People Share The Darkest Family Secrets They Ever Discovered

People Share The Darkest Family Secrets They Ever Discovered


Learning all your friends’ or significant others’ secrets? Great, cathartic, brings everyone closer together. Learning all your family secrets? Well, based on these stories, it’s an absolutely terrible idea. From the heartbreaking to the deeply disturbing, these are real-life stories about people learning that one thing about their family they were never supposed to. And I thought my family was messed up…

1. Hide And Seek


Not very much a secret, but took me until I was older to understand what was happening. My mom would sometimes have us play a game called “soldiers,” which consisted of me, my mom, and my siblings crawling around our apartment as if we were hiding in trenches. It was kind of a hide-and-seek style game. She would yell “hit the deck!” randomly, and we would all drop and find a hiding spot.

We would giggle and giggle while my mom crawled around on the ground, looking for us. We loved the game so much. I realized a few years ago while retelling the story that there was a chilling secret behind the game we were playing. In reality, it was not a game at all—we lived in a really terrible neighborhood, and she would yell it out whenever she heard shots being fired outside the building. I’m assuming she was worried about stray bullets. When I realized what had been going on, I shared my appreciation with my mom, and she shed a tear. She feels very appreciated!

2. Family History


I found this out about two weeks ago. In my teenage years, my grandmother started dating a rough guy. For about four years, we didn’t see her anymore unless we were picking her up from the hospital after he beat on her. Obviously, we were worried about her having this guy in her life. After a recent visit from my mom, I found out the whole truth, and it completely shocked me. Apparently, my grandmother’s boyfriend was a large-scale dealer who routinely, and without consequences, beat people in public. The authorities wouldn’t pursue him, and people who knew who he was wouldn’t press charges. My mother and her sisters went to county law enforcement. When they learned the man’s name and looked up who he was, they literally gasped.

They were amazed that this individual was in their county, and said that they could not discuss him further without consequence. My dad worked for a major hotel and resort, and had the head of security (a retired secret service agent) make some calls. Two days later, an FBI agent showed up in the doorway of his office, flashed credentials, and asked why my dad was looking into this man.  After a brief explanation of the story, the agent told my dad “let it go,” and left. The man was in my family’s life from 1993-1997, when he passed from a heart attack. My grandmother also passed a few months later. We’ve speculated on everything from “mob boss” to “high value witness protection program participant.” I’m 40 years old and I still have no answers on this VERY dark chunk of my family’s history.

3. Ain’t Just A Sanitizer


This involves my father-in-law, who is a very active member and local leader of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). He’s somewhat of a genius, and he built a distillery in his garage to make his own hand sanitizer. Within a few months in, he started acting a little strange. One day while explaining the distilling process to me, he gave me one of the bloated pieces of corn in the batch, and ate one himself.

That’s when I realized he wasn’t just making sanitizer, he was also making and drinking some pretty stout moonshine. This is the same guy who continues to look down on his kids for simply drinking coffee. His wife and adult kids have no clue and continue to blame it on other things like exhaustion, internal imbalance, etc. Nope.

4. The Gift of Debt


After my father passed on a few years ago, we learned that he had taken out about $40k of loans in my name. We share the same initials (and surname obviously). He forged my signature, and kept on applying for loans and credit, got approved and never paid a single dime back. Seeing as he was the main contact, no-one ever called me to ask me why I wasn’t paying my debt… so only after he passed on, we got contacted by institutions informing us that my father owes them money, just to find out it was actually on my name…

So now my credit record is screwed due to years of payments not being made and I need to pay back all of these loans. Fun times, right?


5. Medical History


One of my aunts raised another aunt’s baby as her own. My mom had four sisters and a brother, all of whom got married and had kids, so I have around 20 cousins. Unfortunately, three of my aunts got breast cancer in their 30s. All three recovered, but years later the youngest, Maria, got it again and it got worse. Maria needed a bone marrow transplant. All her sisters and children got tested, but no one matched. The family then revealed the truth. Maria had had a teenage pregnancy, and her first child was actually my cousin John, who had been adopted and raised by my oldest aunt as her second child. None of the cousins knew about this, including John and his revealed-to-be adoptive siblings.

As a result, the family asked John to get tested and he was a match, so he agreed to donate bone marrow to his birth mom, Maria. John was in his late 20s at the time and had had very little contact with Maria over his life. The transplant took, but Maria eventually succumbed a year or so later. Luckily, none of my female (or male) cousins have gotten breast cancer since. We are all still vigilant and self-check ourselves regularly.

6. Looks Can Be Deceiving


My uncle used to miss a ton of birthday parties, family reunions, holiday dinners, and other such events when I was a kid. Turns out, the real reason wasn’t because of his “really busy job,” but something much, much darker. Rather, it was because he had become a serious addict after his wife took off with their daughter. The kicker to that whole situation? I’ve still never met that daughter (my cousin), because of their situation.

Oh yeah, he also tried to stab his sister in a substance-fueled rage when she went off on him about being a bum and exploiting my grandparents’ kindness. My grandpa stopped him but got beaten to the point of unconsciousness in the process. My grandparents’ neighbor heard the commotion and had to rush in and stop him at gunpoint. I legit thought he was just a normal, nice guy who I happened to rarely see before I learned all this stuff in one night.

