You can pick where you live but not your neighbors, unfortunately. These folks share the downright strange, scary, and even hilarious things they’ve caught their neighbor doing.
Okay, Now That’s Over The Line
“I had a neighbor who was mentally more than a bit off. He had just moved in and I took the opportunity to introduce myself. He was really chatty and intense, but that’s not a bad thing. He worked from home doing tech support for a nationwide health insurance company.
One morning, around 6:00 am I woke up to very loud music coming from his house. I went into the backyard, bleary-eyed, and to my disbelief I found him blaring Apache by Sugar Hill Gang at full blast from his living room sound system. This went on for about an hour and a half and I could hear him hooping and hollering like he was having the tweaked out time of his life. That’s not too bad a thing, it gave me a good laugh.
Then he bought a little Cadillac SUV that he was super proud of. He got the exhaust modified so it would sound throaty. He would sit in his driveway revving the engine for up to ten minutes at a time. Sometimes (several times a month) when I was outside, he would come rolling down the street in his throaty SUV, windows down, BLASTING AC/DC. He would slow to a crawl as he passed in front of our house, maintain eye contact, and furiously pump his fist in the air. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, just a little disconcerting.
Then, one day, the police showed up at our house. They said someone had called 911 from our house. I asked around, nobody had called. Very weird. Then it happened again, the very next week. Again, nobody claimed to have called the cops. Then it happened again…you get the idea. We were three twenty-somethings living together and with all the pipes and bags lying around, we were a bit paranoid about the cops showing up just whenever.
Finally, one morning, I woke up to a voice I didn’t recognize calling out from downstairs. I opened my bedroom door and found a police officer in full uniform standing on the stairs, inside the house. What. The. HECK. Same story, somebody called 911 from this number and he was determined to look around a bit. They must’ve thought we had someone chained up in a back room and they were periodically escaping to call the cops. We were all pretty freaked out, but eventually, we got the cop back outside and I tried to get to the bottom of this nonsense.
‘What number did you receive the call from?’ ‘Yours.’ ‘I know, but what was the exact phone number.’ ‘not my phone number‘
I stopped and suddenly recognized the phone number. It was the second phone line we had installed back in the days of 56K modems. When we switched to cable, we never had the line disconnected.
I looked over towards the IT savvy/psychotic/crazy neighbor’s house and suddenly everything made sense. There, on the property line between our yards, was our mutually shared telephone service box. I walked over and sure enough, the cover had been torn open and there was a secondary line tapping into our house’s second phone line.
That freak. That is a terrible thing.”
“The Most Hilarious Thing I’ve Ever Witnessed.”
“I have way too many. Right next door was a family where the father tried to kill himself with a lightbulb.
Then an old couple moved in. They fought non-stop. The woman usually won. Throwing him down the stairs, screaming at him from the front lawn while her tube-top slowly started falling off, etc.
Then, after she died, her daughter and grandson moved in. He’s 21, constantly getting into trouble. Stabbed a guy in the leg, always running off while on house arrest, etc.
The funniest part was when this crazy woman came to his house wasted. She was flipping out on him, saying he just used her for, she loved him, and that she was pregnant with his kid. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she says, and I quote ‘YOU GAVE ME GENITAL WARTS AND GONORRHEA!’ then lifted her dress and yelled ‘LOOK AT THIS! LICK IT! LICK IT!’…
He called her a cab after failing at getting her to calm down. The cab came and he chucked her purse in the back seat. She kept running over and taking it out. The cab driver was waiting patiently for a good half hour until he finally got out to shut the back door and leave. By this time the whole neighborhood was out on the street watching. She saw this little old cab driver man and decided he was coming to put her in the cab. She grabbed him and knocked him to the ground, breaking his glasses.
He got up and called in for backup cabs. They all blocked the street while the police came. She flipped when the cops got there, yelling at them and hitting them. Eventually, she ran off and they found her in a few minutes a hauled her off.
This whole time (this went on for probably an hour and a half or more) her grandmother was standing in the driveway looking for her teeth.
I found out later on that she and her grandmother broke in while they were out and started cooking something in their kitchen. The grandmother took her dentures out for whatever reason and left them inside.
The most hilarious thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
Just Another Day In New Jersey
“Forefront to the story. I live in a nice woodsy lake community in northern NJ that rarely has any crazy stuff happen in it. We had a new guy move into a house three houses down from mine who was pretty sketchy and liked to throw raging parties into the late hours of the night like he didn’t give two cares about anyone.
I was around 13 or 14 years old when this happened. My mom and dad were sleeping downstairs in their room and I was asleep in mine upstairs. Apparently, in the house down the street, there was a wild party, people were wasted, people were high and an argument broke out between the owner. Let’s call him Shooter from now on, and his buddy, I’m gonna call him Biker cause he was probably 250 lbs with a dirty beard and a voice that sounded like he smoked three packs a day. That argument turned into a full-on fistfight that resulted in the Shooter getting pretty messed up. He goes into his room after taking the beating in front of all of HIS friends, in HIS house. So he grabs his Colt 1911 and walks through the house threatening to kill the Biker in front of everyone.
