History Professor Lays Out Just How Important Sears Was During The Jim Crow Era
Louis Hyman is a professor at the ILR School of Cornell University. He is also the director of the Institute for Workplace Studies in New York City. He recently took to Twitter to school the general public on the incredible history behind a dying company.
The retailer Sears just filed for bankruptcy. It is facing a debt of more than $5 million.
Its downfall comes during the surge of retailers like Amazon and Walmart, as well as growing online business models.
The company will close the doors of 142 locations before the end of this year.
But Professor Louis Hyman shed light on Sears' very important past and how the store battled the racial divide during the Jim Crow Era.
In my history of consumption class, I teach about #Sears, but what most people don't know is just how radical the c… https://t.co/WnJ97yzZwb— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620844.0
Every time a black southerner went to the local store they were confronted with forced deference to white customers… https://t.co/8dmNVdgVEW— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620845.0
And the store would be filled with racist caricatures of black people in an effort to sell to white people. https://t.co/ylpMNjnITo— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620845.0
The stores were not self-service, so the black customers would have to wait. And then would have to ask the proprie… https://t.co/x75C3TSYqM— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620846.0
The catalog undid the power of the storekeeper, and by extension the landlord. Black families could buy without ask… https://t.co/6FeKEImatQ— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620846.0
Southern storekeepers fought back. They organized catalogue bonfires in the street.— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620847.0
These general stores often doubled as post offices. The owners would refuse to sell stamps to black people, or mone… https://t.co/Q6x4O40Bfv— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620847.0
Happened enough that sears instructed customers to evade the postmaster and directly speak to the mail carrier: “ju… https://t.co/GRjffbGRsH— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620847.0
In an attempt to undermine #Sears, rumors spread that Sears was black (to get white customers to stop buying from h… https://t.co/pFN5oibZct— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620848.0
These rumors didn’t affect sales but show how race and commerce connected in the countryside. And how dangerous it… https://t.co/q92WFN2tvR— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620848.0
So as we think about #Sears today, let's think about how retail is not just about buying things, but part of a larg… https://t.co/VSvn089BMr— Louis Hyman (@Louis Hyman) 1539620848.0
Hyman's account discusses how Sears revolutionized the very racist shopping experience for the black community.
Their catalog allowed African Americans to shop freely for the first time. They also gave tips in their catalogs on how to bypass postage difficulties.
Hyman also chronicled how white store owners tried to thwart Sears.
In his final tweet, Hyman said,
So as we think about Sears today, let's think about how retail is not just about buying things, but part of a larger system of power. Every act of power contains the opportunity, and the means, for resistance.
This information about Sears' history was generally unknown, and people were grateful to hear it.
@louishyman Thanks so much for sharing this alot of folks weren’t aware of @Sears impact and for some in rural area… https://t.co/rP52Eeu2r1— MagnoliaGirl (@MagnoliaGirl) 1539668927.0
@louishyman This explains a lot about why my grandmother(born in 1911) always had Sears catalogs and kept them fore… https://t.co/ECppGyAUVE— christy the Birdlady is dissertating (@christy the Birdlady is dissertating) 1539650554.0
@louishyman wow. reminds me of how allotment lands (treaty lands) found their way into the hands of settlers here i… https://t.co/HWHfycykS1— Catherine H (@Catherine H) 1539635706.0
@louishyman This is a fabulous thread.— Joe Nocera (@Joe Nocera) 1539653912.0
@louishyman Thx for great thread.— Moira Stilwell (@Moira Stilwell) 1539655719.0
@louishyman Wow! Thank you for sharing this, such an important aspect of our history...😊— Claire (@Claire) 1539659604.0
@louishyman Wow, thank you so much for this thread. I was totally unaware of this history.— Kathrine Scott (@Kathrine Scott) 1539667443.0
And given the new insight into Sears, people are sad to see it go.
