Dear 100 Hour Board,
I just had a heart-stopping moment last night. I was working late at 9 p.m. on campus and completely alone (I work on a floor in a building no one goes to unless they're working there too). I went to the bathroom, like I have hundreds of times before, and heard a noise I've never heard before. It sounded like someone was in the back room of the bathroom, an isolated area I've rarely been in. I wasn't alone. I sat in silence for a few minutes, didn't hear the noise again, convinced myself I had just psyched myself out--when I heard it again. I thought I was going to be murdered. I think I broke a record in how fast I ran out of there.
Here I am now, thankfully not murdered, but very curious--what's the scariest thing that's happened to you?
-guppy of doom
That sounds like a pretty terrifying experience. What counts as a terrifying experience to one person might not be scary at all to another. Some people do things like free climbing or alligator wrestling without getting scared, but maybe they'd be totally mortified giving a speech or babysitting a toddler. The moments where I felt the most terrified, and what is logically the scariest thing that has happened to me aren't the same thing, because what's scary to us is largely psychological. You asked for stories so I'll tell you about the scariest thing to ever happen to me, and times when I felt really scared even though I was totally fine.
The actual scariest thing that has happened to me was on my mission. My companion and I were new to an area, it was a bit late, and we were headed to an appointment in a neighborhood we didn't know very well. As we were walking we passed a small convenience store and outside the store was a very suspicious looking guy with a bandanna covering his face. We were pretty sure he was about to rob the store, so we started walking fast in the hopes that him or any of his thug friends inside the store wouldn't notice us. We got a few blocks away and then the guy yelled at us "Hey, do you have the time?" When a thug asks you if you have the time he's basically checking to see if you have a watch or phone to rob. That's when things started to get scary.
We were really close to our appointment so we decide to head over because then we could get inside and be safe. We get to the house and they weren't there, but their neighbors were outside so we talked with them, and as we were talking the thug and his thug friend walked past us. We thought that they were following us so we were pretty relieved that they kept on walking. We started walking as fast as we can out of the neighborhood and we look back and see the thugs are gaining on us.
We decide to go knock on some more doors and they pass us again. This happens 3-4 more times and we finally lose them. We're getting close to the main road when the thugs jump out from the bushes. There were two of them, and the first one tells me he has a gun and I start taking off my watch to give to him. The second thug grabs my companion and tells him to get into the bushes. My companion shrugs off the thug, turns around and starts trying to give him stuff as he's backing away from him. I don't want my companion to be off alone, so I turn around and start walking backwards too. It quickly became apparent that the man robbing me definitely did not have a gun and had been threatening me with his finger in his coat pocket..
The man who was robbing my companion was not satisfied with what we had, so he shoves my companion. Then he shoves my companion again so my comp decked him in the face. The robber tried to hit my companion, but my companion dodged the punch, and then the robbers decided that robbing us wasn't worth it so they turned and ran off. I was super relieved that we didn't get hurt, and that they didn't even take any of our stuff we tried to give them. We start walking home and a block later we walk under a street light, and I look back and my companion's entire leg is soaked in blood. He looks down and also see'\s that his leg is covered in blood, and realized that he had been stabbed.
He ran up to a house to get help and I called 911. They give him a towel to stop the bleeding while I told the ambulance where to come. The adrenaline wore off and his leg started to hurt real bad. It was bleeding a lot. It was so much blood. I went over gave him a priesthood blessing, and by the time I finished the blessing the ambulance was already there. They loaded us up in an ambulance and we headed over to the hospital which, luckily for us, was 4.5 blocks from where he had been stabbed.
It was scary, but thankfully my companion was okay. He had been stabbed in the thigh with a small steak knife, and he only needed 3 stitches. The doctors were really good and they stitched him up real quick and he was asleep in his bed less than an hour after he had been stabbed.
So that's actually the scariest thing that's ever happened to me, but in the moment there was a lot of adrenaline, and we didn't know what was happening as it happened, so it was scary because we were being robbed, but it was also kind of blur so I didn't realize how scary it was until later.
What does my brain find more terrifying than robberies and stabbing? Talking to strangers. I was absolutely terrified of talking to people for the first few months of my mission, totally terrified. Also, the first time I ever donated plasma was terrible and I thought I was going to die. Once, I was driving my mom's car and I backed it into dad's car, and I was also pretty sure I was going to die. Also, I have had midterms that I have been so afraid of that I've been physically sick, so there's that. It's really interesting how somethings that might be silly can be terrifying to us. I think our brains are really pretty good at protecting us from harm--even if that harm is just a strange noise or weird shadow.
Anyways, I hope you liked my story! Also, not to scare you, but try to avoid thugs and robbers. It's not worth the cool story.
I'm not sure if this is the scariest thing that's ever happened to me, but an incident last summer came very close:
Vienna and I were hanging out and looking for something to do; it was around 7 or 8 PM. Ultimately, we decided to go on a short hike she really liked. We stopped to pick up some flashlights and then we were on our way. It was dark by the time we got to the trailhead. Honestly, it probably would have been fine, but as we started to follow the path into a forest, I had the thought:
"Oh, this is how a lot of horror movies start, isn't it? Two people going on a hike in the woods all by themselves at night."
