Have you ever been afraid for your life, genuinely? It doesn't happen to everyone (thank goodness), but there are lots of ways to unknowingly get yourself into trouble. You have to wonder what goes through a person's head when they're truly running for their life!

But actually running for your life doesn't sound fun in the least, so luckily there are people willing to share their true stories of fear and flight! From shady neighbors and malicious strangers on the street to actual lions in the middle of a hunt, these stories are absolutely hair-raising. Who needs fictional horror movies? Ask the right person, and you can find a real-life horror story just waiting to be told.

So check out these terrifying true stories of people who ended up having to run for their lives!

A car incident went horribly wrong, but not in the way you're thinking.

via: Getty

I used to live on a really busy corner. People come flying off the highway still doing excessive speeds, all the time. On this particular day, I was walking my little sister and her friend home from a little shopping trip at the nearby strip mall. Dude in pickup truck comes flying around the corner just as we're crossing. I grabbed the girls and jumped back to the centerline, dragging them with me. He misses us by inches. I yelled at him to slow down and then I flipped him the double bird. Mind you, I was like 12. He slows down then, and only to slam on his brakes. Hard. I realized I messed up.  -insert-bacon-emoji

The people in this car were insanely aggressive.

I told the girls to get in the house, lock the door, let no one in, and tell Dad. My Mom had told me my temper would get me in trouble, and there had been some recent shootings. So I was fully expecting the worst. Both the driver and passenger door opened, and I ran for it. I don't know what I was thinking. I couldn't outrun a car, but I knew where cars couldn't go. I ran through the parking lot of the ice cream shop next door, while the driver hopped back in his truck. I cut behind the store, through the overgrown lot, behind the surf shop next door. Looked around. Dipped around a fence. Started running through people's back yards like the scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. -insert-bacon-emoji

They managed to evade one of the crazy people.

via: Getty

My gut instinct was to keep out of sight of the road. I just kept running until I got to my sister's elementary school, which was about a quarter of a mile away. Then I milled around with the last of the after school kids until one of our neighbors gave me a lift home...and almost got in a wreck with my Dad who was tearing up the streets trying to find me. -insert-bacon-emoji

But another story had unfolded in the meantime...

So the passenger tried to follow my sister and her friend into the house. The driver, it seems, tried to chase after me. I have no idea what he planned to do when he found me. I'm kind of glad he didn't. I have never run that fast in my life, not even with a gym grade on the line. Instead of going and telling Dad as I asked, they just threw the deadbolt, dropped the blinds, hid in my room (which was by the door, but about 10 feet off the ground), and peeked out the blinds. My sister blew raspberries at the angry lady pounding on the door and occasionally coming back down the stairs to yell an obscenity at them. Because, you see, to them, this was all just some odd game. -insert-bacon-emoji

Thankfully, dad figured things out anyway!

My Dad finally realized a few things from his den upstairs. 1) The yelling and pounding were not on the TV or out in the cul-de-sac. 2) He could have sworn he'd heard the door slam but had yet to see either his kids or his wife. 3) He had yet to hear from his kids, who ought to be back by now. So he came downstairs and opened the door. Couldn't get much out of the lady. My sister and her friend basically fell out of my room to explain what happened. My Dad immediately slammed the door when the lady tried to come inside the house. He told them to go in my sister's room, lock the doors, and stay put. Then he went to his bedroom upstairs, got his [nonworking, but still threatening] shotgun out of its hiding place, grabbed a phone and went downstairs to confront the angry lady (who had resumed yelling and pounding). He told her that he was calling the police, and she had thirty seconds to get off his property or he was taking matters into his own hands. He also chastised her for going nuts over some kids. Never saw hair nor head of them again. -insert-bacon-emoji

So here's the resolution:

He asked a neighbor to come over and watch the house. He called our Mom. He did actually phone the police in case the psychos came back around. Then he hopped in the car and went out looking for me. I don't think I've ever had that confusing of a lecture in my entire life. They were half happy that I'd had the forethought to take care of the girls, and gotten myself away. But also I shouldn't have let my temper get ahead of me, I should have come inside, I should have borrowed a phone from someone at the school to call. That's it, I was getting a cell phone and going back to taekwondo. We also moved as soon as the lease was up because that corner wasn't meant for a family. -insert-bacon-emoji

Don't mess with cows, okay?