7. Always Remembered


When I was very young, my oldest cousin passed at the age of 23. I really liked him because he would take to me this local lake and we’d throw rocks into the water. I remember not understanding what was going on other than watching everyone be sadder than I ever knew was possible at the time, but I wasn’t told why. Years later, I found out he took his own life. But that wasn’t the end of the story.

Years after that, I found out what happened. My aunt found him hanging in the shed with a note saying he was gay, and based on how he heard the family talk about homosexuals, he thought they’d never accept him. To this day, they hold opinions I would deem hateful toward others, so honestly, I’m not sure he was completely wrong. Today he would be in his 50s.

8. Poor Nanna


When I was young, I thought it was really nice that my nanna lived with my aunt and her family since she was getting on a bit and it meant she was always being looked after. My aunt has six kids, so the house was never a lonely place. Occasionally, my aunt would gripe about being the one looking after nanna, since she is also one of many kids and her siblings didn’t really help out. Being young, I sympathized, but given that they all spent loads of time with nanna too, I didn’t think it was a big deal. You don’t think about financial responsibility when you’re young, I think. Well, it turns out there was a lot more to the story than I had ever realized when I was a kid…and let’s just say the truth wasn’t pretty.

Turns out, the real reason why my nanna lived with my aunt is that my aunt and her husband convinced her to put the house in their name so they could “look after her affairs.” They then sold it out from under her and invested the money in a pyramid scheme, so it’s all gone now. Because of this, her siblings refuse to give my aunt a penny towards looking after my nanna, since it’s her own fault that our nanna has no money or assets. Instead, the other siblings pay to take my nanna out all the time, including for meals, shopping, and activities. But they let my aunt struggle under the weight of my nanna’s general living expenses. My aunt’s kids are all independent now, so they are not going to be impacted by money problems. Now, I look back at her griping with annoyance and realize what a terrible person she is.

9. The Brothers


My uncle tells the story that when he was a kid, his older brother wanted him to go out hunting with him in the woods near their house. They woke up really early and started walking much deeper into the woods than they usually did, and way off the normal trails they used. Then my uncle realized his brother was letting him get further and further ahead. He stopped and turned around—and witnessed a horrific sight. He saw his brother starting to bring the shotgun up in his direction. He asked him what the heck was he doing, and his brother said, “Oh, I thought I saw something.” My uncle decided to go back at that point. Later that week, he went back and found a pit that someone had dug a bit further off the trail.

He never went anywhere with his brother alone again. Both of them are my mother’s brothers, and the wannabe Cain was a narcissist of the “not letting a silly thing like being married get in the way of his dating life” variety. He actually decided he had big dreams and bailed on his family when I was a kid, then proceeded to fatally overdose. I usually don’t think of him as my uncle because I didn’t have a real relationship with him. I’m not sure why he didn’t shoot my uncle—sometimes I think he might have wanted it to look more like an accident, or didn’t want to look his brother in the eye. I obviously can’t prove the story, but the way that my other uncle described it, he was really afraid of his brother and thought he was capable of fratricide.

10. Slip Of The Tongue


My parents had a nasty divorce, which was often accompanied by a lot of trash talking about each other. There was a lot of “well your mother blah blah blah” and “your dad is such and such,” most of which I would just ignore because it was incredibly immature and embarrassing, until one day my mom broke out an enormous revelation. My siblings and I were just watching TV in the living room one day and the conversation moved to my dad coming to town to visit, and my mom overheard. The mere mention of dad prompted this woman to stop whatever she was doing, come into the living room, and say something along the lines of: “Talking about your dad again, huh? Did you know that he was molested?”

My dad had never mentioned anything about this in the 18 years that I lived with him, which is understandable. To this day, I have no idea why my mom felt the need to blurt that out to the three of us, or why it is she thought that being a victim was a stain on someone’s character, but it was a really weird way to find out something so deeply personal about my dad. Just to ease my conscience, my mom was actually a great mom. She practically raised us on her own, and the divorce wasn’t her fault in the slightest. She got hit with the passing of both of her parents and a divorce all within a two-year time span, on top of losing the house. This was completely out of character for her, which is part of why it caught all of us off guard. She’s a good woman who said something awful that she now regrets, but it’s out there now.


11. Dark Secret


My mother is the youngest of four kids by a hefty gap—about 11 years—and she looks distinctly different from her siblings. They’re all brown while she is a very light tan. Turns out my grandfather (while married to my grandmother) seduced and impregnated the daughter of a white officer who stayed back after the officer’s country ended their colonial occupation.

My grandpa was in his early 40s, and the girl was 15 when he knocked her up. The agreement was he would take the child home and raise it as his own so the officer wouldn’t rip him a new one. So my mom is 1/2 white European and I’m 1/4, which explains why my brother and I have always had the lightest skin and sharpest features in the family. My mom found out when she was 16; I found out when I was 21. My grandmother was a gosh darn saint.

