Serial killers in movies feel far away, like pieces of fantasy that couldn't actually be a part of real life. Serial killers on the news inch closer to possible, but still remain at arms length.
But they are out there, and that means some people know them, and knew them before they were caught and began carrying that permanent identity.
A recent Reddit thread asked for stories from those out there who actually knew a serial killer. Particularly, they shared what that person was like before they began killing.
Or, at least, before the news broke. And that's the eeriest part of these responses. Many describe memories of well-adjusted seeming people, but tinged with the belated realization that those memories were made at the same time the person was committing such violent acts.
Ryfi12 asked, "Ex-Friends of a Serial Killer What Were They Like?"
"He was a jerk. His wife was my friend, and she started slowly telling me a few things about him. They came to our home for some gatherings we held, and he was simply 'off' and very controlling of her social life."
"When several of us reached out to her, she happily accepted our help to get her out of the marriage and into safety. Soon after, he showed up at my door one day demanding money, which I did not give him. He left, angry."
"A few months later, he was evicted from his rental in the next town over, and came back into our town, hell bent on killing everyone who helped her and who was associated with the rental situation and another circumstance that he was mad about. I was not home that night, thankfully."
"He hunted down and killed five people, one of whom was a friend of mine. He committed suicide when the police had him cornered. That was nearly 30 years ago."
"Andy, my friend, I still miss you and your goofy grin."
"Charming, had lots of friends. I remember sitting on the school bus thinking I should try to be more like him. He was always smiling, and girls would flirt with him."
"About 8-10 years after that, he was arrested along with another guy his age for the burglary and murder of a very old woman and her dog."
Hiding in Plain Sight
"He was fairly normal. My ex gfs brother. Nobody had a clue until the police gave their theory and then the whole family pretty much agreed it was him."
"They estimated 6 sex workers between Maryland and New Jersey."
Likely Caused by Trauma
"I went to school with the guy that murdered Chris Kyle (American Sniper) and Chad Littlefield. He was a pretty normal kid, kinda funny, had ADHD I believe and was in some of the academic assistance programs if I can remember right. Class clown type for the most part, don't remember him getting into a bunch of fights or anything."
"Nothing specific really stands out. His mom was one of our teachers in elementary. He left school early and joined the military. Did a couple tours, including the Haitian disaster relief in the early 2010s. Apparently fishing bodies out of wreckage is what messed him up really bad. After that he had horrible PTSD and developed some bad mental health issues."
"Chris and Chad were doing a range therapy business for veterans. Eddie snapped and murdered him for his truck (big modified diesel) and took off. Horrible story and outcome from someone who was once pretty normal. I knew him from 3rd grade or so until Senior year."
"Not great friends or anything but he seemed like a decent guy. We'd been out of school for about 10 years or so when it happened so a lot changed over that time I'm sure."
Suddenly Fell Off the Face of the Earth
"He was so sweet, he was basically my childhood friend. Then one day I stopped hearing from him, 1 or 2 years later he called me and asked me out. I said yes and was so happy. I really did love him. On the way to the restaurant someone hit my car and I wasn't able to go."
"The day before I was supposed to meet him, he got arrested for having 3 bodies of sex that had recently went missing, stored in his basement. all of them severely damaged and beaten."
A Breaking Point
"I worked with a guy who killed his wife and her new boyfriend (they were separated) and then himself. He broke into his wife's apartment (she called cops but they didn't get there in time) and lined them up along a wall, including their kids."
"Didn't shoot the kids thankfully but they witnessed this all, and were part of the lineup probably thinking they were next."
"He was the world's nicest, most easy-going guy. Never had an unkind word for anyone. Hard to believe he could do something like that."
"I think he bottled it up inside until he just snapped. I think losing your temper and spouting off at people who deserve it, once in a while, is probably good for you. Don't always pretend to be happy if you're not. Someday it might be too much for you."
