We've all been there before... face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to bring harm to our lives. It's never fun or exciting to be in this type of situation, but we always remember them. These memories stick with us, even though we want nothing more than to have them wiped from our brains.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share their scariest encounter they have ever had with another human being, and each of these stories brought a chill to our spines. The following stories range from terrible chance encounters to ongoing issues with family members who just won't go away. While they might be different from one another, each of these stories is frightening nonetheless. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I was about 14 or 15 and school had just ended so the bus home was packed with other school kids too. We were a couple stops away from where everyone got on when this guy with a huge jacket, hood up and mask on (we were in the middle of a heatwave so super odd) got on the bus, stormed upstairs past my friends and me and threw down this huge bag he was carrying. He screamed 'THIS IS A BOMB' and ran off the bus.
It took everyone a few seconds to process what just happened, but after those few seconds, I experienced the craziest sense of panic ever. Everyone bolted downstairs and tried to get out, but the doors were closed. I remember this huge dude just punched the glass out of the door like it was nothing and people were just dragging themselves through it. When I got to the door, I hit the emergency release to make it easier to jump off.
Once we were out, we sprinted at least 500 meters down the road and crouched for the explosion. Except there was no explosion. It was just a hoax.
It turns out that the guy that did it was someone from my school that had previously been expelled."
"My cousin, who was like 14, was babysitting my 4-year-old brother and me (9 years old) and her dad called, coming down from something really bad. He called and screamed at her, demanding to know where she hid her piggy bank, but she told him to get bent and hung up the phone.
He called back, she didn't pick up, and he left a voice message which played as he was leaving it saying basically he was going to come down there and murder all of us with a knife.
He was full of it but we were terrified. Can you imagine the fear a 9-year-old feels when a grown man, who sounds crazy, says he's going to murder her with a knife? So we prepared. We blocked out the windows, locked everything, and put heavy furniture in front of the doors. My brother was asleep in his room, my cousin told me just leave him, but I couldn't stand the thought of him being alone in there. I covert style belly crawled, heart beating out of my chest, across the kitchen, through the living room to his room, scooped him up, and brought him back to my moms room, which we then barricaded ourselves into.
I got no sleep that night and my mom and my aunt came back the next morning like, 'What did you kids do?' But I was honestly just happy to be alive and that my mom was home again.
The worst part of the whole thing is when my cousin got home, her dad had sold all of her belongings. I mean everything, her bed, her dresser, tv, it was all gone. It was just an empty room. He's clean now, but I still hate his guts."
"When I was 15, I regularly was at home by myself since both of my parents worked full time and my brother had moved away to college.
One day during the summer, I was just relaxing at home, when all of a sudden someone knocked on the front door. I got up and checked the peephole, and saw two guys just standing in the driveway just off the porch. One of them wearing a suit, the other wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, but facing away from the house like he was playing lookout. I decided to ignore them because they’ll go away, right?
They continued knocking, knocking, knocking but getting progressively louder and more aggressive. Finally, I decided to call the sheriff’s department and ask for a non-emergency check since these guys were trespassing. For some reason, I decided to yell through the door that I had called, but before I could even realize how dumb it was, the guy started kicking the front door. I freaked out, ran back toward the center of the house and realized that there was a third guy trying to kick in the back door as well. At this point, I called 911 and started screaming about these three guys trying to break into my house.
Notoriously, it took the sheriff’s deputies longer to get there than anyone would imagine, and they saw the guys walking down the road later. They stopped them for questioning, but no arrests were made."
"In the late '80s, I was running errands in town with my mom and two sisters. Back then, it wasn't uncommon to leave your kids in the car while you ran inside the store.
We were sitting in the car waiting, and then I saw an older guy walking toward our car. I just got a really bad feeling and started yelling at my sisters to lock the doors, while I locked the two on my side.
He came over and spent the next couple of minutes trying to open all the car's doors while we were cowering in our seats. Eventually, he gave up and left.
We were all under the age of 8 at the time, and I just knew that if he got in the car, he would have taken one of us."
"When my husband and I were in our mid-20s, we lived in a townhouse without a yard in a pretty nice area of town. We knew we were purchasing a house soon, so we went ahead and got our first puppy!
