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Sophia Loren's Sultry Stare Hid Many Secrets

Few actors from the past or present have embodied the otherworldly aura of a movie star quite like Sophia Loren. The tall, dark, and stunning Italian actress is the definition of Hollywood royalty—but her life was no fairy tale. From her harrowing childhood to her..."complicated" love life, there were incredible secrets behind Sophia Loren's sultry smile.

1. She Has Royal Blood

Sophia Loren may look like she was born in an extravagant Italian villa, but looks can be deceiving. Though Sofia Costanza Brigida Villani Scicolone was born in 1934 with Italian royalty in her blood, don't go thinking she grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth. Sure, her father had noble roots—but they didn't mean much by 1934.

By then, he was a simple construction engineer. He was also a terrible father.

2. Her Father Abandoned Her

Riccardo Scicolone may have gotten Romilda Villani pregnant, but that wasn't enough to keep him in the picture. He abandoned his young family, leaving Villani and young Sofia without any financial support. In fact, Sophia Loren only met her father three times in her entire life. Once she became a star, she had no time in her life for the deadbeat who left her.

But she wasn't a star yet—and she still had a painful childhood to endure.

3. He Cut Them Out Of His Life

In 1938, Loren's parents had another child, Maria. But her father hadn't learned his lesson. If anything, he'd only grown more cruel. Sophia at least was able to take his last name—with Maria, he wouldn't even acknowledge that she was his daughter. Eventually, when Sofia Scicolone became Sophia Loren, she paid her dad just to recognize Maria and allow her to take his last name.

So no, Sophia Loren didn't have a strong father figure in her life—but at the lowest point of her childhood, that was the least of her problems.

4. She Had A Cruel Nickname

Sophia Loren grew up in the outskirts of Naples—at the time one of the poorest regions in all of Italy. Her mother made ends meet, but the luxuries of show business must have seemed a million miles away. Loren was tall for her age, but incredibly skinny. The other children in the neighborhood would tease her mercilessly, dubbing her "The Toothpick."

Well, they wouldn't be laughing for long.

5. She Got Noticed

File:Sophia Loren, 1955 (5129858198).jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Everything changed for young Sofia Scicolone one summer when she was 15. She and a group of friends were in Rome, and like all teenagers, they were looking for something to do. They weighed their options and decided to take in the Miss Italia pageant. They found a table, and while Sofia chatted with her friends, a stranger brought a note to their table. It was for her.

I doubt she knew it yet, but Sophia Loren was born that day.

6. She Had The Looks

The note was from a strange, older man named Carlo Ponti. Ponti happened to be one of the judges for Miss Italia. He took one look at "The Toothpick," quickly growing into her frame, and marveled at her beauty. She simply had to enter the contest. Now, most teenage girls would be terrified by this sudden attention from a strange, middle-aged man.

But Sofia Scicolone wasn't ordinary. Her entire life, her mother had told her that she was a star—and it was time to prove it.

7. She Won Miss Elegance

15-year-old Sofia Scicolone entered the 1950 Miss Italia Pageant as Sofia Lazzaro. She had no experience—but when you're Sofia Loren, you don't need experience. She took home the title of Miss Elegance—second place to the Miss Italia Crown. For a teenaged first-timer, I'd say that was pretty good. But the beauty pageant was just the beginning.

Carlo Ponti had his hooks in Loren now, and neither of them would ever be the same.

8. She Started Acting Young

Carlo Ponti wasn't just a beauty pageant judge—he was a film producer. He quickly hired Sofia Lazzaro to appear in some of his movies. Apparently, one name change wasn't enough, because soon after, he told her he was changing her name: She was now Sophia Loren. With Ponti in her corner, there was no telling how far this bright-eyed young starlet would go—but Ponti's interest wasn't entirely pure.

9. Their Relationship Grew Physical

The age gap between Loren and Ponti would never close, but as she grew into a young woman, her relationship with the film producer took a turn. She has always claimed that they were nothing more than friendly in the early days—but once she turned 19, all bets were off. They became lovers, but it was so much more than that.

Sophia Loren saw a future with Ponti—but it wouldn't come as easy as she hoped.

10. She Wanted One Thing Above All Else

File:Carlo-Ponti-and-Sophia-Loren-in-Copenhagen-142462274996.jpg ...en.wikipedia.org

Sophia Loren was young and in love, and she only dreamed of one thing: "A legitimate family." She never forgave the father who abandoned her and her mother, and she dreamed of a man who would never do the same to her. She wanted the family life she never had—but it wasn't that easy. You see, Carlo Ponti had a secret.

