To be born into a cult is to be born at a disadvantage. From the onset, you are living in a community forged by people who wish to be with one another led by people looking to take advantage of that desire. You're unable to move freely with so many blind eyes and, unfortunately, the cult may not always have your best interests at heart and all you can do to free yourself is run away. Cults leave lasting impacts, no matter what coat of paint they put on it.
Reddit user, u/eZombiegglover, wanted to know what this kind of upbringing was like when they asked:
It'll Really Just Throw You Off The Whole Thing, You Know?
My parents were Scientologist with my dad being a pretty high ranking guy (He "ran" two major cities in the late 80s). They left when I was still young but they used to harass our family a lot when I was growing up.
Made me very distrustful of organized religion in general.
My mom is now a super atheist and my dad, even though he left 30 years ago, still believes in a lot of the tenets, especially the reincarnation part/thetans. He's just not active and doesn't press it on me (or anyone else) in any way.
Loneliness Breeds Insanity
I grew up in southwest Ohio, but we drove to Virginia for church. It was on a gravel road in the mountains and didnt have electricity. But it did have rattlesnakes and copperheads. We would make the 5 hour drive each way and service was 4 hours long. People would dance around speaking in tongues when the spirit would move on them, and then others would get the snakes out of the box up front and play with them.
It wasnt scary, because it was all I ever knew. Then one day when I was 13 I realized it was all a sham. There was a new family there, who had just moved into the town and were looking for a church. This preacher spent the entire 4 hours talking and yelling and ranting about how it was a sin and abomination for a man to have hair on his face. All because this new guy had a beard. They completely chastised and singled out this poor man in front of his wife and kid. Even at 13 I knew that wasnt right. That was the last time I went to church. I'm 35 now.
I was born into a cult in Indianapolis, IN called the CII (Church in Indianapolis). Most of this information is remembered from a young age or through stories from my father or one short conversation from a woman I grew up with in the cult who reached out to me after herself leaving. My father met the leader through his employer. It is/was a Christian based teaching. The cult grew to such a size that members around the country would move to Indy and live in the same complexes or same neighborhoods to accommodate the requirements of involving other members in your day to day routines (grocery shopping, homeschooling, dinner, travel etc.) The leader is male, his name is Mike Peters. (A google search will provide this information there are a few articles written about the CII) Though led by a male, many females (who were heavily encouraged not to work and to homeschool their children through adulthood thus having more direct contact with Peters) were taught that "worldly" men weren't safe. Eventually some women were taught that their own husbands weren't safe which led to many divorces and relocations once you got the "tap on the shoulder" that you or your family weren't following God's guidance. I remember thinking it very strange that we were not safe to be checked out by a male cashier at a grocery store, that we had to wait in a much longer line to be seen by a female; and beyond that, we had to go grocery shopping with other women from the group.
When my grandmother passed, my father was cautioned not to go to her funeral without a chaperone. Our family went on vacation without another family from the cult and my father had an intervention with some of the leaders. Modesty (sexual repression) was highly maintained. Purity/abstinence, not looking at the shirtless man jogging down the street, no make up, no "flashy/wild/worldly" colors or patterns, no nail polish. My mother would edit books I read with a black marker that involved any sensitive wording involving secular holidays, kissing, magic or harsh words. She would supervise me while playing with dolls. I remember meeting my extended family for the first time and being taught not to call them "aunt" "uncle" "grandpa/ma" etc. We didn't celebrate birthdays or Christmas until we were a little older (still elementary aged) and no other holidays were allowed, aside from 4th of July or non-pagan holidays.
My family moved away from the cult and have since separated. My mother never wanted to leave and is still a CII sympathizer while my father was the one who made it all happen. Thus, I experienced many different versions of my childhood explained to me. My mother told me my father was evil, my father told me my mother was disillusioned. Who's a young child to know the truth? Over the years, my family has made adjustments to the outside world and have made steps towards the healing process though not unscathed from the malicious teachings we were all subject to at a young developmental age. I am able to maintain a low contact (occasionally NC) with my mother by setting and maintaining emotional and physical boundaries. My father and I have been NC for most of the past year. I'm happy to add my sibling and I have a healthy and happy ongoing relationship.
No One Can Talk About It
I wasn't born into one but my parents got involved in hard core Old Testament Christianity just as I hit puberty at 13. It was catastrophic. At 16 I went to my school counselor who took me to Child Services who took me to a doctor who almost cried after my examination & I went into foster care.
