People Describe The Times They Were Scared To Their Core
Many people put on a brave face in fearful times, and those are the people whom we often look to for protection.
However, it doesn't mean the brave are without their vulnerable moments.
Everyone–regardless of how they present themselves–has at one time experienced their share of terrifying situations.
They just don't open up about them to save face. Thankfully, for Reddit, the forum was open to discussion.
Curious to hear examples from strangers online, Redditor Wonderful-Wash-2145 asked:
"Have you ever been scared to the core of your soul? What’s the story?"
Some people have wildly vivid imaginations.
Lucky for them, they remained as such.
The Tall Man In The Dark
"years ago when I still lived at my parents house, I was sleeping on the couch in the unfinished basement with my girlfriend at the time. I woke up to her shaking me awake with absolute panic in her voice whispering that there was a very tall man across the basement watching us. Hearing that made my blood run cold so i slowly peeked over the back of the couch and sure enough, I could just barely make out the shape of an EXTREMELY tall man facing us in the darkness. He was so tall that his head was close to the ceiling. I whispered to my girlfriend at the time that I was going to jump up and turn the light on which had a string that you needed to pull to turn it on, and right when I did that she needed to use the light to run to the stairs and get out of the basement. So after a second of psyching myself up for whatever came next, I counted to 3 and jumped off the couch and turned the light on."
"I finally got a proper look at the guy. It was my dads f'king scuba suit that he hung from the rafters to let it dry. My hands were shaking for a half hour after that but we both got a good laugh out of it….eventually."
The Pale Figure
"I was 11 maybe 12 years old. Dad worked late most nights so I was home alone per usual. Home however was a ranch house far out of town in a Florida pine forest. It was late and dark. The doors were all French style glass with no blinds or curtains. Outside those glass doors was only a hauntingly dark tree line, dimly lit by the moon. Leaving all the lights on and a TV gave some comfort but this meant it was much easier to see in than it was for me to see out."
"On this night I had to get something out of the 'back room,' this was our name for a garage that was absorbed into the house. The concrete floors and unfinished walls gave the room a cold air. As I’m searching for what I need, I glance up to see a large bleach-white figure standing outside the glass door. 6 feet tall with no head and no expression. Just white hair draped in front like a ring girl. This was the night I learned there was another option besides fight or flight. It was freeze. I stood frozen in fear, as if the blood in my body just drained. Unable to do anything until my brain recognized it was a horses a**. The horse got out of its pen and was chilling under the carport, with its a** against the glass door."
"Cleaning out an abandoned meat packing two-story celler that had been used as a brothel. Me and my coworker were opening this steel door that was bolted shut. It apparently led to the old boiler room. When we peeled it open, this high pitched shrieking, screeching noise started coming toward us in the dark like someone was dragging a steel chair on concrete. My blood turned to absolute ICE in my veins."
"I've faced down guns before and had my share of awful experiences, but the TERROR that grabbed my brain was unreal. We both turned and bolted up those stairs so fast there was probably smoke coming off our shoes. No idea what made the noise, but we didn't go back downstairs."
What Can't Be Unseen
"I was in a prison in an africian country with a septic wound in my back and the malaria made me see things."
Some horrors are not entirely imagined.
Escaping The Wreckage
"Got into a head on collision when a dude swerved into my lane. When I came to I saw smoke coming from the engine and my driver side door was smashed in so I couldn’t open it. Was so scared I couldn’t think straight to try another door so I pulled myself out of the broken window in my drivers side door. Terrifying to think you are trapped in a burning car."
Meeting A Murderer
"I was almost murdered. It's a long story but I'll try to paraphrase it."
"When I was a senior in high school a girl in my neighborhood went missing and about a month later was found dead. During that time her adoptive father was contacting people left and right. Apparently he had his suspicions about my ex boyfriend of 3 years who dated the missing girl in middle school. Adoptive father comes to my house to talk to me about ex and never really asked me anything about him but he talked about himself the whole time and how he was in a white supremacy gang and kills 12 people a year. After he left my house he kept trying to get me to meet with him alone without my mom present to talk to me more about my ex because he felt like I was leaving stuff out in front of my mom. I told him no, I wasn't comfortable and he just kept insisting. It got to the point where I had to have security walk me to and from my car at work and school."
"Adoptive father ends up getting arrested on unrelated charges and the detectives come and talk to me to figure out what he said to me etc. They told me to stay away from him and that he is dangerous. They pulled my mom away to speak privately to her and I didn't find out til I was in college that they told her that they think he murdered the girl and that he was planning on murdering me and blaming it on my ex that he went crazy and started murdering all his ex girlfriends."
"It's been 7 years since this happened and the adoptive father was just convicted of murdering his daughter in February. But, I'm always terrified that one of his 'brothers' are watching me since I testified against him."
