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Melissa McCarthy Got Her Husband A Present For Their Anniversary That 'Horrified' Their Kids 😂

Melissa McCarthy Got Her Husband A Present For Their Anniversary That 'Horrified' Their Kids 😂
(Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

The secret to a healthy relationship or marriage doesn't always involve wine and roses, especially for a couple who's known each other for over a decade.

As far as comedic actress Melissa McCarthy is concerned, she thought she'd keep the spark alive with her hubby Ben Falcone by commemorating their 13th wedding anniversary with a gag gift.


The 48-year-old Bridesmaid star revealed on Wednesday's Ellen DeGeneres show that she gave Falcone, 45, a Jitterbug.



No, not the old-timey dance craze.


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The Jitterbug in modern times is a special device that McCarthy filled us in on:

"I gave him a … phone for senior citizens,"


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According to Greatcall, a Jitterbug is a smartphone with large, easy-to-read text capability.

The device also comes equipped with an emergency button that can connect callers directly to an International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Certified 5Star Agent.

The couple's daughters, Georgette and Vivian, were apparently terrified by the foreign object.

"It has huge buttons. It's fantastic. Jitterbug, that's right. Jitterbug. My kids are horrified by it."

TheEllenShow YouTube subscribers got a kick out of McCarthy's quirky anniversary gift and also expressed how much they adore the Life of the Party actress.









Others just loved seeing the interaction between two smart and funny women in entertainment.









The couple celebrated with a "very romantic evening" at their house, and her co-star Richard E. Grant from the upcoming biographical film Can You Ever Forgive Me? was an invited guest that night.

However, Grant didn't realize the evening marked a special occasion until he was on his way home.

"He's like, 'Wait, is this your anniversary?' I'm like, 'Yes, you're the gift.' And we just ate hamburgers."

The topic served as a segue for McCarthy to reveal her silly gift.

"I need to work on my romance skills, I think," she admitted.

When Ellen asked how the pair met, McCarthy said that she and Falcone attended the same party almost a decade before officially meeting each other.

"We were together at a party when he was still in high school and I was in college, but we didn't talk."
"And later he said, 'Oh God, I knew who you were.' I was like, 'Did I have a cape on?' He said, 'Yes.' Sadly, that's true."


H/T - GreatCall, People, YouTube

Cringing woman
Photo by OSPAN ALI on Unsplash

We can all agree that first impressions are important. No matter what may happen after that first encounter, the first impression has a way of lingering.

But some bad first impressions are absolute deal-breakers. No matter how kind or awesome a person might seem, there's really no coming back from that...

Redditor Dizzy-Effort-1375 asked:

"What was the worst first impression you ever had with someone?"

Know Your Place

"When I went before the Judge, I was drunk and argued with him."

"That earned me 10 extra days for contempt of court."

"Fortunately, I'm now six years sober."

- TrailerParkPrepper

Cruelty Is Unattractive

"I met a girl at work. I thought she was cute until she bragged about purposefully hitting a bird with her truck because 'birds are stupid.'"

"There's nothing quite like some animal cruelty to kill your attraction level."

- Numerous_Share7920

Know-It-Alls Not Welcome

"A family friend wanted to introduce her new boyfriend to her friend group."

"The dude was a know-it-all. He talked over everybody, was very condescending, and was just a rude jerk."

"We gave him a do-over and he was even worse the second time."

"That was over 15 years ago and they're still together. I don't see my friend much anymore."

- dadobuns

How Rude, Indeed

"I went into a dealership to support my wife as she shopped for her car. A skeezy salesman came up, introduced himself to me, and immediately acted all buddy-buddy with me, and started calling me by my first name. He never acknowledged my wife."

"I told him she was actually the one car shopping, and he barely batted an eye and kept trying to sell to me."

"I politely reminded him, and he still refused to deal with her."

"We walked right out without a word. F**k that guy. And f**k Bob HowardToyota in North Oklahoma City."

- Misdirected_Colors

"More like 'Bob Howrude Toyota in North Oklahoma City'!"

- fueelin

Stop Micro-Managing Me

"I was 19 years old and just starting my first real full-time job. I was taken around by the foreman and introduced to my new co-workers."

"All was well until I was introduced to Walter, the resident old pr*ck, who was to be my supervisor. He took one look at me and said, 'When are you quitting?'"

"I never even got a chance. He rode my a** every day. He repeatedly told the boss I was no good and I should find another job."

"He got fired two months later for being a d**k to everyone. I lasted 36 years."

- Crazy-Rip-6496

He Probably Thinks The Moon Landing Was a Hoax, Too.

"I had to pick up a new coworker to drive to the location we'd be working for the week. After talking about the job for about 25 minutes, he asked, 'So what do you think about 9/11?'"

"I knew it was going to be a long week."

"I said the most non-committal thing I could imagine because we still had hours in the car. 'It was a thing that happened.'"

"He rolled his eyes and said, 'Oh, so you think it happened.'"

- YetAnotherZombie

The Impression That Sticks

"I was dating this girl in another town and I was there visiting her. We were walking around downtown and these six or seven guys cornered me in a dark parking lot."

"This one guy started shoving me, going on about how I was 'in his town' and he should kick my face in for being where I shouldn't."

"I was so p**sed. If he didn't have six other guys with him, it would've gone down very differently. He really embarrassed me in front of my girl. Thankfully, the cops showed up before it escalated though, with those 6 other guys there... I might be dead."

"20 years later, he married my sister. He's actually a really great guy, a great husband, and a great father to my nieces and nephew... but I still have a hard time getting past that first encounter. I HATE the fact that I have to think of him as a decent person."

- KingGuy420

The Worst Priorities

"I'm a nurse and when I worked on a ward for the elderly, I had to call and ask the family of a very lovely lady who was dying to come and see her."

"They only lived a few miles away from the hospital but took seven hours to arrive. By that time, the lady had passed away."

"I had to tell the family as soon as they arrived. I expected tears and sadness, but the daughter only said, 'It's okay. Mum had a great life insurance policy.'"

"No tears. No upset. They were all smiling and trying to hide it. I hated them."

- curiousopenmind22

That Hidden Sense of Humor

"My best friend. We met in middle school and she’s blonde, gorgeous, and seemed super stuck up when I first met her. Obviously, I made assumptions about her."

"As it turns out, she’s super socially awkward, and once I got to know her, I found out that she has a super bizarre sense of humor (which I love), but she doesn’t show it to strangers."

"20 years later and we’re still best friends."

- littlepinch7

The Entitled Parker

"I came to work one day when I knew a new person was starting. In the employee parking area was a car I'd never seen before using up two spaces."

"My first thought was, 'She's one of THOSE people.'"

"And she was."

- ctruemane

Troubling At Best

"I met a woman who went on to defend torture at length. Even when her arguments were debunked, she was still in favor of it."

- TheMoniker

Just So Humble

"A new hire I was supposed to train, let's call him Chad, because that's his name, came in on day one and said during introductions, 'Some people say they're a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none; not me, I'm a master at everything I touch.'"

"And that was that, instant dislike. He was gone the next day, lol (laughing out loud)."

- cdaisycrochet

The Teen Cringe Is Real

"For me? I was 13, my brother brought home some college roommates with no warning, and I was (apparently) having a bad enough hair day to literally dive behind our couch to hide from them."