11. Her Lover Was Married

Carlo Ponti wasn't just two decades older than Sophia Loren—he was also married with two kids. He had become estranged from his wife and fell into the arms of the beautiful, vibrant young Loren. That complicated things. But it was even worse than it appeared. Not only was Carlo Ponti a married man, but divorce was actually illegal in the staunchly-Catholic Italy at the time.

The legitimate family that Loren longed for was out of her reach. But she had other dreams to tide her over—dreams that lived across the Atlantic, in Hollywood.

12. She Worked Harder Than Anyone

Sophia Loren was a star, but she didn't expect anyone to hand anything to her. She worked for her reputation. Between 1950 and 1955, she appeared in a whopping 35 films. She loved the work at first—but few people can keep such a hectic schedule without it taking a toll on them eventually.

13. She Had Panic Attacks

One night, Sophia Loren lay in bed when she suddenly found she couldn't breathe. Once the attack subsided, she rushed to her doctor, convinced she had asthma, pneumonia, or something worse. It took mere moments for the doctor to diagnose her: She'd had a panic attack. The stress and anxiety of her schedule had finally gotten to her. From then on, her pace slowed down, and she never again made so many movies in such a short time frame.

But work wasn't the only thing causing her stress...

14. They Completed Each Other

It's difficult to pinpoint when Carlo Ponti and Sophia Loren's relationship became more than platonic. Sometime between when Loren was 15 and 19, they became lovers—but ask either of them and they'd say they were so much more than that. Ponti gave Loren the love and guidance that she never got from her father.

Meanwhile, to Ponti, Loren was a star. A goddess that comes around once in a generation. But no matter what they felt, they couldn't avoid controversy.

15. Her Mother Had Doubts About Him

Miss Italia - Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org

When Loren was 19, Carlo Ponti presented her with a ring. He was still married, but both of them knew what that ring meant. Loren rushed home on cloud nine to show her mother—but she did not get the reaction she was looking for. Her mother said what anyone would say, "What are you doing???" Carlo Ponti was nearly 40, married, and had two kids. Sophia was a young woman just starting her life.

Loren's mother's fears were valid, but they couldn't stop her.

16. She Went Hollywood

Sophia Loren started acting in Italian films when she was just 16. It took only a few years for the world to take notice. This tall, dark, and stunning young actress made Hollywood studio execs go gaga. They all fought to be the one to sign her to a contract—and Paramount go to her first. She signed a five-picture deal with the studio and headed towards the bright lights of Tinsel Town.

She was in for a greeting that she would never forget.

17. They Threw Her A Party

Hollywood loves its parties. To welcome the sultry Italian star to America, Paramount threw Loren a big shindig. For Loren, it must have seemed like a fairy tale. All the stars of Hollywood, come to welcome little ol' her. Actors and actresses she'd only seen on the screen came up to greet her in the flesh. Then, once the party was well underway, a new face arrived. A stunned hush fell across the room...what was she wearing?!

18. She Gave The World's Best Side-Eye

Jayne Mansfield showed up to Sophia Loren's welcome party fashionably late, and she made a beeline straight for Loren's table. Years later, Loren recalled that was the moment when the party got "amazing." A photographer was on hand to capture the iconic moment, and the image instantly became part of Hollywood history.

But Sophia Loren got a lot more than a peek at Mansfield's goods when she arrived in Hollywood—she finally got what she'd always dreamed of.

19. He Got A Mexican Divorce

Hollywood is quite close to this country called Mexico. And you know what's really easy in Mexico? Getting a divorce. Not long after the pair arrived in America, Carlo Ponti got a Mexican divorce from his first wife. At the same time, he married Sophia Loren by proxy. Just like that, their problem was solved! Loren could finally have the "legitimate family" she'd always dreamed of!

Except, few things are ever so simple. Soon after filing the divorce, Ponti received devastating news.

20. She Became A Fugitive

The River Girl - Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org

Loren and Ponti thought they'd found their way around the whole "no divorces in Italy" thing. I guess they counted their chickens before they hatched. Ponti discovered that both he and Loren were now fugitives. Italian authorities told him that if they ever returned to their homeland, they would immediately be apprehended. Ponti would be charged with bigamy, and Loren with "concubinage."

It was completely ridiculous—but it forced Loren to live a lie for years.

21. She Had To Live A Lie

Sophia Loren's heart belonged to Carlo Ponti, but she couldn't show it. The couple snuck back into Italy for a time, but had to keep their relationship a secret. Even when they left to live abroad—eventually getting married for real in France—they still hid their relationship, for fear of consequences back home. They eventually even had to get their marriage annulled for fear of the repercussions.

No matter how either of them felt, Loren's relationship with Ponti was in limbo—and that gave her eyes time to wander.