Lost At Sea
"Sucked farther and farther out to sea on my bodyboard after sunset while surfing triple overhead waves, just as the fogbank rolled in obscuring the coastline- and the direction I needed to swim to get home."
"Took a couple hours in near dark open ocean to land a couple miles up the coast, guided solely by the faint, faraway string of a few streetlights and headlights that broke though the fog."
"Every splash I heard behind me was definitely a great white shark. I'd panic paddle whenever there was a big splash behind me (again, I was in 20 foot seas. this happened constantly) until I could regain my calm center and try to drop my heart rate, the whole while thinking about how all that fast paddling I did probably just attracted a shark."
"This was near San Francisco, lost at sea in great white breeding grounds while looking like a seal on a winter night, in horrendous conditions. It's not easy landing on a tiny strip of beach when twelve foot waves are dumping onto dry sand and the current is ripping at a decent pace... two miles away, I landed safely."
"Slept like a baby, waking up screaming every two hours."
Encounter In The Woods
"Met a bear cub walking through the forest. It was 10 ft away from me, and was curious so was walking towards me. Couldn't see it's Mom. Just slowly backed away and kept walking backwards for probably half a mile."
Unstable Family Member
"Long story short, I had a family member who suffered a psychotic break and threatened to kill certain family members and make others watch as well as kill my mother, kidnap my sister and me and raise us as his own. From the time that he was released from the mental hospital until the day that he died I was terrified. Used my phone to watch behind me while I walked home from school and never answered the door while I was home alone."
"Hit a mountain on a submarine at 250 feet and 6 knots."
"Hit it a second time with the rudder and emergency blew to the surface."
"Port side ballast tanks check valves froze shut until I hit them with a rubber mallet."
"My fifth day at sea."
"When I saw my mom in the ICU. She was fine one day, went to the ER the next, had 3 surgeries, wound up being put on a ventilator twice and developed a lethal infection that wasn't responding to treatment. She developed ARDS. Her heart was stopping every night."
"One time I was there and saw it happen and that's when I started to really think there wasn't going to be a way out for her. I fought the staff pretty hard about this but I realized she is basically being tortured at that point for nothing. They took her off the vent, gave her heavy doses of morphine to stop air hunger, and she died in front of me back in March. She was 60 so not particularly old. I turned 30 a couple weeks afterward."
"I miss her. We were very very close and lived together and now I am pretty much alone in the world. She was a powerful woman and I did not expect her to leave like that or so soon. But she had always told me 'If I get so old I can't wipe my own ass just throw me off a bridge.' (I also miss her sense of humor)"
"So I hope that what transpired was more preferable than winding up permanently and severely disabled if she could have survived all that damage--she would have absolutely and utterly hated that."
Even though their lives were not threatened, observing someone on the brink of death was a horrific ordeal for these Redditors.
The Student Who Was Not Entirely Present
"When I was new to teaching (HS), I was being observed by a principal. The class was being mostly good, but this one student was head down sleeping. I called his name, no response, so I went over to wake him up. I touched his arm and he just fell over, yellow foamy drool everywhere. He had Over dosed, thank God the principal was there with their walkie to call for help while I did what first aid I knew. Student survived- but I was so scared because I wasn’t sure how to help, or if my helping was hurting. Its the feeling of being utterly powerless and incompetent when someone’s life is in your hands."
"Went into my then 2 year old nephew's room to wake him up for the day. He was in his crib laying in a kind of weird posture, with his eyes wide open staring off at nothing. I figured he was awake already and thought 'haha he looks dead...' to myself, and said 'Good morning Matthew!' and his eyes didn't move to look at me. I said 'Matthew?' and got closer to the crib and the way he looked was worse up close, just unfocused dead eyes looking at nothing, body limp."
"I shook him gently, then harder, saying 'Matthew? Matthew?! MATTHEW?!' and when I yelled his name his eyes suddenly focused and he smiled at me and stretched like he often does when he first wakes up. Little f'ker was asleep with his eyes open! It was only a few seconds but I swear my blood turned to ice, was never so scared in my goddamn life. No idea what caused it and he never did it again!"
Dad's Brush With Death
"I was about to fall asleep in my bedroom (I was 16 at the time so it's a while ago). Suddenly my dad calls me, which is weird considering it was 2 in the morning and my dad never calls me because we're literally in the same house. My dad tells me to come downstairs because he doesn't feel very well, so I do. My dad is rarely sick so I started worrying. When I came downstairs, he was drenched in sweat and held a hand clutching to his heart, making weird noises in pain. When I sat down beside him, he told me he called an ambulance. Then he went quiet, and around half a minute later he just said 'Can you hold my hand.'"