On the Other Side of it
"Was roommates with one, He was a cool guy. Serial killer in the sense that he was born in crime and killed multiple people in his 'career.' He went to multiple prisons in multiple countries."
"He made a 180 and bettered his life in the way that he sits at home, watches tv all day and enjoys cooking. I was in a dark place during that time and him being able to better his life was a huge motivation to change my life for the better."
"Cool guy. Last I heard he was still on the right path. I still think about him sometimes, only wish him the best."
Tell Tale Warning Sign
"He was the nicest guy in the world. Everyone loved him. There was just one sign. His best friends family went on a week long trip when we were in middle school/early high school. They asked him to feed their bunny. When they got back, the bunny was dead under fairly disturbing circumstances."
"Everyone made excuses because we didn't want to believe it."
A Long-Held Secret
"Really great dad. When I was little I wished he was *my* dad. Dirt poor, but always took time - took us sledding when it snowed. Backyard barbecues. Took us fishing at the river once and we found these big old turtles. Beautiful. Probably ancient. And we ran to tell him."
"He came over with a machete and chopped their heads off. Made a game of it. With his 6 year old boys helping pull the head out and laughing. I was pretty traumatized by that incident."
"But other than that, he was just a guy. Liked drinking. And fireworks. He was a little bit drug addled, maybe mentally slow. There was a murder and not long after they picked him up for it."
"And while he was in jail, awaiting trial, he confessed to a bunch of other stuff. Other murders, dozens of assaults on women. I'm not convinced he did them all. He definitely did the last one - but the rest - i sometimes wonder if they didn't get him to confess because he just wasn't very smart, and was probably easy to manipulate. It was national news."
"His family had a hard time shaking the stigma, so I don't want to be too detailed. I feel like I owe it to them to let that time in our lives be forgotten."
When the Discovery Changes How You See Them
"He was like a big, goofy, brother. I loved him to bits but fell out of contact with him when I split with my ex. Last year his ex (we were friends through him) sent me an article via FB Messenger detailing how he murdered his new wife and her three young kids then set the trailer they were all living in on fire."
"The pictures of him in the article chilled me to the bone, the guy I knew back then wasn't there. There was just a cold blooded emptiness in his eyes. He's still waiting to be put on trial."
Of a Crowd
"Friends with him in high school. Normal kid. Smoked drank like usual delinquents nothing terrible. One day someone was picking on his friend in a park and he beat that dude nearly to death with a bat. Went to CYA for 4years , cal youth authority, until like 18 or 19."
"Saw him on his 2nd day back. He just sat there and watched porn like it was the godfather. Not jerking it or alone in a room. But just sat there quietly and watched porn."
"Anyways fast forward few years he moved to Minnesota or Michigan i forgot. Started some gang had some followers and went on like a 2 week rampage killing cops and store owners and sh**. I think 10 people in 2 weeks. His whole crew got caught and sentenced to hundreds of years."
"I knew he was busted for murder but disnt see the whole story until.it was on some NBC show. Im like thats @#$@"
"Sh** was sureal"
"He was one of those people that I looked forward to seeing everyday, one of them that I would be exited to be pairs up with during a project. Then he got roped into drug dealing, and I saw less and less of him everyday. When I did see him, he would be more grumpy, as if he had given up on life."
"One day I was watching a TV show, with not a care in the world, until I saw some commotion going on outside. Opening the curtains slightly, and was aghast to see him being tackled to the ground by the police."
"Apparently, he had stabbed 2 people in the eye and when I saw him being tackled to the ground, that was just when he had come back from hitting a child over the head with a sledgehammer."
"A relative. He lied, a lot, but they were always dumb little innocent lies. He babysat us from time to time. He was a 'gentle giant.' He was sent to prison before we even knew he had committed a crime (he committed murder in another country.)"
"He called on Christmas and we all passed the phone around to talk to him, with only his mom knowing he was calling from prison. We all figured it out when we read it in the towns news paper. I found out that his mom had sent him pictures of the family, including my toddler daughter."