22. She Met Some Big Shots

Sophia Loren adored her older husband/father figure, but now she was in Hollywood—and Hollywood might have better man candy than anywhere else on Earth. One night, she learned that she was to meet none other than Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant. She found Sinatra charming and amicable, while Grant was rude and off-putting.

But Hollywood is a small town, and she'd run into Grant again before long.

23. She Became A Movie Star

Hollywood might have been intimidating for a young girl from the outskirts of Naples, but the town welcomed her with open arms. Her five-picture contract with Paramount put her on the map. Within just a few years, she was a household name. Sophia Loren was officially an international film star—but that wasn't enough. She would soon be the biggest actress on the planet.

24. She Reached The Top

The 50s gave way to the 60s, and Sophia Loren's star continued to rise. She made movies in both Europe and America, and people everywhere adored her. Her rise to the spotlight finally peaked in 1964, when she earned an unbelievable $1 million paycheck to star in The Fall of the Roman Empire. Sophia Loren was finally the star that both her mother and Ponti had always told her she was.

Unfortunately, being a star comes with some brutal complications.

25. She Suffered In Silence

Sophia Loren (PREMO) | She is wearing nylons too. edited to … | Flickrwww.flickr.com

Sophia Loren might have become rich and famous, but she still had problems. The most painful was her inability to bear children. Though she became pregnant several times, she suffered miscarriages each time. As if those losses weren't devastating enough, it would soon get even worse. The tabloids caught wind of Loren's struggles and began speculating wildly about her complicated pregnancies.

But that wasn't the only fodder they had to work with.

26. The Tabloids Hounded Her

When the tabloids weren't covering her pregnancies, they'd try to dissect Loren's complicated marriage history, or tax evasion charges, or maybe those whispers about an affair with Cary Grant. Just like any other actress, Sophia Loren had to put up with constant intrusions into her often-painful personal life. And, just like any other actress, she had to deal with some miserable co-stars.

27. She Met A True Superstar

In 1960, Sophia Loren got to star in a movie with one of the biggest stars in Hollywood history: Clark Gable. She was completely starstruck—until the work began. Then she realized Clark Gable wasn't the man she thought he'd be. The first day got off to a good start, but then at 5pm, Gable's watch started ringing. He gave a cheerful, "Bye bye!" then headed home, even though they weren't done shooting.

It was odd, but maybe he had an appointment? Not quite. Sophia Loren might have been the starlet, but Clark Gable was the diva.

28. He Disappointed Her

Turns out, by 1960, "working hard" wasn't really in Clark Gable's contract. No matter what was happening on set, when his 5 o'clock bell went off, he hung up his hat and got out of there. Loren, who had spent the last decade working her behind off to establish herself, was less than impressed. But Clark Gable still wasn't as bad as Marlon Brando.

29. Marlon Brando Made A Terrible First Impression

Marlon Brando wasn't exactly one for first impressions, but the first thing he said to Sophia Loren was just cruel. He barged into her dressing room on the Paramount lot, took one look at the paintings she'd hung on the wall, and said, "You’re sick. Emotionally disturbed. You should see a psychiatrist." What a great start to a professional relationship!

And that was just the beginning.

30. He Had Wandering Hands

File:Marlon Brando 1948.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Marlon Brando didn't know how to give a first impression, and he definitely didn't know how to keep his hands to himself. Before shooting a scene, he came up close to Loren and stroked her back. She said, "Don't do that, I don't like it." Then as soon as the cameras started rolling? He did it again. Loren turned and glared at him, then said she'd slap him in the face if he ever touched her again.

Do you think he did?

31. She Taught Him A Lesson

Marlon Brando, like many men in Old Hollywood, didn't like the word, "No." When Loren threatened to slap him, he put both of his hands on her. Sophia Loren might have been one of Hollywood's great beauties, but she had a temper that few of her fellow actress could match. She exploded and screamed right in Brando's face: "Don’t you ever dare to do that again. Never again!"

And he didn't. Would you?

32. He Picked On Her Constantly

Marlon Brando never touched Sophia Loren without asking again—but as you can imagine, their working relationship was in the toilet. Brando talked about Loren behind her back. He said that her breath reeked from all the Italian food she ate. He said it was "worse than a dinosaur's." Just some great, mature behavior from an iconic leading man—but he could get even pettier.

Making the movie was miserable for both of them, so when it came time to film their big kiss, Brando couldn't help but mess with her.

33. Their Kiss Scene Was Miserable

Kissing scenes are awkward for even the best actors. Locking lips with a co-worker, with cameras and lights pointed straight at you, while dozens of people stand around and watch? Not my idea of a fun day at work. Well, Brando apparently wanted it to be even more miserable. After the pair smooched for the first time, Loren recoiled. Brando had whispered something in her ear—and it wasn't sweet nothings.