@louishyman I was really really mad at sears last month for their horrible delivery service. And now after learning… https://t.co/lAsWDJW9BX— Breonna’s Life Matters #BLM 🌊 🇺🇸🌊 (@Breonna’s Life Matters #BLM 🌊 🇺🇸🌊) 1539651829.0
@louishyman Thx! I vaguely remember the catalogues when I was a kid, but never considered this perspective. Sad to see #Sears go.— Steve Cochrane (@Steve Cochrane) 1539654671.0
What an incredible look into the systemic issues that have been plaguing the African American community for generations.
People Explain How They've Seen Someone Ruin Their Entire Life In A Single Day
We're human, and we can acknowledge that we all make mistakes.
But there's a limit to how much grace any person can be shown for their slip-ups.
In fact, there are some mistakes that a person could make in a single day that could ruin the rest of their lives.
Redditor TunaSaladWithBeans asked:
"How did somebody you know ruin their life in one day?"
Second Chances Included
"Not a barn burner but still pretty bad considering the 'adult' involved. TLDR (Too Long; Didn't Read): So-called adult failed to adult after numerous warnings and went off a metaphorical cliff."
"The clown was a senior married reserve Naval officer who also had a job at a nuclear power facility that required a Top Secret Clearance. He got deployed as a reservist to do classified work in Europe. Nothing James Bond but still not something the US wanted people to know about. It was plenty cushy too: living in a luxury hotel with lots of paid time off base to check out the sights."
"But the clown decided to hook up with a German woman and have an affair. The military doesn't care about that so long as you're above board with them about it so you can't be blackmailed. They don't even tell the spouse. This is spelled out once you get a security clearance."
"He didn't tell the military; they found out another way. But the unit went easy on him. His commander told him either tell his wife or stop seeing this German woman. If he did that, there'd be no consequences; if he didn't, there'd be h**l to pay."
"This warning was repeated to this clown on multiple occasions. The clown said he'd stop. Then he went off to Germany on vacation to, you guessed it, hook up this German woman."
"The commander took it personally that the clown ignored his warnings, disobeyed orders, and lied to him. Go figure. The commander fired him from the cushy job and revoked his security clearance, which ruined the clown's reserve military career."
"Because he needed a security clearance at his civilian job, he lost that too. And of course, his wife found out and divorced him."
"I suppose the clown recovered from this and is doing OK. But I imagine it's just as possible he's living in a van down by the river."
A Life-Changing Drive
"A dude I met was 18 and had been drinking. He was driving down a rural road when he lost control of his car, and flipped it. "He killed his passenger, who was his best friend."
"He was charged with a felony DUI and manslaughter. He was really messed up by this and knowing that he killed his friend haunted him."
"He was also an avid hunter and had to give that up because he was banned from owning firearms as a felon."
"He was in his thirties when I met him and he was pretty messed up."
Over Before It Began
"Had a friend in college. We were both training to be Pilots. His dad owned an insurance company and gave him the company's credit card to pay for all his flight hours with."
"He got about two years in when he finished his first license. ($30k-50k) Got a DUI halfway through his second license."
"Pilot career down the drain. On top of that, his father's company will be paying for it."
Keep Checking In with Friends
"A childhood friend who relapsed from drug addiction. He ingested fentanyl and died all alone in a filthy basement."
"He had been looking healthier, we reconnected, and he was planning his life going forward sober. That hurt a lot, that hope being taken away in a few minutes."
"F**k opiates, fentanyl, and those who deal it. Too many lives are lost every day."
Hot Off the Press
"My boss had his dream job as a sports editor of the local paper, a nice family, and a young daughter. He called one day to say he wasn’t coming to work."
"Turns out he was busted trying to meet up with a girl he met online for sex, and the girl was actually a cop."
"My friend's wife was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said she had about a 10% chance of surviving."
"She scheduled her surgery for a month out, and without telling him, took out several credit cards in just her name. She ranked up $100,000 in debt in that month flying around the world and doing everything on her bucket list."
"She had the surgery and chemo after and... lived. She was fine. That debt completely f**ked up their lives for about 10 years."
