Urban legends seem like they are made up to make us stay away from strangers or scary places. Yet, the truth is actually stranger than fiction. Read through these creepy urban legends that are based on reality. You might never want to leave your house again or search it completely for the person living in your attic.
Hinterkaifeck: Was There a Killer in the Attic?
As the legend goes, someone was living in the attic of a German family’s home, unbeknownst to them. Inexplicable events began to occur in the home. Stuff went missing. Mysterious footsteps are heard at odd hours. Then before the family knew it, they were all brutally murdered.
What Really Happened?
Andreas Gruber, his wife, daughter, and granddaughter were each lured into their family barn and killed. Gruber’s infant grandson and the new maid were found killed inside the house. The bodies were found after the Gruber family wasn’t heard from in days (it was a small town).
The murder weapon was not found and authorities found that the chimney and kitchen had been used since the family’s collective death. Police at first suspected robbery as the motive, but ruled out that possibility after large amounts of money were found in the home. To this day, the murder remains unsolved.
They Say That Pigs Will Eat Anything
“We’ll feed ’em to the pigs!” This is a common threat in horror films and among bad guys alike. In the movies, they usually tie up the victim to a chair and let the pigs have their way with the victim―dead or alive. But do pigs really eat humans?
It doesn’t seem possible since pigs can be domesticated and contained on a farm. Many people say that pigs will eat anything, but we’re sure that whenever someone says that they’re not referring to humans! But you’d be surprised at what these animals are actually capable of…
Farmer Eaten by His Own Pigs
In 2012, Oregon farmer Terry Vance Garner went to feed his pigs but never returned. When family became concerned and looked for him, all that was left in the pig pen were his dentures. Apparently, the 69-year-old farmer was eaten by his own pigs. Garner raised hogs to breed piglets that he could sell.
According to his family, Garner was once bitten by one of the pigs who thought he was going to harm her piglets. Garner decided against killing the animal after that incident. Forensic specialists determine that Garner somehow collapsed and died, leaving the pigs to take advantage of his remains.
Hell Hath No Fury Like a Man Scorned?
Man’s best friend is not supposed to be one of man’s best meals! According to some, if you upset an ex enough, they might do something psychotic to seek revenge for breaking their heart. But other than murder, how terrible can an ex’s revenge get?
You’d be surprised at the full-on creepy ways that some people have exacted their revenge on their ex-lovers! So much so, in fact, that you may not even be prepared for the next urban legend because it did actually happen. Brace yourselves for the worst thing anyone could have ever done to a pet.
Probably One of the Worst Crimes Ever
Ryan Watenpaugh, a 34-year-old from California, has been known to assault his ex-girlfriend. The two split up and after some time, reconciled, but Watenpaugh had other plans for getting back together. Around the same time that his ex-girlfriend’s Pomeranian named Bear went missing, Watenpaugh served his ex-girlfriend a meal, telling her it was pork. The following morning, she received a series of texts from Watenpaugh asking her how her dog tasted! She later found Bear’s severed paws on her doorstep. Watenpaugh was arrested for animal cruelty, domestic violence, stalking and false imprisonment. Never trust an ex!
The Legend of Charlie No-Face
There is an urban legend that started in Pennsylvania about Charlie No-Face. According to the legend, when Charlie was a boy there was a bird’s nest that he wanted to see into. He climbed a telephone pole in order to achieve that but unfortunately shocked himself during the endeavor. Upon falling to the ground, Charlie lost his major facial features, an ear, and an arm. He was also known as the “Green Man” because his skin was allegedly green in color from the electric shock. Because of his condition, he only came out at night.
Raymond Robinson’s Unfortunate Accident
As it turns out, the story is somewhat true. Nine-year-old Raymond Robinson was playing on the Morado Bridge, which carried a trolley and electrical lines of both 1,200 volts and 22,000 volts. Robinson was electrocuted on the bridge and survived, but was severely disfigured as a result.
Having lost his eyes, nose, and right arm, Robinson took to long nighttime walks along State Route 351 since he couldn’t be in public without causing fear. In his later life, he made doormats, wallets, and belts to sell while living with relatives. He used a walking stick for his nightly walks, which were discontinued in his old age, especially after being struck by cars on more than one occasion.
