Lost Connections[rebelmouse-image 18348030 is_animated_gif=
"Cult" generally refers to a social group identified by extreme devotion to religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs or a common interest in a particular person, object or goal. The public is fascinated by cults, their aftermaths and their survivors. But what about those left behind by cult members?
Reddit user LilMissMuppet asked "Redditors who have lost a friend or family member to a cult, how did it happen?"
Here are first hand accounts of people who have dealt with cults and the toll they took.
Widespread[rebelmouse-image 18348031 is_animated_gif=
I lost my entire family. On my father and mother's side. Almost the entirety of people I grew up with and knew. As if I was never born. Raised Jehovah's Witness.
Just because the "religion" is prominent in our society does not discount the fact that it is by definition a cult.
Weight Down Ministries[rebelmouse-image 18348032 is_animated_gif=
I lost an aunt and cousin to Weight Down Ministries. It's run by this woman named Gwen Shamblin. A real nut job. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, in this huge mansion where she broadcasts live church webinars multiple times a week. People all over join in and host these "church gatherings" at their homes. They get you in by introducing it as a weight loss program. Simple. Lose the weight quick and easy and never gain it back. Eat what you want!! So you go wow this sounds great! Then they slowly introduce the Bible and she'll preach to you through online videos, then you get recruited to a church in someone's home near you where the service lasts for FOUR hours. So anyways, my cousin and aunt got sucked into this and now they moved away to live in Franklin, TN where they worship every breath this Gwen Shamblin woman takes. Everyone that joins ends up marrying someone else inside the cult. My cousins sister wasn't allowed in her wedding because she wasn't part of the cult.
Fanatical Devotion[rebelmouse-image 18348033 is_animated_gif=
Most people wouldn't consider Southern Baptist a cult, since it's pretty mainstream where we live, but the degree to which my father embraces it, and the amount of time, effort, and money he puts into it, I think it's reasonable to call it cult-like.
His parents raised him in it, but I remember as a very young kid that we didn't go to church as much as we would later. Once a week, and sometimes we'd miss a week and it wouldn't be a big deal.
He got back into it when his dad died, and then doubled down when his mom passed several years later. He started forcing us to go to church two, sometimes three times a week. Those losses had a profound effect on him and I guess he just really, really wants to buy into the idea that he'll see his parents again.
Can't really blame him for that, I guess, but it has put a considerable strain on my relationship with him. Especially lately, since he's made friends with this guy who is even more fundamentalist than my dad is, and he's been bringing this guy around the house.
This guy, there's no other way to say it, he's just straight up crazy. My dad is passionate about his beliefs; this guy is fanatical. The kind of person I'd be worried might blow up an abortion clinic or something. (I had a conversation with the guy shortly after the Vegas shootings, and he all but came out and said those people deserved to be shot for just going to a sinner's hellhole like Vegas.)
Pastor's Kid[rebelmouse-image 18348034 is_animated_gif=
I was in what I personally deem as a cult. They had a ruse of being a very "hip" non-denominational Christian Church. You may know of them - the pastor wears jeans and high fashion button-up shirts, the band plays alternative christian rock, there's a coffee shop, etc. However, I think the church sort of morphed into that in the ...15 years I attended, to become more appealing. This church had helluva lot of layers - and as the kid of the associate pastor of the church (My dad was the right hand man of the main pastor), I pretty much knew all of the layers.
I had been going to this church since I was 4, and from that point forward my family had become extremely devout. We were there nearly every night of the week - bible studies, 3 sermons on Sunday, 1 sermon on Wednesday, worship practice, babysitting, events, list goes on an on. One summer, I couldn't have been older than 9, I spent every morning cleaning the church (still can't remember why I was required to clean the church so much...but it kept me there all the time) At 11, the church opened up a school - that literally was just a money sucker. When I say money sucker i mean $2,000 dollars per school year roughly (possibly more, later down the road), for you to learn and re-learn the same subjects, because once you got to a certain point in education, they'd make you re-do it, because there was no point in you learning anything else (you were just going to end up being a church pawn anyways!). We'd pledge to the christian flag, the bible, and american flag every morning & had hour long bible study lessons. We had to memorize so much scripture, and would be tested & re-tested on these scriptures we were supposed to know by heart EVERY Friday. If we got in trouble we sometimes would be assigned lines, which usually was also a scripture verse.
Anyway, this church bred loyalty - and anyone who left would suddenly have a seriously terrible rumor spread about them, to make it seem like whoever DID leave had some type of mental breakdown or they were a "wolf in sheep's clothing" the whole time. It was pretty messed up, because one minute I would have a friend I thought I would have for life, and the next minute their mom would suddenly leave and the rumor would be "oh she married a Muslim man and converted or that they were stealing money or just whatever they could come up with. This was always MOST unsettling when a church "great" would leave (people who had been there for 10+ years and were heavily involved in ministry.)
So I finally hit a point where I decided to leave the church for good at 20-21. So I left, but I basically lost everyone on my way out. Everyone judged me about what happened. I know they spread rumors that my dad was stealing money, but that didn't concern me, because I realized, despite losing all of my friends, this life was already better.
Some of my old church friends had tried to scold me saying "you know better"...it made me sick. I see how much time & money they put into this church. Most of them are HEAVILY in debt, because that church made your wallet HURT. And There's always SOMETHING going that kept you there 5-6 days a week. AND they were so ISOLATED. I never noticed this until I left. but the church did the whole rumor bull, to keep you from talking to people "outside". It's sickening and depressing and a cult in my eyes.
Ansarullah Bangla[rebelmouse-image 18348035 is_animated_gif=
I've lost a friend of mine to 'Ansarullah Bangla' an offshoot of ISIS in Bangladesh. It was back in 2014.
He was a computer science student but most importantly a poet. He is one of the most amiable persons I've ever met. We used to hang out a lot in our hometown since he was one of the few of same-aged friend I had back then. We were tremendous dreamers and very lazy workers.