"The husband, my friend, knew she was traveling. He saw the roughly $10,000 added to their joint credit card. He did not know she had taken out credit and was hiding an additional $90,000 in debt."
"And his wife honestly thought she would die, and then the credit cards would close the accounts and the family would owe nothing. Which is not exactly how it works. So luckily that did not happen."
"It f**ked up a lot of things. He lost his DoD security clearance because of it (people with a lot of debt, can be bought). And he took a less-paying job as a federal contractor, where I met him. But he honestly does not regret it, and is happy to have his wife and kids all alive."
"I knew a guy my freshman year of college. Easily the most socially awkward person I've ever met. Not necessarily a bad guy but a really weird one."
"He was expelled for making a bomb threat. No idea what happened to him after that but I can't imagine anything good."
"Brother of a friend went out drinking with some scumbag 'friends' people had warned him to stay away from. Late into the night, there was an argument with one of them. My friend's brother ended up being part of a group that beat this poor guy to death. He won’t see the outside of a prison for a good 20 years now."
"Guy I went to high school with was diagnosed with testicular cancer when we were about 25. For months, maybe years, I would see updated posts about the progress he was making with treatment."
"Then one day he posted on Facebook that he was cancer free. The next day he was dead."
"To celebrate, he'd gone out that night and got absolutely wasted and fell down a flight of concrete steps outside his flat in the early hours of the morning. By the time he was found in the morning, he was gone."
"A friend of my parents was a good family man who loved his family. One day he was playing with his toddler and was playfully tossing her on the bed. She would get back up giggling and he would toss her again."
"In one of the tosses, he threw her a bit too far and she hit a bedpost. She lived but became bedbound, unable to even talk."
"He went to jail for child abuse. He lost his wife, his job, and his little girl would never be the same."
"An old coworker went to Vegas, felt really good about his odds due to the liquor, and ended up betting his entire life savings on roulette and lost. He ended up losing his house, his wife, and kids, and from what I've seen he lives in a tiny apartment and works a min wage job."
New Work-From-Home Fear Unlocked
"He ate dinner alone, choked, and died."
Holy Debt, Batman
"Some kid in our senior year of high school pulled the fire alarm every day. He was getting away with it for a while."
"The school had town officials and the chief of the fire department and the police come in and talk about the dangers."
"The town would send trucks and be without them if there was another emergency. None of that worked."
"When they offered a reward the kid’s friends ratted him out. His family had to pay for all those calls, he was expelled from school and didn’t graduate."
"A week ago, my little sister slipped on the ice getting out of her car and hit her head. She didn’t think much of it when she had a pounding headache later, figuring she just whacked herself good."
"Her friend told her to just sit down and take it easy until she started slurring her words roughly 10 hours after the fall."
"They called an ambulance for her, but she was going into cardiac arrest. Turns out she’d stopped taking her blood thinners she was supposed to be on for clotting issues. The headache wasn’t the fall, it was the clot in her leg cutting off blood to the brain."
"At the age of 26, she never recovered and leaves behind a four-year-old and two-year-old."
"A day horribly altered my life. I was a teacher and coach. For a field trip, the principal 'could not afford two busses,' so I had to walk about ten girls to the field trip location, and back to school, while the one bus was filled with the rest of the junior high students and faculty."
"It would be about a mile each way. I chose the girls of my team because they would listen to me outdoors, unlike lots of middle school kids."
"While crossing the street in the crosswalk, with the walk signal in our favor. All the kids went first, and like girls, they were clumped together and chatting while walking."
"I noticed a woman made a left turn into our crosswalk and never saw us as she tried to accelerate to beat an oncoming car. I knew she was going to run right through the girls."
"I pushed the kids forward, very forcefully. Most of the girls fell onto the pavement in front of other vehicles waiting at their red light. (They were badly scraped up, like road rash from me pushing them. But no hospitals or doctors were needed for their scrapes.)"
"I don't remember the impact. I remember seeing a Pontiac symbol between the headlights. I came to, and I was in a whole different lane, facing where I had just come from. I could not get up. They say my body went up the car, and off the driver's side, tearing the side mirror off the car and breaking her windshield."
