You can see the notices on bulletin boards at grocery stores, at the post office or even on milk cartons.
The images depict people, sometimes even children, who have disappeared.
While we often hear the stories of the people left behind, we only hear the stories of the person who disappeared when the results are worthy of a headline or a movie of the week. But what about all those other people who went missing, but did not stay lost?
Reddit user The_Cool_Lamp asked:
Here are the most interesting accounts from people with firsthand experience being among the missing.
When I was a baby my parents had joint custody of me after the divorce. My mother took me for the weekend and just decided to not give me back. She got in her car with me (five months old), her boyfriend, and whatever she could fit in her car and just drove off. I was missing for three weeks before I was located several towns away, half starved to death and severely neglected. My dad got full custody after that.
I was 7-years-old and at a department store with my mom. I was in the toy section while she shopped when a man grabbed my arm and said "There you are Jessie! Time to go" , and started dragging me by my arm to the exit. I started crying and yelling him to let me go but he just kept saying "No toy today Jessie, let's go". Other shoppers must have thought I was just his bratty Kid, not wanting to leave without a toy. Luckily my mom ran up just as we were at the doors and yelled at him to leave me alone. He said something like "oh, I thought this was my daughter, they look so much alike" and strolled out the exit after letting my arm go.
My mom found an employee and the police were called (this was the mid-80's so no cell phones). They never found the guy.
Munchausen By Proxy
My mother used to lose me on purpose as often as she could. I can't tell you the number of times as a tiny toddler she would take me into a grocery store or somewhere and then send me to look at something so she could just rush off like some sick game. She loved it. She loved the attention she got from employees looking for her, "poor lost baby" she loved watching me cry in terror and then shaming me about it for "making a scene" when we left. I freakin hate that woman.
Rough Part of Academia
I missed the last train home. I told my parents exactly where I was, I was with friends, and I was sixteen years old. My phone ran out of battery, but it was fine because my friends were looking after me.
Crazy mother decided to have the police force comb the whole of Oxford searching for me because if I ever had to spend an hour with people she didn't know then obviously I might DIE.
Well, Oxford is a notoriously dangerous place.
Gangs of academics roam the streets, sniffing out Cambridge graduates.
Better make sure your references are formatted correctly.
You joke, but I once heard that someone was rudely shoved in downtown Oxford late one Saturday night.
Oh my god.... did they not cite their sources?
I hated summer daycare, so I hid behind a tree after my dad dropped me off and then walked home. It was only about a 20 minute walk. When they realized I was supposed to be there but had never showed up, they called campus security to report a missing kid. My dad said that I didn't know the way home, so he didn't go to check if I was there. I sat in my bedroom for hours worried about when I'd get busted.
When I was 8, I was at the mall with my mom, aunt and little sister. Me and my little sister needed to go the bathroom so my mom leaves our aunt in the store to take us both to the bathroom. Me being the smart ass little kid that I was claimed I knew where the bathroom was so I decided to run ahead.
I turned through the food court to where I could've sworn the bathroom was but there was nothing but lockers. So I double back and try to find my mom and admit defeat acknowledging that I don't know where the bathroom is. But I couldn't find her. I wandered around the food court looking for her and couldn't find her or my little sister.
So I decided to go back to the store my aunt was in and tell her I got lost, thing is I couldn't remember which store she was in. I entered the store I thought I remembered us leaving (which turns out it was the right store but my aunt was in the change room) couldn't find her and decided to go back up to the food court.
So I'm crying going up the escalator and this man sees me and asks me if I'm ok. I told him I lost my mom and he took me to a store and said they would help me find my mom. They called her over the intercom while the man took me to take the piss I had been holding in for a while. When I finally found my mom she was in tears crying say she called the cops thinking someone had kidnapped me.
Now that I think about it I got very lucky finding such a nice guy to help me.
Neither of my parents were able to come to my softball game so my teenaged sister was in charge of walking 8-year-old me home after the game. At some point she took our younger brother across the street to the playground for a bit. When she finally glanced over at the field, she realized the game was over and no one was there. She took our brother home, hoping I'd slipped past them and walked home. No luck.
After checking with my best friend down the block and sending my older brothers out to double check the route between the field and home, my sister called our mother at work and admitted she'd lost me.
Mom calmly replied, "If she's not at the field she's with your dad."
Good call, Mom. When the game ended and everyone else left, I knew I wasn't supposed to walk home alone, so I crossed the street on the other side of the field and headed to our church where I knew Dad was helping set up for a fundraiser. Dad had me sit out of the way until he finished setting up, took me home about an hour after my game had ended.
My sister was still in a panic when we strolled through the front door.