A Strange Stalker Text
It’s probably everyone’s worst fear when they’re at home, especially if they were alone. Imagine getting a message or a call from an unknown number that says they’re watching you! You look around the house but there are no possible suspects for why this is happening or who may be watching you—if it is even true.
Either way, just knowing that someone might be out there stalking you is enough to instill fear about being by yourself at your house. What would you do if you were in that situation? Would you brush it off or would you be terrified?
Don’t Look under the Bed
Well, this actually happened to a 16-year-old girl in 2014. She was in her bedroom when she got a text saying, “I’m watching you.” The stalker also told her that he was watching her from near her house and he also threatened to hang himself outside of her window.
She was so frightened, she spent the night in her mom’s room. When she returned to her own room, she noticed things that were out of place which caused her to look under her bed. There, she found her stalker who was fast asleep! The 18-year-old stalker had no prior criminal record but was given a 12-week sentence.
Something Sounds Strange
You’d think that your bodily orifices are safe from any danger. If you felt something out of place, you’d quickly do something about and see a doctor. But nothing terrible could really happen because, after all, our bodies are made in a way to keep foreign objects out.
Well, you’d be surprised about some of the bodily horror stories that are out there. There are some legends that say other forms of life can make a home out of your body and start living there. This next story is one such case.
Maggots on the Mind
In 2013, 27-year-old Rochelle Harris returned home to the U.K. from a trip to Peru. Upon arriving home, she suffered from headaches that eventually turned to facial pain and weird noises in her ear. She went to have it checked and doctors made a harrowing discovery: there were maggots living in her ear. A family of eight maggots were inside Rochelle’s ear canal and feasting on her flesh.
The further doctors tried to dig to get them out, the deeper they burrowed in Rochelle’s head. After surgery, doctors were able to remove all the maggots, which had come from an egg laid by a New World Army Screw Fly. Had doctors not done anything sooner, Rochelle could have faced serious consequences, but luckily she survived.
Being Cooked Alive
This next urban legend seriously sounds like a tall tale. Only in fairy tales to people get trapped in ovens and cooked alive. Or in stories with evil supervillains. Either way, you’ve probably never heard of someone actually being cooked alive, have you?
But you’d be surprised at some of the horrible tragedies that befall some people in the world. This next tale is one of those wrong place, wrong time kind of deals. But the tragedy is made even worse when it was inflicted on an old man by his soon-to-be son-in-law!
Man Gets Trapped in Factory Oven
In 2013, Alan Catterall was cleaning the inside of the industrial oven at a kayak factory after it was facing some operational problems. While in there, his co-worker and future son-in-law Mark Francis, came along and switched the oven’s power on without checking inside.
Switching the oven on causes the oven doors to shut and lock from the outside. Soon, the oven started to heat up and it could reach up to 536° Fahrenheit. Nobody knew Catterall was in the oven and he ended up suffering severe burns before dying of shock. Based on the evidence, Catterall tried to break out of the oven with a crowbar to no avail.
The Atomic Wedgie Death
We’ve all heard of atomic wedgies, but just how atomic can they be? Are they actually fatal? Anyone on your elementary school playground will tell you that yes, you can die from an atomic wedgie but no one will actually have the guts to prove it.
Then you move on to middle school and wedgies become a threat of the past. Nobody talks about them anymore because they are too cool for elementary school fodder. But what if someone utilized these elementary scare tactics in adult life? Well one guy actually did and the results were fatal.
Man Guilty of Manslaughter
In 2015, 34-year-old Brad Davis of Oklahoma was arrested after killing his step-father. The former Marine allegedly gave Denver St. Clair an atomic wedgie so intense, that the underwear was pulled up over his head and around his neck. St. Clair’s air supply was cut off as a result and Davis knocked him out, leading to his death.
Davis’s attorney claimed that his client was defending himself against St. Clair, who bullied Davis his entire life. Talk about a dislike of step-parents! Davis was charged with first-degree murder and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
A Silent Murder
Imagine being murdered and the culprit getting away with it. It would have to happen quietly, in an area where there are no people around. That is why the forgotten corners of the school library would be the ideal spot for a killer to make his move.