The hardest part is while none of my siblings participate in this faith anymore none of us talk. I can function for a few years but I inevitably go off the rails despite therapy & hard self work. Relationships don't survive this turmoil
Lessons You Keep For The Rest Of Your Life
My grandparents basically run a cult. I grew up in isolation and didn't get out until I was 18. It took some time understanding how to "fit in" with normal people. Losing the "foundation" I was raised on was really hard and made me very unstable during my late teens early 20's. We were raised to do nothing but work (physical labor), which has actually come in very handy. I'm still a major loner, which is difficult because I think I'm slightly more extroverted than introverted, but I just have a hard time trusting and opening up to people. I have scars that make people uncomfortable.
Navigating my family's weird demands and emotional abuse made me quite aware, so I've adapted quickly. Also, knowing all the psychological tricks that they used on us and others has made me really good at persuasion and marketing. I'm weary of being manipulative though, so I try to be as straight forward as possible bc it makes me feel gross. I'm basically 25 now and have a degree and a job and a spouse.
Despite the fact that family left the cult, we still aren't close and I don't think we ever will be. Too much at stake. What if one them goes back, etc... I was surprised at the ease of which they let us leave. My grandparents have about 20 other followers. All related to each other, but none related to my grandparents. There's a lot of obvious incest going on. The third generation is quite.... Unfortunate.
Television Tells You The Truth
I remember the day my wife said to me "Honey, I think we might be in a cult." I was so sure we weren't, because when you're in a cult you hear so often that you're in a cult that it backfires and you just know that everyone else is wrong. She had been watching a tv series on fundamentalist cults, and saw so many parallels that it worries her.
I wasn't so convinced until I looked at Hassan's work on cult mind control, and realize "holy sh-t, I'm in a cult." The LDS church manipulates people by seeking to control their behavior, information, thoughts, and emotions. They are textbook in a lot of ways.
Now, I have to differentiate. There are Cults with a capital C like Scientology or the Moonies. There are also cults with a little c that are less obvious. The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, is a "little c cult."
I've been a member for 33 years. I grew up in the church, was a leader as a youth, served a two year mission (which life on a mission is Cult with Capital C), went to a church university, married another church member in the exclusive temple, raised my kids in the church, and was president of my local Elders Quorum when things came crashing down a few months ago.
Mormonism is a high-demand, fundamentalist religion. This means they have a literal interpretation of their scriptures and expect a lot out of you. Along with paying 10% tithing to the church, each member is expected to have a "calling." This is where the local leader receives revelation from God as to where you need to serve. Sometimes callings take a couple extra hours per week, sometimes it's a part time job (all callings are unpaid, of course, until you get to the top). The church keeps you busy with a myriad of obligations.
Core to Mormonisms literal belief is that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the church is the only true and loving church on the planet.
The church will teach it's members a worldview where everything supports that "the church is true." God help you find your car keys? Church is true. Had a bad day? Church is true. Found peace in a scripture? Church is true. Someone shares facts about the church that make you feel icky feelings inside? They are anti-Mormon and the church is true.
They even teach that if you don't know the church is "true," you should get in front of the congregation and tell them it is true until you believe it. After all "a testimony is found in the bearing of it."
After my wife brought up that we may be in a cult, I broke through the church's mental stranglehold on information, started looking at the church's history from additional sources other than the "approved" curriculum.
Joseph Smith was a convicted conman who told his neighbors stories of treasure buried in hills found with his magical rock, guarded my ancient spirits, and connected to Indian ancestors. In a time where everyone and his dentist had a "Methodist conversion story", Joseph claimed to see God, that he was "led" to ancient treasure buried in a hill, guarded by an ancient angel, and translated by the very same rock he used to con his neighbors. He went on to continue conning people out of the money with various bank fraud and land speculation cons, and claimed to translate an Egyptian papyrus (which we have, and it doesn't translate to what he said it does).
Above all, Joseph claimed God forces him to marry his friends wives, and to marry young girls including a foster daughter. He died in a shootout when he was arrested for destroying a printing press, and held in Carthage on charges of treason.
The core of the church, it's truth claims, we're utter bull sh-t. It crushed us. It was the most painful experience I have ever dealt with. I was suicidal and depressed, which I've learned is a natural part of escaping. My wife and I and our kids are out and have never been happier.
Since finding out, we chose integrity over loyalty and are out. My wife's mom all but disowned her. My family is a little cold, though I hope they warm up again. Lots of families are strained if you leave. They say you don't get your family in the afterlife if you leave.
Seeing it all from the outside it's obvious, but I had zero capacity to understand I was in a cult while I was in it. Zero.
TLDR: raised in a cult until I leaned it wasn't God's "one true and living church." My wife and I broke away and are so much happier.
How Do You Trust Anyone Afterwards?