Every year in elementary school we had a school carnival. Little games for the kids to win prizes, a cakewalk, etc. One year my mom brought me to the carnival but had to leave halfway through. No biggie-- my friend's mom was volunteering there and was going to watch over me and my dad was supposed to come pick me up. Mom leaves, friend and I go off exploring and playing carnival games. A while later my dad came by and I left with him. But I never told friend's mom goodbye, or that my dad was there to get me. I still think she overreacted because she knew my dad was coming to get me, but from her perspective I just disappeared.
Dad and I had a lovely afternoon. We went and got lunch and then bought a kite and then went to the park and flew it. When we got back to the house there were police cars everywhere and my mom was straight-up panicking. Friend's mom had found friend, but not me, and friend claimed she didn't know where I'd gone. Cue frantic searching through the carnival and school grounds, calls to police, searches in the nearby parks and neighborhoods...
Obviously I was fine. Mom was pissed.
I was 9 and back then it was normal for kids that age to roam around the neighborhood. I decided, for some reason, to walk to my sister's house, 3.2 miles away.
My mom realized I'd been gone a while and couldn't find me at my usual haunts, so she called the police and reported me missing. The last time she saw me I had no shirt on so the cops were looking for a little boy with no shirt, probably drove right past me because I had put a shirt on.
My mom was very relieved when my sister called to say "Guess who just showed up?"
All Sly Stallone's Fault
My mom had a Kmart (remember those) locked down because she thought someone kidnapped me.
I was about 10 years old and my mom and I went to a Kmart. I loved going to the electronics section because I could look at all the video games, movies, etc. They also usually had some kind of movie playing on all the TVs they had up on the wall. I could easily spend an hour or more there reading the backs of all the video game boxes (remember when PC games had big boxes), VHS boxes, etc.
My mom and I split up as she wanted to go look at shoes and naturally I preferred to look at video games. The departments were right next to each other so we weren't far from one another.
At the time, the film Judge Dredd had just come out on VHS and they had it playing on their display TVs. I loved those kinds of movies so I decided to just sit back and watch it, leaning up against one of the aisles.
I don't know how long I was there, it had to be at least an hour. Eventually a store employee came by and said, "Excuse me, do you know where your mom is?" and I was like, "Yeah, she's over in the shoe department". I had no idea anything was going on at this point. She looked at me weird and said, "I think you should come with me. She's looking for you." I was like okay, whatever.
This may set off red flags but she had on the Kmart attire and didn't feel threatening.
I followed her to the front of the store and find my mom there bawling her eyes out and she runs up and hugs me. I'm thinking like, what the hell is going on? So turns out my mom finished looking at shoes and came into the electronics department calling my name. But since I was so enthralled with the movie, I didn't hear her. So she figured I must have gone to a different area or maybe went looking for her, etc. But she obviously didn't find me so she started to panic, went to the front desk or whatever, and told them her son was missing.
So they locked the doors and started calling my name over the PA system and sending employees looking for me. But again I didn't hear it because I was too focused on the movie. They had employees look in the electronics department since that was where I told my mom I'd be, but they only looked down the aisles, no one actually went down the aisles and looked to see if there was someone on the other side of the aisle (remember I was leaning up against it, so looking down the aisle it appeared empty). Eventually someone did and that's when the woman found me.
Thanks Judge Dredd.
The Wrong Way To Teach
When I was like 6 I was playing with my friend on the playground at a crowded town event and her mom came over and introduced herself and asked if I wanted to come over their house to play. She said she already talked to my mom who said it was ok. Me and my friend were like, sure cool. Turns out the woman was a psycho and had kidnapped me to teach me a lesson about strangers. She called my panicking mom to come pick me up and she gave my mom a lecture. I thought my mom would be mad at me, but she wasn't. We both went home totally confused. Looking back, that woman should have been arrested.
I Told You So
As a teenager, my folks decreed I did not need a mobile phone.
I was working at a local theme park, got nauseated at work and threw up a few times, so my boss sent me home. By the time I was about halfway home I was feeling a lot better, so I stopped by a local mall, got my ears double-pierced, went to the big library downtown to get some stuff I needed for a report and then went to the gym and worked out for a few hours.
When I got home my parents were freaking out. Turns out they had called my work about 30 min. after I left. Somebody told them, "Oh, she got really sick, she went home." They'd been in solid freakout mode for more than 7 hours, the police were involved, etc.
Guess who got a phone for Christmas?
"Kidnapped" By The CIA
On 9/11 my husband and I were stuck in Italy for 4 days. I immediately called my mom to let her know we were OK & not on one of the planes. I did not call again and apparently that was mistake because she called the freakin' STATE DEPARTMENT 2 days later and told them that the CIA had kidnapped us because my husband is Middle Eastern and a pilot.
