Advertisement

I'm Thoroughly Fascinated By "Third Man Syndrome" So Here Are 22 Stories From People Who Experienced It First-Hand

Warning: This article contains mentions of domestic abuse, bodily injury, and attempted murder. Please proceed with caution.

Last month, I wrote about a particularly fascinating phenomenon called "third man syndrome" and shared a bunch of stories by readers like you who experienced it firsthand. If you're new here, welcome! Let me catch you up to speed. Essentially, third-man syndrome is a phenomenon that usually occurs when people are in extreme distress, danger, or crisis. People often describe it as feeling like another person is present, either giving them an unexpected sense of comfort, warning them of something about to happen, or stepping in to intervene and protect them.

Shadow of a hand and person on a frosted glass pane, creating a silhouette effect
Ardasavasciogullari / Getty Images/iStockphoto

People have reported feeling, seeing, or hearing this additional presence, but the "other person" doesn't actually exist. Some people claim to hear a disembodied voice, while others see and interact with a literal person who just...vanishes. This phenomenon is called "third man syndrome" in homage to a T.S. Elliot poem called The Waste Land, which, in part, recounts an experience where two men are walking alone and both feel the presence of an inexplicable third person. You can read more about the history behind it here.

Poem excerpt questioning a third, unseen companion on a journey, with a reference to a brown mantle

People float around tons of theories to explain third man syndrome, ranging from the psychological to the spiritual. Regardless of the "why," it seems to be an experience that lots of people share — more than you might expect, TBH. I've gotten hundreds of submissions from BuzzFeed readers recounting their experiences with third man syndrome. Here are 22 of the best, most jaw-dropping, most inexplicable tales:

1."When I was eight months pregnant with my first child, I was driving alone on the freeway on my way to work. It was raining and the roads were slick. I was behind a school bus in the slow lane and my exit was about half a mile ahead, so I was planning on quickly passing the bus when a voice yelled loudly, 'Stop!' It startled me, but I was confused where the voice came from. Well, a few seconds later — about the time I would have been alongside the bus if I hadn't listened — the bus driver lost control and the entire bus went sideways on the freeway, taking up three lanes. I am certain that my car would’ve been either crushed or run off the freeway. I believe that voice saved our lives. I definitely thanked whoever was watching out for us that day!"

—Tamara E

2."I wear a CPAP at night due to severe sleep apnea. The mask sits over my mouth and nose and provides positive air pressure to prevent me from stopping breathing during the night. There is a small tank of water that keeps the air from drying out my lips and throat. One night, about a week after my mom passed away, I was sleeping and felt a hand shake my shoulder really hard. I thought my husband was waking me up for work, so I shrugged him off. About three seconds later, I felt another hard shake, even stronger than before. This time, I sat up and took off my mask to yell at my husband...but he was sound asleep in bed. I laid back down and went to put my mask back on and noticed that it was about a third of the way full of water. My tank was backing up into my mask and I seriously could have drowned. I'm pretty sure that hand was my mom, saving me in my sleep."

—Jodi, California, USA

3."I was a competitive cyclist in my mid-thirties. I was coming home from a training ride one Sunday morning, riding along an almost-deserted Culver Blvd, in Culver City, California. A very large municipal bus passed me on the left going about 40mph, close enough that I was caught in the air wake of the bus. I was thrown off my bike, landing on my head and side, which crushed my helmet and broke multiple bones. Moments later, a beat-up van driven by two Mexican gentlemen pulled over to where I was, put me in the back of the van along with my bike, and drove me home. I never gave them the address of my house or directions on how to get there. They rang the front doorbell, and my wife answered the door, shocked to see what I looked like. She thanked the men profusely and asked if she could do anything for them or pay the for their kindness. They politely declined, saying this is what they do all the time. Then they just disappeared."

Person on bicycle stopped at bike lane marking on a city street

"I have no idea who they were or where they came from, but I'm glad they were there that day."