"It terrified me because it felt like he was making sure to say goodbye in case he died. It took longer than it should've for the ambulance to arrive, and my dads condition only got worse and worse. When they finally arrived, they were all very calm, but suddenly there was a change. They did an EKG on the spot and suddenly started hurrying around with bags of liquid and needles and monitors around my living room, and they even told me to hold stuff and carry things for them. I tried to keep my composure, but I was shaking in terror. I overheard them saying that he was having a heart attack."
"They asked me to call my mom (I lived alone with my dad at the time), so I tried but she didn't pick up. I told them she didn't pick up and they basically said 'Okay, take care of yourself' and left with my dad."
"My dad was admitted to the hospital and ended up surviving the heart attack with minor complications, but I was left alone at home for 5 days straight. I was 16 ffs, and no one did the slightest effort to make sure that I was alright. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. I just waited for my dad to come home. My dad is my best friend, he's the only one I have, and I catch myself going to check on him during the night just to make sure he's alive. I'm terrified every day."
Nothing will ever compare to the fear of your life in danger.
Ghosts, ghouls and goblins, come at me, I can handle it. But being hit in a side-swipe collision at night by an 18-wheeler that raced off afterwards after swerving into my lane still terrifies me.
I count my blessings everyday after surviving and I'm reminded of the harsh reality that our lives can be zapped from us at any given time.
Live out loud, folks. You never know when the time comes when you will meet with your maker.
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Reddit user BlundeRuss asked: 'What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room?'
My family went on a lot trips when I was young, and we always stayed in hotel rooms. Around the time my brother and I were old enough to stay in a room by ourselves (our parents would stay in another one, usually across the hall), he also became a bit of a germaphobe.
At the time, I actually believed hotels changed the sheets on the beds daily, so when my brother fretted about the cleanliness of the hotels, I reassured him they were fine. He believed me at first, since I was his big sister, but by the time he was 12, he got suspicious.
During one of our trips, he decided to test this by making a mark on his pillow cover with a pen and turning the pillow cover inside out before we left for sightseeing the next morning. When we returned, he turned the pillow cover back, and his mark was still there, proving that the sheets hadn't been changed. He only had to do this one more time, during our next trip, for me to realize this wasn't a one-off.
Ever since, and even now in adulthood, my brother and I always intentionally spill something on our sheets during our first night in order to get clean sheets, at least for the duration of our stay. This, in fact, is the first thing we do.
I'm not the only person who does something a bit quirky like this when they first enter a hotel rooms. Plenty or Redditors have stories about this and are ready to share.
It all started when Redditor BlundeRuss asked:
"What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room?"
Preparing For Sights
"Go to the balcony to see if it's going to be public nudity or private nudity during my morning coffee."
"I love that this doesn’t change your plans, just prepares your mind. Excellence."
Show Me The Truth
"Put my bags up on something and check the mattress. I also bought a UV flashlight but after using it at home I’ve decided that bringing it to a hotel would be unnecessary torture. Nothing is clean when you shine the thing on it. And I mean nothing."
"One of my close friends travels a ton for business. She also loves to sleep in a f**king ice box."
"She has found some resource for how to basically jailbreak hotel thermostats. Each hotel thermostat has a specific key sequence that unlocks the lower temps that the hotel normally doesn’t allow guests to set because, you know, money."
"I do this in every hotel."
"Set bags down."
"Look at room for cleanliness."
"Take a dump."
"I showed up early to a hotel after 12 hours straight of driving. Took forever for them to get me in the room (really it was probably only 30 minutes and they were super accommodating)."
"Anyways, I had been feeling the tyrannical gouging of a sh*t demon trying to claw it's way out for about half an hour beforehand. I ran down the hall, opened the door, threw my bag at something, and was kinda hovering over the toilet just in time. Hadn't put cheek to rim yet and my darling baby began his exit."
"It wasn't until after I looked up that I realized neither door was the self-closing kind and you could see all the way in from the hallway."
"You’ve unlocked a childhood memory. I stayed in a lot of hotels while growing up and I saw someone in your position once, trail of belongings leading to the toilet. So I went and shut the door for him."
"Find the bible and flip through it. When my sister and I were kids, we went to Disney, and I think she asked why is there always a bible in the drawer, waved it by the spine and 20 bucks fell out. So I always check now."
"I found $100 that way. 5 crisp 20's,. I was pretty broke at the time too."
"First, I look at the area between the mattress and headboard for any signs of bed bugs, then under the sheets. I’ve never encountered them, but I’ve heard so many horror stories that I’m paranoid about them."
"As someone who worked in hotels, I always double check the door locks and then inspect for bed bugs."
"Look for cameras. I'm a paranoid f**k."
"If anyone wants to see an overweight guy in his mid-40s eat pringles in his underwear while reading Stephen King novels, then they have my flabby white blessing."
"They sell surprisingly easy to use scanners on Amazon. I found a camera in an air bb bedroom alarm clock, threw a towel over it and got the whole stay for free. Some will detect signals but the best way is there’s a looking glass that’s red and it emits a light and you turn off all the lights and look around the room. Any active camera will shine like a cats eyes when you skim over it."