Till this day, I just try to make sense of the murder and the aftermath. He, although was an atheist, never ever loud about his belief system since atheists are always shunned in our country. All of his very few blog posts are either poems or short stories. He was never active on social platforms too. If anyone knows his belief or disbelief they do by personal attachments. So when I learned about the murder I've never suspected the actual cause can be his belief system. Someone sold him, someone close. Maybe a friend from University. A facebook page of Ansarullah Bangla claimed that they killed him for 'practicing atheism in personal life'. They attacked him in his apartment, barred two of his friends, butchered him, stabbed him right into his skull, he died bleeding, instantly.
This death has given me some subtle ideas about death that was not present even a year before when my father died. I understood, life is not fair and anyone can kill you for no rhyme or reason and that is exactly why I have to shout out my ideas no matter what is the cost. Before that event, I was a pro-death nihilist and afterward a life-savoring nihilist.
Life goes on. Yet, he left a mourning girlfriend who still mourns, some friends who don't eat certain foods that are favorites of his. It's a death I can't get quite accustomed to.
People's Temple[rebelmouse-image 18348037 is_animated_gif=
My parents told me when I was younger that they knew (casually, not like best friends or anything) married couple that joined the People's Temple in the Bay Area.
They didn't go to Guyana. However, Jones had left some people behind to take care of the property. Approximately a year after the mass suicide the couple disappeared. Nobody knows if they decided that they wanted some grape Flavor-Aid too or if they were "disappeared" against their will.
Fundamentalist[rebelmouse-image 18348038 is_animated_gif=
Not exactly a cult, but my aunt became a born again Christian and joined this crazy fundamentalist church. Within a few months months she had married a man she met there and pulled her kids out of public school and enrolled them at the church's tiny private school. The church doesn't allow women to cut their hair so she quit her job as a hair stylist. She started wearing ankle length skirts and made my cousin do the same. My cousin wasn't allowed to wear normal clothes. When we went on our annual beach vacation, my cousin couldn't wear a bathing suit, she had to wear knee length board shorts and a tee shirt.
Joining that church completely changed my aunt's personality. She used to be a really cool person, she would take me and my cousins to do all kinds of fun stuff when we were kids. I remember her being my "fun aunt". She was also a talented painter and extremely creative. She doesn't paint at all now. She became completely submissive to her new husband, who is super manipulative and a compulsive liar. I don't think she's being physically abused, but she's not allowed to leave the house alone. She can only go places with her adult son or her husband. My mom tried to convince her to leave and now she is banned from talking to my mom on the phone unless her husband supervises the conversation. He works from home, so he is literally always around micro managing her life.
Joining that church also changed my cousin's life. She was probably about 12 or 13 when this all happened. She wasn't allowed to cut her hair and she was only allowed to wear full length skirts and long sleeves. They wouldn't let her see her old friends, she was only allowed to associate with people from church. We lived in different states, but we were extremely close and she used to come visit my family several times a year. Those trips stopped. I could only see her when we drove out to where they lived, and even then she wasn't allowed to be unsupervised with my mom (who was deemed a bad influence because she called my aunt and her husband out on their B.S.). It was really hard on my cousin.... She ended up legally emancipating herself at 16 and moving in with our grandparents. It was an ordeal.... The church "school" she had been going to was unaccredited and essentially useless, so she had to repeat a lot of high school online.
The happy news is that my cousin finished high school, went to college, and now she's happily married to a great guy. Shes totally normal and super cool. My aunt is still in the church, but honestly now that my cousin is free from all that, I don't care. I kind of hate her for what she put her daughter through. It definitely really hurts my mom though. She was super close to my aunt their entire lives, until she joined this church. Now they have basically no relationship. Their phone calls and visits are supervised by her husband. All she ever wants to talk to my mom about is converting her and saving us from going to hell, even though my mom is a Christian and goes to a normal church every Sunday. It's really sad, I feel bad for my mom. Especially since their other sister passed away suddenly a couple years ago, my mom has been pretty lonely. She tells me sometimes she feels like she's lost both her sisters.
Disfellowshipped[rebelmouse-image 18348039 is_animated_gif=
I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and grew up with most of my family being a part of the religion. When I was 10, my mother left the church and then was disfellowshipped (shunned) for having my sister out of wedlock. I was told that I could not associate with her after I became an adult, and that started me on the path to leaving this "Christian" group. I later on, at age 23, after not attending church for close to five years, also was disfellowshipped for having a child while single. This meant that everyone in my family besides my mother and half-sister could no longer talk to me. My father, stepmother, stepbrother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends.... all of them gone. It can be emotionally devastating. My mother took her own life exactly two years ago today. I have a beautiful son, incredibly supportive and loving husband, and a new family that has helped to start healing those wounds. If anyone who is going through a similar situation ever needs a listening ear, there is a huge community (including myself) out there who can aid in the healing process.
Older Brother[rebelmouse-image 18345996 is_animated_gif=
My older brother joined a cult. He had a huge drinking problem most of his life, and drug problems in high school. He joined the Coast Guard after high school, but he was getting into trouble at work, coming in hungover all the time, not really caring about his job. One of his superiors, despite the trouble at work, really cared about him and wanted to help him. He recommended that my bro start going to church. So he did and it really turned things around for the better. My family and I were all so proud of him, he was really happy for the first time in a long time.
And then it just progressed from there, what first seemed helpful started to get out of control. The cult that he's in he found online. Obviously they don't outright say they're a cult, my bro saw it as an online community that supported his religion, made him feel like he had others to talk to. At first we just thought he was taking this whole religion thing too seriously, but then he went AWOL for one of their meet ups/functions. He ended up getting discharged from the military and then he began calling my parents less and less. He moved to the city where the cult is based out of and got some job using connections from the church. Him and I were still close and we called/emailed a few times a week. Starting before his discharge from the CG, in just about every conversation he would bring up doomsday, punishment, and hell. Eventually he began telling me that God told him that he can't change me, and that unless I decide to accept Jesus as my savior, he could no longer contact me.