"My mom called me to come introduce myself, and I continued to hide, but when my mom sent my little sisters to find me, I was worried I’d get found, so I popped up out of nowhere and said hi, still standing behind the couch."

"To this day, my brother's roommates said that was one of the funniest things they’d ever experienced, lol (laughing out loud), and one of my cringiest memories. Haha!"

- ChewsOnRocks

No Point of Reference

"I guess it wasn't really bad, but it was weird."

"I was getting ready for work, went outside for a smoke, and my upstairs neighbor said 'Hey,' from her balcony."

"She wanted to introduce me to her visiting sister, so I said 'Hey there, how's it going,' and pointed at my name tag while saying, 'I'm Bob, of course.'"

"The sister looked at me a bit weird, but I didn't think much of it."

"Then I went back in to finish getting ready and realized I did not in fact have my work shirt on yet, so there was no name tag. So... as far as that lady knew, I just said my name and randomly pointed at my manboob. Like, 'Hey, I'm Bob... check THIS out.'"

"I mean, you can't go back and explain at that point. I have no idea what she thought of me but I am guessing it was somewhere between moron and weirdo, and I never tried to find out."

- Divayth--Fyr

The Lie of First Impressions

"It was an old school friend's partner I'd never met before. My friend's parents emigrated in the late 1960s and we were penpals after she went to New Zealand."

"Her partner was coming over alone for three weeks for some research to do with his MA at Otago University in Dunedin, and I said he could stay with us. This was back in the 90s."

"When he turned up at our door, he was in shorts and a vest and waving a bottle of spirits in one hand and a skateboard under the other arm. He was heavily tattooed (including his face) and dreadlocked."

"I maintained a friendly smile, but my heart did sink, I can't lie."

"I was so very, very wrong. He's a brilliant bloke. I didn't know he was half Maori and had never encountered Maori tattoos before. The spirits were for us (he's teetotal) and he was a great house guest."

"He always cleaned the bath after he used it, bought food and cooked really brilliant meals, very funny, the cats loved him, he took the dog for walks (who spent about three weeks gazing adoringly at him and slept at his feet) the kids and my husband loved him."

"He taught my kids the Haka. My kids got major kudos because the cool Maori skateboarder was staying at their house."

"When he left, he gave us a beautiful framed drawing he'd done of a native NZ bird on a Manuka shrub as a thank-you present."

"It taught me an important lesson. First impressions can be very misleading. I wish he'd been here for more than three weeks (although he's visited since)."

- PeggyNoNotThatOne

For the first impressions that were genuinely terrible, it's clear why these Redditors would not want to continue interacting with the people involved, or how they would not be surprised by people not wanting to interact with them.

But there are also reminders here of how first impressions, however lasting, can be wrong, and the relationship beyond the first impression can be wonderful if we manage to look past it.

Man dressed a court jester or a joker
Austin Lowman/Unsplash

The human race is supposedly touted as a superior species compared to other lifeforms on Earth.

Sadly, the generalization does not apply to everyone.

And while the notion that "nobody is perfect" is perpetually expressed to console those who've made regretful mistakes, that is not entirely true.

We see them in the news all the time.

Dimwits–which may include those with no social graces or lack of basic life skills in order to survive adulting through life–are among us.

Curious to those who've face-palmed in response to an individual's intelligence level, Redditor Joker101001 asked:

"Albert Einstein once said 'The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.' What are some examples of this that you have experienced?"

People shared their observations about our intellect..or lack thereof.

Touché

"You shouldn’t believe every quote you read on the internet. — Abraham Lincoln."

– _PM_ME_PANGOLINS_

"I think he was re-quoting Julius Caesar who made this comment the morning he was warned not to go out that day."

– Emergency-Ad-7002

Humbling Realization

"I think the more educated we become, the more we know how little we actually know, and it’s humbling, but ignorant people really have no idea what they don’t know, leading them to be confident about their ignorant stances."

– PuzzleHeadedNinny

Reaching Limitations

"Physics has kind of reached a point where we realized we don't know how anything works at a fundamental level. Every theory breaks down at tiny or gigantic scales. There is a crisis in cosmology, spinning glaxies have either disproven gravity or proven undetected dark matter, and the vast majority of matter and energy is undetectably dark. We don't know why matter exists (as opposed to antimatter, given their symmetries). We don't know how time and space work inside black holes, how many dimensions there really are, or whether space and time are quantized. We've kinda figured out ordinary matter at human scales, but that's it."

– turbotong

The Thing About Doubt

"There are limitations to human knowledge and our understanding of things. Rather than acknowledging these limitations, people fill them in with supernatural explanations. When you express uncertainty or doubt, you are mocked or they ascribe to a lack of self confidence."

"Doubt is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it."

– RecalcitrantMonk

Knowledge Vs. Intelligence

"Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit."

"Intelligence is combining the tomato with other ingredients to make something better."

"Knowledge is what we learn, intelligence is what we do with what we have learned."

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7183572/

"Charisma is the exact opposite of what I just did - citing an academic paper on reddit."

– egregori3

People shared their most dullest interactions.

Dumbfounding Stupidity

"Oh boy. I once met a guy who was so stupid that he thought the ocean was alive and waves was it breathing. I remember one time in school he was doing homework for another class and asked the teacher “Where were the Canaanites from?” She jokingly said Nova Scotia. He asked how to spell it. This guy thought Beauty and the Beast was based on a true story about a girl and a bear. He would constantly make bets that he lost and never learned his lesson. He didn’t know that chicken the food came from chicken the animal. I have met a lot of stupid people in my life but I have never met anyone quite so bafflingly stupid that I had to wonder if they, in high school, could even read."

– Not-sure-wtf-I-am

"A friend of mine once met a young woman who thought that fluttering leaves caused the wind to blow."

– Ancguy

"A former classmate of mine (in college, mind you) once said the sky was blue because it reflected the ocean."

"She thought the sky was blue everywhere, even hundreds or thousands of miles inland, because of the ocean."

– CrypticBalcony

Scam Fail

"I worked at an embassy. One day a guy came to me, completely explained a scam he did. It had failed and he wanted to know how I could help him "as we are countrymen".

"Called my colleagues at home and set them on his a** too."

– Dependent-Cress-948

Expected Expectations

"As a high school math teacher, I cringe when students hand in a test and say 'I think I aced it.' It’s almost always an F."

– kasgar77

"One time I left a stats exam in college and texted my friend, “if I knew a test was going to kill me and I went anyway, is that suicide?” She said “I think it’s more like when you walk through a bad part of town alone at night and get shot. It’s not really your fault.”

– FlockofDramaLamas

Kiwi Get A Clarification?

"When I was in middle school I convinced a girl that the kiwi birds laid the kiwi fruit as food for their babies. It wasn’t that hard to convince her."

– ChaoticCauldron

Conspiracy Theorists

"Flat eathers. It is difficult to find more dumb."

– DrowningInMyFandoms

"These days, there's quite a bit of overlap there. Flat earthers tend to be very anti-establishment, but because they also tend to be very religious and Trump is supported by many fundies, there's a definite connection there. Plus, his support of conspiracies makes him seem like 'one of them'; some flat earthers thought Trump would be the one to expose NASA and the fake ISS, but that never happened."