According to a legend at Penn State, this is exactly how one girl died in the library. Many believe that ghosts are to blame for the death of the girl and while that is highly unlikely, it is a good guess since the girl’s murder is a complete mystery.
Penn State Tall Tales
The Penn State legend is also a true story. In 1969, 22-year-old Betsy Aardsma was in the library working on a paper. Later that night, she was found collapsed onto the ground. Two unidentified men told the library clerk that “someone better go help that girl,” before they left and were never seen again.
At first, people believed that Aardsma suffered a seizure since there was no blood and she was wearing red. But an autopsy found that Aardsma was stabbed in the chest, probably from behind as there were no defensive wounds on her hands or arms. Since there was no supporting evidence to the case, it remains unsolved to this very day.
The Body Collector
There is a Russian legend about a man named The Collector. What does The Collector collect? Supposedly he keeps body parts in mason jars that he displays all around his house. It is said that he cultivates these body parts from dead bodies or worse—he kills people and then he harvests their body parts.
If this sounds pretty disturbing to you, then you might be shocked to hear that this is actually somewhat a true story. But the real story about The Collector is even worse than the urban legend that is made up about him.
The “Dolls” in His House
In 2011, a Russian man named Anatoly Moskvin earned a reputation as a grave robber after he was arrested. Described as a ‘genius’ by those who knew him—he was a historian who could speak 13 languages—he was also a recluse with weird habits.
He was arrested after authorities found 29 dead female bodies dressed up as dolls and displayed throughout his house. The bodies were exhumed from local cemeteries and Moskvin was only caught after authorities went on an investigation of desecrated graves. We can’t say why he did or what he did with them, but this story is wrong on so many levels.
The Legend of the Dog Boy
In a state like Arkansas, with its swamps and other forestry, there are bound to be urban legends and ghost tales to scare everyone. One of the most popular urban legends out of Arkansas is the one about The Dog Boy.
Rumor has it that there was a boy who tortured local animals in his neighborhood—primarily dogs and cats. Strange noises would be heard from the house that he lived in. Not only did people say that he would bark and act aggressive like a dog, but he also allegedly had paranormal powers. So what’s the real truth behind this urban legend?
The Evil Bettis Boy
Gerald Floyd Bettis was born in 1954 and lived in Cleburne Country, Arkansas. He reportedly collected stray cats and dogs around his neighborhood in order to torture them. Neighbors would be able to hear to hear howls from the innocent animals from inside the house. But the animals weren’t Bettis’s only victims. He also kept his own aging parents as prisoners in their home as he grew older.
They stayed upstairs and Bettis would only feed them when he decided they should eat. Bettis even threw his 70-year-old father out the window and left him hanging for dear life on the ledge of the house, after having already broken his mother’s hip. Eventually, they were removed from his care and Bettis left, but their family home is now haunted.
The Boogeyman is an urban legend that probably everybody knows about. But did you know that there are different iterations of him depending on where you’re from. Our next urban legend comes out of New York City, where in the ’70s and ’80s, children were warned of the Cropsey Boogeyman of Staten Island.
The Cropsey Boogeyman is said to have kidnapped children and, well, the rest is undetermined. But kids knew that they wouldn’t ever want to cross paths with this guy. While people believed that this was just a scary story to keep kids from going into the woods, there is actually a dark truth behind the tale…
This Boogeyman Was Real
Andre Rand, who was born as Frank Rushan, is the man responsible for the Cropsey kidnappings. In the ’60s Rand worked as a custodian at the Willowbrook State School, a hospital that was located on Staten Island and surrounded by a forest called the Greenbelt. Prior to his conviction for kidnapping and murder, Rand served ten months in jail for taking a group of children to the airport without their parent’s consent.
Throughout the ’70s and ’80s a number of people—primarily young girls—were reported missing. Rand was charged with the kidnapping and murder of a girl with Down Syndrome and it was believed that he was responsible for previous kidnappings as well.
