Note: This post contains mentions of death, violence, and terrorist attacks.
Our bodies can sense when something isn't right even before our minds are aware of the impending danger, as I learned when I wrote about intuitive people who escaped dire situations by listening to their gut feeling. It's a phenomenon so many of us have experienced, and even more of you wrote with your own stories of how intuition saved a life:
1."I went to Woodstock ‘99. Bought a group package deal that included transportation and a special campsite. I stepped off the bus, took approximately eight steps from the bus to the gate. We stepped through a literal hole in the gate to enter, and the moment my foot hit the ground, I had a massive anxiety attack. I tried to get settled at our campsite and walked around a bit. The anxiety never left me. I asked if there was transportation out of there since the bus I arrived on wasn’t leaving until the festival ended. Luckily, there was a bus that left for the local Walmart every half hour. I left the next morning on the first bus out. As soon as I left through the gate, my anxiety disappeared. My mom drove the six hours to come get me. On the way home, we heard about the riots and the fire. I’m sure I would’ve died or gotten severely injured if I didn’t leave."
2."My adult daughter woke up one night around 2 a.m. because she felt her husband kicking her. She sat up to confront him, and after she said something to him, he just grunted and tried to go back to sleep. She felt that something was off because he didn't respond, only grunted. She kept him awake and knew then something was really wrong. He couldn’t talk or stand on his own. She woke up her two daughters and had them help get him into the car. She took him to their hospital, and he was admitted right away. The doctors found that he had a brain bleed and very well could have died if he had gone back to sleep or waited for the ambulance."
3."I was planning to visit my family in Indonesia for the Eid al-Fitr and found some reasonably priced flight tickets online. I was about to make the payment, then felt something telling me not to. So, I cancelled it. A few months later, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down while flying over Ukraine. That was the flight I'd cancelled."
4."It happened after a play rehearsal, as I was leaving my high school. There was a small hill to the left of the red light. While I was waiting for the light to turn green, a conversation I had with my father popped into my head. It was a story he told me when I was younger for when I learn to drive. He told me how when he was 17, a car ran the light at 100 mph — looking before going saved my dad's life. When the light I was waiting for turned green, my gut told me, 'Look left.' Suddenly, a car appeared over the hill and sped through the red light at no less than 80 mph. If I had pulled forward, that car would've smashed into my driver side."
5."I used to exercise obsessively. If I wasn't exercising, I was failing at life. It was destroying my brain. So one night, I decided to just stop by the side of the road and enjoy the breeze on my face instead of immediately continuing my run. Just for a second. I fought the feelings of guilt from not moving, and just closed my eyes and breathed. Suddenly, a pickup with no lights on came screeching around the corner, across the pavement into the parking lot behind me, did a donut, and then took off the way it came. The side-view mirror was so close to my face at one point that I could feel the whoosh of it. If I hadn't taken one second to just exist and enjoy the breeze on my face, I would be dead. And so would my dog who was waiting for me."
6."When I was a kid in rural California, I was playing outside with my dog. He was walking by my side and ran a few steps to the side, acting playful like he wanted me to follow him. I had a feeling I should. After taking a few steps toward him, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye — there was a baby rattlesnake right where I would have stepped if I hadn't followed my dog. He may have saved my life."
7."I randomly woke up in the middle of the night one night, completely panicked about buying a carbon monoxide detector. We had just moved into a new home, and I had no idea if our smoke detectors had them or not. I bought a plug-in carbon monoxide detector the next day for my own peace of mind. A few weeks later, it went off in the middle of the day. I opened a few windows, took the kids outside, and called the fire department. They sent a fire truck. They discovered high levels of carbon monoxide in the house. We found out it was from a faulty water heater located right behind my kids' playroom in the basement, and the levels were high enough that it set off the detector on the second floor! I could have sent my kids down there to play and had no idea."
"We had it replaced, and now have nest thermostats that include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house. And I always double check the detectors in rentals when we are traveling now too."
8."I was pregnant with my now-daughter, and I was getting in the left turning lane in my car. Another car abruptly cut me off to get in front. Normally, I’d be a little more aggressive. But I felt like I should just let it go. We were at the red light, and a car turning left in the opposite direction slammed into the car in front of me that cut me off. It could've been the car me and my unborn baby were in. Sometimes, it pays to be patient."