I was born into a pretty big cult. Been out for 4 years but the damage never really goes away. It leaves you without a family, without any ability to make or maintain friendships, and with an almost paralysing distrust of anyone and anything religious. I would argue that the last one isn't entirely undeserved but it's gotten in the way of a few conversations before.
Got years of counselling and therapy ahead of me to unpick the mess they made of me.
My partner was raised in a cult and I definitely see some of what you said in him. I think he misses having a community, but obviously doesn't actually want to maintain relationships with his family friends who are all members of the cult. Add on to that the layer that his parents and sister are just truly horrible people and I know he feels pretty alone. He is also very distrustful/disdainful of anything non scientific.
You Start To See Through The Cracks
I was born into Scientology. We would go to church often and while I was technically never forced to do courses everyone, family and staff are very pushy on you to attend and do services. Our family disconnected from others when they got SP declares so I would lose friends randomly throughout childhood.
Most of it is reading books written by Hubbard and attending events where people beg/demand money to save the world from psychiatry. They really push on people that the world is evil and falling apart but thankfully you're a Scientologist and this group is going to save the world.
I stopped believing when I realized how much Scientology operates like a business. "Free stress test!" On every f-cking window. Can you imagine if Catholic Churches had gaudy banners advertising "Free confessionals!" Today?
The other event is called the Golden Age Of Knowledge. Every test and bridge level was rebranded and re-edited and they had members purchase sh-t they already owned. So for years no one was getting Scientology. Instead of apologizing, giving refunds, or issuing credit staff say "Isn't this great?!" They've stolen tens of thousands of dollars from people and there isn't a goddamn shred of remorse. They just want more money.
I got extremely lucky and had wonderfully friends that helped me get out. I couldn't have done it without it them.
Cut Off Their Hold At The Source
A distant family member of mine headed a "new age" cult that I got roped into when I left home and went to college closeby. It started out as a group of friends of theirs that I became close to, cause they were the only family around, but then things escalated quickly. It went from love bombing, which I really needed because my family had gone through a terrible divorce and family was never the same after that, to soon after becoming my one and only family.
The cults beliefs were that the love and the connections that we all had with one another were the hope for the future. And the family member who formed this cult was the original creator of everything, and then was supposed to turn everything over to us, the "group" whose love could take things over.
Of course, the group always failed and we were always in trouble, and in order to become right we would have to give away our money and time to very hard, manual labor until we were exhausted. We were so exhausted that anything you told us we would believe.
Well, after a death in my immediate family I stopped showing to the events and meetings of the cult that I normally would, I was given a break. During that break I reflected and realized I needed to get out. I lived on site with that family member so it wasn't easy and I was in limbo for a while... still doing manual labor but not fully committed like I was before. I was working, and I met my current partner who eventually realized what was going on and helped me out. We moved in together and I have since cut 100% of my ties, without ever giving any reason.
I feel a lot of it was dealing with extreme narcissism from the leader, so that is really the best way to get out of that situation. To leave unannounced and abruptly.
At Least Try And Get A Good Story Out Of It
My closest friend in college (we'll call him C) moved to Cali after he graduated. We kinda lost touch after a year or so. A bit later on, I got a call from his mother out of the blue one day. She must have had to dig just to get my cell number, but she starts off and asks me if I've talked to C lately. I tell her no, it's almost been a year since I last chatted w/ him. She then goes on to tell me to please reach out to her if I'm able to get in touch w/ him in any way. He apparently got involved with some cult, sold all of his belongings, and disappeared without any contact with his previous life. They have a private detective in Cali right now searching for him. I don't hear from either of them again for a year after that.
Time goes by, and wuddaya know, I get a call from C one day. He moved to a new city coincidentally a few hours from the new city I had moved to. He's weird on the phone though. Super outgoing energetic dude sounds like a zombie the 1st time I talk to him. I invite him to my city to spend a weekend to catch up.
He actually drives down, and stays for a 3 day weekend and I don't recognize this dude at all. He seemed like equal parts zombie, depressed, anxious, relieved, all at the same time. It was an awkward weekend, the cult thing didnt get broached once. I was never 100% sold on the "C joined a cult story" but without a single person hearing from him, it wasn't the worst possible scenario of all things I guess. Having him sit in front of me that weekend, it firmed that theory up. So I didn't bring it up that weekend, never have actually. Just tried to make him feel at home, and throw some nostalgia his way ya know.
It's been about a decade now, he's married & a dad now. He wrote a novel, kinda sci-fi fiction. It's about a dude who gets caught up in a cult. Then he transcends reality and time and it kinda goes from there... Anyway, I ain't trying to write a book here, but thought I'd share just the short version of one of the crazier stories I've ever lived thru. Can answer any Q's if anyone's interested.
