Thought Catalog

50 Truly Terrifying Creepy Stories That’ll Scare You Into Perpetual Insomnia

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41. Man wants me to be a sex slave in his brothel

I work at a small coffee shop where I often close alone with maybe one or two customers at the end of the night.

There is a man who will come in with his older wife (they are both about 60) and sit on their computers all day using the wifi not talking to each other — I love the internet too but DAMN! They buy a 1.01 day old doughnut and then just sit.

The guy is short and white and stocky and has long hair and little granny glasses haha. I’m 5’11” so I tower over him and always thought he was…. weird but never gave him much thought/felt scared until the other night.

I was closing and it was just him and me. His wife wasn’t there. Often they get into fights and she leaves crying after he yells at her (he’s a real keeper!) so I didn’t think much about it.

He came up to at the end of the night and got a coffee to go. I asked his name for the cup out of habit and he said “put master on it”. Immediately I felt myself turn bright red and get uncomfortable and said “no.” He laughed. I just turned around and made his drink and put it on the bar. I could feel him looking at me the whole time but tried to not seem nervous. He said “do you know what I do?” I shook my head no. He told me runs a brothel called secret garden that specializes in “extreme bdsm” (we live in Washington state hello brothel’s are not legal) and that he likes seeing women with “fat wallets.” He said he thought I’d be really successful as a sub even though I’m so tall. He said he’d love to “chain [me] and show me the lifestyle” and that I’d love it. I again felt myself get bright red and start to shake cause it didn’t feel normal.

I get a lot of weirdos cause of Seattle’s huge tweaker population and I get a lot of gang members but I want to make it explicit — THIS DIDNT FEEL RIGHT. It felt scary and my intuition was screaming “NO” even though bdsm doesn’t freak me out. I told him I needed to close early. I followed him out and locked the door behind him but not before he winked at me and was clearly getting off at my discomfort :/

I had such a strong feeling that I told one of the cops that comes in frequently who I’m close with. He looked into it and said that there was a warrant out for this guy cause he was trafficking underage girls and violence against them and he is involved in a missing persons case that is centered around an underage Hispanic girl. He hasn’t been back but as soon as I see him (or his incredibly weird and distinct van) I’m supposed to call 911 ASAP.

— charliesbutt

42. I thought I was losing my mind, but maybe not…

I thought I had been losing my mind recently, the last 3-4 weeks, feeling like I was being followed home from work. Now I’m not too sure. This last friday night while I was at work, one of my roommates, Roger, called me a little after 3 am.

Something had woke Roger up, his girlfriend was still asleep. The front porch has a motion activated light and it was on, so with his gun in hand he crept up to the peephole. A 30ish year old white male was standing on the porch looking dead into the peephole as if he knew Roger was there looking at him. He slowly reached out and tried the outer front door. My roommate had locked it earlier. Roger had also left their car parked somewhere else that night, maybe the creeper thought the house was empty.

Instead of opening up to challenge the mystery door guy with a gun, Roger reached for his work phone charging just 2 steps away to call the police. When Roger looked back out the peephole just seconds later, the guy was gone. He ended up calling me instead. I wish he’d called the police.

I have been super vigilant about locking the doors and keeping the living room blinds pulled tight since then. But now something woke me up at 3 am this morning. My heart dropped when I saw the time. I got my gun before I peeked around into the living room. The porch light was on. By the time I tip-toed to the peephole, nothing was there. I didn’t see a guy at all so I don’t feel like calling the cops is reasonable this morning.

I’m thinking about borrowing money from my family for some kind of security camera that will notify us of motion and snap a picture.

— creepedout77

43. Not a room you would want to stay in…

When I was about twelve, my great-uncle John came from Ukraine to visit us in Canada. He had a lot of stories, but this was the one that stood out.

In the late 1960’s, John was traveling by train from his village to another to visit family. He had to change trains at one point, and was dropped off at what amounted to a platform and a hut in the middle of nowhere. There was no one else at the station, and other than a dirt road that led off into the surrounding woods, there was nothing there.

He waited for some time, but no train came. It was winter and getting colder and darker, and just about the time he started worrying about a place to stay and some food to eat, an old woman appeared out of the twilight.