The Things We Find
"I check in odd places to see if anyone stashed drugs or money. You would be surprised at all the sh*t I’ve found over the years!"
"We found an axe under the bed once."
"Yank the comforter off the bed and throw it in the corner. they rarely wash those things."
"I discovered this recently while calling home to say good night to everyone. Dried food stuck to the comforter. Threw that bad boy off the bed."
"I cleaned an air BnB for a little while and I was so disturbed when they told me they didn't wash the comforter because hotels don't.... Like I guess I get it because they're heavy and they're trying to save water on the washes but yuck dude... Cleaning that air Bnb made me NEVER want to book one because of the sh*t the owners wouldn't LET me clean... I don't think I'd ever survive as a maid for a hotel, I could never travel again lol."
It's A Process
"Make a condom for the TV remote control. Take the ice bag from the ice bucket and put the remote in it. Now I never have to touch the remote."
"I'm sure disinfectant wipes could do the job."
Check For Monsters...People Monsters
"Make sure no one is hiding under the bed or in the bathroom 😂😅"
"I travel a lot for work…and I’m shocked no one else mentioned this. First I check the closet, under the bed, the bathroom for a hiding serial killer…then check the mattress for bedbugs…"
Today I Learned
"Check for cleanliness and then take pictures Traffickcam."
"Traffickcam is an app where you take specific pictures of your room and then upload them to their database. They use these pictures to check on the location of human trafficking victims."
"Take a picture of the room and post it on the Trafickcam app so if the room or similar has been used by human traffickers maybe it will help find someone."
And thanks to those last two stories, I'm a little scared to stay in another hotel.
Small acts of kindness that only a few know about can change the world.
You never know.
One smile can change one person's day.
And that person could carry it on.
So doing it ourselves may be the only answer.Redditor sashayingthru wanted to discuss the ways we know the world is still good, so they asked:
"What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?"
As someone who has waited on many tables, just tip properly.
You'll go to Heaven.
StrangersRobin Williams Dancing GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy
"I once walked to a store to buy bags for my vacuum cleaner and I forgot to take my wallet. The shop owner gave me the bags, shook my hand, and told me to bring him to money tomorrow. He put his trust in a total stranger to do the right thing and I did."
In the Rain
"A man in a full business suit with a briefcase handed me an umbrella in a torrential rain storm and wouldn't take no for an answer. I still had to walk through Times Square to get to the train and I'm sure he got soaked going wherever he was going. A couple of weeks later, I gave the umbrella to a lost girl in my neighborhood when it started to rain and she didn't have one. Felt like the universe wanted it to happen."
"I'll never forget that man though."
Leggo my Lego
"When I was maybe 4 or 5 years old, I made friends with another kid in an airport, and he was playing with a couple glued glued-together Lego cars. Me and that kid played for like an hour with those things and when it was time to go our separate ways and board the plane, the kid insisted I keep one of the cars, and while I insisted he should keep them, he said it was proof that we were friends, and to this day roughly 20 years later, I still have that car packed up with my childhood mementos box."
"That friend of mine was a good kid. Hope he’s doin' well."
Don't Cry Tammy
"My husband and I were sitting on our porch holding hands and crying, just feeling overwhelmed because we were waiting to find out whether or not my tumor was cancerous. Our neighbor saw it when he was coming home. About half an hour later he came over with some freshly baked cookies. He didn't even say anything, just smiled, handed them to us, and then went back home."
"Just thinking about that moment has me crying again. From his kindness, not the fear. Tammy the Ti**y Tumor turned out benign!"
Coasting...Fail Will Ferrell GIF by Paramount PicturesGiphy
"I literally coasted into a gas station out of gas on my motorcycle, then realized I didn't have my wallet. Some lady saw me patting all my pockets and I was upset and offered to fill up my tank. I only let her put $5 in, which on a bike is a lot. But it meant so much to me."
Give people gas as often as possible..
Pay it forward.
Generosityhappy silent film GIF by Charlie ChaplinGiphy
"My realtor took less commission so that I could get my dream home. It was a rare find in a great neighborhood."
"Years ago my car got egged real badly overnight while parked on the driveway of our duplex. We had to go somewhere the next morning so took the wife’s car. Came back hours later and my car was shining like new on the driveway. The neighbor whose name I didn’t even know at that point had washed it for me while we were away."
Are those still a thing?
"I was in maybe 4th grade and my parents just had my younger sister, so newborn focused. I went to my school lunch, opened my paper bag (are those still a thing?), and unwrapped the foil holding my sandwich. There was nothing inside. It was actually just 2 slices of dry white slice bread and I was sad."
"Literally, my table mates all chipped in various components and made me the most amazing ham and cheese sandwich I’ve ever had. I’ve been chasing that dragon of ham sandwich since but I’m sure it was the response and not the ingredients that I loved."