—Jeff. Coto de Caza, California

Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

4."Once, I went on a skiing trip with some friends. After the first day of sking, we headed back down the slope. Right at the bottom near the chair lift, my ski tips crossed and I fell. I was in pain after the fall, but I got up and went back to my room at the hotel. The pain was getting worse, and I feared it was a cracked rib. I was sitting on the bed, waiting for the tub to fill up when I heard a male voice say, 'Get help for your spleen.' I got up, got dressed, and headed down to the lobby, where they took me to the slope’s medical building. After the exam, the guy there said that I could go and would probably be OK. I asked them call an ambulance because of what the voice said. Three hours and 90 miles later, we arrived at the regional hospital. They took me in and ran a CAT scan on me. The doctor came back and said I was bleeding internally and my spleen was ruptured. I am so glad I listened to the voice, or I would have died that night in that hotel room."

—Anonymous

5."I was a father of two and my daughter was about 4 months old and sleeping in her crib one night. My wife had been up with her for a while and had finally gotten her to sleep. Out of the blue, I heard a girl's voice tell me to get up. I didn't think anything of it at first, but the voice yelled, 'GET UP!' again. Reluctantly, I did and checked on the kids. My wife had left a blanket in the crib with my daughter and she had somehow gotten it wrapped around her head. I immediately unwrapped her and she took the biggest breath ever. If that voice had not woken me up, we would have lost her. I believe it was her little sister who would be born a year or so later telling me to save her big sister from beyond the veil."

—J. Kent, CA

6."I was a sophomore in college in Indiana and decided to make the two and a half hour drive home for the weekend. Forty five minutes into my drive, which was on side roads in tiny one-street farm towns where there's only one house every few miles, my car stopped. To make it worse, my phone had just died and I forgot my charger in my dorm room. As I sat in my car panicking, I saw an older gentleman walking down the driveway outside a red farmhouse. I can't say if I noticed the house prior to seeing him, but he asked me if I was okay. He then proceeded to tell me that he would help me and that everything would be okay, and for some reason, I believed him. While he was talking to me, I felt calm and completely at ease. I wasn't scared at all. As he promised, he got my car started and off I went."

Person walking towards a red barn on a farm under a cloudy sky

7."When I was 28, I had to go in for an emergency C-section. His heart rate kept dropping whenever I'd have a contraction, and I was terrified. There was this kind nurse who came in with the OBGYN who was going to do the procedure. She was about my age, Black, and had her hair up in a beautiful bun. She actually reminded me of someone I knew in high school who'd helped me escape a horrifically abusive relationship, but she was MUCH younger than that girl. I remember lying in the hospital bed, crying my eyes out –I'm talking ugly crying, snotty nose, the whole nine yards. She stayed at my bedside the whole time and came with me into the operating theater. She held my hand, wiped my nose, told me very kindly 'Don't you dare apologize for this. You're scared, but it's gonna be okay, honey.'"

"When they did the spinal block, she held me and let me cry into her shoulder, and warned me of what they were doing. After the tube was in for the spinal block and they laid me down, she said, 'Alright, I'll be right back, I have to get into the sterile gown.' I'd calmed down enough that I could breathe normally at least, and from there, everything is sort of a blur. I remember having my kid, kissing his forehead, and then being knocked out to finish up.

When I came to in the recovery room, I asked my mom — who'd been there for everything but me being rolled down the hall/the procedure — where the wonderful nurse was. She said she'd never seen a nurse that matched the description I gave. Same for the doctor and nurses who were in the operating theater for the C-section. I have no clue who she was, but I like to think that the universe sent someone who reminded me of a person who saved me from abuse in order to help me through the scariest experience of my life."

—Ellie, Pennsylvania, USA

8."I was a very poor college kid who hitchhiked almost everywhere. One day, I’d been out visiting some friends that lived about 10 miles from my dorm. I’d gotten a ride back with a guy I had met in class. I was getting out of his van when a woman’s voiced told me that I needed to climb back in and thank the him again for the ride. As I put my second foot up on the floor on the passenger's side of the van, a huge truck and trailer passed behind me, going 45 miles a hour (I was told about the speed after the incident had been reported). It removed the van door and the trim off of the door frame. It had passed on the wrong side of the road! If I hadn’t turned back to thank him a second time, the truck/trailer would have hit me and I would have been its hood ornament. I’m very thankful to whomever reminded me of manners that day!"

—Anonymous

9."My oldest was a child who would wander off regularly. They did it on school field trips, grocery store trips — any chance they got to be on their own, they took it. Typically, they would always find me. This was a couple decades back, and the world wasn't as scary as it is now. That being said, at school, people always had to know where they were, as they would just up and leave school sometimes as well. When they left school, they would usually sit outside on a bench or under a tree, just by themself, and come back when they were ready (yes, they had pretty significant ADHD)."

