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We're Going
We're Going "Camping"

"I helped and watched my best friend's dad pack up and move out of his house. I was maybe six or seven at the time and had no idea that he was ditching his wife, his kids, his job, or any of his other adult responsibilities.

He made the task into a game for me and his son; we were taking things to go 'camping.' After we packed up, he told us boys to head back to town, where there was a local parade going on, and not tell my friend's mom because it was a surprise.

As young as I was, I had no idea the magnitude of what he was doing. Apparently, he cleaned out their bank accounts, money, and valuables. We were just excited to go camping. An hour later, my buddy's life was in ruins and they had to leave the house they were renting and move away. To this day, I have no idea what happened to my childhood friend, his mom, or his dad.

It was a pretty despicable thing that guy did, especially involving his son and his best friend in the process."

Lonely Pepper Hearts Club

Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock

Lonely Pepper Hearts Club

"When I was little, there was this sweet old man who lived next door to us named Mr. Culpepper. He was your typical textbook nice next door neighbor, always cheery, baking cookies for everyone in the cul-de-sac, seen whistling while watering his lawn and talking to birds while tending to his garden.

Well, one day after church there were several police cars outside his house. My father told me and my sisters to stay in the car while he and my mother went to ask what was up. When they came back my mother was crying and my father was stone-faced. Years later, when I asked what had happened to good old Mr. Culpupper, I found out he had shot himself in the head. Even sadder still, it was because his kids never came to see him and he was terribly lonely. I still often think about him. He didn't deserve to go out that way.

I called my mother recently and asked about Mr. Culpepper and I found out he had been diagnosed with cancer at the time as well. Couple with the fact that his kids never visited and it was all too much for him. As far as I know, he didn't tell them about his cancer diagnosis before he died."

Folded In Half
Folded In Half

"My mom, great-grandmother, my two sisters, and myself were on a road trip home from visiting North Carolina. I remember it pretty vividly because I was leaned forward between the front seats showing my grandma something. I heard my mom gasp and looked up.

We were on a divided highway and in the oncoming lanes, an SUV was flipping. It kept going. Across the divided grass section. Across our lanes of traffic and lodged in some trees on our side.

My mom pulled over. This was probably around 1994-95. And my mom had a cell phone, which were still fairly rare for individuals to have back then. She called the cops as other motorists swarmed the scene to try to help.

I was looking out the window. I remember all this luggage on the ground. Just strewn across the ground hanging in the trees. Fairly close to the car there was a squarish green case. As I was looking at it, I realized it looked like a sweatshirt. I thought that was pretty weird. I looked closer and I realized it was a body. Folded in half.

At the time, I just pointed it out to my grandma. We left the scene shortly after as we weren't really any help and we were just going to be in the ambulance's way.

I can still vividly see that body. At the time, I didn't associate it with death or even a real person.

Several years later, I came to understand that there was no way that person lived. How horrific the accident really was. And how terrifying it must have been for my mom and all the other drivers to see a car flipping uncontrollably into their lane."

An Apple A Day
An Apple A Day

"One of my teachers was convicted for carnal abuse of children many years after he started doing it.

He used to stroke the girls' hair and rub their shoulders and backs. He would take a bite out of an apple and then rub the fruit on a girl's arm. Then would lick or bite the same part of the apple he rubbed on the girl while staring at her. I'm pretty sure he intentionally left his fly down all the time. As kids, we found it funny but as an adult, I'm so disturbed by it. If someone talked too much, he would duct tape their mouths shut and tape their hands together, then walk them like a prisoner over to the chair next to his desk and force them to sit there.

My classmates and I were 9 or 10 when we were in his class, which was about 13 years ago. He was arrested only a year ago. There were four cases against him but I'm sure he abused many more helpless girls.

I hate you, Mr. Tucker. You're a horrible, abusive person."

A Camping Trip Gone Wrong

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A Camping Trip Gone Wrong

"My dad and I went camping when I was five or six years old. We headed out early at 5:00 am and saw something in a ditch a couple houses down from us. We pulled over, thinking it was an animal. It was a woman. This woman was missing her entire bottom half of her body. Her legs were located several meters away. She was obviously dead and was lying face down in a pool of her own blood. Dad quickly hurried me back into the truck, trying to block my vision. We turned around, sped away, called the cops, and waited until we saw their lights over the hill before we headed back out.

The entire camping trip, my dad was shaken in a way I had never seen him before. He barely said anything all night. I didn't think anything of it, really though, because I was so young.

When we got home, my mom told me that the lady had been hit by a wasted driver on her morning walk. She had been hit so hard that her body was severed in the middle. Unfortunately, she was a friend of my parents from way back and they talked at least once a week or so.

Now that I'm older with my own kids, it gives me chills thinking about what was going through my dad's mind. All he wanted to do was to get me away from that horror."

Hazy Racetrack Memories
Hazy Racetrack Memories

"So I have this one memory of my dad bringing me to the races. It gets really hazy - we got to the track, but I have flash memories of my dad getting money from some guy and then being brought away by that guy. My dad told me he was taking me to play while he stayed betting. I don't fully remember what happens after that, but I know I was very upset and very traumatized after. I used to scream and cry whenever dad asked me if I wanted to come with him to the races again after that.