She asked if he was waiting for such and such a train, and when he said he was, she said it wouldn’t be along until the following day. She asked if he needed a bed for the night, and offered him a meal and room at her house, which she said was about an hour’s walk from the station.

Lodging with locals was more or less the standard when traveling in this part of the USSR, and great-uncle John wasn’t looking forward to a hungry night on a cold platform, so he was glad to accept her offer. He took his suitcase and they set off together down the dark road into the forest.

It was more than an hour away — more like two — and by the time they arrived at the woman’s small, two-story house, John was tired and hungry. They went inside and the woman lit some oil lamps and warmed some borscht for them. It was the first time John was able to see the woman clearly, and he was a bit startled to realize that the old woman was actually a man. Not wanting to pry, and to tired to care, John finished his soup and asked where he would be sleeping.

She led him up the stairs to a tiny room with a window that contained a single bed and nothing else. He thanked her, they said goodnight, and she closed the door. Then she locked it, leaving him in the dark.

Somewhat creeped out by this, John called to her, but she didn’t answer and he heard nothing else. Figuring he would deal with it in the morning, and that she had probably done it by mistake, John set his suitcase down and laid on the bed, deciding to make the best of it and get some sleep.

Before he could fall asleep, though, he felt the urge to pee, and got out of bed, hoping to find a chamber pot or something he could pee in. He got onto his hands and knees and began to feel under the bed in the darkness, thinking that’s where the pot would be if there was one.

Instead, he found a body.

“Nope,” great-uncle John said, and went right to the window to see if he could exit the room that way. It was nailed shut.

He knew that if he remained in the room, he was probably a dead man. But if he broke the window and tried to get out that way, there was a good chance that the “old woman” (and who knows who else was there) would hear him and come into the room before he could get away.

So he did the only thing he could do. He pulled the body from under the bed, heaved it onto the mattress and covered it with the blanket. Then he got under the bed and waited.

Sure enough, about an hour later, he heard footsteps coming slowly up the stairs and then toward the room. The lock clicked, and the knob turned slowly. In the gloom, John saw someone move toward the bed. Then he heard several terrific and sickening thuds. The person had bashed the body on the bed with a large crowbar, which they then dropped onto the floor right in front of John.

There was silence, then the person went out of the room, and the door was shut again. The footsteps when down the stairs, and then there was silence again.

John moved out from under the bed, took the crowbar and was able to slowly pry the window open. He didn’t say, but I imagine he was shitting bricks the entire time. When the window was up, he threw his suitcase out, then dove through himself, not caring what was below him, only worried about what was behind.

He landed without too much injury, and began to run into a field behind the house toward some lights in the far distance. It turned out to be a highway with some military and transport trucks on it, and John was able to get a ride to another village where he could catch a train.

He didn’t bother reporting what had happened to the authorities, since at that time in the USSR, there was a distinct chance he would have been the one who got into trouble. He just thanked God he escaped and decided that the next time he traveled to visit relatives, he would take another way.

— tufted_wisdom

44. While I was in the shower…

I am a 21 year old senior in college, living with three other girls, in an old one-story house. We are located about a 15 minute walk from main campus and the majority of our neighbors are college students. That being said, this town is notorious for being a little… well… sketchy. Milly is home to one of the first insane asylums built in America. After the majority of it being closed down/abandoned for years, the final building was shut down about a month ago and the remaining patients were released.

Now, I doubt this is directly correlated with my creepy experience, but I am not the only one who has interesting encounters with strangers since the release in this town.

Two nights ago, after getting off work around 11:30, I came home to my roommates getting ready to go for a night out. I realize now how stupid it was, but we often had an open door policy, free for anyone to come over and visit as they please. We would lock the door at night, but the one time we forgot really came to bite us (me) in the ass.

Around midnight, I was hopping in the shower as my roommates were heading out the door. We said our goodbyes and I told them I would be meeting up with them later. I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard what sounded like the front door slamming shut.

I automatically assumed one of the girls had forgotten something, so I called out their names…… no response.