"One day, they left school and no one knew where they had gone. One of the other children heard them say that they wanted to walk home by themself today. Now, we lived a good distance from the school, so a 6-year-old walking home alone was not an option. The day care shuttle had even come and gone without them, and the caregivers were panicking because they didn't know where my kid was. I showed up at day care after a long day, to not only not find my child, but to learn that no one had thought to call me and let me know anything had happened to begin with. I was enraged that they had literally lost my kid and had no idea what to do. They didn't call the police or anything. So, I left to go track down where my kid would have walked, terrified that I was never going to see them again.

I was nearly non-verbal with terror at this point, speaking aloud only what I could. I stopped outside a strip mall on the other side of town from the school. I was holding my youngest and about to burst into tears, having no idea what to do, when a young man who looked like he was about 20 or so walked towards me holding my child's hand. They were laughing and kind of skipping to keep up with him, and he pointed at me and my kid starting running towards me. Through a lens of tears, I scooped up both kids and just sat holding my world in my arms for a second, breathing in both their scents, trying to collect myself to thank this man. When I looked up. he was just gone...poof! I couldn't see him walking anywhere or anything.

I asked my child, 'Where did you find him or did he find you?' They told me, 'I was tired and sat down at the park and he came up to me and told me I needed to get going so my mom could pick me up!' They said it in the most little kid, nonchalant tone, like this kind of thing happened every day. I'm a lifelong atheist and I firmly believe it was either a guardian angel or some other force that was watching out for me and my kids. I will never forget what he looked like, but I'll be damned if I could describe it."

—Anonymous

Woman holding child, both with backs turned, sharing a tender embrace outdoors
David Walters / Getty Images

10."When I was in college in Chicago, I went on a very fun yet badly supervised trip to the Middle East with a few friends who were mainly interested in making their first iteration of Facebook profiles look cool. We posed by the Pyramids of Giza and folks commenced wandering around. I was by myself for a few minutes in the shadow of the pyramids, fiddling with my digital camera and lost in thought. Suddenly, I heard a man’s voice call out my first and middle name in that special way your parents do when you’re a kid and in trouble — the way that still makes you unconsciously snap to attention no matter how old you are. The voice said my name sternly and then said, 'RUN NOW.' I started running before I even looked around, Chacos slipping in the sand as I went. As I gained momentum, I looked behind me and saw two men, black hoodies obscuring their faces, chasing me at full speed and almost an arms length away."

"Directly behind them, a large van with no rear windows waited, its sidedoor slid open, only darkness visible inside. As I got back to the bright sun and the crowd, the men veered away and I knew I was safe again. I didn’t find anyone from my group for several minutes, but I knew for sure that no one there knew my middle name and couldn't have yelled it out to me. I was too embarrassed to admit the stupid thing I’d done, so we carried on for nine more days, then went back to Chicago and never talked about it.

I was a lot more religious then than I am now, but it still gives me comfort to know that someone or something intervened for me when I needed it. I think I can point to other similar moments where I’ve felt a life altering spark of guidance, but that moment was definitely the scariest."

—Lindsay, Milwaukee, WI

11."I got into a car accident last year. I lost control on black ice and flipped my car four times into a field. I awoke to a female EMT telling me to reach in the back seat and get one of my knives, then cut the seatbelt and crawl out to her. I had to be airlifted to a city 45 min away, and she kept telling me to stay awake, stay awake. Finally, she screamed at me to STAY AWAKE! I woke up in the ICU, where I had nearly died. I quickly learned there was no female EMT or first responder of any kind on the scene, and definitely was not one on the flight. No one could explain how I’d managed to get out of the car with how injured I was. I don’t know what or who she was, but I love her."

—Anonymous

12."It was the summer just before my 12th birthday, and my last summer at the summer camp I'd attend for several years.The camp was located in the coastal mountains in southern California, with regular beach days in the schedule. As a strong swimmer, I enjoyed the beach and body surfing the waves. This particular day I was out in the surf when I saw a large wave coming. Being too far out to reach the shore, the only option was was to swim furiously towards the wave. I crested the wave just before it broke, only to see another, larger wave coming. Swimming as hard as I could, I again barely made it over the top before the wave broke, only to see another large wave further out. I swam as hard as I could, swimming up the swell, but didn't make it before it broke."

