You know the feeling – the hair stands up on the back of your neck, your heart starts to race, your palms are sweating, and even though there’s no obvious threat, everything inside you screams to get the heck out while you can.
Most of us will be lucky enough to experience this in what turn out to be fairly innocuous situations, but others….well, these 15 people are thankful every day that they listened to their baser instincts in that moment.
15. Just run as fast as you can.
When I was a preteen a strange man stopped and asked me for directions that didn’t make sense. As I’m trying to help him a van rolls up and the side door opens. I just booked it and never looked back.
14. Sometimes you just feel wrong.
When me and two of my cousins went camping with our family (probably about 8-9 years old) we stayed in a campground that had a playground near our spot. We would often go, just the three of us, to play and go back to our camper when it started to get dark because it wasn’t too far. But one day we were playing and we weren’t the only kids there but this man (40s) came up to us with a dog and started talking to my cousins and they were very trusting. He kept asking them if they wanted hotdogs or cookies and where they were from and telling us that his camper was just over there if we wanted snacks. This guy gave me a super weird vibe immediately so I looked at my cousins after being quiet the whole time and said “I think I hear grandma yelling for us, dinner is probably ready” and they argued and were confused but after I gave them the ‘look’ they just shrugged and listened to me. That guy gave me the heebie jeebies and we never saw him again after that day.
13. Our brains recognize when something is just “off.”
Went to a movie on Halloween when I was in high school with my boyfriend at the time. It was a huge theatre where there was a staircase all the way to the top row that opened in the middle of the row so you could sit on either side of the opening. My boyfriend and I sat in the back row on one side of the opening. We were watching the movie and around 30-40 minutes after the movie started, a guy walked in by himself wearing a big sweater and sat on the other side of the opening. He didn’t really DO anything at first but he gave me a bad feeling and I felt uncomfortable but I continued watching the movie. I noticed the guy seemed really nervous and wasn’t paying ANY attention to the movie. I really couldn’t figure out why but he was stressing me out big time and I just felt like we had to get the f*ck out of there. I told my boyfriend that I was probably being silly but I wanted to leave. As we were leaving we informed the staff about the guy just in case.
Turns out they had been looking for him as people had reported seeing a guy of that description behaving strangely in the parking lot earlier. The police came and he apparently had quite a few large hunting knives hidden under his sweatshirt.
12. Always have someone with you to watch your back.
One night when I was very young and at a bar, I got quite drunk. Some guy propositioned me to go back to his place and I was up for it. I left my car, cuz he told me to just ride in since I had been drinking so much and we went riding down the road. It was quite a ways, and I started to question him where we were going. He said it was just up the road on the river.
He pulls over to the side of US1 and points to a two-story house on the river. It was very dark and the only light was of the Moon. We walk down the dock to get to the front door. He gets in front of me and is playing with the doorknob and as he pushes is it open he turns to me and says, please don’t make me turn the light on and let you see how dirty my place looks. So of course drunk and stupid, I said no problem. And probably giggled.
He guides me by the hand up a set of stairs. We get to the top and he says, I just have a mattress on the floor I hope you don’t mind. And again drunk and stupid me just sits down on the mattress not thinking about anything. As I sit there in the dark I start to get my vision becoming clearer. Everything looks off. The mattress has no sheet on it and I hear a whisper in my ear, Get Out!
I jumped up. I ran down the stairs. I ran out of the door and down the dock. I ran across u.s. 1, and up to a house that was across the street. I ran up to the door and started beating on the door and screaming for help I. I turn and look and the guy is running across u.s. 1 at me chasing me. I start screaming more and more as now I’m afraid this house is abandoned. Right as the guy gets up about ten feet away, the porch light turns on. The guy stops, turns around, and went back to his truck.
Poor guy whose door I was beating on came out and saw me crumbled, crying on his porch. The sweet man got in his car and drove me back to the bar 20 miles away so that I could get my car. I never saw him again. I never even knew his name. But he saved my life. I know he did.
11. Nothing about this is okay.
I used to drive for Lyft. Last year, I picked up a young couple from a bar at about 1:30 am. They were fairly chill and I figured it would be my last ride of the night. The dude asked me to stop at a corner store on the way to their destination so that he could get cigarettes. I didn’t see any harm in waiting so I stopped, and had a nice chat with the young woman while he was in the store. He ended up being about 5 minutes since everyone was trying to get their pre-2 am beer.