12. The Connections


My biological grandfather threatened to kill my grandmother while she was very young and pregnant with my uncle. Long story short, my grandfather was engaged to someone else at the time. My grandmother became a nervous wreck while pregnant and wouldn’t leave the house, and my grandfather used to throw bricks through her window.

Eventually, she told some of her friends about what he’d threatened to do to her. Shortly after that he went missing, never to be seen or heard from again. We always kind of laughed and joked that one of her friends must have threatened him or “ran him out of town.” We would even go as far as to say someone might have offed him for her. It wasn’t until we were going through her boxes of photos and “love letters” that we realized she was actually friends with the infamous British mobsters the Kray twins…

13. The Whacky Aunt


We once found a “family photo album” in my whacky aunt’s house. We started flipping through the plastic pages and BOOM! Photos of my aunt at a very graphic swinger’s party. There had to be like 20-30 people in these photos. It was back in the 80s, I’d imagine, and everyone was so hairy and ugly. I guess Aunt Jan has some specific tastes.

It’s a funny story that only me and my brothers know. We’ve always considered our Aunt Jan to be very weird, but after seeing that album it all kind of all made sense. Nice lady, though.

14. Hated Bitterly


My father tried to kill my mother while she was pregnant with me. He never got charged, and I found out about this when I was 20, after my mom told me in private. She said back then, my father had a drinking problem and he would get really violent sometimes. She said something to him one time so he grabbed a knife, pushed her next to an open window, and put the knife at her throat. He then made her choose between jumping from the fourth floor or getting her throat slit. My mom said she cried and begged him to think of the unborn baby (me). Some neighbors heard the noise and intervened.

They managed to take the knife away from him, and she was safe. But here’s the brutal kicker. My mom is religious and doesn’t believe in divorce, and they’re still together after 45 years. His violent tendencies toned down after me and my brothers were old enough to knock him out if he tried that again. However, I’m the only one in my family, besides my mom, who knows this happened. I’ve always had problems with him, but I hated him bitterly after my mom told me what happened then and other times as well.

15. Karma’s A Witch


I’m the only child between my mom and dad, but they both had children from previous relationships. All of my siblings were 15+ years older than me. When I was seven, everything unraveled in the most brutal way. My mom and dad split because my dad “had feelings” for my mom’s oldest daughter, who actually already had four kids. Ok, gross, but both adults, so whatever. Cut to 13 years or so later and my dad is suddenly all involved in the life of one of the kids of that sister. 20-year-old me was oblivious as to why this was happening. It took me another seven years to put all the pieces together that my dad was actually the father of that kid. I had grown up thinking she was just my niece, but she was in reality my half-sister-niece.

I’ve never discussed it with anyone in my family. My mom passed before I put all the pieces together. But wait…there’s more! My family and I are all from Mississippi. Cue Deliverance banjo music. My dad was born in 1945, so unsurprisingly, he’s super prejudiced. Well, that sister-niece of mine? She ended up having two kids with a Black man. Anyway, karma’s a witch. Cheat on my mom with your step-daughter, get her knocked up, basically have nothing to do with said child’s life, then the child goes and commits, in his eyes, probably the biggest betrayal possible. I would throw a chef’s kiss right here except all I really care about from this story is the pain it must have put my mom through, and I was too young or oblivious to be there for her. Miss you, Cotty.

16. The Questionable Guy


My father met my mother in the Philippines when he was stationed there in the Navy. He married her there and they conceived me. He then went away to finish his tour of duty. My mother moved to America when she was a month away from giving birth to me. She moved in with relatives in Texas. My father’s tour ended while he was in Hawaii. That’s when things got super messy. He met a woman there and called my mom in America, asking for a divorce. He wanted to take back his recent marriage to her, despite having a kid on the way, all because he had a hot one-night stand. My mother was already scared, being in a new country and not knowing much English. Add to this that she was pregnant, about to give birth, and her husband was dumping her.

My Texan uncle got on a plane to Hawaii, prepared to kick my father’s behind. He somehow talked my father into being a man and taking responsibility for his wife and child. The fact that the fling dumped his sorry behind surely helped. He was back by the time I was born. I learned all of this when I was 11 years old, around the time my parents got divorced. It was only the first of countless “dark family secrets” I would come to learn during my teenage years.


17. Spill The Beans


My grandmother has all the dirty little secrets of our family, but she’s too proper to spill anything…until this one night when she told me about my grandfather’s family, i.e. the family that she married into. Essentially, they were very poor back in the day. They were living on the streets and trying to earn money during Australia’s gold rush.

Anyway, the family had too many kids and not enough money, so they did something completely unforgivable—they sold one of their kids to a Chinese businessman. He would have been my grandfather’s great uncle, I suppose. No one knew about it until she blurted this out, and she hasn’t said anything about it again since that night. I think all of us were pretty darn shocked to hear her tell us about this.

18. The Fugitive


1990, I was five years old. I’m at my dad’s house after he left for four months to Tennessee. He frequently did that because he supposedly loved the state. My mom is watching America’s Most Wanted, and a segment involved a man in Tennessee being slain, with a sketch of the last person to see the victim alive. When I saw it, my blood ran cold.

