There are certain situations when something deeper than common sense, a primal instinct of sorts, cries out from inside a person, warning them of a danger or heartbreak that should be avoided at all cost. These gut instincts are passed down from ancient times and exist to protect us from the dire consequences of bumbling into perilous situations. Some of the people who experienced this feeling took to Reddit to share their stories.
Content has been edited for clarity.
His Father’s Alive Because Of Him
“When I was in my late teens, I was hanging out with a friend in my room. Suddenly, I started feeling panicky with something telling me to leave the house. I decided to listen to my gut and told my friend we HAD to go to the store right now.
We went outside to find my dad passed out in his truck, looking really sick and pale. Me and my friend pulled him out of the truck and he called 9-1-1 while I performed CPR on my dad and saved his life. Later found out he had overdosed and choked on his own vomit. He was always an addict but he hid it very well (with help from my mom). That was the first time I found out about his problem and we were able to get him help.
Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t have the overwhelming urge to walk to the store for no reason.”
It Only Takes One Person
“In high school around someone’s birthday, all their friends would go all out, bringing balloons, brownies, gifts, you name it. It was just a fun tradition the whole school partook in to help with stress and whatnot. Fast forward to my birthday and as per usual, I was given balloons, cake, and funny letters from my good friends. All of a sudden, I felt like someone was watching me and I turn around to see a girl in our class staring at me. I walk over and just start a conversation with her, asking her when her own birthday was, and made a mental note. I had such a strong gut feeling that I NEEDED to do something for her on her birthday even though this was our first time talking. I knew this girl was very shy, a little strange, and had recently been given a lot of crap for coming out to a few people at our school, so I figured her birthday might not be as recognized or participated in as maybe mine was.
Fast forward to her own birthday and I brought her the biggest balloon I could find and some baked goods. As classes went on, I soon realized that was the only thing anyone got her that day. I caught her in the parking lot to say happy birthday one last time before heading to practice and she seemed happy and normal.
About 4 months later, I got chatting to her again. She pulled me aside and told me that for the last year or so, she had been planning to kill herself on her birthday. I was in shock. She told me that the balloon and goodies showed her enough of a brighter side to life to hold off and rethink things, since a stranger seemed to care enough about a special day for her. I still can’t believe it.”
Sometimes It’s Better To Leave Damsels In Distress
“I was driving a shortcut from Twentynine Palms, CA to Albuquerque, NM. Twentynine Palms is located in the desolate high desert east of LA. The shortcut was all two lane road through total nothingness, except for passing through Amboy, CA. Amboy is a nearly abandoned town nearly as far below sea level as Death Valley, with a dormant volcano and lava field on one side and a salt flat on the other. It was also, at the time, a hotspot for satanic group activity.
So I was driving by myself in the afternoon. I stopped in Amboy and snapped a picture of the city sign, just to prove I was there to friends who dared me to take that route to I-40. I got back in my car and proceeded to drive up into the mountain range between Amboy and I-40.
Once I reach the top I am driving north through a canyon with high grass on both sides of the road. Up ahead I see some stuff in the middle of the road. As I approach I slow down to see a red Pontiac Fiero stopped sideways across both lanes, a suitcase open with clothes scattered everywhere and two bodies laying face down in the road, a man and a woman.
I stop a hundred feet or so away and the hair on the back of my neck is standing up. Being a Marine, I reach under the seat and pull out a 9m and put chamber a round. Something seemed very wrong, it looked too perfect as if it were staged. An ambush? Was I being paranoid? Something was just wrong. Getting out of the car seemed unthinkable, it was the horror movie move.
As I scanned the road I saw a line I could drive. Pass the guy in the road on his left, swerve to the right side of the woman, behind the Fiero and I’d be on the other side. I dropped it into first gear, punched it and drove the line I planned.
I passed the back of the Fierro without hitting it or either of the bodies in the road. I continued forward a couple hundred feet and slowed down so I could breathe and let my heart slow down. As I looked up into the rearview mirror I saw that the two bodies had gotten up to their knees and twenty or so people emerged from the tall grass on either side of the road by the car and bodies.
At that moment my right foot smashed the gas pedal to the floor and did not let up until I had to slow down for the I-40 east onramp.
I will never know what would have happened to me had I gotten out of the car to check on the bodies or stopped my car closer to them. Somehow I do not think it would have been good. Sometimes real life can be scarier than a movie.”
The Last Surgery
“By the time I was 13, my mom had been battling cancer for a year and a half. It was a few days after my birthday, and she was due for an IV port surgery the following morning. Just a simple day surgery, right?