"The wave threw me over on my back into the water and into its 'washing machine' waves, tumbling me every which way. Not knowing which way was up, my feet hit the sandy bottom and I pushed towards the surface with all my might. I finally reached the surface and exhaled, only to be hit by another large wave, which tumbled me around and around. Struggling, trying to find the surface, and out of air, I stopped trying. I felt an odd sense of peace, thinking that this was it, and this was what drowning felt like. Peaceful.

It was at that moment that I felt someone grab me, bringing me to the surface. I gasped for air. The large set of waves had passed and the surface was as it was before the large waves. Treading water, I circled around, looking for who saved me, but no one was even close to me. This was in the 1970s, and I've told the story numerous times, emphasizing the peace and calm I felt. I've never once mentioned that no one was there, until now. Instead, I made up that it had been a lifeguard."

—Gary, California, USA

A rough sea with large, frothy waves under an overcast sky
Mike Hill / Getty Images

13."In 2000, I was living in Florida with my ex-husband. He was very controlling and I wouldn't allow me to have any friends or talk to anyone else. It was like that for many years. After 13 years of the same situation, I was fed up. I started arguing with him, asking why I couldn’t talk to anyone, including my family on the phone without him on the other line. We argued, and I asked him to leave and told him I was calling the cops. We were in my bedroom (we were not sharing a room for the last two weeks or something like that) and I turned my back on him to pick up the phone in the corner. I was confused because the line was busy, not realizing he'd unhooked the phone downstairs. I looked at the phone and I heard a male voice say, 'duck.'"

"It was a deep, beautiful voice. At that time my knowledge of the English language was very limited (almost not existent), but I understood what that voice tried to tell me. I bowed my head instantly, and I felt something graze the hair on top of my head. My husband was behind me and had tried to behead me with a machete.

That day, I fought for my life. He was way stronger than me, but I survived. I think that whoever was with me in that room saved me. I only heard that voice once, but that day many things happened that make me believe that me and my children were helped more than once."

—MG

14."About 12 years, ago I was alone and driving on a narrow, winding, back road to visit a friend. Suddenly, a strong male voice behind me said loudly and clearly, 'Slow way down and get way over!' I immediately hit my brakes and got over as far as I could (there was no shoulder.) As soon as I did, a huge tractor-trailer came barreling around the curve toward me right in the middle of the road. Had I not been warned and had I not instantly responded, it would have run right into me. I believe that voice saved my life."

—Joyce, Virginia, USA

15."I was 34 years old and new to California. I rented a room in what looked like a nice neighborhood, and it was, except it was in a bubble and surrounded by rival gang territory. I did my laundry at a laundromat about three blocks from my residence. It always seemed like such a nice, quiet part of the neighborhood, and I had gone several times without any problems. This particular Sunday, the laundromat was open but empty. I had finished two washing loads and started to load a dryer. As I turned to get the second load from its washer, I noticed a car parked in the parking lot some distance from my car. Two large guys got out. One walked up to the only door of the laundromat, blocking my only exit. The other guy stayed by the car, standing by the driver's side door. Then, a large woman got out of the back seat. She entered the laundromat and hoisted herself up on one of the washers by the wall of windows that faced the parking lot, folded her arms, and stared at me."

"All the hairs on my neck stood up and I started hyperventilating. I knew I was in trouble. I started grabbing my soaking wet clothes out of the washer and stuffed them into a pillow case. Then, I went to the dryer, opened it, took the still-wet clothes out, and stuffed them into another pillow case. Just at that moment, a man who looked to be in his thirties suddenly appeared behind the man blocking the door. He was carrying a toddler.  He pushed past him and started putting dollar bills in the coin machine by the door and looked at me with a strange look in his eye. I just knew I was meant to follow him.

Sure enough, he got his change and stood by the man until he stepped aside. The stranger, his child, and I walked out the door together, me first and then the man and his child. I got to my car, threw the wet pillowcases with clothes in, ran to the drivers side, locked the doors, and drove off. I looked for the man and his little girl as I left, but there was no one there. I saw no other cars and absolutely no people anywhere, just the man who had been blocking the door, the woman who was now standing outside, and the guy who stayed at their car.

I quickly drove to my residence, following a route that I knew had open stores to make sure no one was following me. I arrived safely, told the owner of my residence what happened, and moved to a different area of town that week."