34. He Made Fun

Loren stormed over to the crew after the first take: "Do you know what he just whispered to me? That I have long hairs growing out of MY nose?!" Talk about a guy who knows how to put a woman in the mood! Unsurprisingly, that take was a bust, so the director made them do it again. And again.

On the third take, Brando seemed to have realized that name-calling wasn't working. He wanted to draw blood—literally.

35. He Drew Blood

File:Clark Gable 1937 crop.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

If Sophia Loren thought that Clark Gable leaving early was bad, she had no idea what she was in for with Marlon Brando. He'd insulted her, groped her, and commented on her appearance. There was only one move left: On their third and final kiss, Brando clamped down. He bit Loren's lip so hard that she started bleeding.

No surprise that the two of them never worked together again...but even then, I think Brando wasn't even the most disturbing co-star she worked with. That award goes to Peter Sellers.

36. Peter Sellers HAD To Meet Her

When Sophia Loren signed on to 1960s The Millionairess, the studio hadn't yet hired the male lead. They reached out to iconic British comedian Peter Sellers, but he wasn't at all interested—that is, until he learned that Sophia Loren was involved. That was all he needed to hear. As he put it, "I don't normally act with romantic, glamorous women," so he leaped at the chance to act with Loren.

Still barely 25, Loren was likely happy to learn that such a big star wanted to be in a movie with her. She had no clue what she was in for.

37. He Went From Charming To Creepy

Loren and Sellers got along famously while filming The Millionairess, but Loren assumed their relationship was completely platonic. She was dead wrong. Sellers grew more and more obsessed with her as the days passed. Eventually, he couldn't take it any longer. On a night out with both Loren and his wife, he pronounced his undying love for her in front of everyone.

This couldn't end well...

38. He Brought His Kids Into It...

Sophia Loren had no romantic designs on Peter Sellers, and spent their entire time working together fending off his advances—but none of that slowed Sellers down at all. One night, he even woke his young son just to ask, "Do you think I should divorce your mummy?" That's a scarring question to ask any child, but Loren didn't even want to be with him!

39. No One Knows The Truth

To this day, the true details about what when on between Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers are a mystery. Some of Sellers' friends, like comedian Spike Milligan, assert that the pair had a physical relationship. Others say they were nothing more than close friends. Not even Sellers' wife ever found out the truth, commenting, "I don't know to this day whether he had an affair with her. Nobody does."

For her part, Loren has always claimed that nothing ever happened between her and Peter Sellers, though she continued to fight off his advances for years. Her and Cary Grant, though? Well, that's a little more complicated.

40. Cary Grant Was Bad At Flirting

File:Grant, Cary (Suspicion) 01 Crisco edit.jpg - Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org

Sophia Loren first met Cary Grant at that Hollywood party with Frank Sinatra, but his first impression was almost as bad as Brando's. First of all, he showed up two hours later. Loren had been anxious to meet him, but by the time he showed up, she was checking her watch. He approached her, only for the first words out of his mouth to be about how Italians all of strange names.

Loren had envisioned the charming Cary Grant of the screen, not this unpunctual oaf. But first impressions aren't everything—soon, Grant would have her questioning everything she knew.

41. They Met At The Right Time

Sophia Loren met Cary Grant at a strange time in both of their lives. Grant was currently trapped in a miserable third marriage. Loren, meanwhile, still loved Carlo Ponti, but the legal mess surrounding their marriage left their future in limbo. Maybe Ponti could never give Loren the "legitimate family" that she dreamed of. And Cary Grant? Well...he was Cary Grant.

42. He Opened Up To Her

Loren and Grant first starred together in 1957's The Pride and the Passion. Despite their rocky first meeting, the more time they spent together, the more they became infatuated with each other. Grant opened up to Loren in a way that she never expected. He even revealed to her his darkest secret...

43. He Revealed His Secret Pain

Hollywood stars have to keep some secrets if they want any kind of normal life—but Grant felt safe sharing his secrets with Sophia Loren. He revealed that his father had put his mother in an insane asylum, then lied to the family and claimed she was dead. Loren couldn't believe her luck. Not only was she spending her time with Cary Grant, but he was open and vulnerable with her in a way that she'd never experienced before.

It was like a fairy tale—but unfortunately, this fairy tale didn't get a happy ending.

44. Grant Wanted To Replace His Wife

Cary Grant's wife at the time, Betsy Drake, was a screenwriter, and she'd written a movie for her to star in with her husband: Houseboat. Maybe she thought working together would save their marriage? Well, Grant wasn't on board for that plan. He insisted the studio rewrite Drake's part...so that his new sidepiece Sophia Loren could take the role.

It was a pretty scummy move—and wouldn't you know it, it backfired horribly.