When he came out, he asked me to take him to a location that was in the opposite direction of their destination, but was only about a mile away. He said he wanted to meet some friends real quick and grab some beer. Since I figured it would be my last ride of the night, I said ‘fuck it, why not’ and drive him over there.
Now, I know the town we live in fairly well, but the direction that we were coming from was not a way I was used to going when I would go to this location. So when I turned onto the destination street, I missed the turn into the complex parking lot. I just came to a complete stop since the roads were empty and asked them if they just wanted me to park on the street or pull into the complex. This is when the two of them started arguing, as he suddenly wanted to go in and hang out for a few minutes while she didn’t want to go in at all; she just wanted him to do his thing and get out of there so they could go home.
And then something hit my car.
The sound is unmistakable to me, so I immediately started to look around to figure out what it was. But there were no other cars on the road, so that couldn’t have been it. Then I moved to the next thing on my mental checklist: of something didn’t hit me, then what did I hit? But that didn’t make any sense either as I’d been in park and couldn’t have hit anything. It’s at this point that the young lady’s attitude completely changed. She just kinda looked around, and then said ‘Can we just get out of here? It hurts and I want to go home.’
This was odd to me as she’d been sitting in my car for about 10 minutes at this point and hadn’t said a word about any kind of pain. She followed this up with ‘It hurts and I can’t move,’ put her had to her back, and pulled it out covered in blood.
What. The. f*ck.
So the guy starts fre*king out, thinking that something in my trunk had exploded, but it was empty. As he reached over to tend to her I noticed something white sticking out of the seat. This hadn’t been there at the beginning of the night, so I asked him what it was. He pulled on it; it was a piece of the filler fuzz from my seat. It came out of the hole that had been made in the seat.
Because she’d been shot.
As soon he grabbed that fuzz we both had the same realization. He slammed shut his door and I drove them straight to the hospital, which was only a couple of miles away. That realization, and the follow up realization of ‘oh, someone could still shoot you while you’re sitting here’ was one of the most terrifying things I’d ever experienced.
10. That was a warning you were definitely right to heed.
In high school my buddy and I were riding our dirt bikes on the trails that ran around the logging roads in SW WA. Thousands and thousands of acres of undeveloped land with just gravel logging roads and trails.
We were on our way back to the truck when we stopped at an intersection to figure out which way to turn. Three dudes in overalls, no shirts and full face helmets rode out of the woods on quads. They rode a few slow circles around us then took off back into the woods. We booked the f*ck out of there.
Turns out all that undeveloped land is also good for growing, cooking, and dumping.
9. Always be ready to have someone’s back.
I was walking home from school when a creepy older guy pulled over his work van, got out, was asking me for directions to a well known local place, and feigning like he didn’t understand what I was saying, in an obvious attempt to draw out the conversation. So that alone set off alarm bells in my head, but then he kept looking around the whole time, and I knew he was about to try something. Some lady happened to be walking from her house to her car so I yelled out, “Hey Mom! Can you come here and help give this guy directions?” Surprisingly, the lady actually came over and as she did, she yelled something like, “your father and your big brothers will be out in a minute, are you ready to go?”
He looked panicked, quickly got back into his car and took off. Once he left, that lady told me she knew what was up and made sure I was okay, before letting me use her phone to call the cops. Turns out I wasn’t the only girl he tried to lure/abduct. My faith in humanity was both damaged and restored that day.
8. Don’t brush it off.
This was by far the creepiest thing to ever happen to me. It’s a bit long but bear with me.
For context, I live only a few streets away from my workplace. This guy came to my floor one day for a team meeting. Ever since then he made a point to pass my desk when walking to the kitchen which doesn’t make sense logistically as the elevator basically opens right onto the kitchen. Keep in mind, this guy is a complete stranger, nobody had ever seen him on our floor so my work friends KNEW he purposely came to our floor just to see me. He would make excuses to be near me whenever I am in the kitchen, eg to get a glass of water whilst I am washing my dishes. He was always alone, never spoke to anyone, only watched me. This happened for about 3 months.