When I was twelve or so, I was playing in the stockade at my cousin's family's farm, which is an awful idea. He yelled that he had opened one of the gates and let a cow down the narrow part of the stockade where I was. A furious cow came boiling around the corner right at me. I turned tail and ran for it, and when I came to a bend in the pen I leaped over a seven-foot fence in one bound.

Not many times in my life have I been that scared. I will never forget the look on the cow's face, and how big it looked.

-hercarmstrong

This escalated TERRIFYINGLY fast.

Used to live rural and there was a weird dude who used to creep me out. One day he shot at me, then shot our house. Police refused to come because he could’ve been sighting his gun (on our property, a long way from his). When I was coming back from a walk one night he ended up chasing me in his car, I ran off and into the bushes beside the road. He poked around for me with his gun but evidently did not have a torch. I don’t live there anymore. -Finneringasvar

A photographer's life can be perilous in the wrong situation!

I live in South Africa. My dad is a photographer for a 4x4 magazine and we were in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. We were taking pictures of the two male lions sleeping and without our knowledge about 70m behind them, there were three females with cubs (we thought the females were out hunting because it was early morning). We were taking photos while being outside of our cars (first and last time, but if you are a photographer then you would understand that the shot is worth it) we were luckily only about 10m from the car. While we were taking our last photos, in the corner of my dad's eye he could see something moving in the grass. -JWMarx

Yep: they were being hunted.

via: Getty

When he realized what it was, we told me to jump up and run. We both left everything and ran to the car, it felt like I wasn't moving and the 10m felt like a kilometer. The only reason we are alive is that we left the car doors open, if we had to stop to open the doors first then my dad would have been gone.

Got in the cars, waited about an hour for them to lose interest and move on. We then went to drive close enough to the cameras so that we can open the door slightly and grab them.

I've never been that terrified in my life.

We got some really amazing photos though.

-JWMarx

What's dangerous about late-night fishing, you ask?

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Two friends asked my husband and me to go late-night fishing with them. We filled a huge cooler and headed out to this old fish camp that belonged to another friend. ...Other than a weird, worn spot that dipped near the seawall, the dock was in better shape than the rest of the place. We were fishing in this lagoon off of a big lake, and since we only had 2 poles, we spent the next few hours talking and laughing and taking turns fishing. We were having a great time. We even got to play chase with a little gator that kept chasing our light-up bobbers. When I wasn't taking my turn fishing, I was playing with the high-powered flashlight, and scanning the lagoon for gators. Being a native Floridian, I know that for every gator you can hear croaking, there are several others that you don't, and this lagoon was full of croaking gators. I spotted the eyes of close to a dozen, out swimming and along the opposite shore. -sexykitty

Beware of gators!

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When we first got there earlier in the evening I had heard croaking, so I took the flashlight and walked back to the start of the dock to see if I could see the gator. Watching out for the worn spot, I'm scanning the bush, but can't see anything, but I noticed that the algae-covered water was littered with these tiny sparkles. As I'm staring at them, trying to figure out what they are, one sparkle flashes twice, then slowly shifts to the left. I immediately realize 3 things...the sparkles are the eyes of babies, the gator croaking in the bushes is most definitely their mother, and the weird, worn dip in the dock is where she gets in and out of the water since there is a seawall. My husband walks up just as all of this is dawning on me, and very quietly, I explain to him what I just figured out. We decided to let mama be, and walked back down to the end of the dock, where our friends were, and let them know about her and the babies, and that we should be a little quieter, and watch for her as when we decided to leave. -sexykitty

These people had some rotten luck.

via: Getty

Literally, not 2 seconds after I get those words out of my mouth, the dock (which is about 2ft or so off the water) makes this huge cracking sound and the end where we're standing shifts and drops a good foot and a half.