We haven't talked in years, I was the last one he cut off. He still talks to our biological dad once every few months. My brother told my dad that God spoke to him through prayer and told him he's still got a chance to save my dad. I honestly think he's just too afraid to completely let go of his old life and entire family, and that's why he still keeps contact with my dad. He gets updates on me through him, but I've come to terms with the possibility of never seeing my brother again.
After his discharge from the military, he met a girl from the cult and they have three lovely children. Seriously, they are ADORABLE! My dad sends me pics. While I don't agree with his beliefs and being cut out of his life hurt a lot.. I am happy that he's content and he found somewhere he feels he belongs.... he seems like a great father.
India[rebelmouse-image 18348040 is_animated_gif=
I don't know if it was an actual cult, but after my cousin did a legit "teach in Asia" program she decided she was in love with Buddhism and joined a temple in Thailand (haven't gotten to the cult stuff, bear with me) whatever that meant. Then after a couple of months there she went to India. About six months there and she decided to come home.
But she was still in love with the temple life, so she joined a group in the US working with Tibetan monks? She was always a little loose on the details. Then one day she up and leaves everything behind to study Tibetan (language) somewhere in Vermont and then before we know it, they have sent her back to India.
The group in Vermont is the shady part, because my cousin was advised not to talk about who they were, where they were, or how it all worked. She was completely out of touch by modern means for six months, and only sent some letters with no return address and a very robotic format of "it is so wonderful here! Everything is beautiful" etc etc.
Then about two months after she had been in India she leaves the group and contacts us to say everything is okay, but she is staying in India. Because she met a boy. Who does happen to be a Tibetan refugee, so there is that!
Anyway, they got married, came to the us once they could get him a passport (took about two years) and now they are happily living in the US. She still won't talk about what happened, though her husband has let slip that something shady was going on, he also won't say what.
Former BFF[rebelmouse-image 18348043 is_animated_gif=
I had this friend growing up and we were the best of friends. Our summers were spent sleeping in my parents camper, swimming, jumping on her trampoline. We would ride our bikes around town and did everything together.
Growing up my parents always sent me to church, Sunday school and bible camp. She never went to church and would kinda make fun of me for not being allowed to have Saturday sleepovers. She had a lot of doubt but I didn't really care. She was my friend and if she didn't believe in God then whatever, who cares, let's watch Blossom!
Then her mom got sick. They kept her illness very private but it became obvious. She lost a ton of weight, stopped working and slept a lot. Around this time my friend's family joined a church. It was called New Life Church.
My best friend got super into this church and she would invite me to their youth group and it seemed ok. We would eat chicken burgers and and watch sister act 2. One day she asked me if I wanted to have a saturday sleepover and attend Sunday service with her family. My parents were ok with it because they assumed it was like normal church.
It was no normal church. It was a new wave Christian church and their minister was a faith healer. I mean people speaking in tongues and he would perform healing ceremonies. People would come up to him and he would use his palm to smack them on their foreheads and they would shake on the ground. He told people that he could use God's power to heal cancer.
It was scary and the people attending fully believed that this man could save them. On the way home from the service my best friend's mom asked me what I thought. I was honest and said it was weird and nothing like my church. She asked if I would go back and I said it wasn't the right fit for me.
After that my best friend was not allowed to hang out with me. If her mom saw her talking to me around town she would yell at her. My best friend told me that it was because her mom said I didn't have a pure Christian heart.
Her parents ended up putting her in the church's private school for a few years and by the time she came back we were in high school and she was far gone.
Her mom died when we were about 19. Her dad left the church but she did not. She met her husband and they have 2 adorable children but she is in so deep.
I miss my best friend and I am sad that church took advantage of them and gave her mom false hope.
Mother[rebelmouse-image 18348044 is_animated_gif=
So I got out when I was 20-21. And by got out I mean was demonized and disowned by my mother. Who then married the cult leader after he divorced his wife "for having an affair". Cult leader's wife was my ex-step-grandmother (long story, my mom's not great at picking men). But she's still in it now and won't talk to me, though she did try to make me see the error of my ways a couple months back (I'm in my early 30s now). Apparently the cult leader is dying of cancer to the mouth, which is incredibly appropriate.
Anyway, once he dies I'm hoping to be able to slowly talk sense into her again.
Hollywood[rebelmouse-image 18348045 is_animated_gif=
A friend of mine told he how she lost her friend to Scientology. It was more or less because they were residents of Hollywood and would walk down Hollywood blvd every day to go school. They'd pass the recruiting center every single day and pay no mind, but one day her friend decided to go in. She said after high school, her friend dissociated with her after realizing she wasn't going to convince her to join.
MLM[rebelmouse-image 18348046 is_animated_gif=
Does losing someone to an Multi Level Marketing cult count?
Not only lost a friendship, but had to unfollow all their posts. I can't answer their calls, texts, or messages because it's all about me "being on their life changing team" and "supplementing my income" even though my spouse and I both own our businesses, love our jobs, and don't need supplemented income.
If you're reading this and in an MLM think about the friendships you have had with people for many years. Don't throw it away for the small chance you will actually make good money.
I had a similar experience with a high school acquaintance selling Mary Kay; she reached out to a handful of us inviting us to a "girls night in at her house" and admitted she wanted to show us some Mary Kay samples but no pressure to buy. I felt bad cause I knew through the grapevine and she and her husband were struggling financially, so I figured I'd go and maybe get a lotion.
We follow the GPS instructions and it straight up leads us to a warehouse where about 20 Mary Kay consultants and 10 of their higher-ups are waving women inside, and casually blocking all the exits. Each consultant had invited 5-10 people, and if you tried to leave, one of the higher-up ladies would corner you, while another blocked the exit, and give the spiel about how if you didn't want to order anything today you could just host your own party another day - just give them the date and time. I said I wasn't interested 5 or 6 times before I just caved and bought the cheapest thing available.
The really crappy part is that they know full well that they've put you in a situation you can't get out of without being incredibly rude and confrontational (in front of a couple hundred witnesses) and that most people would rather avoid a scene like that. I blocked her on social media and never talked to her again.
