It's tough to pass on the opportunity to look into someone's treasure trove of secrets. Sometimes it's harmless curiosity, sometimes it's a straight-up invasion of privacy. Either way, we all long to make windows into mens' souls every now and then.
But these Quorans learned the hard way that sometimes you get more than you bargained for when you go digging for secrets.
Let us know in the comments: what's the craziest thing you discovered by snooping or eavesdropping?
1. Listeners never hear any good.
During the second year of my marriage, I overheard my grandmother — my mother’s mother — talking to one of my aunts about my wife and our then-newborn daughter Elizabeth. Specifically, my grandmother was talking about how I had shamed the family by marrying a Black woman and having a mixed child.
I never confronted her, but after that, and until the day she died thirteen years later, I never willingly associated with her again. Neither did my mother, for that matter. And I found out second-hand that she would similarly talk about my other children like that. Amanda, being lighter skinned than her older sister, was “the mulatto baby.” Zachary and Jennifer, whose skin is naturally almost as light as mine, were apparently “passing for white.”
I’m sort of ashamed that I hated her after that. All during my childhood I had loved her, and I never saw a single indication that she was such a racist. But apparently she was.
2. I would have followed up.
When I was 13, I was snooping in my mom's drawers while she was at work. I found a photocopy of a letter to my grandmother from my dad's new wife. The letter stated that three of the four children born in the marriage did not belong to my father. She was attempting to defend his not paying child support. I was devastated and also felt totally betrayed. I never discussed the letter or its contents with anyone. I am now 57 and can still remember the effect it had on me.
I was 18 at the time, and had gone through my life quite normally. I had an average family with two married parents, a brother and a sister; I played soccer; I went to school and got good grades; I was applying to med school.
Throughout my life I had no clue that there was anything strange about my family except that my parents were a little older than average compared to my friends. (When I was 18, they were 60 and 63.)
So, one night I was in my room with my girlfriend at the time and we decided to snoop around the cupboards and drawers a little. Right at the back of one cupboard, we found a small, very old shoe-box. Inside there were documents like my sister’s old school reports and my paternal grandfather’s death certificate. Then I saw a birth certificate with my name on it.
I saw the first name ‘Kieran’. Then the surname ‘Knox’, with the date of birth the same as my own. Everything matched except the surname - my own surname ‘Doran’ switched out with the name ‘Knox’. I glanced at my girlfriend in absolute bewilderment. She had a look on her face like I'd never seen, but I still didn't know what was going on.
My mind took a long time to process it, before which I had rushed downstairs to my mother and handed her the certificate, asking, “What is this?”
She instantly began sobbing and said that she was sorry for not telling me sooner, and that I was actually adopted! Then she and my father explained that I was taken from two heroin addicts, my birth parents, who were 18 when they had me. My adoptive parents won a court battle to take custody of me. I was originally placed in care with them and they grew to love me so much that they wanted to adopt me, but had to go to court as they were over 40 at the time.
After hearing a summary of this from my sobbing mother and distraught father, I also started sobbing and ran upstairs into the arms of my then-girlfriend. It took me around a week to process the information, and for that week I was very upset and battling an identity crisis.
But after that, and now, I know I am no less loved by my adoptive parents than by any biological parent and their child. And I love and appreciate them more than words could describe. I have briefly spoken to my birth parents, and they are still battling their addictions and demons. I feel sorry for them and definitely don't feel any spite.
But in my instance, I at least like to think the system worked! Adoption can be a life-saver - I can only imagine the horror my life would be if I wasn't saved by it.
3. Enema of the people.
My girlfriend had left an enema bottle under the sink.
So rather than ignore it. Of course I put a note right next to it, saying, “I know what you’re doing.”
A few months later, I heard her laughing in the bathroom.
“You are such a moron.”
4. You were asking for it...
When I was about 16, I went snooping on the family computer.
I decided to see what kinds of music my little brother had in his folder because screw that guy, I knew he was stealing my music, too. We were at war.
So I found my brother had created this tunnel of a folder inside a folder inside a folder and I thought, “Hmmm, what am I going to find at the end of this? It better be messed up for him make this many folders.”
So I followed the yellow brick road - knowing full well that I'd find something weird at the end. There was an ominous feeling to it all that prompted me on.
When I finally reached the final boss folder, I found his stash of… *drumroll* Dragon Ball Z porn.
I saw all of my favourite Dragon Ball Z characters in an array of different and delightful naughty positions.
So that was a pretty surprising discovery.
Naturally, I copied and pasted the entire folder into my own so that I could have a proper perv later on.
When he found out I had seen them, he had no shame at all and we even went through them image by image laughing ourselves silly.
5. Curiosity kills more than cats.
When I was thirteen, the only computer (a C128 for those old enough to remember how amazing they were in the late 80s) in the house was in my parents’ bedroom. We were free to use it during the day and evening, which was exactly what I was doing one afternoon — using the word processor to type up a school assignment.
I was working away when I dropped my pen and it rolled under the bed. I followed, and had to climb halfway under it to reach the pen —which is when I noticed there was a book hidden under the bed.
As a book-loving nerd from way back, I was instantly fascinated. I’d never seen either of my parents read anything other than the newspaper (dad) or picture books to us kids (mum). Why would they have a book under their bed?
And that, my friends, is when I discovered their very well-worn copy of The Joy of Sex.
As an 8-year-old, I was playing marbles on the wooden floor in my bedroom. One of my marbles rolled into my parents’ room and under a hump in their area rug. I reached my small hand under the rug and pulled out a wad of money so big I had to hold it with both hands.