I then hear footsteps in the hallway. I call out again….. no response. Fear and dread came over me, and I immediately grabbed my clothes and ran into my bedroom. I threw my clothes on, leaned my ear to the door, and waited in silence to hear if someone was in the house.

I hear nothing. I decided that it must have been one of my roommates grabbing something and leaving again, so I head into the living room to get my phone. Six missed calls and it’s still ringing…

My roommate, Carrie, was on the other end. I answered and immediately could hear the panic in her voice. “Leigh are you in the house?!” Me.. “yes, why? Carrie.. “You need to get out, Sam drove by and said he saw a man walking through the front door. He called the police but you need to leave!”

I. Shit. My. Pants.

Nothing was going through my head besides pure adrenaline and fear. I wasn’t sure of the man’s intentions but I sure wasn’t going to wait to find out.

While remaining on the phone with my roommate, I bolted out the front door and hid behind my car. I watched the house from afar.. waiting anxiously to see any movement. (My thought process was not at it’s finest at this point and I realize I probably could’ve made smarter decisions..)

As my friends approached in a truck, I sprinted out from behind my car and jumped in the back of their truck bed. Just as I did that, a dark figure scurried of into the woods running in the opposite direction. I can only assume he had been inching closer to as I was waiting for them to arrive.

I screamed bloody murder and we floored it out of there. I refused to go back into the house until the police arrived and it had been triple checked. There were no signs of anything being touched or stolen, which makes me wonder what the man’s intentions were.

— lbgirl94

45. “You’re not allowed to leave”

Many years ago my friends and I were dumb, new 21-year-olds, just barely navigating the bar scene in Philly (where we went to college). We hadn’t had many weird interactions, save for the occasional creep who would hit on us even when we tried to tell him to get lost.

But in July of that summer, we were really enjoying the outdoor cocktails at a bar in Old City when a girl came by. She was around our age, early 20’s, with a cool haircut and an outfit I loved. She looked very “cool.” I don’t know how else to put it – she looked like someone worth hanging out with.

I was smoking at the time and she asked me for a cigarette and talked to my friend and me for a little bit, just bitching about boys and work and stuff. My friend and I were kind of desperate for friends because all of ours had left the city for the summer so we were glad to have someone our age to talk to.

Finally, after we get to know each other a bit, the girl asks my friend (we’ll call my friend Amy) and me to come to her apartment. She says they’re holding a party that evening. Then she heads off.

Amy and I think why the hell not. We’re bumming around the city that evening with nothing to do, we might as well try to make some friends (In my mature age now, I realize that is dumb as hell. Don’t follow a girl who you just met over a cigarette to another location).

A couple of hours later we were really bored and decide to head to the address this girl gave us. Only when we got there, we realized it was a penthouse on the river. The girl had given me her phone number and I texted her saying we were there. At this point Amy was a little wary – we both thought it would be some 20-something apartment, not a penthouse.

This girl comes out of the elevator followed by a man in mayyybe his 40s or late 30s, at least. I didn’t expect that. But Amy and I were both trying to be polite so we followed them into the elevator. During the ride up the girl told us she was a dancer. I immediately saw that as a code for ‘stripper’ but who the hell am I to judge, I thought. So what if she’s a stripper? I chided myself for even making the connection. When we get to the top – around the 14th floor -, the elevator opens into an apartment – not a hallway – straight into the apartment.

The apartment was honestly, gorgeous. All marble, tv mounted into the wall, huge rug, etc. We stepped inside and Amy and I felt immediately nervous. There were three other men there, clearly in their 40’s. We, again, felt like we had to be polite, though this wasn’t at all what we were expecting. The girl ran off into another room and disappeared while Amy and I made our way into the kitchen. One of the 40-year-olds grinned at us in a terribly creepy way and pulled one of the many bottles of wine he had from a wine rack and poured us each a glass. While he was doing this and chatting with us, the other three men circled around us, staring. Amy and I were pretty freaked out at that point and Amy started to say that we were late for a friend’s house party.

We got up to leave but one of the men grabbed my arm, telling me “You’re not allowed to leave.”

Needless to say that freaked us out even more. Amy and I sat back down and planned our next move by texting each other under the counter, saying “how do we get out of here?”