I tried to laugh it off in my mind, but a feeling of vague unease settled in. It might not have gotten any worse than that, but then we stopped in a clearing that looked out over the surrounding foothills. A gentle breeze wafted through the trees, shaking the branches and fluttering the leaves. As we shone our flashlights over the trees and up into the night sky, I told myself I was just being dramatic and that I needed to calm down.
Then, I thought I heard a twig snap behind us.
Trying to remain calm, I looked over to where we'd come from, but I couldn't see anything; the trees were really thick. At this point, I believe Vienna noticed I was acting funny, and she asked what was going on. I didn't want to freak her out, but I am also terrible at hiding how I'm feeling, so I mentioned how I'd been thinking about horror movie tropes and then how I thought I heard someone behind us. Vienna had been a little scared before, but after I brought up hearing the twig snap we were both thoroughly spooked.
And then, for some inexplicable reason, we kept hiking.
I thought I'd feel better once we left the clearing—nope. The thick trees on either side only seemed to offer hiding places, not cover. I thought talking to Vienna would help—nope. She was freaking out, too. I thought making it to a small stream she described would take my mind off of things—nope. The sound of the water just made me stress about not being able to hear anybody coming up behind us, which was already a problem with the wind.
We kept pressing on, plunging further and further into the dark forest and further and further away from the car. I felt afraid in ways I've never felt afraid before. My anxious mind started running through self-defense scenarios, but that only made it worse: while there were two of us, neither of us had anything substantial we could use to deter a would-be attacker. Finally, we reached a bend in the trail where the trees seemed to thin out a little. I shined my flashlight ahead, but the beam seemed to stop illuminating things after about ten or fifteen feet, leaving dark, gaping holes between the trees.
It was at this point that Vienna and I both agreed we should turn around.
We both walked quickly, conscious of how far we'd gone into the woods and trying to get out of there in a hurry. She started out walking in front of me, which put me at ease because I could see her and be sure nothing could come out and get her. However, after not too long, she asked me to lead, probably because she was worried about being the first line of defense. I relented, but then I constantly worried about hearing her behind me. We went on like this for a while, trying to break the tension by talking about how freaked out we both were, but that did absolutely nothing to ease our fear. We eventually made it back to the trailhead and got in the car, but even that didn't put me at ease ("Wait wasn't there another car here before WHERE DID THE OTHER CAR GO OH MY GOSH WHAT IF SOMEONE WAS WAITING FOR US TO GET BACK IN THE CAR WHAT IF SOMEONE JUMPS IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW ONCE WE'RE IN THE CAR WE'LL BE TRAPPED AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!").
We drove back and tried to watch some funny TV shows to get us to relax, but I don't think either of us felt completely back to normal until the next morning.
-Frère Rubik, who started reliving the fear of that night a little as he wrote this answer
One relatively recent moment of terror.
My apartment complex had people go around to drop off some sort of notice. That's pretty normal, right? What's not normal is that the people they sent like way late at night. So I'm sitting on my couch right next to the front door nursing my newborn at like midnight and I hear these noises of like somebody coming towards my door and then I hear the noise of like the paper being moved into the door and it felt like my house was going to get robbed and it was terrifying.
My parents moved from where I grew up precisely one week before I graduated high school. Thus, I spent summer after high school in a neighborhood I didn't know at all.
One morning, I was getting ready when I was startled by some very loud banging coming from directly beneath me. Now, to build some context, my new bedroom was right above the garage, and this banging sounded quite a lot like someone was trying to break into the garage. I would normally just ask my mom or dad if a person was supposed to come by, but my dad was at work, and my mom was in Salt Lake getting something done with the car. So I attempted to dismiss my fears. And then there was more banging. Persistent and loud, like there was a person with a sledgehammer trying their best to pound their way straight through the garage door. I went to my window just in time to catch a glimpse of a strange man heading into the backyard. He looked vaguely like a gardener. So I called my mom to see if lawn care was scheduled for that day. She replied no. After explaining the situation to her, it sank in that I was completely alone. My mom was forced to wait in Salt Lake until the car was ready, and my dad was a half hour away; I didn't know a single person for miles. And there was a strange man possibly trying to break into my house. I knew that if he got in, I would not be able to defend myself. That is a terrifying realization to have, by the way.
Well, similar thoughts were passing through my mom's mind as I was talking with her. She was horribly aware that she could not help me, so she suggested that I call 911. This added exponentially to the gravity of the situation. Suddenly, everything felt more real to me. There really was a man, and I really was in serious danger--I had to be if things were serious enough to have to call 911.
It was a woman who answered my call. While trying my hardest to keep my voice from shaking, I once again related what had happened. The lady said a police officer was near, and she was sending him my way. She stayed on the line with me the eternity until the officer came.
Well, it's late, and that's pretty much all the scary part of the story, so I'll leave it at that. Though the time a bus came within two feet of running me over (and killing me) was pretty dang frightening too.