The Scariest True Stories People Have Ever Heard

Person holding red balloons in a dark forest
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For those who need their horror fix, they can stream tons of movies on platforms like Shudder or even find shows like American Horror Story on Hulu.

While many of those programs have enough jump scares and gory scenes of torture, rest assured, it's only make-believe.

The real stuff of nightmares is not of the unexplainable paranormal activity variety, but stories that are recounted by those who lived through truly terrifying experiences.


Curious to hear examples of these, Redditor ugotheglizzy asked:

"What’s the scariest true story you’ve heard or told?"

Warning: These stories are not for the faint of heart.

Hospital visits can be absolutely horrifying.

She Flipped Her Lid

"I’ve told this story before. I’m an eye doctor and I had a patient come to me with an infected eyelid two other eye doctors tried to treat and failed. They were dumping all sorts of medicine into it and it wasn’t getting any better. At this point, it was swollen and painful for weeks with no improvement despite being on tons of meds."

"Apparently, neither of them thought to flip the lid upside down (you know that gross trick some kids do with their upper eyelids?). It was a painful maneuver for her very swollen eyelid, which might explain it. Anyhow, there appeared to be what looked like a visible abscess inside the tissue with thick gooey material, I thought I’d give it a nudge and saw it move. This wasn’t an abscess, it was something else. I managed to remove it quite easily in one whole piece. It was a fly larva. The patient told me that she had a bug hit her in the eye a few days before she got this 'infection.' I removed the larva and within two days the wound closed and she was 100% recovered on basic antibiotic eye drops. Yes, I do have the photos from this case for those interested."

– OscarDivine

Turmoil Of Recovery

"I had brain surgery roughly 3 years ago. I lost my concept of time. What felt like 4 months was only 3 days. The amount of physical, mental, and emotional pain I went through was crazy. I had to find all of my memories and relearn how to walk, talk, everything. If you want to go through something terrifying that is it."

– AkierraLFS

Surprising Diagnosis

"My HIV story."

"I was on a trip on my first commercial flight (from Sacramento to San Diego) to visit my girlfriend, and I didnt feel well. Once I got off the plane I made it to the hotel and had bouts of nausea and diarrhea for a few days straight and finally decided to go to hospital. After waiting hours I was let into a room and some time later an Asian woman wearing a mask and gloves entered. 'Please leave the room,' she told my girlfriend (let's call Beatrice)."

"'No she can stay it's okay,' I said. The doctor still hadn't looked at me, but looked back to Beatrice. 'I think you should leave.' I looked to Beatrice and said 'can you please wait outside.' Right as the door closed the doctor said, 'you have HIV.' My mind instantly started racing, trying to problem solve. 'I cant have AIDS, I got tested before being with Beatrice and I was clean,' I said. The doctor again 'you have HIV' while avoiding eye contact. I looked at my palms and for the first time in my life they were sweating, really sweating. I said again, 'I cant, I've been tested.'"

"The doctor flipped a page and asked my name, which I responded, and finally the doctors eyes made contact with my own. 'I'm so sorry, I have the wrong chart. You have strep throat and laryngitis.' I remember the world ending and then the feeling the most relief I've ever experience in my life. When I told Beatrice the whole story she awkwardly laughed and said, 'but you dont have it, right?' Nope."

– ALEXXRN

The fear of being watched is explored in the following examples.

A Harrowing Sight

"This happened to me. This is from the days when I used to live back home (I used to live in Karachi, Pakistan but now moved to UK)."

"We used live very close to a CID (Police Investigation Department aka Pakistani FBI) building which we all were unaware of and always thought it was just an ordinary government building till on 11th, Nov 2010. On that day I around evening time coming home from work I thought I better hit the gym (because they had a sauna and after being tired from all day work that sounded like a good idea) which was hardly 0.3 miles away so I decided to walk to the gym. I change quickly and leave for the gym and start walking towards the gym."

"This is almost I've hardly walked like 10 minutes and I'm 0.1 miles away roughly and all of a sudden for a nano second I feel that ground is shaking and the next thing I hear is a loudest bang I've ever heard followed by a pressure kick into my chest. Now to let you guys know, my both the ear started bleeding because the bang was so loud and for the reference the kick in the chest was as bad as Big Show wearing military boots and kicking you in the chest straight with full force."

"Next thing? I'm on the ground covering my ears because they are in agony and covered in dirt trying to figure out what's happening. As I am trying to figure out I can see all the cars alarms have gone off. Anything made up of glass has been shattered in roughly 1-2 miles area. I'm still trying to figure out what has happened and I start smelling gun powder and as if someone is making a BBQ and is being burnt. I will always remember that smell which was something unsettling. Next things rock and dust particle starts landing on me and the surrounding areas which had 1-1.5 inches long of pieces of human skin and flesh. I am not believing that I have another human skin piece stuck to my arm. I brush up my clothes and arms getting up and covering my ear recovering from that pressure kick."