Cruises[rebelmouse-image 18348047 is_animated_gif=
My step aunt, uncle, and their daughter are Scientologists. My step uncle had a drug problem when he was younger and Scientology said they could help him. Surprisingly enough they did and he got clean but he got roped in. He and his family work for them now. His daughter works on the cruise ship they have. They seem pretty normal but they occasionally send us DVDs to try and convert us. Also when my rather wealthy Grandpa died they wanted to take some of his possessions to sell to Scientology.
Mexico[rebelmouse-image 18348048 is_animated_gif=
She wasn't permanently lost, but my aunt joined the Children of God in the 70s. She was down in Texas doing student teaching and one day her roommate called my grandparents to say she hadn't seen her in a couple days and was pretty sure some people took her to Mexico.
My grandparents immediately drove down to Mexico, hired a cult deprogrammer, and rented a house near the cult compound. They basically blew as much money as they could afford, but never saw her before they had to give up and go back home.
A little while later, my aunt called home to tell her parents she was getting married. They told her to wait until spring break and they would come down for the wedding, but she said she couldn't. A few months after that, she brought her new husband to the US to meet the family.
They're still married today and I basically just learned about the whole thing like 6 months ago.
Ohio[rebelmouse-image 18348049 is_animated_gif=
Here in central Ohio, we have a cult called Xenos. They market themselves as a Christian home church group. In reality, you will be pressured into moving into a home where you share a room with others of the same gender in order to prevent premarital sex and masturbation.
You will be forced to shun all non-xenos friends and family you have. It's pretty baffling how people keep falling for it. I lost a friend to it years ago. Haven't heard from her since. I saw her at the store once a few years ago and she refused to even acknowledge my existence.
College Days[rebelmouse-image 18348050 is_animated_gif=
Two of my college housemates went out one evening to buy cigarettes, and came back converted to Scientology. One eventually got out of it, but it took years. The other, I have no idea.
It was like a horror movie about pod people taking them over.
The worst part about Scientology to me is the time you lose by involving yourself in it. Members can spend 18 hours of their day being "audited." Children are separated from their parents for months at a time, essentially erasing the familial relationships. It seems that the children learn to never trust anyone, or be loyal to anything other than their "religion." They're told that it's their responsibility as a Scientologist to rat out anyone who says something that even slightly opposes the church's beliefs. If someone reports you to the church, you're required to go through the "auditing" process for hours and hours at a time, at your own expense. It's BONKERS.
Budapest[rebelmouse-image 18348052 is_animated_gif=
A family friend of mine was a prominent young chess player (a grandmaster --- not a grandmaster, an international master with a GM norm) who, at a stressful crossroads in life, basically had a nervous breakdown at a tournament in Budapest and went outside and somehow came into contact with a cult. He's been there for a few years, within a couple weeks he withdrew all the money from his bank account and asked his family to not contact him. Apparently they later were allowed to and he spoke broken English and was more comfortable in a Hungarian language. I'm pretty sure that when they talked to him it was in person in Budapest in a public space with a translator/caretaker with him. They said that he seemed more comfortable in Hungarian, he didn't seem to remember American slang that he used to use, and generally body language and all just didn't seem like himself.
...one of the smartest guys I knew.
Jonestown[rebelmouse-image 18348053 is_animated_gif=
I had two cousins who went to Jonestown. I was born 2 years after their deaths, so everything I know is a kind of family lore. They were my Dad's best friends, and he rarely talked about them, but my mom was pretty open about it. The following is me paraphrasing what my mom has told me about them getting involved in the People's Temple.
They joined in San Francisco. It began as a utopian community, which followed the teachings of Christ. They gave literally everything they had away. Blankets, food, whatever the group had, they would give away. At the time, communes were common, so what they were doing, moving in with a bunch of like-minded people, didn't seem that odd. To their family, it seemed like an idealistic hippy community.
Then they started asking for money. Always under the guise of feeding the poor, or something like that. It didn't begin with asking for money because Jim was the second coming. Their parents sent all the money they had, but my cousins just kept asking for more. Eventually this was how he isolated his members from their family. If the family kept giving money, then the members could keep in touch. If the money dried up, the family was blamed, the members were cut off from contacting them.
My parents were living in Seal Beach at the time. My mom says the first time they noticed the cousins seemed a bit strange was when they cousins were on a mission trip with Jones. I believe he was preaching at the Crystal Cathedral, and he brought a bus of his followers down. It rained. Like one of these rare downpours in SoCal. The bus didn't have a windshield, so everyone was just getting soaked. So Jones walked up to the front of the bus, held out his hands and spoke, "Storm, stop!" And the rained stopped.
So that was the story my cousins told my parents that was the first sign my cousins had been brainwashed. I asked my mom what her response was, and she said, "we just laughed. It was so ridiculous. We had no idea what was coming, no one had heard of a cult."
By the time they left for Jonestown, my dad says he knew he'd never see them again, but at the same time he was shocked when it happened. We have letters from their time in the church all the way up to in Jonestown, so you can read their progression into brainwashing.
In the end, Nancy freely took the Kool aid, Ronnie was injected with cyanide. Their deaths have been ever present in my family.
Be it to a foreign country on the other side of the world, or merely a town a few miles north or south of you, there is always a slightly uneasy feeling of being in a new place.
Sometimes, however, you don't only suffer from homesickness upon arriving, but find yourself genuinely scared.
Perhaps you don't find yourself particularly welcome by the residents, or there are no people to be seen for miles around.
Either way, there are places all over the world where not long after arriving, the only thing on the minds of visitors was to get out of there as fast as they could.
Redditor 8-tentacles was curious to learn the places fellow Reddit users would never set foot in again under any circumstances, leading them to ask:
"What’s the scariest town/city you’ve been to, and why?"
"I ended up driving through this tiny town in the middle of Nevada that I assume used to be a mining town."
"It looked like a steady paycheck hadn't been seen in this town for 20 years, the houses were all dilapidated, and the locals looked just as worn out."
"Bullet holes and burn marks could be seen on pretty much every building."
