Whether it's a crazy dad freaking out his kid's friend about an imaginary bakery explosion, or a new high school pal who suddenly has a violent meltdown, the visitors in these situations should really be commended for keeping calm and carrying on. It's a sad, chilling fact that some peoples' homes are not places of comfort and solace, but fear and chaos. Here are some of Reddit users' eeriest, most spine-tingling stories about the scariest thing that happened to them in someone else's home. Content edited for clarity.
"I was spending the night at a friend's house when his uncle violently shook me awake. I opened my eyes, very startled, to see the barrel of a weapon inches away from my face as he demanded to know who I was.
I was scared speechless and just looked at my friend, hoping he'd pipe up for me. He did, saying, 'Uncle! That's my friend! Chill! Uncle! That's my friend!' His uncle then put his weapon down and just walked away as if nothing had happened...it turned out he was super wasted."
"When I was around 7 years old, I slept over at a friend's house with my little brother. Her father woke us all up in the middle of the night, had us bundle up, and loaded us into the family minivan. Then he drove to a gas station and talked the whole way about how a bakery exploded behind their house and the resulting gases could kill us, so we had to try and drive as far away as possible.
They were also our next-door neighbors, so I was worried about my parents' safety. At the gas station, our friend's mom bought us snacks while he canvassed the area. I told her I didn't hear any explosion and asked about my parents.
She must have called them from a pay phone during the snack run because they pulled up a few minutes later to pick us up. I was, of course, terrified to go home. Later, our parents sat us down to explain that our friend's father had a sickness that made him hallucinate. None of it was real."
"When I was a kid, I had a good friend who lived down the street. One day her mom invited some girls from our class to hang out while she made us sandwiches, cookies, juice, and popcorn, and we had the normal 'girl day' type of fun playing in the garage.
Her dad was either wasted or had an anger problem because at one point he came in yelling at us and saying we were too loud. He grabbed my friend's mom by the arm and hit her, and she started crying. Then he grabbed my friend and spanked her. Alright.
Well, then he proceeded to grab each girl and spank them, hard. I ran away as fast as I could back to my house. I remember my friend consistently coming to school being really tired, sometimes even falling asleep at her desk. She moved away not long after and I later found out that someone called Child Protective Services on her dad. I really hope she's ok."
"I once watched a friend's kids when I was in the Army and living on base. I was crashed out on the couch early one morning when the door flung open and three kids that didn't live there entered the house, the one in front brandishing a shiny weapon. They made a beeline for the kids' bedrooms and didn't notice me on the couch.
Scared as all heck but not just gonna let them just kill the kids I was watching, I jumped up and barreled into the lead kid while grabbing the weapon out of his hands. There was a lot of screaming and the kids I was watching came running out into the front room.
It turned out it was an airsoft toy that the boy had just received it as a gift and wanted to show the kids I was watching. The intruders had been told by the resident kids that their parents were away for the weekend, so they just barged in. Innocuous in retrospect, but I was terrified at the time!"
"I was 11 years old and at my friend's house while his parents and all of his siblings were home. Everyone was in the front room of the house except for his dad, who was doing yard work in the backyard.
At one point I got up to go to the bathroom and while passing the backdoor, I saw that my friend's dad was on a ladder with an electric tree trimmer. Before I looked away and continued on, his dad fell off the top rung of the ladder and crashed onto the ground...hard. The tree trimmer was still somehow on and landed next to his body.
The trimmer was going full horror movie, slowly moving toward him, and he was not getting up. I was the only one who saw it happen, so I yelled, '(Friend, friend's mom)! Your dad fell, come quick!' and ran outside to pick the trimmer up and moved it away.
By the time I turned it off and started focusing on him, everyone else was outside. We helped him up, the mom took him to the hospital for back pain and a mild concussion, and the older siblings watched us while they were gone. Everyone was very thankful I had to pee when I did that day. It was so scary to me because I did not know what to do and acted on adrenaline and instinct. The fall was also pretty intense-looking; I thought I saw a guy die."
"When I was a kid, I had a neighbor named Z who was also my best friend. I'd spend the night at his house often and saw a lot of things young me didn't realize at the time were very messed up.
His parents lived by the bottle and smoked weed, but both were pretty functional. The mom cooked and cleaned and the father worked, but it was very clear the couple valued their smoke and drink over their son.
Z had an uncle (mom's side) who showed up one day fresh out of prison and started staying with them. He was an even nastier substance abuser, and often got violent with Z's dad and acted like he was the head of the household.
One time while staying over, Z and I fell asleep on the sofas watching TV. His uncle came in and, unbeknownst to sleeping me, woke Z up and became confrontational. We were only about 8 years old.