—Anonymous

Man carrying a child on his back at night on a city street
D3sign / Getty Images

16."About 10 years ago, I lived in Chicago with my family. A huge snowstorm hit us one weekend, which was nothing for us. We went to volleyball practice as usual in my mom's minivan. Unfortunately, that day our van got stuck. An old man got stuck in the same spot and we were trying to help eachother. Outta nowhere, another man walked up and started putting gloves on, telling the old man he'd help us first then get to him. A few minutes later, he had both cars free. I turned around to thank him...and he was gone. We were in a random neighborhood and I never saw him leave a house or go back to one. I'll always remember him."

—Naomi, Indiana, USA

17."In the mid-'80s, I was in college and flew home for a weekend for my mom’s birthday. The flight was late, which made the entire evening ‘off-schedule' and later than anticipated. When we finally got home, my dad went to bed and my mom and I stayed up for a while and talked. Finally, I went to my bedroom in the lower part of the house. For whatever reason, I could not fall asleep which was unusual for me. At some point, I decided to get up and go upstairs to get something to drink from the kitchen and watch TV. As I sat up in bed, I felt something strong push me, so I laid back down. Let me emphasize: this was a STRONG push, so much so that it laid me flat despite being 6’6” and 240 pounds. Almost simultaneously as I laid flat, I heard two extremely loud ‘explosions.’"

"After the second explosion, I shot out of bed and ran to the foot of the stairs. Looking up to the top of the stairs, I saw what looked like smoke or fog and my parents looking down at me. I went up the stairs and the three of us explored the house to figure out what happened. After looking around, we noticed the heavy, drawn drapes by the living room windows had moonlight streaming through the fabric. We turned the lights on and noticed the drapes were ripped and — on closer inspection — saw tiny particles of metal strewn everywhere. It was imbedded in the walls, the wooden furniature, and its upholstery. The double pane picture window had two holes where two bullets had entered the house. The bullet's metal fragments shot all the way to the back of the house. This occurred at 3:04 a.m..

For the next two nights, exactly at 3:04 am, the phone would ring. When we answered, the voice on the opposite end just laughed. The bullets were intentional. Had I not been late due to the plane’s late arrival (thus pushing back our schedule) and had I not been physically pushed back down on the bed, the bullets likely would have found themselves in me. I think my third man saved me by physically pushing me down that night, preventing me from getting up to watch TV there."

—Ted B, Piqua, OH

18."When I was 17, I was in a single-car accident. It was a relatively warm winter morning and it was raining, so the thought of ice never crossed my mind. We lived mid-way up a steep road that curved to the right, then to the left before going up again. At the bottom of these two hills was a creek that ran perpendicular to the road. As I drove down this hill on my way to school at 6:30 a.m., I hit black ice. I tried to control the car, but then hit another patch of black ice and lost control completely. My car started going off the road at about a 45 degree angle. I hit a snow bank, which launched my car into the air. I went through a fence, over some small trees, and landed in the creek. But...the way my car landed in the creek in relation to the angle I went off the road was impossible."

"I should have hit the bank on the opposite side of the creek head-on, but instead I landed with the passenger side against the bank with the front-end facing the road. It was almost as if someone grabbed my car as it was in the air and turned it. To this day, I can barely remember how I got out of the car. I remember holding my door open with my legs stretched out straight and yelling for help, then being inside the house of the people who owned the fence I crashed through. While the fire department was towing my car out of the creek, they told my mom, who had driven down the hill to me after I called her. She then went to go buy a lottery ticket, claiming it was our lucky day because I was walking away from the accident without a scratch on me.

I’m convinced that my grandmother, who had died as a result of injuries from a car accident just three months prior, was my guardian angel that day. I smelled her perfume in the car that morning and haven't smelled it since."—Marci, Pennsylvania, USA

Car submerged in water with onlookers and a rescue worker nearby
Rapideye / Getty Images

19."When I was about 23, my girlfriend and I had driven from Boston to Hartford to pick up our friend Neal. He was going to stay with us for a while until he got an apartment of his own. He was carrying a small pot in his hands, with an equally small cactus plant in it. On our drive home, Neal was in the backseat of my car. We approached an intersection near our place, on a divided highway with a light, which was green for me. I was going the speed limit (50mph in the left lane) and I suddenly knew I had to hit the brakes, HARD. I was almost in the middle intersection, my car spinning, when I saw another car come tearing through from the left, going at least 60, right in front of us. He quickly disappeared to the right, while our car came to rest facing the wrong way, against the right guard rail on the far side of the intersection. Neal was in the back, now holding his cactus’ root ball, with dirt from the pot everywhere."

