When we're kids, we don't fully know the difference between right and what's wrong in certain situations. We simply go about our days carefree, basking in our childhood glory and naivete. It's only once we get older that we realize the confusing experiences we had in our childhood were actually far from normal. Such moments may have had underlying impacts that ultimately stripped us of our childhood innocence. The following stories shine a light on the strange events that occurred in people's childhoods and how they affected them as they became older. These individuals are grateful that they're still here today, as such experiences could have easily gone terribly wrong:
#1 A Compromising Position
I was playing at a friend's house in grade school. I went looking for the bathroom but I opened the door to the laundry room instead. My friend's mom was sitting on top of the dryer. crying. She completely freaked out when she saw me. It didn't occur to me until about 20 years later that she was probably having some sort of breakdown.
#2 The Creepy Teacher
One of the teachers at my primary school had a "favorite" kid in my class. He wasn't our teacher but if he was on playground duty, he would come out to the playground when we were there, find her, crouch down on the ground and tell her to sit on his knee. Then when she did. he would stroke her hair and tell her what beautiful blonde hair she had.
At the time the rest of us were kind of jealous of her because we thought it just meant she was important. She was kind of quiet but from a fairly rich family and she always had nice clothes. This teacher would openly say she was his favorite and ask us where she was if he couldn't find her.
I remember walking around a corner or something and seeing them by themselves, with her on his knee as he talked to her softly. Years later I feel really quite disturbed by it. That poor kid.
#3 Don't Talk To Strangers
I was eight and I was playing outside with some friends in my front yard. An old disabled guy came up to me with a goldfish in a bowl and asked me if I wanted a fish. He asked me to get in his car to look at other fish. I didn’t feel comfortable and luckily my mom had come running from the house. I didn’t realize until I was much older that I almost got kidnapped.
#4 Young Arsonist
The next-door neighbor kid tried to drop a hammer on my head from a tree. It hit my shoulder, fortunately. I had no idea I was almost killed. The kid went to juvenile prison after trying to set our other neighbor’s house on fire.
#5 A Close Call
When I was around five or six, I was at K-Mart with my mom. This was back in the '70s, so as my mom shopped, I would hang out by myself in the toy department. I especially loved the Simone game, where you press the buttons and try to match the pattern. So one day, I was standing there at the display playing Simone, and an old man started talking to me.
He talked to me for a few minutes, and then he told me to come with him. He took me by the hand and started walking toward the back of the store, where there were double doors that led out to the back parking lot. I remember wondering where we were going, but not being particularly concerned.
As we were passing the last couple of aisles, I suddenly saw my mom at the end of the aisle. I kind of snapped out of it and realized that I should go to my mom rather than go with this guy. I pulled away from his hand and ran to my mom. I didn't say a word because I knew she had told me not to talk to strangers.
#6 Mother's Insanity
I was 7. I had to go #1 really badly, but my mom was in the bathroom. After waiting and knocking, I just went in without waiting for a response. I found my mom sitting on the toilet and slumped over, pale as hell. As calm as I could be, I called my aunt over who freaked and called an ambulance.
My mom was gone for over a couple of months. My family just told me she was traveling whenever I asked about her. Years later, I learned my mom was severely depressed and she had been in a psych ward for months due to going insane.
#7 Scary Sledding
When I was around nine years old, I went snow sledding with family and friends. It was a popular sledding area with a few different hills and some woods. This older guy in his 40s had an awesome toboggan with a flashlight rigged up on the front. He was flying down hills 10x faster than anyone. He was there all by himself and it was getting dark out.
He came up to me and started telling me about this secret hill in the woods that was huge. He told me I could use his sled. I followed him for about two minutes until I realized I couldn't see my family or friends anymore. I was maybe 20 feet into the woods before I was overcome with a horrible gutwrenching feeling. I dropped my sled and ran like hell back toward my family. I remember hearing his footsteps behind me moving as quickly as I was. By the time I got to my family and told them, he had disappeared.
#8 Saved By The Cousins
When I was about six or seven, my cousins and I had a lemonade stand in front of my house. This younger couple drove up and asked me specifically if I wanted to go to Jungle Bungle. It was like Chuckie Cheese but way more fun. My cousins didn't even let me answer and quickly ran inside with me in tow.