45. He Popped The Question

File:Grant Loren Houseboat Publicity Photo.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Sophia Loren was still only 22 years old when her affair with Grant began. She was in love with Carlo Ponti, but her future with him seemed in doubt. Meanwhile, Cary Grant was 52 and already on his third marriage. Then, Grant just had to go and make things even more complicated. One night, a solemn Grant invited her out to dinner. As they ate, he suddenly looked at her and said, "Will you marry me?"

Now things were going to get really messy.

46. He Surprised Her

Loren gave Grant the only answer she could: "I don't know." Choosing between her two men wasn't going to be that simple. The next day, she flew to Greece to film a movie. When she arrived, she found a surprise waiting for her: a bouquet of roses and a pale blue note with the words, "With only happy thoughts" written on it.

The letter inside was heartbreaking.

47. He Prayed For Her

Cary Grant could always...come on a little strong. During his courtship with Loren, he was a fan of grand romantic gestures like sending hundreds of flowers to her room. This time, there was just a single bouquet and a note that read, "Forgive me, dear girl—I press you too much. Pray—and I will do the same. Until next week. Goodbye Sophia, Cary."

Now, Sophia Loren had a serious decision to make.

48. She Found Her Prince Charming

Loren had to admit that Cary Grant was the complete package. Sure, he was a Hollywood movie star, but he was so much more than that. She called him, "wonderful," "charming," "handsome," and "very romantic." He constantly showered her with gifts, flowers, and professions of his love. And he wanted her to be his wife. Perhaps he could give her the legitimate family she'd always dreamed of?

But of course, it wasn't that simple. There was a dark side to choosing Cary Grant, as well.

49. She Knew There Would Be Consequences

It wasn't like Loren was choosing between Grant and some deadbeat. She still had Ponti, who loved her and supported her—and he was Italian. Plus, there was the optics. Both Loren and Grant were married when they got together, and Loren had seen firsthand who the press treated women of divorce. She had watched as the tabloids had eviscerated Ingrid Bergman for divorcing her husband.

Could she risk that herself to be with Grant?

50. She Made Her Choice

Sophia Loren | Sophia Loren | Insomnia Cured Here | Flickrwww.flickr.com

In the end, Loren knew in her heart which choice she had to make: "Carlo was Italian; he belonged to my world... I know it was the right thing to do, for me." Once the legality of their marriage was sorted out, they would remain happily together until Ponti's passing in 2007. But Loren couldn't enjoy her happily-ever-after just yet—she still had to see Grant every single day.

51. They Still Had To See Each Other

Remember how Cary Grant had the female lead in Houseboat rewritten for Loren? Well, now it was time to reap what he sowed. Loren broke off their relationship and stayed with Ponti, making things painfully awkward on set. Grant still held out hope that one day, Loren would change her mind and come back to him—but that day never came.

Loren and Ponti officially married—for real, this time—in 1966. But at least some stories have happy endings: Grant and Loren remained close friends, and Grant even sent his congratulations when Loren and Ponti had children.

52. She Became An Icon

As the years passed, Sophia Loren's star grew. At first, she was an exciting new actress. Then, she was a movie star and a sex symbol. By the 1980s, she transcended again: this time, to icon status. She released the first of many biographies. She turned her life story into a biopic, where she played both herself and her mother. Loren even launched her own perfume—the first female celebrity to do it.

There's a reason Sophia Loren still holds a mystique about her that no other star, past or present, has matched. All her contemporaries have one big disadvantage: They're not Sophia Loren.

The All-Time Scariest True Stories People Have Ever Heard

Reddit user Ok-Bid-1179 asked: 'What’s the scariest 100% true story you’ve heard of?'

Creey forest at night
Adrian Infernus/Unsplash

People love horror films because they know the terror depicted on the big screen is pure Hollywood magic and completely fake.

But when it comes to true-life terrors, even the most dedicated horror film aficionados can be left trembling in their boots.

Curious to hear some of the most absolutely hair-raising events from strangers online, Redditor Ok-Bid-1179 asked:

"What’s the scariest 100% true story you’ve heard of?"

These real-life stories may keep you up at night.

Befriending A Murderer

"My uncle was in a bar one night and started talking to this random guy. He described him as 'a really nice guy.'"

"He met him a few other times in the same bar. They drank and talked about random stuff. Soon after, my uncle stopped seeing the guy at the bar."

"Idk how long after, but my uncle got notified that he had jury duty. He showed up and found out what it was for. A serial killer and the killer was his friend from the bar. Derrick Todd Lee."

"My uncle was promptly dismissed from jury duty for obvious reasons."

– I_am_dean

People had sinister stories related to jobs.