"19 years old, first apartment, first winter, first winter utility bill. I smiled and told my coworker I'd just pay it, skip lunch, and eat cheap Mac and cheese for dinner. It'll be ok. All that month co-workers accidentally got extra chips from the vending machine. A wife packed an extra sandwich. A box of my favorite crackers would be on my desk when I came in. It was still hard but I didn't starve. Thanks, you guys."
Just TearsBig Brother Omg GIF by Global TVGiphy
"I was on the subway, sitting there crying because I had just ended a relationship. I wasn't making any noise, just tears, but the guy sitting next to me gave me some tissues. I'll never forget that."
Some of the best people ride the subway.
Everyone has tissues.
Content Warning: Toxic Behavior
As much as we might like to hope otherwise, not all relationships are meant to work out.
Not only are some couples not meant to be, but sometimes there are super valid reasons for a relationship to end beyond simply not being compatible, like toxic behaviors.
But a significant other being toxic will not be obvious upon first meeting them or going on a first date with them. Otherwise, we never would have dated them in the first place.
Redditor BlackenSphinx asked:
"What did your partner say or do that made you realize that they were a toxic person?"
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
"When they kept apologizing for the same thing, then doing it anyway, never changing for the past 10 years."
"My wife got a quote from a teacher that we've tried to instill in our kids:"
"'Saying sorry means not doing it again.'"
"Obviously, accidents aren't included, but yeah when you hurt someone and apologize, don't do that thing again."
A New Kind of Arranged Marriage
"Lots of things, but I think probably the worst and most impactful was when she peed on a stick for her friend while she was pregnant."
"Her friend then convinced her boyfriend to marry her. They were divorced several years later, after what I can only assume was an absolutely awful marriage."
"'Nobody as good looking as me will ever love your personality.'"
"Ugh, that's the kind of s**t I'd think about and let eat me away for YEARS."
In Sickness and In Health
"I was at a party with my ex-wife and someone brought out a newspaper with headlines about a local official being in an accident and being paralyzed."
"My ex-wife, without hesitation, said, 'If that happened to my husband, I would be out of here.'"
"My biggest motivator of leaving an ex was that I couldn’t see him taking care of me if something were to happen to me."
Children Come First
"This one is minor, but I had an ex who wanted to buy her daughter some new shoes. We were at an outlet mall and they had a BOGO (Buy One, Get One Free) sale."
"She found a cute pair for herself but was having trouble finding a pair for her daughter."
"I love being helpful and found a pair that fit her daughter's personality to a T."
"But she wouldn't buy them because they were $5 more expensive than the pair she was getting for herself."
"Both were combined under $50, and she wasn't hurting for cash. She just refused to spend more on her daughter than on herself out of principle."
"This one reallyyyyy irritates me. She sounds like the kind of 'parent' who wouldn't give up a meal to make sure their baby ate if it came down to it."
"As someone who has to make that decision nearly every day... my baby eats, even if I don't. Always."
The Silent Treatment
"We weren't living together, but he randomly cut me off for like a full week. He wouldn't answer my texts or anything. We were long-distance (different colleges halfway across the country) so I couldn't, like, go check on him."
"Anyway, he finally comes back and tells me it was a punishment for not being interesting enough. He liked me because I was an intellectual who would have Deep Conversations (tm) with him and I'd been talking too much about things he didn't find interesting."
"I dumped him shortly after and he acted like it came out of nowhere."
"He criticized everybody. He was mean about his family, his friends, and his colleagues. It seemed very small at first, I knew he was depressed and so was naturally more cynical and had a low view of himself, but he'd laugh and joke with friends on the phone or in person for hours and then the minute they were gone... Awful."
"I rationalized it for too long and then realized it would be the same about me. Then convinced myself it wouldn't be because he always hyped me up... Until I heard it."
"He played the victim so, so well. Scary, really."
Ableism at Its Finest
"I had an ex say. 'What could you possibly be depressed about?'"
"I was an id**t and stayed with her for three more years after that."
Not Over Their Ex
"He slept with his ex frequently for six months... in the house that I bought us... in my childhood bed that I took with me from home... all whilst I was at work."
"He was changing over phones from an old school brick type to an iPhone. He went out to work and his old phone kept buzzing. I saw a very familiar name pop up…"
"He told me that she was crazy and they weren’t in contact as she was obsessed with him (Red flag, I know). There are some things I read that I wish I could erase from my memory."
"When everything was out in the open, she began bullying me online about it."
"We were engaged. as well. Lucky I found out before we got married!"
Different Definitions of "Cheating"
"She cheated on me with a Yankees player because I 'cheated on her first.'"
"How did I cheat? By going to her favorite burger spot without her while she was having sushi with her girlfriends."
"I found out she cheated with three other guys too."
