Job Recruiters Reveal The Things That Make An Applicant Stand Out
The job market can be a total minefield - but don't worry. We're about to give you some tips on navigation that might just help you land your dream job.
Reddit user JakeBroughton asked:
Does a cover letter really matter? Are jokes okay? Is anyone really reading the resume you spent 3 hours working on? How do you make a good impression when you finally land an interview?
We know you've got questions. So we've got (sometimes conflicting) answers. Grab your notebooks, folks. We're about to give you some really useful tips.
- The person knows about our company or has taken the time to look us up online.
- The person has questions at the end of the interview. I had a candidate a few months ago pull out a notebook with his questions and take notes as I answered them. He got the job.
Ask The Right Question
The professor I worked for in a lab was on a hiring committee for another company and always ended the interviews with, "What questions do you have for us?" Most candidates would awkwardly say something along the lines of "I don't have any right now," some would ask a stupid question for the sake of it, and very few would ask an actual thoughtful question about the position or about the company itself.
Stupid questions include:
- Anything that could be found on the website of the company
- Anything that is listed in the job description or the position listing
- Anything that was already answered in the interview
The questions she taught me when I was applying for a job last summer were:
- (if you're talking to someone already in that position) What were you most proud of that you accomplished in this role? OR What is something you wish you could have addressed in your time here, or something you've always wanted to implement?
- (workplace) How would you describe your office's culture? How connected is the team?
- How you measure success for this position? If selected for this job/internship/space-mission, who would be my best supervisor that I can expect feedback and seek advice from?
Clean It Up
Resume layout. Messy resumes are a huge pet peeve of mine. Please have a neat resume. Don't just type up something in word that has uneven spacing that's hard to read and an unprofessional font. Word has a ton of resume templates you can use. I just feel like, you are trying to make a good impression on me, take the time. And please send me a PDF so the layout comes over.
I say this makes people stand out because you wouldn't believe the ratio of neat/messy resumes I get. It's at least 1/3.
Just Show Up
Showing up on time for an interview, showing up for their first day on assignment...really just showing up.
I do mostly what I would call mass recruiting. Client asks for 30 people, I recruit 45 because I know a good chunk won't show up. As long as they show up, are decently nice and can pass a drug screen and background check I'm pretty happy.
The ones that stood out to me were people who attempted to tailor their resume and cover letter to the application posting. I would get a lot of people just dumping their pre written stuff on me and it is pretty obvious. A cover letter that says why they'd fit the job posting that shows they read it is something I'd pay more attention to.
Also, bothering with a cover letter at all. Our online apps had them as optional and as most applicants were 18-25, many people just ignored that field. I understand they are a pain (I hate writing them myself), but they are literally there to explain why I should care about you.
Be Qualified And Willing To Learn
A well written resume free of errors. Being able to say "I don't know" (huge). But more than anything, being qualified. It's really hard to find people who know what they are doing AND are willing to learn new things.
Easy: a tailored resume.
- Use bullet points to bring up past experiences that highlight why you would be a good fit for the particular job.
- I work in tech recruitment so a lot of it will be dependent upon what technologies you have. Presume that the first person reading your resume is an HR person with no technical understanding. Don't presume they'll understand that you obviously have a specific skill, spell it out and use the keywords mentioned in the advertisement. The first thing most recruiters will do is a keyword search.
- Basically just don't use a generic resume. Use a template and then modify it for every job you apply for. It works. Trust me.
Humor - A Risky Move With Mixed Results
When I was job searching I had found that if I could make an employer laugh through a joke 9/10 I would get the job. The set up and joke.
Employer: What is your worst quality?
Me: Well in all honesty I can't reach the top self without some short person parkour and very seldom the back of the second self. ( with a straight face)
In 2018 I had an applicant accidentally send me his 2017 NCAA bracket instead of his resume'.
I told him his mistake and asked him to resend his resume. He did, along with his 2018 NCAA bracket.
I never even bothered to call him back. Don't have time for bullsh*t. He made a mistake yes, but his mistake showed a lack of attention to detail. He was given a chance to correct it but he also showed himself to be slightly unprofessional in this regard. No, we're not hiring NASA engineers, but we also have many other applicants who were able to figure sh*t out correctly the first time.
When you are a hiring manager long enough you notice patterns/traits and other indicators that can foreshadow what it would be like to work with one person vs. another. Bullsh*t on day one can pretty much guarantee that there will be bullsh*t all the time.
If you wanted to deselect him for the original mistake I totally understand, but in giving him another chance to send the correct CV you were implicitly stating the mistake wasn't a deal breaker. He fixed his mistake the second time, and he made a personable joke by including an acknowledgement of the goof. That isn't bullsh*t, that's an apology with a self deprecating joke. Bullsh*t was on the first mistake, which you forgave. This one is entirely on you, muchacho.
Show And Tell
Show, don't tell. I understand it's a resume so that may seem confusing but the idea is to support that you are a team player by mentioning projects or initiatives you've worked on. If you have a soft skill the difficulty is that anyone can claim to have it so show how you have it through previous experience on education.
When me and my friend finished school 15 years ago and were looking for jobs we both made CV's (resume). Mine was just a generic standard one but he wrote his in comic sans and put clip art pictures all over it. I tried telling him it's a bad idea. He was convinced that it would make his CV stand out from the rest and guarantee him a job. Spoiler......he didn't get any job.
A Few Things
A few things stand out. There are some glaring red flags in personality. Sometimes you can't explain but something just doesn't sit well.
Sometimes it's obvious that the resume is horsesh*t.
The good thing that stands out always and is very humbling is when the candidate can admit to not knowing and is willing to learn.
A nice friendly personality will always win. It isn't just about your qualification. It's also about how well you'll get along with others and your supervisors. Do you belong?
My personal pet peeve, admittedly unfair perhaps, is filler words. Too many of them really irk me. I know interviews are nerve racking at times so I try and set it aside.
Well dressed people always stand out. You don't necessarily have to wear a suit but clean and ironed clothes are important. People wear anything they want when they're hired. But on the interview day I like to see some level of class.
I've been on a couple interview panels at my engineering job. One question I always ask is "Do you have any hobbies?" If they answered something related to the job, for instance one said he loved playing with circuit boards, I would always count that against them. My opinion was they're either lying to look good, or aren't well-rounded if their only hobby is also their job. A candidate being well-rounded was a must for me to give a recommendation.
"Reddit user sasukelikescarrots asked: 'what do you think are some overrated places to have sex?'"
Certain locations really damper on a good time.
For instance, it's not fun to do it in cramped spaces.
Looking at you, airplane bathrooms and backseat of cars.
Many cannot be bothered to maneuver in some odd location.
Beds. Beds are sexy.
Always were, always will be.
Redditor sasukelikescarrots wanted to hear about the places we should all avoid when getting it on, so they asked:
"What do you think are some overrated places to have sex?"
One... I'm claustrophobic.
Two... there is not enough time.
Fatal Attraction lied to us y'all.
The WorstThe Beach Summer GIF by Kel CripeGiphy
"The beach is the worst."
"I hate sand so much so I agree with you."
Let Alone Two
"Airplane bathroom. Too cramped, and smells gross. Keep your Mile High Club pendant."
"I was thinking this too. I am also willing to bet that 99% of people who claim to be in the Mile High Club are lying through their teeth. Seriously, there's barely any space in those lavatories for one person, let alone two, and it's a little hard to get aroused when you're worrying about turbulence and people waiting to use the toilet knocking on the door."
"Public toilets... Why would you even..."
"The only reason I can think of is being a kid of an overprotective parent in high school and you want to desperately get it on with your boyfriend. Public restrooms are the only option sometimes. (Experience)."
"The pool and the shower."
"I hate the shower. I think it was a comedian who said, 'I’ve never been having sex and thought you know what would make this better… If one of us was freezing.'"
"I personally like the shower cause my partner likes to be in the water and I like being cold so it works out cause sex gets me pretty warm anywho."
"The shower is for foreplay, not sex. Pretty much every time we shower together it’s a given that it will lead to sexy time, whether we were planning on it or not/in the mood or not…. intimacy and touching, etc.,?…. we just B-line for the bedroom. But sex IN the shower?… no."
And a Happy Meal?happy ronald mcdonald GIF by McDonald's CZ/SKGiphy
"McDonalds ball pit…"
"They have a cleaning machine that can clean all the balls and it's all sanitary. I think that could be a really good time"
Have some decorum people.
I'd go to Burger King.
Check PleaseApplebees GIFGiphy
"The men's room at Applebee's during Happy Hour on a Tuesday."
"I spent my teens and early 20s having sex in cars. About a year ago (I'm almost 40) the wife and I are out and in the mood so let's have sex in the car like we used to. Bad idea, how the f**k did we used to have sex all the time back there, now it's uncomfortable and I got a cramp in my leg."
