Traveling has more than one benefit. It affects us both physically and psychologically. Studies show that when it comes to stress, traveling helps to reduce it. As a matter of fact, it also helps in lowering your chances of developing heart disease. Every time you travel, you get smarter. This is because your brain becomes aware of different words and places; thus improving your brain capacity. But what happens when you accidentally wander off to the dark side? When traveling, it is important to do research about the places you wish to visit. All countries have places that are deemed safe to travel and those that are deemed off limits for tourists. While some were smart enough to study the places they visited, not everyone thinks the same. These people accidentally wandered into the dark side and lived to tell the tale. On AskReddit, 15 people shared some of the creepiest/scariest experiences they’ve had abroad.
1. A train ride that he will never forget.
“1992 I was walking up the stairs to the ticket booths in the Warsaw, Poland central train station. All of a sudden this dude is falling down the stairs coming to rest a few stairs above where I was standing. Dude had a long screw driver sticking out of his abdomen.” – albs68w
Poland in 1992 and Poland now are basically two different countries thankfully.
2. One lucky man to walk away alive.
“I was traveling in Nicaragua several years ago when I got lost and ended up having to take a taxi at 9:30pm back to my hostel. When the taxi pulled up to the curb, the taxi driver locked the taxi doors and told me that I had misunderstood the fare. He claimed I owed him $100 USD which was several times more than we had agreed upon. I tried to pry the doors open from the inside but was completely trapped. Thankfully, he let me out of the taxi after taking all the money I had on me.
The hostel workers told me I was incredibly lucky. A few days earlier, a taxi driver had kidnapped another young female, assaulted her, then dumped her barely conscious body in a field outside town thinking that she was dead. A few local school children found her on their way to school in the morning.” – michiganmaestra
3. An unlucky encounter with a thief.
Shortened version of a long tale:
“Got my phone pick pocketed on the subway in New Delhi, I was able to grab one of the thieves (he didn’t have my phone), a mob of random commuters beat him to pulp, then police arrived and continued to beat him with cricket bats and took him to the police station, told him to call his friend who had the phone, friend wouldn’t come, police closed the door to their office with the thief and I just hear screams, I wait and wait, police officer brings the kid into my room with a black plastic bag, throws the kid on the dirt ground, opens the bag, pulls out my phone from a bag of curry. He throws the curry on the ground and makes the kid eat it. He even gave him a spoon. Got my phone back though.”
4. Being paranoid while traveling is not a bad thing.
“Got pickpocketed by a group of 3 on a Paris metro. I’m paranoid of losing my wallet, so I’m always checking myself. When I realized it was missing, I made a bigger scene than the pickpockets were making (they shoved me into their friend and were trying to convince people I knocked him down). I stopped the train from leaving the station. One of the other passengers left to get got conductor and security. I guess that didn’t sit well with the pickpockets, so they gave me back my wallet and took off running.” – TheBurkalator
5. A stalker who just won’t quit.
“I was stalked by a guy while walking through the Tiergarten in Berlin. I was walking a path, enjoying the park alone. I saw this guy standing on the edge of the walkway just looking off into the distance. I passed him and when I was about twenty feet away, he turned and followed after me, keeping pace. I started to take a very meandering path, even leaving the park and entering again. The guy stuck with me the whole way. Eventually I got to a place with some sharp turns and heavy greenery. I was able to lose the line of sight and put myself up against a corner. I’d just been in Switzerland and had bought a pocket knife, so I opened the blade and held it inside my jacket pocket. I stood there, waiting, and then this guy comes walking out of the path confused and obviously trying to see where I went. When he finally spotted me, he jolted and since I had the drop on him, he played it cool and continued walking as if he hadn’t followed me there. He stopped a little ways ahead, and I kept watching him. I wanted to confront him to find out why he’d followed me, but since I was a visitor in the country, I thought better of it. Instead, I waited until I saw a big group of people leaving and fell in with them. He started to follow me, but I finally lost him outside the garden. It unsettled me because to this day I have no idea why he was following me. I’m a guy and at the time I was in my early twenties, pretty fit, and had a sour disposition, so I didn’t seem like a prime mugging target. But, maybe he thought otherwise.” – TwoFistedSousa