"The only reason I drove through the town instead of just sticking to the main road was to top up on gas, but I couldn't find anything, not even a small convenience store."
"It must've been hell for those folks considering the closest town with an actual store and gas was around 70 miles away."
"I took a look via Google Earth, at some of the towns people mentioned and I found it!"
'Definitely not a place I'd want to go back to."
"Everyone talks about Gary, IN, but there is a town over the border in Illinois called Harvey, IL."
"I can't put my finger on exactly what makes it worse, but being there felt like I was on the moon."- theredditforwork
El Alto, Bolivia
"El Alto Bolivia."
"This was 15 years ago at least."
"It's above the habitable zone, and locals were openly fighting in the streets."
"Good times."- ooo-ooo-oooyea
Somewhere in New Mexico...
"I stopped at some gas station out in the middle of where-the-f*ck, New Mexico, only to pee."
"Parking lot not even completely paved.'
"My SO stayed behind in the car, and our son, so I have no corroborating witnesses, but this was the weirdest f*cking place of business I ever stepped into."
"Some David Lynch level sh*t."
"First of all, this place was huge for no obvious reason."
"As far as I know, there wasn't a town nearby."
"I mean, it was isolated out in the desert."
"When I entered, there was a store in there, like a convenience store."
"I passed through that, and entered a hallway."
"There was a restaurant in there, completely empty."
"I follow the signs to the restroom, and go down this hall."
"It already feels a little creepy to me, and horrifyingly enough, I am navigating to the bathroom by the sound of someone who seems to be puking violently far off down the corridor."
"I could hear this sound echoing down this crazy hallway."
"The hallway has a bend in it, and I'm starting to wonder how f*cking big is this place?"
"I turn the corner, and there is one of those claw grabby machines where you try to pick up stuffed animals and other cheap sh*t, standing in the hall."
"A group of young boys are there, crowded around the machine."
"When I come around the corner, they all look up at me wordlessly, with no trace of joy or excitement or pleasure."
"They just play the game with inscrutable faces, silently, like cats surrounding a mouse."
"The hall continues, and so do I."
"Where the g*ddamned f*ck is the toilet.'
"This hallway is disturbingly long and I've been driving for two and a half days."
"I like my bathrooms simple and direct."
"This does not seem to be either of those things."
"I finally locate the can way the hell down there around another unnecessary corner, and upon entering, I can no longer hear whoever was retching and choking."
"It is now silent, but for the stench so bad it was nearly foggy in there."
"Somebody's feet under the sh*tter door."
"I get out quick."
"Walk past those seemingly soulless and bored boys."
" Why the hell is this hallway even here?"
"There are no doors, no other businesses, these kids are creeping me out in the sinister way they stare blankly at me as I pass."
"I am at a loss to even explain why those kids are here, this place is isolated AF, the hall has too many dark corners and bends in it with no apparent logic."
"It feels like an anxiety dream, it feels like reality itself is being manipulated like the little crane arm claw the one boy is guiding."
"It feels like I want to get out of here, get back outside, get in the car and put this whole place in my rearview mirror."
"So I do."
"I get in the car."
"'Do you feel better now?'"
"'No. Actually I don't'."
"'You shoulda seen this place'."- Alternative-Amoeba20
"Johannesburg, I grew up in a pretty rough city and would say it doesn’t compare to there, you can feel how tense the air is and you really need to pay attention to everything at all times."- Much_Committee_9355
"No, it's not a story of how dangerous it is, or how cops tell you to run red lights ."
"That happens, but it's mostly myths that get perpetuated by people who never visited."
"Gary is just desolate."
"It's almost post apocalyptic."
"Nature has overtaken many areas, and many of the 'vacant' houses you see are actually lived in by homeless people."
"What makes it scary isn't that it has dangerous people, it's that it can be incredibly quiet for a populous city."
"The few times I've had to go through Gary or IN Gary for something, I've always seen something that has frightened me."
"Like people staring at me through half boarded windows, people crawling out of bushes to ask for money, or people just straight up walking in front of your car trying to get you to slow down or stop."
"It's one of the few places in America that actually feels heavy to be in."
"I swear TV shows and movies are missing out on some of the easiest post apocalyptic scenery that they have ever had."- NewAccount971
"My mom and most of her family is from there and the town is just so damn sketchy."
"People being shot the next street over seems like a daily thing."
"My crazy Great Grandma lived in a 4 story house by herself , house had been in the family for a while, and she never locked the doors, just slept with a 9mm next to her bed."- SidtheGoat87
It's sad to hear about these places, and the hard times they've fallen under.
One hopes they might find a way to bounce back one day, and make people excited to visit, rather than avoid them at all costs.
Listen ... we're just gonna be totally honest with you.
The answer is "not much" IF loved ones can come too.
Reddit user benharper09 asked
"Americans of Reddit: What would it take for you to consider moving to Europe to live and work there?"
We don't know if this Reddit user is, like, gathering market data or just really wants to know why Americans don't leave - but here's what Reddit had to say.
Whole Squad Comes With
"My wife and I have discussed moving out of the States, but family keeps us rooted. Maybe when the parents have passed."
"I used to live in Louisiana and it’s a damn nightmare there but when me and my wife found out we were pregnant in 2020 I decided that by 2022 I wouldn’t be in Louisiana anymore raising my child and we let all our family know. There’s still FaceTime and social media and mailing gifts and all that."
"If they want to see him or us in person then they can travel here but I wasn’t staying in hell so he can be near his family. It’ll be better for him to be somewhere that’s not as damn horrible. I literally had fear for my life from about age 10-33 when I moved. Nothing was gonna make me stay and raise my kid with that same fear."
"This is a big one. Our entire support system is either here in town or within 2 hours away."
A Jobhomer simpson job GIFGiphy
"Um, job opportunities? Europe doesn't let you just up and live there if you want to."
"Here in Austria we are currently looking for a large number of people willing to work. Austria has around 150.000 job openings that cannot be filled because there aren't enough people."
"I doubt Americans will fill many, particularly with professional jobs requiring a college degree, as salaries tend to be far high over here."