"Yes. The handful of times I’ve tried this, it’s always been so cramped and you need to keep repositioning or someone bumps their head. I guess it could be fine if you had one of those huge American tanks, but cars here in Australia never have that much room inside."
"Churches and graveyards. I've done it in both, and it's not really that great."
"Never in my life have I thought either of those locations sounded like a fun place to have sex. I guess if you have a kink for getting caught then it's as good as any because there's this perception of it being sacrosanct, but it just seems at best uncomfortable and at worst going to get me on a registry somewhere.
"Waterbeds. One of my GF's had one, and I *hated* it. It's impossible to get traction or the proper angle."
"Good call. There’s nothing to push off of. Nowhere to plant knees either. A true s**t show."
"I knew there was a reason why I forgot about my waterbed! Thanks for reminding me about that abomination!"
Wow. I mean. Y'all have really gone out and experimented fully.
Sometimes real-life experiences can be just as bone-chilling and inexplicable as a horror movie. From creepy run-ins with strangers to ghost-like haunting encounters in the middle of the night, these Redditors share their terrifying ordeals of wanting to run for their lives. Whatever their story, it's something they'll never forget.
A Narrow Escape
I’m a criminal defense investigator. I had a manslaughter case involving two brothers. The one accused of the manslaughters was very autistic, and his brother was a schizophrenic. The schizophrenic brother lived in a potato shack in the middle of the desert.
I needed to talk to him several times throughout the course of the investigation, and since he didn’t have a phone or electricity, I had to drive several hours out to his house and yell his name from the fence line until he came out of the shack. Weird, right? It gets even worse.
This investigation lasted for several years, and over time I developed a rapport with the schizophrenic brother, and I got to liking him. He would talk your ear off about aliens with golden eyes and the underground tunnels that connect all the Walmarts in the country, but he was pretty entertaining, and part of me wonders how much of it was for "show".
Eventually, the schizophrenic brother got a girlfriend who's not only a tweaker, but also mistook his schizophrenia for narcotic-induced psychosis. When she was in prison, I talked to her a few times when she wasn't intoxicated, and she was surprisingly charming and insightful. But things took a horrifying turn when she got out.
The last time I went to see the schizophrenic brother, it was a dark winter night. His tweaker girlfriend was there. She was lurking in the shadows and stared daggers at me the entire time I was talking to him. After our meeting, I started walking back to my truck to leave.
A minute later, he came running out and told me that he wanted to show me something in his shack. He had never invited me inside there before, and I was not thrilled by the prospect. The whole thing felt off to me, so I told him I had to get going, and started the truck.
The look of relief on his face when I declined to go inside convinced me that his girlfriend was waiting behind the door with a hammer or something. A few months later, I learned that she had shot him in his sleep and stashed his body in an old refrigerator. She had since plead guilty to manslaughter.
A Burning Realization
My partner and I were fighting a house fire. After realizing that our feet—through concrete-soled boots—became really hot, we decked the heck out of there.
Hot feet means that you’re standing above a fire. As fire burns upward, it weakens the floor beneath you. So we were about to plummet into a basement fire.
A Hair-Raising Moment
I was hiking with some buddies near the top of a mountain in Colorado. Suddenly, some bad weather started to roll in. But we were only 15 minutes away from the summit, so I went ahead while the others went back down.
As I was just about to reach the top, I felt static in the air and the hair on my head started to stand up. I immediately started to panic because I thought I was about to get struck by lightning. Naturally, I started to run down the mountain without ever getting to the top. I’m not sure if I was going to get struck but I sure as heck wasn’t sticking around to find out.
One Step Away From Disaster
While exploring an abandoned high rise with my friend, he suddenly grabs me from behind by the collar. After swearing at him, "What the bejeezus"?! he then ordered me to look down and I saw that I was about to step into an elevator shaft. The drop was about 20 floors to a concrete bottom with broken metal rods sticking out. We then went home. He saved my life that day.
Gruesome Discoveryperson sitting near bonfire surrounded by treesPhoto by Jonathan Forage on Unsplash
I was solo camping in the woods during a phase where I wanted to be a survival expert. I hiked out, miles away from any roads or buildings, built a shelter and then hiked back the way I came.
Less than a mile away from my camp, I found something utterly terrifying. It was a slaughtered coyote, decapitated, gutted, and laid out like a sacrifice or something. The eyes were gouged out and it was strung across a big, flat rock—a rock which I used as a marker on the way in, so I knew it hadn't been there a day before.
I ran out of there as fast as I could, probably 10 miles back to my house. I still have no idea who would have done that, but I knew I didn't want to run into them in the woods alone.
Too Close For Comfort
My wife and I were camping on the Oregon coast and jogged through a guy's campsite that he'd set up on the trail down to the beach. On the way back to our campsite, I jogged a little bit ahead of my wife and she was really upset that I didn't stay with her. She said the guy looked really creepy.
We got back to Eugene and got a call from the state law enforcement officer asking if we saw anything strange (we were registered with the campground so they had our contact details). We gave an update of the guy camping above the beach and asked why they were calling us. They said someone had drowned an off duty female officer in a tidal pool, cut their tent lines, and took her car.
It turned out to be a homicidal maniac who'd been slaughtering people while traveling across the country. They caught him in southern California a few weeks later.
We definitely got the "dodged a bullet" feeling.
This Isn't A Drill
There was a lockdown at my school that wasn't a drill. It ended up being a false alarm since the guy who was armed never ran into the school, just running in proximity to the school.
But it sure was scary and I think what made it scarier was knowing that you couldn't escape. You couldn't leave without the risk of getting shot. You just had to stay in the classroom and pray that the shooter was dumb enough to believe that the room was empty after the teacher turned off the lights and closed the blinds.
You literally had nowhere to go or to hide.
Playing With Fire
One night, I was walking home from work, along a busy street. A man drove up beside me and told me that he was a firefighter. He said that a storm was approaching and I should get into his car. I said, "No, thanks" and kept walking. He kept insisting. Finally, I was about to walk past a hotel but he pulled partway into the hotel parking lot, enough to block my path.
Thankfully, the hotel guard saw how uncomfortable I looked. As soon as the hotel guard took a step towards us, the guy peeled out and sped away. That just confirmed that he was not a firefighter and I would have been in danger had I gone with him. Scary.
A Barking Mad Encounter
As a trucker, I've learned to find some creative ways to park. One night, I was at some random back road in the middle of nowhere in Texas. I found what I call a 'make-a-spot' area. I was alone with my dog. I decided to park for a 30 minute break.
When my dog got out to relieve herself, I realized that trouble was heading our way. My dog started getting really agitated—growling and snarling. I saw that off in the field next to my truck, there was a red light about six to eight feet in the air. And it was moving around very slowly.
It was deathly silent except for my dog who was barking maniacally. As the light got closer, she went totally ballistic. So I decided that I had seen enough and headed back to the truck. At this time, we were about 20 feet away from the trailer.
When we reached the truck, I heard a large crash coming from the brush. My dog became even more difficult to control and my adrenaline told me to run!
I opened the passenger door, tossed my dog into the truck, climbed in, and just when I slammed the door shut, something crashed into my truck. I have no idea what it was, but it made the whole trailer rock side to side.
I drove away as fast as I could without even putting my seat belt on. I drove for about 30 miles and only when I reached a gas station in a small town did I feel like I exhaled.
A few days later, I was walking up to my truck and noticed that the entire side of the sleeper of the truck was bent a little inwards. You could only see it when the sun hit the side at a particular angle, but the bend was definitely there.
A Sight To RememberInsomnia | Alyssa L. Miller | Flickrwww.flickr.com
When I was a teenager, I was woken up in the middle of the night by some chaos going on in my house. I came out of my room and was shocked by what I saw. There was my dad, tearing through the house wearing nothing but his Red Wings jersey. He was holding his semi-automatic and headed towards the front door.
My mom swept me out of the way and locked us in my sister's room. Apparently, someone tried to break into my window but didn't realize that my parents' window was right beside mine. My dad woke up, grabbed his piece, and chased the dude down the street.
He was completely unclothed, running with a weapon at 3 am. He was screaming, "I'm going to find you, you schmuck"! I'm pretty sure every neighbor called emergency by that time.
Eventually, law enforcement officers came, with their helicopter–the whole nine yards. What they told us chilled me to the bone. It turns out the dude was a wanted felon. He had stood outside my window long enough to have puffed half a pack of smokes. The only reason he didn’t get into the house was because we had storm windows.
