People Tell Stories About Extremely Bizarre Encounters With Total Strangers

Most people have a social circle of a hundred people, or a couple of hundred people max. This means that there are literally billions upon billions of people who are strangers to us.

Of course, strangers can become friends. They can become enemies. Most of the time, they fail to make much of an impression and will remain strangers. That said, most of us have at least one story about a bizarre stranger encounter. Here are some of the weirdest we've found, courtesy of Reddit.

Wholesome and kind of spooky.

Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Horacio Villalobos/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

A commenter wrote that they were riding a city bus and encountered an "older, apparently homeless, eccentric-looking gentleman." This is all pretty standard stuff if you take public transit, but what happened next is profound.

The eccentric guy took OP's hand, kissed it, and said, "I know the pain you are feeling. You lost your mother. Do not despair: she is with you. I am Seraphim of the highest order!" We're still not sure what the Seraphim business was about, but the guy was bang on about OP losing their mom.

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Maybe they were just trying to conserve water.

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It's a universal experience: you're in a public washroom stall, doing your thing, and someone knocks on the door, provoking your anxiety. You shout out, "I'll be five minutes!" in a panicked tone. Usually, the interloper will accept this and wait. But not this time.

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The person knocking on the bathroom door helpfully said that there's no rush, but then added a chilling detail: "Please don't flush the toilet after you're done!" I don't even want to think about their motivations.

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Bellissima!

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Sammy-Sander/Pixabay
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OP found themselves in a parking lot, loading up their car with some stuff they'd bought. A "handsome man about my age approached, speaking English with a thick Italian accent."

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The guy asked OP if she was married, and to let him down gently, she lied and said that she was. Our Italian stallion replied, quite sweetly, "Oh, I'm sorry. Your face is my favorite." One reply said that this was a pretty good line that they were going to use, but OP fired back, "Good luck. It didn't work for him."

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Meet me tonight in Atlantic City.

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An adoptee from Atlantic City heard an older lady call out a random name. Seems safe to ignore, right? Well, the lady followed up with a firm grab of her arm and identified herself as OP's grandma.

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Now, OP did not know this woman, but things got quite weird when she reached into her wallet and showed a picture that quite literally showed OP - just with blue eyes. "All these years I've wondered if I'm a twin, [and have] a sibling that I didn't know about," she concluded.

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They wound up crying in the end.

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For this one, OP found themselves in the middle of a situation that no conflict-averse person wants anything to do with: getting yelled at by a dude who's ranting and raving about random grievances. But that's when things got a bit weird.

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"Finally, after ten minutes, he says, 'WHY AREN'T YOU CRYING? CRY. CRY.'" Long story short, OP managed to extricate themselves from the situation and then proceeded to find a private area where they could process the whole weird encounter. "I went in the bathroom and cry vomited," they wrote.

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What's up with all the mind-readers?

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If we can categorize notable encounters with strangers, the "stranger who somehow, some way, knows everything about you" anecdotes might just be the most frequent.

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Case in point: a person is minding their own business, riding the A Train in New York one afternoon when a stranger gets on and authoritatively says, "You're a Virgo. Am I right?" It should surprise absolutely no one that she was, in fact right. When this was confirmed, the stranger said, "Of course I'm right. I'm never wrong," and then got off the train.

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That escalated quickly.

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Some of the most memorable/terrifying stranger encounters take place during childhood. One Redditor wrote that when they were a kid, a stranger asked them for directions. They pointed the stranger in the right direction, he thanked them, and drove off. So far, so good, right?

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Wrong. Just a few seconds later, OP was surprised to hear some sort of fast-moving projectile whizzing past them. The culprit was the stranger, who for some reason had started shooting at them with a BB gun.

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Sounds like a real dunce.

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This story created a character nicknamed "the time wizard," so you know it's going to be good. OP writes that they were walking back to their car on a frigid night in the middle of a Maine winter when they saw a guy standing perfectly still - like, perfectly still - in the middle of the sidewalk.

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To make things weirder, the guy was wearing a cone-shaped "dunce" style hat. He didn't react to anything. As far as we know, the time wizard is standing on the sidewalk to this day.

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The empathetic stranger.

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Kate Macate/Unsplash
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OP was at work one day when they got a phone call with devastating news: their friend had been killed in a car accident. There's no way to put a positive spin on news like this, but a stranger came through with a kind gesture.

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After overhearing the phone conversation, the stranger briefly left, then came back with a condolence card - all for a person they didn't even know. "I was touched by their compassion," OP wrote.

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That's an interesting take.

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This story describes the stranger as a Travis Bickle type, so I'm honestly surprised the encounter didn't go completely off the rails. Anyway, ol' T-Bickle approached OP in a bookstore with a unique thesis.

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"[The stranger] complained that David Hasselhoff was taller than people think, and that it was wrong that some people think he's not that tall." OP didn't try to rebut this hot take, which is a good thing, because the stranger kept backing up their main thesis with supporting evidence.

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Just Memphis things.

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This story finds OP at a Church's Chicken in Memphis one night, looking to fill up on some crispy, fried goodness. They succeeded, but not before experiencing kind of a weird encounter.

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The security guard looked OP up and down and then said, "You're a brave little white boy." OP awkwardly thanked them, and that was that. The cashier then told OP that it was time to pay for their meal, leave the chicken restaurant, and then get out of the area entirely.

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Everyone needs pants, right?

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One story related the experience of OP paying for the meals of a dad and his two kids who couldn't otherwise afford to eat.

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The guy promised to pay OP back, and OP said not to worry about it. Still, the stranger was clearly a man of his word, because he came back a few days later and gifted OP a...box of pants. Weirder still, those pants pockets contained more than a thousand dollars in $100 bills.