The Definition Of "Cult" Is All In The Execution
Ex-Mormon here, in case that counts. Let's see if I can condense 2 decades of bullsh-t.
I was raised from birth to be a mom. That was my Divine role and the teachings were structured around that message: your job is to birth children. It's the greatest thing you can ever do. Every decision must revolve around making that work. Even if you're broke college students, you must not delay a family for anything.
You're raised to believe that getting baptized at 8 is your choice, but it's never actually presented that way. The lessons are always phrased like, "When you're baptized, this will happen." You're also explicitly taught that you can't get into the "good" heaven unless you get baptized and marry in the temple.
From 18 months on you are taught lessons of obedience, one of which is tithing. 10% of any income for that $124 billion church (and that's just with assets that can be found). 4 year olds are expected to tithe birthday money from Grandma. Tithing is supposed to be paid before feeding your kids or paying rent, and if you do, some miracle is supposed to happen to get those monetary needs met.
Temple rituals involve weird clothes and are largely copied off free masonry. Only temple recommend holders (AKA tithe payers) can enter the temple, so unworthy family members are regularly excluded from weddings. 12 year olds get dunked in a water tank for dead people. These rituals have also been recently changed to remove references to killing yourself and naked touching.
The verbage in lessons involves an us vs them mentality. Non-members, anti-Mormon literature, etc. You are taught so repeatedly that the world is out to get you and that you cannot look at those sources of information that it creates a persecution complex. Any time anyone mentions anything negative about the church, the walls go up and that naysayer is treated like they're making a personal, ugly attack on everything that member ever is.
If you try to leave you are expected to meet with leadership and possibly also missionaries several times to try and get you to change your mind. At church you are taught that people only leave because someone offended them, because you want to sin without the guilt, because you didn't feel welcome, etc. None of that talk is about discovering Ole Joe was a career con man. These meetings are framed around that mentality and you have to go through several of them. If you want to avoid all that, you need a notarized letter explicitly stating you want to leave. A. Notarized. Letter. To. Stop. Attending. Church.
If you try to ghost them and stop going, they send your ministering sisters or brothers to come check on you. As a member you are assigned someone to go with you and visit people (aka check up on them) to see how they are doing and if their needs are met. When you try to leave, these people are usually deployed to bug you and get you to come back.
When parents find out about your lack of faith they try guilting you back as well, but more from the approach of, "How could you do this to me?" If your relationship with them is okay, this hits hard because the heaven aspect of the religion involves eternally-linked families and you are breaking that link. Parents are taught that they will answer personally for apostate children, so they usually try very hard to get you to come back.
There's more, so much more, and some of it uglier than this, but that can be found with a Google search. Basically, this church-cult thrives on guilt and mental manipulation to keep their members submissive and financially profitable. Breaking out of that mental game is extremely hard, and when you do you are hunted down and guilted back.
My personal Tl;Dr: I was groomed from birth to be a baby factory and now I'm stuck in that role with no career prospects. Thankfully my husband is woke and encourages me to be more than what I was raised for. We're still deprogramming, though
The Scars Will Always Remain
My grandparent was the leader of a smallish cult. It was very religious based. My name growing up was Slave 2, and my role was to do all the chores on the farm, all the housework and to please my master. I got out, my body has some pretty horrible scars and I'm okay to talk about my past, though I've lost a lot of friends due to over sharing. I'm happy to answer most questions.
Are you ok now?
Well, I've moved on and flashbacks, night terrors and the like are few and far between. However some days are far worse than others, particularly when I'm having a rather painful day and then the memories of why I'm in pain become hard to ignore. Overall I'd say I'm okay.
When you go on a job interview, the last thing you probably never think about is asking a question.
But we should also be prepared and ready to ask the right questions to have a leg up on the competition.
"What is THE best question to ask on a job interview?"
A company's history or information about a past employee were suggested subjects appropriate for questioning.
"When you were interviewing here, what would you have liked to know before you joined?"
"This worked for me. I asked my interviewer a question about how she had personally dealt with a company policy she had just explained. She bragged about her stellar adherence to the policy. I nodded my approval. I got the job."
A Previous Employee
"One that has always gone over well for me:"
"What were some qualities that the previous employee in this role brought to the job that you would like to see carried forward?"
"Another good thing to do is research the company you are interviewing with and you can ask things about what they may be involved in or you could drop that while reading about the company, you wondered this."
Hypothetical questions were suggested as helpful examples of inquiry.