"We went home, where we each had a drink that night, while I tried to explain that I just KNEW that I had to hit the brakes that night. It’s been almost 50 years and I can still remember everything about how that had happened."

—Stever, St. Paul, MN

20."After dropping my older child off at nursery school, I was returning home with my baby daughter in the back passenger side of the car in her car seat. I was still on 490 when I began to experience a feeling of disquiet, as if something was wrong, or there was something important I had forgotten. I puzzled over this weird feeling, while over the course of 5 to 6 minutes it became more and more intrusive and insistent as we approached the exit to get to our house. It was almost as if someone was tapping me on the shoulder, trying to get my attention. I didn't feel any physical sensation, it was just this ever-growing feeling that something was terribly wrong."

"I looked around and saw nothing of note, but the feeling was still increasing, like a mental scream that made no sound. By the time I approached a green light, the feeling was so overwhelming and urgent that I slammed on the brakes and yelled out loud, 'WHAT!?'...just as a car flew across the intersection right in front of me and through the red light that should have stopped it, at a speed much greater than the 30mph area we were in. It broadsided a school bus that was coming in the opposite lane of the street we were on. Fortunately, the kids had already been dropped at school, and the driver was untouched by the car ramming its back side.

I could see by the timing of the events that if I hadn't braked exactly when I did, I would have been part-way through that intersection right when he ran the light, and he would have hit the back passenger's side of my car where my baby was seated. I hadn't heard or seen anyone or anything, but I was positive that feeling was from something outside myself, intruding on my mind to such a point of urgency that it made me stop at a green light. I'm convinced it saved the life of my baby."

—Rochester, NY, USA

21."I’ve actually had more than one experience with this. The first was in 1992, as told by my dad. I was 6 months old and my parents had decided to take a little family trip up the mountain to Big Bear. One morning I was hangin in my playpen, which was positioned in front of the TV, asI was obsessed with Disney sing-a-longs. My dad said he heard a very loud voice urge him to rush out of bed and grab me. As soon as he lifted me out, a huge earthquake hit and the TV mounted above my playpen fell exactly where I'd been laying. If my dad hadn’t have gotten up at that exact moment, I probably wouldn’t be writing this now."

"The second was when I was in elementary school, in Brownies to be exact. We took a troop trip to the mountains. We were at a marina in Lake Arrowhead feeding some ducks. I was so caught up with throwing food to this one particular duck that I didn’t realize how close to the edge of the dock I was and fell into the water. It was wintertime and I was wearing several layers of clothes. I was so heavy and weighed down that I could barely get to the surface. I remember trying really, really hard to grab the edge of the dock, but I couldn’t hold myself up and the troop leaders weren’t strong enough to pull me out. Everything started to feel like slow motion, and the further down I kept sinking the more I felt like I wasn’t getting out of that water alive. Suddenly, some man dressed in a full-on suit, dress shoes, and sunglasses jumped into the lake and effortlessly pulled me out of the water. He never said a word to me, and when my troop leaders turned to thank him he had quite literally vanished as quickly as he had appeared. We were all absolutely shook."

—Anonymous

Person in a suit standing in the sea with a briefcase, facing away from the camera
Matt Henry Gunther / Getty Images

22.And finally, "My experiences are AS the third man. My whole life since I was very young, I’d have dreams of people I didn’t know. I would arrive when they were in danger or emotional crisis and be with them, warn them about something that was about to happen, or push them away from danger. Then, I’d wake up. I’ve met a few of the people I’ve helped in dreams in real life, years later. I would describe these events in detail, and they would confirm and say they felt like there was someone there with them."

"Reading this article is the first time I’ve heard of third man syndrome, and was astounded to hear it described."

—Anonymous

Thank you to everyone kind enough to share their stories! Have you ever had a "third man syndrome" experience like these? If so, I'd love if you'd tell us your story in the comments below or via this completely anonymous form.

Note: Submissions are edited for length and/or clarity.

If you enjoyed these stories, you can read even more of them here and here.