Around that time the girl we’d met ran back into the kitchen, completely naked. One of the guys grabbed her and the two of them ran back into a room together, leaving three men circling Amy and me.

I was stressed out so I decided to have a cigarette. There was a guy who had been really focused on me so that when I went out to the balcony, he followed.

I smoked a cigarette, trying to ignore him, despite the fact that it was a tiny balcony and he was staring at me the whole time. Finally, he came up and started rubbing against me. I pushed him off and went to the other corner of the balcony. It was pouring rain at this point and I was worried about Amy so I told the guy that we both had to leave.

“No, you’re not allowed to leave. You have to stay. We’re just getting started,” he told me.

That was one of the last straws. I tossed my cigarette into the rain and pushed open the sliding glass door. I grabbed Amy by the wrist and yelled “We’re late for our friend’s party!” and pushed the elevator button. Miraculously, the elevator hadn’t moved in the time that we’d been up in the penthouse. Amy and I ran inside and pressed the close door button repeatedly, watching as the man who had followed me to the balcony charged after us, trying to catch us before the door closed.

Thank god, he didn’t. The door closed just before he reached us and we went downstairs, finally spilling out onto the lobby.

I turned around and saw – by the lights and numbers above the door – that the elevator was going back up to floor 14.

Amy and I bolted – terrified that one of the guys would follow us down and try to catch us. We ran into the rain and booked it down several blocks before we finally stopped.

To this day, we’re both freaked out by that encounter. I still think it was too pushy – they wouldn’t let us leave after multiple times that we told them we had to get out of there. Amy agrees with me and has since told me that when I was on the balcony another man inside told her that she wasn’t allowed to leave. I don’t know if that’s freaky enough but hell, it was freaky for me.

— sylvester1991

46. Stalked by old man on Grindr

During my freshman and sophomore years of college, I was extremely awkward. I had just come out as gay, I didn’t have any friends, and I was just generally kind of a big wad of social anxiety. Given that I didn’t even have the social skills to make a few friends, it’s not surprising that I also had literally no dating experience.

Miraculously, over the course of the summer after sophomore year, I just sort of grew out of the worst of my awkwardness. I lost some weight, had a lot more confidence in myself, and my self-esteem was a lot higher. I came back to school in August, and by October, I had a decent number of genuine friends and had gotten a lot more involved on campus.

With my newfound confidence, I decided I’d finally download Grindr and see what it was like. For anyone who doesn’t know, Grindr is a gay “dating” app that is primarily used for finding sex and hookups. Despite my recent improvement in the social arena, I was still EXTREMELY naive and inexperienced when it came to dating and sex. I set up my Grindr profile with a nice picture of myself and a very brief bio, and I got a lot of messages very quickly after my picture got approved. One guy who messaged me had a display name of “Dad4Young,” which should’ve been my first red flag, but I was oblivious.

I should note that I look REALLY young for my age. At the time, I was 21, but I was regularly asked by campus staff which middle or high school I was visiting from. I’m 23 now, and I still get asked if I want a kids menu if I go to a restaurant with my parents. It’s bad.

So Dad4Young sends me a message that just says “whats up”, and I reply without looking at his profile first. I then look at his profile and notice he’s 54, his only profile text says “the younger the better,” and his only picture was a zoomed in blurry picture of a hairy chest, so I was very much not interested. But given my inexperience, I thought ignoring him would be horribly rude, so I kept responding. I don’t totally remember what we talked about in the maybe 10 or so messages we exchanged at first, but I do remember him telling saying I was “very cute.” I know I told him I was a student, but I never mentioned which college I went to. It’s important to note that I went to college in a major city, and there’s a bunch of different colleges all within like 5 miles of each other, and a few more within 10 miles of those.

Sort of like Tinder, Grindr works based off of your location, but much more precisely. If you’re less than a mile or two away from someone who is online, it will display the distance in feet. I noticed that dad4young’s profile said he was 25 miles away, which I thought was kinda far.

Dad4young started getting more sexual in his chats and asked if I wanted to meet up. I felt bad flat-out denying him since he had been polite, so I told him I didn’t want to meet up with him that day, but that we could keep chatting if he wanted. I figured that was that, and when I checked 20 minutes later, it said he was offline.

