There have been so many infamous criminals in the past that many people either have had an encounter or close call with one - or at least know someone who has. In these instances, the offenders are known and captured, although elusive serial killers may still be out there and active. But these creepy stories may make you wonder just how close you have come without ever knowing it. From John Wayne Gacy to the notoriously charming Ted Bundy, regular people have met, worked with, and almost dated men and women later convicted of shocking crimes. Some of these encounters came as a shock, as even family-man BTK seemed normal on the surface. These Reddit anecdotes are haunting "what ifs" from real people who unwittingly interacted with some of the most well-known offenders, and these horror stories are all true.
From Redditor /u/mhelweg:
While growing up in Poughkeepsie, NY, when I was 12-14 years old, one of my brother's friends became very close with our family. He called my mother ["Mom"] and was considered one of the family. He even took one of my sisters out to a movie date at one point.
Coming home from work one night, my brother told my mom that the cops showed up where he and Nate worked and arrested Nate. It turned out that Nate was [following] girls between the ages of 14-20 in Duchess and Orange Counties and had already [taken the lives of] six, strangling and bludgeoning them and disposing of the bodies on the side of the road. Nathaniel White was his name.
If that wasn't bad enough, fast-forward about 6 years and 2 blocks from my house, they arrested Kendall [Francois] [...] [a]nd located 8 dead women in his home - which he shared with his mom, dad, and 14-year-old sister. Apparently, although the place reeked [...] none of the other people in the house where even remotely aware of the corpses.
Additional craziness: My history teacher in Poughkeepsie Middle School was Albert Fentress - a [known] cannibal.
From Redditor /u/FromHereToParis:
My friend and I carpool to and from work together every day. It was late at night and I was waiting for her to come pick me up when her cousin drove past and told me she was running late, and had asked if he could come pick me up, so I wouldn't have to wait so long alone.
I met her cousin only once, very briefly at a wedding she had dragged me to a few months back. He seemed nice, then and now, so I agreed.
I was about to step into the car, but then I realized I had left my purse inside my work. I told him I would be two seconds to go grab it. I went back into work and grabbed my purse. My phone rang. It was my friend. She said she was on her way to come pick me up. Confused, I reminded her that she had asked her cousin to pick me up. Silence. She only has one cousin, and he was on a missionary trip in another country...WTF.
Turns out, this guy had been memorizing every detail of my life and schedule, and knew I waited for my friend every night to pick me up. He dressed up as my friends "cousin," because he knew I wouldn't be afraid of him because I had met him, but I didn't know him well enough to realize it wasn't him.
The cops, after a long chase, caught him. He had previously murdered 3 other women, and in the back of his car were poisons, guns, chains, knives, ropes, and masks.
From Redditor /u/sandyvajina:
When I was 17, I went to Project Akon, an anime convention in Dallas, TX, with a friend. We were supposed to meet her sister at the hotel, and we would share a hotel room. She never showed up. The weekend turned to searching until she was found. The Texas Railroad killer snuck into her apartment while she packed for the trip and [took her life] with a pickaxe. It has haunted me ever since, especially since the original plan was to drive to her sister's that night and carpool to the hotel together. I'll never know if he would have picked a different victim or if he would have just [ended] all of us.
From Redditor /u/glassesnw1ne:
My friend's grandma had a close encounter with Richard Ramirez aka the Night Stalker of Los Angeles. Grandma was doing yard work in the back and saw him jump a fence into her property. She was freaked out and started whacking him with a broom or something. It was enough for him to abort whatever he had planned and he jumped back over. Grandma sees a sketch on the news a few days later and realizes it's the same guy that she hit in her backyard.
I'm still super scared of leaving any floor-level windows open at night, no matter how hot it is outside.