6. Hard to fall asleep when you know that someone is watching you.
“I was staying in a weird hostel by myself in Barcelona, woke up to a man staring at me while I slept. He was looking over a one of those wood dividing screens that the shared room had. I pretend to still be asleep because I was afraid of what he would do if I move or confronted him and I didn’t know if there was anyone else in the room. He stared for like 2 hours until finally my alarm rang cause I had to to take an early train, so I put all my stuff in my bag and left the room. As I left I told the owner, but I was really in a hurry and didn’t ask what he was going to do with the guy.” – trs2848
7. An unexpected visitor at night.
“Hiking in Huaraz Peru, has been told to watch our gear as locals (and apparently foxes) might make off with items left around the campsite. So we made sure to clean the campsite extra well, packing all our gear in the tent and inside the fly. And after a long day hiking, off to bed. Middle of the night our tent starts shaking like crazy, I wake up freaking out thinking we were getting robbed, I started yelling and screaming. Part of the tent pushes in real far. I manage to get outside to start swinging and come face to face with the cow that had wandered into the tent ropes and got startled. Pretty lucky that it didn’t step down into the tent and hit us.” – turnover13
8. Gandalf to the rescue…!
“I was walking around in a town in Algeria. I wandered into a neighborhood, and noticed there were hardly any people out. A little further, and there were literally no people out. I started to feel a little uneasy. And then I see an extremely tall man walking towards me, straight towards me, obviously with intent. He gets closer, and I see an older gentleman with a long grey beard and wearing a grey tunic. I stop. He comes right up to me and says, in pretty good English, “you’re not safe here, we need to get you off the street”. I say “OK”, and he says “follow me”.
We walk a few blocks and we come to a door, he says “wait here a minute”, and he goes inside. He opens the door again and invites me in. When I get inside, there are maybe a dozen men. They are all dressed in black, and they are staring absolute daggers at me. Grey-beard lays in to them, starts shaking his fists at them, gets really worked up. Then one of the younger guys goes in to the kitchen and brings out some tea and cookies, and offers them to me.
So, I’m drinking tea, and trying to smile, and one of the young guys asks where I’m from and I say “The States” and he starts talking about the CIA and stuff… and then I say “you think the CIA is bad here? Let me tell you about Central America”, and then pretty soon everybody is warming up to me and we’re laughing and talking about American foreign policy and drinking tea.
After a bit of that the older man invites me back to his apartment. He has a huge library. I gift him a book that I had finished. And then he tells me what had just happened. His little brother, who was one of the younger men, was the leader of a radical group, all the other men I had met. He had overheard them getting ready to kidnap me. But he had shamed them for not being good hosts, and for disrespecting him because it was his house. He said that I would be safe from then on.
TLDR: Gandalf saves my life and got a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for his trouble.” – Sir_Francis_Burton
9. A trip that could have ended horribly.
“We went on a family trip to croatia and on our way to the Beach we pulled over to the side of a road for a pee break. So we opened the car door and like always our dog jumps out first. He ran into the field right next to the Street. Then suddenly my mother starts screaming the name of our dog, because a few feet away from our car was sign that said: Stay Away, old minefield. Thankfully nothing happened.” – mephistosoos
10. Size matters…!
“I was traveling by van through the mountains in the Philippines with a friend that is a really big guy. We came up on a checkpoint with soldiers searching cars. The guys we’re all wearing mismatched clothes and did not have any insignias on their uniforms or trucks. They searched all of our bags and we’re asking questions of the driver in Tagalog, which we did not speak. We heard them say American and we we’re the only two Americans on the bus. They talked for a little while and finally waved us through. Later we told the story to another American and he said we had gone through a Guerrilla controlled area where Americans had been kidnapped for ransom lately. They all agreed they did not take us because of the size of my friend. I think we got really lucky that day.” – MitchCMan
11. This is why you should never travel alone when you’re in an unfamiliar place.
“Guy in Aruba tried to kidnap me, I think.
I’m a single female and found a crazy cheap ticket out there. Decided to use it as a chance to get my advanced diver certificate. Anyway, I went on a horse riding trip where the tour picked up a group in a minivan. On the way back, the driver skipped my stop and dropped off the last riders at their hotel. After a moment of confusion (I was unsure of my surroundings, but felt like this was wrong), I asked why we drove past my place. The driver said “oh I’m taking a different way.” And I said, “that really doesn’t make sense. The traffic is fine. It’s more direct this way. Can we just go back?” He was quiet and kept driving, and now my heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. He said, “there’s a really great beach down this way; not many tourists.” At this point he was driving through the backside of a shopping complex, nobody in sight, dusk, and I was considering if I should try to jump out of a moving vehicle… but because I’d get stranded in an empty parking lot, it’d be all too easy for him to grab me again.