– SyntheticGod8

I think COVID pulled back the curtain on the lack of intelligence on display.

Irrational mob mentality prevented US citizens from critical thinking and drawing irrational and false conclusions from sheer panic.

Remember the toilet paper shortage and the anti-vaxxer movement?

I was more terrified of our lack of humanity and compassion than the virus that was being allowed to spread thanks to ignorance.

Bizarre dreams that come true, ghostly apparitions, and shared hallucinations. Have you ever had that feeling of being transported to another dimension? These real-life stories of strange and uncanny experiences from Quora and Reddit could be straight out of Twin Peaks.

Lucky Charm

woman in black jacket and white pants sitting on concrete floor during daytimePhoto by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I lost a jacket at a roller rink when I was in 3rd grade. I had a lucky rabbit foot in the pocket that I bought at the skate shop inside. Months later, my mother, who is adopted, found her birth mother and her half-sister. The first time I went to my newly found Aunt's house, she said she had a jacket that might fit me.

It was my jacket, rabbit foot still in the pocket.

Paranormal Activity

One morning, I woke up and noticed my camera was on top of the sofa opposite my bed. I knew I didn’t put it there because it was a very expensive camera and it could very easily have fallen from this place. I had placed it in my cabinet. I went over, picked it up, turned it on, and clicked the button to view the photos. My blood ran cold.

There were hundreds of photos of me sleeping, all seemingly taken from the back of the sofa. I was literally so freaked out, I couldn’t stop crying. I lived alone. It was just photo after photo of me sleeping. The photos were taken in “quick snap," where the camera takes approx one photo per second.

I later realized the camera didn’t even have a “quick snap” setting so technically it was impossible for the camera to take the photos at all. The time stamps suggest all photos were taken between 2 and 3 am.

I’ve never figured out what happened, how the camera got to the sofa, or how it is even possible for a camera with no quick snap to quick snap, but I still have a USB with the photos on it and it still freaks me out.

Lucky Escape

It was 1977—and it was a meeting I'll never forget. I had taken time off work to have a baby and stay home with her. But I still needed an income, so my mother hired my younger sister and me to do the dirty, back-breaking work in her shop while she took care of her first infant granddaughter.

My sister and I were working at our mom’s antique store one summer day. Mom had just gotten a truckload of European oak furniture that needed to be cleaned and polished, had the handles screwed on, and so forth.

A nice-looking young man came into the store and started talking to my sister, who was 17 at the time. He introduced himself as Ted Smith, and we laughed and said we must be related as Mom’s maiden name was Smith also. He chatted both of us up but focused on my sister for the most part.

He purchased an armoire but said he’d have to go get his truck since at the moment he was driving his VW Bug—an old VW Bug. He then asked my sister and me if we wanted to go out to dinner that night with him. We were sweaty and dirty from work, I had a baby to care for, and my sister already had a boyfriend, so we said “Thanks, but no thanks, Ted”.

He asked me to ride with him to get his truck so he could drop his Bug off at the auto shop for repairs, but by that point, I had to get home to my infant right away, because I was still nursing her. However, he wouldn’t give up trying to get one or both of us away from the shop.

He said he could come back about 10:00 that evening for his armoire and asked whether one or both of us would be there. We replied, “No, we close the shop at six, and we both have places to be tonight". He was persistent. “How about tomorrow night?" I said, “No, we close at 6:00, except on Saturdays, when we close at 4:00”.

He asked whether one of us could meet him early in the morning, like at 5:30 am, but neither of us wanted to. He was getting to be a bit creepy and my sister and I were eye-rolling at each other. Eventually, he said he was sorry but he couldn’t buy the armoire if we couldn’t be flexible.

We hated to give up the sale, but after he had been there for two hours, we thought he was just looking and taking up our time. We still had a lot of work to do on the furniture that had just arrived in the shop. Finally, we just wanted to finish our work and go home.

At 6:00 pm, as we were leaving, his VW Bug was parked outside and he asked us whether we wanted to go for coffee; he especially wanted my sister to go. We said, “Thanks, Ted, but no thanks, like we said earlier, we have plans," but he continued to be insistent.

Finally, I said, “Sis, let’s go—I’ll take you home”. Even though she had her car there, for some reason I didn’t want to leave her to drive home alone with this guy around. So he drove off in his Bug and we really didn’t think of it again…Until the next year, when his picture appeared in the paper.

He was Ted Bundy. It still sends chills up my spine, writing this, and my sister and I talk about it occasionally. We were two lucky young women that day. If either of us had agreed to go, we would have been goners.

Final Destination

man holding smartphone in close up photographyPhoto by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

*phone ringing wakes me up from my nap*

“Dude, are you coming or what? All of us are already here”.

I checked the time and it was already 6:17 pm. We were supposed to meet at 6.

“I JUST WOKE UP, I’ll be there by 6:45-ish, just go get dinner first or something”.

I became the Flash for the next 15 mins, got dressed up, and got a cab to the mall.

On the way to the mall, tragedy struck. I got into a car accident. I remember the car in front of my taxi, flipping and crashing into the vehicle I was in. I also remember slowly losing consciousness. That was when I woke up at 5:17 pm, on the same day, before all of that happened.

Later on, when I was eating with my friends at around 6:45 pm, there was a car crash nearby, where one of the cars flipped. Though, a taxi wasn't involved (I think). It was so weird. It was as if my inner self from an alternate reality was telling me what would happen if I didn't wake up on time.

No one believed me, but it sure is a story to tell.

Dead Ringers

Before I divorced my husband, but while we were still living in California, I used to adore going to thrift shops. One day, while visiting a shop in Venice Beach, I saw, in the “odds and ends” bowl, a very peculiar earring. It was a sort of "seashell" design, handmade, with a pendant black pearl dangling from it.

From the shape of the shell, it would only go “frontways” on the left ear. It was obviously a shop project, but was so unusual, I decided I had to have it. I could always take it apart and use the pearl for something…so I bought it for maybe 25 cents. That was in 1979.

The earring went into my “scraps” box. Years passed. I divorced and found my new love. We moved to Hollywood, then in 1988, to Albuquerque. One day, while walking to the book store I saw a sign “GARAGE SALE” …well…I love garage sales, so I went to the house and looked around.

The lady had a big wooden bowl set out with beads, rings, bits and bobs… and as I sorted through the jumble I saw…a very peculiar earring…with a stylized “seashell” and a dangling black pearl! And it was handmade and fit the right ear! I immediately showed it to the lady: “I have an earring at home…that looks exactly LIKE this!!" The lady's response shook me.

She looked perplexed and said, “Well, dear…I don’t think so…my boyfriend made those for me in Shop…and I lost one of them many years ago”. I froze. “Where?" She smiled “Oh a long way from here…it was in California…I’ve forgotten the place…a beach…named like a place in Italy”.

“Venice Beach?" I said, feeling a bit dizzy. She nodded eagerly. “Wait here," I said, somewhat illogically…after all, it WAS her home… and when I came back with the matching earring, they were a PERFECT match! I offered to give my earring back to her so she would have the completed pair again, but she refused, saying, “I never liked him very much. You keep them, Dear”.

So I still have them, a handmade pair, separated by hundreds of miles and nine years, and reunited completely by chance.