Indicators Of How Companies Treat Employees
"A question that landed me a job once was: 'If I asked your direct reports about your management style, what do you think they'd tell me?' Stumped a hiring manager and he emailed me personally to tell me about it, no one ever asked him that question but got the job.
"In my current interviews I'm asking 'what did your company do for its employees during [the virus] to improve their day to day, work life balance, etc.' and I ask 'Is there anything your company adopted during [the virus] that they plan to keep post [the virus]?"
"These questions give a lot of insight into whether a company treated their employees well."
Past Performance & Adjustments
"If we were currently sitting in my 1 year review, what would I have done in this year for you to say I excelled in my role?"
"If I could snap my finger right now and change anything about your job or the company, what would it be and why?"
The following questions about a prospective company may not be answered from initial digging on their website.
Measure Of Success & Career Trajectories
"How is success measured in this role?"
"What are some possible career trajectories within the company that could stem from this position?"
Being A Solution
"Ask them what is the biggest problem you can solve for them in your first six months with the company. Similar to 'don't think of a purple hippo,' this forces them to imagine you succeeding in the position."
"What do you like best about working here?"
Simply The Best
"Who is your best employee and why is he/she the best?"
"You will then face 2 situations mostly:"
"panicking CEO who can't answer you 'Bob who works 17 hours a day for a slice of bread' so the fear in their faces must be a big nono for you"
"entusiast CEO who actually follow their business and can tell you who is an added value for the company and why."
My experiences with job interviews are different than others seeking work in office environments.
Having had a years-long career as a dancer, my "interview" was the dance audition, where hopefuls dance in small groups of people at a time after learning a routine and then awaiting their fate after the panel evaluates their performances.
The question I may or may not have asked in such a scenario earlier in my career was: "Did I make the cut?"
I did not make the cut. And I learned never to ask that again.
I have a few wealthy friends and I've seen a thing or two that has made my eyes pop out of my head. Let's just say that the priorities of a wealthy person and a dude who has never broken six figures are entirely different. But that doesn't compare to working for the fabulously rich. A friend of mine was a nanny for a super rich family for several years and described the lavish trips she took with them (and how picky and out of touch they were, too).
People told us their own stories after Redditor NeighborhoodTrolley asked the online community,
"People who cater to the super rich: What things have you seen?"
"It is so wide..."
"My dad's client bought a whole block of houses to build theirs. It is so wide that they installed a moving walkway like the ones at airports."
"A friend did some work..."
"A friend did some work on Sylvester Stallone's home. Apparently, there's a ton of statues and art of himself, some of which are naked and very well endowed."
Guess what, guys? It's not a joke! Those statues are weird.
Here you go: You're welcome.
"A friend from high school..."
"A friend from high school worked a few years as a deckhand on yachts in the Mediterranean and he said he once jumped in to get a customer's bag and got tipped €4000.
"Was a boyfriend of a girl from an obscenely rich family. The sister used to have the nanny (who was sleeping with the husband, but that's another story) fly to Paris in their G550 to buy the newest Hermès bag so she could show it off a few days before it went on sale in the U.S."
I did know a rich girl who would do something similar: She would fly to Paris for Fashion Week to get cute new outfits before they ever ended up in the United States.
"I used to work for a company that modified aircraft for really rich people. I'm talking 747s, not Gulfstreams.
This company had made several aircraft for this one customer, who I was told had purchased a new one solely because his spiritual advisor had told him that one of his current planes was bad luck. He still let his wife use it for her personal travel.
To me, one of the most exquisite features of these planes wasn't the gold-plated everything, or rare wood veneers, it was the silk carpet. That stuff costs over $1,000 per square foot and feels like walking on a bed of angel feathers harvested in the most inhumane way possible. Granted, these guys don't deck out the whole plane, just their personal areas (the aft third is usually reserved for staff and such and is more like a fancy economy class), but yeah… silk carpet."
"A woman who owned..."
"A woman who owned a small private jet business told me one time someone paid them to fly their dog (by itself) to NY for about $45,000 for some training. No other passengers."
The service that dog received must have been stupendous... but that's also so wasteful, I just can't get over it!
"I became personal friends..."
"I became personal friends with my boss and his wife; super nice people. The wife turned out to be an heiress and would buy me whatever I mentioned, like in passing during a conversation. I learned gifts were how she was raised to show love.
I've trained myself to only talk about things I already own unless I find something useful she might like and suggest it for her."
"Have the money to support their eccentricity.
One guy I cook for wanted his house built so that his bedroom was right above the cow barn, with a retractable spot in the floor so he could fall asleep listening to (and smelling, I presume) the cows."