"As I move closer to a spot in a street where I am hearing loads of people screaming and crying I see a few 3-5ft cracks between some walls of the building which have been destroyed by the shockwave of the bang. I see the gap between a wall and move into the area where I see these scenes straight from a Hollywood movie where people are crying, cars on fire and dead bodies on the ground. By this time I'm thinking its a bomb blast and that's what has happened. As I move closer I see a 10ft and 30ft wide crater which has been filled with the water and the building which was a CID building is no longer there. There are hundreds of people lying on the ground crying for help as some of them don't even have legs or limbs or some don't have their complete bottom. I am still in a state of shock looking around and I see a woman crying and hitting herself because she had her husband dead who's legs and torso was missing. I seen that later. I see several people without legs, brains out and no limbs."

"One thing, which haunted me for sure was a 18-20yr old guy who was dead and lying on the floor towards his chest on the floor with his neck turned towards me. I can still remember him looking straight into my eyes. His feet were flipped the other way around. After the police arrived and media arrived I came back home after it got crowded. After I came home after the dusk everyday, I would see that 18-20yr old boy standing and starring into my eyes. I would wake up screaming through out the night and see that guy standing at the door way just staring at me. For two to three weeks I would see this guy regularly during midnight standing in my hallway staring through my soul. I still remember that guy's face and the shockwave and the sound of the blast."

"P.S to this day even the slightest bang or even a loud music drops freaks me out sometimes reminding me of that shockwave. I'm married so sometimes I tell my wife that the bang just reminded me of the shockwave I witnessed in this accident, I don't tell her but inside my heart I pray secretly that God don't ever put anyone through that even in their wildest dreams."

Photo of the Explosion aftermath

– anon

People talk about life-threatening situations that will make you count your blessings to be alive.

Trapped

"The story of John Edward Jones getting stuck in Nutty Putty cave in Utah. He became wedged in the tight crawl when he took a wrong turn in the cave system. Rescuers could do nothing to get him out and he was stuck in there for 28 hours before he died from Cardiac Arrest because feet were above his head and his heart was pumping over time. One of The Rescuers even gave him a phone to call his wife and talk to his young daughter before he died."

– xMurderMike41370x

The Stowaway

"Off the main road of a place I use to work at, a guy decided to climb under a bus to 'hitch a free ride'. Well the bus went over a speed bump and the guy fell and ended up getting caught on the back wheel. His body was dragged 5 blocks before the bus driver realized what was happening."

"A police officer who came into our store regularly, told us that the guy was still alive when they got to him, but died an hour later. He said his whole back was scraped off exposing his spine. I remember driving down that road after the fact, and you could still see a deep red blood stained trail going on for those 5 blocks."

"Absolutely horrifying."

– nana_

Imagined Horrors

"I used to love swimming, I'd go snorkeling, scuba diving, even jumped off a few cliffs into the water."

"When I was about 18 I read the necrnomicon (the collection of Lovecraft short stories, not the real thing) had a good scare, giggled at how silly I was to be unnerved and went about my life."

"Next year went to Crete on holiday, first day I jumped right into the ocean with my dad and went out deep. Lo and behold, I feel something tickling my legs. I dive under to see since its too deep for seaweed to reach this high and I wanted to see fish."

"Tentacles. Everywhere. I was so shocked I lost my air and panicked hard, I started breathing in water as glowing eyes, sharp beaks and suckered tentacles flashed about me."

"Thankfully, Dad got me to the shore and didn't understand what was going on, he'd seen nothing but suddenly had a really grim look on his face."

"Went to the doctors. Turns out I'm the victim of a family curse, Schizoaffective disorder. My dad was horrified cause since he hadn't got it like his brother and mother, he thought I'd be safe."

"They caught it early but this revelation then led to a lot of aspects of my life being thrown in the air. Entire people in my life became false, ideas I'd had were delusional, outbursts revealed to be due to mood swings."

"I'm doing much better now, I still don't go in the water."

– Voidscale

I will never forget the time I was at a party where one of the host's brother who was tweaked out of his mind went on a violent rampage and started going after partygoers with a knife.

Thankfully, nobody was gravely injured, but a few people did go to the hospital to be treated for deep lacerations.

I managed to escape by jumping from the second story window with a couple of friends and piled into the car in the parking lot just as one of the attacker's friends came after us wielding a Swiss Army knife.

As I write this, it sounds completely fictitious. I hoped it was. I've never been so terrified.

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