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12 People Describe How Horrifying It Is To Witness A Death

12 People Describe How Horrifying It Is To Witness A Death

I was recently watching the latest season of American Horror Story and found myself, well, mostly disappointed. Except for the gore factor. The gore was pretty great and I definitely cringed at the disembowelment scenes. Yikes!

Of course, that's just Hollywood, right? They've given us perceptions pretty consistently of what a violent death looks like and while it's horrifying, it's mesmerizing. That is... unless you've seen the real deal in real life. Suddenly your perspective is altered, permanently. 

In steps Reddit! Ah, good old Reddit. AskReddit has given us the truth in all its gore-filled wonder and... disgust. 


1. Terminally ill.

When I was younger, my grandfather was terminally ill. (I don’t remember the illness because I was so young, and I don’t really talk to my family much anymore for certain reasons, so I haven’t asked) But I distinctly remember his final day. He was in his death bed, completely calm. But then he started spasming wildly. My family heard the commotion and bolted to his room and began spouting prayers and religious banter as this was happening. I could see blood in his mouth so I think he started to regurgitate blood as well. After a minute or so, the spasm had stopped and he was gone. I held his lifeless hand, spoke my last words to him, and left the room. It was a very traumatizing experience, but I have healed since then.

- TheUndefinable


2. I felt like I was floating.

When I was 19 I worked the graveyard shift at a gas station. We were located on a very busy street that was home to a lot of bars and clubs. On this particular evening one of my 3 of my friends stopped bought some donuts and stopped by to hang out with me.

Shortly after 2 AM, we saw a crash. A huge Ford truck had t-boned a tiny four door sedan. Two of the four girls inside the car died instantly in the crash one was unconscious. We went outside, called 911 and tried to keep the other girl calm. Her screams are what haunt me to this day. She was begging her friend not to die, and would talk to her about random things only to realize after a couple of seconds that her friend was dead. She did this a couple of times and her screams were heartbreaking. The girl who hit them was trying to turn her car on to get away but a homeless man who I had befriended grabbed her out of her truck and kept her there. She was crying and begging the homeless man to let her go because she didn’t want to go to jail. It was the first time I’d ever seen a dead body and for a couple of days I felt like I was floating. Like nothing really was happening to me, like I was just living but not really there.

A couple of weeks later 1 of the 2 girls who survived came into the store to thank me and my friends for calling 911 so quickly and keeping her company. Apparently, they had just left a bar and the driver was the only one who hadn’t had a drink that night. They were celebrating, she had just secured a new job and was gonna be on a plane the next Monday to go to her new home. The girl who hit them was a 22-year-old, she was drunk and speeding. I don’t know what kind of sentence she got but I told the officer that took my statement that she was trying to leave.

Don’t drink and drive, love those who you love, they might not be there the next second.

I found the local newspaper article for the crash. I think maybe I may have just made up in my mind that they were instantly dead. I don’t remember a lot after the authorities got there but here’s the article. As proof I guess.

News Article 

- Kage_Rinku


3. This isn't your mom's spaghetti

I was 15 and living in the center for drug trade in my city, so I saw at least ten murders living there, but the one that sticks out is when a guy gutted his cousin for 50$ for some crack, it was one quick swipe and his intestines just fell out everywhere like if you had a bag of spaghetti and cut the side open, it was disgusting, and I puked immediately, I don’t go near crack heads anymore.

- Drinksfartsformoney



Watched our ‘terp in Afghanistan jump directly on a dismount-aimed IED.

We were in the south, in the farming districts around Kandahar, and they grow tons of grapes there. They have little wood to make trellises, so they mount up clay to about 3-4 feet high. These make great bullet-stoppers, by the way.

Anyway, he was walking along the top of the grape walls to avoid potential IED’s in the rows, and got to the end and jokingly jumped off and landed right on one.

Straight down, then straight back up in a cloud of dust and goo.

- Rogerthegrayalien111


Me right now.


5. In Russia...

Back in Russia a lot of violent crimes happened very often but I think one of most gruesome ones was when a man was hit by a truck going about 210 km/h and then the man fell head first right in front of another car and I saw his head splatter right open. I was right on the street that it happened and there were little chunks of brain flying at me.

- AloominArtyyyy

6. Tomato Juice a la Jack the Ripper

I am a combat veteran and have witnessed plenty of violent deaths but one that I guess stands out happened in late 1969.

My unit (12th Cavalry) was conducting operations right along the Cambodian border, clearing the area of NVA (North Vietnamese Army) troops (this was in the Binh Long province).