The sketch was an exact image of my dad. Supposedly, a mutual friend of my parents went to the local law enforcement on other business and the deputy asked, “Hey, have you seen Rich lately?” The friend responded, “Sure, a couple of weeks ago I saw him downtown.” They insisted that if anyone saw my dad, they needed to talk to him. If he did do it, he’s an extremely good liar because he was never brought on charges to my knowledge. I’ve been estranged from him since I was eight.

19. The Hunting


My dad’s grandfather and his friends took the life of a Fish and Wildlife ranger, more or less openly, and got away with it. They would go on an annual hunting trip, and this was long enough ago that they did this by taking a train of pack mules out into the wilderness in rural Northern California. They would spend a couple of weeks at least nominally hunting, but mostly drinking really heavily. One year, a ranger shot one of my great-grandpa’s friends. The ranger (who I’m inclined to believe, for what it’s worth) said it was an accident. What certainly wasn’t an accident, although they maintained in their story that it was, was that on the next year’s trip, they encountered the same ranger, and that time the ranger was the one who was shot and perished.

It was ruled accidental, no charges were ever filed, but I’ve heard enough other stories about what kind of man my great-grandfather was to know that what he did to that man was 100% on purpose. I never met him, but my dad knew him well and believes the same thing as me. To me, it’s a really frightening example of the kinds of things people got away with in small towns and in rural areas back then. It was an extremely isolated area…there were hardly any roads even. My dad says he remembers my great-grandfather bragging in the bar about it, and nothing ever came of it.

20. Getting Away From Demons


My friend was wealthy and successful; he had it all, and then one day, he told us the awful truth: He had stage 4 cancer. Passed shortly after that. I went to his funeral to find that he had actually taken his family’s entire inheritance, ran away, went AWOL and started a life in our country. That’s when I had met him. I didn’t know about his past.

His elderly parents and sister were distraught upon knowing this dude had married a foreigner and their money was stuck in a lawsuit with no sight of a resolution. It’s tainted my memory of him, I used to think he was a generous dude and kept a low profile because of wealth; now we all know he was running from his own demons.

21. College Fund


My father had this secret mistress and when he passed, she had the nerve to show up at his funeral. It was really terrible, but not as terrible as all the stuff we found out later. It turns out that my dad paid all of his mistress’ bills, including her college bills for when she went back to school in her early 30s.

The college thing really hurt my mom as she always wanted to get an education for herself but there was never money, or so my dad said…

22. The Twin


My mother supposedly has a fraternal twin. My grandmother couldn’t handle the thought of two kids, so she gave the male child away to someone she knew who was moving away. My mom found this out in the worst way. In a rage one night way back when, my grandmother screamed at my mom that she kept the wrong child; this event was never mentioned before or after that moment.

My mom was roughly 12 at the time. She asked my great-grandmother about it, and she knew the boy’s name but not where they moved to or who he was living with. My mom actually had met him once but didn’t know who he actually was. My grandmother now denies it ever happened and my grandfather felt that “surely they’d have had to tell me.” I doubt they would have, though. When she was pregnant with me, my mom asked my great-grandmother what my middle name should be: My middle name is actually her long-lost brother’s middle name.


23. Dark Secret


In the late 1960s, my maternal grandmother’s husband divorced her and gave her partial custody of their two boys. During one of the visits, she took off with her two kids and moved them from North Dakota to California. Her entire family was Seventh Day Adventist, which is a tight-knit community. So when she moved to California, she found an area that was very Seventh Day Adventist and sort of waited, knowing that the community would protect her from the authorities. Keep in mind that her previous husband had not been accused of anything and she was just mad that she did not get full custody of the children. This arrangement lasted from about 1968 until 1971, until finally she had a falling out between either her adopted mother or her cousin and they called up her husband, who then came and got the kids.

My grandmother did not receive any real charges for the kidnapping but was not permitted to see the kids again. As far as I know, she has not seen either child since 1971. The Seventh Day Adventist Church later paired her with another parishioner who would become my grandfather. Neither my mom nor my aunts have ever met their half-brothers. This was never kept secret from the family, it’s just not something that we bring up a lot. Also, my grandmother continued to talk about them obsessively right into her old age. According to my mom, she had a framed picture of them walking away from her. The story behind the picture is that they did not like living with her and so when their dad came for them, they walked away from her and did not look back for the last photo.

24. The Lazy Step-Dad


My stepfather was getting more and more tired, falling asleep during the middle of the day, sneaking off for a nap… really ticked off my mother and I. We were helping him renovate a house at the time and we didn’t appreciate him always dozing off. A while later, he got diagnosed with bladder and kidney cancer, which had already spread too far to be treatable.

We only really realized after his passing last spring that he was tired all the time because his cancer was already slowly killing him. I didn’t always get along with him, and I regret a lot of things I said to him. I just thought he was being lazy, I never thought he’d be dead within three years.

25. Truth Or Dare


My cousins lived with us for a while and we thought that was fun because it was like getting to have a sleepover every day. One time, our mom even took us out of school to pick them up. I learned later that it was because Child Protective Services had taken my cousins away from their mom due to her mental health issues.