She came to my room to say goodnight and I freaked out. For some reason, I knew this surgery would not go well (this is after she had lung surgery, plus multiple bouts of chemo and radiation on her chest and brain). She reassured me that it was fine and that we would go bowling a few days later.
She never returned home. During the surgery, her remaining full lung collapsed and it went entirely downhill from there. Just over a month later, she passed away.
I have no idea what caused my fear of that being the end, but unfortunately I was right.”
He’d Never Felt Anything Like That Before
“I was doing overnight security at an old hotel-turned-dormitory that rented out rooms to the public as well (just a nightmare of a place, with many seedy individuals living there). Always prided myself on going down every dark hallway, leaving no stone unturned, etc. This one night, though, I got to the double doors that went to a particularly dark hallway leading to the back entrance to the kitchen and froze. ‘No,’ I said to myself. ‘I’m not going down there tonight.’
This was extremely out of character for me, and I had no idea what would cause me to all of a sudden have so strong an urge to stay out of there, but it was like, really strong, so I went with my gut. I was kind of embarrassed about it, and didn’t tell anyone.
That night, at that exact time, there was a strung-out addict robbing the kitchen. And there were really sharp, gigantic cheese knives hanging all over the place, just in case he didn’t have his own weapon. I’m pretty sure he would have attacked me, as the only witness, had I gone down there that night. Who knows who would have come out on top, but I like to think something saved me that night.”
He Had No Reason To Hurry Back And Yet–
“I had a bunch of girls over (very unsupervised household and my parents thought I might fancy men – almost everyone assumed that actually) including the girl I had been casually fooling around with. We had already secretly lost our V cards to each other but I genuinely wanted a relationship with this girl. Even though we were exclusively sleeping with each other, it was in secret and it was more experimental than romantic since she also assumed I liked men and was just exploring.
I left to go use the bathroom, washed my hands, and for no reason at all, I suddenly bolted out of the bathroom to my bedroom.
I burst into my room to see that my friend had been standing on my bed, had tangled her feet in my blankets, and was tumbling head first to the concrete floor. I lived in the garage and my bed was unusually elevated so it would have definitely cracked her skull open.
She was mid fall when I came in and I caught her inches before her head hit the floor. I caught her in what looked like one of those movie type dips where the acting lead kisses the damsel. She just gazed into my eyes for a moment like she was truly noticing me for the first time in her life before thanking me.
We’ve been together for 20 years this June. I do find men attractive but I am head over hells for her. She is head over heels for me, too.”
Like Father, Like Son?
“I never liked my father. I always said I would never treat my kids like he treated me. I always said, ‘I will never be like my father.’ I often expressed that it was my greatest fear in life to end up like him. I also said similar things about my stepfather. That guy simply hated me.
I was so different from the rest of the family. There was a phrase I would use when things got crazy: ‘What am I? The milkman’s son?’ I said it jokingly, but I said it thousands of times over the years…
Well, it turns out that I am not the milkman’s son. I am the son of a corporate lawyer in NYC. My mother, stepfather, and that prick who pretended to be my father all knew who my father was, and they kept both me and my biological father in the dark for decades. I have only known the truth for a few years. I’m still trying to adjust. But in my gut, I knew something was off all those years. I knew I did not belong. I just did not fit in. I do not talk with my so called family anymore. However, my father and I have bonded greatly, and we are trying to make up for the decades we never shared.
It hurts to think about what could have been though. My stepfather kicked me to the street when I was 14. At the time, my biological father was collecting yachts. Unknown to him, his only son was either homeless or bouncing between state institutions. As I have come to know my real father, I pretty sure I know what he would have done if he found out back then that he had a son. It would have been a game changer. Like I said, I do not speak with my so called family. There can be no excuse for what any of them did. That is, except for my father. He simply did not know that I existed. I did get a funny excuse from my mother though. ‘It was the 60’s. Everyone was doing it.’ …however, I do not think everyone was keeping children’s true identities a secret. I think the real reason they lied to me was jealousy in the men and self preservation for my mother. My father was a wildly successful man. He used to hang out with heads of state. Was a producer, filmmaker, market shaker in both tech and energy. Pretend dad was in a biker gang. Stepdad was a printer. My mother was a nurse. Here is one of many kickers. She worked with my biological grandmother for 15 years. How she maintained the menagerie, I cannot imagine. I never met my biological grandparents. They died before my reveal. Not an emote of empathy was given to me or my true family when my grandmother died without ever knowing her one and only grandson. My mother worked with her everyday for 15 years! You would think a deathbed clause could be humanely inserted into this crazy circumstance. But no, not an ounce outside of self interest. I still do not think they have any idea that they did something wrong. Dad says I need to just move on, and nothing can change what has been done. I am trying my best to do this. However, I will never forgive them.”