So the Biker does what any person would do when they got a messed up inebriated person pointing a weapon at them after he just got the snot kicked out of him; he books it out the front door and up the street. The Biker is zig-zagging it as fast as he can, albeit not very quick as the Shooter takes aim and rips three shots at him. At this point, the Biker is running for his life looking for any sanctuary when he sees the glow of the TV on in my parent’s room.
He starts wailing on our door and naturally my dad gets to the door completely freaked after hearing the shots echo through the neighborhood. My dad opens the door and the Biker, completely out of breath, starts pleading for his life saying there’s a madman taking shots at him so my dad says to him ‘I swear to god if you try anything, I have no problem killing you in my own house.’ So he lets the Biker in and he immediately takes off upstairs and crouches down in the middle of the hallway.
Meanwhile, I’m in my room freaking out after hearing my dad shout at the top of his lungs at a huge stranger after hearing the shots wondering what they even were. So my mom gets up to the front door and the Biker goes, ‘GET AWAY FROM THE WINDOWS, HE’S GOT A WEAPON AND HE’S TRYING TO KILL ME!’
My mom freaks out about what the heck is going on. After about five minutes of the Biker explaining what happened, three cop cars show up at my house so my dad goes outside in his robe, and all of the cops, Glocks drawn shout, ‘PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR AND PUT YOUR FACE DOWN ON THE DRIVEWAY!’
I’m watching this from the window watching the stand-off unfold as my dad is trying to explain what is going on, how he’s the house owner and the Biker is in our living room. The cops weren’t there to listen after the reports for shots, so my dad ends up getting face down on the driveway with the Biker. The cops eventually sort out that my dad is telling the truth and they hear out his story. They ended up going down the street and busting the Shooter for the narcotics, un-licensed weapon and some sort of intent to cause harm, yadda yadda… pretty crazy neighbor story if ya ask me.”
Does He Have A Permit For That?
“Our craziest single interaction with a neighbor was when they set our yard on fire with a rocket launcher.
To be fair, they absolutely had no intention of becoming arsonists that day. We were actually very good friends with them and their kids, so they had no motive for burning down our lawn.
That day the oldest son had either bought or built the said rocket launcher. He invited his dad to come out onto the second-story deck of their home and try it out with him. The dad, being very enthusiastic about the launcher, and also being a dad, insisted on going first, allegedly to ‘make sure this thing is safe!’ He steadied the weapon, aimed it at their giant open grassy sports court, and fired.
Unfortunately, the launcher had quite a bit more ‘oomph’ than he’d accounted for. Rather than stopping in the safe green grass, as he’d intended, it sailed over the fenceline and landed smack dab in the middle of a pile of dry brush we’d cleared several months before. Almost immediately, smoke began ominously curling upward, followed shortly by little orange flames rapidly growing taller as they licked hungrily at the leaves and branches of the pile.
The first we knew of it was the frantic pounding knocks of our neighbor, who stood gasping for breath on our doorstep after apparently sprinting the two-acre distance between their house and ours. By the time my mom got to the door, he was already running towards the pile with a hose he’d grabbed from the side of our house, wheezing ‘FIRE! FIRE!’ over his shoulder as he dashed off. Instantly, my mom snagged a bucket, filled it as quickly as she could, and raced wildly off after him.
Between the hose and the buckets run to the blaze by my mom, myself, my siblings, and all of the neighbor kids who’d followed their dad on his two-acre hustle, the fire didn’t stand much of a chance. It tried its darndest, but within about ten minutes we had it pretty well controlled.
Our neighbor couldn’t stop apologizing. He told the whole story, quite embarrassed and horrified at what devastation he nearly caused. Once my mom heard it, though, she busted up laughing, much to the neighbor’s shock.
‘It’s just,’ she said, still chortling, ‘the enormous bad luck of you just perfectly hitting the absolutely most dry pile of tinder on EITHER of our combined twenty acres is just hilariously astounding!’
I’m not sure the neighbor agreed, but he was at least able to leave with the slightest of smiles to thaw the terror still written plainly on his face. To this day, my family still looks back fondly and laughingly on that incident with our accidental arsonist neighbor. Although he’s long moved away, hopefully, the neighbor is able to do the same.”
The Mystery Key
“When my son was young, I had many babysitters in the neighborhood who helped me when I had to work. I also went away for the weekends often, and these same neighbors would feed and water my cats and scoop the litter for me. I appreciated not having to worry, and it made the house look lived in for people to be coming and going, even though my neighborhood is pretty crime-free (you never know).