9."My friends and I were planning to go to the Ghostship party in Oakland that burned down. We were right outside, and we all just didn't feel like going in. So at the last minute, I made the call for us to go home. I woke up to the news of the fire."
10."In February, my dad went into the hospital after he fell one morning. In the emergency room, they discussed a possible stroke, but he wasn’t showing symptoms, and they even tested him for it. Since he fell and they couldn’t lower his blood pressure, they kept him overnight. For some reason, I wanted to stay. I don’t know why. I said I'd sit with him as long as it was allowed. He finally fell asleep around midnight, and I dozed off shortly after 3 a.m. In my dream, I heard my dad calling me by full name, not my nickname he normally calls me. I jolted awake out of the chair and asked if he was okay. He said he felt funny and couldn’t move his left hand, but that he didn't want to bother a nurse. I ran out to grab a nurse. My dad had suffered a stroke right there in the hospital that night. And since my dad received a bed in the staff changeover, someone forgot to place the heart monitor on him. If I wasn’t there, the staff would've caught the stroke much later."
11."I left work later than normal one day. It was a particularly stressful day, and on those days I sometimes take the long way around the building to decompress instead of taking the shortest route to my car. I was standing at the elevator to take the nice stroll around the building, but I changed my mind for some reason and went the quicker route. As I was crossing the street to my car, I heard two loud bangs. There was gunfire in the parking lot I would have walked through if I had gotten on the elevator. Whatever pulled me in a different direction that day clearly did not want me involved."
12."My neighbor worked in investment years ago, and it took him all over the country to large businesses. He was supposed to meet with a company on September 11, 2001 — and they were located in one of the Twin Towers. My neighbor felt something was off and he recently had twins, so he opted out of the business trip to stay home with his wife and newborn twins. If he had gone, he would have been in one of those towers that day. He says it still haunts him to this day."
13."I took the train to work every day — same train in the morning and the same train in the evening for years. One night, I had a really tough time sleeping and was really tired at work. I felt so anxious to get home, so I took the earlier train. The train I usually took derailed that night. Multiple people died. I was home with my wife, but she couldn’t stop crying because I was normally always on that train."
14."Once, I was texting and driving as a young person — I know, it's not okay. But I got a weird feeling like my brother, who was no longer alive, was telling me to look up. So, I did. I'd thought the semi-truck in front of me was turning left, but the driver swung left to turn right. If I hadn't looked up when I did, I would have driven right under the semi-truck and died."
15."My 16-year-old daughter went long-boarding one morning without me. She convinced me she was old enough to go alone. So, I went to the store. Then, I got this feeling that I should call her. She didn’t answer when I did. I tried several times. My gut told me to go home immediately. I kept calling her until there was an answer. It was a stranger. There was an accident. My daughter was crying and barely coherent. She couldn’t even tell me where she was. The person with her called an ambulance and directed me where to go — I was already on the way. My daughter was so out of it when I got there. She'd thrown her helmet and gear off, and when I saw the side of her temple, I knew she had hit her head. After the emergency room and seeing a concussive doctor, she was much better. I shudder thinking what would've happened if I didn't trust my gut to go home."
16."I’ve had problems with chronic migraines since high school. I had one on a day that I was supposed to work a morning shift. Usually, I'd push through it and go to work anyway because I was used to it. Though that day, I had a feeling that I needed to stay home. I called out sick. A few hours after I would have left, a fire started in our basement. The only other person home was my stepbrother, who was asleep in the attic bedroom. He wouldn’t have woken up until the fire had spread, likely destroying the house and definitely killing our dogs who were in their crates downstairs. We also learned that the smoke alarms downstairs could barely be heard on the upper levels of the house."
17."A family friend's husband often tells us the story about how his gut prepared him for the worst. It was early 1990s, and he was on the train during morning rush hour. As his train arrived into Victoria station, a bad feeling crept over him. He and other passengers were walking through the station when suddenly, a bomb went off. He instantly kneeled and covered his head with his briefcase. It was an IRA bombing, and dozens of the rush-hour crowd were severely injured. His hands and the left side of his body are riddled with small scars from metal and glass fragments, and he has partial deafness due to the explosion rupturing one of his eardrums. He believes his injuries would've been a lot worse if his gut feeling didn't prepare him for something dreadful."