Late Night Shift Employee

"I work midnight shift at a gas station and I have for quite awhile at various stations in different areas with varying levels of criminal activity."

"I have regulars, of course. I’m a small-statured woman (as is my partner the other half of the week, and we’ve always been partners) so these regulars often worry about us and keep watch on creepy occurrences when they can."

"I had one man who worked in the metro an hour away who would stop in every morning for his cigarettes. He never smiled or seemed friendly, and as I often do, I tried to think of what I could do that might make him smile one day."

"It took many months but I finally pulled it off by having his cigarettes ready on the counter and already scanned for him to pay for as he walked in. He smiled, and then asked me"

“Do you ever get scared on the night shift? You small girl, is not safe.”

"I said I sometimes did but we could lock the doors and hide if we had to, and that the provincial police (think state troopers, if you’re American) had a station close by and came in often to get their highway vehicles washed. I had a good rapport with those police. He nodded and then told me a story about when he first moved to our country from Eastern Europe with his wife and child back in the late 80’s, early 90’s."

"He fell asleep at work one night at the gas station he worked midnights at. When he woke up, the phone had been ringing for hours and his manager was shaking him violently asking if he was alright. He was fine, he said, what was the problem? He was sorry he fell asleep."

"His manager screamed that it was fine he fell asleep, to look outside. All of their motor oil was missing and the outside of the place was a mess."

"The thieves had come and swiped all the oil and left him be because he slept through the entire thing, and then moved down the road to the next station for an encore. At that station, the clerk was awake and fought back, so the thieves stabbed him to death and left him to bleed out."

"When he finished telling me this, he concluded with."

“If you ever feel sleepy just lock the door and do it, it might save your life”

"I don’t work at that station anymore but I think about that guy all the time and wonder how his grandkids are."

"Here is a link to an article talking about how that poor other clerk’s killers were finally found 25 years later:"

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/mobile/arrest-made-in-1990-murder-of-gas-station-attendant-1.2650933

– IgnorethisIamstupid

Trapped

"There was an incident in Trinidad where some maintenance divers were removing a plug from an oil pipeline and were instantly sucked into it. One was able to escape but the other 4 were trapped for days in a small, oil coated pipe for days with only a small air pocket to breathe in before they died. Thinking about it in detail and imagining what it must have been like for them makes me extremely uncomfortable."

– superficial_user

There's no creepier place than being in the woods. Especially when these sorts of encounters happen.

The Wrong Friends

"When I was 17 I was hanging out with 2 friends and they wanted to go smoke in the woods. I didn't feel like it so I drove them and waited in the car."

"After a while I was getting bored and decided to go meet them but there were 4 paths going off in different directions so I just took the biggest one. After walking for a few minutes in the pitch black forest (before flashlights on phones), I come across this dip in the trail and on the other side is a bench lightly visible due to the moonlight."

"On the the bench is sitting a man and another one in standing in front of him but I can only make out silhouettes. Being sure these are my friends I yell out to them before walking over. If you ever walked the woods at night it's just an uneasy feeling all around so I was cautious to begin with."

"Well it turns out, juste after yelling out to my 'friends,' both silouhettes turn around towards me. Not a word, not a sound, the guy sitting down starts sprinting FULL F'KING SPEED towards me in complete silence. I got the absolute f'k out of there sprinting also the other way and tripping over sh*t because I couldn't see anything."

"I finally get out and lock myself in my car, but I was really worried for my friends. Maybe a minute later I see them both coming out of a completely different path, they also confirmed they never saw me or anyone else. My heart still sinks just thinking about that dude sprinting in silence wtf was that sh*t."

– NoFutureGuy

The Homeless Camp

"Weird....I have a similar story!"

"Years ago I remember sneaking out of my friends house at night to really do nothing but walk around the neighborhood and hide from car headlights. We were young and bored. There was a 'homeless' camp that was down in some woods off the railroad tracks not too far from his house. We had seen the trail and knew what was back there."

"One of the homeless guys that lived there was actually an old friend of my buddies Dad, and he had stopped over a few times and my friends Dad let him shower there and everything. He could have worked if he wanted, but legit told us he just liked living 'off the grid'. Just wanted to give you some backstory on the reason why we thought it would be cool and 'safe' to go check it out at night."

"We were a bit nervous at first thinking what if we get there and his Dads friend isn't there...so we were sneaking up on it. It was a longer walk than we thought. We got kind of close and saw there was a fire going lighting up the woods a bit."

"We start sneaking closer but the trail seemed to continue straight, while the camp set off the trail to the left. We got idk maybe 100 feet from the camp (about 30 meters) and we looked down the trail and saw a faint silhouette of what we thought was a person. The silhouette looked like it was coming from deeper in the woods towards the camp. We froze and ducked slightly to the side of the trail."