My mom offered to take her sister’s kids in until she got her mental health back in order. My cousins live with their mom now and she is in a much better state mentally.

26. Manipulative Family


My father passed on in the fall of 2009. The day after the funeral while singing his praises, it turns out he completely disowned my siblings and myself in his will. Imagine being three children, paraded around by your uncles, telling stories about the “good times,” to then be told that he didn’t love you and you would receive no financial support. We were devastated.

Our mother was there, as she always has been. She is our rock. At that point, that’s when my sister and I decided to completely cut off our father’s manipulative side of the family.

27. A Catholic Secret


My parents told us they were “married in secret” until they found out my mom was expecting, and then they told their families about the marriage. It later came to light that they actually married on the same day that they found out my mom was pregnant, and lied to both their parents and to us to cover up that they had been having pre-marital relations. But that wasn’t the doozy.

My father was an only child and his parents absolutely idolized him. They were very strict Catholics and very strict with my dad, never allowing him to play sports because they feared losing him or whatnot. My paternal grandmother had like five miscarriages. Anyway, after my dad’s parents passed, he was going through their documents and he learned THEY had to get married in the same way, too. Their wedding license was dated two months AFTER the date he had always been told! A very Catholic secret in a very Catholic family…

28. Everybody’s Got A Story


My favorite aunt and uncle, who were together for 15 years but never married, lived in a trailer park. Growing up, they were the funniest to be around. We would bake cookies, do paintings together, etc. Then my uncle passed in his sleep one day. I was told as a child, when I was maybe 10, that he passed from his diabetes; I’d seen him inject his stomach before, so I believed them.

Fast forward about six years. My aunt lived with my grandma at that point and was diagnosed with lung cancer. Now, I knew my aunt always smoked and drank a lot, but my mom decided to tell me then that she was also an addict, and up until my uncle passed they did a lot of hard substances together. That’s when it dawned on me. My uncle most likely overdosed. This still didn’t change the fact that I loved my aunt. She got sicker and sicker with cancer, and it even spread to her throat. She went into remission, but once it came back she gave up. I miss her so much.

29. A Deeply Kept Secret


My dad’s uncle lost his life in a boating accident with his cousins. My family eventually let me know that it might not have been an accident after all. Apparently, they believe he was drowned intentionally in the middle of the lake by his cousins because of some money issues that he had with them.

No one was ever prosecuted though, and the family is still very close. Weird. Needless to say, this is a very deeply kept secret that almost nobody knows about.

30. An Alternate Universe


My husband’s name wasn’t actually his name. To be honest, he didn’t know about this either. It was when we went to get his birth certificate for our marriage license that it all hit the fan. So lets say my husband’s name is John Schmidt. Well, his birth certificate said John Jones. Our license says John Schmidt, and my husband swears when he got the license 20+ years ago, the birth certificate said John Schmidt. The clerk’s office states that this was impossible. The only person they have on file is Jones. So, after calling and researching and digging around, the conclusion that I came to was this. Back in the 80s, he was “adopted” by his stepdad Papa Schmidt. But since it was the 80s and nobody cared about anything, instead of doing a proper name change, they just started using the last name Schmidt.

So my husband had to do an official name change, but it still doesn’t explain how he had a birth certificate at one point that says Schmidt on it and not Jones. He swears up and down that’s what it said. So either it’s a fake memory or we are living in an alternate universe. Either way, $300 later and his name is officially Schmidt, which makes me one too…

31. Wrong Place, Wrong Time


My great-grandma passed when my grandma was four, and her father remarried a woman who had kids of her own. Well, my step-great-grandma used to beat my grandma and her siblings horrifically as soon as their father left the house. She also locked them in the basement all day, horrible stuff like that. Obviously, this had a negative effect on them. My grandma grew up to do this to her own kids, for instance. More to the point, one of my great-uncles became an alcoholic. He also robbed graves. Apparently, he had kind of a thing for gold teeth, but he also took jewelry and stuff that he could sell to buy booze. My mom says she could remember him showing up at the backdoor when she was a kid, covered in dirt, and her mom would always take him in for a while, feed him, clothe him, etc.

Then he’d go right back out to drinking and doing the same stuff. Anyway, my mom always told me that this uncle passed in an accident. Several years ago, though, one of my uncles informed me that what really happened. He was found passed out on someone’s front lawn. They had called the authorities and when they arrived and tried to detain him, he woke up and started resisting, fighting the officers. So they used fatal force.

32. Just Passing Through


My cousins used to stay with us a lot. I remember my male cousin was just a small baby when he first came to us. He would scream and scream all night, and my mom put him in my room, so I used to spend the night cuddling with him or playing peekaboo. My other cousin was my age at the time. That was all there was to it when I was five years old. But later on, I found out that my auntie had been an addict and that she even sold her body on the streets. My cousins were the result of her interaction with clients, and my male cousin, in particular, was actually born whilst my auntie was heavily using. As a result, he was going through withdrawal after his birth. My grandparents ended up flying in from Wales to take custody of them, and they also put my auntie on a plane so she could go off on her own.