"Somehow the most venom in this story came from 'a Yankee player,' lol (laughing out loud)."
"I'm guessing he's either a Mets or Red Sox fan."
Gone with the Rose-Colored Glasses
"It wasn't so much what he was saying but the action he did about it."
"He used to tell me all the time that I should get contact lenses because he wanted to see what I looked like without glasses."
"I need glasses full time to see because I have an extremely bad prescription and astigmatism. They're both very high and it's impossible to see without glasses. If I take my glasses off, I can't even find them so I have to make sure I know exactly where I set them."
"One day out of town for a large event we had been planning to attend for over a year, he hid my glasses and acted like he couldn't find them."
"I had NEVER had glasses just disappear. It might take me a while to find them, but if I have someone else around me, it's usually somewhere obvious."
"I figured, 'Oh, that's okay, I have prescription sunglasses on me, as well; I'll just wear sunglasses for the event.' I asked him to pull them out of my bag as they were in a zip glass case, I know for a fact they are in there because I switched them out after arriving at the hotel."
"He pulled out the case and tried to tell me they weren't in there and that I must have dropped them somewhere."
"I begged him to help me search the hotel, I called downstairs, I had staff members helping me search, and I was in the lobby on my hands and knees feeling around trying to find them."
"He was busy getting ready upstairs and told me to just go to the event without them; I'll be fine."
"I absolutely refuse to leave without my glasses. I told him to go have a good time but I'm not leaving the hotel room and going into a crowded strange place in a strange city being unable to see."
"Well suddenly, right before we're about to leave, he pretended he found my glasses and they were just sitting on the bathroom counter the whole time. As if I didn't search every single inch and feel around every inch of that vanity."
"After some crying, he admitted that he hid both of my glasses because he just wanted me to see that it's not so bad and that if I just go without them for a little while my eyes will adjust and I'll be able to see fine."
Silence to the Extreme
"I had a girlfriend who got mad at me, and I had no idea why. For three days, she would call, say nothing, and if I hung up, she would call back."
"I turned off my phone, and she'd call my parents or show up at my house (in high school still living with my parents). This went on for three days. I basically didn't sleep."
"I was a senior and still in school, and she had graduated the year before. On the third night, she yelled at me for keeping her up, and it was the end of the fight."
"The next day, I asked what I did. She said nothing she was just angry and wanted to fight."
"It took me going to college and her finding some other poor sap to torture to finally get away from her. I was young and naive, and now know I should have involved a court order and police."
"It was h**l. But from it, I ended up with my now wife, and without that h**l, I would not be where I am today, which is something I would never change."
The Most Controlling of the Controlling
"She yelled at me for wanting to talk to my family after she and my dad had a minor argument. She also blocked my old friends, family, and coworkers in my phone while I slept."
"Throw the whole girl away."
"I did that a month ago, and this has been the best month I've had in three years."
These accounts were terribly eye-opening, and they're a great reminder that a toxic relationship may not be identifiable until it's made glaringly obvious to us.
Fortunately, all of these Redditors were talking about exes, which means that they were able to move beyond these tough situations.
Cognitive dissonance is when one learns new information that challenges a deeply held belief that seems to undercut a favorable self-image, that person may feel motivated to somehow resolve the negative feeling that results—to restore cognitive consonance—by ignoring the challenging source.
This isn't the only response to cognitive dissonance, but it's the one most people are familiar with.
This behavior explains people believing something—or following a leader—despite all the contradictory facts. Outsiders look at the situation and are amazed that their adherents can't see the absurdity of the fraud.
But it's a common occurrence.
Just spend some time watching documentaries about cults and you'll see all the proof you need.
Reddit user Ninac4116 asked:
"Who are some exposed frauds that still have a following despite being debunked?"
Playing With Fyre
"That dude that went to prison for fraud for Fyre Festival, Billy McFarland. He is out now and wants to try again."
"Grifters gonna grift. His sleaziness was already well documented with that credit card/access card BS before the Fyre."
"The justice system certainly failed on this one. A long running pattern of documented fraud even before he committed the massive Fyre Festival wire fraud in the amount of millions of dollars and guy is out within a few years."
"What a f*cking joke. There are thousands of people serving more time for drug offenses and stealing 1/100th as much."
* Billy McFarland is an American con artist and convicted felon who co-founded the ill-fated Fyre Festival as well as several other fraudulent businesses.
The New MLM
"All of those YouTube 'financial freedom' classes/courses/programs."
"I consider those to be Gen-Z pyramid schemes."
"'Learn how to get passive income by teaching people how to get passive income by teaching people how to get passive income!'."
"'Something, something grind mindset...'."
Totally Not A Cult
"Keith Raniere who started NXIVM too."
"There's still a bunch of women that hang out outside of the prison he's in singing his praises every day."
"It's weird man."