I’m a morning person, while my husband is not, so I would usually get up around 5 am and take the puppy out to the little patch of grass across the street from out townhouse. I did this for several months and never had any issues... until one morning.
While out waiting on the puppy, an old Ford van, all beat up with no windows, slowly drove by and went back behind another building. A few minutes later as I was getting ready to cross the street and go back inside, the van came back up the road to where I was getting ready to cross, stopped in the middle of the road and turned off its lights. I waved them on in front of me, and at that point, both doors of the van started to open.
All I remember was seeing someone start to get out before both the dog and I felt the undeniable urge to run across the street and inside as fast as possible. Once inside, the van sped off and disappeared.
The creepiest part of this whole thing was when I went upstairs to wake my husband, he was in the middle of a dream where I’d been kidnapped.
To this day, I refuse to run outside or go on walks alone, even on our quiet country roads. And big old vans still creep me out."
"When I was 13, I just got dropped off from the school bus, so I had a bit of ways to walk home. As I got close to the corner of my street, some guy in a dark blue car rolled up and asked where I was headed.
Told him I was going home. The guy then excruciatingly slowed his car down to match my walk and asked if I wanted a ride home. I told him no thanks and that I was almost home. Then he continued to ask where I lived and if I still wanted a ride home.
Luckily, I had a phone at this age, pulled it out, and pretend to call my mom.
The guy saw what I was doing and sped off like crazy.
From the age of 13, I started carrying pepper spray."
“I was investigating a fire for an insurance company in a fourplex in a bad area of north St. Louis. It was clearly an arson. I had five separate, unconnected fires. I’d been there for awhile, taking photos and doing my thing.
I was drawing my diagram in the building when I heard two guys walking by the building on the other side of the wall. I was straining to hear what they were saying since it could be pertinent to my investigation.
The two guys got to the rear of the building where the fire department had ripped out the wall to be able to extinguish hot spots they’d found. I could clearly see them both standing there talking. They started to kick through the debris on the ground and one started saying how some dumb broad had snitched on his buddy for setting this fire. He started telling the other guy about how he was going to deal with her and pulled a piece out of his waistband.
At this point, I was frozen in fear about to crap my pants hoping that they didn’t look 90 degrees and saw me standing there like a moron. I crouched down as low as I could without making noise and waited. They continued to talk about how it was bull she told the cops on him.
Finally, a car drove by and I used the sound of it to get out of the house out the front door. Which unfortunately wasn’t super quiet since most of the floor had collapsed and I was wearing fire boots.
I got to my truck across the street and was sitting in the driver’s seat trying to unclench my butthole when the guy with the weapon walked around the side of the house to the front porch, sat down, and aimed it at me. I turned the truck on and got out of there.
I ended up going back about an hour later to see if they were gone because I had to finish my scene. It’s still one of the scariest moments of my career.”
“Back in the early ‘90s, I worked as a night auditor for a small motel in Prospect Heights, Illinois. I was a young mother and worked nights while my husband worked days. Occasionally, my husband would stop by and check on me. My job was to perform a daily audit on the rooms and money. Also I would check people in and out of the hotel. The hours were midnight to 8 am.
One night, I had finished my audit and was watching a scary movie on the little tv they had behind the front desk. It was winter and very cold. A man came up to the door and he was wearing a ski mask. For a second, I thought it was my husband, so I kind of smiled. He came up to the front desk and I asked if I could help him. He asked me why I had smiled at him. Well, I knew right then I was in trouble. He waved a big knife at me and told me to turn around. I felt the most fear then. I felt like I was going to die. He hopped over the front desk and cut one of the phone lines and took the money. I had my coat and purse back there and he took those as well.
As he left he said, ‘I have your purse, I know where you live now!’ I stayed hunched in the corner behind the front desk as he left. Then I realized he had only cut the handset to one phone and the main line on another, so I took the handset from one phone and attached it to another where he had not cut the main line. I dialed 911 and got an operator on the line. Just as I was about to talk, the guy came back. Apparently, he had dropped his knife behind the desk. I saw it on the floor as he came around. I picked it up. In my mind I’m thinking, can I stab him? We stood there kind of facing each other. Me, in my uniform, and this big guy in a thick ski jacket. He demanded I give him the knife. I thought if I tried to stab him I would lose and he would kill me. I gave him the knife. He took the knife and hit me over the head with the handle of the knife a couple of times and then left. The police soon came and I recounted my story.