Nope. About 30 minutes after that, I get another message from him:

“Hey (my name), I got a WILD HAIR and thought I’d take a nice drive out to (my college)”

“:)”

I had NOT told him the name of my college, nor had I told him what part of town I was in. I looked at his profile and it now said he was 3 miles away. I started freaking out a little and didn’t reply to his message in hopes that he’d just leave me alone.

It’s important to note that my college had a couple of different campus chunks separated by a few miles. I lived on the upperclassman residential campus, which was about 2 miles from the main campus where all of the other student dorms and main buildings are. I felt like if he was going to try to find me, he’d go to the main campus first, then maybe give up since not many outside people know about the separate residential campus.

Five or six minutes later, I get another message that says something like:

“No fun if you don’t play along, what building on (residential campus name) are you in?”

His profile now says he’s a little over 2500 feet away, and every time I reopened his profile, the distance would decrease. I was fully losing my shit at this point since this guy had the ability to pinpoint my location, so I shut my blinds, turned off my light, and locked my window, the door to the apartment, and my bedroom door. My roommate was also out of town on some kind of retreat, so it was just me. He kept sending me messages every minute or so saying things like “gonna find you!”, “here I come :)” and other supremely creepy shit like that. The distance was down to 310 feet, and I was completely losing my mind and didn’t know what to do, so I just deleted my whole profile. Nothing else happened that night, though I was absolutely terrified he was going to come knocking on my door.

Fast forward to 3 days later. I decide to redownload Grindr after doing more research and seeing that I can adjust the settings so that my exact location is not visible. When I logged on the first time with my remade profile, I adjusted some of the search filters until the results were specific enough to display dad4young’s profile, which I promptly blocked.

Later that evening, I get a message from someone with the display name “WILLFINDYOU” with the same gross profile picture as dad4young, and my stomach sinks. He sent a flurry of messages:

“YOU FUCKED UP”

“almost got police called on me cuz of you”

“couldnt find you so I had to go to other dorms and find someone else. Said I was outside his dorm and told me to leave and he’d call the cops”

“IM COMING FOR THAT SWEET VIRGIN ASSHOLE”

Freaked out, blocked him again, deleted my profile again, then deleted Grindr. I refused to redownload it or any dating apps for about a year after that, at which point I worked up the courage to try again and have not heard from this nutjob since, thank god.

— feeblegut

47. “You deserve to be raped!”

I’m 16 year old girl and this happened to me last year only a few weeks after I turned 15.

For some background, my sister is three years older than me and so this took place when she had only just turned 18. She had been dating her boyfriend on and off again for about two years. We’ll name him Steven.

Just so you know my parents are divorced so I live with my mum, my sister and my older brother. We had our house renovated instead of moving out when the house got cramped. You see the layout is that there is a very small bedroom my brother has, a medium bedroom my mum has and a large bedroom me and my sister shared.

Well as we got older we obviously wanted our own space, so my mum had a wall built between the large room to make two smaller rooms. The only problem was that you’d have to walk through one room to get to the other. At first I had the room that would have to be walked throughout by my sister so she was able to get to her room.

Okay back to the story, so my sister is dating this guy who is the same age as our dad; Steven also had a daughter the same age as my sister. This guy was a terrible influence on my sister, she stopped going to school, went to raves and was introduced to drugs and all at the hands of her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was very well known in our small village as only a few years back he had a huge drug raid at his old home. He also used to get into a lot of fights, big fights; he once almost killed a guy in just a fist fight. He was also well known to furiously beat his girlfriends.

So no surprise neither of my parents approved of him; this caused my sister to move and live with him in, as ridiculous as it sounds, his tent out in a wooded area. You see he was living there because he become homeless. So against my mum’s better judgment, she invited him to live at our house just so she’d be able to know my sister was safe.

I’m a very reserved and shy person, especially around people I do not know. He was no different. Obviously he had to walk through my room to get to my sister’s and I had always assumed my unease and uncomfortableness was due to not knowing him.