They told my parents and we weren't allowed outside the rest of the day due to the couple still circling the area. I don't remember if my parents called the cops or not. I didn't realize how close I got to getting kidnapped since my stupid self probably would have gone had it not been for my wonderful cousins.
#9 Follow Your Gut
I was at a store with my mom when I was about eight and I was wandering around on my own. These two guys kept staring me down and following me. Every corner I turned, it seemed like one of them was there. I followed my gut and ran to my mom. She thought I was being dramatic but it was fine after that.
Three or four hours later, my dad (a police dispatcher) called and said there were two guys caught trying to kidnap a little girl at that same store, just a little bit after we left.
My mom didn't tell me that part until about 18 years later. Thank God I followed my gut even as a kid.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
Stories that matter — delivered straight to your inbox.
#10 The Family Reunion Incident
I was at a family reunion when I was really little and some long distant uncle asked me to go help him chop wood. My mom intervened just before I got in his truck and later on, I realized no one in my family trusted him. I had never met him before and he left the reunion right after that.
#11 The Worst Dad
My dad used to drink and drive with my brother and I in the car. We were never scared as kids, but one night after going to his friend’s wedding with him, it suddenly dawned on us—he should NOT have been driving. He was coasting through stop signs, looking left and right after already entering the intersections... My parents were divorced by then (because of his drinking) and we hated spending weekends with him. Why we never simply told my mom is beyond me.
#12 Caught In The Act
When I was really young (maybe nine or ten years old), a friend of my parents came knocking on the door around 3 a.m. covered in blood. He had just got into a physical altercation with his wife and the man she was cheating with. He caught them in bed.
#13 A Bad Reward System
When I was in sixth grade, in 1984, my social studies teacher would reward students with trips to the movies with him or going out to eat. The cutest boys in class would win all the time, and it would always be for weird reasons. I was jealous because girls never got to win. Years later, I realized it was really sketchy. I even tried to find him, because it was possible he was still giving good boys "special treatment," but he had passed away from lung cancer years before.
#14 The Lost Man
I was around six years old playing by myself on the front lawn. A car pulled up, rolled down the window, and a man started asking me for directions. I refused to come even remotely close to his car, electing to just shout from across the lawn that I didn’t know and couldn’t help. I immediately ran back inside to my family after telling him this. Honestly, it could have just been a dude who was super lost, but dang. What six-year-old knows ANY directions? So creepy.
#15 The Convulsing Man
I was maybe eight years old... I found a Friendly’s employee seizing in the men’s room... of a Friendly’s. He was just curled up in the corner convulsing when I walked in. I knew something was weird so I went back to the table and told my dad, who got the manager. The rest is history I suppose.
#16 A Creepy Prank
My mom thought it was hilarious to say, “I’m not your mother” in a voice like a witch with a very creepy expression on her face and cackle. I have this extremely distinct memory of me having my door locked and her sticking a wire hanger under the door while saying this over and over. I come from a well-off middle-class family but granted, this was probably at the peak of her bi-polar II struggles. It's super messed up now that I’m a grown adult in social work., thinking back.
#17 A Different, Cool Booster Seat
When I was three or four, my dad's coworker tried to kidnap me. I was in a booster seat and he was telling me about how he had a different, cool, booster seat. Wouldn't I like to ride in his truck? My dumb self was all concerned over the booster seat not being right and then my dad walked out and asked what was going on. He then decked the guy. I don't know why he would've tried that in the parking lot of my dad's work, but I remember this vividly.
#18 Drive-By Flasher
I was traveling on a coach with my mom, aunt, little sister, and cousin. Five-year-old me was looking out the window. I spotted a guy in a convertible alongside the bus and we locked eyes for a second. The car kind of slowed down and fell out of sight before speeding up to where I was in the bus again. The man was now flashing me. I proceeded to smile and wave as five-year-olds do.
#19 An Odd Kid's Game
My friend’s older brother used to make us undress in front of him as a game. I was around four or five years old. He never touched us and he was pretty young himself, maybe ten years old? I never felt weird about it as a kid and didn’t realize it was strange until I was much older. I don’t believe it had any lasting negative effects, but who knows.