18."My husband and I had just moved in with my grandma so he could start a new job while I searched for houses to buy. I was also six months pregnant. I had an OB appointment, and my husband and I were going to make a day of it — he took off work so we could go out to eat, go to the appointment, and do some antique shopping. While we were at the antique shop, I suddenly got a nagging feeling that I needed to call my grandma. She didn’t answer the phone. She was 90 at the time and didn’t always have a phone with her on her walker, but I called my mom because I couldn’t let it go. I told my mom that she needed to go out and check on my grandma. She said she would call first since she was babysitting my 2-year-old niece and that if grandma didn’t answer, she would go check on her. My mom went out 20 minutes later and found my grandma on the floor of her dining room. She had collapsed due to a severe infection that led to sepsis."
19."I was at work and stopped by a coworker's desk to say hi. She didn’t look good, but kept insisting she was fine. I absolutely didn’t believe her and went to my manager and told her straight up that something was really wrong with her and she needed to go sit down. As a non-confrontational person, that wasn’t like me at all. But my manager listened — turned out my coworker was having a heart attack."
20."I was in my late teens and on my way to pick up my brother from his friend's house. I had to drive through a highway intersection and was stopped at the red light. I was in the middle lane in a Buick Regal, with a big truck to the left of me, in the left turn lane, and nothing to my right. Since the opposite traffic didn't have anyone turning left, my lane turned green at the same time the left hand turn for the truck did. Usually at lights, I give a quick traffic check and heavy-foot it out of the intersection. I looked right, then left, and only saw the big truck. I moved my foot to the gas pedal and started to step on it, then noticed the truck wasn't moving. So, I stopped. Just then, a huge transport truck sped through the red light. I'm thankful that I noticed that truck not moving and listened to the feeling that I stop. If I hadn't, I would have been dead."
21."I have relatives who live in France, and in 2016, my cousin in Nice and his family were deciding where to go for Bastille Day on July 14. My cousin wanted to go to the big celebration on the waterfront, which was going to feature a fireworks display and a flyover by the French Air Force. However, his wife insisted that they go to the smaller celebration venue farther away. I don't know whether or not it was her intuition or if she just didn't want to deal with crowds, but the decision not to go to the big celebration likely saved their lives. That evening, a terrorist drove a truck through the massive crowds of people gathered there for the celebration. Many people died, and hundreds of people were injured, killing 86 people and wounding almost 500 more. My cousin and his family might have been among them."
22."I was having extreme abdominal pain for a few days. After I went and got some tests done, my doctor told me my white blood cell count was a bit high, but that it wasn't urgent. He made an appointment for me the following day at the hospital, which is almost two hours away through a winding mountain highway. I went home but kept feeling like I needed to get to the hospital immediately. I got a friend to drive me, and they dropped me off at the emergency entrance while they went to get a hotel. I walked inside the doors and fainted. When I woke up, I was being rushed down the hall to surgery for a ruptured appendix. If I had waited to go, I would have died."
23."I was supposed to drive up to my brother's one weekend, but as I was about to leave, I got this weird feeling that I should hold off and leave a little later. I texted my brother telling him I would be a bit late. As I drove up later, I discovered there'd been an accident — a huge truck, carrying some sort of flammable material, had gotten into an accident on the highway and starting leaking. A fire had broken out, and the fire started traveling along the flammable line toward people's cars. Everyone was getting out of their cars and running the opposite way. This happened on the section of highway I would have been on if I hadn't listened to the feeling to leave later."
24."When I was 5 years old, my mom was about to run an errand, and because my dad was at work, I was going to go with her like usual. Instead, I threw a massive fit about not wanting to go. This was not like me. I was quite used to being toted around because my dad worked a lot, plus she usually got me a candy at the deli when I went. After lots of crying and screaming that I didn't want to go, my mom finally gave in and let my 12-year-old sister babysit me alone for the first time ever while she left alone. Later, my neighbor showed up — my mom had been rear ended by a truck. Her injuries were fairly minor, but the entire back of her car was crushed completely in up to the front seats. I would have died."
25."My husband and I were at my in-law's house out of state with my teenage and infant daughters. I knew that a winter storm was supposed to move in, though nothing was happening. Still, for some reason, I really felt we should stay another night. I'm glad we did — the roads were so icy, and on the way home, we counted dozens of cars in the ditch or flipped over. If we had left when we were supposed to, our car likely would have been one of them."
