Thought Catalog

25 Average People Reveal The Single Scariest Thing They Have Ever Seen IRL

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There’s nothing scarier than life itself. Just ask these people from Ask Reddit.
Unsplash / Matt Antonioli

1. The driver was cut in half and dangling from the trees

“Leaving town in the middle of the night for a business meeting the next morning I saw a car in a ditch on the highway. On the shoulder was a State Trooper puking behind his car. I pulled over to see if he was ok. He told me that the driver of the car in the ditch was in a pretty gruesome state. He then requested I not look up at the trees on the side of the highway…So of course I did. The driver had been thrown from the vehicle and somehow cut in half as he flew out the windshield. His legs were halfway through the windshield and his torso was stuck in some of the lower branches of one of the trees.” — Supa33

2. I woke up with a stranger on top of my body

“I was around 11 years old and I woke up in the middle of the night to a man straddled on top of me with his hand over my mouth and nose. He told me to roll over and not scream. I rolled onto the floor and tried to scream bloody murder (I say tried because when you are truly terrified it can take a second to find your voice) my mom heard me screaming and came in and fought with the guy, he was at least 6′ she was 5’3″ and scared him enough with the fighting and screaming that he took off out the window he had come in through. Never did catch him.” — mstibbs13

3. I found a dead stranger inside of a dumpster

“I found a body in a dumpster when I was taking out the trash at a complex. His hand was just sticking out into the air. I was like… what is that… I peered in and saw his dead fucking face. I ran back to my apartment, called 911. It was a dummy, so the cops said, but a really realistic zombie one. Ugh. I still get creeped out, even though I know it wasn’t real in the end.” — glittercatbear

4. I found body parts scattered in fragments

“Once I was on ER duty and a truck pulled up, loaded with body parts. Some guys were walking down a railroad track and all of them were crushed by a train. It was my responsibility to do the paper work, DOA, and nature of injuries etc etc, and then let the Law take over. I found body parts in fragments, innards spilling all over, brain tissue oozing out, etc etc. I was not knew to dead bodies and body parts, blood, and such, but watching all that took my desensitization to a whole new level.” — entropyx1

5. Some sketchy man stalked me as a child

“I don’t know if this was my childish mind running free, here goes: When I was young I was in the back yard of my house. We had a basketball court directly behind the house and beyond that was just grass and trees. So, I was shooting the ball when I missed and the ball went flying into the grass. I chased after it, and behind one of the trees was a man. He was dressed in a black suit, he was maybe in his mid 50s, and he was just standing there watching me. I got freaked out, so I picked up the ball which required that my vision be blocked from him by a tree for like two seconds prepared to run inside. When I stood back up there was a lion there in his place. Again, it was just standing there staring at me. So, I took my ball and ran inside as quick as I could. When I got inside I looked out the window and no one was there. I didn’t ever tell anyone about it, but I also didn’t go into my back yard alone again. Some other really weird stuff happened at that house, but that was the scariest thing that’s happened to me.” — Eluviete

6. We saw a demon inside of the house

“Me and my friend both saw a demon which I thought was a hallucination/delusion from my disorder. I have Dissociative Disorder, and I see demons pretty often. The thing is that I don’t physically see them. I just feel like they’re there and I can imagine them being there. I don’t get that terrified because I’m aware that it’s all in my mind.

Anyway, I was in my friend’s room on his bed and he’s comforting me. I start to feel like there is a demon in the corner of the room and I get a little annoyed and scared. My friend starts staring at the corner of the room and I get a little uneasy. I ask him if he sees him (the demon) and he nods. And he said he physically saw it.

I told my friend to bury his face in the pillow to avoid looking at it since it freaked him out. I start to feel like the demon walked over to the edge of the bed. I tell my friend not to look, but he does anyway. He quickly buries his face again. I ask him if he’s at the edge of the bed and he says yes.

At this point I was the one comforting him. I wasn’t as scared because I couldn’t physically see it. When it was gone we decided to draw what we thought the demon looked like. We’re both artists, and when we show our drawings to eachother it was the exact same thing.

His house is said to be haunted. He’s told me various stories about several hauntings. This isn’t the only story about that house, but it was one I was in.” — dalmins

7. I found a body in the ocean

“I found a dead body while scuba diving.” — skoncol17

8. His leg was sticking out from the window

“I saw a car wreck on the freeway, car was crumpled and upside down, there was a leg sticking out of the window that was so crumpled that the person couldn’t pull his leg inside even assuming he survived.” — Mypopsecrets

9. Slenderman stalked us from outside of our tent

“This happened to me last summer while camping. My boyfriend at the time and I set up camp near the Great Sand Dunes National Park in a campsite called Zapata Falls Campground. What you should know is that the San Luis Valley (in Colorado) is notorious for paranormal sightings, UFO sightings, and just general eerie/unexplainable phenomena. So we’re off to a great start already.