"I absolutely lost my sh**. I want nothing to do with him."
"Best friend's dad turned out to be a hit man. I stayed at her house all the time because my parents were pretty bad. He was so nice, he even took us to driving school together so I could get my license. I remember her saying at one point, 'I can't imagine what it would be like to have dysfunctional parents.' "
"They had a seemingly fairytale marriage with four kids and two dogs. Then he randomly got busted for being a hit man and went to prison our senior year of high school. Everybody was shocked."
An Escalating Plan
"Not a serial killer, but I went to school with kids who wrote a kill list. I knew one of them pretty well and we were close. He would pass me snacks in class sometimes and check up on me when I was upset."
"Very caring, but he got rlly on edge the week him and his friend planned to go threw with their plan, he was less talkative and any time we talked he would tell me to be careful from now on and school isn't important rn, even suggested I should miss school one time he ended up dropping me altogether after I kept getting nosy."
"When I tried to talk to him for the first time in days he snapped on me. Once I found out what happened I pieced everything together."
Hiding in Plain Sight
"The most charming and 'innocent' person I have ever met. Only a master of manipulation can get away with any and all crimes."
"Look up psychopathy and narcissism and you will find many great explanations, from the predatory stare to how efficiently they frame others. The most vicious and dangerous people out there are the ones you would N E V E R expect to even harm a fly."
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When visiting any foreign country, one should always be familiar with the laws and customs of the land.
After all, what might be generally accepted on your home turf, might be frowned upon, if not illegal, elsewhere.
For that matter, even locals might need a refresher course on what they can and can't do while at home.
A recent Redditor was curious to hear what tourists and locals alike should avoid doing in the USA, leading them to ask:
"In the United States, what should you never do?"
Stay out of the skies!
"Don't fly a drone in Washington, DC."
"The whole D.C. Area is a no fly zone."
"It's a federal offense."
"Just don't do it."- PeytonCarrK
Cops can't be bribed.
"Don't try to bribe cops when you get pulled over."
"I had some Argentinian friends immediately pull out their wallets and start pooling their cash when they got pulled over once.'
"Fortunately someone in the car noticed and told them to put it away immediately."- PeytonCarrK
"Don't pay off the police."
"My dad has friends from several third-world nations where it is common practice to give the police some cash when you are pulled over."
"However, if you try to bribe a police officer here, you'll get into a lot of trouble."- JohnASmiley
Know your rights.
"Everyone, including foreigners, has the right to be silent and have a lawyer when being questioned."
"Don’t say anything."
"Also, even if you speak English fairly well, ask for an interpreter."- WickedLilThing
Enjoy all that nature has to offer... carefully!
"Don't wander off in the national parks."
"It's very real wilderness and you can get lost and die out there."
"This includes going over railings you aren't supposed to, or off trails."
"People have died accidentally falling into a steam geyser that looked like normal water, mauled by animals or left to the elements."- AlphaOhmeganational parks GIF by Visit The USAGiphy
Allow plenty of time!
"Expect consistency at TSA in airports."- WickedLilThing
Some terminology doesn't translate...
"If you’re from England, they’re called cigarettes here."- Yung_Onions
Make sure your license is up to date.
"If you come from a walkable country don’t come here expecting the same."
"There are some areas with good public transportation and bicycle/pedestrian friendly streets but for the most part, especially outside of cities, the areas are designed to accommodate cars more than anything else."
"The reason a lot of Americans drive everywhere is because, depending on where you live, we have no choice."- The_Cars93Dog Driving GIFGiphy
Wait for instructions.
"Get out of your car and approach the cop when being stopped by a cop unless told to."- hildrash
Whether your'e waling down a street in a foreign country, or the street you've lived on for your entire life, it's always wise to be on guard and aware of your surroundings.
Not to mention, obey the law.