"Horror and sobbing from my student-athletes. The girls raised me onto a backboard when the ambulance came, which must have been traumatic."
"Now, 20 years later, I am still an ambulatory wheelchair user. I can't teach or coach. I can't work at a desk. I have chronic pain. Yes, my life can be really sucky, but I would not change what I did that day."
"When I get low emotionally from all my limitations, I remember those girls. I watched them go to college, get married, grow into mothers, and hold impressive jobs in their fields. And when they show a photo on Facebook of their happy moment, it recharges me to know they are safe, healthy, and happy. And it reaffirms my decision to save them from harm."
Most of the subReddit shared stories of drug and alcohol use or negligent driving. But some of the stories were far more tragic than gross, and there were even some heartwarming stories thrown in.
But the conversation is an important reminder to be mindful of our actions since they truly could change our lives in a moment.
People Who Knew A Murderer Break Down Whether They Noticed Any Red Flags Or Not
What separates a human being from a monster?
It's an age-old question about humanity. How is a species that is born out of love and blessed with the ability for critical thinking and making others happy capable of committing unspeakable acts of horror?
The scary thing is anyone is capable of the worst kind of crime–taking another's life.
Does it take one unfortunate moment in a fit of rage or cross paths with the wrong individual resulting in a person snapping and killing someone?
Or, are some of us born with the murder gene?
To answer these questions, Redditor akd432 dug deep into the dark side of humanity and asked:
"People who know murderers, were there any signs that something was off? If so, what were they?"
It could be anyone.
It Started With The Barking Dog
"One of my former co workers decided to shoot a house all because a dog was barking in the back yard of a different house, went on a shooting spree killing the entire family except for the infant that was on the second floor."
"Only thing that was off was his drinking problem."
The Friend's Brother
"I’ve met several after the fact, but this is about one I met weeks before the murder."
"My then-husband and I were hanging out and met up with a friend of his and the friend’s girlfriend. The friend gets a call from his brother and invites him join us. The brother arrives, and pretty soon afterwards, the whole vibe changed."
"My ex knew both men since all three were kids, so he was relaxed enough to start drinking around them. I was babysitting a wine cooler because I’m the next thing to a teetotaler and was the designated driver. I kept noticing the brother staring at me, but tried to ignore it, but it quickly became very uncomfortable. I’m nothing special to look at facially, I got the mom-bod on lock, and I was with my husband."
"The brother then asks me why I’m not drinking. I explained that I’m not a real drinker and added that I like to be aware of who and what’s around me. So he asked my husband why I wasn’t drinking. I don’t remember his response, but dude looks at me and says 'we need to get you drunk.'”
"I left to go sit in the car, because wtf was that. I didn’t feel safe or protected because my ex wasn’t even paying attention. About 20 minutes later, dude walks up to my car and asks if I can take him to the corner store. I reminded him that he had a car and he replied that he couldn’t drive because he’d been drinking. I told him I wouldn’t take him, which led to us staring at each other in silence for several moments. He broke the silence by saying 'I bet you’re real loyal. A loyal girl. A good girl. I know that motherf'ker get anything he want from you.' Then he laughed and walked away."
"When I told my ex the next day, he wasn’t bothered and was making excuses for the friend’s brother’s behavior. A few weeks later, there was a report on the news about the body of a woman being found in my exe’s old neighborhood. Find out later she’s been murdered. It didn’t take long to find and arrest her killer, aka the friend’s brother."
Some kids show signs of being unstable but are easily dismissed as nothing serious until it was too late.
Don't F'k With Squirrels
"I’ve posted about it before but a kid down the street talked about killing squirrels for fun. He was 7ish years old."
"He moved away and we forgot about him."
"20 years later we saw him in the news for brutally killing his parents."