Hold The Phone

I saw a stranger’s phone number in my dream!! And what happened afterward was actually the strangest part. I often see very vivid dreams—but rarely do I see numbers. In fact, except twice or thrice I haven't seen any numbers in dreams. And when I did see them, it’s just 3–4 digits numbers.

But then one day, I see this 10-digit number that starts with 9 and ends with 1. In fact, it consisted of only 9s and 1s. I saw it very vividly. The numbers were red in color with white background. When I woke up, I immediately wrote that number and realized that it could be somebody's phone number.

Out of curiosity, I dialed and it rang!! I immediately disconnected. Having it confirmed as a valid phone number, I was curious to know who that number belonged to. I googled it; no information. I sought help from a friend who was working with a telecom company as customer support.

He told me that it was a VIP no. and so the owner's information was not available to everyone. Now, I was burning with curiosity. But you can't just call a random number and ask about the owner's identity because you saw that number in your dream!! But my curiosity got the better of me and I simply called.

A lady answered. As expected, she asked me why I wanted to know about her. I told her that I saw the phone number in my dream and waited for her amused response. To my surprise, she responded in a very normal tone, “Hmm, okay, I understand. However, I feel it is not the right time to tell you. You will know when the right time comes. Ok? Bye”.

Whaaaaaaaat!!!!

This happened in early 2010. I never called on that number again. I don't know if that lady was just being sarcastic or was really serious. The ‘Right time to know her’ also hasn't arrived yet. And it has become the strangest and most mysterious incident of my life.

Ken You See What I See?

boy wearing gray vest and pink dress shirt holding bookPhoto by Ben White on Unsplash

As a child visiting my Grandma's house, whenever I left the house I'd wave next door to Ken who was always sitting in the bay window looking out at the sea. They lived right on the coast of the North Sea in Hartlepool (UK). We'd never really talk, but just a little wave before I went to get into the car.

One time, I'm leaving my Gran's house, and I'm in front of my Mum who stopped at the door to talk to my Gran. So I head down the steps and towards the gate. I turn back and see Ken in the window. Big smile as usual, waving at me. I give him a wave back.

He stands up, gives me the thumbs up, and wanders toward the back of the room. My Mum comes walking down the steps and asks "Who are you waving at?" I replied "Ken". To this day, I can remember my mum's face. She just went white but didn't say anything to me.

It was only a few weeks later when she plucked up the courage to tell me that Ken had passed a few days prior to our visit to my Grans. I don't believe in ghosts, but I know I saw him. I can still picture his striped gray sweater with light stripes across it. Him waving and getting up out of his chair.

There was no one else in the house, he lived by himself.

Small World

This happened when I was about 25, and working as an English teacher in Tokyo. I had joined up with some other ex-pat Brits who had a football team. We used to play every Saturday. After one game we were having a few drinks. I was talking to Dave, our star player. I asked where he was from.

Plymouth.

Wow, that's weird. I'm from Plymouth! What part of Plymouth?

Plymstock.

Wow, that's amazing—I used to live in Plymstock when I was about 10. What school did you go to?

Goosewell Junior.

No way! I went to Goosewell! How old are you?

25.

Wow me too!

By this time I figured we may have been in the same class.

What's your surname?

Rowe.

Oh my god. I remembered him! He was the headmaster's son! In my class! And here we were 15 years later on the other side of the world in the same football team!

How weird is that!

Matilda?

When my daughter was little and she would get upset, something in the kitchen would randomly break. This happened way too many times to be coincidental and the things that broke did so in inexplicable ways. I clearly remember one instance very early in the morning standing in the kitchen, telling her she couldn’t have cake from the night before.

She immediately looked angry and I heard a weird “plink” sound in the cupboard. I opened it and found the plate on the top of the stack was cracked in several places. No signs of this in later years. She’s 24 now and I often allude to this and remind her boyfriend not to make her mad.

I Smell A Rat

a rat sitting on a piece of woodPhoto by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

A few years ago I was living in a two-bed flat with my brother in Shepherd’s Bush, London. It was converted from a basement so you had to walk down some steps to get to the front door, and just outside was a communal trash area where bin bags were just left out to be enjoyed by the city’s smaller, furrier residents (foreshadowing).

My tiny room was under a bathroom and literally had mold growing on the walls, to give you an indication of how salubrious this place was. Oh well, I was only paying enough rent for a 12-bed mansion anywhere else in the country.

On that fateful day, I woke up one morning to hear a panicked scratching noise coming from the bathroom. Further inspection revealed an unexpected (and unwelcome) house guest of the four-legged variety, who had done what we had never dared to do—use the bath.

The rat had obviously fallen in and was struggling to climb up the steep sides of the bathtub, and upon seeing my expression of mingled shock, fear, and disgust, it proceeded to get even more worked up and, not to put too fine a point on it, pooped everywhere.

At this point, I may have (loudly and with plenty of expletives) made this known to my brother, who also came in, and we stood there assessing the slightly surreal situation we found ourselves in. I do have a bit of a soft spot for most animals, and my brother and I decided we didn’t have the heart to end our newest tenant’s life there and then.

My brother had a little bag he (evidently) wasn’t too attached to, and put it down in front of the rat, who needed no second invitation to shoot straight inside, doing his best impersonation of Hansel leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind him, but substituting said breadcrumbs for something softer and smellier.

We zipped up the bag and assessed the situation once more. We decided that, despite his contemporary bathtub artwork, it was the rat’s lucky day and we’d release him somewhere far away, with the aid of the city’s wonderful public transport system.

So, on a weekday morning, we found ourselves sitting on the bus next to a bag containing a rat that was most likely both metaphorically, and literally, soiling itself. We got out near a park and found a secluded spot where onlookers wouldn’t question our sanity (although, being Londoners, they probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid), and carefully opened up the bag.

Our new acquaintance was quite content to stay in the relative safety of his newfound home, so it took a little bit of a shake before he dropped out and ran off into a hedge without so much as a “goodbye, thanks for not bashing in my head with a rolling pin”. My brother decided he’d rather not keep the bag. But the story doesn’t end here though, unfortunately.

With excellent timing, literally, as we arrived home and opened the door, all warm and fuzzy from doing a good deed, another rat (might have been the earlier one’s brother, he certainly had a striking resemblance) ran past our legs and into the house. This had turned into a problem.

We’d seen them before amongst the trash outside our door, but they’d never been bold enough to run right inside, sans invitation. Further inspection revealed that there were some holes the rats had dug outside, and they were managing to tunnel inside.

Did I mention that this was about two weeks before we had to move out and make sure we got our security deposit back? Stalin once remarked, after losing his wife: "This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for humanity".

My brother and I had a similar experience, only with rats rather than wives, and the turning point was a second unwanted house guest rather than the passing of a loved one. I guess not really that similar, on balance. We were angry at ratkind, anyway, is my point, but he had uni and I had work so the plans of revenge had to be postponed.

The next morning I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, and my barefoot made contact with another very alive, and very vocal rodent. I can safely say there are nicer ways to start a day than treading on a rat. But it gets worse.

My brother was out but his then-girlfriend (now fiancée, which is nice because we have a good story to look back on) had stayed over and was alerted to my presence based on my (really deep and manly) shrieks of terror. From the noises coming from various dark corners and inside cupboards we could tell that there were definitely rats, plural, within the house.