It was one of the saddest days of my life that I never understood. I thought they were going to be my brother and sister and I wasn’t sure why all of a sudden they were taken from me. Now that I’m grown up, I understand what was really going on. Thankfully, my auntie has since made it out of that life. She prefers to be alone and doesn’t have anything really to do with the family anymore. She still lives in the same little Welsh village as my grandparents. The whole situation was swept under the rug so much that I thought I was being dramatic or exaggerating some of the memories in my head. Talking to people about it now and making sense of the situation after so long is very validating, and I am thankful for that.

33. The Trauma


My uncle was attacked as a young boy. My grandparents not only didn’t believe him, but they beat him and disowned him for “bringing such lies” into their house. The sad thing is that I was attacked as a kid too; and while dealing with that, my dad told me what had happened to my uncle. I assume he told me about it so I wouldn’t feel so alone. My uncle is still the only one I know personally who has experienced the same trauma as me, and I’m not meant to know so can’t talk to him about it. I’ve gotten the urge to just spill the beans to him so we can talk about it openly; however, I don’t feel comfortable bringing up someone else’s trauma. In particular, I’m not going to make my dad look bad by letting my uncle know he told me his secret.

If I knew someone I trusted had been telling other people about what had happened to me, I’d be very hurt by that, so I’m not going to put my dad or my uncle in that situation. I’m thankful to everyone who has tried to help me, and I’m not alone now. I have people I can talk to, which is nice. I’m even going to be starting a group thing at therapy where I’ll be able to speak to other victims. I think that will help too.

34. A Comic Relief


My brother passed on in a car accident when he was 16 years old. My mom shut the door to his bedroom after his funeral and no one could bear to pack up his belongings. After about a year my dad decided it was time to clean up the room, donate some stuff and decide what to keep. Me and our oldest brother were asked to do it, my parents just couldn’t. I had been going in his room throughout the year, dusting and vacuuming and sometimes watching TV on his bed (not going to lie, I would talk to him in there) so I was ok with it. So, we get started cleaning up; it’s a slow process because we are looking at everything, talking etc. We get to cleaning out the closet, and my brother is pulling down books, and starts busting out laughing and crying.

He starts pulling down a bunch of hidden playboy magazines that our brother had been pilfering from him. Not a huge bombshell, but our brother was pretty shy and quiet, not the sneaky kind that would take stuff without asking. So, when my big brother’s playboys went missing, he assumed it was his idiot friends. It provided some comic relief we needed.

35. The Aftermath


My sister’s fiancé passed on very suddenly and very tragically from a heart attack. She was 20, and he was 23. It turned out that he had an underlying condition. In the months following his passing, she found out he had been cheating on her basically since the start of their three-year relationship. Some women were long-term and knew about her, others were just casual one-night stands that probably didn’t know.

She kind of went off the deep end a little, because now she was not only mourning a man she loved; she also had to deal with this fact without being able to ask him for answers. The silver lining though; she ended up dating and marrying one of his good friends. They sort of bonded in the aftermath of his passing. He is the best thing that ever happened to her and vice versa. They will be married for three years this summer.

36. Incredibly Disturbing


I had a brother who had some paranoid delusions (FBI, CIA following him, spying on his apartment, etc.). My brothers and I tried to get him help and he would just have no part of it. After a few years, it seemed like it had gotten better. He stopped bringing it up and we felt like it must have just passed. After he passed on, we found his journal and it was just horrifying.

Right up until the night he passed on, he detailed all of the persecution that they were inflicting on him. I can’t go into much detail—it’s hard for me to write about. Briefly, he believed that they were using some type of focused energy beam. They focused on different parts of his body at different times. Every noise that an appliance made was proof of electronic surveillance. Every bump on the wall or person walking in an adjacent apartment was a message from either the “bad” FBI agents or the “good” FBI agents. It was just incredibly disturbing to read what an awful life he was living inside his mind while acting relatively normal outside.

37. Faking Death


My step-grandfather had a completely hidden life in Australia before he met my grandmother. He had a family and kids in Australia, and then faked his own death by driving his car off a cliff then moving to America. His kids thought he was long gone until my grandmother found out about them and reached out years later.

His son actually became a famous comedian over there, and from what I know has a joke he does at his shows about his father faking ending his life to disconnect from them.

38. The Brotherhood


My brother Russell was 12 years older than me, and I cannot remember a day of my childhood without thinking of him. My earliest memories are of him and me at a park. We shared a room together and I remember the fun we used to have late at night playing pillow forts and telling stories. I loved Russell and still do. When I was seven, he perished in a car accident.

At his funeral, I found out that Russell was not my brother, but someone my parents took in because he had a bad home life. It messed my head up trying to grasp this, but I am happy that my parents had the compassion to take care of him and treat him as their own and that he was such a big part of my life. To this day, I still consider him my brother and miss him every day. I love you, Russell.

