“Stranger danger" isn't just a rule for kids at the playground--it's a mentality that everybody should have. Maybe it's my paranoia, or the fact that as a woman I get catcalled every time I leave the freakin' house, but I personally believe that we need to be wary of strangers. And these stories are exactly why.
Here are some of the scariest encounters people have had with strangers. I'm not excited to read these- my anxiety won't thank me. Enjoy!
Being a former resident of New York City, I have had plenty of stories of people sitting next to me and saying creepy sh*t. It’s strangely comforting to know that other people feel that pain too.
Thank you, Marty.
It's a mix of the scariest, and the best:
I was eleven, and at the park with my cousin who was three. My cousin being a stubborn three year old told me to leave him be, and I sat out on the bench.
I was just reading my book, and occasionally looking up, until this like fifty something year old man sat down next to me, and just started talking.
He asked me, which kid was mine like four times, even after I made it quite clear I was uncomfortble, and then he get's all close to me, and was like:
"Do you want another one?"
So I started freaking out, until this homeless man, (who I later knew to be Marty) pulled me off the bench, and told him that he was lucky he didn't 'pop his jaw' and told me to go home.
I'm glad Marty showed up, because I don't know what I would have done.
Update: Marty says hello.
Never go to the library in a big city. Trust me.steve buscemi trunk GIF Giphy
Not scary per se but deeply disturbing. Random dude at my local library accosted me while I was enjoying a new sci-fi novel and was absolutely convinced I was his son. Kept telling me he was sorry and he never meant to kill my mother who he called Pink and said some other heinous sh*t I won’t describe.
Bat sh*t crazy but he sounded so rational and calm the whole time. Sh*t gave me the creeps for a long time after.
I was in high school and worked at a truck stop.
One night a trucker came in and stared at me for a long time. Wherever I moved to he was staring me down. I told him that if he needed anything that he would need to come to the counter and order it.
He just grunted and kept staring.
I'm not a small person and at that time I was in football, wrestling, and track. I was also at the gym 6 days a week. I was 190 pounds of muscle and teenager hormones. But the vibes I was getting from this guy were making me nervous.
I called up my other co worker and told them I was going to be in the freezer for a while. So I was stocking the freezers and coolers for a while and then went to the bathroom.
As I entered the bathroom the trucker jumped up and walked in behind me and just stood in there while I took a piss and washed my hands.
As soon as I got out I grabbed the trash bags and bee lined outside to take care of the trash at the pumps until he left.
My co worker asked me why the trucker kept following me after I finally came in.
I had no idea why. He never said anything. Didn't order anything. Just filled up his semi and creeped on me.
I've never been as creeped out by a person as I was with that guy.
The scariest encounters are the ones aimed at kids. Absolutely no sympathy for these monsters.
This is deeply disturbing.
When I was about 6 I was with my family at an incredibly crowded street festival we'd go to every year. I remember we had stopped to watch a band play for a minute or two, and then my mom (I assumed) took my hand and we continued walking.
After a few seconds I realized the hand I was holding was puffy and hot, and my mom's hands were always cool and more slender, so I knew it wasn't her hand I was holding. I looked up to see a woman with long blond hair and sunglasses grinning down at me. I said "You're not my mom" and she just laughed and said "That's okay, you can come with me anyway!"
Obviously my mom and dad had realized I was not with them at this point and were freaking out. My dad just happened to look in the exact right direction at the right time and saw this lady leading me away through a break in the crowd. He ran over to us, grabbed her shoulder and she dropped my hand and disappeared in the crowd.
I still can't believe he spotted us. It was like shoulder to shoulder people at this thing.
Wtf....yelling steve carell GIF Giphy
I was 16 and sitting on a train station with my mother. Some man came over and started talking to her.
After a while I looked at the clock and informed my mother that we needed to go because our train was about to arrive. He flew up from the seat and started screaming at me and wanted to fight me. My mother was confused and tried to explain to him that I was her daughter and that we really did need to leave. He just continued screaming which of course made teenage me scream back at him. She had to pull me away from there.
I never understood what made him see red like that. All I did was inform my mother our train was coming and we needed to leave.