The four of us freeze in place, terrified that the whole thing is going to go, and knowing that if it does, the only out of the water is to swim right through mama and her babies. We also know that if we have to swim, it's a huge guarantee that not all of us are making it out of the water unscathed.

-sexykitty

After some trouble, they ran for the car.

via: Getty

A few seconds go by, and we very quickly decide that it's time to get out of there, so my husband and one friend grab the cooler and go, while the other friend and I are getting the poles, that are both still cast out in the water. Now, in a normal situation, you'd think to just cut the lines and go. However, we were in panic mode, and not thinking clearly, and decided to just reel them in as fast as we could. Finally, after what seemed like forever, but was actually only maybe a minute at most, we've got the poles and huge balls of tangled lines, and are running as fast as our feet can carry us to the end of the dock, on to land...and straight to the car in case all of this has pissed off mama, and she comes chasing us. We were grateful that she didn't. -sexykitty

But that wasn't (quite) the end of it!

via: Getty

After standing there for a few minutes, trying to catch our breaths, and sort of panic-laughing about how close we probably were to dying...the friend who drove realizes that he's left the keys to the car sitting in his hat back at the end of the dang dock, and that someone has to go back out there and get them. We volunteered him to get them, but I offered to go as far as the beginning of the dock, to be lookout incase the dock broke all the way. Luckily for us, he retrieved them with no problems, and we all made it home safely, with a great story to tell. To this day, over 15 years later, I've never been more scared in my life. -sexykitty

Ladies: listen to your instincts! They know when something is up.

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When I was a teen, I was walking home from the bus stop when a car pulled up beside me and the driver started calling out to me. It was a dude who wanted to know if I had a boyfriend, where was I heading, etc. He tried to wave me closer but I ignored him and kept walking. He followed me in his car and then stopped a little ahead of me, and started getting out. I had been wary before, but suddenly it was like all my alarm bells went off at once. -UptightSodomite

This awful man was still pursuing her.

I ran, as fast as I could with my backpack full of textbooks, and immediately turned the corner and dove into my neighbor’s slightly open garage. My neighbor’s daughter was there practicing guitar and looked at me like I was crazy as I gasped and tried to explain what happened. Meanwhile, I saw the dude’s car come zooming past while I hid and watched him circle the block. He went around at least twice, slowing down to search for me. He eventually left and didn’t return, but it was a while before I felt safe enough to leave and walk less than half a block to my house, looking over my shoulder the whole time. -UptightSodomite

Yeah, don't look for roommates on Craigslist!

This was several years ago. I was an idiot kid (about 20f), looking for a room to rent as a roommate deal. I went on craigslist and responded to a few ads. For one, I was told the general location and that the person would meet me at a certain intersection. It was evening and dark already. I met him. His behavior was erratic and his conversation... all over the place. I was wary, feeling like I'd already made the mistake of meeting him in a none too visible location, so I started going along with it. We got on a bus, and he led me off when we were at the right stop. It was a part of town I'd never been to before. I was relatively new to town anyway. -GertieGuss

And the tour? Even creepier.

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We got to his place. Turned out to be a basement flat. A very sparsely furnished basement flat with stains all over the floors, an old mattress before a tv, and that was about it for the front room. He leads me down a windowless corridor, telling me all about the "other roommate" he had who was studying hard and couldn't be disturbed. The door to this other roommate's bedroom was shut. There were no sounds from it. The guy showing me around was very insistent that this other roommate was there, and that he shouldn't be disturbed. I wasn't even pushing the matter, I just wanted to get out. But he kept insisting, despite me not asking, that this guy was there, just very busy. -GertieGuss

Then, the tour ended.