Well, at some point my son got old enough to get himself on and off the bus if I couldn’t. I also decided it was cheaper to get some self-feeders and self-waterers and a few extra litter boxes than pay someone to do it, and I would turn on music and have lights on timers so the cats wouldn’t feel so alone, and the house looked lived in. I didn’t want to bother these lovely neighbors of mine, who often had their own vacations or times when they couldn’t come by.
I didn’t ask for my keys back because I trusted them, and again, you never know.
As time went on, I would swear someone had been inside the house when I would return to it. It was only occasionally, and there wasn’t a pattern, but something felt off. My house is not always neat even though it is always clean, in that I like to vacuum and dust, the dishes are never in the sink, the counters are wiped, etc. but there are often papers I’m working on left out, mail piles up, projects I’m working on on a table. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but things seemed disturbed somehow. No one has any reason to be inside my home. What would they be doing?
I wasn’t happy, I have banking papers that come in, IEPs (Individual Education Plans) for my son, things that aren’t anyone’s business, and besides, it’s my home. But I wonder if I’m imagining it. Could my cats have jumped up and displaced those papers? Did my son take that last iced tea and just forgot he did? Did I forget to turn off that light myself and I didn’t notice because I left in the daytime?
Then, I took my son on a picnic to watch the fourth of July fireworks. We walk to the beach, throw out a blanket, pull out food and drinks, and lie down to watch the show. Then we gather everything up as all the masses of others who came pass us by. When I get home, my keys are gone. We retrace our steps, but no luck.
My spare keys are inside. I don’t want to bother any of my kind neighbors, and it’s very late now. I call a 24-hour locksmith with my cell phone. He punches out the doorknob lock and replaces it. I put one key on the spare set’s keyring and give the other to my parents. Then I promptly forget all about this incident. It happens, right?
It’s probably two years later and I am coming home. I realize as I approach the house that I’ve lent someone my car, and they aren’t back yet. The house key is on the same ring as the car key. I walk to the closest neighbor’s house who babysat for me, and knock on the door. They don’t answer. So I walk to the next nearest neighbor who used to help me out. She answers.
‘Hi, Joan (not her real name), I’ve locked myself out of my house. Can I borrow your key?’
‘My key doesn’t work anymore,’ she says.
‘Huh? What do you mean?’
‘You must have changed the locks. My key doesn’t work anymore.’
‘No, I haven’t changed the locks. Are you sure you tried the right key? I need to get in.’
‘Well,’ she says, ‘here’s the key. You’re welcome to give it a try,’ and sure enough, there’s a little tag on it that says ‘Lisa’s house’ so it must be the right key. I think Joan is confused. I walk to my house, put the key in, and sure enough, it doesn’t turn. Huh, I think, and I walk back to her house and tell her she’s right.
Soon, my friend returns with my car and hands me the keys. As I go to turn the lock and it opens, the memory of me losing my keys that Fourth of July pops back up in my head with force.
How did Joan know her key didn’t work anymore unless she had tried it?”
The Cat Lady
“Post-college, I moved into a nice little duplex. The neighborhood was nice, save for one thing: there were feral cats everywhere. I don’t mind cats and they disappeared if any human was about, but I swear to God there were more every day.
Next door neighbor was an elderly shut-in, and early one morning I looked out my window to see her shuffling out onto her front porch with a few cans and three big bowls.
And the cats. My god, the cats. She looked like a conductor in front of an orchestra of yowling mange. There must have been at least sixty, from mewling kittens to stocky toms, all awaiting their daily meal. They horde devoured the cans of food in less than a minute and scampered off, and the little old lady shuffled happily back inside.
I suppose this had gone on every day for years.
Sometime later, about a month before I was to move out, her children moved my neighbor lady to a retirement community. I came home one afternoon to the kitty chorus on her empty porch, confused and unfed. I checked on them throughout the day; they eventually all straggled off.
The next day, I left my house just before dawn to come to work. I opened my front door and stared into a sea of flashing yellow eyes.
They had moved on. I had been selected. I was The Successor.*
I froze. It was silent, like a scene from The Birds. After about 30 seconds, I began to slowly proceed down my front stairs. The cats moved to accommodate my steps, but otherwise sat and stared, fixated. Eventually, I got to my car and drove off. I could see them in my rear-view mirror, still staring all the way down the street.
I never gave them food and moved out soon after. They watched me pack. I moved across town, but am still a little scared that, two years later, I’ll look out my front door to a sea of shining, hungry eyes.”
He Had Seen Some Things
“I was around six or seven years old and it was in the early 1970s. I lived on a country road with only a few neighbors. It was around 3 AM one summer night and hot. AC wasn’t really around yet so all windows in the house were open and a light rainstorm with occasional flashes of lightning was going on. My bedroom had a window facing the road with a view of the neighbor’s driveway and front lawn. I was in the top bunk at window level with my younger brother on the bunk below.
