People Divulge The Most Horrific Event They Ever Personally Witnessed
Campbell Jensen on Unsplash

WARNING: the following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm, descriptions of violence and death

We see tragic news stories all the time, but we never think we will encounter or witness the horrors of violence, whether the acts were intended or not.

People came forward and opened up about their personal experiences when Redditor CosmicLlama9908 asked:

"What is the most horrific thing you've ever personally witnessed?"

Redditors witnessed death before their eyes.

The Boating Nightmare

"When I was 17 I went on a boat trip on the lake with 2 of my aunts, and 4 of my cousins. My aunts' boyfriend was driving the boat back after an awesome day. It was dark."

"Out of nowhere, another speed boat plowed into the side of ours at full speed, killing one of my aunts and my 9 year old cousin instantly and sending another aunt into the water to be found the next day dead. "

"After I realized what happened I heard screams from the dark water. It was the driver of our boat with my other baby cousin in his hands trying to swim back. He said he couldn't feel his legs so I jumped in without thinking giving him a life jacket and swam back to the boat with my baby cousin who was alive but bit her tongue in half."

"She was 4 or 5. When the driver finally made his way back to the boat I pulled him up and noticed both of his legs were shattered, bones sticking out, and bleeding. I didn't even get a scratch on me. Worse night of my life."

– cole3987

"A guy committing suicide by jumping in front of a train."

– Neon_W0lf

The ATV Accident

"On a calm early morning in my small town, I walked a couple of my friends home after my party. We live near the arctic circle so it was sunny at 3am. Beautiful weather. As I was making my way back home, I witnessed an ATV accident on a treacherous hilly intersection."

"A woman and her child with no helmet flipped and tumbled 30 feet into the ditch. The 6 year old was crying when I came up to the scene, 911 on the phone. The mother was unconscious but still breathing, faced down."

"I was on the call with EMS while giving cpr to the woman, but when I rolled her over, I noticed her head was caved in and blood gushing out and pooling on the ground beside her. I had to reassure the daughter with a broken arm that everything is fine and the ambulance is coming. The mother died in my arms."

– tundrabuddies

A Physical Response

"A popped cranium after the person’s head was run over by a bus. It’s not a pretty scene, even for the morbidly curious. The twitching is a traumatic watch."

– leaveyourcousinalone

Public Safety Message

"Guy slammed his car into mine and literally died mangled in front of me on the hood of my car. Wear your seatbelt people."

– Translationerr0r

These Redditors stumbled upon scenes they would like to soon forget.


"I found a dead body under a highway underpass walking home from a bad party at 3am and the guy had what I assume was an overdose in the middle of the sidewalk while kneeling/sitting on his feet, looking straight up with his arms hanging down and his palms were up."

"The way he positioned himself was just very surreal for some reason and I'd also never seen a dead body outside of deathbed/coffin scenario."

– wastelandho

Fallen Climber

"About 10 years ago, I used to volunteer with search and rescue in Ravalli County. Most of the time it was just people getting lost, or somebody with a broken leg that needed to be carried out. Every once in a while though, there would be something really horrific."

"One time, we spent several days searching for a missing climber. The individual had gone climbing solo, so nobody actually knew where he was at other than they were in Blodget Canyon somewhere. Eventually, some team members spotted a pair of black bears feeding on something in a small ravine."

"When we were able to access the scene, it turned out that the missing climber had fallen from the face they were climbing and most likely died on impact, or shortly thereafter. Then, the bears had found the body and fed on it. The body had been ripped apart and scattered over a significant area. We had to pick up what we could, put it in a body bag and pack it out."

– deadmanxing

What The Hospital Worker Saw

"I used to work on a respiratory unit at a hospital, an old lady who was chronically trached, she’d been on one for maybe around a year and with her age, delicate skin and lack of good care at the previous hospital…the trach site had decayed and sloughed enough to create a hole in the front of her neck I could have fit my adult sized fist in."

"And she was still alive. First and thankfully only time I’ve seen the throat/windpipe/esophagus of a still living person. It was horrific."

– BoyITellYa

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The Violent Intruder

"We had a home invasion a few years back. The perp shot my husband multiple times in front of me then ran off. I had to put pressure on his chest with a towel to keep him from bleeding out until the police got here."

"I remember the blood pouring out of his chest like a damn water hose and him just gasping for air. I don't know how he's alive. I think about it every day. Every now and then we still find some of our things with blood stains, and always just go, 'Jesus Christ.'"

"We moved & we’re safe, but unfortunately, they never caught the person."

– WeArePerkisizing

Human Cruelty

"I used to work in adult protection; guy was keeping his 75-year-old mom in horrific conditions, hooked on meth and pills, had dementia. Dude was collecting her social security."

"Also worked child protection; had to respond to an 18-month old child brought to the ER beaten to death by his dad."

– Jonpaddy

Motorcycle Wreck

"In Jr high. During a gym class, (I wasn't feeling well so I wasn't taking part in the class) they were doing relay races, a girl tripped and fell down. She broke her leg so badly, it looked like an extra knee. She was in traction for nearly 6mo."

"More recently we were out doing errands, and we drove by a motorcycle accident. One person was sitting on the curb, and he was rocking back and forth, the other was nothing but a lump of meat, laying in the middle of the road. Thankfully someone had covered her with a large coat. I couldent get that image out of my head, for almost 6mo. It still pops up in my, every now and then."

– MorgainofAvalon

The Epileptic Student

"I was doing relay races in gym class in highschool and as my friend was running to me I saw his eyes roll up into his head and he fell back into an absolutely massive seizure about 10ft from me."

"Turns out he was severely epileptic, didn't inform anyone, and had stopped taking his seizure meds for whatever reason."

"The image of him seizing up mid stride has stuck with me 15 years later."

– GregorZeeMountain

The following tragedies were not accidents.

Family Tragedy

"I walked in on my dad moments after he had stabbed and killed my step mom. He was calmly sitting on their sofa without a shirt on, covered in blood."

"...he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer about 6 months prior, the cancer had spread from lungs to his brain and unbeknownst to us, 2 tumors had developed and were pressing on some vital areas in his brain. He was having hallucinations and a bit of a psychotic episode when it happened."

"He didn't know what he had done until days later. While he was in custody they treated the inflamed tumors with an oral steroid and his mental state returned to his normal self, and that's when he learned what he had done."

"He was so distraught, he just wanted to die. They were married for 35 years. He died 3 months later in custody, but we were lucky enough to be able to visit him a few times before he passed."

– notbuildingrockets

Baby Blackbirds

"Compared to some of the comments this is pretty tame, but it's been stuck in my head since I was about 8."

"We had a pair of blackbirds nest in our garage. Dad stopped parking his car in it, kept the door closed and the window open, and would occasionally take my brother (then 5) and I in and lift us up to see the chicks. We were so excited to see them growing."

"The day they fledged, our neighbours - grumpy old bastards at the best of times - set mousetraps baited with bread, caught every single one of our baby blackbirds and gave them to their dog to finish off. My brother and I were standing the other side of the fence screaming and crying; Mum came out, but just shepherded us indoors because she was scared of the neighbours too."

"Oh, and they were doing this to entertain their grandchildren."


The Shooting

"A kid getting his brains blowed out for crossing out a tag in a rival neighborhood."

– -skeemin-

Trauma can linger, as evidenced by the events witnessed by the Redditors.

But seeking trauma therapy can be a very useful tool to move forward, and there are plenty of online resources to help you cope.

Websites like TalkSpaceand BetterHelp are good places to start in finding a therapist who is right for you.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

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