"There are obviously a few exceptions, but as a general rule I don’t see it happening."
"There are pretty significant differences in cost of living too though, as many European countries have healthcare, childcare, you can actually live in many European cities without owning a car which as I understand it is realistically impossible in the US. Looking at salary v. salary is too simplistic to really compare the buying power you're left with after taxes."
Are We Even Wanted?
"Do they even want us?"
"Not if you are old without money. Or young without skills."
"Yeah. We do. I would welcome Americans with open arms. Though I understand it's hard for most Americans to move to Europe."
"I mean maybe you personally be okay with Americans moving to your country but your immigration laws are not so amenable."
"It's not that Americans don't consider or want to move to Europe as this question implies, we want to but it's not easy to do legally."
"We are strongly considering making the move. My biggest concern is the language barrier. I know some people may speak English as a second language but I wouldn’t want to presume."
Pros Over Cons
"Consider yes. Actually moving to one of the many countries with their pros, cons, and immigration policies is a whole other matter. This kind of thing works best for people who are very young, very rich, or have an employer involved."
"Not Europe, but I looked into Canada for a while and the pros and cons ended up convincing me it wasn't worth it for my family."
"For the last few years this has been an annual discussion my wife and I have. The pros just don’t outweigh the cons yet. Burning a huge amount of money to move away from family and friends to be an outsider in a place where seasonal depression would crush me and cold weather issues would be detrimental to my wife’s health issue along with a lower paying job with fewer prospects for advancement in a place where the cost of living is so much more expensive…it always seems like a good idea until we list out all these things."
"That and Canada seems to be experiencing the same issues the US is - albeit on a much quieter level (which to some degree is often more concerning. Trucker convey tried to happen here and it got egged out of existence with them all fleeing. In Canada everyone stood around and just let it exist. For days. And days.) - which make me realize I might be better off staying put. It also seems wrong for me to be the one to up and move when I am white, straight, and in a decent financial position. My vote, my voice, my donations all make a difference for marginal groups that are fighting. We have a lot of friends in the LGBTQ community and being the ones that got to leave would just kind of haunt me."
Language Barrierseason 10 friends GIFGiphy
"Aside from everything everyone has said is language. I took Spanish for 6 years and maybe understand 10%. I took German for a year and can say hello. I did duelingo polish everyday for six months and got nowhere."
"I've accepted its damn near impossible for me to learn a language. I could sell my house to have the money. I could leave my family. But job stability and language...those are my 2 big problems."
"This is the big one for me. You could go to Germany, Denmark, Norway as a tourist and just speak English. But working a day-to-day job, going to the supermarket and all that, you really need to speak the language to be productive, no matter how patient your co-workers are. (I’m a software engineer)"
"I will say, being in the country helps immensely. I can't imagine trying to learn a language while sitting in the US."
Once You Understand, It Makes It Hard
"My family are immigrants to the US so know how hard it is to start somewhere new. Also a lot of my family is in the US and I don’t want to miss my nieces and nephews growing up"
"I am a UK person living in America (have been here ages) - I know my wife and children dont like the way america is shifting, and through citizenship of me and my children I could easily get everyone legally into the UK."
"But... would my (college age) kids want to go there? Would we be able to make friends as near-retirees? Would the (inferior) material standard of living be too much of an adjustment and we would be shivering through the winter wondering what we did?"
"The favorable exchange rate makes it tempting too... but the reality is I think there would be some big personal drawbacks for my family"
"Being able to guarantee my safety as a practicing Jew."
"I love Europe, have loved my time in Europe, but the track record on that score .....is not great."
"I feel the same way as a black woman. I'm used to and can often reconize/avoid most of the racism in the US. But it's an entirely different beast in other countries. At my age, I don't think I have it in me to navigate those complexities."
"I can understand this. The problem about saying “moving to Europe” is that Europe has so many different cultures and attitudes depending on where you go."
"Here in the UK, racism certainly still exists but as a mixed race person, I’ve only experienced racism towards myself a handful of times and I personally believe the UK has some really good attitudes to race, especially in London probably the most diverse place in the world"
MoneyThe Simpsons Money GIFGiphy
"And help with the paperwork and whatnot. It’s not easy to immigrate to Europe, they’re not really interested in you just arriving."
"It can be expensive, long and frustrating but I just did this with a big family and pets about a year ago."
"Particularly thankful today to be "somewhere else" with my teens and twenties daughters."
"All the help you need is on Reddit. Lots of helpful people and resources."
"You start at the beginning, and learn learn learn. Just like any other thing you want to know. People figure it all out every day, and I am confident you could, too!"
Marketable Skill Or Marriage
"I have no marketable skills that eu countries want. And most don’t accept a lot of what I can do for a work visa. So my best bet to immigrate is marriage."
"Same. No one in Europe wants me, so the answer to OP's question is, "it would take any counry in the EU wanting me."
"Came here to say this. From the research I've done, the desirable skills for most countries are stem/healthcare/etc. and while it makes sense why that is, not everyone can just up and make a career change to one of those fields."
"That can be expensive or daunting even if you're just doing it to change jobs and stay in the US."
"This. If it was easy/possible for most Americans to move to Europe a lot more of us would be leaving. Even if you ignore the legal hurdles, more than half of Americans can’t afford a $1000 emergency (the most relevant statistic I could find), and probably couldn’t afford to move states let alone continents."
"I'm married to an eu citizen. My kids are eu citizens. But I still can't get residency until I'm at least conversationally fluent in the language."
AS Long As There Is No Dragonsstop motion horror GIFGiphy
"The castles look nice, but the threat if dragons keep me away."
"That's not much of a problem in Europe, my hometown only got destroyed 5 times by a dragon in 30 years."
"Did the smith and the cobbler survive the dragon strike? Or did the plague do them in?"
"So you have 'dragon season' like we have Hurricane season and Tornado season. Got it."
"We have sorted that problem in Wales and advertise the fact on our flag."
"The dragons you see coming. It's the rats that get you"
You've seen what Reddit has to say, so now it's your turn at the mic.
