Have you ever had something happen to you that made your pulse pound and your adrenaline kick into action? Something so scary that you had to take a moment or two to recover?

You may need a moment to recover from just hearing some of these 19 (scary af) true stories from AskReddit. The people who lived them certainly did:

1. Dancing Man

About five years ago I lived downtown in a major city in the US. I’ve always been a night person, so I would often find myself bored after my roommate, who was decidedly not a night person, went to sleep. To pass the time, I used to go for long walks and spend the time thinking.

I spent four years like that, walking alone at night, and never once had a reason to feel afraid. I always used to joke with my roommate that even the drug dealers in the city were polite. But all of that changed in just a few minutes of one evening.

It was a Wednesday, somewhere between one and two in the morning, and I was walking near a police patrolled park quite a ways from my apartment. It was a quiet night, even for a week night, with very little traffic and almost no one on foot. The park, as it was most nights, was completely empty.

I turned down a short side street in order to loop back to my apartment when I first noticed him. At the far end of the street, on my side, was the silhouette of a man, dancing. It was a strange dance, similar to a waltz, but he finished each “box” with an odd forward stride. I guess you could say he was dance-walking, headed straight for me.

Deciding he was probably drunk, I stepped as close as I could to the road to give him the majority of the sidewalk to pass me by. The closer he got, the more I realized how gracefully he was moving. He was very tall and lanky, and wearing an old suit. He danced closer still, until I could make out his face. His eyes were open wide and wild, head tilted back slightly, looking off at the sky. His mouth was formed in a painfully wide cartoon of a smile. Between the eyes and the smile, I decided to cross the street before he danced any closer.

I took my eyes off of him to cross the empty street. As I reached the other side, I glanced back… and then stopped dead in my tracks. He had stopped dancing and was standing with one foot in the street, perfectly parallel to me. He was facing me but still looking skyward. Smile still wide on his lips.

?I was completely and utterly unnerved by this. I started walking again, but kept my eyes on the man. He didn’t move.

Once I had put about half a block between us, I turned away from him for a moment to watch the sidewalk in front of me. The street and sidewalk ahead of me were completely empty. Still unnerved, I looked back to where he had been standing to find him gone. For the briefest of moments I felt relieved, until I noticed him. He had crossed the street, and was now slightly crouched down. I couldn’t tell for sure due to the distance and the shadows, but I was certain he was facing me. I had looked away from him for no more than 10 seconds, so it was clear that he had moved fast.

I was so shocked that I stood there for some time, staring at him. And then he started moving toward me again. He took giant, exaggerated tip toed steps, as if he were a cartoon character sneaking up on someone. Except he was moving very, very quickly.

I’d like to say at this point I ran away or pulled out my pepper spray or my cellphone or anything at all, but I didn’t. I just stood there, completely frozen as the smiling man crept toward me.
And then he stopped again, about a car length away from me. Still smiling his smile, still looking to the sky.

When I finally found my voice, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. What I meant to ask was, “What the fuck do you want?!” in an angry, commanding tone. What came out was a whimper, “What the fuu…?”
Regardless of whether or not humans can smell fear, they can certainly hear it. I heard it in my own voice, and that only made me more afraid. But he didn’t react to it at all. He just stood there, smiling.

And then, after what felt like forever, he turned around, very slowly, and started dance-walking away. Just like that. Not wanting to turn my back to him again, I just watched him go, until he was far enough away to almost be out of sight. And then I realized something. He wasn’t moving away anymore, nor was he dancing. I watched in horror as the distant shape of him grew larger and larger. He was coming back my way. And this time he was running.

I ran too.

I ran until I was off of the side road and back onto a better lit road with sparse traffic. Looking behind me then, he was nowhere to be found. The rest of the way home, I kept glancing over my shoulder, always expecting to see his stupid smile, but he was never there.

I lived in that city for six months after that night, and I never went out for another walk. There was something about his face that always haunted me. He didn’t look drunk, he didn’t look high. He looked completely and utterly insane. And that’s a very, very scary thing to see.

2. Fortune

I’d been living alone for less than a week. I got some Chinese take-out and was eating in front of the TV. I finished my meal and cracked open the fortune cookie. It read “You will have a visitor tonight, lock your door.” There were no visitors that night, but the memory still haunts me.

3. On the Tracks

I watched in horror as this drunk seeming guy fell (maybe it was on purpose, but I don’t know) onto a commuter rail track just as the train was coming. The sound/sight of him getting run over (crunching, splattering, awful) has stayed with me for life as the scariest, brain scarring thing ever.

4. Hitting the Ground

I was on vacation in Ithaca with my boyfriend at the time.

We had literally, I’m talking 10 minutes, just gotten into town and stopped at a suspension bridge near Cornell’s campus. I’m terrified of heights and, so, my boyfriend was coaxing me step by step over the bridge. It was gorgeous and we stopped at the middle to take a picture.

On the side we had come from there was a parking lot with steps leading to the bottom of the gorge but on the far side there were hiking paths with no barrier.

A woman walked past us and offered to take a picture for us. We declined and she smiled and walked quickly to the far side of the bridge where she smoothly jumped off into the gorge. There was not a second of hesitation, it was almost like she expected the path to keep going.

The sound of a person hitting the ground from a jump like that sticks with you.

5. “It had been unlocked the whole time”

I was about 15 minutes from finishing the night shift at work when there was a massive crash on one of the windows in the office so I get up and go to check it out. Someone has thrown quite a sizable rock through one of the windows on the front of the building. This is made especially weird because I’m working in the industrial district at 11:30 at night with none of the other businesses open. I go back to my desk, put a quick call through to security to let them know and decide to head home. As I’m leaving the building I’m freaking myself out about it more and more and end up running to my car, getting in and taking off. I’m almost home and I’ve started to calm down a bit when I realise that I didn’t unlock my car when I got in. It had been unlocked the whole time. I do a quick check with my hand in the backseat for any possible murderers that might be hanging around there but there’s nothing there.

Fast forward 30 minutes: I’ve called a friend of mine who says he is out drinking so I decide I’m going to join him. I jump on my bicycle and start riding over. I’m doodling along the road on my bike, it’s a nice night and I’m in no big rush, just enjoying the moonlight when I hear someone riding behind me. I straighten up and stick to one side of the road. He passes me really slowly and, when he is right beside me, he shoots me a smile I can describe as purely fucking insane. I kind of flinch and am taken aback as he rides on. That’s when I realise. He is riding my mom’s bike.

Needless to say, I sprint the fuck home. When I get there, sure enough her bike is missing and one of my car’s doors is open. The back left one. I was driving, and had no need to open that door.

6. Falling

I was standing on my balcony when I saw some drunk guy flash in front of my eyes. I was on the tenth floor and apparently he fell over from the twenty-first floor. The split second he passed by, I got to see his look of fear, shock, disbelief and a whole bunch of other emotions before he fell to the floor in a thud and crack. You could just tell he was dead.