Set up camp that night, eat some s’mores, relax around the fire, what a lovely camping experience honey, blah blah blah. We eventually head back to the tent to pass out. A few hours later I am woken out of a dead sleep. I’m usually a heavy sleeper so this was already out of the norm to just all of a sudden wake up. I knew instantly something was wrong. My whole body was rigid and covered in goosebumps and I was beginning to sweat. I was straining for sound. That’s when I hear it. Something moving around on the gravel/rocky terrain outside.

Now I’m sure we can all differentiate between sounds of human footsteps versus animals. This was like someone tiptoeing around the tent. Light, but defined movement. Even worse, it was close. Just outside the tent itself. Nonetheless I tried to convince myself that it was an animal. It was too light and too consistent to be a deer. Mountain lion maybe but for it to have come down the mountain this far was unlikely. Bear? No fucking way, plus I probably would’ve been able to differentiate based on their heavy breathing. Wolf? Rabbit? None of it made any sense.

I woke up my boyfriend to be sure he heard it too. He’s the levelheaded one of us two so if he heard it, then I wasn’t crazy. After being violently shaken awake, he confirms he hears it too. These light but almost dragging footsteps on the ground. After going over possibilities in our head, we decide it has to be a person. We realize we have nothing to defend ourselves with but a flashlight and a pocket knife. Guns were in the truck far away. No fucking way we were going out there.

We laid there all night, awake with fear, hearts beating as this person or thing dragged/walked itself around the tent. Crunch. Rustle. Crunch. All night. Around and around and around the tent. All I could picture was a Slenderman/Shadow Person stalking itself around the tent.

That is hands down the most terrified I have ever been, and I’ve had plenty of other strange occurrences. The fear of the unknown is a powerful thing.” — EvElizabeth

10. The steering wheel pinned his chest down

“We got called to a two vehicle crash one night. This guy got drunk and drove northbound in the southbound lane of a major highway. This elderly couple was driving home and he hit them head on in an attempt at suicide. The elderly couple were both alive and pinned heavily. The wife was in the passenger seat and unconscious, the husband was driving and was conscious. The only way to get to the husband was through the passenger door, so we extricated the wife and then I got a clear view of the husband. He was smashed so tightly in the car that the steering wheel was pushing into his chest, impeding his breathing. It was in his chest just enough that he could get what little air he needed to stay awake, but not enough air to really “breathe.” The look on his face as he swung his head back and forth just trying to grasp at breaths and stay alive is an image I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. Long story short, we got him extricated and he lived (took 45 minutes to cut him out of the car.) Holy cow seeing a human pinned so heavily and trying so hard to breathe in that crumpled mess, well I can’t even describe it. I’ve seen plenty of trauma and death but I’ve never seen a human struggle so hard for so long. I don’t know if his wife lived.” — xts2500

11. A tornado hit our town and tore it apart

“First thing that comes to mind was a tornado I saw as a kid. Me and a friend watched it for a while in the distance and then saw debris getting pulled upward and then it dissipated. We rode our bike toward the area and got there before the authorities. A woman was crushed by her refrigerator, lots of pieces of wood stuck in the side of a another house, the roof torn off of a motel.” — 1_Marauder

12. A complete stranger knew every detail about me

“17 years ago, I was in the Air Force. I had been in a few years and had orders to go to California. I was stationed in South Dakota at the time. I was 21 decided to drive it.

I get to Utah and take a break. I was eating at a fast food place and some guy approached me asking where I was headed. He looked normal, not homeless, a little older than I. Clean shaven, well spoken. I told him California, he was on his way to Nevada. We talked for a good while and he asked if he could join me. I never did anything like that in my life but also had a really hard time telling people “no”. I decided to let him join me on the trip.

The first hour or so, we talk about the Air Force, his family, my family, sports, beer, you name it. I felt comfortable. Then all of a sudden, he starts talking about girls he’s slept with. He had a fetish for prostitutes. Talked about how he degraded women during sex. He had a blue adidas duffel bag with him in the back seat of my car. He grabbed it and took out some Polaroid pictures of girls in sexual positions that he took.

He then asked if I ever killed anyone since I was in the military. He said he came close to killing a few times. One was his step dad who apparently molested him at a young age. Then he went to juvenile detention for robbery and other crimes. He stuck his hand in the bad and pulled out this big ass knife. I don’t know what kind but it looks like something out of a Rambo movie. Asked if u ever saw one like it. He started flipping it and catching the handle. This all happened in broad daylight.

I was scared out of my mind. I honestly thought my life was over at 21. I tried to play cool and think of a way to drop him off somewhere without him going ape shit.

I had a little more than 1/4 of a tank of gas so I told him I needed to fill up. Pulled into the gas station, I handed him a $20, asked if he could tell the attendant I wanted $10 of gas and for him to get snacks or whatever he wanted with the rest. He obliged and went in. I stood by the pumps by my gas tank and when he walked in to the store, I jumped in my car and booked it. The guy came running out, screaming. I realized I still had his duffel bag so before I hit the highway, I grabbed it and tossed out the car. Never looked back.

That guy knew everything about me. My name, where I was from, which base I was going to. He could have easily found me and I was scared for quite a while when I got to California.