Well, one day we were clearing this small village and me (this was my second tour) and two new recruits named Private McLaughlin (from Long Island) and Private Storm (from Wyoming) and another guy on his first tour (but had been in Vietnam for a few months) PFC Romano (from San Fran) had to clear this small hut.

Anyway, we break down the door, and Storm walks in first and gets shot immediately (in the stomach). McLaughlin just sprays the inside of the house, but when he runs out of ammo, he drops his gun and just runs inside the hut. (McLaughlin was a stupid hothead and was best friends with Storm so I think he went inside the hut to drag him out.)

Well, me and Romano were at the bottom of the staircase heading up to the hut (we had ducked when the first round of fire broke out). Well now were hauling ass up the stairs after McLaughlin because he just charged into a house without his goddamn weapon. Well, we hear screaming and when we enter the house we see McLaughlin in hand to hand fight with this NVA soldier. We can’t shoot because him and McLaughlin are constantly shifting positions and we don’t want to shoot McLaughlin.

I start screaming at McLaughlin to let go of him and get away so I can shoot him (Romano went to storm and dragged him out of the hut). But McLaughlin wasn’t listening and was just screaming all this shit like “Fuck you, you goddamn gook!” and all this other shit at the top of his lungs so he couldn’t hear me.

Well he ends up pulling out his bayonet to stab the guy, but then he grabs on to McLaughlin’s throat. Then McLaughlin tries to stab him in the throat but just gets him in the shoulder and they both collapse. I still can’t shoot because McLaughlin is blocking my view. I can see the NVA soldier’s hangs gouging at McLaughlin’s eyes though. McLaughlin just starts stabbing like with so much rage and venom and is screaming like a madman. The NVA soldier is screaming too. By this time another group of guys had come into the hut with all the commotion.

Well McLaughlin is just starts slashing the guys throat and face for a few seconds before the NVA soldier finally dies. McLaughlin keeps stabbing him though and hitting him and finally we guys have to pull him of this corpse that looks like a Jack the Ripper victim. His throat and face were practically cut open; his chest was just tomato juice. Even I couldn’t look at it for more than a few seconds.

I later slapped McLaughlin for being a fucking idiot and putting himself and other men in danger by charging into the house without a firearm. McLaughlin ended up being a total nutcase and I think that one killing really messed him up. He became way to violent and unpredictable and after 3 months he got a court martial for stabbing another soldier. Storm survived though he never came back to Vietnam. No idea what happened to either of them after Vietnam.

- Hillbilly_Heaven


7. Unforgettable 

Saw a pedestrian get hit by a tractor trailer. It was bad, she was decapitated, and the smell was something I will never forget.

- justahermit

8. Not the good kind of stoned.

When I was in the Peace Corps in Ghana, I saw a man stoned to death.

He had stolen a taxi in a nearby city and brought it to the village I was staying in. Unfortunately for him, the man he stole the taxi from, was from the village he brought it to (I am not sure how he didn’t know this, as it seemed everyone knew everyone in the surrounding villages/cities). The villagers ganged up on him and stoned him in the street. Men, women and children all participated.

It was a very strange, surreal experience, and horrifying. None of the volunteers knew what to do.

All the peace corps volunteers in the village received counseling to process. It’s been over 10 years and I still think about that day often.

- NameWithheld


9. Jump

I was doing security at a celebration for the Indianapolis Colts and was walking through an alley downtown when a guy who had jumped off of the pool deck of a hotel landed about five feet away from me. I stood in shock for a few seconds and then walked over to him. He had a compound fracture of his leg but it wasn’t gory at all, just a bit of bone sticking out of the skin. There was a small stream of blood going from his head towards the curb.

Maybe 30 seconds later, a few policemen and my supervisor came running around the corner and took over. It affected me pretty badly for about 24 hours, but then the news broke that he was a child molester who jumped when the cops were closing in on him. The moment I heard that, I was fine. It was like it never happened….Seeing it bothered me. It was weird how much less when I found out just who and what he was. I’ve often wondered what that says about me….I think it just dehumanized him for you, because he was clearly a monster.

Human, too, of course… but the mind likes to categorize.

