I’ve been at some events and large gatherings where I thought things were teetering on the edge of spinning out of control very quickly and you could feel a sort of panic rising among the people.
Luckily, nothing too terrible ever happened right in my immediate vicinity while in these crowds, but it is always unsettling to have that group feeling of dread because you never know what’s going to happen next.
These folks, however, did have experiences where they saw crowds go from happy and excited to horrified.
Let’s take a look at some true stories from people on AskReddit.
1. That is awful.
“I, along with an entire beach front of about 80+ people, watched a boat back up and chop a lady up into pieces.
It was bad.”
2. Mob mentality.
Everyone was super cool and chill and all of a sudden it felt like the winds shifted. It was palpable, like you could cut the air it was so heavy. Got a super bad vibe so we packed up immediately and left.
By the time we got to the first gas station, reports of fire and rioting started.”
3. A bad accident.
“There was a guy performing risky stunt dives in a river for money, he pulled off great stuff and people were clapping and clearly hyped.
One of the tricks went really bad and he crashed head-first into a rock from a decent height and killed himself.”
4. No thank you.
“Philadelphia July 4th fireworks show in a public park downtown. I think 2013? We are all in a field on blankets watching fireworks when we see in the distance a wall of people running at us .
Someone yells “They’re shooting guns!!!” And suddenly it’s everyone running . Turned out to be a false alarm I think.
Very surreal to be a part of a mob like that.”
5. Not funny.
“May 4th 2010. Its “Dodenherdenking” in the Netherlands, where we remember all deaths of people that died through or because of war or peaceful operations. It was called to life after WWII.
At 8 o clock (I think), we have a 2 minute silence for rememberance. One person however thought it was “fun” to scream “bomb” (or something alike), rendering all the people there terrified and running against the barricades in a hurry to get away. The King and Queen got escorted away as soon as this happened.”
6. I remember this.
“WWE’s Over The Edge 1999
Owen Hart fell 70 feet to his death during the event, and the company inexplicably continued on with the show after he’d been taken to a hospital.”
7. Run for it!
“I was at a 4th of July fireworks show in Ft.Walton- Destin Florida. The show was being staged from the inlet from the Gulf of Mexico to the bay. People were watching it from the other side of the inlet, the highway 98 bridge and from their boats on the water.
The first salvo launched, but one of the shells exploded either in the launch tube or just above and ignited the rest of the show on the ground. Some launched a little bit before exploding. What was supposed to be a 30-40 minute show lasted 1-2 minutes.
As the first shells blew up, I could see the silhouette of the technicians as they ran, like a stop motion movie. The technicians were cool as hell since none of them were looking back at the explosions. I never realised how big the bursts were until I saw them going off on the ground.
Everybody was trying to get away. We were being hit by pieces of fireworks. They weren’t just landing on everybody, they were hitting us. My dad started the boat, but realized we couldn’t move. A lot of kids were watching the show while they floated in the water.
We were yelling at the other boats to stop because of the kids in the water. Fortunately, enough people heard/listened or realized what the problem now was that they stopped and locked everybody in place.
Nobody was seriously hurt or killed-only a few techs were treated for minor burns. On that day, those techs outran Usain Bolt. On the beach. Wearing safety gear.”
8. That was gruesome.
“Monday Night Football, November 18th, 1985.
Washington Redskins vs. the New York Giants. I was pretty young at the time so being allowed to stay up late on a weekday was a rare occasion. During one of the plays, Joe Theismann was sacked by Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson of the Giants.
The entire stadium went silent as Theismann would end up suffering a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula. What I remember most vividly is that the broadcast kept replaying it over and over again and seeing shin snap at a 90 degree angle.
It made me physically nauseous and had to walk out of the room. If I recall correctly, following the injury, broadcasting policies were changed so that constant replays like this would not be shown in the future.”
9. No warning.
“We were all 17-18 on a school trip. Typical week away doing rock climbing, archery, camping etc.
At the end of the trip we’re gathered in a big hall for one final gathering and then out of the blue there was a demonstration on how to effectively kill a chicken… using a live chicken that was killed in front of us all for some reason.
10. Not his crowd.
“Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary party.
For months they said the headliner of the big weekend-long party was a “mystery guest.” Everyone assumed it would be someone who appeals to the Harley crowd like The Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, right?
So the show starts, opening act is the Doobie Brothers and the crowd loved it. Next is Tim McGraw and the crowd loved it. Next was Kid Rock and he just rocks and the crowd loves it.