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Just retail things.

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sheikh86295328/Pixabay
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Picture this: it's 1998, and our storyteller is a pregnant mom-to-be working at a retail counter. A random skinny stranger came in, got a good look at the employee, and made an announcement.

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"You're six months pregnant and you're going to have a boy," the stranger said. "The dad's not around, but that's okay - you've got this. The baby's coming very soon, early, but don't worry, he'll do good." The stranger left, but he was completely accurate in everything he said.

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That went swimmingly.

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A commenter chimed in with their story of getting perks - in this case, an employee discount - for being a regular customer at Boston Market. The guy who gave them the discount wasn't overly chatty until things got a little bit weird.

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The guy brought up OP's alma mater (the University of Texas) along with their activities (swimming). He had no way to know that OP had been a swimmer at UT, so he was either a stalker or unusually perceptive.

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Sometimes you just need to adjust.

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OP was rolling a cigarette (unhealthy but cost-effective!) on a bench one day when a random woman asked for a smoke. Before they could respond, the woman casually pulled her tights down, presumably to adjust things - and no, she wasn't wearing anything underneath.

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Throughout the whole encounter, she kept making casual conversation, explaining why she had no cigarettes. She didn't bring up the fact that she'd just completely exposed herself. "She didn't even look unhinged in any way," OP wrote with incredulity.

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Did it really happen, though?

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In this one, OP acknowledges the use of certain substances, so take it with a grain of salt. That said, they decided to walk to a toboggan hill one night to see the freshly-fallen snow. While there, they encountered a random dude.

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"He offered me beer and we drank for three hours with a bunch of kids coming and going all night sledding and snowboarding," they wrote. "A kid from my block growing up was one of those randoms. It was awesome."

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At least this one has an explanation.

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OP was surprised, and frankly terrified, when two random dudes hopped into their car one night around four in the morning. Making things weirder was the fact that they kept calling OP 'James' - and no, OP's name is not James.

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All's well that ends well, though, and they eventually got out without incident. Some commenters pointed out that 'James' is apparently a generic name for a chauffeur in some circles - including, apparently, the kinds of circles where people will just hop into random cars.

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This one feels strangely ominous.

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Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
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If you've ever exercised your civic duty and cast a ballot at a polling station, you've probably scored one of those sweet "I voted" stickers a few times.

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In one anecdote, a person who'd just voted and proudly affixed the sticker to their shirt was confronted by a stranger with a sinister warning: "Be careful today, they've never handed out stickers before." I mean, first of all, they definitely have handed out stickers before - and even if they hadn't, where's the cause for concern?

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It ain't easy being cheesy.

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Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Power Trip
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One commenter was at a Metallica / Guns 'n' Roses twin bill and was waiting in between sets because GNR hates starting on time. That's when the stranger magic (?) happened.

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OP was surprised to find a concertgoer grabbing them from behind, and even more surprised when said concertgoer pulled them right into his chest and, in one smooth motion, used their jacket to shield both of them. "A second later someone's nachos with gooey cheese sauce comes raining down on us. Then he let me go, and I check it out, not a drop of cheese sauce on me."

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You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

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A visitor to a restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia was a little bit shocked by the warm reception they received from the staff. Things got a little weirder when they asked this person - who, keep in mind, had never visited this restaurant before - if they wanted their usual.

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After telling the staffers that it was their first visit, the mood of the staff switched on a dime, and they became huffy and indignant, all while having angry whispered conversations among themselves.

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Well, she was right.

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If you've ever served as DD for a group of people on a night out on the town, you probably know how boring things can get. A commenter found themselves in this exact situation, when an unexpected cure for the boredom came out of nowhere.

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A random woman came up to him, bit him solidly on the chest, then looked at him and said, "Now you ain't bored!" Ultimately, while she might have issues with personal boundaries, she wasn't wrong.

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Demonic possession is always tough on significant others.

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Imagine this: you're at a gas station, filling up your tank at about 3 in the morning. Things are deserted. Then, in an instant, a car wheels up and a guy jumps out pleading for help. Apparently his girlfriend is possessed.

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OP does a pretty good job of ignoring things and didn't wind up having to perform an impromptu exorcism. But the memory of the desperate boyfriend and his allegedly possessed girlfriend has stuck with OP through the years.

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He covered a lot of ground.

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Trains are a great spot for weird stranger encounters, and this story takes place in a commuter train carriage. A guy across the aisle from him struck up a conversation, which isn't in itself that strange - but the subject matter sure was.

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"He goes on a rant about how The Rock owes him money, and that he actually wrote Hancock but Will Smith stole the idea," OP summarized. "He then goes on a tirade about James Cameron."

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They must have been desert-dwelling penguins.

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VCG/VCG via Getty Images
VCG/VCG via Getty Images
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This weird stranger encounter took place in Las Vegas - a place where weird things frequently happen. OP was at a sports bar with a friend when their friend got up to go to the washroom. A stranger took his seat and struck up a conversation.

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"He was talking about penguins being in his front yard and [asked] me who to call to get rid of them," a confused OP wrote. "I was so frightened. My friend returned and the guy just got up and left."

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Let's end on a normal one.

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After a bunch of creepy, bizarre, inexplicable and uncanny anecdotes, let's end on a bit of a palate cleanser. One Redditor wrote that he was in a bookstore when a random woman came up and said, "I just had to tell you, but your outfit is truly great - love it!"

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That's it. That's the encounter. It's kind of wholesome, right? The nice thing about compliments is that they cost nothing to dole out, and they usually feel great to receive.