With 7 billion people, countless machines, and shifting earth formations all humming along constantly, sudden chaos is never far away. Every time we leave the house we accept the possibility that some total calamity could erupt around any and every corner.

But most of us don't encounter the chaos. We gamble, leave the house every day, and never pay for it. While others, unfortunately, are caught in the most sudden, tragic catastrophes that occur.

And then there are some people who make up a kind of middle space. They narrowly missed a calamity. They saw that the very place they should have been was utterly destroyed. Or maybe they were actually in the tragic place, only to leave unexpectedly just moments before disaster.

For those people, belatedly discovering their proximity to death can leave feelings of ghostliness. Some Redditors share their experiences with the near miss.

tv_trooper asked, "People who avoided certain death by not going at a place they normally would be at (9/11, plane crashes, shootings, etc.), What did you feel when you found out something horrible happened at a place you would have normally been at?"

A Miserable Few Hours

"At the end of a trip in Egypt around 15 years ago me and my father arrived late at the airport so we missed our airplane and took the next one. The first airplane crashed and all our family thought we died."

"When we arrived at the airport, nobody was here to greet us and we didn't know what happened. When I called my mum I heard her cry like never before."

-- johanjudai

Life Saving Tardiness

"My great uncle worked at the twin towers... I'm not sure what he did because he doesn't like talking about it... but apparently he was running really late for work that day and i sh** you not he was getting ready to go in and he watched the plane hit the building. He was standing outside completely in shock... he still goes to therapy for it..."

-- echomcl

A Sign

"Not me but my wife. She missed work one day and there was a shooting right outside her office, right about the time she would normally be leaving for the day. Not necessarily certain death but who knows. She worked in bad part of town, in fact there was another shooting right by there again this week."

"She was doing important work there (addictions counseling) and I was very proud of her and would never have asked to leave her job but I was quite relieved when she got a new job in a safer neighborhood."

-- MidvalleyFreak

Held a Little Tighter

"Not a place I would normally be at, as it was supposed to be my first time going to the Route91 concert in Las Vegas where people were shot. I got strep throat and cancelled on my friend and her group the night before we were supposed to leave."

"Friend messaged me after she and her friends had run from the shooter and found shelter in a random hotel."

"My now-husband held me a little tighter that night, and my parents and boss messaged me saying they're glad I got too sick to go."

-- willbills18

The Best Airport Pickup

"1996, the Olympics were held in Atlanta. Late one night, my fiance and her 2yo son were flying in to join me. Myself and two brother-in- laws were at Olympic park, when it was time to leave to pick them up the airport. 30 minutes later, Eric Rudolph detonated a bomb in the same place we were standing."

-- itsjusthop

Saved By No Money

"Me and my cousin and friend were chilling driving about. And I suggested let's go to the movies to see the new Batman movie. We drove over to the century 21 when I realized I didn't have any cash. I asked everyone if they had money no one did so we just stopped and went to my boy's house."

"All of a sudden we see cops, a bunch of them swarming to the theaters, we looked at each other and found out the next day that James guy went in and started shooting up the movies. I was like holy Sh** that could've been us"

"During the week they raided James Holmes house and I legit lived a block away from his place. He booby trapped his house but luckily no one was hurt."

-- Etchasjsksksk

A Bad Feeling 

"I live in northern England. When i was a little girl my dad took me and my brother shopping for a mother's day present in a place called Warrington. We were almost there, pulling into the car park when my dad just went:

" 'No, no we'll go to Leigh (another town) instead' "

" 'Why dad?' "

" 'I've just got a bad feeling' "

"We saw on the news that that day a bomb exploded planted by the IRA where we would have been shopping, killing and injuring children and parents who were there shopping for mothers day gifts just as we would have been."

"There's a memorial there now and whenever i see it i feel such a deep sadness and almost guilt that i survived it."

-- kookyasaboxofrogs

A Game of Inches

"I was letting my dog outside in a rainstorm so leaned up against the metal pole by our house then my dog wanted to run inside so I step away from the pole and not 5 seconds after it was struck by lightning" -- livelifegood123

"I was once outside on the oval with a bunch of kindergartners. A storm was gathering and we were rounding up the kids. Suddenly one of them pointed at me and started laughing; my hair had stood up on end. I could feel it crackling."

"Noped the f*** out of that." -- Echospite

Most Important Meal of the Day

"Sisters ex boyfriend dad. He would get breakfast with the same crew every morning. He showed up late, put his stuff at the desk and walked to the elevator. They were getting off while he was getting on. He asked if they wanted to accompany him, they said they ate without him."

"As he walked out the front door the first plane hit HIS floor. As a new yorker you hear these stories all the time"

-- CF0311

Mothers Against Explosions

"My mom was supposed to go to a marshmallow factory in kindergarten. They didn't have enough chaperones so it was canceled. Later that day it blew up, and they would've died if they were in it." -- Pidge_The_Turtle

"Not me but my mom and grandma when I was twelve they were going to a lab to get a blood test. They decided not to go because they were a little late. At the exact same time my mom planed to arrive at the building exploded. So she was thankful they stayed home instead" -- Stromboli_The_III

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

People Confess Which Things They'd Like To Tell Their Partner Without Upsetting Them
Adi Goldstein/Unsplash

The key to any successful relationship is communication.

The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.

But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.

Keep reading...Show less
black sheep looking through fence
Jose Francisco Morales on Unsplash

Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.

What is a "black sheep" anyway?

It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.

Keep reading...Show less
small white dog running
Joe Caione on Unsplash

Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.

There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.

A good steak.

A home repair.

The things that make you say...

"I tingle all over."

Keep reading...Show less
black and white cat with mouth open looking at computer tablet
Kanashi on Unsplash

People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.

And when it is requested, think before you speak.

People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."

Keep reading...Show less