I will never forget it. When Ghostbusters 2 came out I wanted to see it. My mom took me to the local theater I think I was around 9.
I needed to use the bathroom so I ran down the small hall and turned the corner. When I saw a much older man come out of the bathroom. When he saw me he stopped went back in. When I didn't move he opened the door peeking his head and arm out motioning me to come towards him. I probably looked like a deer in headlights I didn't move. It was frozen until he said: come on, come on in. Panic rushed over me and I ran back towards my mom, who said I was pale white. She quickly left the theater with me and went home. Stranger Danger worked out that day in the 80s.
I can still picture him, or atleast the picture my brain made of this memory.
So this one’s kinda obvious, but clearly there had to be a section about the horrors women go through every day if we dare step foot outside our homes. Here are a few intense stories.
Moms looking out for each other.
I dropped my son off at school one morning and then went to the grocery store with my infant daughter. It was so early, there was only 1 or 2 other customers. There was an older man with a walker that I didn't really pay too much attention to that kept popping up in the same aisle as us.
I got out to my car and put my groceries in and then was putting my daughter in her car seat when the man came up behind me. He asked me a question and when I turned to answer he shoved his walker into the back of my legs pinning me against my car inside the open door. I tried moving around but couldn't go anywhere except forward and he started pushing me down to the floor of my car. I was so scared that once he had me down there he was going to go for my daughter so I threw myself over her so my whole upper body was in her car seat and wedged myself in tight trying to cover as much of her as possible.
He grabbed me by the hair and was trying to pull me up when someone started honking their car horn. Another mom had been sitting in her car with her own baby asleep and had seen what was happening. Another car pulled up behind mine and the man ran over and got in quickly, obviously never needing the walker. The police were called but the plates on the car that he left in were stolen so as far as I know he was never found.
It can happen in your own home.Movie Stabbing GIF Giphy
I was taking a shower in the bathroom of the walkout basement. My 3 year old son was upstairs with my mother eating breakfast. I heard him open the door and told him "Mommy is in the shower, you have to wait."
The door didn't close but he didn't respond either so I asked him to go back upstairs and ask grandma for whatever he needed.
Instead I see a a shadow and outline of a hand touching the shower curtain and realize that there is an ADULT in the bathroom, not my son.
I scream and punch through the shower curtain. I don't think I connected, but I heard the man run out anyway. As fast as I could I jumped out and grabbed a towel to check on my son and mom. At the same time my mom was coming downstairs to see if I was ok from the scream.
The man never went upstairs and they didn't even know it had happened. The walkout basement door and window were open.
I called the police and they didn't find him, just my empty wallet about a block away. They did come back to me a few weeks later to let me know that they caught a guy in the area assaulting women at gunpoint and they think it was the same guy.
Never been so scared in my life.
Add: The most visceral part for me was knowing he was just standing quietly in the bathroom while I talked to him like he was my son. Honestly, I don't know why but that creeps me out the most. It felt really violating at the time.
I was walking home from the bus stop after school. About 15 years old. It was really not far but there were construction workers drinking on the side of the road. One of them got up and followed me home calling suggestive things. I honestly can't remember what but his intentions were clear. This was about 200m from home so I sprint home. We have an automatic gate so I realize he will catch me if I wait for it to open or he'll follow me in. So I climb over which is normally not easy but that day I flew over.
I was really shaken up. For me this story is actually about what happened next. Which is that I called my mom who had an intense job. She dropped everything at work, came home immediately, made me hot chocolate and pancakes. We had a long conversation where she validated my feelings and fear. She's the best.
Truck stops alone at night are the worst.
I was traveling home to California and I was in Nevada. It was an emergency so I'd packed and left at around midnight. It was about five thirty am or so in rural Nevada. I was at a stop on my usual route. I was very familiar with the particular stop, and it was just an hour or so before the California border.
Being a lone female, I concealed carry (I have my extended permit which allowed concealed through several states, except California) and I was at my truck at an empty spot, and I was in the cab disassembling and putting away my gun to be in compliance. Stepped out to go to the restroom and someone had managed to get close to my truck and was hiding along the passenger side, and I didn't know it until I'd walked passed them.