Led By Vengeance
"I knew Christopher Bennett as a child. Honestly I thought he was a bit of a jerk, then again most little boys are mean to little girls. Especially little girls who are 3 years younger than them and seem to think they can do whatever the boys are doing. Last time I saw him, we had grown up a little, I was 11, he was about 14, he wasn't as mean as I had remembered him. Did I see it coming, no, most people didn't. I mean he was getting into trouble a lot but murder, never thought he had it in him. Then again he was right to kill the bastard he did and I think a lot of other people would become murders if they saw what he did."
"I spent a lot of time at a friend's house when I was 6-9 years old. He had a brother who was like 3 years older than us, who I remember as being generally nice, but I have one weird memory of him absolutely losing his sh*t when he tried to teach me and his brother to roller blade and I couldn't get it--like throwing things and weeping uncontrollably. When I was in high school, found out that he had joined the military, and while he was deployed he got court martialed for killing civilians and keeping body parts (fingers, ears) as trophies."
Family members share their horrific experiences of being related to a murderer.
The Jealous Sister
"Knew a girl as a freshman in college who was mean, obviously mentally unstable, and not too bright. When her fraternal twin sister fell in love with a good friend of mine, she became enraged with jealousy and could not let it go. Her sister begged her to get help and there was a huge blowout in a hallway on campus where my friend had to intervene to prevent his girlfriend from getting stabbed by her sister. The police were called to campus and she spent a week in jail before her sister decided to not press charges. Her remaining friends dropped out of her life because of her actions and unwillingness to get help. She got kicked out of college shortly after threatening the guidance counselor who was giving her one last chance and moved back in with her parents. When her sister went home for Christmas with my friend to introduce him to her parents, I told him to watch his back. They hadn’t even made it all the way into the house before they were attacked and repeatedly stabbed. My friend died on the porch and she died at the hospital the next day. The murderous sister was beaten to death in a jail fight a few days later.
"I met their older brother, who I didn’t even know existed, at the funeral for the good sister. He said he had gone no contact with the family years before for his own protection because his parents refused to do anything about the mental health problems that his little sister always had, even as a small child."
The Off Uncle
"One of my uncles murdered his wife. He was out of jail by the time I was a kid. Yes, there was always something off about him. My mother told me he was always violent and had a sadistic streak - he liked to make people afraid. He mellowed out as he got older but he was always a user and always looking to take advantage where he could. I’m pretty sure he was a sociopath. My mother had a lot of siblings and he was the only one like this."
You think you know someone.
No Murder Vibes
"For 4 years I worked 4 desks away from someone who was arrested and convicted of a 32 year old cold case murder. Dude was an a**hole but didn't give off murder vibes. The general reaction was 'huh, I hope his replacement is less of a d*ick."
She Suddenly Snapped
"I knew someone who killed her mother."
"No, absolutely no warning at all. No hints to look back on and say we should have seen it coming."
"She was a perfectly average suburban wife and mother who woke up one day and snapped. And ended up being featured on Snapped."
"She’s currently serving out a 40 year term."
– 5footfilly ·
People joke about individuals going postal when pushed to their limits, but that's all it takes for someone to abandon all sense of logic and go on a killing spree.
But there are also those who have mental issues and are cast off from society and can be triggered to act on any suppressed violent impulses as a possible reaction to being neglected and unloved.
Either way, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what drives anyone to murder.
And the scary thing is, you never really know who a coworker really is when they're off the clock, a neighbor who never leaves their house, or even a family member who has a history of being the polite one.
Hotel Employees Describe The Most NSFW Things They've Ever Witnessed On The Job
People who work in hotels see all kinds of people.
As people from all over the world go in and out of their revolving doors on an almost daily basis.
Though it might be the housekeeping staff who see more than anyone else, and frankly more than they would care to see themselves.
Unlike most of the staff, they have the unique position of going into the guest's rooms.
Of course, they tend to knock to make sure no one's there before entering.
But every now and again, the guests don't hear the knock or put on the "please makeup room" sign on their door instead of "do not disturb."
Leaving the poor cleaning staff with a memories they would likely do anything to forget.
"Hotel staff of Reddit, what’s the most NSFW moment you witnessed at your hotel?"