#20 The Rad Socks
I had a friend when I was about five years old who always wore what I thought were really bright socks on her arms. I thought they were rad. I remember being confused that she called her parents by their names instead of ‘mom’ and ‘dad.’ I found out much later that it was because they were her foster parents. Her real father accidentally dropped boiling water on her arms while tipsy and her rad socks were actually bandages that her foster parents tried to make a little more fun. I hope she’s okay now.
#21 Boys Will Be Boys
I had a neighbor try to drown me in his kiddie pool once. The only reason he let go of my head was that his mom saw in time and ripped him out of the pool by the back of the head. He had a younger brother and they both set live baby animals on fire. The mom's response was "boys will be boys!" I wasn't allowed to play with them alone after that.
#22 Bathroom Scare
I was at the mall and I went by myself to the bathroom (I was probably eight or nine at the time). The only person other than me in the bathroom was this elderly lady. Anyway, there was a guy just standing outside the bathroom eyeing me out and looking for the longest time, but he ended up leaving after a few minutes. I thought he was just checking up on his granny. Now I realize that the only reason he left was that he saw the elderly lady come out of the stall.
#23 The Refugee
I was in the third grade and we had this new kid in our class. I remember meeting him and the first thing he said to me was, “I came to this country with the blood of my grandparents on me.” He said he came from Bosnia, and it really didn’t dawn on me until years later that he and his family escaped the ethnic cleansing that was happening there at the time.
#24 Wholly Inappropriate
My high school principal frequently asked if I had a boyfriend and told me if he were 40 years younger, he'd date me. I was totally clueless and did not pick up on how creepy this was until a few years later. I was from a small town that had a very polite and trusting community... I still am undecided if it was meant in a creepy way or as a compliment, but either way, it was wholly inappropriate.
#25 Memories Locked Away
When I was 17 and we just moved to another state, my mom found out someone we knew from when I was younger also lived there and she brought us with her to pick him up. The moment I saw him, I hated him. I did not remember him, but I knew I hated him.My mom kept telling me there was no reason to hate him. I kept telling her to stop bringing him to our home.
Years later, after I moved away and my sister had a daughter, we find out he had been stealing for years. I didn't remember him. But I also don't remember huge pieces of my childhood. I do remember my mom asking me if I had seen him doing anything suspicious. I have memories locked away that I am afraid to access. But I realized at that moment why I hated him.
#26 Risky Hitchhiking
My mother had me and my brother very young. She was a single mom and didn't have a car. We used to all hitchhike to the next town over to see my grandma. I was four years old and my brother was two. We would both stand on the on-ramps with our little thumbs out. Truckers would mostly pick us up.
#27 Suspicious Lady
When I was eight years old, my mom got hit by a car as my siblings and I were crossing the street. The ambulance took my mom to the hospital. Somehow, my siblings and I ended up staying with the lady that hit our mom. We never met her before. I can't remember how long we stayed at her place, but it was long enough for my mom to have neck surgery and get out of the hospital.
It wasn't until I was older that I started to wonder who was that lady? Why did the cops let us go with her? Why didn't my mom tell my dad for 20 years? To this day nobody in my family talks about it.
#28 Helpful Strangers
I got accosted by three large burly men one night while throwing up in a bush. I thought I was going to get mugged, but they walked me home and waited with me until someone let me in. I wish I could find them and thank them because it turned out I was actually seriously ill and had to go to the hospital around midnight. Without them, I'm sure I would've had a worse night.
#29 An Honest Offer
When I was six years old, I was walking to the playground with a friend who was50 yards up the road. A neighbor came out of his house and asked if we wanted to see a kangaroo (we lived in the UK, so this is decidedly not a native species). We freaked out and ran back home to get my mom. She stormed up the road with us and confronted him, only for him to repeat the offer. Sure enough, there was a kangaroo sitting on his back lawn. I still no idea where it came from.
#30 Peeping Tom
One night my sister woke up and saw a man looking at us through the window. My dad grabbed his baseball bat and ran outside, but much the same—there were traces of someone being there but no one was in sight. I still sleep with my blinds closed and I didn’t even see him. It just freaks me out.