Fast track a few weeks, by the time my sister turned 17 she found out she was pregnant. She’s thrilled but Steven is not, my mum was disappointed my sister had gotten pregnant so young but was happy to support her. One day my mum finds my sister distraught as she tells my mum that Steven wants her to abort the baby and had forced her to take a pill which would start the process. As bad as it sounds I didn’t really zone into whatever was going on, at the time I didn’t realise I was slowly sinking into depression.

Fast forward a few month and my sister and the boyfriend decided to keep the baby and she had a growing belly while my depression worsened. At one point I decided to try and tell my mum how I felt, she ended up sobbing and blaming herself which only made me feel absolutely awful- safe to say I didn’t try to tell her again.

As the months go by things start to get a little.. weird. I’d walk up in the night and find Steven just sort of standing in my room, as soon as he was caught he was either rush into my sister’s room or out of mine to go down stairs. As uncomfortable as it made me I didn’t bother to bring it up to my mum, we weren’t on the best of terms as I’d stopped going to school regularly until I was just not going anymore. The majority of the time I would spend liked in our shower room.

Other strange things was the inappropriate comments on what I’d wear, I’m a well figured girl, even from a young age, so the comments were normal from boys at my school but it was weird coming from my sister’s boyfriend; not to mention how much older he was. There was one particular item of clothing he had a liking for, a silk nightgown that was a little above the knee and have a small plunge in the neckline. As you know I’m a reserved person, so showing my body makes me very uncomfortable. But I liked this night dress because of it’s softness. So I did wear it a lot but that was before I noticed he’s attitude towards it. To start with he simply said “I like that night dress” I chose to just ignore him, but then his started to say “I like the way you look in that” or “I like when you wear that” I was creeped out and just stopped wearing it, wearing anything revealing around him in fact.

I went unbothered by him for a while, then my sister had the baby and me and her swapped rooms as mine was slightly bigger than hers. Me and my mum were constantly arguing, well more of her belittling me and making me feel worse than I already did. So when my nephew was born on my birthday, I spent my birthday alone the whole day simply crying in my room. I hated living there and wanted to be anywhere else.

A few weeks pass and my mum’s and my own anger reach a boiling point and we explode into an extremely awful shouting match. I still don’t know why but Steven decided to get involved and also began to disrespect me. At some point my sister pulled my mum down stairs to try and calm her down and left me upstairs with Steven. He left my room and I assumed he went down stairs, wrong. He had actually decided to shut my sisters door, came back into my room and then shut my door.

This is where shit hits the fan, Steven completely blows up in my face. This terrifying 6′ something muscular man towered over my 5’4 small frame as he shouted things that genuinely left me terrified. It gives me the shacks just recalling it. He screamed in my face how “if I was his daughter and I was acting like this then he’d lock me in a room with nothing but a mattress and I would only receive one meal a day” he continued to go on and on about how disgusting and disrespectful I was. I was on the verge of a panic attack a swear I blacked out for a few seconds out of fear which caused me to fall into my bed.

He was so angry that he was physically holding himself back to not throw a punch at me. I could see it in his face, he wanted to hit me badly, he would cool his arm back as if to throw a punch but then stop when his fists came close to my face. I thoughts he was going to beat my black and blue like he was yelling in my face that he would.

But the most disturbing part of this situation, the one thing he said I won’t be able to forget, was when he hissed quietly in my face that I deserved to be “beaten and raped” after that he walked out and I sobbed against my bedroom door; terrified he would come back and keep to that promise.

The next morning was a school day and Steven decided I needed a wake up call at 6 am and came into my room, picked me up while I was still asleep and then dropped me. I woke up terrified and in pain. He then crouched down to be face to face with me and said if I didn’t go to school then he’d do a lot worse than that to me. He then went back to my sister in her room, told her what he did and then both laughed about it while I was crying in the next room.

I went to school that day, not even bothering to retrieve my lunch from my mum. Once I was at school I go straight to my favourite teacher and proceeded to have a complete mental breakdown. I explain what had happened and how I was too afraid to go home, social services was called along with my mum. My mum told me the minute she found out what happened she demand that Steven take his stuff and leave.