* Keith Raniere is an American cult leader who was convicted of a pattern of racketeering activity, including human trafficking, sex offenses and fraud."
Also Totally Not A Cult
"Warren Jeffs and Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS)."
"Dude is literally in prison and still has a significant amount of devout followers."
"To be fair, the FLDS is very isolated from the outside world (think no internet). It's possible that they genuinely don't understand the severity and overwhelming evidence of his crimes."
"Though you'd still think that watching your prophet marry children as his brides would set off some red flags."
* Warren Jeffs is an American polygamous cult religious leader who was convicted of several sex crimes and two assisted sex crimes involving children.
"I’m a long time postal worker and I once did an intake at the plant of a pallet of letters from Warren Jeffs. They have to provide us a sample for this kind of mass mailing for billing purposes so I read the letter."
"He was sending it to every church of every denomination within our province (Canada). I imagine other plants got similar pallets."
"The letter was a demand that they give all properties and tithing money over to Warren Jeffs and the board of the FLDS. He wanted every priest/pastor to tell their congregation that they were wrong and would now be following Heavenly Father’s wishes to completely turn over everything to the FLDS and every member was to write letters and make calls demanding Warren’s immediate release."
"This mailing cost was in the thousands of dollars and I suspect every church in Canada received one, potentially tens of thousands in cost. That’s all money from his followers, terrible waste."
"For months afterwards we saw so many of these letters come back through the plant labeled return to sender. I would be completely shocked if they got even one positive reply. Massive waste."
Absolutely, Totally Not A Cult
"L Ron Hubbard. My uncle is Scientology level OT8."
"I'll never understand why he buys into it (literally and figuratively)."
"L. Ron pulled a ‘hold my beer’ before it was even a thing with saying the Ringling brothers (circus guys) were about to be upstaged by the biggest scam in history, then proceeded to write the Scientology books."
"Even knowing Hubbard was a failed sci-fi author, and that he had a history of failed scam attempts, people still believed the Scientology books were educational/historic documents and a guide to a wonderful life/afterlife. Mind blowing."
"Equally if not more of a scam than Joseph Smith reading the gold tablets from a hat, that only he could see and decipher because that is what God wanted. The level of gullibility of mankind throughout history is impressive in all the worst ways."
* Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was an American pulp science fiction author and the founder of Scientology.Giphy
Sleight Of Hand
"He still to this day claims he has mystical powers and won't admit he's just doing magic tricks, despite being exposed by James Randi."
"The crazy part to me is that he is actually quite talented as a magician."
"He could make a good living just doing magic tricks and billing himself as such."
"He didn't even have to lie to be successful."
"His exposure on The Tonight Show with Carson is so fun to watch."
"You almost feel bad for him. Almost."
* Uri Geller is an Israeli-British television personality and self-proclaimed psychic known for his trademark television performances of spoon bending and other illusions to simulate the effects of psychokinesis and telepathy.
Oh, Oprah... 😞
"Dr Phil and Dr Oz."
"Oprah has pushed so many terrible people and I feel like it really should be discussed more.
"My mom's been in a cult for years because of her pushing Gwen Shamblin and the Weigh Down diet on her show."
"She propelled so many charlatans and their mumbo jumbo into the mainstream."
* Phillip "Dr. Phil" McGraw is an unlicensed clinical psychologist and TV personality who appeared as a relationship and life strategy expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show whose methods have been called "exploitative" and "appallingly cruel."
* Dr. Mehmet Oz is a television presenter and physician who appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and his own program which drew criticism from the medical community for false medical claims and pseudoscience including faith healing and various paranormal beliefs.Giphy
"The Liver King guy, Brian Johnson, not sure if he still claims to be natural though."
"Dudes got a physique that is pretty much impossible to achieve natural."
"Like it's still hard work even if you're not natty. But don't give other kids the idea it's achievable."
"It's not just him giving kids the idea, he's quite literally RIPPING THEM OFF, selling all these products, selling his lifestyle, taking their money pretending that he's helping them."
"He admitted he was using steroids, went clean for a bit, and unless there's been developments in the last few months he's back on steroids and claiming he's not."
* Brian "Liver King" Johnson is an American fitness social media influencer.
Who Profits From The "Prosperity Gospel"?
"The guy just sells toxic positivity, begs for more money, and claims it under the Christian God. I'm a Christian and I can say with full confidence that what he teaches is NOT what Jesus is about."
"Pretty much all of the mega church leaders are frauds."
"I'd say 100% of them. It is anti-Christian. Any excess should be given back to the communities they are in."
"That's why they don't get taxed. But now it's just a grift."
"They don't give a f*ck about anything other than the size of their bank accounts."
"Absolutely 100% they are frauds and lying weasels."
"Osteen or Copeland or any of the others who unabashedly pound the pulpit, so to speak, on the 'prosperity gospel'—they have incorporated their sin as their strength in the eyes of their followers and those imbeciles eat it up."