#31 A Loss Of Childhood Innocence
When I was in fifth grade, my teacher was ended over Thanksgiving break by his own son. When you're ten years old, you are confused and numb. You understand, but you don't. It wasn't until I was older did I realize how much that probably affected me. It was definitely a huge loss of my childhood innocence.
#32 Watch Your Kids
I was almost stolen from a mall playground. A man was leading me towards one side of the playground with money. Luckily, my mom saw him and rushed over. When he realized he was caught, he slipped off into the crowd. My mom told me the story years later and I didn't even remember it because I guess my five-year-old brain didn't see it as something significant enough to remember. Scary stuff. Watch your kids carefully.
#33 A Targeted Incident
I was at a park with my mom for her work potluck. Two guys were rolling around in the parking lot and I heard what I thought was fireworks. My mom ran over and picked me up and we left really fast. I didn't know what it really was until years later. It was a targeted incident.
#34 A Troubling Babysitter
When I was four, my parents left me in the care of a babysitter while they were both at work. The babysitter liked the money but didn’t really like kids. As soon as my parents dropped me off the babysitter locked me in the laundry with her pet Doberman. I loved it—as I got to hang out with a big dog and curl up and sleep in the laundry basket. As an adult, I realize that’s close to your parent’s worst nightmare for what happens when you’re left with a babysitter. I still really love dogs though.
#35 A Strange Relationship
This teenage guy used to hang out with me a lot when I was like three or four years old and take me on walks, I don't actually think there was anything wrong with it or nefarious about it, but the amount of time he spent with me probably looked really strange.
#36 Not Your Child
When I was four years old, I got lost at the mall while walking with my family. A woman found me and said she'd take me to my mother. She had a baby girl with her and she kept offering Mentos. At some point, she told me we had to leave the mall. When my father told the police I was missing, the mall was put on lockdown.
My family eventually found me. My father told me when I got older that the reason the woman gave to the police for taking me was that I resembled her child who had recently passed away. She had a photo she kept showing them. I'm 20 now, and I really wonder what happened to her.
#37 No Accessories Required
When I was almost kidnapped, there were no tricks or buildup or traps or warnings. A man grabbed me while I was walking down the street with my hand in my mom's hand. It was the middle of the day, with people everywhere. He just bent down, picked me up and started running.
Thankfully, he couldn't run fast enough, and my mom caught up, ripped me back and then ran into the nearest store. Cops were called of course but the guy was never found.
#38 Trading Card Creep
A guy who worked at the trading card store asking 14-year-old me if I would find my 17-year-old sister attractive if she wasn't my sister. He was in his 30s.
#39 Black Market Money
When I was about six years old, I was throwing a tennis ball against a brick wall while my mom shopped in a second-hand store. The ball knocked a brick out and behind it was about $400 in a plastic bag. To this day, I believe it was probably black market money.
#40 Dog Breeder Realities
A friend of mine had a family that was breeding dogs. They had a lot of those little fluffy ones and they were all related and having babies with each other. One room smelled really badly of dog waste and they just used a lot of fans to keep the smell under control a little bit.
#41 Mother Hoarder
My best friend's mom was a hoarder. She had boxes of stuff piled up everywhere and kept buying more stuff. There was only enough floor space for a small walkthrough through the house.
#42 Unintentional Light Show
The space shuttle Challenger explosion. I was young enough that I didn’t understand, even after replaying video or news clips. The day after, I remember asking my mom if we were going to watch the show again. I don’t think she explained anything to me, but I had just figured they were some kind of unmanned plane they kept sending up and shooting as some kind of competition.
#43 The Psychopath Test
When my elementary and junior high school therapist would pull me aside at least once a week to evaluate me by having me look at pictures of people and random objects. She'd ask me how they made me feel. Turns out I am a psychopath. I've been getting better.
#44 The AOL Chatroom
I was on an AOL chatroom when I was eleven or twelve. Some random dude messaged me and gave me a big corny speech about how a princess deserved a prince, even if the prince was older, because princes are rare. I just said, "Dude, I'm a guy lol," and laughed at him when he reassessed the situation. He left me alone after that. I randomly remembered this a couple of years ago.
#45 I Lived
My dad left me in a car in floodwaters. I remember tippy tapping my feet in the water as it slowly filled the car. Spoiler: I lived.