Urban legends are stories that are passed around in our modern world that are probably entirely bogus, but feel like they could happen. Stories like the man who believes his daughter is an upstanding girl but when he tries to get a call girl he discovers the girl sent to him IS his daughter (a sexist tale) to an incident where a chicken sandwich from McDonalds had a tumor in it (a disgusting tale) to a classic Micky Mouse cartoon that showed Mickey making Swiss cheese with what appears to be his penis (a modern fabrication) to KFC changing their name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC because they weren’t using real chicken (a lie) are all a small sample of the reach that urban legends have.
But some urban legends are still fake, but based on reality (a story about a 1981 video game called Polybius that allegedly made people high was based on the 1981 game called Tempest, which did make people sick at the time), but what of the outlandish stories that are actually true? The ones that aren’t fake…or at least started off as real but then spiralled into fantasy land after a while. Those do exist, but what are they?
So right now we’re going to look into those. Here’s 15 creepy, bizarre urban legends that just so happen to be 100% true… or at least based on reality far more than you would suspect. Let’s put our tin foil hats on and dig in!
15. Fake Hanged Man…Not So Fake
Halloween is a special time of year. Where else can you go in disguise in public and not be considered a criminal or someone trying to hide their identity? Also when you can put skeletons, scarecrows, skulls, and drink from skull shaped cups without people looking at you like you are some kind of secret (or open) serial killer. Halloween is awesome you guys!
And of course, among those decoration that you can use are hanged people or other similar stuff. Some people are content with the plastic skeletons you can buy at my dollar store, but some people really go all the way with their decorations. In 2005, there was one individual who was believed to have gone so far out of the way that they had a hanged person who looked like an actual human being, or so the rumor goes… except it WAS a real body
But who could do that? It can’t be real… well, actually not only was it real, but it was a woman who committed suicide there for a while before someone realized that this wasn’t a masterpiece of art. I’m guessing they liked her and wanted to hang out sometime…
14. Brain Eating Bugs…Yes, They’re Real!
So you’ve probably heard of what nasty creepy crawlies can do. Bugs that burrow under your skin and do all sorts of nasty stuff. Tapeworms, which we all know are real, are apparently worms in our stomachs that like to eat what we eat and take all the nutrition for themselves, leaving us starving and weak… But bugs that go into the brain and decide to eat that? I mean that’s absolutely terrifying, but it can’t really happen right? Those stories of bugs trying to burrow into our heads just don’t exist…
Until they actually do. It seems that in 2013 a woman called Rochelle Harris had went on vacation to Peru, and after seeing the sights and the headaches that come with doing this stuff she came back home to Britain. The headaches never went away after the trip, and she was hearing a buzzing noise in her ears constantly… and when she finally went to the doctor to see what was going on, they discovered that she really did have a bunch of bugs that were trying to reproduce in her ear. No news if they actually made it into her brain (which would be difficult since they would need to burrow through bone).
Another case that’s even more terrifying and actually DID get into her brain is the story of a 31 year old woman in Texas who had vision problems and headaches… only to discover that she had tapeworms… yes those tapeworms, but not in her stomach, but in her BRAIN. That’s pretty damn terrifying if you ask me.
This wasn’t even new. John Hanning Speke, a British 19th century explorer who found the source of the Nile had to pry out a Nile River beetle out of his ear with a knife. That was probably the worst aspect of his trip, to be honest.
13. This Guy…
So on the internet you can often see pictures of creepy people that are obviously fake and passed off as real. I mean the internet meme of slenderman is one such example. There are some pretty spooky, others are obvious fake, but then there’s this guy… I mean his face looks like a plastic doll that’s been melted and glued back together again, and it’s pretty horrific. Is this guy slenderman’s distance early 20th century cousin? He can’t be real, can he? He goes by Charlie No-Face,
Well it seems this creepy looking fellow is not some photoshopped figure. He’s actually quite real, and he isn’t a creepy individual personally. He was actually known as being a very kind individual who just wanted to live as normal a life as he could with the hand that life dealt him. His name is Raymond Robinson, and he was born a perfectly normal person, but he as a child he suffered an accident. He was playing near an electrified bridge, and he suffered a deadly electric shock of no less than 1,200 volts that scorched his face worse than a flamethrower could. He survived, but the result was… well, look at the picture.