After the incident, I was not allowed to go out on my own because Steven had been threatening to kill me and set our house on fire. He had even attacked my older brother who had to get stitches after having his eyebrows split open. Our house had to have a red alert on it so if we called the police they would come straight away.

After about a month or so it went quiet and he didn’t hear from Steven and I was glad. Then I was informed that Steven had been arrested, the reason? He had raped an old ex of his, one that lived in the same village as me, and he was being jailed for 8 years minimum.

It scares me to think that when he said I deserved to “be raped” that he wasn’t saying it to scare me.

— JunoVera

48. Texts from nowhere, getting closer…

A few years ago, I received a random text, a photo, actually, with no accompanying words. This is not the exact photo, but it was the same idea. Cute. Odd. Puzzling, but not alarming. The number was from out of state. I live in Arizona and the number was from Atlanta. I didn’t know anyone from Atlanta, but I strangely knew the area code because it’s 404, like the “not found” error on the internet. I’d looked it up several years earlier, because that’s the sort of person I am.

The next day, I replied back with a photo of the Oscar Meyer® Weinermobile®, which I happened to drive by as it was parked in Scottsdale. A few days later, another photo came back in reply: a lit firecracker held in feminine fingers. I waited a few days before sending a long-exposure photo I’d taken of a friend (who was in silhouette) waving a sparkler in a spiral.

I didn’t think much of it. In my head, I explained it away as someone who was bored, perhaps someone a bit like me who enjoyed a little mystery. Over five months or so, we exchanged photos wordlessly every few days. At some points it seemed perhaps hesitantly flirtatious, despite the fact that I didn’t know the gender of the person at the other end. I sent a photo of a bag of (generic) Fruity Pebbles and received back a photo of a gallon of 2% Milk. Received a picture of a Lego® Minifig® and replied with an empty 48×48 plate.

One day, I received a photo of a road sign: Now Leaving Georgia. Followed shortly by Entering Alabama. I replied almost immediately with the City Limits sign for where I live, as I was almost right by it when the Alabama picture came through. You may be ahead of me at this point. Now leaving Alabama was blurry, and Now Entering Mississippi was worse. Now Leaving Mississippi never came, but Now Entering Louisianna came faster than I thought possible. Texas came half a day later. It was more than a day later when I got New Mexico, then Arizona. Okay. Could be passing through. My city limits sign. It was recognizably the same sign, though a different time of day.

I’d stopped replying after my photo of the city limits sign. Never got another photo. I changed jobs soon after that, and my cell phone was owned by my employer. I didn’t ask if I could keep the number.

— BurntUmberit

49. “I need you in the bathroom! NOW!”

This just happened to me a few nights ago and I am still shaken up, so bear with me. I am a female bartender at a small cafe that doubles as a venue. During the day we serve coffee and lunch, and at night we have a full bar with bands, comedy shows, etc. On this night, there was an open mic comedy show. Not a lot of comedians showed up, so we ended up closing up shop early and I was ready to go home.

I had a patron come in and order a single beer during the comedy show. He was acting nervous but being a female bartender, I get male customers that are shy or don’t want to talk to women so I didn’t think much about it. He sat down, sipped his beer, and watched the show.

Since we closed early, everyone was pretty much gone and I wanted to lock up and clean so I could get home. After I escorted the last couple out of the bar and got ready to lock the door, I see the man from earlier walk down the back hallway and into the men’s restroom. Not even a minute later, he bursts through the door yelling “Hurry! Come back here! I need help!”

I stood at the opposite end of the hallway and asked him what was wrong. “The toilet is overflowing, there’s water all over the floor! Help me, help me clean this up!”

I could tell that something was wrong and I replied “It’s ok man, it happens, I’ll mop it up. I’m just trying to close up right now.”

He continued to argue with me, trying to get me to come into the bathroom with him as I stood about twenty feet away down the hallway. Finally, he walks towards me very aggressively and tries to grab my arm. “You need to come back here now” he says. I immediately put my hands out in front of me so he cannot come any closer and I tell him he has to leave. He walks outside and I lock the door behind him. I check the bathroom and it is completely spotless- no water on the floor at all. I flush the toilet and urinal and they are both working fine. I start to get nervous and I take my large pocketknife and clip it to the waistband of my pants, just in case.

