I have always loved yard sales. In the summer when I have a free day, I’ll often just drive around all day, looking for different yard sales, wasting my day away.
About 2 years ago I was doing this, just driving around looking for yard sale signs, gradually going further out into the rural country and enjoying the scenery, having fun getting lost on the back country roads (you can sometimes find great yard sales doing this). I saw a yard sale sign off of the road, next to a big rock with something religious carved into it like churches have. I can’t for the life of me remember what it said (God’s Haven? Something religious, I can’t remember). Anyways, I figure its probably got some good stuff if its a church organization, so I decide to go.
I turn my new jeep down the long, narrow gravel driveway and the trees open up to a clearing with a really beautiful white house. They have long tables spread out with folded clothes, kids toys, etc, but nothing I was really interested in. There are probably thirty people milling about on the property, but they are all wearing these gray jumpsuits. Um, okay. The only other person that seems to be browsing through their wares was this old man, whose truck was also parked there but we were the only ones, save for gray jumpsuits.
The woman at the makeshift table with the money box on it begins talking to me as I’m preparing to leave. I stride over to her for a friendly chat, and I notice that behind the house, there are probably 10 or so small, grey buildings that grey jumpsuits are going in and out of. After some casual chat, she notices me staring.
“Yes, we all live here. It’s great. Hey, would you like to come in and learn more?” She had this crazy light in her eyes, and I attempted to mumble an excuse, when she nodded at three guys who had been arranging stuff on the tables, moving tables, etc, and they all came to stand around me. “Really, come inside, we preach peace and the word of God, you’d really like it!” She took my hand and kind if started tugging me towards the house, all the while these guys are following and I’m making weak protests.
Then, the old man whose been browsing paperbacks, seems to take notice and comes up. He looks at the woman and says “Sorry Ma’am, we both really gotta be going. I don’t think she’s interested.” The woman looks shocked, but lets go, and the guys step back. He’s a scrawny old guy, and I’m a petite woman, but that badass old man grabs my arm and hustles me over to my jeep. As I’m thanking him and yelling back to the people to have good luck with their yard sale, he mutters in a low voice, “You really need to get out of here.” My hands are shaking, all the gray jumpsuits are just turned and silently staring at us, and I’m fumbling with my keys. The old man stands by my rolled down window and I fumble to start the car and try to back out of the narrow, gravel driveway. I tried to do a three point turn, but my car slides down in the gravel into a shallow ditch next to the driveway and I’m panicking. “Just take it easy, put it in 4 wheel drive,” he coaxes. “I don’t know how!” I whisper frantically (I’d only had the jeep for a couple months at that point, and I had never had a car with 4 wheel drive before…I figured I’d learn eventually.) He calmly told me how to do it, and stood there guiding me as I finally got the jeep to stop sinking into the gravel and drove the hell outta there. I yelled a thank you to him, and he nodded before getting into his truck.
I told my family and a few friends, who kinda laughed and brushed it off, saying they “hadn’t heard of any cults in this area! Probably just a church sale at one of the members houses!” I’ve driven around that area a little bit after the event, but haven’t seen the rock-sign thing again (though honestly, that day I drove pretty deep into rural country, had no idea what road or where I was, I just knew the general direction to drive in to get back to a main road and eventually find my way home). I think I may have escaped a cult that is kind of off the radar, but I swear to God it happened and thank God that old man helped me get out of there.
Producer’s note: this story is excerpted from Reddit user jeanbaudrillard‘s account of their story.