My parents were downstairs, and I jumped down the steps to show them what I’d found, thinking that this would make them happy. Thus began one of the worst days of my life.
When he saw the money, my father admitted to my mother that he was saving it so he could afford to leave her and his four children.
He took the money and walked out the front door. My mother and our lives changed forever. While I know that this outcome was inevitable, I still feel like I caused my family pain. My mother did not deserve this.
6. Knowledge can hurt.
During my divorce, in a legal process called ‘discovery’, I got my soon-to-be ex’s bank statements. I noticed that she had charged her card in a city a few hours north of our home.
She was unfaithful to our marriage vows long before that. She didn't cherish, nor love, nor provide, nor support emotionally; it was a marriage of convenience for her.
The discovery of her infidelity tarnished the honor of the faith I kept til the bitter end of our 23 year marriage. At that point, in that moment, I knew I had accomplished nothing. The past 23 years did not exist except for the fantasy that I was a husband. I was not. I was nothing more than a roommate, a place holder, in her life.
What I found that day erased the meaning of my life. I wish I never knew.
7. Off the cuff.
I was helping my best friend pack. He and his wife were moving to a new house.
His wife was a fairly introverted woman, riddled with insecurity and anxiety. She just seemed to lack confidence, and I worried that she didn’t take care of herself.
My friend asked me to clean out the closet in the guest bedroom. As I was pulling things off the shelf, an “avalanche” of things fell on my head and photographs scattered all over the floor. I bent down to pick them up and there was his wife. Stark naked, wearing a pair of handcuffs, and grinning.
I was shocked to see this. My wife, sensing something unusual, leaned over to look. Every photo in the whole pile had scenes similar to the one I first saw.
We grinned at each other, grabbed an envelope and put the photos in it. My wife gave them to my friend and asked him if he had a place for photos as this envelope was in the cupboard. He asked what they were and, not wishing to embarrass him, she told him she didn't know.
He opened the envelope, flipped through the pictures and a grin spread across his face. Not wishing to let on that I had seen them, I casually asked him what they were. He responded “For my eyes only, buddy…”
I never looked at his wife the same way again. The image of her, standing there with her and grinning while wearing a pair of handcuffs, was just too disturbing.
8. Antisocial media.
When my ex walked out and took my kids from me, I only found out she wasn't coming back after I saw her Facebook messages.
I didn't snoop, exactly. See, we shared a computer and she left her Facebook logged in. After she left, telling me she was only going to be gone a couple weeks to help a sick family member, she didn't return to give me rent money for our apartment.
I had a job, but had only just started, so I didn't have much money. She had received her pay check that day and was supposed to cash it, then bring the money to me before she left the state for those couple weeks. She didn't come back with the money.
I tried calling her, but it kept going to voicemail. I tried every few minutes for the next couple hours, but had no luck reaching her. I knew she was with someone that had come up to get her, but I didn't have their number. I figured someone on Facebook had it, and I was friends with her friends on there, so I went to the computer.
I went to Facebook and saw that she was still fully logged in. I figured, “This'll work. I can message her friends on here under her name to see if they have any information or phone numbers.” I thought maybe since she left the state that her phone had stopped working. So I clicked over to her messages, and that's when I found out the truth.
She had been talking to her ex, telling him she was leaving me for him and she'd be there soon so they could start their life together and he could raise “her” kids with her and play house.
I was at a loss. I broke down after a few minutes of reading their exchange. I messaged one of her friends to call me. Reluctantly, she eventually did. We talked for a few minutes but she refused to tell me anything, even though I knew she knew everything that was going on.
It wasn't something I was prepared for. It wasn't something I was seeking to find. It was an innocent attempt to make sure she and my kids were okay that turned into a nearly decade-long failed battle to regain any sort of custody over my children.
I haven't seen or spoken to her or my kids since 2013, and that was the first time seeing them since she left in 2009.
It seems like most of these stories involve a picture.
Mine is no different. Except, perhaps—a little more unsettling.
When my grandpa died, my grandma needed help going through his things. She decided that whatever clothing the men in the family didn’t want, she would donate to the local Goodwill.
As I was going through his dresser, I found a picture of my grandma—in the buff. This wasn’t a picture from her younger years either; it looked to me like it could have been taken last week!
I was so startled that I threw the picture back in the drawer and went to the bathroom to collect myself.
When I came back in the room, I opened the drawer to find it completely empty. I asked my brother where all the stuff went and he goes “Oh, I threw it over there in the donation box.”
I rummaged through the box for a while and never found the picture. My hope is that my brother gave it to my grandma or she found it herself and put it away. If not, some poor soul at Goodwill will never be the same.
10. Analyze that.
I was married, and my wife and I were in our mid twenties. She had sort of a long family history of going to therapy, to the point that she and all of her siblings had gone during their teen years for some reason or another.
So when our marriage started to hiccup, we were off to marriage counselling.
After our first meeting, one counsellor told me he was making an appointment for me in about six weeks, but was going to see my wife twice a week until then. After a few weeks, I saw some index cards in her handwriting tucked away with her notes for therapy, so I snooped. The first one I looked at said;
“I aborted his first child. He does not know this.”
I will see those words in my mind until the day I die.
11. What a coincidence.
I once found proof that I was being stalked by a guy long before I began dating him. I found my hair, some of my jewelry, pieces of my mail, a package of mine that he stole that I had to get refunded, and a bunch of things pertaining to me in a dresser drawer in his bedroom.
It creeped me out and made me very aware that our meeting and all of our “random” run-ins were no accident. In hindsight, I know avoiding him afterwards was the right decision, but that life event impacted me in a bad way moving forward.
Answers edited for clarity.