Smelling the cows?
Are we certain he ever smelled a cow? Because I've been on a farm and I have and it's a terrible smell.
Would not recommend.
"I am an art student..."
"I am an art student working as a gardener. We work in one of the wealthiest areas in my country. Some customers are really eager to show me their collection of artworks that they have hanging on their walls once they find out that I study it.
I remember one time standing in a bathroom, with my dirty gardening clothes and there was a Picasso above the toilet."
"Once saw him..."
"I used to 'work' for an Arab billionaire's son, a Daddy's money guy, terrible garbage human being.
Once saw him spend $16 000 on a wallet, was a fancy one with little gold spikes on it and stuff. He had shoes with gold on them.
I remember one year for his birthday he received like 30+ cakes, big fancy cakes and he told us to leave them on the floor in the hallway outside his room.
We walked by those cakes every day for two weeks waiting for instruction, after the two weeks we were told to throw them away."
Anyway... might as well ask: Any of you rich people out there looking for a poor friend?
Need a houseboy?
Or just someone whose bills you can pay?
I'm totes available.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments below!
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Oh the matters of the heart are just never going to be easy. Love seems to be a never ending mess. I've dated a lot and can attest that the percentage of bad to good is 70/30. And that may be generous math.
I've heard about people fighting on dates, setting fire to the restaurant, discovering hidden identities and dramas I thought only ever occurred on daytime television.
I use to believe the biggest fear about dating was that the other person may turn out to be a serial killer, but they at least tend to show you a respectable time before they strike.
Oof. Let's see who has been left scarred by the hunt.
Redditor u/givemeyourfreefood wanted everyone to share the stories that almost made them re-think searching for love, by asking:
What's the worst date you ever had?
I remember the worst date I ever had. My biggest regret is that I stayed for the entire thing. I should've left as soon as I realized this was not going well, which was basically at hello. But he was paying so I drank, a lot. I'll keep names and dates to myself to protect the innocent.
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"Went to brewery, date said I had hairy arms and that meant I was horny, said "you look really awful in this light" and then tried to dig out of that hole by saying in his native language that was a term of endearment long term couples said to each other. 0/10 did not date again."
"My wife wanted to plan our 13th wedding anniversary. I was excited because usually, I plan it. She bought us some new disc golf discs and after a quick supper, we went to play. We hadn't played in forever. We were laughing and I had a great time. She served me with divorce papers and told me that the date was a test to see if she still had feelings for me. I also learned that she was having an affair that started well before our anniversary."
Two Hours from Home
"Not necessarily a date but a person I was dating invited me to his parent's house for the afternoon. He wanted to introduce me to them and show me the house he grew up in. I thought it was super sweet and had no problems going. He was also in the middle of moving and needed to pick up a few things, so it really didn't seem that unusual."
"Yeah, we got there and it was awful. His entire family was there. They traveled from hours away too. This was not just meeting the parents, it was meeting the ENTIRE family. Even worse? At some point, this idiot told his parents that he had proposed. We had been dating TWO months. I spent the entire afternoon dumbfounded and just playing along."
"We were two hours from home and I had no cell service, no way to leave at all. We ended up spending the afternoon brainstorming wedding ideas and planning an Alaskan honeymoon that his parents planned to gift us. His brother even called to say congratulations! We drove back to his apartment in silence. When we got there, I got in my car and left, didn't even bother grabbing my stuff. Weirdest experience ever. I have no idea how he broke it to his parents that we weren't getting married."
You're Cut Off!
"Got set up on a blind date once between mutual friends. She shows up to the restaurant already a little tipsy, orders multiple appetizers and only takes like one or two bites from each one. Then she proceeds to order 3 or 4 more drinks and is visibly drunk at this point. She gets up and says she's going to the bathroom and staggers off. About 15-20 minutes go by so I try to call her several times but no answer."
"Finally I decide to pay the check and just leave. About 2 hours later I'm sitting at home and I get a call from an unknown number. It's the police department. She was picked up on a DUI on her way home after she ditched me and gave the cops my number to see if I could go bail her out!"
Sorry?Bbc Three Idk GIF by BBCGiphy
"Well, I gave this answer on a different topic, but it ties in with this. We were out on a date, we had been seeing each other for a while, close to a year maybe. She gets a phone call. Suddenly she looks destroyed. Her fiancé had just died in a motorcycle accident."
What in the world? I mean how can we ever expect to pair off with the dating pool being inundated with liars and nut jobs? I'm going to delete my apps.