This suspicion was confirmed upon opening one cupboard, and the (figurative…honest) pants-wetting that ensued when another one shot out. The humane option was off the table and we went to the shop to get some heavy-duty rat traps, plus a hefty dose of poison.

I did a bit of research and discovered that rats went crazy for peanut butter, so we set the traps, put the poisoned food out, and waited. It didn’t take long. Turns out rats really do love peanut butter, and a combination of the traps and the poison (I assume, for the rats who were MIA) finished them off in a couple of days.

I do have a confession, though. When I was about to leave for work the day after setting the traps, I came across one of the rats slightly worse for wear (i.e. a metal bar turning its face into a Picasso portrait) and thought I’d be a top brother and pretended I hadn’t seen the body so he’d have to deal with it while I was out.

Well, that’s what you get for palming the situation off on me and your girlfriend buddy! We did get the deposit back, so if there were any rats who crawled inside the walls to die at least we moved out before they started smelling. Sorry future tenants, it probably didn’t make much difference to that flat anyway.

Pretty weird couple of days.

Super Recognizer

I was introducing a business partner to a customer who said immediately that he knew him, as he was his tour guide in NEW ZEALAND 16 YEARS AGO. It took him only a matter of SECONDS to recognize the guy, who now has a beard and gray hair. And we live in BRAZIL.

It seems that some people have an uncanny ability to recognize people with VERY little information. We were amazed but later I was talking to this guy and he told me that his father also has the same ability. He can recognize people passing by in moving cars, just glancing out of the window.

He can also recognize someone at first glance even if they are well inside a pub in a dark area. He does not know how he does it, but he does.

A Murder Of Crows

When I was eight, my father brought home a pair of lovebirds. I was obsessed with them. I cleaned their cages, fed them, and every passing second I would check up on them. The birds were majestic. Both had bright yellow feathers, with spots of blue. They were beautiful little creatures.

Months later, to my abject horror, the female bird passed, to never move again. The consequences were devastating. As we moved her lifeless body away, the other one stopped eating. He became fussy, he would peck me when I would clean his cage, he wouldn't touch his food for days, and he would just lie at the bottom of the cage, to not move.

My eight-year-old brain couldn't understand what was wrong. One day, I decided enough was enough. I thought the bird was sad because he was caged and I made up my mind to release him to the wind so he could be happy again. I didn't tell my parents, and I took my precious little bird to the terrace.

Within minutes of taking him upstairs, I see a flock of crows gather around where I was. My bird would thrash around in his cage, and I thought that he was finally happy. He will finally be free. As I opened the gate to his cage, I saw that he was hesitant, and unwilling to leave the cage. I would shake it, move it, but the bird wouldn't budge.

As young as I was, I tilted the cage and the bird had no option but to leave the four walls that caged him. For a second, he would spread his wings, and I would smile—happy and content that I'd done the right thing. Little did I know, I'd just made the worst mistake possible.

Just then, a pack of crows started chasing him, trying to catch up to him. I was terrified. I started screaming, crying, and throwing rocks at the pack of crows that were chasing him. Within two minutes, the bird, my bird, was pecked at, ambushed, and a goner.

This event would mess me up for years to come, and even today I shake and shudder every time I remember this moment. I would rush back home, hug my Didi, and cry, while she told me how these birds couldn't survive in the city. She told me how the bird was sad after losing its mate. Turns out, they are this way.

This event, as strange as it was, taught me something incredibly important. You can't save everyone and not everyone needs saving. More importantly, just because your intentions are pure, doesn't guarantee that what you're doing is right.

It’s Raining Men

man in brown shirt beside woman in black shirtPhoto by Moosa Moseneke on Unsplash

10 days ago, I set a personal goal that would require a significant time investment. I am aware that dating is a HUGE time investment. Therefore, 10 Days Ago, I promised myself that I’m not going to date for the next six months while I focus on this goal.

Nine days ago, I have on no makeup, a messy ponytail, an old comfy sweater, and leggings. I’m trying to get home, but end up slightly lost in the big city. I’m new to Toronto and shockingly challenged with directions. A tall, well-spoken gentleman visiting from England offers to help me on the street.

He’s self-employed, self-sufficient, and very funny. We open Google Maps on his phone and squint at the little screen. He says, “Oh. That’s where you live?" He’s staying at the hotel right by my condo. He walks me home. Says by the courtyard, “Would you like to go for a drink?"

To which I say, “I don’t drink”.

To which he responds, “We could get coffee instead”.

Hmmm, how strange and unexpected.

Four days ago, I’m smelly (probably) after a long day at work. I’ve removed my stained lipstick. Feeling 3/10. A young, handsome gentleman stops me on my way to the grocery store. I just want to buy some bread and juice and go home. He says, “What does a girl like you find herself doing on a Friday night?"

I say, “Buying groceries”. He laughs and comes into the grocery store with me, offering to push my cart. To our mutual surprise, we have a great time. He works for Microsoft and is visiting from LA. He’s even wittier than the Englishman. I run an errand for a friend, and he runs it with me.

He carries my groceries all the way home, where we bump into a friend of mine who I’ve planned to meet after not seeing each other for three years. I let them chat in the lobby while I put my groceries away. I come back down and he politely leaves to let us catch up. My friend looks at me and says, “He just said you have the most character of anyone he’s ever met in his life”.

He texts me the next day: “Can I see you again?"

Hmmm, how strange and unexpected.

Two days ago, I’m wet and out of breath from the rain when I arrive at my destination. A well-dressed, easygoing gentleman meets me at the auto showroom. He’s taking me to test drive a car. I’m impressed with his ability to comfortably and confidently communicate the features while I navigate the $100,000+ vehicle down rainy Toronto streets.

We have a pleasant time. The minute I leave the showroom, he asks me to dinner. “Would I be terribly out of place?" he inquires politely. Not car-related.

Hmmm, how strange and unexpected...That was the moment I had a stunning revelation. I realized that the moment I decided not to chase something, that same thing seemed to start chasing me. I wish this sort of stuff happened with money.

For some reason, I don’t think my rent will cover itself if I say: I’m not going to show up to work for the next six months! Which, to be fair, isn’t that strange or unexpected.

I Feel Your Pain

This is the strangest thing that’s happened to me that I feel like sharing with the public. It’s actually happened to me many times…too many times to just be a string of coincidences, I think. The most recent time was just last week. On Tuesday, when I was at work, I suddenly felt a weird sensation low in my throat.

I’d never felt anything like it before. It lasted for about 30 minutes, then it just suddenly went away. I described it to my wife when I got home, and we decided that it might have been acid reflux (which I’ve never had but she gets sometimes), so I should take an acid reducer before I went to sleep. I forgot to take it before I went to sleep, but the pain didn’t come back anyway.

Then, on Friday, I was Facetiming my mother. She lives several states away and I hadn’t talked to her for about a month. During our conversation, she mentioned that she had an endoscopy done that week. She hadn’t told me that she was going to get it done. When I asked her when she had it done, it was at the very same time on Tuesday that I felt the weird, new sensation low in my throat.

If this only happened once or twice in my life, I’d think it was just a coincidence. But it’s happened dozens of times with different people who are close to me: my parents, wife, and my children. I get a sharp pain at the front of my mouth, as though I bit myself, but I didn’t.