She Was Determined To Protect Her Mom
“I woke up from a nap one summer when I was about 7 years old. I woke up and heard screaming and fighting. I thought my parents were watching TV so I went to the living room to look for them, but they were gone. My stomach plummeted. I knew he was hurting her bad.
I ran to their room at the back of the house and my mom was cowered in the corner and there was blood everywhere. My dad was wasted and beating her.
That weird adrenaline thing that happens to kids happened to me and I launched myself over there by jumping on the bed. My dad was a construction worker and super buff. I (a girl) started trying to beat him up to get him away from my mom. I pushed him against the wall and helped my mom up and she ran right by me and left me in there with him. He started to go after me, too. Boy, am I lucky he was hammered and I was faster than fast.
Things….are better now, but it was a rough road for a while. It got a lot worse when she married my stepdad. He didn’t have a drinking problem but hated little girls viciously and started emotionally and verbally abusing me (calling me a fat hag that deserves to die, while at the dinner table) in front of my mom constantly. She would let it slide for years until I was in high school she would tell him to stop but never did anything about it. He did get violent and throw me down the stairs, and punched me in the face another time and broke my glasses.
I have severe PTSD and have been going to therapy for a long time after extremely self destructive behavior. I live with my boyfriend now in a normal family and things are much better.
My stepdad is dying from cancer now and if you can believe it I am well on the road to forgiving him. It is the best thing to do. My real father is dead as well, he passed when I was 19 years old. And even though my mom put me in those awful situations, she is just as much of a victim, and I’m glad I was at least able to get her away from my real father before he killed her.”
“I was walking home from a party when I was in college. It was six am and actually a little bright out, very pretty, very quiet. All I could hear were my footsteps. I was still in my dress and heels, and one house away from where I lived.
A horrible feeling came over me, so I stopped, took off my shoes, and stayed perfectly still . About a minute later, I was starting to doubt myself when a man stepped out of the hedges and looked straight at me. I turned around as casually as possible and went down an alley. As soon as I was out of his line of sight, I took off. I RAN into my house, locked the door, and turned to look out the window.
He came running around the corner with a knife about two seconds later.”
Her Nightmare Came True
“My mom is a nurse who works the night shift. As a child, I was a worrier, always worrying. In my head, I always feared that mom would get into a wreck on her way home from work.
Fast forward to 2006 and I’ve just walked into one of my classes and my teacher calls roll. He gets to me and says ‘Honey, you’re on the absentee. Says your supposed to be with your aunt.’ My aunt taught Bio at my high school. I thought that was odd. As far as I knew, I didn’t know of any reason I’d be excused from class that day.
I walked to my Aunt’s class and her student teacher told me, ‘She had an important call, she’s in the office.’ I ‘knew’ almost immediately that it was my mom. I knew she had wrecked. At the same time I had that thought, my and my brother’s name came over the PA system to report to the office. I started bawling in the doorway and the student teacher probably thought I was crazy.
I got to the office and found out I was correct. My mom was cut off by a reckless driver on her way home at around 7 am. She spun off the road and into the forest and went down an embankment. She broke or crushed everything on her left side and the woman who ran her off the road kept driving. My mom had been passed out in her car for about 3 hours before a passing motorist saw a headlight reflect in his rear view window. He checked his mirrors but didn’t see any other car on the road behind him, so he went to investigate and found my mom about 75 yards into the woods. She was in dense cover and her car was black. You couldn’t see anything from the road at all and the only reason she was found was because her busted headlight flickered and the man driving by just happened to see it.
She ended up making a full recovery.”
A Doomed Vacation
“My family and some of my parents friends were supposed to go abroad to take part in a wedding. The day before we were supposed to go, my dad woke up after a nightmare, in full panic. I remember thinking it was scary to see, a grown up being so afraid of a nightmare. But it resulted in us not going and I was so mad because I had been looking forward to it for ages and told all my friends at school about it. But dad refused to go. It was the 28th of September 1994, the country we were supposed to visit was Estonia, and the ferry we were supposed to be on sank that night, 852 people died. My dad later described the feeling as ‘an alarm inside my body, shouting at me that this is wrong, it will not end well, don’t do it. The alarm was so strong it could not be ignored. It’s not like a normal worry before you make a long trip, not at all. The normal worry is like a car alarm going off on your street – you notice it but pay no attention to it and so it goes away. This was a more like an explosion.'”