As far as I know, he was never caught. The place I worked for let me have a day off but when I needed more, they fired me. It turns out, they had been robbed a few times before but had never put in security. I did take them to court for lost wages and won. About a year later, I saw on the news that a night auditor/clerk at the SAME hotel had been kidnapped from the motel, violated, stabbed, and left for dead. They caught that guy and he is now in prison.”
"In 2012, I was just north of Erwin, Tennessee, while hiking the Appalachian Trail in the Roan Mountain area. While at our campsite, a blue F-150 pulled up and a man got out and said he was an 'undercover forest ranger.' He said there had been a lot of kids causing trouble up around these parts and asked if we had any illegal substances or weapons. It was myself and another older gentlemen from New Orleans who also said he was hiking and two off-duty guys from the Coast Guard who were making a weekend hiking trip together. Before that evening, none of us had ever met. We discussed and decided that the guy was fairly creepy and decided to split up and scout out maybe a replacement place to camp.
We agreed to each hike 15 minutes north/south and come back and report if there was a more suitable spot where we were away from the road and the guy would have a harder time finding us. After our little recon trip, we came back and decided there really was nothing all that suitable and decided to just push our tents a little deeper into the woods so as to not be spotted as easily.
Around 9 pm, everyone is in bed and asleep or nearly, when three shots rang out and they were not 'off in the distance.' In less than five minutes, a truck came screaming down the path with the high beams on and the same guy from earlier got out; brandishing a weapon with an extended magazine. He was hysterical and told everyone to get out of their tents and on the ground.
For the next 45 minutes, he kept up the charade that he was an undercover game warden or a fish and wildlife person, the story would change. After a few minutes into the ordeal, it was fairly obvious he was unstable or on something. That didn't change the fact that he had a weapon pointed at us. He would rinse and repeat the same lines over and over: 'Do you have anything illegal or money?' 'You don't have CASH??? HOW WILL YOU SURVIVE OUT HERE?!' 'I'm just trying to keep you guys safe,' 'There's four of you and one of me.....you're going to try and jump me!' He also just kept swinging his piece around and brandishing it wildly. This whole 'cycle' would usually last anywhere from six to eight minutes at a time, and nearly the entire 45 minutes we were either laying on our stomachs or on our knees.
Fairly early on, the guy from New Orleans jumped up and ran into the woods and called the police. They said it would take them about 45 minutes to make it out to the woods and to hold tight. Of course, I didn't know any of this, and more importantly the guy holding us up lost his mind. The undercover man shouted into the woods and said that if New Orleans didn't come back the rest of us would be sorry. The guy actually came back. Seriously, he didn't know any of us, and even today, I genuinely don't believe if I was in his shoes I would walk back into that situation. It's the bravest thing I've ever seen someone do.
The situation ended when the man demanded to search our backpacks for the aforementioned contraband or money. He was kind of easing into stage three where he was just trying to keep us safe. He leaned down to search my backpack and the two Coast Guard guys jump up simultaneously and tackled him. I knocked the weapon out of his hand and quickly dropped the mag and discovered that there was a live round in the chamber the whole time.
We tied the guy up and waited for the police, who showed up about 20 minutes later. I was incredulous that their response was essentially 'Oh, that's just crazy John, he's really done it this time!' or 'Oh John, they would have been within their rights to shoot you dead.'
Here's the best part of the story: there were obviously empty bottles and a film canister with crushed something in it, and a cell phone with 14 missed calls from his apparent son. While this was being searched, it was explained to me that he was a former minister WHO GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING and became a pill popper and kooky ever since. He was known for messing with people, but never to that degree before.
I ended up finishing my hike, but that was without a doubt, the scariest thing that happened to me."
"My boyfriend and I came back from a night out at like 2 am. We were both quite wasted and stumbled into the hallway to the elevator when we saw drops of something on the floor. It was definitely blood. Fresh and wet. The elevator button and door were covered in bloody hand prints as well.
My boyfriend called the elevator, pushing me aside not knowing what would be in it. Luckily, nothing except for a puddle of blood.
The elevator came from the fifth floor, so we went investigating. The trail of blood ended at a door with huge hand smears of blood on the door.