A few hours later, when I pick my kid up from school, I see they have a busted lip in the same spot. They fell and hit their face at recess a few hours earlier. I get a sharp pain in my ankle while I’m sitting at work. It lasts about 30 seconds, then stops. I can’t explain it, until about 30 minutes later, when I get a call from my wife.

She tripped and rolled her ankle at work, and her friend is driving her to the doctor’s office for X-rays on it. (It wasn’t broken, just sprained). Anyway, this is the kind of thing you don’t really mention to people you know in real life, because they might think you’re weird and slowly back away from you.

It’s right up there with “I was abducted by aliens” or “I saw Bigfoot” as far as strange things to admit to people. So here I am, sharing it with 50k or so strangers online. Thanks for listening.

Heavenly Creatures

I'm too young to remember this, actually. But my mom always tells this story. Apparently, when I was younger, barely able to speak. I was sitting on the floor playing with some toys nonchalantly with my mom when I just said, "When I was in heaven, I met a woman who said you'd be the perfect mommy for me".

I apparently held the belief that I was in heaven before being born, and an angel looked at me and chose the mom I went to. My mom asked me to describe the woman, and my response freaked her out. I apparently described my mom's great-grandmother perfectly. Down to the eye color.

I had never met my great great grandmother, nor seen a picture of her.

Good Will Hunting

brown wooden framed painting of green and brown treePhoto by Marek Okon on Unsplash

My aunt, who was a missionary in Africa, gave me a painting that a patient of hers painted. It was a simple view of the village he came from. Three simple huts, some trees, grass, and native shrubs. This was in 1968. On the back was written his name, to my friend Charlotte. Jos Nigeria 1966.

Well when my first wife and I divorced in Wisconsin, it was amicable. She took her stuff, I boxed up my stuff and by sheer coincidence, we both moved to Florida, different cities. Anyway after I unpacked my stuff I realized I didn't have my African painting. I contacted my ex—and she gave the most infuriating news.

She said she sold it in a garage/ moving sale. I was so mad. I remarried in Jacksonville Florida. My new wife loves thrift stores. I'd usually wander around looking at things and sometimes find something, but I just went because she did. Well two months ago, 23 YEARS after my divorce we were in Brunswick Ga, and we stopped at Goodwill.

As I walked past a customer looking through pictures she flipped past a painting that looked like mine. I stopped, excused myself, and asked if I could look at the one she just passed on. I pulled it out, flipped it over, and there was the writing to my Aunt Charlotte. I let out a little scream.

The lady thought I just discovered a masterpiece. I told her the story of the painting and showed her the writing on the back. $3 later, it was mine again. The Goodwill tag showed that it arrived on Aug 10th, 2022. Somehow the painting made its way from Madison WI, to Brunswick Ga in 23 years.

What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting

A girl texted me to ask if I wanted to have a baby with her. She didn’t mean this as a metaphor…She meant, like, have a baby for real. I hadn’t talked to her in ages. I thought: she can’t be serious. But, no, she actually meant it.

She wanted a baby. She didn’t have a boyfriend. She was sick of white men. She thought our baby would be cute. These were her arguments. I tried to deflect with a joke. She was serious! I asked her if she was high. She said nothing back.

Mafia Motherlode

My daughter and I were painting a house I bought, the house was in an old Mafia neighborhood. We were removing the light plates on the walls. All of them were fake, and when you pulled them out, they held secret compartments. We found old gold coins and silver dollars. And two silver bars—pure silver.

Broke The System

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytimePhoto by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

It was my 7th standard board examination results day. My result was Withheld. I was chilling in my grandmother’s village, enjoying my summer vacations and the result showed a BLANK in my Mathematics marks.

Everyone assumed that I made some careless mistake of not writing my name or I flunked the exam. Everyone except my father. I was chilling with no effect. A couple of days later, my brother finds out the mystery behind this by querying the board authorities.

It turns out that the server was not able to render three-digit marks. I literally scored a 100. I was chilling with no effect. I want to be that confident again.

Sleep On It

I was in my higher secondary when I had this bizarre experience. I returned home from school and was doing my math homework. But I couldn't find the solution to a particular problem. I ran the question in my head a million times to understand it correctly and yet I couldn't find the answer to it.

I got tired after a time and postponed the homework to the next morning, ate my breakfast, and slept, thinking about the problem. I am not sure about the time when it happened but I was thoroughly relaxed with a clear view of that problem in my head. I suddenly turned right to find a book on my side.

I took it and found the exact solution to the problem in the book. I was so happy at that moment. I closed the book and slept again. At about five in the morning, I woke up and suddenly realized that I found the answer to the problem. But wait a minute, where was the book I used for my reference?

I turned to see if it was there. But it's not there. I felt awe-struck. I still remembered the solution to the problem and finished my homework, thinking about the dream. I realized that it was my brain which performed that miracle. I was in an equilibrium between dream and reality at the time I discovered the answer.

I came to know the wonderful potential of my brain at that time. After that, whenever I wanted solutions to my problems, I slept but unfortunately, it never happened again.

A Stream Come True

This is quite embarrassing but it really happened. One day, I woke up and I felt an intense need to rush to the washroom immediately. I had to pee so badly. I rushed to the washroom, I just saw the toilet seat in front of me. Treasure! Treasure! My heart said. Go ahead Asad, pee it out, go ahead…go ahead…

I peed.

At once I felt something warm and wet in my pajamas. Haaaaaaaaaah! That great feeling when you pee after hours. That great fall, oh my God, this was good. My vision became blurry and dark. (Warm and wet feeling in my pajamas was continuously increasing in intensity). What was happening?

Bingo! I woke up. Here I am, it was a dream. BUT, the warm and wet feeling in my pajamas wasn't a dream. Yes, in my dream I was peeing in the toilet happily while I was doing it on my bed actually. Bedsheet gone. Mattresses gone. 16-year-old guy peeing on his bed.

Mom gave me a “the heck is wrong with you” look. Dad gave me a “You peed? Well. Ooookkkayyyyy” look. My brother channeled the information as fast as he could to my cousins. Great start to the day. Embarrassing.

Sister Act

photo of woman's face reflectionPhoto by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

A colleague at work married a woman from Ohio. I knew she was a twin. So, I was visiting my brother who lived in Granville, Ohio. I went to the mall with his family, and there she was, no more than 20 feet from me, a woman who was a doppelganger for my colleague’s wife.

So of course I walked up to her and said, “You don’t know me, but I know your sister“. It was probably stranger for her than it was for me.

Running On Empty

In 1996, I had just dropped out of University and was moving home to my parent's place. My tail was firmly between my legs, I had almost no money and no job prospects. Basically, I was screwed. I had an old Jeep Comanche with all my belongings in the back and 200 miles to go.

I borrowed $20 from a friend for gas and started the trip. I got to a point that was 30 miles from home and my tank was empty. I pulled into a gas station/rest stop and sort of cried for a minute in my truck. I needed $5 for gas to make it the rest of the way and had nothing. There was no way I could call my dad and ask for help...he was already so disappointed.

After a minute I started searching around my truck for change...anything...I opened the glove box and there were these paper "loyalty bucks" for a gas station that I never used. It turns out it was the exact gas station that I was stopped at. $4 worth of bucks. I found another $2 in change, put $6 in the gas tank, and bought a coke.