I was startled awake by yelling and opened my eyes to the uncle shoving, choking, and lifting Z up by the neck and slamming him onto the wood floor so hard I felt it from the couch. Z's mom and dad rushed out to help and his mom called the police and the uncle was taken away. I still relive the sound and feel of Z's body hitting the wood floor. It was just awful."
"When I was like 8 or 9, I was at a relative's house for a family gathering when one of my distant relatives flipped out and grabbed a kitchen knife. I don't remember the details, but he was threatening people.
I recall being ushered into a side room with everyone else and being cramped in there for a few minutes, just listening while a few male relatives who had remained outside with the guy encircled him, got him to calm down, and disarmed him. I later learned that the dude's brain was partially fried or something from substance abuse. Never saw him at any family gatherings again after that."
"I was about 16 years old and spending the night at my best friend's house. During that time, there was gossip going around that I was gay because I came out to a previous friend who decided to share it with others. My best friend knew of my orientation and it did not bother him at all.
During the sleepover, I remember laying on the floor while he was in his bed. In the middle of the night, I got this jolt of adrenaline as I had the feeling that someone was watching me. I shifted my blanket over my head and made a hole to peek out of. The door was cracked open and it had been completely shut before we both knocked out.
I stared deeper into the crack and noticed what looked like a pair of eyes staring back. I got this horrible pit in my stomach as the eyes continued to look around the room, finally locking onto mine. Then the door began to crack open wider and I saw a full head peek in in an attempt to get a closer look at something.
All of a sudden, this creature flung the door open, shouting, 'I CAUGHT YOU!' while ripping the covers off my friend. My friend immediately shouted,'What the heck? and flipped on the light switch. It was his mother. She stormed out and slammed the door to her room.
My buddy and I had a hard time falling back to sleep after that, as we were trying to figure out what it was all about. The next morning, I overheard my friend talking to his mom while I was in the bathroom. Apparently, she heard I was gay and was trying to catch me doing stuff to him in his sleep.
'Absolutely ridiculous,' was my reaction, but I just washed up and told my buddy that I would be going home. Her stalking us like that was some scary stuff. We're still best friends, I just avoid his mother."
"In high school, I made a seemingly normal friend named Justine. She was a little edgy, but who wasn't as a teenager? I didn't find anything off about her at face value. We hung out at school for a while, then she asked me over for a weekend sleepover. I said why not and happily went. It's still one of my biggest regrets to date.
Justine was and likely still is, for lack of a better word, a psycho. She showed me what she likes to do for fun: trade pictures of random unclothed women with random guys in chatrooms like trading cards or some garbage.
She also broke into her mom's adult beverage cabinet to drink some Merlot. When her mom got home and saw what she'd done, Justine threw a giant glass vase into her closet, shattering it, and then proceeded to walk inside and cut herself on the shards while I sat on the edge of her bed.
I was freaked out but also too scared to say a word because she wasn't upset or crying, she was just furious and didn't say a single word the entire time while she cut her arms with shards of glass. Thankfully her mom sent me home as punishment. I'd never been so happy to get out of a situation in my life."
"The first time meeting my boyfriend's family, who live in another country, we stayed in his old attic bedroom. In the middle of the night, he reached over and shook me awake. 'Huh?' I mumbled.
Then he said, 'Shh, be very still...I think there is someone else in the house.' I lay petrified with fear, thinking that someone had broken in and I was about to be psycho murdered.
I just listened to the sounds of the old creaky attic, convinced every gust of wind was a footstep. He then put his arm around my head, covering my ears. Sweating bullets, I didn't move for hours...until I heard him snoring. He'd been talking in his sleep the whole time."
"This happened when I was with a childhood friend at his house in the boonies. He lived in a real run-down house, but his neighbor down the road was pretty affluent and had a great house. He said he wanted to go exploring, and being a kid in the desert, I was down for that.
He led us to the house, where he somehow convinced us to climb through the guy's doggie door into the house. It was a pretty dope house, and I still remember the layout vividly. There we were, exploring some random guy's house, when we heard a door open. My friend had thought the owner wasn't home because there wasn't a car in the driveway.
We sprinted and hid behind separate leather couches in the guy's living room. He came out into the kitchen wearing a bathrobe and nothing else, got a glass of water, and started reading a magazine. We watched him from behind the couches as he took his time and finally went back up the stairs.
Then we booked it out of that house as fast as possible and went back to my friend's house. I don't think Usain Bolt himself could have beaten my 7-year-old sprint time that day. It was pretty scary then, but it's absolutely terrifying now to think what could have happened."
"When I was in 4th grade, I had this friend on the corner of my street who went to my school. He was my best friend and we talked every day, but he never talked about his parents.