That's what he was trying to pry off when my dad woke up. They did eventually find him hiding in a neighbor's shed. At the time all this happened, my dad was in his 30s and was 6'2". He was a construction worker with a shaved head and a goatee. He was very menacing looking when he wanted to be.
Thank god no one had security cameras at the time because the image of this angry, unclothed man, running down the middle of the road in work boots, already kept the neighbors' tongues wagging for MONTHS. This happened in the mid 90s.
Preying On Fear
My wife and I were on a search mission for some missing fern pickers. We were volunteers with the local search and rescue team. We decided to stay in the search area that night and had built a pretty nice fire. It was about 2 am and we were sitting there hoping the missing folks would wander into camp.
I heard animals around us throughout the night. No surprises there as we were in the middle of the woods. I was used to animals stalking around outside my camp. I knew there were two animals, one on either side of us. It was at about that point when we heard a bird-sounding chirp. It came from about the same area I figured one of the animals were. Then I heard another, from the opposite side.
I immediately realized we were being watched and stalked by at least two cougars. We quickly climbed into the back of my truck. It had a camper shell and was outfitted for truck camping.
My father-in-law suffered a heart attack on my back deck while we were working on something together. My wife and kids were out at the time. It was just the two of us and he actually passed in my arms.
I was talking to the emergency operator and could hear the sirens approaching. I also knew that my wife and kids would be returning home shortly and I would have to explain to them what had happened while they were gone.
I continued doing CPR on him but he hadn't taken a breath in two minutes and had no discernible pulse. I still can't believe what happened next.
Seconds later, he takes a massive breath and comes back to life. The ambulance arrived and rushed him to the hospital. He miraculously made a full recovery.
Those two minutes where I was certain he was gone and I'd have to deal with my wife and kids arriving and seeing it...absolutely chilled me to the bone.
Face Of Fear
Back when I was in college, I used to drive up the Oregon coast on the weekends. When I got tired, I would just sleep in my car. During one of these trips, I woke up from a nap while sleeping in the driver's seat. Something just didn't feel quite right.
It was just dusk and the light was fading pretty quickly. I yawned and stretched, and as I turned my head to the side, I caught a face ducking down below the rear passenger window. I hit the lock button just to make sure that the doors were locked but in my panic I accidentally unlocked the doors briefly.
I scrambled around and managed to lock them again. I stared at the window for a few minutes, knowing that someone was crouching just out of sight. Eventually, when I started the car, I thought I heard a scuffing sound. Whoever it was didn't reappear, but that was enough for me.
I cleared out of there as fast as I could, pulling back onto Highway 101. When I glanced back, I saw a bald figure in a red t-shirt with something wrapped around his face. He booked it into the woods from the side of the road.
That was the end of that weekend trip. I drove the two hours back to my dorm room with white-knuckled hands locked on the steering wheel. I had to pull over a few miles down the road to deal with the adrenaline shakes.
I was hiking in the Rocky Mountains, on a trail I knew pretty well. I was leading a group of 20 or so middle school-aged kids from the camp where I worked. As I turned a corner on the trail, I saw a jaw bone belonging to a deer.
It was pretty cool, so I showed it to the kids. There wasn't any flesh on it, so I assumed it was pretty old. A hundred feet further down the trail, I found another, a femur maybe. This one looked a little fresher. Further down again, I found yet another bone.
At this point, I was getting a little nervous, so I explained to the kids that we should probably turn around and head back. My students all groaned because they wanted to see more interesting stuff, but I herded them down the trail and back to camp.
Two days later, we got a call at the camp that someone had been mauled in the area by a mountain lion. Apparently, a mountain lion had set itself up in the caves on the cliffside and had gotten angry when someone got too close.
I'm glad we left the area when we did, even if my students would have loved to have seen more slaughtered stuff.
Deal Gone Wrongman driving a car wearing wrist watchPhoto by why kei on Unsplash
One night, a couple of years back, I was driving an Uber and had just picked up four guys from a club. As I was listening to them talk, I realized that two of the guys had met the other two at the club and were on their way to get coke from one of their cousins.
There was an odd vibe and some of the conversation didn't seem to make any sense, but I was hyper aware that these intoxicated dumbasses were heading with two strangers to a drug deal—and I was the one driving them to it!
I did not want narcotics in my car, and I was very aware that we might be on the way to an ambush. If we started heading anywhere remote or sketchy I had to figure out how to end the ride.
The two wannabe dealers kept trying to get in touch with their cousin via cellphone. I dropped them off at an apartment just off a main street. After both of them left the car to go into the building, I just said to the two other guys, "Should we leave", and we did.
I still don't know if it was just a ploy for a free ride, or if the "dealers" were too inebriated or dumb to pull off a basic coke deal, or if it was something nefarious that didn't finish. I shall never know.
Close Your Eyes
It was July 27, 2002. I was at the Sknyliv air show with my dad. I had just turned five years old the day before. It’s one of my most vivid memories from my childhood—and the worst memory of my life.
When disaster struck, the pilot managed to land 10 meters away from me and my dad. He was on his knees, his parachute dangling in the wind and I remember him repeating, "What have I done"? over and over. I didn’t understand much of what happened. My dad only said for me to "Close your eyes, we have to go".
Years later, my dad told me that we would have gone further into the crowd but I refused because my shoelaces were untied. Him kneeling to tie my shoes was the only thing that saved us.
It wasn’t bone-chilling at the time but when I imagine what my dad witnessed that day, I get goosebumps.
Time To Move
I was 27-years old and dating a girl who lived in a crappy part of Hollywood, Florida with her young kid. The dad ended up going to prison for assault. The place she could afford was totally run down, with all sorts of addicts and strange folks living in the units around her.
She hated the place but she couldn't move in with me because I was just renting a room where I lived. It was still better than living with her parents. After my shift ended at 9 pm, I picked up some food then went to her apartment. I had no idea I was walking into my worst nightmare.
We were there for about an hour, just sitting on the couch watching her kid playing with a box when the banging started on the door. She looked terrified and thought it was her ex. I was freaked out too, because of all the stories I had heard about him.
The guy started cursing and hitting something against the door—hard. We didn't even want to look out the window or through the peephole in case he was armed. We called emergency but the operator was having a tough time hearing us.
Then we heard another woman screaming and cursing. He had the wrong door. We heard them start fighting, then things smashing, and more screaming. It sounded like she was spitting and we heard punches. We weren't sure who was getting hurt but it was loud.
The emergency operator finally told us that help was on the way, but this horror show was far from over. My girlfriend's kid got scared and started screaming. That's when the man outside started banging on the door again. He thought his kid was with us and shouted that he was going to hurt us for taking his kid.
My girlfriend completely broke down at this point and started crying. About 10 minutes later, law enforcement officers arrived. They apprehended both the man and woman and took our statements.
My girlfriend moved out a of couple days later and we ended up renting another crappy apartment but in a much better area.
Close Encounter Of The Strangest Kind
When I was eight years old, I lived in a trailer park. Most of my neighbors were fine but there were some sketchy folks around.
One day, I was really bored and asked my parents if I could walk up the street to my friend's house. He didn't live very far away but his house was still out of sight of my parents's trailer. Since it was the middle of the day, and we knew a lot of people on our street, my parents said yes.
So here I am, an eight-year-old little girl walking alone to my friend's house. Just as I got out of sight, I saw a strange man walking towards me straight ahead. I immediately became guarded because I was alone and also had never seen this dude before.
I kept hoping he would veer off somewhere away from me but instead, he kept coming towards me. I noticed his eyes were locked on me and he was smiling. I got the creeps but I was pretty close to my friend's house by now. That's when I made a bone-chilling realization.
I looked around and saw that nobody else was outside to witness if anything were to happen.
When he finally got close enough to me, he said, "Hey, do you think you could take your shoes off? Please, I want to see your feet". And I said, "Huh? What"? So he asked again to see my feet!!! That's when I turned around and sprinted as fast as I could back to my trailer. I was terrified.
When I was about four years old, I was playing alone in my front yard. My parents were both inside the house keeping an eye on me, but you couldn't see them watching me from the outside. We lived in a very rural area where maybe five cars would drive by a day.
I remember a man pulling up in front of our house where I was playing. He rolled down his car window to call me over. Even at that age, I knew I wasn’t supposed to get too close to this guy.
I took a few steps forward and he said, "Hey, can you tell me how to get to such and such place"? I’m FOUR. So I’m like, "Huh"? And he repeated himself, "I was just wondering if you could give me directions to this place".
The next thing I know, my dad storms out of the front door asking what on earth this dude wanted. The man mumbled something about needing directions and sped away.
Tracks With Eyesrailroad surrounded by trees at daytimePhoto by Tom Barrett on Unsplash
My friend and I were walking on some train tracks while talking about mundane stuff. There were ditches on either side of the tracks. As we were walking, I glanced down and made eye contact with a guy who immediately started climbing up from the ditch, towards us.