Now He Trusts His Wife’s Intuition
“My wife actually has these a couple times a year and they always come true. Here are some of the big ones from the past three years:
-She woke up in the morning with an extremely bad feeling about her dad. That night he fell and broke his neck. He died in the hospital.
-She had an extremely bad feeling while 18 weeks pregnant with our son. Two weeks later, we found out he had a 1-in-4,000,000 heart defect. He survived the pregnancy and received a heart transplant two weeks after birth, making him the first with his condition to ever survive. After a biopsy on his original heart, the doctors found that he’d suffered a massive heart attack at 18 weeks, which is what caused his condition.
-This just happened last week: she had an extremely bad feeling about an old high school friend. She tried frantically to get in touch with him. After a week, she finally got him on the phone only to learn that he had been mugged and stabbed badly a few days prior. He has been keeping it secret and not even his family knew.
Needless to say, when she gets a gut feeling, she pays attention.”
They Almost Caught Him In Their Web
“When he was a young adult, my dad went to Madrid to stay with a friend. There was sudden change and they couldn’t pick him up from the train station. He had to sleep rough in the station and after being mistaken for a vagrant twice, two ‘customs officers’ showed up and started showing my dad their badges and telling him to go with them. Already unsure because they weren’t in uniform, my dad followed them anyway. They were putting his stuff in the back of an unmarked car and beckoning him to get in, all the time reassuring him and showing their badges.
That’s when he saw an actual police officer walking down the side of the road. Feeling that something was really really wrong, he went up to the police officer and asked him to help get his stuff out of the car. The police officer went over to the two men, got the stuff out the car, talked to them, and got them to show him their papers.
Turns out they were fakes and the officer took Dad back to the police station (after arresting the two men) and allowed him to stay the night there. Dad got back with his friend and we all lived happily ever after!”
He Just Had A “Weird Vibe”
“My mom and dad went to visit some friends in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The friends introduced my parents to their daughter and the daughter’s boyfriend. The entire time my parents were visiting, my mom kept getting this really bad feeling about the boyfriend. He made her so uncomfortable for some reason that my parents actually ended up leaving early because my mom kept getting such a weird vibe from the guy. Well, a few weeks after their visit, the boyfriend killed my parents’ friends, their daughter and other child, and then himself. So…my mom was definitely right.”
A Kidnapping Averted
“I think a gut feeling led to me not being kidnapped. I was maybe 9 at the time. I was in a department store, wandering on my own when all of a sudden, the most terrible, gut wrenching feeling came over me. I don’t know how, but I knew I had to get back to my mom. As I ran to the aisle she was in, a man hurriedly followed me into the aisle. When he saw I was with my mother, he stood there for a few seconds, staring at me, before walking away. I will never forget that feeling, or his terrifying face.”
A Mugger Approaches
“I got out of the subway one night, kind of a cool autumn night. The kind of Halloween night that people in movies get murdered on. I got the feeling that I was going to get attacked on my walk home, which was only a 5 minute walk. Sure enough, some guy tried to rob me
He walked out of an ally that crosses my walk home and said the most stereotypical thing ever: ‘Give me your wallet and watch.’ I just said no. The watch was one my brother had given to me for my birthday a week before, so I would have died before giving that freely, plus it was freakin’ nice.
But as I said no, he reached towards the back of his shirt so, in some kinda adrenaline fueled ninja attack, I punched him in his throat which staggered him (totally uncharacteristic of me). Then I ran like Usain Bolt all the rest of the way home. Probably one of the scariest things that’s ever happened to me.”
This Youth Pastor Isn’t What He Pretends To Be
“In high school, my girlfriend had me come to her youth group and her youth pastor, who was also a music teacher at our school and was adored by the community, REALLY didn’t sit well with me. I saw him go from 100% praise singing to turning around to his wife and muttering something awful to her with the worst glare I’d ever seen, only she and I were in his line of sight), then go right back to fake-smile singing.
I told my girlfriend he seemed really fake and there was a dark side to him. Turns out he was a creep with a inkling for kids, and even started buying drinks for his pupils and inviting them to his house. The church knew, covered it up, and he eventually got arrested for misconduct with a minor. He did a quick jail stint then moved out of state.”