One time I asked him if he wanted to play at his house or something, just hang out. He said sure so we went over there, but then his dad came out with a bat, telling me to sod off or he'd come beat me.
I hadn't said a single thing and then simply asked if my friend could at least go somewhere else to play with me, but his dad just slammed the door shut. My naive self just knocked again because my friend said he could definitely hang that day, and his dad came out again, ready to hit me. I was really scared so I just backed off and ran away.
I later told my mom about it but she didn't take it that seriously. I don't know why he reacted the way he did, but apparently 2-3 months later a bunch of cops came to my friend's house one day and arrested his dad and mom because they have been secretly dealing blow and weed at their house. I guess he didn't want anybody know they were moving weight. Thank God I didn't ever go back or something bad could've happened to me."
"I was going to visit my grandmother at her house and she kept the door locked so she had to come over to unlock it when I arrived. Her living room had large windows that overlooked the street, so I could easily see her and she could see me.
My grandmother was frail and suffered from arthritis; in fact, she passed not long after this hapened. As she was walking to the door, she collapsed in the living room. I had no key to the house and I was freaking out. I had no idea what to do.
I was ready to freaking break the living room window in or call 911 when she somehow managed to climb back up using furniture to prop herself back to a standing position and open the door. After that day, I demanded a key to the house from my parents.
I hate to think what would've happened if she didn't miraculously get back up. I have never felt so helpless, even compared to the time my grandfather fell crossing a busy street as traffic was starting to go. At least that time I was able to prop my grandfather up and carry him over to the side of the road before the cars reached us. Moral of the story: watch for your elders falling!"
"I once spent the night at my best friend's house in elementary school. It was a super chill night: we jumped on his trampoline, played some basketball and Xbox, and watched some crazy YouTube videos.
Around 8 o'clock, a friend of ours had her mom drive her over to look at my friend's hamster, which he was trying to sell. Well, that put his mom over the edge for some reason, as she was very wasted. She started screaming at my friend right into his face. It was some of the meanest stuff I've ever heard.
He just took it with a stone cold face as I started bawling, not knowing what to do. We would leave the room and she would follow us and eventually, it escalated to her just hitting my friend in the face over and over. I escaped since her targets were on him and I sat in his little sister's room as we both cried. I remember just asking God why someone so dear to me had to live like so horribly because based off of his reaction, I could tell it was a regular thing.
When it started to get really bad, his father came home and instantly loaded us up in the car then dropped me off back at my house. I stayed up that whole night talking with my mom, crying my eyes out about what I had witnessed. It was a big wake up call for me to see the way that some people are raised and gave me an appreciation for my parents and how calm they were with me because I was definitely a little punk.
I still think of that situation and get heated. I've since seen that friend here and there and it seems like things are going pretty good for him, which always makes me happy to see. I've just never felt so helpless and so worried for someone I cared about, ever."
"I was house-sitting for an older friend who had gone off to visit her grandkids a few states over. I didn't have a place to stay at the time, so I agreed to do it since she would be gone long enough that I could stay there until I moved in with my grandmother.
I was sleeping on the couch when I heard panicked voices coming from the back of the house. I was already pretty on edge since we were in a bad neighborhood and it was basically prime time for petty thieves, but the voices made me terrified.
I slipped off the couch and started sneaking toward the back of the house and into the kitchen. All the rental properties are laid out the same; you walk in the front door and you're in the living room with the attached kitchen (which was separated by a counter). Off to the side, you go into the hallway and you have two bedrooms on either side with a bathroom/laundry room at the end of the hallway.
I grabbed a knife out of the cutlery holder on the counter and started creeping toward the hallway. I heard one of the people losing it and I could barely make it out since they were in one of the bedrooms, but it sounded like they were holding back sobs. Then I flung the door open and flipped on the light.
There were two kids in the room, junior high kids who went to the school across the street. It turned out they were in the process of robbing the place when I showed up to housesit.
They thought that they'd be able to sneak away when I went to the bathroom or something but chickened out because they didn't want to risk getting caught, so they sat in that room for hours until nightfall. I called the cops on them because a crime is a crime and they scared me bad, but it still made me kinda sad. They were kids and their lives are going to be a lot more difficult now just because they wanted to be criminals."
"I was house-sitting for an aunt of mine while she was on holiday. She told me there was a leak in the lounge area and that it was fixed, but if there were any issues I should let her know.
A massive storm happened a couple nights in and I heard some trickling in the early hours, so I went to go check that there wasn't a leak. When I walked into the lounge, the entire wall was flooding with water...like, an actual waterfall.
Apparently, the spouting was blocked and the water was just forcing its way through the cracks in the wall. I knew it wasn't my fault, but it was so terrifying watching someone's house fall apart on your watch, just piling towels on the floor and shifting furniture to try to save what I could."