Whoever it was grabbed me from behind. I let out the loudest, most blood-curdling scream. Oscar-winning scream. But there was no other people at this stop. I fought and tried to buck the guy off of me, but I wasn't doing very well. Kicking lead him to lift me off the ground where I couldn't get him, and trying to break through his arms made him bend me over with him still behind me. I'm not sure how long I was screaming and fighting, but then I heard tires screech and I figured it was the creepy van my parents told me to avoid as a kid coming to take me away. Nope. It was a Toyota Corolla full of local teenagers headed to the gas station before school. The teens jumped out and ran towards us, and the driver stayed in the vehicle. The guy who grabbed me took off, two of the kids chased him through the desert beyond the gas station on foot, and the driver and the other kid made sure I was alright.
I send these four boys Christmas and birthday cards every year. I'm sure if it wasn't for them I would've been kidnapped or killed. Josh, Austin, Mason, and James, thank you guys.
The world is terrifying, my dudes. I've been harassed by my fair share of strangers, and it's the reason why I'm super careful just was walking around my neighborhood.
Protect yourself, protect your kids, protect your friends. It's scary out there
The best-written characters are the ones with complex origins stemming from violent histories and broken families.
Villains are often misunderstood and eventually snap when they reach a breaking point after constant ridicule and mockery.
For them, the only way out of an unfortunate situation or deep despair is to take matters into their own hands – at all costs.
To have a nemesis who is just evil in nature and exists for the sake of providing conflict for the protagonist is just lazy writing.
But to have someone you can actually relate to and understand their motives – regardless of their violent methods – is more compelling to watch.
"What villain do you actually agree with/get?"
Comic book villains did not always start off with evil intentions.
"I don't agree with Magneto, but I understand why he would feel the way he does."
"I have the most sympathy for this villain."
A Flawed Perfectionist
"Dr. Doom. He saw all possible futures and the only one that didn't end in humankind dying out was him ruling the world iirc."
"Mr. Freeze, now that Batman: The Animated Series has given him a legitimate backstory. Look, if you're a scientist and your wife is suffering from a rare condition, but you know you can save her if you just have more time, doesn't it make sense to put the love of your life in suspended animation while you do everything imaginable to save her?"
Anyone is capable of giving in to the darkness, especially like these characters who were dealt with unfortunate circumstances.
Sucks Being Widowed
"Dracula in Castlevania. They killed his wife and he said they had a year to get out. It's on them for murder and not believing a murderous vampire."
"Baby Doll from the animated Batman series."
"The way her entire life is ruined based solely on her physical appearance. Her career and relationship with Killer Croc in particular, but the way you can clearly see the mental effects of looking permanently like a child."
Kung-Fu Panda Antagonist
"All he wanted was to impress his adopted father."
": You knew I was the Dragon Warrior! You always knew! But when Oogway said otherwise, what did you do? What did you do? NOTHING!"
"Shifu : You were not meant to be the Dragon Warrior! That was not my fault!"
"Tai Lung : Not your fault? Who filled my head with dreams? Who drove me to train until my bones cracked? Who denied me my destiny?"
"Sandman in Spider-Man 3. There's little I wouldn't do for my kid."
These mean toons have a likeable quality in spite of their nefarious tendencies.
That "Phineas and Ferb" Scientiest
"Dr Doofenshmirtz - come on man, those inventions are awesome!"
"It's his parents who are the real villains."
The Powerpuff Girls' Tetartagonist
"My man was straight up abandoned"
"There's an episode where he actually wins and when he finally rules the world he... Archive the world peace, reverse the climate change, and things like that. So yeah, totally agree with Mojo."
The Mean One
"The Grinch; he just wanted his annoying neighbors to not play their loud holiday music at the crack of dawn."
"The Grinch didn't hate Christmas. He hated people. I think we can all get behind that."
Not So Despicable
"Gru from Despicable Me."
"I too, dream of stealing the moon."
"I might put it back, I might not. Haven't decided yet."
Redditors found a vast number of wicked characters who possess motives they agree with to excuse for their bad deeds.
We all have suffered challenges and obstacles – some we never overcome – but we don't necessarily go on a killing spree because of unresolved issues.