Americans, what would it take for YOU to head across the pond to live in Europe?
Men have this reputation for being simple, straightforward creatures.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Humans in general are not simple, straightforward creatures, but men are just ... baffling.
At least as far as the women of Reddit are concerned.
Reddit user Theunknowndud asked:
"Women, what do you find the most confusing about men?"
These fine femmes saw an opportunity to vent and ask questions and they absolutely ran with it.
Here's what they most wanted to know about.
Not Going To The Doctorperry cox whatever GIFGiphy
"Why some men don’t go to the doctor or dentist, unless someone else makes the appointment for them."
"Because if someone else makes appointment for me I feel obligated to go. But I don't care about myself enough to make the appointment myself and I just learn to live with whatever the problem is."
"It's like reading my own mind."
"I go because I'm told it is medically necessary by my wife. Otherwise I've been conditioned to determine whether it is financially necessary. In other words, if I'm not missing work because of it, it isn't necessary."
"I can't speak for everyone, but that is what I grew up with and I can't just "break" it, so I really do rely on my wife to force the issue, otherwise the cost factor pretty much overrules everything."
"I hate making appointments unless absolutely necessary. I don’t feel like going to a doctor is a necessity unless I’m not feeling well (I know I’m an idiot). As far as the dentist goes my wife made the appointment once and ever since then the receptionist makes my next appointment."
"You can be completely oblivious to any mess in the house but can spot a wall has been brush painted in the wrong direction from 20ft away."
"Wall is permanent mess is temporary"
"I am a man. I don't know anything about painting so don't spot stuff like that but every time I visit someone I spot how they set up their router/WiFi and see why they might have problems with their WiFi connection as they just hide their stuff away instead of putting the box in a way the waves flow unobstructed. I work in IT."
"English is not my first language and I'm kinda tired but hope what I wrote makes sense."
"I learned some guys are like this because they were never raised to clean up after themselves. Their moms or caretakers always did the tidying for them, so they never learned to “see” mess and do anything about it."
"Compare this to something like wall painting which can be something that they spend a lot of time perfecting."
Breath, I Forgot To BreatheBreathe Schitts Creek GIF by CBCGiphy
"I'm a man. But something that confused my wife is when I suddenly take a deep breath for no reason. She's like 'are you ok? You sure? Anything you need to talk about? What's going on?' And I just say 'nah I'm fine, think I just forgot to breathe and catching up'."
"To be honest, I feel really blessed that I have someone who cares enough to ask if I'm OK. But yeh, seriously just forgot to breathe 😀"
"Dude it's so fukin true that i was taking a deep breath as i was reading ur comment."
"Are you ok? Anything you need to talk about?"
"My wife's biggest gripe is that I will spend time hiking / drinking / driving / whatever with friends I haven't seen in months, and when I get home I will have absolutely nothing to report back despite having talked solidly with them for six hours."
"My wife on the other hand will casually pass a friend in the street and within ten minutes knows what theyve done every day since they last spoke, the health and financial status of them and all other friends and relatives, and a forward facing calendar for the next three months."
"It’s funny though. All the bullsh*t we talk about as guys slowly leaks a bunch of personal information over time. You can tell that one guy isn’t happy with his relationship, one guy is broke, one guy hates his job, one guy has a medical issue. You know all of this without really talking about it just because you spend quality time with them. Yet even we can’t recount it directly, we just know it in the moment when we are with the boys."
"Damn you really hit the nail on the head there."
- User Deleted
Going Into Screensaver Modelooking homer simpson GIFGiphy
"I’ve learned a lot being married to my husband, but there’s one thing I fail to understand in general. Why do you guys like to stare out the window so often? It’s usually just going up to a window or looking out the front door, and you fall into a trance. What’s up with that?"
"I actually do this a lot."
"Also when I’m in the shower I will just stand and think."
"I’m usually thinking how to solve a problem that will probably never occur."
"Lol. I love it. It’s particularly amusing to me when I’ll realize the room has fallen silent and I look up and he’s just there. Staring. My dad did it too."
"It's a way to trick your brain to go idle long enough to enter screensaver."
Power Saving mode
"My gf is still baffled at the fact that I can just turn off my brain and not think of anything"
"There's a science museum where I live and there's a game you can play that uses brain waves. Basically it has a ball in the middle of the table that moves based on who has the least amount of brain activity at the time. And you want the ball to move away from you."
"You put on a head piece and when both players are ready, they touch the two pads on the table with you hands. I'm currently undefeated at a record of 14-0. Idk if I'm dumb or if I just shut everything off but life support lol"
"I found my husband on the couch in a dead silent house whistling tunelessly and playing bongos on his own tummy. When I asked what he's thinking about as he's doing that he says 'You know...nothin'. Like listening to the wind in your mind and sh*t. Everyone does it'."
"No Cowboy, we don't all do that. Y'all have some magic happening. Sounds nice."
One Of The Worlds Mysteries
"D*cks, the way they work is confusing. Like I’ve been told they only react when seeing or feeling something they like but I’ve also been told it will just decide to pop up randomly though the day with nothing."
"True, d*cks are doing what they want. Sometimes out of nowhere it just decides to stands up. Also, it can stand up when you're aroused (obviously) or when you're excited to see someone you haven't seen in a long time."
"Can confirm, i got a got a penis and im still confused how it works at times."
"Fun fact: The penis has pressure sensors, just touching it a bit or squeezing a bit can be enough to trigger an erection."
"Boners are strange. Morning wood is the result of overstimulation from a dream. We get nervous boners. We get sad boners. We get angry boners."
Forgive And Forgeti forgive you hug GIF by Kim's ConvenienceGiphy
"I find it confusing how men are so forgiving. It’s one of the things I adore the most about men and find the most baffling. I’m learning now that men will get over things like 40 minutes after they happen and genuinely get frustrated and sad when their girls hold grudges. I’ve found that the people I’ve had falling outs with and was able to rekindle my friendships with were mostly all men."
"I also find it weird how men will fight each other and then be best friends the next day."