Then it’s time for the “Mystery Guest.” It’s Elton Fucking John. The crowd just poured out of the park.
Plenty stayed and enjoyed the show, but tens of thousands of people said fuck this and left.”
“I work stage production for music festivals. Well, I did, thanks COVID!
Anyway at the last festival I worked in March I was on the left of the stage in front of the rail while Bassnectar was performing. For those who know what “riding the rail” means then you’ll know what I mean when I say that rail was ROCKING.
There was a girl on the end towards me who was head banging and twerking and just going completely nuts on the rail. The crowd around her and some of the security guards by me were watching and cheering her on as she did her thing.
Then, she got her finger caught between two rails. Imagine having your finger caught between two large, heavy metal rails with maybe 20,000 people behind it rocking it back and forth. Her finger snapped off. Everyone went from cheering to screaming. Including myself after I radioed for medical.”
12. This story is insane.
“A couple years back I was in the crowd at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City when the little boy died on the Verruckt water slide.
My wife and I had literally just gotten off that water slide and were heading back to the benches where we had our stuff stored. When the slides would go down and then come up the hill to slow down, they had a specific pitch/sound they made, but one of the times that the slide was coming up the hill you could hear a whoosh that sounded a little bit different than the other times.
I look up (at this point in walking down the path we were right next to where the uphill section was) see the slide bump against the net tunnel up top that was supposed to keep the slides on the track, and see this kid flying off the slide about 10-15 ft above the track.
He lands at the bottom of the track and slides a few feet, but the sides of the track were too high to be able to see if he’s moving, though we could see quite a bit of blood on the track from where he landed, and it didn’t look good.
Lifeguard runs over to the slide, along with a couple of bystanders that hopped the rope barriers and everyone’s yelling at the lifeguard to hurry up and take care of the kid to see if he’s going to make it, or if he’s ok, or what’s going on.
The lifeguard stopped where the kid was, looked like he was going to be sick, and then the bystanders stop, and the entire park just went completely silent.
After a few seconds (though it felt like forever) there was a mad scramble of finding the boy’s family, then later closing the park, and exiting the crowd, but you could definitely tell which people in the crowd were near the slide when everything happened and which people were in other parts of the park.
Probably the single most unnerving thing I’ve ever experienced, it took a good couple of months before I could talk about it relatively normally. I don’t think I’m ever going to want to go on rollercoasters or thrill rides like that ever again.”
“I live in a town on the Mississippi River and for years the 4th of July fireworks were shot from a barge on the water.
Who doesn’t get excited for fireworks? A little over 20 years ago something went wrong and the fireworks exploded on the barge instead of in the air. People died.
A few thousand of us on the river bank saw it.”
“Mumbai – India in a railway station many people were crossing the Foot Over bridge to go from one platform to another (it was peak time like 9/10Am and at that time trains are over crowded).
A flower vendor was carrying flowers and one of his flowers fell down so his collegue screamed “Phul padla” in Marathi which means “Flowers are falling down” but people heard “pul padla” meaning “Bridge is falling down” so people started running helter skelter and it caused a stampede killing 25 people…”
15. At the baseball game.
“Opening Day, 1996, Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.
A few pitches into the first inning, umpire John McSherry stood up and walked away from home plate; about halfway to the dugout he collapsed face-first into the grass. The hyped-up, sellout crowd went completely silent.
They cancelled the game and got us out of there pretty quickly, but we all felt like we’d just watched a man die, and we turned out to be right – he had a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead on the scene.
16. Hockey game gone bad.
“During a Buffalo Sabres game Clint Malarchuk took an ice skate to the neck severing his carotid artery and partially cutting his jugular vein. He almost bled out on the ice.
The sight was so horrifying 2 fans had heart attacks and 11 others fainted. Numerous fans vomited at the sight of all the blood.
Malarchuk thought he was going to die on the ice so his only thought was getting off the ice so his mom didn’t have to watch him die on TV. He asked for a priest and had the equipment manager call his mom to tell her he loved her.
The only reason he didn’t die is the Sabres’ athletic trainer was a combat medic in Vietnam.
My parents were at the game and said that most of the fans assumed the worst and that seeing the ice turn red was one of the more horrifying things they’d seen in person.”
Now we want to hear from you!
Have you ever been in a situation where you saw a crowd go from happy to horrified?
If so, please tell us about it in the comments!