Instead I said “I can’t. There are people waiting for me. I just texted them saying I’m in the car on the way home and will be there in a few minutes. I’ll be late if we don’t go back now.”
Somehow that worked, he turned the car around and his whole attitude changed. He started telling me how he had a wife and kids. My heart was thundering, but I think I sounded normal. (Also I had 0 cell phone reception. The story about the text was a lie, and I had no way to phone for help if he called my bluff.)
If that happens on a tour when you go in a decent sized group, I have no idea how you stay safe as a single female traveler.” – rey_gun
12. A military blockade.
“I went to visit Ukraine with my parents because they wanted to see the small villages where their parents were born. We have no family in the area so we hired a guide to take us around since the country can be a bit corrupt. As we were driving around on a highway we suddenly were stopped in traffic (literally middle of nowhere). The guide gets out of the car and takes a look, then quickly jumps back into the car, does a U-Turn and drives off telling my mom we can’t go to her mom’s village. We ask why and he says that was some kind of russian millitant roadblock. This was during the whole Crimea thing.” – cancercuressmoking
13. When traveling, choose wisely when looking for a place to stay.
“This story instantly took me back to something that I witnessed in a train station in Munich, Germany in the early 1990s.
Me and two other guys were traveling by train around Europe on a very tight budget. We needed to take a very early train out of Munich so decided to sleep overnight on the upper concourse at the main train station (Hauptbahnhof). The area we were in was pretty large with about 20 or 30 people sleeping. Occasionally a few people walked through the area but it was pretty quiet. Actually not really that bad a place for sleeping if you are going to do it in public. My two friends got to sleep pretty quickly but I just couldn’t sleep.
In the early hours I heard shouting so I looked down to the lower level where there was this incredibly creepy guy picking fights with random people. The guy was really tall – around 2 meters (6ft 6″). He was bedraggled with tattered, dirty clothes and very long matted hair. But the really weird thing about him was he had on a surgical neck brace that included a large, white dish-shaped support for the back of his head. Someone had drawn a really creepy/scary face on it.
The commotion lasted for a while as he picked fights with everyone and anyone until German police intervened to take him out of the train station.
Of course, I was even less able to sleep now. My two buddies continued to snooze away obviously while I “kept watch”. An hour or so later I heard fast, heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. The creepy guy was back but this time on our level. I was the only person awake up there but he didn’t pay any attention to me. Creepy guy bent down to take a close look at some of the sleepers one-by-one before seemingly selecting one at random. He shook one guy awake. As the poor snoozer sleepily sat up the creepy guy punched him hard in the face – shattering his nose. Basically his nose sort of instantly disintegrated. There was blood everywhere. Police were quickly on the scene to grab the creepy guy for a second time that night. Presumably this time they actually arrested him though.
The guy with the broken nose was treated by paramedics on the scene for a short while before being taken away.
Meanwhile, my buddies slept through the whole thing. I didn’t sleep a wink all night after that.
None of the police or anyone else spoke to me. Maybe because travelers there are assumed to be non-German speakers so I only know about what happened from what I saw personally. There was still a large pool of blood on the concourse for me to show my friends when they did finally wake up — to prove I didn’t dream it! ” – sectionV
14. Worried moms start calling…!
“In 2016 I went to Brussels in a school trip, we were at the train station and we left to Germany I believe. Several hours later all of our moms just start calling and texting us asking where we were and stuff. Turns out there was a bombing in the train station. It’s crazy to believe that the bombs were probably already planted when we were there.
Edit: We didn’t actually got on a train, we were just visiting the station.” – XtremeSeb
15. Everyone’s worst nightmare…!
“Was on a flight once going into Orlando that hit some unexpected turbulence. This was no ordinary turbulence. We went from 0 to 100 in an instant. People literally flew out of their seats, luggage fell from the overhead bins, people screamed like they were going to die. There were several sudden drops in elevation strong enough that people’s arms flew up in the air and my butt came out of the seat. I’ve flown quite a bit and sometimes it gets bumpy. This was the first time I seriously thought something bad was going to happen.” – athrix