"You get angry in the moment but then after you're removed from the situation you gotta let yourself cool off. Once you're thinking clearly you'll realize it wasn't that big a deal and get over it. Usually the start of a fight isn't that big it's the stuff that comes after that escalates it so you just recognize that both of you just human and do and say dumb things when your blood is up. Also I think women tend to plan more and then act and men will just act and plan on the fly so that leads to women believing slights or f**k ups are more intentional whereas men will just think of them as mistakes and forgive them."
"Coincidentally, just yesterday I was reminiscing on a friend and me getting into a fight. I hit him over the head with a glass bottle and he gave me a really clean two-piece in response."
"I laughed for a few minutes at how inconsequential that fight was after the fact, but how extreme it was looking back on it. We’re still thick as thieves to this day, lol"
"As a guy I feel we are a bit more black and white about forgiveness. I can easily forgive and forget most low-level things given time but I still have some grudges from over 10 years ago. I will likely never forgive them."
"Basically men work like traffic tickets. Small things are forgiven quickly. Bigger things take time. Some things are permanent."
"Some women feel more like an actual criminal record that never gets expunged."
"If someone is kind/self-aware/brave enough to apologize after they screw up, then it becomes easy to accept an apology from someone who understands they did something wrong and wishes that they hadn’t. Everyone makes mistakes, especially men, so forgiving and moving on is much more sensible than holding a grudge"
I Am OkayAnimated GIFGiphy
"When guys are seriously injured but act like its just a scratch… that they can somehow walk it off. All the guys I know are like this."
"A serious answer is because we don't want to panic and cause an issue"
"This is it right here. As soon as a calm guy starts panicking, everyone is panicking."
"Reminds me of when I accidentally cut a chunk of my finger so deeply that it hung off and you could see white underneath. I was internally freaking out and didn't even want to look at it, but did so I could assess the damage. I calmly asked my partner to bring me some bandages and alcohol and when I turned to look at her, she was pale and her lips were turning blue. She said 'Okay, but I need to sit down for a sec...'."
"I ended up walking all the way to the first aid box on the bottom floor of our apartment building while holding a cup under my finger to catch all the blood. I wasn't gonna try and walk it off, but I absolutely knew I couldn't panic for her and my sake!"
"TLDR: Someone will have to fix it, and panicking makes problems harder to fix."
"Exactly. Panicking doesn't help the situation. A clear head and talking to people on how to help solves way more."
They Jiggle Jiggle...
"How their crotch doesn't hurt when they run or go up the stairs. Like, even with underwear, you just have stuff hanging down there. I don't even have a large chest and it hurts to run regardless if I'm wearing a bra or not"
"I gotta tell you, the penis doesn't weigh much."
"A boob weighs more, and you ladies have two of them."
"One testicle also hangs lower than the other for the specific purpose of not getting crushed when walking."
"I'm a guy and I didn't know this, lol. Neat."
"Our stuff is not as heavy as yours, so we don't feel the dangling effect much. Also, sometimes it hurts when we wear very tight/ short undies"
"A couple things: Breasts are considerably larger and heavier than testicles, so they bounce a lot more. I jump up and down a few times when I get out of the shower, so my towel doesn’t have to soak up quite so much water, and I do support my balls while I’m jumping. That was a mistake I made exactly once. But if you’re wearing briefs, and the bouncing isn’t as much, it’s not really an issue."
"You’ve had your breasts since puberty. We’ve had our penis since birth. We had to learn to walk with it. You had a decade to get used to walking a certain way before your build changed dramatically. We’ve had essentially the same hardware our entire lives."
... at this point I might be more confused than I was going into this article.
We've got mess-blind people, refusal to acknowledge injury as if denial is somehow a healing agent ... and a dude who forgets to breathe.
The land Down Under is one of the most highly anticipated travel destinations for tourists around the world. Australia has fascinating history, beautiful sights, great food, cool wildlife, and some pretty cool people.
But as with any travel destination, there's bound to be a certain degree of culture shock. Have a seat and listen up, because you're in for some surprises.
Australians shared some information with us after Redditor emchmu123 asked the online community,
"Australians of Reddit, what is something that the rest of the world would be surprised or shocked to hear about the country?"
"There are more wild camels..."
"There are more wild camels in Australia than the Middle East."
At some point, the British were just like, what other animals can we introduce to this place? And then they just did it.
"You can drive for 26 hours straight and still be in the same state. It's kinda unsettling, especially those really tiny mining towns that have like a gas station and just flat dryland for as far as you can see."
It's kind of crazy how desolate so much of the country is. You don't just go to the Outback, you prepare to go there.
"In some parts..."
"In some parts of the country you are closer to space than the nearest town."
That's another way to hammer this point home.
"While I was working..."
"While I was working in Whistler people were often shocked to hear we have ski resorts in Australia."
Wow, you guys have everything.
Why do you get all the good stuff?! What about the rest of us?!
"I've never had..."
"I’ve never had shrimp on the barbie - ever!"
Can you even call yourself Australian at this point? How can we possibly process this information as the ignorant tourists that we are?
"Every spring, Magpies take to swooping people who come near their nests. Not a secret really, but I don't know how widely known it is."
I love magpies. They are the mascot of chaos and destruction.
"That there are..."
"That there are vast areas of rainforest as well as the better-known desert areas."
And it's beautiful! You forgot to mention that it's incredibly beautiful.
"The last confirmed death..."
"Almost no one here dies to spiders or snakes. The last confirmed death from a spider bite was in 1979."
This is exactly the kind of propaganda a deadly Australian spider would spread.
"It was a conservative government..."
"It was a conservative government that introduced gun control laws."
A nice fact to whip out at dinner parties the next time someone says that only liberals are for reform.
"You're supposed to eat Vegemite toast with butter. Not just a thick slather of Vegemite like Nutella."
"You're supposed to eat Vegemite toast..."
Hang on a second!
They've certainly not told us everything, but take heed, fellow traveler, and report back. Australia is a hell of a place and you'll have plenty of stories to tell when you come back!