I told her to run and we both got the heck out of there. We decided that we weren't going to do that again.
Vibes Don't Lie
My family and I were recently traveling all over Costa Rica. We love nature but we fear and respect it at the same time. We knew that there were crocodiles on the west side in Bahia Ballena. By talking to the locals, wherever we traveled, we learned of the dangers in the areas. Often, it was snakes we needed to be concerned with.
That day, we went to the east Caribbean side to Playa Negra. We unloaded our things on the beach near a ravine. I kept looking at the ravine and had a very unsettling feeling. I knew that crocodiles can look like logs and remain still until they are under attack. I kept staring but couldn't see anything.
For whatever reason, I just couldn't get myself to relax. I told my husband and we both became hyper aware. I checked the internet to see if there were any crocodiles in the area. The search results said that none had been spotted in nearly 10 years.
I then went on my Facebook group and everyone said not to worry about anything and that only in extreme drought do crocodiles show up in this place. But for whatever reason, I just couldn't calm down. We have a toddler so I was extremely cautious and nervous.
Finally, I apologized to my family about ruining their beach day but told them we couldn't stay. We ended up leaving and decided to do another activity. Two days later, we discovered why I'd been so afraid—and it was tragic.
We were at a restaurant and it was all over the news. A little kid about eight years old was seriously injured by a crocodile at the same area where I had those strange feelings. I almost passed out. I couldn't tell you if it was the exact spot since it was a rather large beach.
But it didn't matter. It could've been my family. I'm not easily frightened by things but when my vibes and intuition tell me to listen up, I don't try to rationalize it. I just listen. My husband totally trusted me and didn't complain, which makes me so happy. He's just such a good man.
Always listen to your gut even if you can't completely logically back up your reasons.
We Aren't Alone
About eight years ago, a friend and I were exploring an abandoned factory in North Philadelphia. When we got to about the third floor, I discovered a booby trap in the stairwell. It was a tripwire that swung an axe down from the ceiling.
Suddenly, we heard someone from up above shout, "YO"!
Time to go.
I've never covered as much ground so quickly as I did that day. I think we got two or three blocks away before we realized that we were riding each other's bikes.
Did You See That?
My mom's best friend owns a farm about a half hour from where I grew up. We would spend nearly every weekend there to help with the upkeep and to care for our horses.
As the sun was setting this one day, you could just feel the weather changing. The clouds were rolling in, the wind, the humidity, and the greenish tint outside all indicated that a storm was brewing.
Right after supper, it started to rain really hard. There was lots of wind and lightening, too. As I looked out the window, I thought I saw something strange above the barn on the far side of the yard. I was petrified. It looked like rotation in the clouds—and it started to lower down.
I pointed this out to my dad. He said that it was just rain bouncing off the roof of the barn. We both looked out for a moment and clearly saw it suck back up into the clouds. I got goosebumps. We looked at each other for a second in disbelief, then he shrugged, and went back into the living room. Meanwhile, I sheltered in the bathroom.
The next day, we saw in the news that an F-4 tornado ripped through a small town about 24 miles from where we were. I got chills when I saw the news reports.
We were tearing down an old outbuilding/office on my in-law's farm. While trying to save as much of the lumber as we could to reuse for a chicken coop, we pulled a large piece of plywood off one of the walls and discovered that the insulation was crawling with hundreds of snakes. These snakes immediately started slithering out of the wall towards us in a writhing horde.
We had seen rattlesnakes on the property before so I didn't wait a second longer. Never in my life had I moved as quickly as I did at that moment. I pretty much teleported into the back of my father-in-law's pickup. One minute I was standing in the way of hundreds of agitated snakes and the next, I was wondering if I could fit through the little rear window of a Ford F150.
Chills In The Nightman riding on white horse during daytimePhoto by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash
I work as a private contractor and was working an overnight security gig in the middle of a large ranch near the border of South Texas.
My partner and I had been patrolling for hours without anything happening. We stopped for a few minutes to talk to each other when suddenly, we heard some cracking in the brush. Then we saw something that made our blood run cold.
There was an infrared light moving through the brush, freeze, then vanish. Obviously, we couldn't leave the job site, so we sat in painful silence for hours with rifles on the brush line. We never saw or heard anything else. It sent chills throughout our bodies.
Theoretically, no one else should have been running equipment like that in our area, and yet—here we were all huddled up.
Run For Your Life
I was 10 years old and living on Main Street in a small town. There were just a long row of shops on either side of the road. It was midday and I was only two blocks away from home.
An old red pick up with a 20-year old driver, and four other 20-year-olds drove by. They gestured over to me, but before I could respond, all four men hopped out at once, and darted for me. I had a 30 foot head start, and sprinted for my life.
I ran until I found a small crack, about 7 inches wide, between two buildings. I managed to squeeze in between the buildings just as the men caught up to me. One of them reached into the crack and touched my shirt but he couldn't get a good grasp of me. They were all too big to fit in the crack so they went around to the other side to get me.
By then, I had broken the line of sight and sprinted to a nearby place to hide. I stayed in a bush for over an hour—terrified. I don’t know what they wanted from me, and I’m glad I didn’t have to find out. I never felt safe again, and always thought they would come to my home to get me.
My best friend and I were heading down a mountain after hiking about 20 km from scouting bighorn sheep. It was a couple of days before opening day of hunting season. We were hiking along the bank of a dried up riverbed and heading back to the truck when his dog suddenly stopped cold in his tracks.
We thought he had just heard a squirrel or some other little animal, so we ignored it and kept walking.
All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, a black bear got to about 25 feet from us and BOLTED off into the bush so fast that he was probably over 100 feet away before I would have even been able to get the bear spray out of the holster on my belt. I was startled and petrified.
I just want to point out that if you and a bear startle each other, and he decides to attack, you are 100% doomed. I have never seen something so big move so fast in my life.
Stranger In The Night
It was the summer of 2019 and I was house sitting for my dad while he was away for work. The house is in the middle of nowhere and isn't easily found on Google maps. When friends come to visit, I would usually have to drive to the top of the nearest paved road then lead them down to my dad’s place.
One night, after having a few drinks with friends, I was dropped off at the side of the house by a friend who lived close by. It was easier for him to do that so that he could simply turn around and drive off. I walked up the stairs and got into the house with my key through the side door that led to the kitchen.
The kitchen overlooked the front garden but the front door was nestled into a small porch and wasn’t visible from where I was at the time. I was making tea in the kitchen when I came face to face with my worst fear.
I saw movement in the front garden. I immediately turned off the lights. That's when I saw a man trying to look into the kitchen windows from the garden. He walked around to the back of the house, and cupped his hands to the wall-to-ceiling glass doors, trying to look in.
I wasn’t completely clear-headed that night but remember thinking that this was all a dream—in reality, it was a living nightmare. The man couldn’t see me in the dark but I was hiding behind the wall that separated the kitchen from the dining room/lounge area. Stupidly, I had left one of the glass doors closest to the front door unlocked. He started to enter through that unlocked door.
It was completely pitch black. He didn't realize that I was about 10 feet away from him. I had already called the friend who had dropped me off as I knew he would still be nearby whereas law enforcement officers would have taken at least 30 minutes to get to the house. I also knew that my friend's parents were ex-militia and kept artillery in a safe in his truck.
I remember just wanting to RUN and get the heck out of the house as soon as possible. But if I ran, I’d be alone in the middle of nowhere with a deranged man chasing after me. The situation felt like something out of a movie and not real at all. I was acting on adrenaline.
As the guy walked further into the house, I stepped out and pulled a blade on him—again, I was intoxicated and realized that it was a very stupid thing to have done. He tried incoherently to make conversation but I got him out of the door just as my friend pulled up with his piece.
The dude bolted to his car that was parked in an area concealed by trees on the property. It turns out he was the gardener. He had been keeping tabs on me. He knew that I was alone and house sitting for my dad while he was out of town. This guy was VERY high on opiates—he admitted this while I had the blade out.
Apparently, he had been waiting on the front porch for me to come home. Except that night, I used the side door, something I rarely ever did. If I hadn’t used the side door that night, I have no idea what would have happened.
I also have no idea what would have happened if my friend hadn’t come back when I called him, because the guy started getting aggressive and tried to come at me right when my friend got arrived.
We like to joke about it now, but it was the worst scenario I have ever experienced where I wanted to just run and get the heck away.
Trust Your Instincts
I was in medical school at the time. I was upstairs in the lab with a friend, practicing our surgical skills. The building had two staircases: a main enclosed staircase that led to the lobby and classrooms and another one that was outside that was only ever used in fire drills. It wasn't a fire escape but an older entrance that led into the lab classroom.