We were interviewed by the FBI once we finally got home.
Extremely Not Chill
A friend of mine left me at an apartment with some of her friends so she could go do laundry. I'd hung out with them in passing now and then, so i thought it would be chill.
Oh ho hooo, I was wrong.
I don't know how many of y'all have heard of datura, but it's a serious hallucinogenic herb from the belladonna family. As in, closely related to deadly nightshade. Allegedly, when it's concentrated into a tea, you're supposed to have a 1:1 of water to tea in a shot glass.
I asked for something to drink. At first, they offered a beer. I asked for something hydrating. "Okay, let me get you some tea!" You'd think someone would mention it wasn't uh. Not regular tea. A full glass, undiluted.
Suddenly, i was in different places every second. Speaking with people who weren't there, smoking phantom cigarettes, drinking phantom water, i made "rice and beans" with vanilla and salt.
This went on for three days.
I found out years later through an acquaintance who'd known us both that for those days, they'd keep giving me more while telling me it was kool-aid. (Spoiler: it was not kool-aid) He also mentioned they took a lot of videos. I have no idea what they recorded or what really happened to me while i was there. Frankly, i don't want to. Eventually the one woman of the group (they were all 10-20 years older than i was) let me sober up and brought me to the bus stop.
When i got home, my mom told me there was an Amber Alert. I told the police I was staying with a friend who had an abortion and didn't know what to do.
Communication Is Key
I was “kidnapped” when I was 5 years old. I was with my family 2 brothers, 5 sisters, and parents at the jersey shore. My mom asked my dad to take me in to the men’s room since she had too many girls to handle and I was the littlest and was already in my bathing suit.
Anyway this handover did not occur for my dad so I was left crying in front of the changing roooms. About 15-20 minutes later my mom and dad meet on the beach- sans me. My mom freaks out and runs to locate security or police- leaving the rest of my family on the beach.
Luckily she finds a police officer quickly. She tells him about me being missing. He cuts her off and says what was she wearing? My mom responds that I had a blue bathing suit with a big white star and probably still pink leggings.
The police officer turns and runs quickly away without saying a thing to my mom. My mom is thinking “shit- I have to find another police officer.” She goes to the pay phone to call the police- about 20ish minutes later the first police officer returns ands asks my mom to come with her. My mom is terrified. He explains that he saw a child matching my description eating ice cream with an older woman down the boardwalk and did not want to lose time explaining. By the time he got back to where I had been eating ice cream he couldn’t locate me. The police backup had arrived and blocked the parking lot and looked in each car as they were leaving.
They found me with the woman. She explained that she didn’t think parents deserved a kid that they would lose on the beach and so she was taking me home.
The police officer had left me with the other police officers and the woman in custody bc he wanted to convince my mom to press charges.
What surprises me about the story is that my mom felt sorry for the woman, explained that she had just had a band handoff with my dad and told her that she should never do this again bc she would have been devastated to lose me.
My siblings tease me to this day that I would go with any stranger if they just offer me ice cream.
Leaving A Bad Situation
Looks like I'm one of the few that's actually been a missing person. I had been given a ultimatum about leaving home or stopping certain activities I was involved in by my dad and my mum stayed silent thinking I would break. I left, my dad said I'd be back soon, surprise surprise I was able to become self sufficient within 4 days of sleeping on a close friends sofa.
About 2 weeks after I had left home my mum reported me missing and since I was under 18 the police were especially interested, the people I used to go to school with were questioned as to where I might have gone. It alienated a few old friends who couldn't understand why I wouldn't have unconditional love for my parents (the same friends who earlier on had seen my physical scars from my dad and one who had literally been smacked by my dad). Overall the missing report was annoying but I understand most underage people who leave home are at risk blah blah it's good to look for them. Just in my rare circumstance I didn't need help. Never was found either.
Her Name is Mom
I remember getting lost in a store once many years ago as well... I eventually found a very nice stranger who was very determined to reunite me with my mom. He took me to the customer service desk, and the employee there asked me what my mom's name was so he could make an announcement. "Her name is Mom," I said, thinking the guy was a complete idiot for not understanding this.
So the kind stranger suggested the employee doesn't need to know her name. After all, how many mothers in that store could be looking for a lost child at that moment? So the employee gets on the speaker system and asks any mothers in the store who are looking for a lost child to come to the service desk, that I would be waiting there for her.
The man stayed with me until mom came to get me, and she was very thankful towards him. After that incident, she also made sure I learned her and Dad's names, just in case something a bit more serious ever happened to me, and the police ended up needing to hunt them down to reunite us instead of it being as simple as that announcement in the store.
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.
0/10Big Brother Reaction GIF by Big Brother After DarkGiphy
"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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