One day he happened to be downstairs at the time I finish work. He then knew EXACTLY what time I finish and waited downstairs for me everyday. He just sat there watching, waited for us to leave, then went back up. One day I walked out with a friend. We saw him sitting downstairs, quickly walked out of the building and parted ways assuming he would go back up now that we’d left.
Boy was I wrong. My friend walked off in the opposite direction leaving me alone. I had crossed the road and was just about to turn to the direction of my apartment, when some higher power compelled me to turn around. The feeling that rushed over me just then, I had never felt it before. It was like a mix of all the most negative emotions in the world all swirling into one massive super-cloud of fear. When people talk about the flight or fight response, THIS was literally the epitome of that. To this day I still cannot understand what made me turn around when I generally never do that.
I was smart enough to go in a completely different direction so he wouldn’t know where I live. He walked a short distance behind, crossed the road and checked to see where I was walking home to! Another male colleague happened to finish work at the same time this went down, followed him and waited to see what he was doing (stalking the stalker?). He confirmed that he absolutely followed to see which direction I was going, and then went back into the building once I had walked too far ahead. He would’ve only need to follow me a short distance to see where I lived.
This happened a few more times before I finally reported his ass and got him banned from entering all buildings associated with my company. Turns out he didn’t even actually work for my company (external contractor) and shouldn’t have even been in my building in the first place.
7. You’re allowed to be rude to creeps. Full stop.
My mom and I were walking our dog on a semi secluded dried up river bed (for context I was probably 7 or 8). A couple approached us, and instantly something in my gut told me that they weren’t safe. The man asked some weird question like, “is it just you and your daughter here?”‘ and then proceeded to say that he took pictures of kids for a living and that he would love to have me model for him. I didn’t wait to hear the rest of the conversation because after that I took off, and I’m ashamed to admit, left my mom and dog behind with the creepy guy. My mom was livid saying how rude I was and how worried she was because she didn’t know where I went, but the intense “leave now!” feeling that came over me totally clouded any sort of reasoning.
6. She just knew.
I was a 13 year old girl, camping with my best friend and her mom by a lake.
My friend’s mom was not the world’s best mother, and allowed my friend to get drunk. I had one drink, so I was a little tipsy, but still had my wits about me.
It was about 11 at night, and my very drunk friend randomly decided to go swimming, so I chased after her to keep an eye on her and make sure she didn’t hurt herself.
And god, I’m so glad I did.
Two men followed us out to the lake. We didn’t notice until my friend and I had swam a few dozen yards into the water. The men were very drunk, stumbling with their beer bottles in hand. They were catcalling us as they waded into the water, getting closer and closer.
My friend was so drunk, and wanting so badly to seem cool to these grown up men. Drunk 13 year olds aren’t the most rational thinkers. At first, she tried to respond to their questions. But I knew something very bad would happen if we didn’t get away, so I repeatedly whispered to her, “They’re going to rape us. They’re going to rape us. We need to leave. Now!”
I think that finally knocked some sense in her inebriated brain, and she agreed to swim towards the shore with me (away from the men).
They called after us, asking where we were going, and my friend yelled, “AWAY FROM YOU!!”
Back then, I second-guessed myself and wondered if maybe I had been a little dramatic. But now, as an adult, I realize just how much danger we were in, and I’m so thankful that 13 year old me knew to trust her gut.
5. You’ve gotta use your head all the time.
My car was stolen the very night I moved into my new house in a very good neighborhood. The neighbors had warned us that the neighborhood was being targeted at the time. They mentioned a women around the corner that opened the door for knockers in the middle of the night and they attacked her and robbed her and almost killed her.
We had reported the car stolen and did the police reports when it happened. Well, 2 nights later in the middle of the night I hear a knock on the door and they said open up, it’s the police. Well, since I had heard the story about the other lady, I was suspicious and did not answer. I grabbed my kids and put them in my daughter’s room because it had access to the roof from the window. I called the police to say that two men claiming to be police are pounding on my door. They said there was no police in the area and they’re sending a car. Turns out, these same guys stole the car and came back for seconds.
I did get my car back because they brought it with.