When it was time to leave, I grabbed the door handle to the main stairs that led into the lobby but was immediately filled with absolute fear and anxiety. My intuition kept saying, "Get out! Not that way"! For the first time in three years, I said. "Let's take the outdoor stairs...". My friend had literally no idea there even WAS another exit.
The next day, we discovered that at the exact time we were taking the outside stairs, a disgruntled classmate pulled a weapon on the staff and students in the lobby at the base of the main stairs. He was kicked out of the program due to poor grades and simply snapped.
My friend still talks about the incident and tells people to always trust their instincts.
Stranger Dangerboy leaning on black wallPhoto by Luke Pennystan on Unsplash
When I was eight or nine years old, I was playing outside when a guy pulled up and called me over to his car. He pulled out a map and asked if I could hop inside and help give him some directions. My mom had put the fear of being hurt by strangers into me early so I screamed at the guy and he sped away really quickly.
I ran inside and told my mom what had happened. It was flat-out scary. I'm so glad she was smart enough to instill us with the dangers of following a stranger. I may have become another missing child had I gotten close enough for him to get a hand on.
Many years ago, I was working at the Cincinnati airport as a ramp agent for the now-defunct Comair Airlines. I was working to depart a plane by myself, so I was hustling around to get the baggage door closed, signaling the pilot on engine startup procedures, and I still had to unplug the power cart and marshal the plane out.
The power cart was a diesel generator, parked behind the starboard wing. The cable plugged into a jack on the plane’s belly. The pilot signaled me to disengage it, so I acknowledged him, and ran from my position in front of the nose, out toward the wingtip, and back in, following the trailing edge of the wing.
The exhaust from the turboprop engine was several hundred degrees, so you had to duck under the jet blast to reach the jack. I shut off the power cart, reached the jack, unplugged it and threw the cable clear, latched the door and then started running back toward the nose to get the plane rolling. Hurry, hurry, hurry…
I ran only a few steps when my left leg just didn’t drop. Instead, it extended. It did so for such a distance and time that I literally looked down at it, thinking, "What the heck…"? My foot finally planted on the ground, my knee locked, and I felt the impact in my teeth. My stride was interrupted, and I had literally been turned 90 degrees, and was now running directly away from the plane.
That’s when I realized that my next step would have taken me through the propeller. That was the closest I had ever come to fainting. I have no idea what caused that change in stride, but I was certainly glad of it.
I was maybe 11 or 12 years old when I witnessed something incredible—and terrifying. I love storms. There just happened to be a crazy thunderstorm that night and I decided I wanted to watch it from the doorway of our house. I got the bright idea to open the metal screen door to get a better look. So I was standing between the doorway, holding a chunk of the metal door.
Then suddenly, I see a flash of light, hear a sizzling sound, and then the loudest, closest BANG I've ever heard in my life! I let go of the door and ran back inside. I didn't get a scratch, but the hair on my arms were standing straight up and I had a huge adrenaline rush.
I don't stand in doorways to watch storms anymore.
Never To Be Forgotten
I was in the lobby of the World Trade Center on Sept 11th when the plane hit. Although I didn't know a plane had hit the building at the time, I experienced what sounded like a building bending and metal tearing. Then suddenly, all of the doors in the lobby blew open and burning hot air lashed into my face. It sounded like Hades was coming down those stairs. Turns out I was right.
I must've been around 10 or 12 years old when this happened. I was walking back home one afternoon, around 3 or 4 pm, after strolling around the neighborhood, which was usually very safe, friendly, and quiet. I was on the opposite side of the block, walking past the houses behind ours.
There was a park that connected the entire block which meant you could cut through the houses to get home. I was only a few houses away at that point. I went through the park, a park I had played at my entire childhood, without paying much attention to my surroundings, when about halfway through, this older guy who wore a hoodie whom I didn't know called out to me.
"Dude, come over here for one sec", he said. "Um, what do you want"? I asked. "Come here, I just wanna ask you something", he yelled back. "Ok, ask me from over there", I replied. "No, no, come over, please", he returned. "No, tell me from over there", I responded.
At that point, another dude who was sitting next to him on the bench started to get upset. I heard a, "That's it" from him and they both stood up quickly and started making their way towards me. I can't recall how far they chased after me, but my instincts just told me to run like heck and I did.
To this day I still don't know if they were going to mug me, if they were just taunting me or what was happening but it definitely scared the wits out of me.
Straight Out Of A Horror Flickempty room with bed framesPhoto by Hoshino Ai on Unsplash
My 17-year-old friends and I used to sneak into this abandoned mental institute. We navigated our way through a lot of it over the course of three or four trips.
This place was creepy—like it came straight out of a horror flick. The one time we went into the basement was it for me. One room looked like a freezer area. We had to walk through the thick plastic that shielded the doorway to get into the room.
Someone flicked a switch and it actually turned on this loud machine. We all jumped and screamed like 12-year old girls. Never again.
Spine-Chilling Sounds Of The Night
After the movie ended around 11 pm, my friend and I walked out of the theater towards our car. The theater we had gone to was pretty empty with just a few other stores around. For some reason, we walked out of the wrong doors and ended up on the other side of the mall. It was a good ten minute walk from our car.
As we were walking through the empty parking lot, it was pretty silent until we heard the most bone-chilling scream from about 100 yards away. It was definitely a woman screaming and it was one long, continuous scream—which honestly made it worse. The scream sounded like she had walked in on the loss of a child, or something terrible.
My friend and I immediately turned to each other with the same shocked look. We booked it out of there and called the law enforcement officers. We never did learn of anything happening that night, but I will always remember that scream. To make it worse, we had just watched the movie NOPE.
Just In Time
I was ice fishing on a lake up north with my buddy. It wasn't a big lake, but it was known for good fishing. We were fishing for a while but didn't catch anything when suddenly we heard a loud craaaaack.
The ice started to split from one side of the lake to the other. We had to get to shore ASAP! One side of the shore had already split into two giant slabs and were sinking. Water started running over the top of the slabs.
We had to get to shore NOW. I yelled at my buddy to run.
By the time we got to shore, the one slab of ice began breaking up with the other close behind. The ice quickly sank and disappeared from sight. Luckily, we made it to solid ground just in time, and lived to fish another day.
Fright Of My Life
There was supposedly a haunted house that a bunch of us high schoolers would visit occasionally. It was about a half mile down a gravel road on what used to be a farm.
There were two ways to get to the house: down a gravel road from the main road or down a long meandering path that led to a closed road in a neighborhood that backed up to the farm.
One time, a large group of us decided to head out to the area. We chose the longer path since there were more places to park for the six cars we had with us. My best friend had his foot in a walking boot due to an injury he had.
Anyways, after our usual bout of screwing around, we decided to leave. Everyone left rather quickly but I chose to stay behind and walk with my friend who was moving much slower. I soon came to regret that decision.
About half way back to our car, we looked over to our right and about 20-30 yards away in the field, we saw four guys holding artillery—just standing in the field. There was a bright moon that night so we saw them clearly. We both stopped, crouched down and whispered, "What the heck"?!
We peeked up over the high grass and they were just standing there pointing their artillery at us. We just bolted. Suddenly, my friend with the injured foot was able to run incredibly fast too. It was so freaky.
When we caught up to the others, they said they hadn’t seen a thing. We're still not sure what the heck happened out there and what was going on.
It was a nice summer's day. I went urban exploring with my mate in a storm drain. We only intended to explore the first couple of hundred feet but decided to keep going.
After a while, we could hear a lot of water echoing in the distance. Suddenly, I noticed the water level getting higher with a bit more flow. My mate tried to convince me that it was just a diverted river. I wasn't having any of it and made us head back as quickly as possible.
Suddenly, a freak rain storm, which became torrential, made things more difficult for us. Several times, I wasn't sure if we were going to make it out. Luckily we managed to escape. It was absolutely terrifying.
Let's Get Out Of HereFile:BG Waffle House.jpg - Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org
My friend and I met at Waffle House for lunch. A guy came into the restaurant looking for a piece of paper that he had accidentally left on a table. The waitress didn't know where the paper was located and might have thrown it away.
The guy got upset saying the paper was important and he was going home to get his pistol stored under his mattress. My friend and I quickly paid our check and got the heck out of the restaurant!
When I was about 11 years old, this house down the street from my grandparents' house had a reputation for being haunted.
One day, I was walking to the shop to get supplies for my grandparents and I saw the owner of the house outside. He was about my dad's age and started talking to me. I really wanted to be the first of my friends to go in the haunted house, and I was asking a million questions about ghosts and stuff.