Girl, Bye.Sassy Beyonce GIFGiphy
"Had a girl openly flirt with the bartender in front of me. She says she wasn't. But handing him her own phone and asking for his contact info in front of her date seems like it to me."
"Came out from a movie, late at night, and date's Camaro was stolen. Apparently, he called his WIFE (that I did not know he had) and let her know where he was and what happened. She showed up and realized he was on a date! She started chasing ME around the parking lot telling me she was going to kill me. Saved by the cops who showed up just in time to take the auto theft report."
"Met a girl at a country bar one night in my 20s. We were both pretty drunk but hit it off pretty good. Ended up getting her number and we agreed we'd go on a real date. Fast forward to the date, she gets in my vehicle and... she looks almost identical to my mom. I was mortified. I was polite and we went for lunch where I found out she also had a boyfriend she "wasn't sure if she was into". Never talked to her again."
"When I was in college many years ago, before the advancement of cell phones and social media, I was chatting with a girl I met on a BBS who lived on Long Island, NY. I was 18 at the time, but lied and said I was 22 because she said she was 25. We spent a few weeks emailing each other, as well as calling each other."
"We even exchanged pics. When we finally met up, things blew up. Turns out we both lied about our ages: She was really 33, and lied because she thought she looked younger. She admitted she sent a college photo to me. We still had dinner together, but it was awkward as hell. We never spoke again."
DoublesKill Me Now Season 1 GIF by FriendsGiphy
"It was a double date. She was more interested talking to the other girl throughout the whole thing. Found out later from the other guy that his girl cheated on him with my date."
Ummm... I think I'm just going to stay single. That is a handful of crazy. Why can't people just be honest? I swear the search for love warps people's brains. Be careful out there people.
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As much as we'd like to assume spirits, ghosts, and paranormal happenings are relegated to movies and books, plenty of real-life stories abound.
Inexplicable sightings, things heard, and cold pockets of air are encountered by plenty of people all the time.
It's up to you if you want to believe them. But it's hard to argue with the conviction of the contributors to a recent Reddit thread.
Redditor ihadanightmarewithu asked:
"What is the scariest / paranormal story you have ever experienced?"
Many people talked about the things that caught their eye once upon a time.
Two Places At Once
"I was staying with a group of friends rock climbing in Spain. Really creepy air bnb, lots of strange things happened while we were staying there. The creepiest was one morning we were getting ready for the day, packing food and generally getting our things together, and I went upstairs to grab something."
"As I was heading back downstairs I walked past my friend's boyfriend on the landing and saw him turn and go into his and my friend's room; I think I asked him something but he didn't reply. I thought 'rude' and headed downstairs."
"Walked into the kitchen and he was there sorting food out with my friend."
"Everyone swore he'd been downstairs the whole time, plus there was only one staircase and it would have been impossible for him to overtake me and get to the kitchen before me without me noticing. I went back upstairs and checked their room and there was no one up there but me."
"I've never experienced anything creepy or inexplicable before we stayed in that air bnb and I'd say I'm v. sceptical about supernatural/paranormal stuff but multiple things happened on that trip that spooked me."
"A floating head."
"I was putting beef in the slow cooker because I wanted it done for morning, it was late at night. I reached up to grab some seasonings, and heard creaking. I told my kids to get in bed."
"I see something out of my peripheral vision and there was no body but a head of a bald, pale man floating 3 1/2 maybe 4 feet off the ground in the middle of the floor. It's face kept looking as if it was sad, or like it was begging. It locked eyes with me....I froze."
"I had a darker wall, with a coat rack with my husbands work jackets so it stood out like a store thumb. I looked away thinking it was my imagination but when I looked back it was still there so I ran out the back door because I'd have to pass it to get upstairs with my husband and kids."
"I ended up calling him on my phone to come walk me in. I was wide awake, not sleepy, not out of it, on no medication. I have no reason to see that ever."
Presences, Seen and Felt
"When I was a kid my mom took my sister and I on vacation. I only remember this happening one night while we were there but the hotel we stayed at was pretty much all flats with one bedroom. I slept in the bed with my mom and my sister was on the pull out sofa. I can't remember if I was trying to go to sleep or woke up in the night to this but I just know everyone else was asleep."
"It was really dark with just a little light from the street outside coming in on the sides of the curtains. On each side of the bed stood a black silhouette and it felt like they were all staring right at me acknowledging their presence. I didn't feel threatened or afraid of them at all and turned on the bedside light and not surprisingly nobody was there."
"I turned the light back off and there they were still in the same positions. I just looked at them for a while but must have eventually fell asleep. The only other detail of that experience I remember is waking up the next day and mentioning it at breakfast and my sister saying she felt like she was being watched the whole night. I have no explanation for it but it's a memory that has stuck with me over many years now."