39. Gut Punched


A family friend of mine passed on last year. We met because our daughters did karate together. I was friends with both him and his wife. I’m still friends with his wife to this day. He was already in his 70s when we met, and his wife is about twenty years younger than him. He had a fascinating life story and I wanted to record it for his daughter. She was going through some difficult times as a young teen. She acted very badly towards him and I felt, based on my own difficult teenage years and experiences with my dad, that she might one day want to know him better; especially since he was already quite old and not in great health. I felt bad that she would likely get to know her dad as an adult.

So, I spent several hours with him making recordings of his stories from his life. It was really interesting. After he passed on, I sent the recordings on USB drives to his wife. She got back to me and said they just threw them away. It came out that he had taken advantage of his daughter. I felt absolutely gut-punched and angry at this old guy who I always thought was so fun and likable.

40. Sister Day


My grandma had 13 siblings. Of them, seven women are still alive. Once a year, they have a “Sister Day” where they all get together and go somewhere together to have fun. They’ve been doing this since they were in their teens. All but one of the sisters participates in this annual event. The odd one out is the one who has been lied to her whole life about “Sister Day” because she thinks it doesn’t exist.

This is supposed to have started when that sister borrowed something and didn’t give it back…or something else trivial like that. We are all reminded whenever we get together that we’re not to talk about this because it will hurt that sister. I still can’t wrap my head around how backstabbing and petty some family members of mine are. This is just stupid.

41. Never Shed A Tear


I went through a nasty break up with my oldest kid’s mom that lasted several years. We were never married and she was crazy as heck, so she told the hospital she didn’t know our kid’s father just so she could have leverage over me. You know, like a sane person does. Years later and after several investigations into child abuse, she lost custody.

Over the next several years, we kept getting oddly specific complaints about things going on in my house and my daughter and her stepmom specifically. Dumb stuff like matching clothes or details about how we do time out. Then my mom passed on. When we switched her Facebook to memorial mode, I saw that she had been talking bad about me for years to my ex and was essentially spying on me for her and twisting information. I’m guessing it’s because she felt bad for a mother that lost her kid, but it was still a jerk move. It’s been two years and I still refuse to visit her grave with my siblings; I haven’t shed a tear for her since.

42. A Cult Following


My family’s dark and creepy secret involves my dad. As a kid, I just assumed everything my parents did was the norm…but my dad was far from normal. He was an active member of a full-fledged doomsday cult. Basically, they would predict the end of the world, then turn around to say, “Wow, your prayers just stopped the apocalypse from happening!”

It wasn’t overtly malicious or anything as far as I can tell. Like, if my mom hadn’t told me what went on behind the scenes and I hadn’t gone digging myself, I would have found nothing wrong with it. I was kind of mind-blown when I was first old enough to realize what was actually going on. The world is a pretty weird and messed up place.

43. Messed Up


My cousin, only a few months older than me (in her mid-30s), lost her life tragically in really unexpected circumstances. We weren’t hugely close, but it was a real shock and has really messed up her immediate family. About six months after she passed on, I found out that my law enforcement officer brother had randomly pulled her over and breathalyzed her. She was well over the limit.

She had drunk driving charges brought against her. This was about a year before she passed on. But because she and her family are kind of stuck up and “perfect”(not the type of people to accept that they might be alcoholics), they tried to claim my brother made the reading up because of a (non-existent) family grudge and tried to have him charged with misconduct and fired. It wasn’t successful but it made his life pretty miserable for a while. Her family don’t know I know, but you can imagine that I’m pretty conflicted over telling them how messed up they are versus recognizing the impact her loss has had on them and not adding to their troubles.

44. The Set-Up


I’ve never actually told anyone this. My dad passed on about 20 years ago when I was 15 years old. He worked putting in skylight glass for big buildings like malls and stuff. Anyway, according to the details, one of the crates on the forklift was tipping and he tried to stop it; no one came to help and it crushed him. That’s what we kids were told…

It wasn’t until three years ago I found out through a guy Dad worked with that no one was even there on the job but said guy and my dad. They were closing up shop. My dad had been discussing things like suicide with this guy. When the guy turned his back… my dad shot himself in the head. There was no forklift accident. He wasn’t crushed. The guy made it look that way so we kids would end up with an inheritance and a lump sum payment. I freaking cried for days. Thank you Clark, for setting all that up. You didn’t have to change our lives for the better. But you did.

45. Completely Baffled


My grandma passed on when I was 10 years old. It took a decade but my mother and my other grandma (my mom’s mom) have started opening up for the first time about what a terrible jerk my grandma was. She was apparently the worst mother-in-law for my mom. My mom and dad got married at 21 years old because my mother got unexpectedly pregnant with me.

Apparently, my grandma visited my mother before the wedding and asked her to please not marry my father in church, because if you get married in church, that marriage is before God and you can only do that once. My grandma wanted her son to keep that marriage before God “for when he finds the real love of his life.” There are many more stories like this about her and I was baffled.

46. The House That Disowning Built


My grandma legally disowned my mother for marrying my dad. The family house was supposed to go to my mom, but after the disowning, my grandma didn’t say who she wanted the house to go to, resulting in a decades-long family feud that has split the family even to this day. The sad thing is that my parents actually ended up divorced after 20 years of marriage.