He lived a superbly solitary life afterward, though he did take walks at night on long stretches of road between Koppel and New Galilee, and while people rarely saw him, the ones that did were the origins of the urban legend that surrounds the man to this very day.
12. Drink With The Dead…Or The Dead Anyway
OK, so this one is an urban legend that I have lot of personal experience with. When I was a kid, we had water coolers all over my school, and a lot of boys would often spin bogus stories of blood and even pieces of flesh coming down from the water fountains. Now this was absurd even from that time, since I saw the water filters and pointed out how they cleaned everything up.
That being said, this is another case of dead bodies in hotels being disposed of in very sloppy ways by the staff who didn’t read the manual of ‘how to get away with murder 101’ and apparently though that dumping the body in the water tanks is a good idea.
But that can’t be real, can it? I mean the mattress thing would have at least been isolated down to one room, this would have affected the entire hotel at the very least, but that’s exactly what happened in 2013 in a hotel in California when a maintenance worker was trying to find out why the water pressure in the hotel was so weak, and he discovered the body of a woman called Elsa Lam who was found in the water tank. Though the hotel reassured everyone that a dead body there posed them no health risks and drinking the water for the past two weeks was A-OK… yeah, no wonder they wanted this to be put on an urban legend list… BTW it was the Hotel Cecil, if you needed to know.
11. New Meaning To Carpet Bagging
This one has been going on for many decades. A body found in a wrapped up carpet somewhere. The story goes is that a man is walking down an alley and finds a beautiful looking rug that he cannot believe someone threw away. Once they have this beautiful rug back at home, they realize that they had been lugging around a dead body the whole time. Standard urban legend stuff, but it happened at least once (maybe twice, as recently as June, 2017, another body was found wrapped up in a carpet).
More specifically, in 1984, when the world had underwent a revolution to match the George Orwell novel of the time, 3 students are Columbia University picked up a rolled-up carpet that was abandoned and discovered the body of a murder victim with 2 bullet wounds in the head. Not much else to be said about it, other than it’s real.
This almost happened again in 2017 in Yonkers, NY, when another body had been discovered in a rolled up rug. It was a very old body, too, which means it was lying there for a good many years. The people who discovered it almost did the same thing… but they had the sense to see what might have been lurking on the inside.
10. Crushed In A Garbage Truck
Being crushed in a garbage truck is something that a few movies seemed to like to show. Whether it’s Child’s Play 3, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), or having a massive trash compactor like device in Star Wars, it’s a pretty terrifying way to die. But at the same time, rumors of people getting crush in them, at least by total accident, are kinda hard to believe. I mean when garbage trucks pick things up, they work as a team, and the people loading it up would have to give the go ahead to have the compactor get started, it’s just not that easy.
But apparently there was a man who liked to live like Oscar the grouch. He was sleeping in a garbage dumpster, apparently covered in trash when a garbage truck rolled around, picked up the stuff, thrown into the back of the truck… and the trash compactor started. Thankfully for everyone involved, this did not end up with him being turned into a can of pureed human. His cries for help were heard and the machine was stopped. He did suffer injuries as a result, but nothing life threatening. So as weird as this is, it is firmly rooted in reality. Sleep in houses, not in garbage dumpsters…
9. Fat Theft Is Real, Too
So organ theft is mostly an urban legend. It has happened a few times, but it’s still extremely rare. We can see why people would want to steal organs. They’re useful for transplants and stuff… but there is another kind of bodily theft that defies all logic, but it has happened at least once… the story of fat theft! There is even a legend of a kind of vampire that sucks out the fat of people with tubes and syringes, instead of their blood. It is a story from Peru, and as you will see, it isn’t a joke anymore
In Peru, it seems that there is a thriving black market for body fat. Long story short, it seems that there is no small number of people who are outright murdered and have their fat sucked out of them, and then sent over to Italy for the Italian Mafia to turn into… cosmetics. OK, listen… I understand that the mafia does some very, very shady things, but this would make soylent green’s plot look credible. I won’t say any more since its just too gross.