Not all Vampires Want Blood
The ‘pishtaco’ is a 400-year-old Andean legend out of Peru. According to the legend, the pishtaco is a vampire that victimizes human for their bones and fat. Like most legends, the details of the story often change. But the general ‘rules’ of the legend remain the same. The pishtaco is well-dressed and handsome, typical of most vampire stories.
He stalks his victims on rural mountain paths before he dazzles or distracts them with his magical powers. One way he does this is by showing victims the back of his hand before letting his fingers fall off, his appendages writhing like worms on the ground. While the victims are shocked, he takes advantage and dismembers them.
There Are a Lot of Things You Can Traffic
While we can’t say that the vampire aspect of this tall tale in necessarily true, there were arrests made in Peru of gang members who were trafficking human fat. The crime is said to have been inspired by the Pishtaco legend.
The Peruvian gang members killed many people and drained the bodies of their fat in order to sell it to other countries to be used in cosmetic products. A gallon of the human fat allegedly was worth up to almost $50,000. Peruvian police determine that the fat was extracted from the thorax and thighs of the innocent victims.
The Strange Whale Tale
There was a story out of Oregon that claimed whale blubber was raining from the sky. The headlines made national news, but the story was so absurd that nobody believed it. Apparently, a whale had washed up on the shore, but who would believe that there was a whale in Oregon of all places?
And how did its blubber start to fall from the sky? Was this story just a hoax that was inflated to sell papers? Was it just a rumor that got out of control? The real story behind this urban legend may surprise you…
It’s Raining Whale?!
While nobody believed this story, it was actually true. On November 9, 1970, a beached sperm whale was found on the coast in Florence, Oregon. At the time, the beach was under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Highway Division, who consulted with the U.S. Navy, and decided that the best way to dispose of the whale’s carcass was to get rid of it in the same way that they would get rid of a boulder.
They figured that they would use dynamite to blow up the whale and the carnage would be small enough to be picked up to clean the area. The endeavor failed, however, after the initial explosion caused bits of the whale to rain over building and parking lots in neighboring cities. Not even the whole whale blew up.
Being Frozen Alive
Imagine being frozen solid, but inside you’re still alive. You can’t do anything to ask for help because, of course, you’re frozen and that gives anyone who sees you the idea that you’re actually dead.
Yup, this sounds like a total nightmare. In a movie, someone would find you, defrost you until you’re completely warmed up and then everything goes back to normal. But movies are different from real life and if this were to actually happen, there would be serious consequences, right? Well just ask Jean Hilliard, a girl who miraculously survived being frozen solid.
She Miraculously Survived
In 1981, 19-year-old Jean Hilliard was in rural Minnesota when she got in a car accident. It was December 20th and temperatures were already freezing. Following the accident, Hilliard walked to a nearby friend’s house for shelter, but the temperatures were already below freezing.
She allegedly collapsed outside her friend’s door and was frozen solid. She was found the next morning and was taken to the hospital. Hilliard was so frozen that doctors couldn’t even penetrate her skin with a hypodermic needle and her body temperature couldn’t even register on a thermometer. Her heart rate slowed to 12 beats per minute and she was only slightly breathing. After 49 days, she luckily made a full recovery with no permanent damage.
The Shadow People
The Shadow People is a popular urban legend among many cultures. Many people claim to see shadows of people or other humanoid figures (but not what or who caused the shadow) running around dark, creepy places. People who believe in the Shadow People believe that it is caused by supernatural or paranormal activity.
While methamphetamine addicts claim to see Shadow People as a part of their hallucinations, other people claim to be terrorized by these figures during bouts of sleep paralysis, which makes it even scarier! The Shadow People have been subjects of numerous folklore and ghost stories.
The Strange Discovery
One man in Japan thought he was a victim of the Shadow People back in 2008. After food mysteriously went missing from his home, he alerted the police who thought that there was a burglar afoot. Strangely enough, they found that all the doors and windows have remained locked, so how could there be a burglar? The homeowner then put up security cameras in his home and gained footage of a figure going into the kitchen.
Was it a Shadow Person? After searching every possible hiding place inside the house, police found a woman curled up on the top shelf of his closet. The woman, who was homeless, had apparently been living there for a year before she got caught!