He told me that I could come inside if I wanted to. I said I had to go do my errands but he was pretty convincing and promised he wouldn't tell anyone. So we went up his driveway and into his haunted house. When we got inside, things took a dark turn. I heard him lock the door. I became hyper anxious and said that I had changed my mind about staying.
He had blocked me from the door and tried to change my mind by calling me a scaredy cat and stuff. I don't remember exactly what happened for him to let me out, but he did, and I ran for my life. I sat at the shop for ages just shaking and feeling nauseous without even knowing what I was scared of.
It turned out that the house wasn't haunted. The guy, however, was a monster who liked to do awful things to kids. His house burned down while he was in prison.
The Hunter Or The Hunted?
My late friend was an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He was literally born in the wrong era. He should have been a mountain man. Every year, he would go hunting in this sweet spot where he'd get the biggest bucks I'd ever seen. He loved this spot so much that he would never disclose the location to anyone.
Well, one day, as we were all hanging around, he mentioned that he had a new hunting spot. This was totally out of the ordinary for him. So we asked him why he decided to switch. He told us that when he got to his usual hunting spot, he set up camp and set out to scout the area. As he was walking, he smelled something that he had never smelled before.
This guy lives in a cabin in the woods and knows this area like the back of his hand. For him to smell something unusual is a big deal. But he simply shrugged it off and kept hiking around. He said he kept feeling like he was being watched or stalked, like what you'd expect a deer to feel as it's being hunted.
He then decided to head back to his camp and called it a night. When he got to his truck, he found prints he had never seen before all around his truck and camp. He left and never went back. The look on his face as he told the story was like none I had ever seen on him before.
He later found a new spot that he disclosed to us right before he passed. I'll be hunting there with my dad next season.
Last year, a month before graduating from high school, I had a really creepy encounter. I was walking to school when an old man yelled at me from across the street. He kept yelling his name to me. He eventually caught up to me and told me that he was looking for a lady to marry.
He asked for my name and then asked if he could see me later. I naturally said no, but he kept persisting. I told him that I was still in high school. But it only got worse from there. Rather than backing off, he asked for my age. I told him that I was 18.
He kept asking to see me later. I eventually just said, "Sure", just to get him off my back. I walked away, and my school bus picked me up.
I later learned that he had a reputation for doing this. I also learned that when he was intoxicated, he once broke into a couple's house and wore the woman's pants.
Prowler On The Loose
I lived in south Everett, WA, for a couple years. Once I was walking home from the bus stop to my apartment, which took me behind a Home Depot. Suddenly, a van started following me. I heard the side door slide open and when I looked behind me, I saw only the top half of a man hanging out of the door looking at me.
I darted towards my apartment, running as far as I could. That's when the van started to speed up. It was at that exact moment, a guy started pulling out of the driveway of my apartment complex. He saw me running for my life, and stopped his car. The van immediately turned around and sped off.
The guy asked if I was okay. I asked if he could stay and wait for me to walk safely into my apartment, which was the building next to his. He did, thank goodness. I started carrying mace and a very large blade the next day.
Lucky Escapea red and white bus driving down a snow covered streetPhoto by Brian Jones on Unsplash
One night, a co-worker got off the bus in Scarborough, Ontario, when a guy stepped out from behind the bus shelter and started calling to her to wait up. He ran up to her, but she screamed, "I don't know you", and ran into a convenience store.
The guy hung around outside for a few minutes, then walked over to a vehicle, got in and drove off. She waited for a neighbor in her apartment complex to come over and walk her home.
She filed a report and it turned out she had narrowly escaped Paul Bernardo, then known for his crimes against women in Scarborough, and later known as a homicidal maniac alongside his wife Karla Homolka.
A Terrifying Affair
A 500 lb hog got loose at the state fair and started charging right at me. I have never run so fast in my life.
I was living in Baltimore some years back and was driving home through a rough area of the city. I was sitting at a stop light behind a car when another car pulled up next to me on the right. I didn't think anything of this until the light turned green and neither of the cars moved. Then I saw another car zipping up behind me. I then looked to my left and saw two guys running towards me.
I am so thankful that I left a good deal of space between me and the car in front. I hooked it around the car and sped off. I'm pretty sure I was going to be a victim of a carjacking or maybe something worse. I'm so glad they ill-timed their plan and I gave myself that extra space. The lesson here is to always keep your head on a swivel in Baltimore.
I was sleeping over at a friend's house when I got up in the night to get some water in the kitchen. That's when her father hugged me from behind. I was 14. I never went to their house again.
Signs From Above
When I was a kid, I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness. One day, I was with my mom and a few others going house to house, and preaching to strangers. My mom and I walked up this slanted driveway with trees around each side. The others waited for us in the car. They couldn’t see us from where they had parked on the street.
We knocked on the door and everything seemed normal. Just as the man answered the door, something incredibly strange happened. My ears started to ring and buzz like crazy. It felt like someone threw a helmet on my head and my body was screaming for me to leave.
The man listened to my mom’s spiel. He then said he was interested in hearing more, and invited us inside. Meanwhile, the feelings I had got more intense. The air felt thicker and prevented me from moving. My mom looked at me and she said I looked pale and distant.
She told him that I seemed to be ill and that we had to leave. As soon as we stepped away and I saw the car, I was completely fine. My mom decided to take me home anyway. We lived just two blocks away.
A few days later, we read in the paper about how the same man we had spoken to when I had those strange feelings, was apprehended for slaying several women. I think one of them was as young as 16 years old—just a child. I was 12 years old at the time.
My mom, a dutiful believer at the time, was convinced that the angels had stepped in to protect us and kept us safe that day.
When I was 16 or 17 years old, I was texting with a friend's older brother whom I had only met once in person at a ball game. He was about 19 or 20 years old and was a local paramedic. He was very sweet on me. At that age, I didn’t know any better and just loved the idea that an older guy was so smitten with me.
One day, he randomly showed up at the little country side cafe where I worked. He insisted that I take his letterman jacket even though it was in the heat of summer. It was weird but he was insistent so I took it. That was a big mistake.
We kept texting and things got weirder. He started getting possessive. I got scared and basically ghosted him. I never told him where I lived. Not even a few days later, I was home alone—way out in the middle of nowhere—with my younger stepsister when I heard banging on the door.
We live in an old, run-down, single-wide trailer so nothing was really "home invader proof". It was him. He was yelling for me to come out right away. Thenthings got even more terrifying. He started beating and kicking the door—hard. The whole trailer was shaking. He started throwing stuff at the windows and screaming.
I got my mom's pistol, hid my step sister in the closet and called the authorities. It felt like an eternity waiting for help. He didn’t stop until I heard tires on the gravel pull up. An officer came inside the trailer and said the boy claimed I took his letterman jacket and class ring and he was just there to get his stuff back.
The ring was apparently in the jacket pocket but I didn’t know that. I gave the jacket to the officer. I don’t know what happened to the guy but needless to say there were no further contacts. I still don’t know how he knew where I lived.
In August of 1982, author Stephen King's publisher—my fellow Maineiac—released his book Different Seasons. It was a collection of four novellas set mostly outside the horror genre King had become famous for.
The four novellas—subtitled to reflect the four seasons—were:
- Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: Hope Springs Eternal
- Apt Pupil: Summer of Corruption
- The Body: Fall from Innocence
- The Breathing Method: A Winter's Tale
The first three became the major Hollywood films The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil and Stand By Me respectively. 1986's Stand By Me helped launch or solidify the careers of Wil Wheaton, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland and the late River Phoenix in the critically acclaimed coming of age film directed by Rob Reiner.
I read the book when it was published then saw the film four years later. Both are superbly done and I immediately think of them every time the experience of finding a dead body is discussed.
That is the central plot point of the story—four boys on the cusp of adolescence take a pilgrimage to see a dead body discovered in the woods by the train tracks. The journey is life-changing for the fictional characters.
But what is it like in real life?
Reddit user JohnnyNuclear asked:
"Anyone ever find a dead body unintentionally? What’s the story?"
The Scene of the Accident
"I was at a family reunion forever ago. On my 13th birthday Papaw and I wake up early to go fishing on the big lake right next to the campsite."
"We get in my uncle's bass boat and start making our way out to find a spot. We eventually come across a jet ski, with the front end and handle bars all messed up, floating amongst some rocks."
"I will never forget it."
"We both immediately looked at each other and we knew what we were going to find."
"We didn't say a word, just took the boat over to the rocks and sure enough, there's a guy face down in the water in the rocks, obviously dead."
"We called the cops and waited so they could find him easier. They showed up maybe 20 minutes later and pulled him out..."
"Apparently he was drunk and riding his jet ski fast as Hell the night before and smashed into the rocks head on. Poor dude, think he was in his 40's if I remember right."
"We fished all morning and didn't say a thing. Didn't catch anything either."