It took me about 22 years before that memory resurfaced, but once it did, I realized my dad basically accepted money from a guy so he could do whatever he wanted with me.

Another time, my older half-brother and I were play-fighting in our garden. I was screaming because he was tickling me. My dad came out without a word and started beating the crap out of my brother in front of me and my best friend. This was especially bad because my dad isn't my brother's biological dad and this is definitely the moment my brother became emotionally detached from me.

After that, my brother started telling me how 'everything was better' before I was born and how now I was mom and dad's favorite 'now' and he was 'forgotten.' I completely despise my dad for pitting us against each other and using me for whatever he needed.

I genuinely believed that what I experienced as a child from my parents was completely normal until I told some awkward stories to friends and got uncomfortable reactions. I realized my dad is 100% a narcissist who thinks everyone in his family is there to serve him. My mum enables him too and has narcissistic tendencies. Any time I've tried asking or calling my parents out on even the tiny moments of abuse they accuse me of lying or remembering incorrectly. Then they guilt-trip me with 'Why do you like to see us as big monsters?'"

Tied Up In Trouble
Tied Up In Trouble

"When I was in the first grade, I had a schoolmate named Mikey. He was a well-mannered kid who was always dressed to the nines. One day, he got in trouble for something small in class, maybe talking when he wasn't supposed to or being out of his seat--basically not following the typical rules. It was something he shouldn't have done but at the same time, it wasn't something one would get into serious trouble for either. The teacher kindly reminded him of the rules, that he would go to recess 10 minutes late, and that she would inform his parents.

Then things got really crazy.

He just completely broke down once he heard his parents would be told. He was crying profusely and screaming. He was uttering phrases like, 'Please don't tell them! I'll have to drink hot sauce, I'm gonna hurt so much!' He kept saying all these horrible things his parents would do to him. The teacher tried and tried to calm him down to no avail, so she finally called for assistance from the principal's office. Once someone arrived at our room, the teacher went into the hall to talk to them.

While she was out of the room, Mikey carried on with what we other first graders thought was a regular temper tantrum; I mean we all had those. About 20 seconds or so after the teacher went into the hall, he calmed down a bit. He was wearing a tie that day and then proceeded to take it off. He then wrapped it around his neck and started to strangle himself in front of all of us. He was doing a good job, too, as he was turning red and sweating pretty heavily as well. As first graders, we all sat back and thought, 'wow, he's changing colors.' We were surprised but not shocked by the actions taking place in front of us.

We didn't go get the teacher from the hall because about a week earlier she was talking to somebody in the hall and we were bothering her with less important questions like, 'can we sharpen our pencils?' or 'can we color?' She specifically told us not to interrupt her when she was talking to others because it was rude. So when this started happening, we didn't get her, but I remember one or two students saying we should. However, the majority decided not to because of the 'No Interrupting' rule.

Anyway, our teacher runs into the room and is freaked out by what she sees. She yells at us and asks why nobody came to her and told her about this and we reminded her, in unison, that we were not supposed to interrupt when she was talking to others. We were 6/7-year-olds and weren't aware of what was really happening with Mikey so we thought the rules applied. He had just gotten in trouble for not obeying and this was happening and we didn't want to get in trouble. The teacher and the person that came to talk to her rushed him to the principal's office and we never heard from him again. As stated, we didn't think much of it at the time and the next day he was an afterthought.

Growing up, I always remembered him and this event. As I eventually realized what really happened that day, I thought to myself about the seriously messed up stuff that must have been going on in his home in order for a first grader at 6 years old to try to take his own life. It still haunts me to this day and I'd like to know that he made it out of whatever situation he was in and if he's now doing well."

An Unnecessary Exorcism

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An Unnecessary Exorcism

"I grew up in an evangelical unaffiliated church. They believed in speaking in tongues, demon possession, and exorcisms. A local boy that I befriended, maybe 12 to 14 years in age at the time, lived in the apartments near our church. He was poor and rough, he cussed and smoked, and was generally on his own.

However, on Sunday and Wednesday nights he started coming over to the church. One night for some reason, a church member decided that they needed to put hands on him and pray for his soul. He didn't like that so he jumped back and yelled profanities at them. That apparently was clear evidence that he was possessed, so several adults wrestled him out of the pew and held him down while he screamed and flailed and cussed at them for the next couple of HOURS until he was exhausted and bruised enough and they were satisfied the demon left. The hundred or so onlookers just all started praying and crying and dancing around it.

That was just a pretty normal church night, maybe a little more spirited than usual. He didn't return and in retrospect, it's amazing that the police never even showed up. Similar things happened multiple times throughout my childhood.

It wasn't until I was an adult and I looked back to see how completely messed up that all was. How terrifying that must have been for him."

Into The Woods
Into The Woods

"When I was younger, I was walking through the woodland area near my old house with some of my friends. The group included myself, my younger cousin, and two friends aged 4 and 12. We were all walking to the bike track to meet up with some more friends.