Thrills On Ice
"I worked at a hotel in a resort town in Europe."
"One of the maids called me to a room for help because it has been the location of an extremely messy sex party from the touring ice show."
"There were used condoms thrown everywhere, and half the furniture was busted."
"The poor maid was in tears, thinking she'd have to clean it."
"The hotel management called in a professional cleaning company who wore disposable suits, respirators, and eye protection."
"They got rid of most of the stuff in the room and charged a fortune to the ice show."- Abba_Fiskbullar
Get A Room! Oh, Yeah...
"I work overnights in a relatively small hotel, and at least 6/7 days a week, I hear people banging loud as hell in their rooms."
"Half the rooms have a balcony that overlooks the lobby, and those doors aren't soundproof at all."
"We had a man sleepwalk out of his room to the lobby, bucka** nude."
"We had a woman show up in the lobby in her underwear."-
Now That Takes Effort
"Night Auditor here, I've seen a LOT."
"Multiple times I've had guests come to my desk completely naked because somehow they locked themselves out.... naked... this one always confuses me."
"But probably the most NSFW was a guest who had gotten violently ill."
"We're talking projectile vomit on EVERY surface of the room, blood all over, feces, pee... everything was just destroyed..."
"Obvious call to paramedics, but I can never unsee it."- thefuzzmuffinVomit Reaction GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Amazing He Wasn't Hurt...
"I was a night shift security guard for a motel right next to the biggest casino in my state."
"It was common for addicts to hang out around the property."
"One time, this guy staying in a room did a lil too much and had a freak out."
"He was running around the walkways naked."
"I had to ward him away from peoples rooms so they wouldn’t be disturbed."
"He ended up jumping off the second story balcony and splatting on the pavement."
"He scampered up and hauled a** across the street into a car dealership."
"Not my problem anymore."- Carniverousphinctr
Will Someone Think Of The Children?!?!
"Sex party in the hot tub while children were playing in the indoor pool steps away."
"I had to break that up and throw them out."
"And deal with the numerous lengthy yet justified complaints about it."- mbgal1977
When Wigs And Disguises Won't Cut It...
"Many years ago worked at a very nice casino resort as a valet."
"Regular pulled up in his nice BMW and went to help."
"Wrote up his ticket got his keys and offered to help load up his luggage on a bell cart while we waited for a bellman."
"Opened the trunk and went to lift the suitcase and I about threw my back out."
"I wasn’t prepared for it to be so heavy."
"Gave it another go and heaved it onto the bell cart and heard a sound."
“'Mr, did your suitcase just make an oof sound…?'”
"Long story short a sex worker who was banned from the property was stowed away in there to get up to his room."- thatryanguy1
Why Stop When The Getting Is Good?
"When I was young and worked at a hotel, I was delivering a room service meal and when I got there, the door was closed but had been left just shy of being latched."
'I knocked and the guest yelled 'come in'."
"I pushed it open with the cart, walked in and he was standing there with a big grin on his face watching my reaction as I wheeled in the cart, butt naked with a woman, also naked."
"He smiled and reached out and handed me a $20 he had in his hand and said to just leave it there and close the door on the way out."
"I guess part of their kink was to show off and see my reaction."
"I was shocked, but never said anything to anyone at work."- TXjoedog
NSFW? More Like Safety Hazard!
"The most NSFW thing that I recall was the manager getting on a cleaning kick and accidentally mixing the wrong chemicals in the pool area."
"A toxic gas started to form and the whole hotel had to be evacuated at like 5 AM."- DtotheJtotheH
What Haven't They Seen?
"I did security for a hotel for a number of years."
"I've seen naked guests locked out of their rooms, wedding parties break into the pool area and jump in fully clothed."
"Had a drunk woman climb out her 3rd-floor window and chill on the roof just below."- silverwarbler
"Best friend was GM I was manager."
"He found over the years 4 guns, 5 lbs of weed (at once)."
"The amount of guns is what surprises me."