"Had a paper route when l was a kid. Part of my route was delivering to a retirement block."
"On this day l stepped out of the lift and as l approached the door to the corridor l saw a trail of blood running underneath it. As l opened the door an old lady was laid head first on the floor with blood pouring from her head, her front door open."
"Tried to help her but she was clearly gone. I chucked the paper over her body and into her flat and ran down to the warden's flat."
"40+ years later, remember it as clear as day. Got offered counselling and a trip to McDonald's from the police."
"I did search and rescue for a long time."
"I left because I was tired of the lack of rescues and mostly finding or recovering bodies."
"It was pretty draining."
Or Maybe the Scene of the Crime
"A buddy of mine skipped school one day to go fishing."
"He thought his fishing line was caught on debris, but as he reeled in a human hand surfaced."
"He called the cops and they yelled at him for skipping school."
"Well, the hand was connected to a whole body."
"My friend just freaked out when the hand emerged."
"My youngest sister would babysit for the woman at the end of our block. She was a divorced woman with 2 kids."
"The ex-husband hadn't heard from her for a few days and came by her house to no answer. Came to my house to see if maybe the kids were there with my sister and if she had an answer why he hadn't heard from his ex-wife."
"Sister wasn't home but he and I went to the house. Knocked a few times, and then he just went to open the front door. It was unlocked."
"Her body was in the living room. She was murdered and her children were gone (turned out kidnapped by her then boyfriend)."
"The ex-husband was rightfully shocked and terrified, immediately called the police and reported as much info as he knew. My little sister had to answer some questions about the boyfriend, help give a description vehicle type. Just basic stuff."
"The kids were found unharmed at the boyfriend's mother's house if I remember correctly. I know for sure that they were OK and their dad was able to get them safely."
"I think the boyfriend was caught because of his mom. She called the cops once she saw the story on the news."
"Playing hide and seek in the woods . I was running after my cousin and tripped and ate dirt over what I thought was a rock."
"Turned over to get my shoe unstuck and saw it was something white and I pulled my shoe out. I got up and saw it was actually a pelvis (I didn’t know what the bone was named at the time but I knew what a bone was)."
"I screamed and my older cousins came running out from their spots to see me crying and trying to get away from the skeleton sitting in the dirt."
"We went and told my parents. We were pretty deep in the woods so one of us stayed near by it and another one of us waited about 50 feet away but to where we could still see each other."
"We basically made a trail of human bread crumbs to make sure we got back to the body to show the cops."
"I honestly can’t remember why it was there but I know it was only like a year old and partially buried."
Sometimes It's Just Natural Causes
"Leaving my house for quick errand briefly noticed an elderly lady parked on side of the road."
"When I returned, her car was still in same location and as I looked closer she appeared unconscious so I stopped but her doors were locked so dialed 911."
"It was determined she had passed away."
"Had a guy collapse dead of a heart attack in my store."
"He put his full
coffee cup down first."
"My friend Vinnywent to a new worksite. The supervisor brought doughnuts and coffee and was introducing everyone to everyone."
"He said this is Joey, Vinny, Jeff, Chad, Morris and then just fell over dead."
"He didn’t even finish introducing everyone."
"Worked at a movie theatre. It was a weekday morning, so usually pretty slow for us."
"Went in to clean a showing of The Hateful 8, there were only two people in the theatre. One in the very back, and one towards the front."
"Walk in to clean the theatre, see the guy up front. Figure he was sleeping, happens sometimes. Say a couple things to see if he’ll wake up. He does not."
"Get spooked and call my manager. Manager shook him a couple of times, realized something was wrong, called the police."
"Dude was dead."
Over 53% of Deaths Occur at Home
"When I was 11 I woke up and was looking for my mom. Couldn't find her anywhere. Walked to her side of the bed and she was dead on the floor."
"That was in 92. She was 27. I'm 43 now."
"My hardest birthday was 28. I felt so young still and my life was just picking up, but I just imagined all the stuff she missed."
"I had a friend who called me around midnight when I was 15. I had a very lax childhood so both me and my mom were awake, but she wasn't exactly happy about my friends calling late at night."
"She chewed me out before I picked up the phone, so I picked up the phone and yelled at him because obviously I was upset that I had just been yelled at."
"He had just found his mom dead. She died of natural causes. She had been sick for a while, I don't recall what exactly was wrong with her."
"He called me after 911 because he didn't know who else to talk to or how to process the situation and the first thing I say is 'why the hell are you calling me this late?!'."
"I will never not feel like the biggest pile of human garbage for that."
"I woke up around 2 in the morning to get a glass of water. I walked past my fiance, who I thought fell asleep on the couch playing his video game."
"Went to touch him to tell him to come to bed.. well, he was cold to the touch and wasn't breathing.. worst day of my life."
"We had celebrated our 10 year anniversary just the night this all happened. He had a heart attack in his sleep."
Regardless of Circumstances, It Makes a Lasting Impression
"In 2017 I used to work as a photographer for one of the biggest shoe stores in Gdansk, Poland. Like one of those with limited, mostly overpriced rare kicks mixed with normal New Balances and Nikes."
"I was responsible for doing packshots (pictures of the product on white background you see on every website) and more lifestyle type of content for social media. The latter was really fun, because I got to take 5 or 6 pairs and go somewhere to shoot with my friend, who would just put them on for pictures."
"Guy was very athletic so if I envisioned him standing on his hands, jumping very high or running super fast for photos, there was no problem with any of that."
"The golden rule was that location had to match the shoe in some way. For example soccer cleats somewhere on the field, basketball shoes on court, running shoes on track etc...."
"It was my role to get creative with it."
"One day I had to do a pair of Timberlands, some Puma running shoes and Vans’ in collaboration with Nintendo."
"I was really looking forward to those Vans because I managed to book a local arcade spot before it opened, so creatively it was dope."
"We shot quick pictures of running shoes on a local track and decided to take Timbs to a nearby forest where we knew there were some old, post-war bunkers."
"It was winter, so grey concrete, some snow and trees seemed like a perfect spot for mustard-colored shoes to pop up."
"And it was in theme since in Poland 6 inch Timbs are more of a winter shoe than work boots."
"So my friend put the shoes on, went to a spot near the entrance to the bunker where I told him to stand and froze..."
"He turned around and said 'Come here and tell me that I’m not seeing what I’m seeing'."
"So there I went thinking he found some money or a phone or something. Nope, there was a body like 2-3 steps inside the entrance. Completely covered with some rugs and cardboard except the creepiest, now engraved in my memory paper white face, with open eyes and open mouth 'looking' right at us."
"He was lying on his side and his head was turned up towards us, which made it even creepier."
"We just stood there for like 20 seconds not moving, not breathing in complete silence. Like we were waiting for him to say something or I don’t know, stand up."
"It was clear the guy was dead but we yelled 'hey' a few times because we couldn’t believe what was happening."
"The fact that this guy was near the entrace and there was this whole, huge, dark hallway with bunker behind it started to create weird scenarios in our heads straight from zombie/Friday the 13th movies."
"We went back to the car and called the police. Patrol car came in like 2 minutes. We told the two cops where to go since we really didn’t want to go there again."
"Turned out it was a homeless guy who got very drunk and went to sleep right after downing a whole bottle of vodka. Froze to death."
"Cops said they knew him, he was about 60, in and out of jail. It took them like 2 hours to take our statements."
"I remember one of them not believing that taking pictures of shoes can actually be a profession so I had to show him the pictures we’d taken already that day."
"We didn’t go to the arcade to take those Vans pictures. We went to a bar instead."
Luckily most of us will probably never have the experience of stumbling across a dead body.
But death is an integral part of life.
Whether we witness it first hand or not, it's something we all need to be prepared to face.
Is it just us, or does it seem like as the internet continues to grow, so do the solutions and "hacks" that turn out to be total snake oil?
And we don't mean "snake oil" like oil that comes... from a snake. Because that sounds painful.
Rather, we mean "snake oil" like deceptive marketing, scams, and fraudulent medical claims, like cure-alls and overnight dramatic weight loss options.
But every once in a while, there's a solution offered that sounds too good to be true, but it turns out to be totally legit.
Curious what surprisingly good hacks others had come across, Redditor ThePonyboyCurtis asked:
"What seems like snake oil but is actually 100% legit?"
The Powers of WD40
"WD40 cleans candle wax off your living room carpet. If ever in doubt, consult an old housewife."
"There is a guy on Snapchat that I follow and I can't think of his screen name right now, but he legit uses WD40 on just about everything. It's crazy some of the sh*t he does with it."
"That’s because it’s a solvent. It’s not a grease meant to loosen up tight screws, it’s a solvent that breaks down the crap making your screws stuck."
