea I was trapped under there and bleeding. Honestly, I was completely okay afterwards, except for a trip to the orthodontist to fix everything! I didn't go to a doctor, though if that happened to my kid, they would definitely have gone to a doctor. I think I got in trouble actually? My mom yelled at me afterwards, at least."
"I somehow managed to flip my car front to back. it was quite terrifying, especially because it all happened in a two-lane road with a speed limit of sixty miles/hour. I had this old car with these breaks that would lock the wheel when in use. The roads were covered in ice, but everything seemed to go smoothly at first. I turned to merge into a bigger road. I stepped on the gas to merge. Unfortunately, the driver in front of me wasn't a genius. He decided to step on the brakes at the end of the merging lane. Basically, I had two options: hit the car in front of me, or hastily merge. I chose the latter because that seemed safer, but it was such a sudden movement that the back of the car started to toss uncontrollably.
At first, I tried to correct things by steering the car dramatically. This wasn't a good idea at all. I only made things worse, so I stopped and just held on tight. The car tosses and tosses, and suddenly I faced the other cars, moving backwards at a high speed, heading towards a bridge and the edge of the road. I genuinely thought that I would die. By some miracle, I didn't hit anyone and my car steered out from the lanes, but not out of the bridge. I was so close to the railing that my door didn't open. It scared me half to death, but I was physically unharmed. Boy, it took me a long time to feel safe driving during winter after that."
"I'm an avid skier and former instructor. One night when I was skiing (they use lighting on the mountain at night), there was a nearly invisible patch of ice across an entire corner/bend on a trail that I usually hit around 35-50mph on depending on the day. After a long day of instructing, most of us would have some drinks/tokes and then go shred for a bit. So I was barely tipsy and zoomed down the slopes. I hit this corner and immediately heard one of the scariest sounds in skiing. It was the sound of my edges sliding across the ice, with almost zero traction.
Now normally, a good skier would have razor sharp edges to catch almost any surface, but after instructing for weeks my edges were dull due to being used and beginners who ran into my skies. So at that moment, I was painfully aware of the ledge that was to my left and how if I went down it, it would be a significant way down the mountain with rocks, trees, and ice. Plus there would be no hope of help until my family decided I'd gone missing at some unholy hour and it was already about 8 pm. So in those few seconds, I contemplated a slow, cold death or frostbite at the very least while I leaned into my turn so hard that my right leg was at a 30-degree angle to the ground. I managed to catch a small snow-pile that other people had pushed to the edge and cut all my momentum as I threw myself down. I didn't want to immediately fall at that speed because I would have just slid right off or seriously injured myself by catching an edge and tearing a muscle.
Adrenaline was pumping inside me and those few moments felt longer than the 9+ hours of skiing I did that day. But I survived, it was the isolation that was the scariest part.
"When I was five, we moved into a house where a massive oleander bush was growing over the fence. Oleander flowers littered the lawn. I played with them and then went inside, had something to eat, and played with my sisters for a bit. Next thing I remember, I'm in a doctor's office. I'm shivering and I ask for a blanket. The doctor puts a sheet of the paper that they used to cover the bed over me. They explain to my parents that I'm going to be fine, and I can be taken home.
When it had been several years after that incident, my mother told me that I had said how that my chest hurt and I couldn't breathe, and she grew concerned enough to take me to the ER. I had fallen asleep in the car and stayed asleep until waking up in the doctor's office. I googled it and read that Oleander is incredibly poisonous and works by paralyzing the respiratory system. Just one oleander flower can kill a horse. People have died from using oleander branches to roast food when camping. I had gotten pretty severely poisoned just by eating food with oleander residue on my hands. If I had bitten or eaten just a bit of the flower (which I very easily could have done, since I was a weird child that often ate random things), I would have died pretty quickly. It's pretty miraculous that I survived."
"This literally happened to me the other day. I was invited by a new group of friends to go tubing down the Delaware River. Of course, I agreed to it immediately. Now I was well aware how dangerous that river could be, even if it didn't look so bad from the outside, but nothing would stop me. We all met up, inflated our rafts, and headed over to the launching spot. For the first half of our journey, we all had good times on the river. Up to that point, the current had been moving at a leisurely pace, and the water was deep enough to swim in without being too overwhelming. At the halfway point, we came across a hot dog stand. This dude would literally sell hot dogs to people floating on the river, perched on this tiny little island. Once we had an impromptu lunch, the river decided to take off its training wheels and find every way to terrify us.