Maybe that's why some of these villains resonate with us on various levels.
Watching these misunderstood or wronged characters wreak havoc on society could be a manifestation of something hopefully most of us aren't inclined to do but feel a sense of satisfaction after watching destruction take place in worlds of fantasy.
The human body may be responsible for providing us with animated life and the unique wonders of human consciousness, but that doesn't mean we know what the heck is going on in there.
In fact, so many of the human body's inner workings are unknown to us who own and use that complicated apparatus every moment of every day.
We have, of course, made some real strides in understanding those inner workings over the last couple thousand years. We may have plenty more to learn, but at least we have a general lay of the land.
Curious to learn about the lesser known-processes of our complex physical selves, Redditor Zenssei asked:
"What is a fact about the human body that not many people know about?"
For complexity, look no further than the human brain. Redditors had no shortage of facts and tidbits about that one-of-a-kind organ.
"Most reflexes never make it to your brain. The sensory aspect travels to the spinal cord and the spinal cord itself sends the muscle movement signals to your limbs."
Keep On Kicking
"Your brain continues to try to revive the body long after the heart has stopped. In some cases 30 hours later there has been found brain activity trying to make repairs to bring the body back."
"This is used to indicate time of death in murder victims."
Filling In the Gaps
"Your brain likes stimulation, if it doesn't get any it will make some up, some people are more susceptible to it then others, the colors you see before you fall asleep are a common mild occurrence..."
"...there are several classes of these hallucinations, closed-eye visuals, which are caused by leaving your eyes closed for a long time, hypnagogia, which is caused by the onset of sleep, prisoners cinema, which is caused by looking into a dark place for a long time, ganzfeld effect, which is caused by blocking out all external stimuli, and Charles bonnet syndrome, caused by sight loss."
"Most are these are simple phosphenes but some can be whole imagined scenes, or more abstract fractal-like imagery"
Others reminded us that not all bodies are the same. They pointed out the anomalies that some people experience, but on average do not describe the typical human body.
"Apparently about 20% of people have a bony ridge on the roof of their mouth. Most people's pallettes are smooth with a very slight ridge."
"The 20% like me have an exaggerated and more pronounced ridge. Apparently it's most common in women and Asian folk, and I'm neither so that's neat. I always thought it was totally normal."
A Reason Not to Move
"People who live in 'extreme' conditions for generations adapt in extreme ways. For example people that live in high elevations often have larger lungs and different blood makeup."
"Or my favorite is the Bajau people that live on the water and spend a lot of their time diving, their spleens have become 50% larger in order to store more blood."
"I drunkenly tripped off the curb and into the road after a Halloween party in college. Turns out I broke off a piece of my elbow that night."
"It ended up getting encased in what ever the human body used to trap floating bone chunks in. Now I've got a chunk of bone gift wrapped by my own body's wrapping paper floating around, right against where it broke off from." -- Tur8z
And others felt the thread was a good place to share the truly bizarre, random facts they knew about the body. Read a few of these and you'll realize just what a mystery it all is.
Shake It In to Place
"When doing surgery were the doctors have to take out some organs, when placing them back, they dont have to be put back In the exact position there meant to be, your body kind of just, moves the organs into the correct position after the surgery"
"There are tiny cilia that spin in a certain direction. If they spin in the opposite direction while you're developing in the womb early on, that is how you get organs transposed onto the opposite side of your body."
"Your stomach is surrounded by more brain cells (half a billion neurons) than the brain of a cat contains in total."
"It's your enteric nervous system. It controls digestion, operates autonomously, has its own memory, can handle its own reflexes, it has its own senses even."
"It's thought to have come about because of the blood-brain barrier and the main brain being locked away in the skull, a spinal column and nerves away from the critical action of nutrition."
"Your eyes have a separate immune system from the rest of your body and in a lot of occasions if your body's immune system finds your eyes, they will assume they are a foreign body and blind you."
So next time you think you have a good idea of all that's going on under the hood, just remember that whole layer of microscopic processes that seem to be playing by their own rules entirely.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Priceless, collectible objects fall into the hands of people in a variety of ways.