Everyone Likes the Smell of Cedar
"I had a weird-smelling basement. Someone said to get aromatic cedar blocks, sand them down, and leave them there. I thought there was no way this could work. But it did. The smell is totally eliminated."
"12 blocks. Each two by two by two inches. Just top layer sand down, half a millimeter maybe. I left them next to a pipe that I believe is the culprit. The basement is like 900 square feet."
"An offering to the stink gods."
"Ah, inches, millimeters, AND square feet. You like to confuse both sides of the ocean, nice."
Don't DTR with Your Hiccups Just Yet
"The whole 'hold your breath to get rid of hiccups' trick."
"The thing is, most people just don't know the proper way to do it or why it works."
"It's got nothing to do with simply holding your breath. It's got to do with using your lungs to hold down the diaphragm and stop it from spasming."
"You breathe in until you cannot fit literally anything else into your lungs. When your chest is as full as humanly possible then you hold it and within about 15 seconds the hiccups are gone."
"So THAT's why it works sometimes and not others."
"I've never had success until I held it until my lungs burnt. That 'oh my god, we're suffocating' feeling is a legit life hack for making your body stop acting stupid."
"It also works for stuffy noses. If you exhale all your breath, then nod your head repeatedly until your lungs burn, and then breathe back in normally, your nose will magically unclog."
"If you have really bad congestion because of allergies or a head cold you sometimes have to do this several more times (the most I've had to do is five times)."
Impossibly Clean Windows
"Vinegar and newspaper to clean windows."
"I thought the ink would come off and make an even bigger mess."
"Almost turns the window invisible."
Magical Mystical Magnesium
"Taking magnesium. It really can cure some joint, nerve, muscle, heart, and breathing problems."
"Of course, the only ones it can cure are ones that are caused by a magnesium deficiency which a surprising number of people have."
"Some life events that can rapidly use up magnesium in the body are pregnancy, surgery, viral illness, and major periods of stress."
Not Just for Painting Toinails
"I was suffering with plantar fasciitis for over six months. I tried new shoes, new insoles, pills, and physical therapy, but none of those things fixed it."
"A friend kept suggesting I try these gel toe separator things like they wear when painting toenails. I thought it was silly, but they were only $10 on Amazon, so what did I have to lose?"
"I wore the neon blue gel thing at night feeling very silly. After the first night, my foot hurt like h**l, but after the second, it felt a whole lot better. I wore it for two weeks straight and plantar fasciitis was gone. Those things were like magic."
"The toe spacers are stretching out your tendons in the feet, therefore reducing the tightness that causes plantar fasciitis! Another thing that should help is putting something like a tennis ball underneath your foot and rolling it around."
"Sitting on your deck in summer or are you having a nice picnic when suddenly you're being accosted by the h**lspawn known as wasps? Get rid of them with this one easy solution: burn some coffee!"
"'Burn coffee?' I hear you say incredulously. Yes, burn coffee! Take a little saucer, pour a little pyramid of ground coffee on in, and use a lighter to light the top."
"It will smolder slowly and give off a smoke that smells, well, like burnt coffee. It will also instantly get rid of any wasps that are bothering you. No idea why, they absolutely hate the smell."
"Some people also dislike the smell of the burning coffee, I understand this. But ask yourself this important question while the smell is annoying you: what do you dislike more; wasps or the smell of burning coffee? I know what I would pick."
"I keep coffee grounds in a short jar on the deck for burning and put the lid on when we are going inside. It keeps the wasps away, and also, it repels mosquitoes."
The Indoor Sunrise
"Someone mentioned melatonin, so it reminded me of the opposite. I bought a daylight lamp last winter because I get depressed when it’s dark outside for long periods of time."
"I got one off Amazon for 40 euros, and now I can’t live without it in the winter."
"I thought it was a sham initially, but the light basically imitates the wavelengths of light emitted by the sun (bar the UVs) and inhibits the production of melatonin. Not only that, but it also boosts my mood and morale. You just have to be careful because it’s difficult to fall asleep for a couple of hours after using it."
"There's a subset of these types of lights that also work like alarm clocks. Wakeup Lights."
"The slightly more expensive ones even fake a sunrise for you. It actually slowly increases in brightness from a dull red, all the way to that bright white/yellow, and THEN starts making noises."
"I used to be such a heavy sleeper before I got mine, and now I can pretty easily get up even at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning even in the dead of winter. I could not imagine living without one going forward, HUGE quality of life improvement for myself."
"And I have not managed for a single family member to try it, not even outright borrowing mine for a week or two. Because they think it sounds dumb and pointless."
"I had chronic back pain for years. Then, just a few years ago I slept on my neck wrong and had neck pain that wouldn’t resolve."
"I saw a physical therapist and the first thing she did was look at how I sat and how I stood and walked. She told me nicely but essentially that my posture was horrible, affected by years of slumping in my seat and also being told continually by my mom to 'suck in that tummy!' when I stood or walked, which led to me thinking a pelvic tilt was necessary for good posture."
"The therapist showed me how to sit and stand with a straight back, my chest up and forward, and my back keeping a healthy lumbar curvature."
"Let me tell you, it was HARD. My shoulder/back muscles were not used to it and I had to train them like any muscle is trained, with a posture bra and also using a long sheet tied like a strap around my neck, arms, and waist. It also felt so unnatural at first to be sticking my chest and butt out, like I was looking for attention, which is part of the reason people have such terrible posture; we feel that’s 'immodest.'"
"No lie, three weeks later, all my back pain symptoms were gone and haven’t returned. I can do some slumping when I sit with no great penalty now, but when I walk, or when have to stand for a duration, or sit on something backless, I use my good posture and I am pain-free."
"I'm trying to spread the word on this makes me feel like a 1950s health movie ('Posture Pals!') but it’s so effective, I can’t stop sharing. Years of chronic back pain completely eliminated by just a few weeks of good posture training."
The Power of Meditation
"Meditation. When I was an alcoholic and drug abuser, my friend used to tell me about meditation to help with anxiety and stress."
"I thought, 'B***h, we use Xanax around here, no one’s got time to meditate.'"
"We no longer use Xanax and have the time to meditate."
Water in the Ear
"Hopping on the opposite leg when you have water in your ear after swimming. It works every d**n time."
"I need to try this. BRB (Be Right Back), gonna get water stuck in my ear..."
"Saltwater swish and gargle for toothache and sore throat (as long as it’s not something like strep). Source: currently have strep and ain’t nothing working."
"Otherwise, even the dentist tells me to salt water swish if I get tooth pain or something stuck. Total relief."
"I’m a once-a-year strep throat sufferer. For a severe sore throat, my doctor told me to mix a one-half cup Mylanta (kept in the fridge) with a tablespoon of Benadryl. Gargle every few hours. The cold Mylanta cools and soothes and the Benadryl reduces inflammation."
"She said saltwater only dries the throat out more and creates more pain. It works wonderfully."
"A few jobs ago, I worked as a pharmacy tech. There was a doctor out there who would call in 'Magic Mouthwash,' a one-to-one-to-one ratio mixture of Mylanta, Benadryl, and Lidocaine."
"It's great for strep, as well as mouth sores often caused by radiation and chemotherapy. Sounds like you got the over-the-counter recipe."
The Importance of Vitamin D
"Vitamin D supplements. it's much more important than any of us realized."
"I started doing this a few years ago and it's not straight-up noticeable right away but hot d**n, even a couple months into that first winter, I was like, 'Huh, I don't have that soul-crushing gloom like I usually do this time of year.'"
The Truth About Yoga
"Yoga. I have severe upper back pain and went through months of physical therapy. I couldn't keep up with the millions of appointments and started doing yoga as a way to stretch my upper back instead. I was doing it for 30 minutes each day and forgot that I had pain."
"It's so annoying that it does what people say it does because this whole time, I thought they were just being annoying but they're one hundred percent right."
"There's an app I like that's called 'Down Dog Yoga.' It's a blue dog as the logo, that's the app I really enjoy! You can customize the time and focus area so you can fit things in when you have time."
Something For Our Four-Legged Friends
"Does a dog thundershirt count?"
"I had an anxious dog with storms and loud noises, so I got him one, and while not perfect, he did seem to calm down with it on more often than not!"
Whether it's mocking back-and-forth conversations in the comments section on social media about, 'But have you tried yoga?!' or laughing at an informercial about Dog Thunder Shirts or Wakeup Lights from the comfort of our couches, we've surely all questioned at least one of the items or hacks on this list.
But it's humbling to know that every once in a while, the thing that seems too good to be true... will actually deliver on its promises.
Fortunately, for most of these hacks, trying them for a week or two wouldn't be a serious feat, and who knows, maybe they would work for us, too!