Before there was Whisper, there was a little blog called PostSecret, where people anonymously sent in their deepest and sometimes darkest secrets. Secrets were written on postcards, photographs, t-shirts and other often random materials, which were then compiled and sifted through. The most interesting ones were posted on the website by creator, Frank Warren, who launched the site back in 2005.
Like Whisper, some of these secrets were shocking, disturbing, sad or just completely enigmatic, but all were straight from the hearts of thousands of real people. Many deal with love, death, religion, drug abuse, adultery and even alleged crimes. There’s no telling what people will admit to next, but for over 10 years now, what started as a community art project has become so much more. Even though it’s not as popular as it used to be in the first few years of its incarnation, there have been six PostSecret books and over 700 million hits on the blog.
These 15 most shocking and cringe-worthy PostSecrets are guaranteed to hit you right in the gut and make you evaluate the secrets you might be keeping too.
15 Good riddance 2016
Pretty much everyone had a tumultuous 2016 and this PostSecret lays it all bare for the world to see. From the looks of it, this person is relatively young still since they only just “moved out on their own.” Undoubtedly, they were dealing with existing mental and emotional issues, hence the therapy and crippling anxiety. Since they canvassed for Bernie, the results of the presidential election probably didn’t help their emotional state either. Many people both in the US and abroad have experienced anxiety surrounding the election and continue to do so as Trump’s inauguration grows nearer.
What’s most disturbing about this secret is the hopelessness that comes through with every piece of their timeline. Even somewhat happy moments are tinged with darkness like “This year I was in my only sister’s wedding.” The fact that she mentions it’s her "only sister" makes it seem like she resents that fact. Not to mention the fact that she had a series of majorly stressful life events all within the course of a year: moving out, getting an abortion, losing a job. It’s quite sad that she resorted to prostitution to pay her bills, but to each their own.
14 Childhood prank gone horribly wrong
What kind of horrible person puts an actual spider in someone's bed? How sadistic. Most kids would put a toy spider or toy snake in their sibling's bed, but a real one? That's just crossing the line. What was this person thinking? How did they not think about the potential consequences of their actions? Hobo spiders may just be referred to as an “aggressive house spider,” but it’s no daddy longlegs. Those things are scary looking!
Good thing this person’s sister only lost a part of her leg and not the whole thing, but still. There are plenty of spiders out there whose bite could have done a lot worse, like kill her. At least they feel remorseful for what they did, but the only way to get over that horrible guilt is to fess up to the crime. Granted, their sister might never talk to them again, but at least it would relieve some of the weight from their shoulders. A PostSecret can only do so much for the conscience.
13 A mama's girl forever
It's so sad that someone has both lost all hope that their mother will recover from cancer and decided they can’t live without her. It’s never easy losing a loved one and mother-daughter relationships can be especially close (as we saw recently with the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds). Still, suicide isn’t the answer. This person writes “I hope there is an afterlife,” but what if there isn’t? What if they kill themselves and aren’t reunited with their mother? Some cultures believe that suicides remain trapped in limbo, on Earth, or go straight to a Hell-like place. What then?
Suicide also affects more than just the person who commits it. Other family members, friends and acquaintances will feel the pain of loss doubly hard by knowing that this person took their own life. Even if they do lose their mom, it’s likely their mother would have wanted them to go on living and thriving. If you or anyone is contemplating suicide, whatever your reason, know that you’re not alone. PostSecret works with HopeLine, a suicide hotline, specifically, because they get so many suicide-related posts. Things will and do get better.
12 Imaginary friends or aborted souls?
Abortion PostSecrets are also pretty common. This one is particularly gut-wrenching for its honesty and creepiness. Choosing to have an abortion can't be an easy decision to make. No matter how good you think your reason is for not bringing that life into the world, there has to be some level of doubt or curiosity about what could have been. What would that child be like if they were alive today? Did you really make the right decision?