My mom took care of my grandma until the very end and was even the one who handled the funeral arrangements when she passed two years ago. She never asked for the house back, but that’s not even the craziest part—in actuality, it’s worth millions. Nobody told me any of this until I was thirty years old. I had no idea that my family was ever anything but a typical, happy family.

47. The Great Uncle


My great uncle was slain along with his wife. Meanwhile, the suspect was run down and got stuck in a swamp before shooting himself in the head. The strange particulars: My uncle, his wife, and the suspect were all deaf/mute, and the suspect was renting a room from them. This happened in the 40s, and no one ever found the motive…until recently.

A few years ago, I took a DNA test, and found that I had cousins who were descended from the suspect’s wife. Yep, turns out my great uncle was cuckolding the guy.

48. Now You Know


This is not a secret that I was let in on, so much as one that I found out by accident. Either way, apparently my dad’s got into a serious car crash with his first girlfriend when he was 25 and she ended up losing her life in the incident. My dad lived with her father for years after her passing. Her father still occasionally comes to visit us, even 30 years later.

We were always told that he was a mentor until my sister finally pressed my mom on the subject. We then discovered that one of my sisters is even named after the girl that passed. Her middle name was the girl’s first name. We never even knew about her until last year. None of us have ever brought it up with him.

49. Don’t Go Digging Around


A somewhat distant cousin of mine came home from WWI completely shell-shocked and was institutionalized. One day, he turned up at home, saying he was cured and released. Nothing could be further from the truth. He then took his family to a cliff-side park to celebrate with a picnic. About halfway through the picnic, he took their two older children to the edge of the cliff and pushed them over.

He then took his baby from his wife’s arms and threw the child over the side. His wife fell over the cliff trying to get to the children. He then jumped over after all of them. As you can imagine, it was all over the national papers. I only found all of this out one day when I thought I’d take a little break during my lunch to do some genealogy stuff. It was not the lunch break I had planned.

50. Forgive And Forget


A few years before he passed, my dad and I had a long heart-to-heart, at the end of which he told me he wasn’t the one to first sleep with my mom on their honeymoon. And the plot thickens. Apparently, he caught her in bed with her cousin, who she had been in love with for a long time. He spoke with their pastor, who told him to forgive and forget.

That worked…until six years later, when he caught her again with the same cousin. He told me he wanted to leave with me but ultimately decided to stay, because he wanted me to have a family. With all that happened in my childhood, and to him (workaholic, diabetes, heart attack), I wish he’d left that day and been happy instead.

51. A Huge Lie


My great uncle told his wife that their son passed right after being born. But that was a huge lie. Instead, he gave him up to the state because he had Down’s Syndrome. They had twins, a boy and a girl, and he somehow hid it from the whole family for about 40 years that both of them had actually survived, but they’d only brought the girl home.

We only found out when the family lawyer had terminal cancer and, overwrought with guilt, he contacted the twin sister to tell her she has a living brother who lives in a home run by the state. I guess the lawyer had helped my great uncle with the whole thing and still felt terrible about it. Also, for some added context, my great uncle was extremely wealthy. He could have easily paid for multiple caregivers to help his son, and it wouldn’t have affected his life at all.

52. White Lie


I found out from my dad that one of my cousins isn’t related to anyone in the family. My aunt and her mother used to work at a hospital maternity ward, and apparently, a woman came in one day and gave birth to him and then left the next day without him. My aunt decided to adopt him, but a few months later the woman showed up again asking where he was…

They both lied and said that he was given up and that they didn’t have a clue where he was. They still haven’t told my cousin anything.

53. Within An Inch Of His Life


My great-grandpa was a soldier opposing the Axis powers. He and his squad were caught by Italian fighters and given the penalty of losing their lives at the hands of a firing squad. They would all be shot together. At the time of the execution, all of his mates lost their lives in front of his eyes, but he survived—and the reason is quite mindblowing.

Apparently, the soldier in charge of the firing missed the shot when it came to his turn. Without skipping a beat, he faked his own demise by, well, lying on top of his deceased friends’ bodies and pretending to have been hit. Surprisingly, it worked and he got to escape.

54. Heavy Nightmare


When my grandfather passed, he wrote his will on his deathbed. He left his entire estate to my family, which was an enormous sum. His wife, however, who despised us, pulled the biggest screw-you move that I have ever seen—she wrote a directly conflicting will and forged his signature on it. This fake will left his entire estate to her family, none of whom I’ve ever met.

Then she took her own life. It took around five years of a lawyer-heavy nightmare to sort that whole situation out. We eventually did win the case in the end, but it cost so much that we couldn’t afford to keep his $3-million house anymore. I will forever despise that woman for what she did. There is absolutely no excuse for doing something that low.

55. Indefensible


My stepfather was cheating on my mother. We didn’t find out because he was caught cheating; we found out because he and his mistress were drinking, got in a fight, and he punched her so hard that she fell over and died. We found out about the whole thing during the investigation, the trial, and the conviction. It was so bizarre.

It was weird to have a lawyer want to call 12-year-old me to the stand to defend the character of a man I already had very little interaction with, and certainly had a fear of—and that was before the manslaughter charge.