"Only one out of the four guns found over the years was reported stolen."- Drewpacabra
So Many Questions...
"I wasn't working at this hotel and was just a guest, but I wish I had asked the staff for the backstory."
"I'm checking into my hotel in Los Angeles and was given my keycard."
"Head to the room, open the door, and there's a naked buff dude standing next to the bed just staring at me."
"He says nothing."
"I apologize and quickly leave, assuming somehow I'd gotten the wrong room."
"I go back to the front desk and say, 'I'm sorry, but I think you gave me the wrong room. There's a naked man already in there'."
"The worker at the front desk says, 'Sh*t, not again'."
"He pulls out his walkie talkie and says, 'Security? He's back again'."
"They assigned me to a different room and I was on my way."- telariumHow I Met Your Mother Comedy GIF by LaffGiphy
What hotel guests do within the privacy of their own room is their business and no one else's.
Even so, it couldn't hurt for them to remember to lock their doors.
People Share Their Most Bone-Chilling 'Let's Get The Hell Outta Here' Experiences
Sometimes you just get a vibe or a tingle down your neck that you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It can be wise to trust this gut instinct, as we learned from many in the Reddit community.
Often those goosebumps or the voice in their head actually saved them from serious harm.
It all started when Redditor throwaway_district9 asked:
"what has been your most bone-chilling, hair-raising, "Let's get the hell out of here" experience?"
A Frightening Weekend
"I don't tell this story often but this seems like a good place. Back in college I used to drive up the Oregon coast on weekends, then just crash in my car when I got tired. I woke from a nap in the driver's seat and something just didn't feel quite right. It was just dusk and the light was fading pretty fast."
"I yawned and stretched and as I did so I turned my head to the side and just caught a face ducking down below my rear passenger window. I went to hit the lock button just to make sure and in my panic I accidentally unlocked the doors briefly and then locked them again."
"I stared at the window for a few minutes, knowing that someone was crouching just out of sight. Eventually, I started the car and thought I heard a scuffing sound. Whoever it was didn't reappear, but that was enough for me. As I noped out of there and pulled out back onto Highway 101, I glanced back and a bald figure in a red t-shirt with something wrapped around his face booked it into the woods on the side of the road."
"That was the end of that weekend trip. I drove the two hours back to my dorm room, white-knuckled hands locked on the steering wheel. I had to pull over a few miles down the road though to deal with the adrenaline shakes."
What Could It Be?
"Me and a couple of my friends were walking around at night when we were around 11 or 12 and I specifically remember all of us feeling like something was off and we started joking about someone or something getting us and saying to each other we’re not afraid of anything. Then we heard a raspy growl that we all agreed had to be a mountain lion."
"All of us were in a dead sprint to my house, scared sh*tless as soon as we heard it. I didn’t live in a place where they usually are so people mostly didn’t believe us, but shortly afterwards and after some more sightings, a mountain lion was caught just 10-15 miles from my home. In hindsight it definitely wasn’t very close to us and we didn’t actually see it, but we definitely exaggerated and acted like it was right next to us."
Not So Abandoned
"A friend and I were exploring an abandoned factory in North Philadelphia about 8 years ago, and when we got to about the third floor...I discovered a booby trap in the stairwell."
"Basically it was a trip wire that swung an axe down from the ceiling."
"Right as that fully set in, we heard someone from up above shout "YO!""
"Time to go."
"I've never covered that much ground so fast. I think we were two or three blocks away before we realized we were riding each other's bikes."
"When I was 16 I had a pickup truck and my parents asked me to pick up some new furniture on the way home. As I’m driving home it starts pissing rain and I was worried the furniture would get destroyed, so I pulled over on the side of the road under an overpass to wait it out."
"As I’m waiting, another car pulls up behind me. An overweight bald man steps out and begins walking towards my car. I tell him I’m waiting for the rain to stop so I don’t ruin the furniture for my parents."
"He was acting very odd and telling me he would help me out as he was fingering his belly button. I was creeped the f*ck out."