"I told my friend that I didn't like it, and we should just sneak the hell out. He said he had the same feeling. As I said, the fire at the camp was just enough to light the area well enough to see. We end up slowly creeping slightly off the trail back to the railroad tracks. We get probably 30-40 or so feet (9-12 meters) and I told him I would rather just hit the trail and just slowly walk back because the bushes and trees and everything were hard to navigate and I would rather be able to see something coming so we could book it out. We played football and were both pretty fast."

"We slide out of the brush and see the silhouette has gotten closer, however moving further from the fire, the light was dimmer, but we could still make out someone or something was standing there moving closer. My first thought was that maybe they saw us duck into the bushes and were coming to check, but it just felt off. My friend and I looked at each other and both mutually and silently decided to pick up the pace. Almost on que, we both looked back and the silhouette was now BOOKING IT TOWARDS US ABSOULTELY SILENT. No noise, just fast movement. We high tail it as fast as we can."

Thankfully, the trail was wide so we weren't bumping into each other or anything. Neither of us looked back until we hit the railroad tracks, then hit the railroad track bridge and were on the other side. I looked back as I was slowing down, past the bridge and didn't see anyone. We got back to his house pretty fast and luckily that was the end of it."

– ZekeMoss18

Life is full of many creepy mysteries.

It's no wonder many films are based on actual events.

The ones that terrify me the most are the home invasion movies like The Strangers.

It may have been Hollywood that dramatized events depicted in the film, but there's no doubt such horrific events that have happened in real life are enough to keep us up at night and on high alert.

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Cognitive dissonance is when one learns new information that challenges a deeply held belief that seems to undercut a favorable self-image, that person may feel motivated to somehow resolve the negative feeling that results—to restore cognitive consonance—by ignoring the challenging source.

This isn't the only response to cognitive dissonance, but it's the one most people are familiar with.

This behavior explains people believing something—or following a leader—despite all the contradictory facts. Outsiders look at the situation and are amazed that their adherents can't see the absurdity of the fraud.

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Just spend some time watching documentaries about cults and you'll see all the proof you need.

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Kaysha on Unsplash

According to the American Gaming Association, there were 1005 casinos in the United States as of December 2022. They accounted for $328.6 billion in economic impact with $101.4 billion gross casino revenue.

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When you're on a first date, one of three things will happen. Either you'll like the person and want to go out again, you like the person fine, but not romantically, and won't want to go out again, or the person will display a behavior that is so off-putting (or make you genuinely fearful), that you won't even want to see the person ever again.

My best friend and I are basically the same person, so when she met a guy who he had a lot in common with, she figured I'd like him too and set us up (I had previously told her I was okay with being set up).

Well, it turns out the guy actually hadn't read any of the books, watched any of the shows, or heard of any of the bands he talked about with my friend. I didn't understand why he would lie about all these things until I left the table.

When I came back, he was on the phone with someone and he was telling them he only told her he liked all those things because he liked my friend. When he found out she was in a relationship, he decided he'd let her set us up in the hopes that he could date me until my friend and her boyfriend broke up, and then he could swoop in.

I just walked out and when he finally texted me asking what was up, I told him I overheard him, then proceeded to block him. My friend was mortified to hear about the date, and I decided never to be set up again.

I'm not the only one who has gone on a date and discovered a huge red flag. Redditors have experienced this too, and are eager to share their stories.

It all started when Redditor APT3993 asked:

"What’s the biggest red flag you have seen on a first date?"

Dates Of Relationships Past

"They won't shut up about their ex."

– SiriusGD

"Had this happen to me on a 2nd date."

"Asked if she could use my computer, I said OK. Then she pulls up her ex's FB profile to browse through it, and she spent the next 10 minutes comparing me to him, saying he she thinks that I will turn out to be controlling and manipulative like him because we both grew up on a farm and we both like cars."

"Ummm, wut?"

– alwaysmyfault

"He angrily told me I would “love” his ex wife. Proceeded to cry while talking about her. They’d been divorced for 5 years. I genuinely hope he is doing better."

– TX_Mothman

"She constantly compared me to her ex, and sat on her phone for most of the night, then expected me to pay for her two bottles of wine, plus really expensive meal and desert."

"She asked me out btw, not the other way around."

– Stuspawton

I Know What I Want

"The guy who tried to change my order with the waitress because he didn’t think the drink I’d asked for was sufficiently feminine."

"I ordered beer. I don’t remember exactly what he thought I should have, maybe white wine? It was a long time ago."

"The waitress was looking at me like ‘You heard that sh*t too right?’ and I told her actually I wouldn’t have anything, thanks, and I left."