I woke up due to lightning and thunder. Between bursts, I could hear someone crying and sobbing uncontrollably. I strained to see where it was coming from when a lightning flash revealed my neighbor sitting on the lawn near the road hunched over crying and rocking back and forth. I went to my parents’ room, woke my father and told him what I saw. My father advised that our neighbor was a combat veteran who had just gotten home from Vietnam and he was having nightmares. Later in life, I learned that he was a marine who operated an LMG and had witnessed things no person should have to endure. I watched my dad put on his raincoat, grab an umbrella and go sit next to him. He put his arm around him and sat and hugged him while covering him with the umbrella for at least an hour. To this day It’s one of the most compassionate and emotional things I’ve ever witnessed.”
Indiana Sounds Like A Weird Place
“Twelve years ago I lived next to an abandoned house. Eventually, a single guy moved in, probably around 40. He seemed nice enough. He was friendly, had some big dogs, and told me that he fixed voting machines.
One day he knocked on our door and asked if he could connect our side yards with a fence ‘for, you know, a nice little picnicking area.’ I asked him if it would be used by his dogs. He squirmed then muttered something about property lines and how he could just do it anyway. He walked away without any real resolution.
The following Saturday at 6 AM I hear the sound of splintering wood. I look outside and he’s moved our trash cans onto our driveway and destroyed the latticework in the side yard that prevents the cans from being visible from the street. We lived in a ‘historical neighborhood’ so preventing your trash from being visible from the street is a legal thing.
He dumped a pile of splintered debris everywhere. I called the police to report the incident. They asked me a lot of questions if I expected him to hurt me but otherwise didn’t seem interested.
I kinda couldn’t figure out if he was just ticked off or had lost it or thought he could intimidate us. We told him that he still was not allowed to build his fence.
He never built the fence but soon I read an article about how his brand of voting machine was manufactured by a partisan company that had utilized their maintenance for voter fraud. Then an article ran in the paper where a knife and bottle fight had erupted because two sisters living next door to each other had stabbed each other over an argument about whether to construct a hot tub or shed on their shared property line. This is forever the impression that I will remember from my time in Indiana.”
There Goes The Neighborhood
“A neighbor of mine had a spare room in his house, and he would routinely rent it out to people on craigslist for short-term stays (he called it a hostel. It wasn’t.) The ‘room’ was actually just some very very hacked-together bunk beds (see: he put his bed on some cinder blocks, and made a bed under it).
Well, he had a new ‘guest’, and the new guest was…a tweaker. As in he was a bit of an addict. One night I’m sitting in my room, and I see the blue and red lights flashing through my windows. There was lots of yelling, and there was a lot of police around. I saw my neighbor walk out in handcuffs. Apparently, the tweaker who was renting the space under my neighbor’s bed decided that he should behave exactly as tweakers tend to, so he called the cops, claimed that it was actually his house, that my neighbor wouldn’t leave, and could the police please come over and arrest him.
So the police came over and arrested him, as in took him to jail. My neighbor. Who owned the house.
The next night I come home, and the tweaker and his buddies are hanging out in the backyard having BBQ and doing tweaker things. Whatever tweakers gonna tweak.
So I went for a nice long bike ride. I came home about 2 hours later to find the neighborhood filled with police, my house surrounded by police tape, and tons of people standing out in the street.
The tweaker had arsoned the house. My house was fine (now with a nice, smokey smell!), but my dog was still inside, which had me a little scared (the cops considered breaking into my house to get her but said she was freaking out, so they just kind of put it on hold).
So to recap: My insane neighbor rented out the space under his bed to some tweaker, who ended up having my neighbor arrested, then while he was in jail he burned his house down.
I had another tweaker neighbor who collected doors. He had probably 40-50 huge wooden doors in his driveway at all times, and he was constantly working on his motorcycles.
Another of my neighbors is a Romanian immigrant who is, I guess, completely insane. She got arrested about a week ago and I have not seen her since.
What’s nuts about all of this is that I actually live in a really nice neighborhood. Across the street is a really nice lady who is a pharmacist. Up the street is a very successful architect. The average home price in the neighborhood is +$500,000. There are tons of artists and creatives that live around me (and hippies).
This is my favorite place I’ve ever lived hands down. Crazy as all of these people are, they’re all actually very very nice. There is no doubt in my mind that if I woke up to a dead car battery, or if wound up in a ditch during a snowstorm, any one of them would come and pull me out.
I’ve lived in some of the ‘ultra-nice’ regions of my city, and they’re all dreadful, dreadful places. Nobody knows each other, nobody talks to each other, nobody would recognize each other if they passed one another on the street, etc.
My neighborhood is like a big family. Yeah, we’ve got some crazy uncles, but for the most part, we just know how to roll with the punches.”