I made it home.d

Fast forward 20 years, I had sorted my life out and am a lawyer...that Gas Station hired me as their outside counsel...I got to tell this story to the President of the company.

Stomach Fake

When I was 10 years old, I didn't want to go to school one day. I faked a stomach ache so my Grandmother would let me stay home. I've always been a bad liar, so she tried to call my bluff. She told me if I was too sick for school then she would be scheduling me a doctor's appointment.

Three hours later, I was rushed into emergency surgery. My fake illness was actually appendicitis and It was so inflamed that if I hadn't come in that day my appendix would have ruptured potentially fatally. I felt 100% fine that day. Faking sick saved my life…

Curb Your Enthusiasm

shallow focus photography of two boys doing wacky facesPhoto by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash

When I was about 12 years old I went up to Lake Tahoe with my friend and his parents who had a condo in Incline Village. One day, the two of us are walking to the bowling alley and cross a street at a crosswalk. Right before we get to the curb, a car comes really close to hitting us.

All of a sudden, we're both up on the curb, like we were lifted a few feet. We both looked at each other strangely.

"Did you jump?"

"No, did you?"

"No".

We spent the next hour kind of dumbfounded. It didn't feel like a shove or any use of force. We were still in the street, then we weren't.

Waist Of Time

I once was changing pants in my room before work and took off my belt. After putting on my other pair of pants, I went to put my belt back on but it was gone. No one else was in the room and I spent a good 10 minutes looking for it as I had simply set it on the floor. It’s been 10 years and I’ve never seen that belt again.

The Helicopter Fairy

This one is strange to me because it was so long ago and I'm convinced I have to be remembering things wrong. I was a young kid at the grocery store and I saw this toy helicopter (like hotwheel-sized) that I really wanted for some reason. I, of course, didn't buy it, but the memory of it stuck in my head.

A few nights later, I had a dream where I was playing with the helicopter, but I realized it was a dream and stupid young me thought that if I put it under my pillow, it would still be there when I woke up. After that, I woke up and eagerly checked under the pillow to get it.

For some reason, it was right where I left it in the dream. As a kid, I wasn't surprised to find it there as it all made perfect sense to me then, but years later I have no clue how the toy helicopter actually got underneath the pillow.

Just A Flesh Wound

person holding black knit capPhoto by Terry Shultz P.T. on Unsplash

A car going 50-60 km/h hit both of my knees in 2008 (it was 100% my fault, I wasn't paying attention when I crossed the road) and not only did I have zero broken bones, but I didn't even fall. (I did flinch quite a lot, though).

My knees and leg hurt for about two days, but I really can't explain how a car going relatively fast hit me and I walked away with only a couple of bruises.

Nice Kitty

My friend was in the garage working on his dirt bike. The driveway was empty because his parents left a while ago. I go inside to grab a soda but decide to look for his cat, who I haven't seen all day. I walk into the office and as I'm calling her name, a deep man's voice goes "Meow" right into my right ear.

I jump and run around the main floor looking for who said that. Didn't find anyone.

Must Be Ninjas

My girlfriend got out of the shower and called me into the bathroom to show me the mirror. I felt a literal chill run down my spine. There was a very strange, distinct handprint placed on the mirror.

I lived alone and she was the only adult that had been to my house in about two years. We each placed our handprints on the sides of the mystery handprint for reference and neither looked anything like the mystery print. I still have no idea how it got there.

Statue Deja Vu

statue of liberty new yorkPhoto by Arnaud STECKLE on Unsplash

I have a vivid memory of being at the Statue of Liberty as a child, on my dad’s shoulders, and seeing the skyline of NYC. I remember what we ate for lunch that day, etc. I remember the ferry we took. I’ve always thought about this memory and talked about it, but my family denies I ever went to NYC.

I didn’t go for the first time until I was 23, but strangely enough, when I went, I remembered everything just how it had been when I was there with my dad.

Slip ‘N Slide

I hit a patch of black ice in the dark going 60 mph down the highway. At the time, I drove a 1-ton cargo van. It hit the guard rail and flipped. Not only did I walk away without a scratch, but the car was also drivable and I was only 30 min late to work.

Take A Deep Breath

Both of my lungs collapsed at the same time (almost over 50% collapsed)—but that wasn't the shocking part. I was walking around like I was perfectly normal. I didn't realize my lungs had collapsed until I decided to go to the ER for bubble sounds in my chest. None of the doctors could figure out why this had happened to me.

They didn’t know how I was just up and walking around and laughing.

Yellow Solo Cup

two coffee lattes in yellow cup with saucer on brown wooden tablePhoto by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

When I was in primary school, in the cafeteria, there were all these cups filled with milk every lunch. Red, green, blue BUT ...only one yellow cup. Everyone would fight to get the yellow cup like it was the holy grail and it had been this way for years.

One night, I had a dream that the cafeteria had gotten more yellow cups in, and low and behold the next day...

Hundreds of yellow cups.

Shared Scare

I had a sleep paralysis nightmare when I was a kid, where I saw a red-eyed dark figure standing in the doorway. It's always stuck with me, and I've called him the boogeyman ever since. One day I was browsing Reddit and somebody painted a picture of their "sleep paralysis demon". It was like the guy had painted my exact dream.

And then a bunch of people commented that they had seen the same creature. It always makes me uneasy to think about.

Wait For The Other Shoe To Drop

I was at my girlfriend’s house in the kitchen chatting with her and her daughter when I saw one of my shoes, which I’d taken off next to the door, drop from two feet high from thin air. My girlfriend didn’t see it but her ten-year-old daughter did. I still remember the thud sound as it hit the ground and rolled onto its side.

I have no explanation other than it had to be a ghost, which I fully believe in but had never experienced previously.

Number Slumber

selective focus photography of multicolored dream catcherPhoto by Megan Thomas on Unsplash

When I was younger, in elementary school, I used to have the same dream every weekend starting on Saturday (when I would go to sleep) and then wake up in the middle of the night (on Sunday) and throw up. The dream was always a bunch of numbers. Nothing happening, just a bunch of random jumbled-up numbers all over the place.

I never understood why that happened where the same dream would happen on the same night every week and I would throw up every single time. I always think about it and wonder what it was or if it was just some weird coincidence. Also, I would not have any signs of being sick before or after. Maybe someone else has experienced this???

Don’t Be Alarmed

On Reddit one night, I read that thread where the OP hallucinated weird stuff until a commenter suggested that he check for a carbon monoxide leak. The commenter probably saved his life. I went to bed thinking, “Oh yeah, I never did check whether my new house’s smoke alarms also detect carbon monoxide. I need to check that out in the morning”.

At maybe 6 AM, my wife and I awoke to our fire alarms screeching, with a recorded voice telling us carbon monoxide was detected. We grabbed the baby and the dog, piled into our car in the driveway, and called the fire department to check it out.

After they tested, they told us no carbon monoxide was detected, but sometimes fire alarms behave unexpectedly when their batteries are low. This was maybe five years after moving into a house that’s new construction, so yes, I was super irresponsible in not checking it. It wasn’t even the first time I’d read that story on Reddit.

