Scary means different things to different people. For some, it's about ambiance. For some it's about real danger.
One Reddit user asked:
So we'll be honest, we were expecting a bunch of stories about haunted houses. What we got was a whole lot of terrifying, yet mundane places. As it turns out, sometimes it's the circumstances and not the location that make something truly terrifying.
Be warned, this article talks about child abandonment, slow death, arson, abuse, and more.
Some places are scary because humanity can be scary.
Probably a cave, wriggling through a "lemon drop" as they called it, where you go feet first down a skinny tunnel and have to wriggle down about 12' before you drop into a chamber below.
About halfway my shoulders got stuck and it took like five excruciating minutes to get loose.
I don't know why I went spelunking, I'm claustrophobic.
Edit: to answer a few common questions:
- I got out through the exit at the bottom of the cave, the entrance was uphill so you had to turn back or go through the lemon drop to get out.
- I had kinda forgotten I'm claustrophobic. Or I guess it's better to say my claustrophobia improved and I didn't really feel the walls closing in until they were literally squeezing me from all sides.
- I don't know why I went in there, it was a free event and I was probably pretty high and bored at the time.
Reconstructed subway which was destroyed by arson years ago in Daegu, Korea. They memorialized the site: scorched walls, melted people's items, burnt phone booths and all.
But the scariest was the scorched walls with writings and handprints from loved ones of the people that were trapped during the fire. This subway is one of the busiest stations even today due to being the city's downtown area.
They're the last text messages that the victims sent to their families as they were dying. The trains locked and trapped people inside. They burned, succumbed to smoke inhalation, etc. It was slow. They had time for final conversations. If you search "Daegu subway fire texts" you can find translations, they're chilling.
That's Not FruitBay Area Forest GIF by ChrisGiphy
We were on our way to Flagstaff, AZ for the Overland Expo and planned to camp near there the night before it started since we were on a longer overland trip.
It was this place in the woods that was recommended by other who were there before. It all seemed fine and we set up camp.
At night when we brushed our teeth we noticed there were animal skulls hanging in the trees all around us, it was super scary.
We packed up and spend the night in a Hotel. We hope it was just some stupid "funny" hunters or something, but you never know, there might be a crazy guy...
Still Waters Run Deep
The Strid is what happens when a fast-flowing river basically turns on its side, putting a vast amount of water through a very slim, very deep, very dark groove in the ground. It looks calm on the surface, but if you fall in, you are royally fcked.
There's a claim that it might be the most dangerous stretch of water in the world, and I can readily believe it.
It's not too far from where I used to live, so I decided to go there once. It's the most unassuming thing you can imagine, but knowing how dangerous it is just makes it seem ominous, especially when you consider how many people it may have killed and how few people ever wash up.
I didn't go within ten feet of the thing.
Got stuck in my car in a freezing steppe during a really bad snow storm at -45 degrees Celsius. The snow was real deep and my car was stuck so badly it would take a truck to pull it out. Cellphone didn't work, maps didn't work.
For those who don't know, once the engine dies you have about 12 hours before you freeze to death. The worst thing is that the snow was so deep and the storm was so bad they probably wouldn't have found me until spring. I have been in a bunch of life threatening situations in my lifetime, but fuck, nothing is as scary as freezing to death in the middle of nowhere.
Thankfully, another guy saw me. He happened to be driving a real pumped up Land Cruiser, all geared up and shit. He gave me a real confused look once he realized I was driving a Jaguar XE, probably the last fcking car you want to drive there.
It would have been ok if I stayed on the road, I guess, but I couldn't see because of the storm and wandered about 50 meters off road. He pulled me out and led me for two hours at 40 km an hour, given he could easily do 120 thanks to his car.
A Leopard In The Darknessleopard GIFGiphy
The most scared I've felt was standing in the dark at a camp in the middle of nowhere in northern Botswana. The path was between the tent and the reception/dining area and all there was separating this path and the camp from the wilderness was a flimsy fence. There were no lamps.
I had stopped to admire the stars which blanketed the sky; then I lowered my gaze to stare out at the inky blackness beyond. It was so dark i could not even see my hand. The thought that ran through my head was that a lion or leopard could be watching me that very moment, could be mere metres away, and I would never know it until too late.
I stood there for a few minutes, savouring this fear, reminding myself that this was what it was like for humans only a few hundred years ago, and thousands before that. Humbling experience.
Statistically, the most dangerous place I've been to is a shantytown/township/informal settlement in Cape Town. Informal areas like these are among the most dangerous areas in South Africa, but funnily enough I didn't feel unsafe as I was there for only a couple of hours in daylight and the people around me were friendly.
Abandoned And Unable To Speak The Language
I got abandoned in a care home at 11 years old in a foreign country. That sht was scary!
My dad abducted me and took me to Switzerland. I was under the impression we were moving, but little did I know he was keeping me from my family, after 3 years his relationship with his girlfriend imploded and he decided he would leave me in a care home.
It took me a year but yeah I eventually learned to speak German.
I actually only found out that it was a case of child abduction recently (1 month ago) after my grandparents gave me a document containing all the information. After getting that document from my grandparents I really have no interest in a relationship with him anymore.
Nearly 10 years have passed since I left the care home. He had plenty of time to tell me the truth and explain himself - but honestly he hasn't changed at all. He just drinks all day. I plan to confront him, but after that I'm done with him.
I'm getting married next year so I feel it's time to forget about him and move on with my life I guess.
An Airbnb in Barcelona. I've spent quite a while in Spain, speak Spanish, and have visited Barcelona multiple times. I've also used Airbnb multiple times, and know what to check for. Two friends and I (all 20sF) picked an Airbnb with several favorable ratings, in a good neighborhood. One of the ones that's a room in someone's apartment.
Show up, and the two guys look nothing like the picture, but are very hospitable, so we went inside. They showed us around, and the apartment looked like the photos. Then they showed us the room and let us be. We open the door to the room and it's nothing like the photos. It's essentially a closet, 3 dirty twin mattresses on the floor with no pillows and blankets covered in old food. Furthermore, the door to the room has no interior lock on it—but it DID have an exterior lock. It's at this point that we also realize they never gave us a key to the apartment.
We took pictures of everything and waited until we heard them leave the apartment, and watched them from the window until they were out of sight. We gathered our packs and SPRINTED out of there, with no plans on where to go, just calling random hostels until we found one that had room. But it was on the other side of the city, and the metro had closed for the night. So we walked an hour and a half. Thankfully the hostel was lovely, and Airbnb refunded us and removed the listing, but we're convinced it was a human trafficking setup.
Nearer My God To Thee
My experience was more about the circumstances than the place. I went to a university that offered volunteer opportunities that included cheap international trips. I was on a trip with 20 other clueless midwestern teens traveling to a school in the mountains of Bolivia.
The road was a sheer cliff face on one side and a step drop off on the other. And of course, there were crosses along the roadside marking where vehicles had gone over the side. This was just nerve wracking until the driver stopped the bus for what we thought was just taking a break. Then he scooted under the front wheels of the bus, came out, rooted around in a box and found a wire coat hanger. Scooted back under the bus with the coat hanger and came out without it.
Then, Vamanos! Our nervousness turns to concern.
At the next stop a woman gets on as we are leaving and drapes her arm over the driver's shoulder and they proceed to semi make-out while he is driving. Several of us were white knuckled at this point. When it gets dark the driver and his girl light up and we smell weed.
Good thing it was a Christian college and we all knew the words to "Nearer My God to Thee".
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.