Santa Claus Death
Everyone knows that every year on Christmas Eve, Santa Claus gains access to people’s houses by sliding down their chimney. Not all chimneys are made the same, but in general, they are pretty tight spaces.
Santa is a big guy, though, so it’s a wonder how he manages to slide down the chimney with minimal effort. But if Santa could do it being as round and jolly as he is, then theoretically anyone can, right? WRONG. If you’re reading this, do not try this at home because the results may not work out in your favor.
A Desperate Ex
While there are numerous stories of people attempting to get into someone’s house via the chimney, this one out of California was fatal. In 2010, Dr. Jacquelyn Kotarac was reported missing after she didn’t show up for work one day. A few days prior, she was trying to visit her estranged ex-boyfriend at his house, but he didn’t want to see her and snuck out the back to sleep somewhere else.
After she had gone missing, her car and belongings were still outside of the boyfriend’s house, but there was no trace of anyone entering the house, nor could they find her inside. Then a house sitter reported a strange smell emanating from the chimney. Dr. Kotarac was stuck just two feet above the fireplace and had been stuck in the chimney for three days. She died over that time due to asphyxiation.
Sleeping with the Dead
How horrible would it be to sleep in a hotel only to find out you have been sleeping in the same room as a dead body? Disgusting, right? Well there’s an urban legend that says there might be a dead body hidden away somewhere in your hotel room. While the staff notices the smell, they don’t do anything about it until the guests actually complain.
Do these cases actually happen? Or is it just an urban legend to scare people out of staying in hotels? Well, you might be surprised with what the next slide has to say about this…
Always Check the Mattress
This case has actually happened multiple times to multiple people. Usually vacationing couples who stay at motels are the unfortunate victims of these disturbing scenarios. In one case from 2003, a man was staying in a Kansas City motel and complained about the foul odor in his room.
The hotel management said nothing could be done and after three nights of enduring the smell, the man finally left. When housekeeping came to clean the room, they lifted the matress and discovered a body that was in an advanced stage of decomposition! Dead bodies are usually hidden in the box springs or under the bed, apparently, and guests sleep on the beds not knowing this!
The Rolled up Carpet Trick
It happens all the time in movies: a dead body is rolled up in a carpet and thrown into the dumpster. Pretty unassuming way to hide a dead body, right? Well according to one legend, you shouldn’t necessarily go apartment shopping in a dumpster because what you find may haunt you.
This is exactly what happened to some students at Columbia University back in 1984. They decided to go dumpster diving to try to spice up their dorm décor, but they got a lot more than they bargained for. Click on to see what happened next.
The Columbia Carpet Findings
The three students found a carpet and decided to take it back up to their room. Strangely enough, the carpet was stiff and heavy. It was also tied at the ends and in the middle.
Once they finally made it to their eighth-floor dorm, they unrolled the carpet and found a pleasant surprise: a dead body. It was the body of an unidentified black man who had been shot two to three times in the head. The students immediately reported the incident and they entire floor was blocked off to students and the press.
Stuck in an Elevator
This next scenario is also another popular movie trope. Someone gets a body part stuck in an elevator door and after it closes, the elevator car starts to ascend. The person’s body part gets stuck and they begin to panic.
It is usually a funny bit in comedies and nothing crazy happens, but horror movies are a different story. In horror movies, someone’s head gets stuck in the doors and they end up decapitated. It seems crazy but if that were to actually happen to someone, would the results be fatal?
Stranded and Traumatized
The answer is yes. In 2003, Texas-based Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh died in this very scenario. A physician’s assistant, Karin Steinau, entered the elevator—which for days was out of order but was recently back in operation—and pressed the button for her floor. At the last minute, as the doors were closing, Dr. Nikaidoh tried to slip in but the doors closed on him and trapped him.
Steinau attempted to hit the emergency stop button to no avail. Soon, the elevator continued up and Dr. Nikaidoh was partially decapitated. The elevator stopped in between floors and Steinau was trapped for a while in the elevator with Dr. Nikaidoh’s severed head. After she was rescued, she was treated for shock.