He completed his tour, I managed to ease my way back to the front room, smiling, telling him I was thinking about it and would get back to him soon. He keeps creeping nearer and nearer to me, insisting this was a great place to stay, and the other roommate wouldn't bother me. Asked if I wanted tea, or to watch some tv. Then someone knocks on the door.

Guy goes to open it, and apparently, it's the lady who owns the house and is renting her basement to him.

-GertieGuss

That interruption just may have been a life-saver!

On the spot he gets aggressive. He grabs the lady by the arm and yanks her out and around the side of the house. I didn't stick around. I ran and ran and ran, and he shouted after me. I did not stop running. Didn't know the busses in that area, so just ran until I hit a train line and followed it to a station.

I wish, with all my heart, now, that I'd called the police for that woman. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me, but it didn't (like I said, idiot kid) and I look back with regret on that moment.

-GertieGuss

Poisonous spiders? Oh HECK NO.

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Three black widows in the corners of my shower. I didn’t see them until after I closed the door (a sliding glass door) frantically opened the door to get out turned back around now there are two and I noticed a tickle on my shoulder blade, slapped the crap out it and ran.

-nihil-sciri

Sometimes...you really don't have to be nice.

I have a friend who is too good for her own good.

We were walking back to my car after a night out and Weirdo Homeless Guy called out to us. He gave some usual crap about needing to know the bus times ... and my friend, instead of doing the sensible thing and just walking on, actually stopped, got her phone out and looked them up for him! He was making me increasingly uncomfortable and whilst we were fairly safe in the well-lit town center, I knew my car was about 50 yards down an unlit backroad.

-The_Sown_Rose

And here's why!

My friend told WHG that the last bus had already gone and he asked about a lift; she turned to me as if to ask if that was ok, which was when I shone my torchlight in his eyes, grabbed my friend's hand and dragged her with me as I ran. We got to my car, I pushed her into it then dove into it myself, slammed the doors and locked them, I was starting it up as quick as I could (no good options, either stay there in an admittedly locked car but still like a sitting duck, or drive with high adrenaline) and my friend started to ask why I did that, he only wanted our help ... when WHG knocked on the car window. He'd followed us.

I did about twice the speed limit driving out of there.

-The_Sown_Rose

Here's why some people are scared of horses...

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I was 6 and for some reason wasn’t being supervised while petting the horse we were babysitting for a weekend while his owner, my aunt, was out of town. I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I think my mom had gone inside to get my little sister and figured I would be okay for a moment while she grabbed the toddler.

I probably would have been, too. Except for the wasp. I had a switch of grass in my hand to feed the horse and I saw the wasp and on reflex, I went to swat the wasp away and instead of swatting the wasp I managed to swat the horse and the wasp dove at me. The horse spooked and then I was running from the horse too, and I was certain that if I didn’t make it to the gate I was gonna die.

-starshadewrites

And then, the fall.

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In my memory, it felt like I ran forever but in reality, I’m sure it was just a few seconds because spoilers: a chubby 6-year-old does not win in a race against a quarterhorse.

I don’t remember if I tripped or if Smokey, the horse, knocked me over but I do remember tumbling under his hooves and getting knocked around and being sure one was going to hit my head and I was gonna die.

Thankfully I ended up with only bruises, and the buttons on my overalls being broken, and with one very panicked mother dragging me out of the fence asking me what the hell happened.

Everyone I tell this story to says THAT is why they’re terrified of horses and I’m like, nah it was my bad, I still loved him.

-starshadewrites

Did you know even coconuts can be dangerous!?

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A few years ago I was on holiday on Koh Chang in Thailand with my mum. One night as we were walking back to the hotel, a storm kicked up and wind starting howling around us. Now all around us were palm trees loaded with big heavy coconuts and I'd read just before this how many people are killed by a falling coconuts. Right on cue coconuts started falling from the trees. Not loads but enough to make you aware. So I had to help my mum through the storm while watching the trees, ready to push her to safety if a nut came down. It was pretty hairy, if you'll pardon the pun! -deckard1980

This fight over a dog was almost to the death!