Some are serious, hard-working hobbyists. They search online forums, peruse antique sales, and budget a good amount of cash toward collecting one-of-a-kind items.
But others come into possession of truly rare objects almost by accident. They might not have known what they were buying, they could have received the item as an heirloom.
Either way, having just one rarity can be an exciting conversation piece.
Apparently eager to know what's out there, encased in glass somewhere, Redditor Sheeppower4 asked:
"What is the rarest thing you own?"
Many people's rare objects were historical in nature. They were old, they illustrated a moment of history, and they derived their value from remaining intact so many years later.
"16 century English Knight armour. It's a family heirloom." -- VinnyColdheart
"I imagine seeing that thing on Pawn Stars. 'Well, It's not exactly Century XVI; It's from 1601, and It has a scratch here and there, like if someone had hit it with a sharp object, I don't know. Anyway, all I can do is 50 bucks. And I'm risking here' " -- V02D
An Artifact of a Dark Time
"I don't really own this, but I am caretaker of a ring. During WW2 my Grandfather owned a tailors shop in Holland. A Jewish neighbor found out he was about to be taken, came into the shop, and gave him a few things, asking him to look after them, saying he would return after the war."
"He never came. I have his mourning ring, which has a lock of hair and a pearl, surrounded by diamonds. I did take it to a jeweler once, to see if the lock of hair could have some DNA, but he said it was too delicate to tamper with."
"My brother was a teacher, and now my daughter is. They have both used the ring to teach of the Holocaust. I think the ring has made it real for many children."
Wrong Coffin to Open
"I have an odd old handle from a coffin which dates back to a satanist from around 1800." -- BeyondContextual
"Imagine being the guy that was holding one of the handles and that sh** just snaps off, body falls out" -- AydenH5
"You fool! They don't die if there's no handle! Now there's a fekin Satanist roaming around somewhere looking for sacrifices!" -- Super_monkey_box
Other people were all about the autographs.
Whether it was them or a loved one, some hard work and good timing allowed them to take home a very valuable proof that they rubbed shoulders with some seriously influential figures.
Concert of a Lifetime
"My dad is retired from the NYPD. He was one of a bunch of officers escorting the Beatles to the stage when they played Shea Stadium. He got all their signatures in his ticket book. Ringo signed his name by drawing a star only."
"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame offered him $500k for it and he refused."
"When my dad died a few years ago, it was passed on to me."
"I will never sell it."
"A baseball with both Babe Ruth & Joe DiMagio signatures." -- Dendad1218
"Passed down to you?" -- Cubsfan630
"Yes, actually it is a family thing. Joe was family. It is very sun damaged." -- Dendad1218
"A Thor print signed by Stan Lee, to me."
"My wife got it for me at one of his final appearances. He wasn't doing personalizations, but she talked him into it."
The Cast that Made It
"I've got a Star Wars poster with Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, and Carrie Fisher's autograph on it, along with a handful of other original Star Wars trilogy characters"
And others shared the rarities that showed a little bit more of their own personality. Some were seeked out, some were only saved thanks to a little shameless fanhood.
"A custom go board that is truly unique. The lines are made of darker wood inlaid to the lighter wood, not ink. This board will never warp. The whole thing is super high quality. It was a commissioned work, and the guy said he would never make another one (yes he was well paid)."
"It's something a go player immediately appreciates. As far as I am concerned, I own the best table board on the planet."
Well Cared For
"A official 1962 amazing fantasy no 15 (the first appearance from spider man) it was given to me by my late grandpa I have it in a air sealed package in a small safe being a painting in my room it is my most prized possession"
Rare and Phallic
"A Little Mermaid VHS cover with a penis tower" -- Tylorexy
"That's not rare, though, is it? I had the same thing as a kid."
"I remember trying to find the penis tower as a 10yo girl who didn't really know what a penis looked like. I found it because it was suspiciously not tower-like, but without first hand knowledge I couldn't be sure that was the one." -- Okoreala
"It is and it isn't."
"Plenty of copies with that case were made, but IIRC they redid the vhs cover at some point, so there were two variants floating around. On top of that, vhs not really being a thing anymore makes it difficult to find a copy with the di*k tower on it." -- brycejm1991
Unfortunately, we can't all be so lucky to have such cool and interesting prized possessions.