26."The first time I met my grandma's new boyfriend, I just had this gut instinct not to like him or engage with him. I told my parents on the car ride home something was off with him, but they assured me I just felt weird as he wasn't my grandpa. Later, we found out he was a convicted murderer — he'd killed his wife. He had some other issues with his other wives and was trying to isolate my grandma from us. I'm still proud that I was the first person to realize something was off with him."
27."One of the biggest wildfires happened on the island of Evia, Greece, while I was there with my family for vacation. We were out for an afternoon swim when we saw a bunch of smoke in the sky from a village next to us. People gathered at the beach, but no one was very worried or left the island. The first thing I said to my family was, 'Let’s go inside and just pack our things now — you never know.' We packed our things, and we saw more people outside of the hotel and the smoke getting bigger. After a while, the family that was staying in the next room started packing, and said they hoped they'd catch the last boat to get off the island. We didn’t know there was only one boat left. We immediately got our packed things and left, and caught the last boat at the last minute. As we were arriving in Athens, the fire back at the island was getting huge, and people were trapped. The place we were staying at, and everything next to it, was burned down within a few hours."
28."Always trust your instincts. I planned to drive down to my mom’s house during Labor Day weekend. My dog was coming with me, though I had the worst feeling and decided not to take my dog, which was so strange because she went everywhere with me. About 10 minutes into my drive, I was in a horrific crash that totaled my '72 Plymouth (a tank of a car). I had some serious fractures and a bunch of other little injuries that healed. But had my dog been with me, she would have died in front of my eyes. No question about that."
29."One day on my way home, I paused at an intersection — going right would take me home, and straight took me to my mom’s. Something told me to go straight. I did, and discovered my mom had fallen badly and needed to go to the hospital. This was before cellphones, and the house phone was in another room. She lived alone, so who knows how long she would have laid there if I hadn’t gotten that feeling."
30."I was 22 years old and living in a house with three friends. I woke up one night at 3 a.m. and had this sudden feeling to go upstairs. When I went up, I noticed a lit candle that had completely burned down to a little puddle of wax and fire on the wooden window sill. It wasn't my candle, though I'm glad I caught it before the whole house caught on fire."
31."One time I was visiting my grandparents, and they wanted me to go to church with them. I had a nasty feeling, so lied and said I wasn’t feeling well. My grandparents didn’t trust me alone in their house for some reason, so they stayed with me. They figured we could just go the next day anyways. The mass we were to attend turned into a mass shooting targeting people of color, which was us. If we'd went, I’m not sure if we’d still be alive. I couldn’t believe I somehow felt something bad would happen. My grandparents say I’m lucky; I felt ill and they didn’t trust me alone even at 14 years old, but I know the real reason why I stayed."
32."I was working at a local convenience store and noticed some people repeatedly coming in and out of the store. They never bought anything. They just kept looking up at the security mirrors and leaving the store. I panicked and called the local police. The third time they came in, they attempted to rob the store. Fifteen seconds later (I counted), the police showed up and arrested them on the spot."
33."I was a teenager and babysitting the two young girls that lived next door. One day during the summer, the parents had a family cookout and invited us over. I was pushing the younger daughter on the swing, and I saw two bees circling. It was one of those seat-like swings your legs go through, and I just felt like something was about to happen. She was allergic to bees, so once I saw them circling, I took her out immediately. I went and told my neighbors, 'Can someone check that swing? I just have a weird feeling something’s wrong.' The father took apart the swing and found a massive bee’s nest the size of a grapefruit!"
34."I knew something was off with my body last year. I was 20 years old, and somehow, I really felt like I was going to die. It came to a head while I was working at my retail job. I got incredibly dizzy and just felt off. My supervisor told me to go back to work, but I left anyways and went to urgent care. They ended up calling EMS because my vitals were so unstable. I went to the hospital, saw a doctor who heard I was disabled, and immediately assumed it was cognitive (it isn’t, purely physical) and wrote it off as an allergic reaction to an antibiotic I was on. He didn’t run any tests, but I knew something was wrong. I went back to work, and I promptly passed out — my manager called 911. The EMTs wrote it off as anxiety, but I told my mom that I needed to go to the hospital ASAP. She listened, and I was seen almost immediately. I had a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in the lung, which can be fatal. If I didn't trust my gut, I’d be dead right now."
What's a moment in your own life where you're glad you listened to your own or someone else's intuition? Share your story in the comments.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.