"One time I was going home in my car and saw a guy that appeared to have no arms no hair and a longa** neck in a JUST a hoodie no pants no underwear trying to climb a tree in the woods with their legs and idk know if that's paranormal but it was such a fu**ing weird experience that I think it qualifies"
For others, it was all about the things they heard.
"This is something I've never been able to rationalize."
"For months after my dad died, we were getting landline calls where no one would answer on the other end. This was in 2002, so, while robo callers were a thing, it definitely wasn't as prevalent as it is today, but we did assume they were probably wrong numbers or something. (We didn't have any phones that displayed caller id at the time.)"
"Well, one time, after getting yet another call with only silence on the other end, I jokingly said, 'Dad, if that's you, call my cell phone.' "
"I want to preface this by saying I rarely ever got calls on my cell phone, and never spam calls in those days. I was 18 with an unlisted number that only my family and a few friends had."
"Just a few minutes later, my phone rang with a number I'd never seen before. With what I'd just said fresh in my mind, I kind of freaked out and didn't answer. I was on my way out to go somewhere with my mom, so when we got in the car, I told her what happened. We made the decision to call the number back."
"It never rang, but there was activity at the other end: muffled static and the sound of numbers being dialed slowly. It was the weirdest thing. Both my mom and I said hello, but no one ever answered."
"Has anyone ever had something like that happen to them when dialing a number? I've never had it happen before or since."
And the Crying Stopped
"About 10 years ago (I'd have been 24) I was still living with my parents. My bedroom was in the basement. One night, around 3am I was woken up to the sounds of a young child crying. It sounded like it was coming from just outside my window. I couldn't just look out the window because it was covered in ivy, so I quickly hopped out of bed to go help the kid."
"As I got closer to my bedroom door I could hear the crying was actually on the other side of the door. I opened the door. No one is there and the crying stopped. Spooked, I immediately jumped back in bed and the crying started again."
"Later that day at dinner, my family was sitting around the table and I brought up my experience I had. One of my sisters told a story about how when she was a kid she'd always leave her room at night to go sleep with my parents because she'd see a little girl walking out of her closet."
"As she left her room and got to my parents' door waiting to be let in because the door was locked she'd see the little girl walking up the stairs that were right there. After her telling this story my youngest sister looked scared and asked, 'the little girl, is she wearing a pink nightgown with shoulder-length brunette hair?' "
"Now my other sister was scared because that is exactly who she saw. My youngest sister told how she had similar experiences with that little girl coming out of the closet at night or walking up the stairs at night."
"I'm convinced that something happened either in that house before we moved in or on that land that my parents' house was built on."
Crying From Afar
"Not my story but my moms, apparently when I was just a baby I was always a calm sleeper and once when my mom was having a friend over downstairs they could hear a baby crying so they naturally went to check on me and I was still calmly asleep..."
"...but every time they went back downstairs they could hear some more crying, but apparently the crying was somehow off in a different way as well, one day when mom and dad were downstairs watching tv while I was sleeping upstairs, they heard crying and finally pinpointed the thing that was off..."
"...apparently it came from the opposite side of the house compared to my room and that room had the latch to the attic. Creepy stuff, but I'm not that surprised. This place is totally haunted in my book, I once heard my mom call me downstairs while I was home alone."
Finally, some people interacted directly with the spirits.
Advice From Beyond
"So once while I was home alone, my neighbor knocked on my door. This was when we still lived in Oklahoma, and I was homeschooled. He was bit younger then me but we still played Halo together. I was thirteen at the time."
"I let him in and we had a conversation about what I thought the afterlife would be like, and this was really odd for him. We talked for a few minutes before he decided to leave. When my parents got home they told me he had a heart attack at school and died."
One Time Only
"I once felt a hand on my face when I was sleeping. I had the covers covering my entire face and felt something push down lightly and then a bit harder."
"I was absolutely terrified and when I finally mustered up the courage to look, nothing was there. It never happened again but there have been a few times where something similar has happened."
A Very Helpful Ghost
"I was staying in the Banff Springs Hotel in 95 for a snowboard trip and I was leaving the room and forgot my jacket."
"When I remembered right at the door, I turned around to grab it from the bed where I left it and it was being held 2' above the bed like it was being being pinched by fingers."
"The moment I turned around it dropped to the bed."
"That blew my mind!"
"My GF's sister at the time was working concierge and she said there was a bell hop ghost and gave the paper story...lol It wasn't threating at all, but was crazy to see!"
Here's hoping you manage to sleep well despite all these spooky stories!
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