There was a river separating the woodland area, with a forest on the other side leading to a farmer's field. There was no way to cross over there as there were no bridges. As we were walking along, we saw this guy appear from the bushes. We all just stopped and froze. We could tell he was homeless because he was just covered in mud and he was wearing tattered clothes. The oldest girl stopped and held us back a second as he started approaching the edge of the river. He then pulled down his pants and started wanking in front of us all.

She freaked out and grabbed my cousin and the younger kids to run out of the forest but I was just so confused. I didn't understand what the guy was doing or why he was doing it. She quickly ran back in and grabbed me and ran out. The group hightailed it back to our street. She told us all that what we saw was dangerous, not normal and to never walk through the forest on our own again unless we're with someone older. She then told us that we couldn't tell our parents because they wouldn't let us out to play anymore or they may even move away from the neighborhood.

Looking back, I wish I did tell my parents. If it wasn't for that river separating us, we could have been in serious danger."

What's That Smell?
What's That Smell?

"I grew up in a small town in Michigan, in which the population was fewer than 5,000 people. Down the street from my childhood home was an airstrip that was only used by crop dusters and skydivers.

When I was maybe eight years old, I remember the whole area being full of law enforcement one day. My dad was a cop and was curious what was going on, so he drove us out into the back roads, flashing his badge to get through the shutdown roads.

I remember eventually driving by a field with a crashed plane on it. The ground was torn up and the air smelled kind of like burnt meat.

At the time, my dad just told me to look away, and he drove out of there real quick. He told me that one of the skydiving planes had crashed but everyone was fine.

I Googled it years later and it turned out that everyone was not fine. The crash killed 10 people, which was the cause of the burnt meat smell."

A Large Gathering

WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

A Large Gathering

"A neighbor in the house across the street from my childhood home committed suicide. I can't remember how we found out, but we heard the news only moments before we heard the commotion from across the street.

My sisters, dad, and I went to look. It was dusk and our neighbors were in their house, looking at the gathering crowd from their windows. They shut the blinds and turned the lights off shortly after. The body of a man was in front of the garage, his head folded completely under his chest. A red trail of blood streamed from the top of the driveway to the bottom of the steep incline that led up to their house.

More and more neighbors gathered and the police finally arrived. My sisters knew the girls that lived in that house so they were on the phone with them. I think it was their uncle. They said their uncle's wife was going to leave him so he freaked out and jumped.

My dad said something crass about women and never falling in love because he was extremely jaded and had been divorced twice at this point in his life. I remember staring at the body and the blood for longer than I should have. I'm not sure why my dad just let us look at that."

Uncle Caesar's Salad

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Uncle Caesar's Salad

"Something was always 'off' about my step-uncle Caesar. I saw him grope my older cousins as they ran away at family gatherings.

He died after falling down the stairs while he was wasted. We found out after his death that he was facing criminal charges for injuries caused by an accident while he was driving under the influence. Apparently, they didn't jail people for committing that kind of crime back then.

I thought that was bad. But then I found out something worse 20 years later at my aunt's funeral. I learned at her wake that Uncle Caesar was abusing his stepson, my cousin, during those childhood years.

The trouble was, we ALL complained about Uncle Caesar. We had no clue why none of our parents did anything to stop his behavior. Literally, NO ONE went to his funeral."

Nightmare at the Gas Station

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Nightmare at the Gas Station

"Once while I was on a camping trip with my parents and brother when I was about seven years old we stopped to get gas.

My brother and I were in the backseat playing games and my dad was pumping gas as my mother went into the mini-mart to get all those sundries you only remember you didn't bring miles after you've left home.

On my mom's walk back from getting our goods, a car that had been parked hopped over the little yellow tire stopper and hit the area in front of it, revving and pushing against the obstacles in its path.

My dad took off towards the car as my mother grabbed me and my brother who had jumped out to assess the commotion and to keep us from chasing after our dad.

Seconds later, my father shouted for us to bring the blankets over and my mother let us go as she opened the trunk and took our blankets. My brother and I followed taking sleeping bags with us as well.

When my brother and I arrived at the scene, my father was laying a man on the rolled blankets. At the same time, another man turned the car off and pulled the emergency brake.

After that happened, a swirl of people, along with my mother and father, was talking to the other couple as my brother and I hung near the rear of the car. The other woman was kneeling next to the man on the ground while my mother was on the phone.

Three or so minutes into this the other women started shouting that he was cold. 'HE'S COLD, HE'S SO COLD,' so I took one of the sleeping bags and ran over.

My mom was still on the phone, but my dad stopped me and grabbed the sleeping bag and unfurled it as he placed it over the man.

That's when I saw him. A very old man, eyes closed, mouth open, nostrils flared. Our mom grabbed us and herded us back to the car. And 45 minutes later, we were on our way.

I brought it up to my dad about 10 years later and he explained that he'd talked with the police and had given an officer his number to know about the condition of the man and the sort. He also said he spoke to him sometime later.

Turns out the old man had a heart attack and died while driving. He slumped sometime later and landed on the gas and popped the curb. No matter what my parents or the others did it was no use. And what I saw that day was my first dead body."

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