Children are often more sensitive than adults give them credit for. Even if the ghosts of this woman’s aborted children aren’t actually haunting her, on some level her son must be aware of their prior existence. Perhaps the son created the imaginary friends not only for his own benefit, but for his mother’s too. Maybe he’s aware of the regret she feels, which has manifested itself in this way. Or perhaps, it is the souls of her dead children. Pro-lifers argue that a human life has a soul at conception, but there’s no real way of knowing that for sure or what happens to souls that are aborted before birth.
11 Revenge is a dish best-served cold
You wanted shocking? This PostSecret is shocking. Any way you look at it, this one is pretty messed up. Admitting to yourself that you were molested must be hard enough without having to tell another person about it. Many victims of abuse don’t come forward until years later or not at all. By the time they do, the statute of limitations has often run out, meaning their abuser goes unpunished.
It seems like this person decided to take matters into their own hands since they didn’t try to prosecute through the law. Since PostSecret is completely anonymous, there’s no way of knowing who this person is and if any of this is true. However, there’s something to be said for confessing your deepest, darkest secrets. It’s a means of catharsis, clearing the conscience and alleviating guilt. Hopefully, no one actually died in the making of this PostSecret, but the possibility is there.
10 Flirt and fail
What an awful teacher this person is! Holding a perfectly capable student back for a selfish, non-academic reason? It’s PostSecrets like these that make it hard to deal with the fact that they are completely anonymous. This person should be fired and the student they held back should be compensated in some way for having to repeat a grade. Undoubtedly, it affected his self-esteem and probably caused a whole host of behavioral and social problems in school.
The other potentially messed up part of this PostSecret lies in the picture used as the background. If that was this teacher’s class, then she’s teaching at a Catholic school and might actually be a nun. It says Sister Ethel on the blackboard. Hopefully, the image is just from a magazine or something. Otherwise, you’d think a student, another teacher, or parent would figure out whose secret this was based on the class.
9 Another suicidal soldier
Here’s another shocking and heartbreaking PostSecret about feeling suicidal—this time featuring a US soldier. So many young men and women joined the armed forces after 9/11 as a way of showing their patriotism, only to get killed, come back with missing limbs or take their own lives. In fact, a study by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) found that 20 veterans commit suicide per day.
It’s so awful that the members of our military don’t get the mental and emotional support they deserve. Half of new recruits don’t even know how to use a gun when they enter the army, yet they are expected to learn and use deadly force when necessary. Taking a life, whether for your country or not, takes its toll.
8 Hair fetish
How's this for a PostSecret worthy of being made into a horror movie? Can you imagine leaving your child with a babysitter, completely trusting them and then finding out they do something like this? What kind of person sneaks into a child’s room while they’re sleeping and cuts a piece of their hair? What do they even do with the hair? Put it in an envelope and label it with the child’s name and age? That’s some serial killer level stuff right there. Collecting parts of a person, something that once belonged to them, or on them? Yeah, we’ll pass.
What happens if the child wakes up while they’re doing it? What possible explanation could they have given that wouldn’t scare the crap out of a kid? Maybe, "I’m taking some of your hair for a science experiment?' That might work for really young kids, but it probably wouldn’t convince an older kid who knows all about stranger danger and inappropriate touching.
7 Disgruntled much?
Wow, just...wow. How much do you have to hate someone before you’re willing to let them get sick with Salmonella? Food poisoning is no picnic, but can you imagine an entire office sick with it? Seems like that would be a terrible time for everyone, even those not infected. There are only so many stalls in the washroom. Imagine having to go in there after not one, but several people have had diarrhea. It’s enough to make you want to vomit all over yourself.
The other question is, how did this person even know that it was recalled? They obviously must have seen a news story about it and then went to go check the peanut butter at home and at work. That’s the kind of thing that’ll give you bad karma, no doubt about it.
6 Trained con artist
How does something like this even happen? Wouldn’t the other passengers have noticed some random person running up to the crash site, clearly out of breath and not from the train? You would think there would be some kind of guidelines to prevent something like this from even being possible. Oh wait, there is. How about showing proof of purchase of a train ticket!