Who doesn't love a good joke?
And one needn't be a professional comedian to always have a joke in their back pocket to make people laugh.
Particularly as there are certain types of jokes which are almost always guaranteed to elicit at least a tiny chuckle.
They could be knock-knock jokes, "little johnny" jokes, and of course the "yo mamma" jokes.
Though always teetering on the boundaries of good taste, the possibilities of jokingly insulting the mother of a friend, or foe, are endless, and more often than not, hilarious.
Redditor nobody-and-68-others was eager to hear the funniest "you mamma" jokes people have ever heard, leading them to ask:
"What are the best “Yo mama” jokes you got?"
Yo mamma's so fat...
"yo mamma so fat she wakes up in sections."- LolCoca
"Yo mama so fat when I had a threesome with her I never met the other guy."- 1nzlocky
"Your mama so fat, her memory foam mattress wish it could forget."- cuirboyFat GIFGiphy
...How fat Is she?
"Yo mama's so fat she outweighs the needs of the many."- BenefitsCustardbatch·
"Yo mama’s so fat that every time she turns around, it’s her birthday."- Amphibutter·
Yo mamma's so ugly...
'Yo mama so ugly, criminals break into her house just to close the curtains."- Cap_the_pro
"Yo mama so ugly your dad wakes up with morning wouldn't."- lukeedbnash
"Yo mama so ugly, her portraits hang themselves."- SolHalcyonthe emperors new groove hangover GIFGiphy
This could have so many meanings...
"The earth was flat until they buried yo mama."- jaymo54
Fat AND Ugly?
"Yo mama so fat, when she goes on a diet, the stock market drops."
"Yo mama so ugly, she threw a boomerang and it refused to come back."- SophisticatedOtaku
Needless to say, not all jokes are to everyone's taste.
Something to keep in mind when sharing these jokes with others.
Particularly with, "yo mamma", or anyone else's...
Societal norms gradually change over time, and it's not until a generation looks back and notices just how far they've come.
One of the major differences people from earlier generations find fascinating is how things were much more rigid compared to current times.
Curious to hear examples of this, Redditor FCFSDeals asked:
"What’s now weirdly acceptable in 2022 that was not acceptable growing up in your generation?"
Prior to cellphones, calling protocol was vastly different once upon a time.
Answering The Call
"Not answering the phone. When we only had landline phones (yes long time ago), there was no ringing phone that went unanswered. Now we screen or just plain ignore calls until we are good and ready to deal with it."
"Also, no one expected to reach you at any time, 24-7. I miss those days."
"But there was phone etiquette: no solicitation calls; no polls; and nobody called after 9PM unless someone was in jail or the hospital."
Appearance guidelines seemed to have shifted between generations.
"People have already said tattoos, but body piercings also exploded in popularity. It used to be girls could get their ears pierced, and that was it. When I was in high school, some guys started doing the one earring look and tongue, nose and bellybutton piercings were starting to become popular."
Comfort Is Priority
"Wearing sneakers to work at a fortune 100 company."
"At the beginning of my career it was suit and tie, then business casual and now I wear stan smiths, jeans and an untucked polo in the most senior position of my working life."
"I worked for the US Senate in 2009 (in a totally non-political job for the Senate Curator). I wore clothes from Hot Topic on the Senate floor. Some days I wore old jeans with holes in the knees if I knew I'd be climbing ladders to clean artworks. One of the women on the team had a full chest tattoo and made zero effort to cover it up because no one cared. The day I met Senator Inouye to discuss what paintings he wanted in his office, I had on trainers."
Benefits Of Letting The Hair Down
"They realized that they can't erode wages and expect us to look like we're on Mad Men at the same time. Allowing long haired freaky people has made them sh*tloads of money over the years."
Hair Coloring & Tattoos
"Any type of hair coloring would result in serious trouble at school. I also remember tatoos being frown upon as being found mostly on people that got out of prison."