* Joel Osteen is an American televangelist, businessman based in Houston, Texas and one of the more prominent figures associated with "prosperity theology" and a focus of its critics.Giphy
"Bongbong Marcos and his family."
"Their family literally stole billions from the Filipino people yet they are still out of prison. Their family matriarch, Imelda, was even sentenced to prison for graft, but no one dared to arrest her."
"Bongbong is now even president of the Philippines and has a huge cult following because of how they tried to distort history."
* Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is the second child and only son of former president, kleptocrat and dictator Ferdinand Marcos and former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
The Power Of Motorola Compels You!
"Faith healer and psychic Peter Popoff. The divine voices he heard were actually his wife using a radio."
"He’s still selling his 'Miracle Water'."
"Popoff was exposed in an investigation on a news show.
"He 'retired to a quiet life of contemplation' when it aired which everyone knew was horsesh*t."
"A couple years later he’s back grifting."
* Peter George Popoff is a German-born American televangelist, charlatan, debunked clairvoyant and faith healer.Giphy
No, Vaccines Don't Cause Autism
"Andrew Wakefield, who was trying to get his own vaccine approved, so he tried to make it look like another vaccine was a problem."
"He did research without getting proper consent, falsified results, and so on."
"He's become the darling of the vaccines-cause-autism crowd, even though his behavior was so egregious that he lost his medical license."
"Oh it's so much worse. Wakefield's alternative vaccine (cofounded by a quack who didn't have a medical license, believed he could cure autism with his bone marrow, and had his name spelled wrong on the patent) was a cash-grab, to capitalise further on the greater scheme."
"He was paid to discredit the MMR vaccine by a lawyer who recognised the amount of money there was in suing the manufacturer on behalf of concerned parents, in collaboration with a then-small group of parents who believed it made their children autistic (called "JABS") who have since rocketed in popularity as a direct result of the whole debacle."
"Wakefield lost his license primarily because he did not receive informed consent for procedures. Not only did the handouts he gave to the parents not even mention all the procedures performed, but they did not mention risks. The handouts literally do not contain the word 'risk'."
"He also lied. A lot. Like, the results of his study were shaky at best, and half of them were just completely made up."
"Oh, and giving colonoscopies to children ended up being a horrible idea, because one of them got a perforated bowel. He f*cked up that kid's life forever. It's... disgusting."
"Autism isn't actually that bad. And it's kinda disgusting that it was being treated as something worth risking actual death to avoid.
"Also, the head of Andrew Wakefield's hospital at the time of his departure (when he got fired because his colleagues got sick of his sh*t) went on to describe him as, quote, 'a Wanker and a Fraud'."
How Is He—either one—Still A Thing?
"Logan Paul. This really annoys me. The dude has been called out for multiple crypto scams and yet I still see his sh*tty energy drink all over grocery stores and gas stations.
"I really hope he goes down for real."
"It's crazy that he even still has a following after everything he's said and done."
"People were actually cheering and rooting for him in his recent scammer vs scammer joke of a boxing match."
"The world isn't running out of unattended 5-10 year olds with iPads anytime soon. That's why he still has a following."
"Or am I thinking of Jake Paul? Eh, two sh*ts, same a**hole."
"When I taught middle school several of my students were huge fans of Logan or Jake Paul. They’d come to school in their merch and listen to their sh*tty music while they did class work."
* Logan Paul—once called "the face of douchebag entitlement" and Jake Paul—known for prank videos—are brothers and American YouTubers who started out posting sketches on Vine.Giphy
"Multi-Level Marketing (MLMs). The vast majority of people who sign up for them make very little and a significant number lose money."
"And yet, they're everywhere."
"99% of MLM sellers lose money. It’s only those at the very top that actually make anything at all."
"It’s such a scam and a fraud!"
"That's why they used to be called pyramid schemes. They came up with the term MLM to make it sound better."
"Donald Trump/MAGA… the guy has over 50 felony charges and civil cases for fraud and rape and still has followers?"
"It’s cuckoo bananas."
"He is a con artist… and it’s so glaringly obvious!"
"I try not to be Trump this Trump that, but this is what immediately came to mind."
"He’s not good at business. He’s not good at being president. He’s oblivious to rules he doesn’t want to observe. They think he’s Christian and like, when have you seen him going to church even to fake it?
Everything he does is as obvious as his fake tan that makes him look like Magda (MAGAda? 😃) from Something About Mary.
"His MAGA minions claim they’re these shrewd people that show up on the car lot and get exactly what they want for less than it’s worth when really they’re the type to show up on the lot and leave with a Hummer they don’t need and can’t afford."
In the words of Carl Sagan:
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle."
"We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth."
"The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken."
"Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
~ Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
What proven frauds, scammers and grifters would you add to the list?