I never did anything like that again.” — changinmangin

13. I was held at gunpoint

“Looking down the barrel of a loaded gun during an armed robbery.” — pur1337

14. I witnessed a brutal street fight

“Back in the day I was a bouncer and I saw one guy suplex another guy like Guile from streetfighter 2. Grabbed him around the waist and flipped backwards lifting the other guy over him to hit the ground headfirst. Fast and HARD.

It was the sound his head made smacking the dancefloor that I won’t forget. It was fucking horrid. Sledgehammer to a melon in front of a mic sorta thing. They were already pushing and shoving right by the DJ so the music had cut off, I and another guy were pushing through the crowd to get to the two guys when it happened right in front of me.

In the next few minutes his head swole up so big. The knot on his skull was like a cartoon. Huge and looked like it was getting bigger visibly. Dude was slurring, mumbling, drooling and blinking with no control over himself. I’d seen a gazillion people knocked clean out to sleep before but somehow this was far worse. He just looked like a destroyed wreck of a person.

Ambulance showed up and took him away and no, I never found out what happened to him. I can’t imagine it was a recovery though. I’d be surprised if he survived.

I take street fights and real life violence way more seriously now.” — Lost_Afropick

15. I watched as a man was shot to death

“A man get chased down and shot to death in the middle of the street. Was chaotic and shortly after about 20 people went scrambling in different directions. Had to stay and give the police a statement.” — afaintsmellofcurry

16. I was threatened by a junkie

“The syringe a junkie slipped out of his sleeve right after saying ‘I have AIDS. Give me your money or I’ll stick you with this.'” — nianp

17. A stranger broke into my house while I was asleep

“Waking up from a nap on the couch and seeing a girl that looked like she was from the grudge in my kitchen staring at me. Pale girl with black hair and an all white outfit, She walked out the door in the kitchen and I never saw her again. I called the cops and got a alarm system installed after that moment.” — The_Stanimal

18. I watched someone commit suicide

“Someone jumping in front of a train.” — J0riis

19. I was hit by a car that ran a stop sign

“Seeing the car come towards me and knowing I couldn’t stop in time.

Last summer I was hit by a driver who ran a stop sign. I was going the speed limit, about 35 (mph) and they had gunned it so they were probably going about the same, maybe 40. I had the younger sister of one of my best friends in the car and all i could think when I realized we were going to impact was that I’d have to explain to my friend and her parents how her little sister had been killed. We ended up being okay (friction burns and nasty bruises aside), but seeing the car come towards us and knowing we were going to be hit was quite possibly scarier than the time I went into anaphylactic shock.” — whereswalda

20. A hurricane destroyed my friend’s house

“The eye of a category 4 hurricane. One of my good friends came screaming that her house was gone and mine was starting to flood…” — Oceanman72

21. I watched someone jump to their death

“I watched someone jump off an overpass (not onto the freeway) and die on impact.” — BIessthefaII

22. I was face-to-face with a bear and her cubs

“Trailing running in southern BC Canada while on mushrooms. Came up from a creek bed and rounded a corner and there was a mother black bear and two cubs. In that moment, I thought it was game over. They were about 30 meters away. The mom stood up to get a better look at me and the cubs ran off into the brush. She pounded the ground two times and I slowly backed around the corner and hightailed it back the other way. I was approximately 10km into my run and was far away from any help. Shit was scary.

In an odd way though, feeling like I was about to die right then and there felt fair. I had stumbled into a situation where I was not the supreme predator at the top of the food chain and disturbed one of the top predators family time. If she would have charged me, I would be dead. Kinda neat.” — iamfreetoexplore

23. The sky was filled with missiles

“Missiles and artillery in the sky above.

There is nothing you can do, only hope one doesn’t land on your head.” — ManOfLaBook

24. I thought I saw a monster from a folk tale

“We have this folk tale in south Louisiana about a rugaroo, some kind of monster that eats kids, but part of the tale says a person can turn into one by committing various bad deeds. When I was about 7-8 there was a wild ram running around the woods near my house, it had been shot with a bb gun and the wound it was infected so the ram was very temperamental. My dad went out to find it and kill it so it wouldn’t hurt anyone, and so it wouldn’t suffer anymore. He came home dragging the dead ram. Part of the Cajun tale is if you cut a rugaroo with a silver knife then it will turn back into the person it was before, but if you tell anyone who the person was you’d turn into the monster. My mom made my sister and I come outside to watch, in case it did turn back into a person, standing there watching my dad slice open that ram was the scariest thing ever. I was so worried it’d turn into a human and I knew I wouldn’t be able to not tell anyone.” — nalonrae

25. We came close to a whale

“We were deep sea fishing when I was about 13. We had tied up near an oil rig that night for the lights, and my friends and I were still fishing.

We saw a what looked like when you first turn the hot tub jets on under the water, and a whale came up on its side like a half circle motion.

The sheer size of it put me in crippling fear.

Like I have seen whales on TV and always thought, ‘Neat!’ But seeing something that big, at night and knowing its alive and could fuck your entire boat up was scary as fuck.” — Saintblack TC mark 

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