4. What in the world is wrong with people?
Once when I was about 11, I think, I was walking to my sister’s house. This kinda nervous, kinda sketchy looking guy stopped me and asked for directions.
To a street one block over. Now, sure, people sometimes get lost when they’re super close to their destination, but he was going to the main street in our district. Everyone knew where that street was.
I tell him, already suspicious of what this guy wants. And then he nervously says “How much?” Me, being f*cking 11, go “Uuuh, what?” “How much? For one hour. Sex.”
As I was only one street away from my sister, I bolted out of there, not looking behind me. He asked a kid how much she was willing to prostitute herself for.
Admittedly, some kids do dress way more mature then they are. I however, did not. I wore whatever my mother was willing to buy me, and that particular day it was an oversized fleece sweater, ratty jeans and super cheap sneakers. I looked like a kid.
3. Whoa, this one is intense.
One of the times I ran away from my abusive mother, I was hiding out at an internet cafe. For context I was 12. I’d been there for a few days and the guy running the show overnight knew me and knew what was going on at home because I’d laid it on him a few months earlier when he was like “hey it’s 2am don’t you need to go home?”. He didn’t care about me especially, but he didn’t care enough to kick me out either so long as I wasn’t causing any trouble. He’d let me sleep under one of the desks at the back etc since it was always quiet as overnight.
Anyway this night I was just hanging out the back of the cafe bored with nothing to do and my brain was like “GO TO THE BATHROOM” but I didn’t need to pee or anything so I was like uh. And then my brain was more urgent “GO TO THE BATHROOM NOW” so I was like ok and did. Went into a stall and just kinda stood there for a few minutes confused then went back out. The guy on the front desk comes over and was like “dude someone just came in asking if I’d seen you, said it was your mother”
After a cycle of running away, getting caught, running away again I finally got away from her and had CPS take my allegations seriously 2 years later, and moved to different city but moved back about 5 years ago. I’m not really a believer in psychic links etc, but since I’ve been back I’ve sometimes had this… feeling in myself like a deep dread, and then I look around and see my mother walking down the road across the street or driving past me or something. I was getting a coffee about 6 months back and got that feeling so looked around, just in time to see her walking into the store.
2. That moment when everything goes wrong.
At a summer camp a buddy of mine and I climbed out onto a tin roof of a big hall that was built on the side of a steep hill. On one side you could climb out, right onto the roof, on the other side it was a 3 story fall onto concrete. Being teenage idiots, we climbed from the low side over the peak of the sloped metal roof and were inching down towards the edge of the high side. We had sneakers on, and had pretty solid footing, so it wasn’t outrageously dangerous.
Then, out of absolute nowhere, raindrops started falling. We both look at each and realize this is really bad and try to start backing up, but wherever there is even the slightest dampness, the metal is now completely slick. There is nothing to hold onto, the grip of the rubber shoes on dry metal was all we had. I look at him and see the panic in his eyes that I’m feeling, too. We are trying to move up this roof as fast as we can, and the raindrops are falling harder every second. I see him break completely free and start sliding down with his eyes frozen in terror. Somehow, miraculously, he stops sliding. I made it to the top scrambled down grabbed a branch and leaned back over the top, trying to give him something to grab. He eventually makes it high enough to grab the branch and I pull him up and over.
I have never felt panic like that. We were *so* lucky to make it out of there.
1. Oh my god I would have had a heart attack.
My girlfriend and I were car camping in the woods, a nice spot by a rushing river. The evening had gone well and we turned in for the night.
Some time later I wake up needing to pee. I do my business and head back to the tent. I’m sitting on the edge of the tent taking my shoes off when I see it….
A vaguely human shape suddenly jumps out in my mind and I freeze. I stare through the dark at this shape, just silhouetted by the dim starlight, wondering if I’m seeing things or if someone is creeping on us. Then the shape moves.
It rises up, becoming a larger outline partially blotted by the trees. BEAR my mind screams at me. I whip into action, reaching for my knife with one hand, while zipping the the tent closed for some paltry barrier between me and it…
It’s then that I hear a noise over the rush of the river… “Hey, wait for me.”
Apparently my girlfriend had come out after I did and I just didn’t realize it.
I’m never going to discount my sixth senses again, I can tell you that!
Do you have a story like this? Please, drop it in the comments!