It took all of our courage to ring the bell, but I am so glad we did. An elderly man opened the door. He looked like straight out of a horror movie and was covered in blood from head to toe. His grey sweater was red. His hair was wet. His shoes were filled with blood.
We immediately sobered up. I called an ambulance which arrived in two minutes. My boyfriend went inside the flat helping the man sit down. There was more blood than I had ever seen in my life.
We didn't know what happened to him until we met him properly later on. He recognized my boyfriend's glasses one day and told us what happened. He was drinking, wanted to ride his bike home, crashed somehow, and got a huge cut on his head. He takes heart medicine which thins his blood that's why he lost so much.
If we wouldn't have rung the doorbell, he would have bled to death.
He actually gave us some money and a super expensive bottle of bubbly for helping him out."
"I was walking through campus after a night class at the University of Central Florida. It was a BIG campus and pretty empty at this point. The shuttle I took was at the other end of campus, so it was a pretty long walk. At one point, I was walking through a swampy area with a raised boardwalk. There were two girls a ways ahead of me walking together, I saw them reach the end of the boardwalk and go into the next building.
As I reached the end of the boardwalk, this guy hopped up out of nowhere from the surrounding woods. He took my hand and started telling me how beautiful I was, asking for my name, what I was doing later that night, and where I lived.
I asked him why he wanted to know and he said, 'I'm taking a survey.' I was literally in such shock it took me a second to realize he was even touching me. Everything he was asking me sounded really unauthentic and like it was scripted, like he was in a rush to get everything out. He also had this really weird, unsettling vibe that he was giving off that instantly freaked me out, but it was DARK outside, and I was ALL ALONE at this point.
Thankfully, a minute or two later, a guy walked out from the building, and I used that moment to break my hand away from the weirdo and tell him 'I have to go.' I've never walked so fast to my shuttle while looking over my shoulder the whole time. I couldn't stop shaking the whole ride home. Something about that guy was OFF and I was sure if that man hadn't have come out when he did that something bad would've happened to me. Exactly what, I don't want to think about.
Keep in mind, there had been a group of two girls walking ahead of me and he hadn't approached them. He was looking for a girl by herself."
“My first apartment was part of a complex that was U-shaped with a large grassy area in the middle. The neighborhood kids would run around and play in the grass a lot. One day, I was sitting on my stoop talking on the phone when one of the kids fell over, grabbed his foot, and started crying. He was maybe 5 or 6 years old. He had stepped on a bottle cap and sliced open his foot. I took him inside, had him sit on the edge of the tub, washed his cut and put some neosporin on it and a bandaid, and sent him on his way.
A few hours later, there is a knock on my my door. When I answered, a massive skinhead with a tattoo of a pentagram on his neck was standing there with his chest out. The boy was peeking around one of his giant thighs pointing at me. He stuck his finger in my chest and yelled, ‘Did you take my boy in your house? That's my son. Did you give him a bath?’
‘Look at his foot!’ I shrieked. ‘He cut his foot. I washed the cut.’
He inspected the kids foot then asked me what exactly happened. I stumbled through the story. Then he just said, ‘Alright then.’ He shook my hand with a vice grip and I never saw him or his son again.”
“Last year, I moved from a dense urban area to a pretty, underpopulated rural town. I got into trail-running. There was a big, circular route that I liked a lot in the local nature preserve, and over the summer, I was on an early morning run there when I passed a guy sitting on a rock slightly off the trail. He looked exceedingly normal - street-clothes, hat, and boots - and I figured he was a hiker. All good, or so I thought.
I made my way down the path, around, uphill and to this nice overlook, where I usually stopped to drink from the fountain. When I was bent over at the fountain, I heard a twig snap, and I straightened up to see that guy, crouched over and stepping through the woods off the clearing like he was trying to creep up on me. I bolted.
The sprint back was the most terrifying experience of my life, obviously. I don't know if I lost him or if he gave chase at all. The police never found anyone matching his description, and I don't run anywhere near there anymore.
The police said he had most likely seen me before and been stalking me for an indeterminate period and the he was camped out front to see whether I'd show, then cut across to the spot where he knew I always stopped. I'd probably seen him before without realizing it. He might even know where I live.”