This person obviously had some experience with a group injury claim before or was aware of how much they could get from a settlement. Otherwise, why take the risk and potentially get caught? A fraud conviction for that amount of money could land the person in jail or leave them with a hefty fine. Maybe this is something they do for fun—rack up personal injury claims and then take an exotic vacation with their settlement money. There’s nothing better than basking in the sun with a cold drink in hand on another person’s dime.
5 Repeat baby killer
So many questions come to mind after reading this shocking PostSecret. How could anyone be that horribly selfish? How could a person murder their own child? How did the person who wrote the PostSecret know what the mother really did? It’s time to play detective here.
Coroner’s reports are usually only released to a person’s next of kin. Either the mother requested a report, or someone else in the family did and showed it to the person who wrote this PostSecret. It’s very likely that the PostSecret confessor was a family member then, especially if they knew how she killed the baby and that it had been done before. They could have also been a former boyfriend or close friend she confided in. Whatever their relation, shame on them for not coming forward. If she’s done it more than once already, what makes them think she won’t do it again? Someone needs to stop this person from getting pregnant ASAP and put her in jail.
4 Grandma got runover by a reindeer
Talk about cringe-worthy. It’s so awful that there are parents out there who make their children feel like less than a person and disown them for whatever reason they deem appropriate. When someone makes a mistake or doesn’t live up to your expectations, you can’t just throw them away, especially if they’re your child. Children need love and acceptance so they can thrive and grow. You wouldn’t yell at a rose for not being a sunflower, would you?
This PostSecret is pretty sad, but if its creator really felt like their mother would be a bad influence on her grandchild, then who can blame her? Better to save her from the pain than expose her to the misery. Still, the child will never know her grandmother. What if the grandmother had wanted to know her grandchild and wouldn’t have treated her in the same way she treated her own child? Guess she kind of lost out on that privilege when she disowned her daughter.
3 That isn't mom in there
Yikes. Someone’s obviously holding a grudge here. It's strange to think the ashes in someone’s urn are no more than crushed up concrete and pain relievers. Better do a DNA test on any ashes you might have lying around now. How awkward. We wonder what the person did to deserve such contempt?
It’s not clear who exactly these ashes belonged to, only that she was a female, but it had to be a family member or significant other receiving the ashes. Perhaps they were supposed to go to her husband after her death, but no one in her family liked him for whatever reason. Or maybe they were a mother’s ashes and this was one sibling’s revenge on another for never showing their mom the respect she deserved. The biggest question here is how the person who wrote the PostSecret explain the urn they had in their living room. Did they tell everyone it was their dead dog Spot or something?
2 Buyer's remorse
Okay, this PostSecret is kind of infuriating. Gettin’ freaky involves two people, not just one. That means both people have to pull their weight to make it good. If this person just expected her guy to figure it out without any input from her, she was sadly mistaken. Unless he’s determined to rock her world, he’s probably just out for himself. And if he was never with anyone but her, how is he supposed to know what works and what doesn’t unless she says something about it?
If your man isn’t doing what you want, tell him! Put his hand where you want it to go. Use your words. Say, "that feels good," or "that doesn’t feel good." Maybe introduce some toys into your fun? There are so many things you can do to improve your time in the bedroom, but it all boils down to communication. This woman’s dissatisfaction is her own damn fault. She can’t just blame it on her husband, especially after 25 damn years. Take some responsibility here.
1 Guilty, but not charged
What an awful secret to have. How does the guilt not eat away at this person? Watching someone go to prison for something you did? It just isn’t right. Maybe the other person took the fall to protect them. Perhaps it was a parent taking the blame for something their child did. Or maybe a man confessing to something the woman they loved did. In that sense, it may have seemed like a noble cause, but 11 years is a long time to go to jail for someone else’s crimes.
There are definitely other possible scenarios, like someone was wrongly accused and the person who wrote this PostSecret didn’t come forward to correct them. Or the person in jail could have been framed for one reason or another. There are so many possibilities! This is what makes PostSecret so interesting.