32 People Share Extremely Rare Things That They’ve Witnessed In Person

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We've all been the only witness to something happening at one point. But most of these times are so insignificant or common, we don't even realize it. A leaf falling from that specific tree, water running down your windshield, your kitten doing a flip midair in your living room. While it's beautiful and interesting, our brain just doesn't bother to give it any significance.

On the other end of the spectrum are the things all people would recognize as next to impossible to see with your own eyes. Reddit user just__Steve asked people if they've ever seen anything they instantly realized was extremely rare. While they might not have been the only people witnessing the events, they sure were entranced by what was happening before their eyes.

From celestial events to a mama whale and her calf swimming in to say hi in the middle of the ocean, users shared truly captivating things they were lucky to be observers of. Bored Panda selected the most interesting accounts of things that most of us will probably never get to see in real life. But that's what makes them rare, and for some stories, we'd like it to stay that way.


I saw a woman slip on a banana peel.

Image credits: Mighty_Cunnus


I was swimming in the Pacific when four dolphins swam up to me, danced in circles, and swam between my legs. When they got close again I noticed one of the four looked more like a baby orca, that was a bright indigo color with a very tall dorsal fin. It barely looked real! I pet them all and they swam off to play in the waves.

It was the most magical moment of my life.

Image credits: Emergent-Sea


I saw someone take off their cap and stamp on it like they do in cartoons

Image credits: SmoulderingTamale


Back in the 1980s, I was on a plane and saw the space shuttle being carried piggyback on another plane.

Image credits: klenow


I lived on a sailboat off of Mexico. One day day this huge item floated under the water. It was longer than the 44' sailboat. Then it breathed and we could tell what it was. It was a mom and baby blue whale. They kinda hung out near us, Ithink mom was explaining what a boat was ..

Image credits: OneTrueHutch


Ball of lightning, God that s**t is bizarre. I was 14 and I just saw it going down some train tracks. After it disappeared there was this loud boom and I'm not sure if it exploded or made contact with something or someone

Image credits: anon


I saw a wheel come loose off a van as it attempted a right hand turn. The wheel rolled through traffic into the open bay of a tire store across the street. One in a million odds. I was on a train and nobody else in the train car saw it happen.

Image credits: dipper1985


remember in pirates of the Caribbean, they talk about "the green flash at dusk". yeah its a real meteorological phenomenon

saw it once while out to sea in the navy.

Image credits: rocket___goblin


I saw a grizzly bear and a wolf feed on the same bison carcass at the same time in Yellowstone.

Image credits: bacon-enthusiasm


My grandfather took me to the hockey game where Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk had his carotid artery cut and his jugular vein partially sliced by an errant hockey skate. He was bleeding out on the ice in front of our eyes. The Sabres trainer, who had been a US Army combat medic in Viet Nam, knew to reach in the wound and pinch off the artery to save his life.


Jul 2011

I say to my wife the international space station is going over tonight, it's a clear sky, and we agree to pop out to the country where there is less light pollution and take the kids who were 12 and 8.

We park in a field gate and the youngest boy sees it first

We watch and it goes overhead... and then splits in two.

We watch it, I am thinking has it broken up or something?, the two parts slowly move apart.

We are puzzled, I drive home and thinking any disaster would be on the news, so I watch that.

Turns out, the final shuttle mission had just been completed and we had watched shuttle Atlantis depart the ISS for the final time.

Image credits: plentyofeight


I saw Niagara Falls mostly frozen over in Feb 2015! It was eerily quiet.

Image credits: MeowP1ka


In 1974 I was living in Delray Beach and I was hanging out at the back door looking out talking to my sister who lived in Illinois. All the sudden there was a huge ball of Fire in the Sky and I told her I thought an airplane head just exploded over the West Palm Beach airport. Later watching the news I learned that it was a meteor that had fallen into Lake Okeechobee.

Image credits: anon


Saw two turtle doves fly into each other head on.

Image credits: Boesman1


Actually saw a tree fall in the forest onto the trail ahead of us as we were hiking in a national park.

Image credits: traveler45246


Northern lights near my house. It usually doesn't happen that far south.

Image credits: AnnualDocument7890


Fire rainbows are pretty rare, mostly just drenching a corner of a cloud in colors. One day at an airshow, my Dad and I as well as about 50 other people witnessed the most extravagant color show I've ever seen.

Fire rainbows were in half the sky it was the most beautiful natural event I've ever seen.