The advent of the internet was a huge game changer, and rules were made up as we went along.
The Bandwidth Situation
"2 people using the internet at the same time."
Phones In The Classroom
"Middle/high school students being allowed to have their cell phones in class. Being caught with our cell phone when I was a high schooler was an automatic detention etc."
Consequences Of Having A Phone On Campus
"I graduated in the late 90's, and the president of my class got expelled one week before graduation for having a phone on campus. It was in his car, and this was after hours. It rang and a teacher heard it. They made an example out of him. He lost his admission to West Point."
"Now my 8th grader finds it super unjust that her science teacher makes all the kids put their phones in a box at the front of the room during tests, and feels super justified in never ever giving up her airpods to that sort of thing."
When I was a cast member at Disneyland in the early 2000s, we had to abide by the strict, clean-cut appearance guidelines required of all cast members–with different rules applying to each respective gender.
Men, for example, were not allowed to wear jewelry or have visible tattoos. We also had to maintain the length of our hair to not exceed past a certain length, and sporting facial hair was a major no-no.
Now, the "Disney Look" has changed, allowing all cast members to reflect their personalities through “gender-inclusive hairstyles, jewelry, nail styles and costume choices; and allowing appropriate visible tattoos," according to the Disney Parks Blog.
To the Mouse, I tip my hat for these awesome changes.
As a kid, I remember being obsessed (like obsessed) with David the Gnome and his fox Swift. I was tuned in daily to watch the adventures, get all misty eyed for the hurt animals the gnomes saved, and sobbed in abject wonder when the gnomes finally lived all 400 years of their gnome life and transitioned into the trees that make up the woods they live in.
The trees are their ancestors, y'all! The treeees! They protect the trees because they're family. Trees grow intertwined because they were so in love when they were gnomes.
Fam! This show was everything ... except memorable for other people because I was in my 30s talking to someone from another country before I met the first person who remembered this show.
Which, honestly, is kind of insulting to gnomes and trees.
Reddit user itchellFamily1045 asked:
"Which show do you think you're the only person who remembers it exists?"
It was David the Gnome for me (which I found out originated in Spain and was much more popular in France than it was in the US. Apparently, I was a Euro-trash hipster as a child), but let's take a look at what got Reddit.
Classic Wheel Of Fortunewheel through the years GIF by Wheel of FortuneGiphy
"It's funny how nobody seems to remember the early seasons of Wheel of Fortune with host Chuck Woolery. You didn't win any cash. You had to choose prizes from a selection of things set up in a room-like fashion."
"They still had the prize room with sajak for a while I believe. Camera would just pan across the room and the winner would try not to pick the stupidest things. Cause the items all had fn price tags on em and you'd only have the $ amount you won. Infuriating"
"A broyhill coffee table!!"
"Always ending up with the porcelain dog statue cause it was all you had left after buying expensive items."
"I still think about the episode where everyone who stayed young, slept in Tupperware, and when their lids got taken off, aged overnight."
"One of my favorite moments on the show had Marshall and Simon hanging out in Simon's room, one night. Through the walls you can hear a man and a woman laughing lecherously."
"Marshall: 'It sounds like your mom and dad are having a party'."
"Simon: 'Mom's not home'."
"It was a great weird kids' show, but some of the gags they managed to sneak in were hilarious."
"I work w a dude whose daughter was on that show, We were just randomly chatting and he was telling me how she had done some modelling/acting when she was little"
" 'you probably dont know the show but...'."
" 'like hell i dont that show was great'."
"Early edition- get tomorrow's newspaper today"
"I loved that show! What a concept!"
"Omg omg omg"
"Quality 90s tv, right there. A warm-fuzzy show."
Herman's Headtalking marge simpson GIFGiphy
"Anyone remember Herman’s Head?"
"It had the woman that does the voice for Lisa Simpson and the woman that went on to play Ross' exwife on friends was one of the characters in his head."