- Northsidebill1

10. The Haunting Sound...

Circa 2014. Where I’m from we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day pretty heavy here, a huge parade tons of drinking early in the morning, the whole nine yards. Well some friends and I met up around 4 blocks from where the parade started at about 11am usually the parade starts around 2PM. After we finished up the pre-game at my friend’s house we decided to catch the metro rail to the parade. Well where I’m from St. Patty’s day is a huge drinking fest so the terminal was jam packed with drunk people waiting to get on, so we waited about a solid 15 minutes to catch a rather empty train. Skip forward about 20 minutes and we arrive at terminal B to arrive at the parade. We all get off the train and we see a group of about 10 EXTREMELY drunk people goofing around on the escalators. Running around goofing around when one of the kids says ‘I’m going to beat you guys to the bottom!’ and jumps off of the escalator. I am confident the gentleman did not know how high the escalator actually was. long story short, it was about 30-40 feet high. The man fell head first. It was to this day the worst and most disgusting sound I have ever had the displeasure of hearing. A pool of blood surrounded the guy’s head. There was one security guard in the terminal frantic as could be calling for police and the group of friends was absolutely devastated. Screaming frantically the group of friends tried to approach the guy lying in his own pool of blood, the security guard assured the group of friends they didn’t want to see the guy in the condition he was in. I’m 90% sure the man died that day. I walked by the lifeless body on the way out of the terminal and the side of the man’s face looked rather flat against the ground. It was the worst thing I’ve ever saw in my life. It ruined the rest of my friend groups day and we ended up heading home early all slightly buzzed instead of hammered as per usual. I have not attended the parade since….

This is something I will NEVER forget. Like I said it was the sound of his head smacking the ground over everything that is truly haunting. The sound of a sack of potatoes hitting the ground is probably the most accurate.

- Squally93

Uh, not as elegant.


11. After the gunfight.

Back at my first ever job at a dollar store in a not so good area of town, it was me and my night manager working the night shift and five minutes before closing, and locking the door; two of our regular customers walked in to buy snacks for a movie night after they left we were gonna lock up count the drawers go home. Simple run of the mill night. It was the slowest day we ever had, as the customers were checking out another man walked in with a sweater wrapped around his head. My first thought was ‘Wow he must be really hot in the 98 degree Texas night.’ And then he pushed his way to the front and the gun came up and was less than a foot from my face and he said ‘Open the drawer.’ I took a step back said I don’t know how to (I knew but I figured if I did it I outlived my usefulness and boom no more Tonito) my manager tells him ‘Don’t point it at him he doesn’t know how.’ She came round and opened hers with the guy following behind her. At this time one of the customers turned out to be a CHL holder drew on the robber and fired. If I didn’t duck 5 seconds before who knows what would’ve happened. A small gunfight ensued. 30 seconds later when I got my hearing back I asked my manager ‘What do we do now?’ I got no response. I figured she was deaf from the shots. I asked again while moving closer. I saw red on the floor and her eyes closed. I tapped her to ask if she’s okay and she collapsed. Bullet hit her heart, (come to find out it was the customer’s bullet that killed her) and that was that. Less than 5 minutes before all of this we were talking about her first-year wedding anniversary and the gifts she was going to get her husband. It’s been six years I still have nightmares about it. Only good thing about this is that I found the job I love which led me to the woman I love.

- tonito23


12. Hope

My mom owned a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant when I was in high school, and I spent my weekends working there. Other than me, she had only two other employees—a young married couple, Hope and Jackson. After working with us for a year, Hope was diagnosed with stomach cancer and over the next few weeks we watched her waste away. She became emaciated when she could barely handle the pain of her all-liquid diet. It was like a battle between starvation and the cancer, as far as what was going to take her in the end.

Hope insisted she keep working for my mom to take her mind off things, but eventually she was placed in hospice when she became too weak. One day while I was working with my mom, she got a call from Jackson who could say nothing, only sob into the phone. My mom closed up the place and we rushed to where Hope was in hospice. I thought she had died already, but when we got out of the car I realized I was wrong. We could hear her from the parking lot. Unearthly shrieks slapping their echoes against the surrounding brick.

Hope screamed for two hours. She screamed until her voice was gone, and she still kept trying to scream—a raspy, hollow, breathy sound, like a death rattle that wouldn’t quit. Her eyes rolling, her gaunt face drawn tight against her skull and the veins in her neck straining from the force of her silent screams. Her bloody bile gathered at the corners of her mouth and ran down her chin and neck. I was horrified—I had never seen anything so terrible. They pumped her full of morphine but it didn’t seem to affect her. She screamed until the very end, out of her mind with the pain. After two hours, she was gone.

She was only 24 years old. Ten years later, I am now 24 years of age. I think about her all the time.

- NimbleImbecile

It's probably better to have nightmares about gruesome things than to see it real life. Though now that I think about it, if you see something as terrible as these, you'll probably end up with nightmares for life. Talk about PTSD. So that's quite a predicament. A Polish artist (who is now sadly deceased) painted things that are quite creepy, and he said he based them on the terrible nightmares that he had experienced. His horrifying nightmares have now been immortalized and they must be seen to be believed.