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We (my dad and I) got in a fight with a neighbor over our dog (he just didn't like him). I took our dog home while my dad stayed with this neighbor. At home, I heard a hot. I was not running for my life per se, but... that was the worst moment of my life.

And yes, that neighbor did shoot at my dad but missed.

-Sidzejs

Here's another story of being hunted...by a person.

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I was in some camp with no technology, no toilets, etc. We were camping outside for a week, and we were told that on the last day, we would spend 4 hours completely alone in the woods. the instructors dropped us off at our respective spots and I just kinda chilled there and then decided to go to sleep. I woke up and needed to stretch so I got up and did my thing. then I heard a gunshot, and I got scared and screamed. I started running to hide in some bushes or something and I was scared out of my mind. I heard someone coming closer and I screamed "DONT SHOOT I'M A HUMAN PLEASE DONT SHOOT ME" then I heard a loud "F***" and the guy ran off. Apparently, it was some hunter and he thought I was a wild hog or something (keep in mind I'm a 165 cm and 48 kg 13-year-old girl). -h_a_n_a_

Running into a shark is every beach-goers' fear.

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My Dad and I walked out into the water at a Florida beach, as far as we could; turned around and just stood watching the shoreline when people suddenly started screaming, running and ringing the "shark bell". Apparently, a shark swam past just behind us. (We didn't see it.) He took hold of my hand and we ran as fast as we could. Running in the water is just like every nightmare you've ever had. I've never been that acutely aware of being "in the moment" as that time. Can still remember every detail of it. -Filmtoken

This started as car-theft and got even worse!

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Not sure what the outcome would have been but we stumbled across a guy breaking into a car in Naples, Italy as we came around a corner. He IMMEDIATELY started sprinting after us screaming holding huge metal tools and we had to book it out of there. Absolutely horrifying. My stress response can sometimes be to freeze momentarily but thankfully not this time. -Crabbyappletonn

Anything can happen when you're out in the wild.

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When I was a kid growing up in Northern Central Texas (near Lubbock, Amarillo, Plainview, etc.) somewhere in the late 80's early 90's, we lived in the middle of nowhere. It was a few miles to the neighboring ranchers, and I was constantly just wandering around in the scrubland having fun. I would pretend to be a Texas Ranger, sometimes I'd camp out in the scrub, start campfires and hang out, etc. 

I went onto the neighboring ranchers land often because he had those classic Texas Longhorns, and I liked watching them wander around their fenced-in area. The rancher was a great old man. One day I was wandering around and he came upon me in a truck and told me to head on home because there was going to be some storms. About halfway home I got bit by a rattlesnake.

-HRCEmailServerITGuy

I can't imagine running while poisoned!

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Normally, as anyone who has dealt with a rattlesnake before knows, they start making noise when you get anywhere near them. I'm not sure if this one was asleep, lazy, or what, but he didn't make a peep. Got me in my right calf through my jeans. I was a couple of miles from either the neighbor or my parents, but I felt like I was closer (in distance) to my own house, so I just kept trucking home.

Got home, parents drove me to the hospital, spent a week or so in the hospital, and gained a pretty cool looking scar on my right calf.

-HRCEmailServerITGuy

Some people have a dangerously short fuse.

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We were about 10-12 years old, outside flipping bottle caps next to a fishing "resort" on the border of Sisseton SD and MN.

It was probably 11 or 12 at night, and we were about 1/4 mile from the little cabin we were staying in, so I think he must have thought we were trying to break in or something.

Anyway, dude jumps out with a hunting rifle firing away at a couple of kids for no logical reason.

-Pokey_The_Bear

Naturally, you run from the angry stranger with a gun.

I saw the fire from the muzzle and booked it. I don't think Usain Bolt could have kept up with me.

My freshmen year of college my cousin called me up. Apparently, that dude shot 2 high schoolers that tried to break in.

-Pokey_The_Bear Some scary experiences come from those on the trail...outside of any civilization.