My rarest possession, for example, is that dorky U.S. map quarter collection.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Why are humans so stupid? Why weren't we created with automatic genius? Or at the very least, our own how-to manual.
Can you imagine? A how-to use manual for each individual. Lord, the amount of wasted time saved.
I can openly admit I should come with a manual. And I am also someone who often doesn't understand manuals, so I thank designers for fool proofing some necessities for me. Though I'm not as bad as some.
Redditor u/SugarCookieBear wanted to know what things we use that were designed to bypass our basic abilities to be... idiots, by asking:
Engineers of Reddit, what's the most ridiculous idiot-proofing you've had to add in your never-ending quest to combat stupid people?
I'm intrigued to discover how and when designers and engineers realize that what they are crafting needs to come with extra detail, for the lame crowd. And by the crowd, I mean society as a whole. Let's face it, we need help.
No Eat!GIF by VH1Giphy
"A paragraph in an owners' manual on not eating the broken glass from binoculars."
Don't Drink Up
"Wife is a civil engineer. The one that came to mind for her was that she had to add to the specification of a construction contract that stated that workers would not drink the water that accumulated at the bottom of an excavation."
"We had a pedestrian bridge next to a bridge for vehicles, separated by about a 3ft gap. The bridges were about 20ft high over the water. So many drunk pedestrians climbed over the rails and tried to jump between bridges and didn't make it that I was directed to design a safety net to hang between the two bridges."
"I work in facilities maintenance. Someone put in a ticket for a malfunctioned computer on wheels and I found the power cord was frayed. Not my gear so all I can really do is set it aside and have the biomed techs fix it."
"I put a zip-tie through the holes in the prongs of the plug, put 2 nitrile glove on the plug, zip tied the gloves in place, and wrapped up the gloves with duct tape. I got a sheet of printer paper and wrote "inoperative. do not use. do not plug in" and taped it to the monitor."
"Couple hours later I get a ticket for another COW with frayed power cord sparking. It turned out to be the same cart and one of the nurses cut the end of the gloves off, cut the zip tie in the end of the plug, and plugged it in and it arced and tripped a breaker because of the frayed power cord."
Can't Resist!canadian wtf GIF by CBCGiphy
"I was asked to make a hydraulic oil pump nozzle 'drink proof'."
"That's a fools errand, the best you can hope for is "drink resistant".
Ok. Some of those items make me concerned for surviving life. Who eats glass? I've seen some things in the world, but that would definitely be a first and hopefully last. I shudder to continue.
Roadblocks...water satisfying GIFGiphy
"Civil engineer here. While laying asphalt usually we close the road and cover using barricade tapes. But no matter his hard we try people always find ways to go through and ruin the whole process. Ultimately we had to use security to block the roads."
Don't go THERE!!!
"Chemical engineer. Please do not poop in the test room. I wish I was joking, but it happened!"
"My cousin is a chemical engineer. For weeks they had contaminants in their product. I forget exactly what fixes they tried, but they eventually found out via security cams that one of the night shift maintenance workers was peeing into one of the chemical vats."
"I work on cars, so almost everything is designed around protecting people. My favorite is that we have to make the Hvac system louder and engine noise insulation worse because people will complain if they can't hear the systems running. We could make almost silent air ducts, but our warranty spend would go up."
Not a Hammer
"I'm a mech E intern, I walked in on my manager discussing a design with another engineer, all I heard was "so the guys will probably use that as a hammer so I made it out of this stronger material" "when they're working they will probably be throwing this small door open so I used stronger hinges and added a stop"
"It's things like this that I really appreciate about my internship, I likely wouldn't have thought about that myself."
On the 5th...Big Boi Smh GIF by OutkastGiphy
"Application Engineer here: When handling a 3D Laserscanner, it has to be placed and fixed on a stable tripod."
"A flat rail of a balcony is not a suitable substitute for it. And no, the insurance has not covered the total loss of the device after it felt from the 5th floor to the concrete pavement."
Y'all, does common sense no longer exist. Thankfully these people have the forethought to plan ahead. They are saving us, one idea at a time.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.