As I’m cleaning our espresso machine and putting toppers on the liquor bottles, I hear a tapping noise. I look up at the front of the store, which is one big window that has a few curtains covering it. The same man is tapping on the window, waving at me and laughing like a maniac. I watch him walk over to the door and pull on it. It doesn’t open since I had locked it after he left. He starts screaming and pounding on the glass, saying “open the fucking door! I’m going to fucking kill you!”

Fight overcame flight at this point and I walked around the counter and about six feet from the door. I pulled out my knife and locked eyes with him and yelled “I’m calling the cops. Get the fuck out of here!” He smiled and walked out of view of the window.

At this point, all of my adrenaline just crashed. I locked myself in the office and called 911 crying, explaining that I’m alone and a man tried to lure me into the bathroom and was outside trying to get into my bar. I waited an hour and a half, no police showed up. I called my boyfriend and he drove up to the shop. My manager watched the security cameras from home, making sure that the man didn’t come back.

I did the deposit and immediately drove home, my boyfriend following close behind me. My male busboy has been coming in to work with me so I’m not alone, and the managers have been keeping an eye on the security cameras while I’m working.

— Oeilss

50. Old man gives me a ride, says we need to start a family right away

On a rainy night, in the era before cell phones. I was 18, walking a very long way home from work, and I foolishly accepted a ride home from a strange man. (Small town girl, living in her lonely world, and I had just gotten off a double shift.) He was elderly, acted genuinely concerned for me, and I saw a Bible in the back seat. Probably safe, right?

The car was old and broken down, and he had to get out to open the door for me. It took him a while as he had trouble walking with a bum leg. He told me the passenger door didn’t open from the inside. I immediately felt weird but years of “nice girl” training told me “he’s gone to so much trouble, don’t say no”.

We chatted for a while and he politely complimented my uniform, my hair, and told me I looked like his late wife, and that her spirit must have led him to help get me home. It sounded very sweet the way he told it.

The conversation turned to if I was still in school, what my hobbies were like, and gradually turned to whether or not I was on my period. Which was rude but he acted like it was going to be the punchline of a joke, so I laughingly asked him why he would want to know. He said, very calmly, “Because if you’re fertile we should start trying for a family right away.” oh shit.

He said that God had kept him lonely for years but now, because I looked so much like his late wife, it was clear I was meant to be his, so he could start life over again, and finally have lots of children like his wife was unable to do. He grabbed my hand and kissed it, and said “I can’t wait to show you our new bed.”

I told him I forgot something at work, he told me I could get it tomorrow.

I told him I needed to pee and he said I could hold it “until we got home”. He wasn’t going to let me out.

He kept talking about how things were different “back then”, and how men are the head of the household, that women are to follow their fathers and then their husbands, and God says this and God says that. He talked about his wedding day, how his wife’s father had “given her” to him.

So I blurted out you’re going to get my father’s permission to marry me before taking me to your home, right? God would want that, right, you need to do that because otherwise we would be living in sin and the marriage bed is not holy (which I remembered from many many many MANY days of church sermons).

He got offended then, and said he knew the Bible better than I did, and of course he knew to ask my father for permission. I told him that we couldn’t live together in sin and we should go to my house before going “home”, and I reminded him that the street wasn’t far.

Still trying to keep the conversation light and joking, I told him “That’s what a Godly man would do” and he wholeheartedly agreed, then we got to the street where I had previously told him I lived. He asked which house was my parents.

I gave him a fake house number, far away from mine, and had him drop me there. He wanted to come inside. I told him I needed to let my parents know “about God sending me a husband” before he could meet them. I said it would take a few days, come back tomorrow, he said “I’ll give you a few minutes, but then we need to be on our way.” I told him to drive around the block so I could have time to pack my clothes. He nodded and finally opened the car door.

I ran to that house’s door, waved to him until he drove away, then sprinted to my house… Where I lived alone.

Double bolted my door and put the couch in front of it that night. Never saw him again. I did not call the police, though I wish I had. I moved in with my boyfriend a few days later, and I insisted on waiting at work until he could pick me up every night.

— sweetalkersweetalker TC mark

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