" It has 2 Simpsons voice actors- Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria. I seem to remember that they were offered the roles- and maybe the whole show existed? - because they didn’t want to be ‘just’ VA’s, and FOX wanted to placate them."
"That’s a real show?? They reference it on 'only murders in the building'.”
"I came for this one too!"
The Garry Shandling Show
"The Gary Shandling Show. No, not the Larry Sanders Show - Gary Shandling Show. Even the theme song breaks the fourth wall."
"This is the theme to Gary's show, the opening theme to Gary's show. This is the music that you hear as you watch the credits. We're almost to the part of where I start to whistle, then we'll watch It's Gary Shandling's Show."
"Yeah, Garry Shandling and Tracey Ullman are pretty much tied up in my memory."
"Best theme song EVER!"
"My partner LOVES the theme to that show! Plays it in the background every now and then, it's a riot!"
"Mid-2000s show on Fox that was apparently too weird even for Fox. I think they canceled it halfway through the 1st season."
"I have the DVD. Excellent show that I still toss in every once in a while."
"The producers had planned out some storylines all the way to S3. The S2 cliffhanger was supposed to be Jaye being sent to the mental hospital where she had helped put away some guest stars, including the woman who tried to kill the therapist with gift store items, and the boy who bought the russian mail order bride."
"Bryan Fuller's early work."
Mary Hartman Square
"Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"
"I remember watching this with my dad and my sister after the 11:00 pm news. I was in like 6th grade. That's what happens when there's no mom around. 😂"
"Her husband fell into a vat of paint thinner at work, and he needed to have plastic surgery over every inch of his body, so he requested to look like Tab Hunter."
"I thought her husband drowned in a bowl of soup. Maybe her first husband? That show was trippy af"
"Her neighbor's husband. The clip is on YouTube."
"Spin off of a spin off or Mary Tyler Moore as I recall, right? Wasn't Rhonda the first spinoff?"
"Not a spin-off. Mary Hartman was a very bizarre show for its time, a parody of a soap opera. Louise Lasser played Mary, and she was this weirdly detached character surrounded by crazy drama and violence. I think it might have been the first place I saw Martin Mull."
"Terranova, ran for like a single season then disappeared"
"I loved that show! So annoying they didn’t get a second season."
"I was a young kid when it aired on TV so i dont remember much of it, but I recall it being a recurring topic with my mom every now and then"
"oh god I’m old. I thought it was only a few years ago. I just looked it up and it was 11. Excuse me while I go get an AARP application."
"It’s that old?! Holy sh*t, grab me an application too, please. It seriously felt like just a couple of years ago."
"Karen Valentine was probably the cutest girl ever on a tv show. I used to love when she would be on the original Hollywood Squares."
"She was the only reason anyone watched that show."
"I loved that show! My mom, my sisters and I would watch that show every Friday night. The cast was really good — Karen Valentine was a really cute and bubbly teacher, and Michael Constantine was great as the high school principal"
"Yes! I swear this was the first one I thought of! And Under the Umbrella Tree!"
"If you have the Paramount streaming app, it's on there!"
"Spicy, salty, sour, sweet, bring us something good to eat!"
"I’m in my late thirties and still vividly remember the Christmas special episode where Magellan gets lost in the woods."
"Eureka’s Castle was the jam!"
"*Worms going err errrr ER err ere rrr*"
Let's talk about the shows nobody remembers but you.
Are they those early childhood favorites? Or maybe a teen-drama that only got one season before Netflix pulled it, crushing your hopes and dreams of resolved plotlines about a teenage ghost band who died of poisoned hot dogs and the incredibly talented, but heartbroken, young singer who gives them a new lease on life, love, and music?
No that is not a joke and YES I am still angry about Netflix not giving Julie and the Phantoms a second season.
Maybe it's a soap opera you think you remember watching with your mom, but maybe it was a fever dream?
Whatever it is, we want to hear about it.