– MaggieLuisa

"He changed it FROM A BEER TO SOMETHING ELSE!!?! That’s amazing to me. Like it’s bad enough if you ordered an IPA and he said, “I dunno, sweetie, your delicate female taste buds probably can’t handle the hoppiness. Hey, honey, why don’t we get the lady a Coors.”"

– AdaptiveVariance

The Position Of Boyfriend

"We met for drinks after work (since we both work in the same industry) and she showed up with a list of interview questions. She literally had a checklist on her phone for me to fill out. I thought she was joking at first, but the questions were extremely personal, like how many sexual partners you've had, the oldest, the youngest; How much money you made the previous year; If you owned a house, a car, a boat, a plane; Did you have a criminal history; Where do you parents live; Are they alive; Who did you vote for in the last election; All kinds of stuff like that."

"I even proposed that we could just use that as a conversation starter and we could work through them like that as a fun way to get to know each other. I was really trying. She tells me that she's not answering any of them because I'm trying to date her, not the other way around!"

"I laughed out loud thinking she was kidding, then realized she was absolutely serious. I wished her all the best in the dating world, chugged my beer, overtipped the waitress, and left."

– OkFrostina

"Yeah, I would really push that to the limit without getting law enforcement involved. Start with all the times I have ended up in rehabilitation, my abductions by UFO, the wild, kinky sex partners I have had, the millions I have lost before living under a bridge, etc."

– passporttohell

Scary As Hell

"Had a guy who insisted on buying the most expensive pizza at the restaurant despite my protests then kissed my head when he walked past me to use the restroom. After dinner we walked along the waterfront, he kissed me and then immediately tried to choke me "to be sexy". First date, last date."

– Twours1944

"What the sh*t?? Who taught this idiot that choking in public on the first date all without consent is a great get-to-know-you move??"

– villainsimper

Stranger Danger

"This was literally the day of a first date. But I had matched with an older man when I was still on dating apps. We planned to go on a hike on a very beautiful day by the water. On the day of the date, he wanted me to leave my car at his place, while he drove us through the backwoods so we can beat traffic. I said I’ll be happy to drive myself, and he laughed and canceled. His reasoning was he’s been stood up so many times and he didn’t want to waste his time and me not show up. I said “okay!I apologize for the inconvenience. I hope you find what you are looking for. “and blocked him."

"The red flag was when he genuinely got upset that I didn’t want to ride in a car with a stranger through the backwoods for our first date."

– Jesusdoescrack

"You should have said “you fear being stood up, I fear being murdered.”"

– The_She_Ghost

Truly Gross

"He pointed to another woman at the bar and said she was his ex. But she happened to be my lesbian roommate."

"Yes, I told him I knew he was full of it cuz she was my roommate, and I pointed out her girlfriend who was there with her. I don’t remember what he said exactly but he had no choice but to admit he was lying. I wish I had asked why he said it. I assume to make me jealous? Like that’s a good way to start a relationship? Obviously, that was the only date."

– Grapegoop

​Those Who Came Before

"He told me he had been divorced 5 times. I'm taking the advice of 5 women I don't know."

– 13liz

"The way you phrased this killed me 😂"

– CumulativeHazard

Got Her Feeling Emotions

"Does bursting into tears after I told them I didn't like a TV show count?"

– JumboDakotaSmoke

"I'm curious as to what TV show it was?"

– ladydamnation

"Grey's Anatomy."

– JumboDakotaSmoke

"bursts into tears"

– akennelley

Um...What?!

"He took me to his house (he lived with his mom) just so HE could eat dinner with his mom while I sat in the living room. I listened to them eat and talk about my looks like I couldn't hear them. Apparently, I was pretty but "needed to be taken down a peg or two." I said my period had started so I had to go home. A future abuser and his enabler mommy."

– BigMcLargeHuge77

Ew...Just Ew

"We went to a movie. He spent the first half with his hand inside one of his socks, then pulling it out and smelling it, putting it back in, repeat, repeat."

"Then he spent the second half trying to hold my hand. With his sock hand."

– Deleted User

Bad From The Start

"She asked if I could order for her because she was uncomfortable talking to the brown waitress.

"Added: Same girl would not stop talking about Kardashian gossip even though I told her I know nothing about them and didn’t care to know."

– CanaDoug420

Stop, Theif!

"He showed up drunk with a bouquet of flowers he admitted he stole from his mother's flower shop."

– LookAcrossTheWater

​Cringe-Worthy

"Went to a charity coffee shop for a date. It was “free” coffee where they just ask for donations which went toward their org’s efforts to feed and house people. They explained this to him and asked if he wanted to make a donation for our drinks."

"He said no."

– Shredded_Wheaties

Oh, yikes! I would be so embarrassed!

In fact, I'm kind of losing faith in dating as a concept.