Image credits: Voidmaster05


My friend and I have the same birthday. One day at work, (it was a Friday), we got on an elevator. There were three other guys on it. One says to the others “big day tomorrow”. I asked what the occasion was. The guy say, it’s our birthday tomorrow. All three of us. I said crazy man, but you know tomorrow is my birthday and my friends birthday as well. We all got our DL’s out and compared and yup, 5 semi random guys on an elevator all had the same birthday. I think the odds are (1/365)^4 or 1:17.8B if the fact that it was the next day isn’t significant.


I saw a fish fall out of the sky during a particularly rainy day. Hit the ground and got swept into the gutter.

Image credits: chdeal713


Huge section of cliff falling into the Gallatin River. Easily the size of a football field came down all at once.

Image credits: Hotspur2924


I witnessed the effects of the coronal mass ejection in March 1989. I was driving home on the west end of Prince Edward Island Canada. There was plenty of snow on the ground still. I stopped at a stop sign on a slight rise of a hill and while stopped I noticed the snow was glittering in weird very vibrant colours. This slight rise was in an area with no trees in sight. I could see the horizon 360 degrees. From the north horizon I noticed a waterfall of colour flowing across the night sky from north to south. It flowed quickly like a fast flowing river and it encompassed the entire sky from horizon to horizon. It was absolutely astonishing. It lasted hours and I watched it for quite a few of them. Even with today's CGI I have not seen anything that compares to that night.

Image credits: Ibmeister


1996 Maldives

I am sat in the bar, alone drinking a cocktail and enjoying the view over the flat calm lagoon.

The bar juts out into the lagoon, so it it surrounded by water apart from a little bit joining it to the island.

Suddenly a small fish jumps out of the water. Then it jumps again but higher, and then a 3rd time a little higher still.

It takes the 4th jump at about 90 degrees to the other three... and then a f**k off big fish with teeth and everything jumps out of the water and catches it in the air.

Then the lagoon went back to flat calm.


In South Africa thunder storms are quite common, but they were always the usual sheet or fork lightning, nothing special.

The one time there were these strange looking storm clouds very high up above us (much higher than regular storm/thunder clouds) and the lightning was these slow moving bolts (think of a short laser beam of lightning) shooting between these clouds.

It was the wackiest thing I ever saw…


Flying to Reno back in the 90's. There was this awesome comet that turned out to have a bigger display than people predicted (I forget which comet it was, winter of 96 or 97).

anyway - looked out the window. Clear sky, full moon lighting up the mountains, and this big a*s comet hanging below the moon. It was awesome.

Image credits: Squigglepig52


Saw a manta ray leap out of the water and over a family playing in the water just off the coast of South Carolina. It didn’t make a sound or as much as a splash. I was pretty young but remember it as clear as yesterday. One of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. Also quite amazing how big those things are.


Was camping in Algonquin Park up in Canada w/my ex who had camped there 9 years in a row. We are sitting by the fire and suddenly a HUGE grey wolf comes running silently between the fire and our tent - within five feet of us. We both just froze and I looked at him and said "was that...?" and he said "yup." The wolf paid zero attention to us and by the time my ex got up to get the camera, wolfie was long gone. it was quite humbling and amazing.

I also saw the bioluminescent algae in Northern Cali; it was so cool, i could see all the fish and other sea life darting around under the water leaving trails and we ran on the wet sand, making glowing footprints. Pretty magical, wish it was with someone other than the d******d i was with lol


Well, several years ago there were some solar flares hitting earth. I live in southern Maine. It was dark,and my husband drove up and told me to go outside. We lay in the grass and watched a tremendously beautiful light show in the sky. It was like being on acid, which we were not. The sky was just split into beautiful patterns in pink. I have seen the aurora borealis, and this was it on steroids. Absolutely stunning. Wish we had videoed it, but cellphones did not have good cameras. Our neighbor was outside as well.


On vacation with my parents in 1969 we saw the water flow at the American side of Niagara Falls stopped. Bone dry.and with boulders bigger than houses.


My older cousin was teaching me and my younger cousin how to play poker. My younger cousin had four out of five cards for a royal straight flush. My older cousin told him not to draw more cards because the chances of getting a royal straight flush was pretty much impossible and was imploring him not to do it. My younger cousin did it anyways and got a f*****g royal straight flush!

We all lost our minds and laugh about it 15 years later as adults.


Halley's comet in 1986. Lots of people saw it.. But it is still rare. 11 year old me took a tent and camped out by a local dam with friends. Clear night and got a great look at it.


I saw someone drive off with the nozzle from the gas pump. It triggered the fire suppression system and everything looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man exploded.


Red lightning, it's rare to see from the ground since it usually goes up from the top of the storm and even then it only makes up 1/100 bolts.

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