The depth would go from five feet deep to two inches deep in a matter of seconds, due to massive boulders on the bottom and stones lining the riverbed. They were terrible for your shins, feet, knees, legs, and any part of you that comes in contact with them. We had a close call going through the first set of light rapids with the stones doing a number on our legs. We thought we were in the clear for a while. We weren't. I see the next challenge coming before everyone else. There is this other woman trying to swim, but the current was too fast for her. I got out of my inner tube and swam to help her, getting my legs torn up by the rocks even more in the process. I managed to get myself and her into this spare raft my friends brought along. these friends had been listening to obnoxious country music and ignoring this woman, I was quickly realizing they wouldn't be my friends after this trip. We only just got into the floatie when I noticed that we were way too close to this massive rock, and the two of us were about to go up and over in mere seconds.
The first thing I felt was that house-sized boulder hitting me. I was up in the air for a few seconds, and then I heard the muffled clunk of my head hitting said boulder. My body did a backflip in the current. All of that felt like it took place in a split second, and just then my body was instantly flushed with enough endorphins and adrenaline to bound up out of the water. Much like a dolphin, I launched myself into a more stable tube than the floaty I had been using. The other woman had already managed to get onto her own tube. After that we took a few more breaks, mostly in direct sunlight, despite my protesting, before finally making it back to the end of the line. By the time I got home from that, I luckily managed to avoid serious head injury or a concussion, but both my shins, knees, and feet were covered in scrapes and bruises. To make that even worse, the sunscreen I had used wasn't strong enough for my skin. As of writing this, I am covered in scrapes and bruises, sore muscles, and a pretty gnarly sunburn all over my body. But at least I didn't die though. At least there is that."
"I was on a fifty-mile bicycle ride out of town in a very rural area. My bike has a cycling GPS unit that also has a heart rate monitor, and about halfway through the ride, every time my heart rate approached 150 BPM, I started getting shooting pains down my left arm. I'm not a doctor, but I recognized it right away as classic angina symptoms. I slowed down some and the pain mostly went away, then it came back as we got into some more hilly terrain and my heart rate elevated again. I was watching the heart rate closer than I was watching the road and was panicking every so often, when it occasionally flashed to zero and I'd be looking off to the right for a grassy patch to land on. That was my 'this is it' moment, but fortunately I think the zeroes were just because the sensor was losing contact. I completed the ride and made an appointment with a cardiologist when I got home. The cardiologist did an EKG and sent me straight to the emergency room at the hospital a few blocks away. I ended up getting a triple bypass first thing the next morning. That was in 2006 when I was 51 years old. Since then, all three of my younger brothers have had cardiac issues and a cousin, who was otherwise in very good health, died from a heart attack. I'm still kicking at 65 and riding around 3,500 miles a years or more and trying to stay hard to kill."
"I was sitting in the kitchen eating meatballs. And let me tell you, those were some insanely good meatballs. So I was eating them pretty quickly, and at one point I was finding it hard to swallow a piece. This happens pretty often, and whenever it does, I just keep swallowing and it easily goes right down my throat with no worry. But not this time. I kept trying to swallow, but I just couldn't. I looked to the right of my chair and I saw my dog staring up at me with his head tilted, because I was clearly struggling. I got up and walked over to the sink where I tried to spit it out but I wasn't able to. For some reason, I didn't try to drink water to wash it down. I ran over to the living room and tried my best to yell for help, but all that came out were random distressed noises that were only at a speaking volume. My dog quickly followed behind me and just continued to look up at me. I think it's worth noting that I can't hold my breath for a long time. It had been about thirty seconds, and my usual limit if I was swimming or something is fifteen. I looked down at my dog and just thought to myself, 'Oh my god, I'm going to die. I'm not going to make it. I'm going to suffocate and be put on the news for choking on a stupid meatball.'
And then my sister came downstairs. She later told me that she had barely heard the noises I had made and decided to check it out. She gave me the Heimlich maneuver, and I spat out the meatball onto the ground. Then my dog ate it off the ground, which is so disgusting. If I had to give a lesson to people reading this, I would say make sure before you eat that you cut your food into small pieces. I would also say don't let what happened to me stop you from eating meatballs or whatever. But man, were those some good meatballs."