Anyway, there is absolutely a logical explanation: an improbable but possible coincidence. But that’s how I ended up spending huge piles of money on a bunch of Nest Protect units, so I could at least get a pleasant phone notification when my alarms’ batteries are low.

Right On Cue

I was walking between bars in a college town and felt something hit me in the back. I turned around and saw a cue ball rolling down the sidewalk. I then spent the next five minutes walking up and down the street trying to figure out who threw it or what happened. I never found anyone, and I still have the cue ball.

Pandemonium

silhouette photography of womanPhoto by Artem Gavrysh on Unsplash

One time when I was little, I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up in the middle of the night. When I got up to go to the kitchen, I saw a black silhouette of a woman with a bun and glasses. She went into the kitchen and I heard all of the pans fall.

I rush into the kitchen no one is there and everything is in its place. I know I could've imagined the figure but I cannot explain the sound of the crashing pans and no one else heard it. They were all asleep.

Receiving Live Updates

I turned to the other person in the room, who I barely knew, and said "My sister is getting engaged right now," without having the intent of speaking at all. He politely asked why I said that, and I had to shake my head and say "I don't know".

A few days later I found out that, sure enough, at that exact moment on the far side of the world, she had said "yes" to Mr Right. I hadn't even known she was dating.

Ghost FM

When I was 10, I had a radio and bean bag chair in my room. As I was starting to fall asleep the radio suddenly changed the channel multiple times before I heard the bean bag chair in my room slowly fold in on itself making the noise a bean bag chair would make if someone were to sit in it.

Not sure what caused this, but it certainly freaked me out.

Time Flies

person holding black capPhoto by Alev Takil on Unsplash

I used to fence. I was at a tournament and had just started a bout against a competitor. You win the bout by being the first to five points. I score what I believe to be the first point, but the official indicates the match is over and I've won.

I stood there confused for a second, but my opponent seems to agree and salutes and approaches for a handshake, so I go along with it. I check the scorecard and it says I've won 5-2. I lost probably four or five minutes of time. Hasn't happened since to the best of my knowledge, but it's been 20 years and I still wonder what happened.

Don’t Test Me

It was my 8th semester at IIT Madras in India and I had totally given up on my academics. Then this weirdest incident happens.

In spite of attending only the first class in the semester and bunking the rest, my 'A slot' professor permitted me to take the end-semester exam! (Without sufficient attendance, you are usually awarded a W grade, which means that you have to repeat the course).

With no preparation, I went to give the exam a try. I quickly found out that copying was the only way out and was lucky enough to have an old friend sitting in front of me in the exam. I copied enough to peacefully get an 'E' grade, which was all I needed to complete the course that semester.

I was actually happy because all I did was attend the first class and enroll myself and write the end-semester exam to complete the course. On the way back, I met the guy who was my bench mate on the first day of that class, and asked him about the exam. He replied, "Which exam?" I said 'A slot' and he said.

"Dude it will start in about an hour at 1 PM". That's when I realized that I had written an exam for the wrong course! Basically, I didn't know what that course's title was, which created the whole mess. I ended up taking an 'A slot' course exam scheduled in the morning while the exam I was supposed to write was scheduled in the afternoon post lunch!

The weirdest experience was when I had to meet the professor who conducted this accidental exam I wrote and give an explanation for my good score on the test. Generally, people give explanations for bad scores. Later In the afternoon, I wrote the 'Information theory' test, which was at least the right one!

Twilight Zone

I drove home at 2 am one night. I live way in the country. I was on back roads I've driven many times, and this car looked like it was coming over the hill quite a ways away. As I got closer, it seemed like it was parked just over the hill waiting. I stopped and waited as it was a long way off when I first saw it so it should have come over the hill a while ago.

I waited five minutes. It seemed really weird for where I was. There were no houses around. I started to drive up to it and the light got super bright and then it went dark. There was this blue stuff in the air above the road as I drove to where I thought it was. "I've gone insane," I thought.

It looked like ozone burning. The second time it happened, my buddy was with me. Same time, same spot. It blew his mind. We never talk about it now.

Time Warp

woman holding clear drinking glassPhoto by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I worked at a coffee shop and lived a few blocks away, so I normally just walked to work. Takes no more than 10-15 minutes tops and I like to get there early so I can chill and have a coffee before my shift starts. So I left home 45 minutes early, looked at the clock before heading out and it was 2:00.

I walked in the door to my manager asking me why I was late I looked at the clock and it was 3:00. There's no way it's even humanly possible to turn a 10 min, five-block walk into an hour. Like I have no idea. I even checked my clocks at home after work, none were off or broken, and it never happened again.

Men In Black

My dad owned a small garden shop, so I'd stay behind the checkout after school till the shop closed. This was until I saw a tall man wearing all black, like a trench coat, walking past my dad and smiling at me before going into a staff-only area. I jumped up to stop him, even though I was seven.

This back area was filled with new shipments. I turned the corner—and my jaw dropped. Nobody was there. There was nowhere he could've gone. I asked my dad to check the CCTV after closing, but it only showed me jumping up and running, and running out of frame. Weird stuff, never felt comfortable there again.

Cat Man

When I was in college, an intoxicated dude fell from a 3rd-floor balcony and got up and walked away like it was nothing. Seriously one of the weirdest/freakish things I’ve ever seen in my life.

The Informer

green and white typewriter on blue textilePhoto by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I met with two FBI agents who gave me a pile of money—cash, not a check—and told me that they would not report it as income to the IRS, so it was my responsibility to do so. This happened years ago.

I’d done some amateur infosec work uncovering a massive hack against an American Web hosting company called iPower Web. The hackers had totally breached their servers and planted a DNSchanger malware called W32/zlob on about 200,000 Web sites hosted by iPower.

…and from there made it onto a bunch of infosec mailing lists and such. What happened next was straight out of a B movie.

I got an email basically saying “Hey, my name is [redacted] and I’m from the FBI cybercrime unit. I want to talk to you about your blog posts, but I know you’re probably skeptical about any email that says it comes from the FBI. If you can Google the phone number for the FBI San Antonio field office, give them a call, and ask for me, I’d really appreciate it”.

I gave the FBI field office a ring, talked to the guy who contacted me, and ended up as an FBI confidential informer. I continued to investigate the network spreading the malware, but instead of blogging about it, I sent the info to my handler.

Fast forward a few years and a bunch of guys responsible for the hack were detained in Tallinn—all but one, who escaped to Russia. They spent a few years behind bars over it. So the FBI gave me a reward. Thing is, since I was a CI, they didn’t pay me in any way that could identify me, they paid me in cash.

It was freaky. They asked to meet me in a public place. A Chevy SUV pulls up, two FBI guys get out, they both witness one of them handing me the money, they both sign a statement saying they’d handed me the money, they tell me that it was on me to report the income to the IRS (spoiler: I did), they drive off.

Probably Peak Freaky in my life. I doubt I’ll ever again experience anything that freaky.

Sammy Who?

One of the strangest things I’ve encountered was being recognized later in life by a former babysitter that knew me only from when I was a four-year-old. Now, that isn’t all that odd, is it?

BUT, consider that she used to babysit me only periodically when I lived briefly in Idaho. After we moved away, there was no further contact. But, here is where it gets weird: She stopped me—many years later—in a café in GERMANY and asked if I was “little Sammy”.

Tripped me out!