What’s the Scariest Thing That Ever Happened to You?

randomlychad  —  September 24, 2012 — 18 Comments

I can’t say I remember this, but as a toddler I wandered from our home near Lake Erie, and was found near the cliffs overlooking the shore. I don’t know why, or what I was looking for. I’m, fairly certain this wasn’t too good for my parents’ cardiac heath.


A little later on, a beloved neighbor–called the “can man,” because he had a shoot under his kitchen sink which deposited beer cans directly into a barrel his garage–passed away. My parents took me to the funeral. I’m almost certain this was my first exposure to death. I couldn’t have been more than four, or five. One or both of them encouraged me to see the Can Man’s body for myself. I don’t remember being afraid, per se. I had been watching him for awhile, and he hadn’t moved–not even a little bit.

So I walked up to him in his casket just to take a peek. I don’t know why I did what I did next: I touched him.

He didn’t try to eat me, but he was cold. Cold, and felt for all the world like a mannequin.

I wasn’t scared until right then. Nobody told me death was so cold.


As a teen, my dad bought me Stephen Kings’s IT for Christmas one year. Being that I was 17, or 18, at the time, I got my own bed. In the basement of my dad’s house (my brother and I visited twice a year). I was up late reading on that cold Colorado winter night. I don’t recall being particularly afraid.

Then the lone bulb, dangling as it was from a beam in the unfinished ceiling, burnt out. I lay back, immobilized by a sudden paralysis. Inky darkness floated all around me.

Sleep was a long time coming.

What’s the scariest thing that ever happened to you?




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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers.

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  • Hmmm….
    There was the time I watched Hitchcock’s “The Birds” on TV when I was 7 or 8, had a hard time sleeping afterwards, contributed to me being paranoid/afraid of the dark, burglars etc. One time in same time frame, my sister had a nightmare and woke up screaming… naturally, that meant there was a burglar in the house, right? So, I yelled out “BURGLAR!” and my dad charged down the hall (in the buff) to chase away the bad guy that wasn’t there. Needless to say, I learned not to yell “burglar” if I didn’t actually see one. (Yes, it’s a funny story, but I was genuinely afraid of the burglars that weren’t there.)
    Some of my most fearful moments have been when work stuff was going south and I thought my family was going to be in serious jeopardy because I blew it. Thanksgiving 95, trying to get an entrepreneurial business off the ground and something wasn’t working — my family was off visiting in-laws and I was lying in bed overnight having a serious panic attack, imagining the doom & gloom I was about to put my family through. (I’ve had variations of that one numerous times over the years.) I don’t go into panic mode nearly as easy as I used to, but something that threatens my family definitely scares me.

    • Dan,

      I can see all of those as plausible. Hitchcock made some scary things, the notion of someone invading one’s home is very unsettling, and oh, yeah, anything that effects one’s family.

      For me, there’s great liberty in knowing whatever may happen, it’s not all up to me--I’ve a Father who loves me, and my family, and we will be taken care of.

  • Watching my crawling daughter roll down the steps in our townhouse.

    • Oh, for sure, Larry!

      Both of my kids have at one time, or another, slipped on, or fallen down the stairs.

      That feeling of utter powerlessness is so unsettling.

  • Ricky Anderson

    There was a car accident once where we slid out of control for a while. I watched the telephone pole race towards me and I could do nothing but wait for the impact.

    • Whoa! Freaky, Ricky! Knowing the impact is coming, and being able to do nothing about it.

      So much of life (all of it, really) is out of our control.

  • 2 weeks after we got married I fell asleep at the wheel driving on the highway. It took 19 emergency personnel 2.5 hours to get me out and I had nerve damage to my legs. After 6 weeks I didn’t have to use a walker anymore.

    • Whoa, K.C.! That is hardcore scary! Six weeks? Man! How did L.K. handle it? How are your legs now?

      Never fallen asleep at the wheel, but have felt close on some occasions.

      • LK was incredible and helped me recover. I went back to work after one week still looking like Frankenstein w/ all my stitches. I’m fully functional now.

        Never drive sleepy dude. Pull over. It’s like driving drunk.

  • I was in a bus accident when I was in the 8th grade; broke my collar bone and suffered a concussions. One girl was paralyzed from the waist down and a few others suffered broken backs. Terribly scary.

    • Whoa, Matt!

      That is terribly scary!

  • Another one in the car accident column (all these stories kinda make me not want to drive).
    I was driving my little brother once to get a fountain drink from Sonic, and on the way back we were in a head-on accident, in which my bro should have been seriously injured if not killed. Looking back it was a total miracle that no one was hurt beyond a scrape here and there. It was also still the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced.

    • Wow, Stephen!

      That’s mercy, man!

      So glad you and your brother came out alright.

      I’ve been in accidents; only once did I know it was going to happen. And then, there just wasn’t time to be scared.

      By far the scariest things that have happened to me are the ones I don’t remember (like almost choking to death in front of my parents).

  • Thankfully I’ve not experienced many scary things in life. But one particularly scary time in my life involved choking on a piece of chicken. My mom & best friend thought I was laughing, but a small piece of chicken had lodged itself in my throat. I obviously couldn’t breathe and my lips eventually turned blue and the look in my eye must have caught their attention as finally one of the two of them began beating my back to dislodge the piece of chicken. Needless to say, the thought of not being able to breathe now terrifies me.

    • Denise,

      I can identify; although I don’t remember it, I almost choked to death on a hot dog bun as a youngster. Yeah, not being able to breathe is a pretty primal, visceral fear.

      What I do remember is waking in a doctor’s office with an oxygen mask. (If you search the blog, the story is told in a piece called “Cotton Candy”).

  • Oh, The Exorcist scared the hell out of me!

    • Imagine it would. Saw that back when I was a kid. Freaky.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Wow. This is deep. I dig this, in a X-Files geek kind of way. When I was about 9 or 10, my mom bought the Amity Horror book and I read some of it. That book scared the crap out of me because I thought it was all completely true.