"He says one minute he has to grab something to help and leans into his car window. All of my alarm bells are going off so I figured f*ck it and just sped off furniture be damned."
"So glad I did, who knows what would have happened"
Volunteer To Prey
"My wife and I were on a search mission for some missing fern pickers. We were volunteers with the local search and rescue (SAR) team. We decided to stay in the search area that night and had built a pretty nice fire. We were sitting there and it was about 0200, hoping this dude would wander into camp."
"I had heard animals around us throughout the night. No surprise, we're in the middle of the woods, I'm used to animals stalking around outside my camp."
"I knew there were two animals, one one each side of us. It was at about that point when we heard a bird chirp. It came from about the place I figured one of the animals were. Then another, from the opposite side."
"I immediately realized we were being watched and stalked by at least two cougars. We very quickly climbed into the back of my truck. It's got a camper shell and is outfitted for truck camping."
"Driving Uber one night a couple years back. I picked up four guys from a club, listening to them talk I realized that two guys (one of them ordered the ride) had met the other two at the club and were on the way to get drugs from one of their cousins."
"There was an odd vibe, some of the conversation didn't seem the most linear, and I was hyper-aware that these drunk dumba**es were heading with two strangers to a drug deal. And I was the one driving them."
"I did not want drugs in my car, and I was very aware that we might be on the way to an ambush. If we'd been heading anywhere remote or sketchy I had to figure out how to end the ride."
"The two wannabe dealers kept trying to get in touch with their cousin via cellphone, went to an apartment just off a main street, and after both had gone into the building I just said "should be leave?" to the guys and we did. I still don't know if it was just a ploy for a free ride, guys too drunk or dumb to pull off a basic drug deal, or something nefarious that didn't finish."
Trust Your Gut
"I was in an upstairs lab in med school, just a friend & I practicing surgical skills. There was a main enclosed staircase down to the lobby/classrooms & a weird outdoor stairwell that nobody ever used except in fire drills. It wasn't a fire escape, but the old main entrance to the lab classroom. When I put my hand on the door handle to the main stairs, I was FILLED with a weird sense of "Get out! Not that way!" Just absolute fear, I felt trapped & anxious. For the first time in 3 years, I said "Let's take the outdoor stairs..." My friend had literally no idea there even WAS another exit."
"The next day we found out that at the exact time we were taking the outside stairs, one of our classmates was pulling a gun on the admin & students in the lobby at the base of the main stairs. He'd been kicked out of the program for his grades & snapped."
"My friend still talks about it & tells people to always trust my instincts. I actually asked her to stop telling people, because I felt so weird about it. I'm sure I just heard something in the distance that gave me that feeling, but Gavin de Becker would be proud!"
"One time I was out in Colorado with some buddies hiking near the top of a mountain. Some bad weather started to roll in but the top was only 15 mins away so I went ahead while they went back down. As I was getting to the top I felt static in the air and the hair in my head started to stand up. I immediately started to panic cause I thought I was about to get struck by lightning so naturally I ran down without ever getting to the top. I’m not sure if I was gunna get struck but I sure as hell wasn’t sticking around to find out."
"Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, on a trail I knew pretty well. I was leading a group of kids, maybe twenty or so middle school aged children from the camp where I worked."
"I turned a corner and saw a jaw bone of a deer. Pretty cool, showed it to the kids. Didn't have any flesh on it, so I assumed it was pretty old."
"A hundred feet further down the trail I find another bone. Femur maybe (I specialized in insect populations, not deer anatomy.) This one looked a little fresher. Another ways down, another bone."
"I'm getting a little nervous at this point, so I explain that we should probably turn around and head back. My students all groan that they want to see more dead stuff, but I shepherd them down the train and back to camp."
"Two days later we got a call at the camp that someone had been attacked in the area by a mountain lion. Apparently a mountain lion had set itself up in the caves on the cliffside and it had gotten pissed when someone got too close."
"I'm glad we left the area, even if my students would have loved to see more dead stuff."
Yeah, I would've left too!
Do you have any similar experiences? Let us know in the comments below.