8. Boogieman In The Closet Is Very, Very Real
Monsters in the closet are the reserve of children and… well, that’s just about it. Unless you’re a serial killer who literally have skeletons in the closet, in that case you PUT that monster in your closet and you have nothing to fear since you control that guy through and through… at least we hope you do!
But truth is often stranger than fiction. A lot stranger… in fact, sometimes I wonder why fiction just can’t be so utterly bizarre as reality is sometimes. I’m guessing the human mind just isn’t as creative as we like to think. Anyone… so it seems that in Japan, there was a homeless woman who managed to sneak into someone’s home and managed to stay there… for an entire YEAR! I have no idea how that was even possible, given how small Japanese homes can be.
The best part is about how the man who owned the house had no idea he had a visitor there. He only figured out after realizing that there was some food missing that he swore he never ate, and then he contacted the police to search his home… she was hiding in his cupboard. I have to give that woman kudos for being undetected for so long, and wonder just how the man was not able to figure out that someone was living with him for an entire year. It’s honestly amazing…
7. Man-eating Pigs. Why Pumbaa? Why?
OK, I have to mention something about pigs. In a previous article about prehistoric creatures, I mentioned a carnivorous pig that would be something really dangerous and pigs today just aren’t that bad. While that’s true, pigs aren’t herbivores, they’re omnivores. They really can eat you if they’re hungry enough. That being said, there has been stories of gangsters and murderers who have killed people and fed them to pigs… or forwent the killing part and let the pigs do all the work. This might seem as real as the cement shoe myth that the Mafia pulls off… but like the cement shoe, this one has at least one real example to prove it… in a way we would rather not.
So you have a Vietnam veteran, and like many Vietnam vets, he had a serious case of PTSD, and he sought to remedy this by becoming a swineherd. Yeah, people have weird ways to deal with problems, but in his case, it worked amazingly well to keep his inner demons at bay. Though it appears to be his undoing.
In 2012, Terry Vance Garner, the Vietnam vet in question went to his pigpen in order to feed his pigs for the day, and never returned. An investigation showed that he was eaten by his pigs. Since his body was not found for a proper autopsy (the pigs ate him you see…) we don’t actually know what really happened. At least the man really did do his job of feeding the pigs… in a way you don’t totally expect. So this urban legend was less of criminal intent, and more of a case of the pigs from Animal Farm having a rather strange uprising.
6. The Boogieman Under Your Bed Is Real
So we’ve seen the boogieman in the closet, which turned out to be a woman, and a rather harmless woman who wanted nothing more than food and shelter (which is sadly going to be provided by prison for a while). There is the story of the boogieman under the bed. Again, this is an extremely childish belief. There are no boogiemen under your bed, are there? Yes, well… no, there aren’t, but for one rather unfortunately individual there was, and the story is far creepier than any Friday The 13th Movie could make up.
So in 2014 you had a teenager girl in England was going through the weirdest experience of her young life. One night, she started to receive texts from a stalker called Kyle Ravenscroft who texted things right out of Scream. ‘I am watching you’ and ‘I am in your house’ to her and freaking her out. He even threatened to hang himself outside her house so that his hanged body will be the first thing she sees when she wakes up. Now this is pretty scary stuff, but the scariest part was… he really was under her bed the whole time when he was texting these things. Needless to say, he was quickly uncovered and punished for his intensely creepy behavior, which included how he must never, ever be near the girl ever again.
5. Tug-Of-War CAN Rip Arms Off
Tug of war is one of those games that is primitive, simple, yet very fun. You have two teams, and both are pulling a rope and trying to get the other side to cross a line in order to defeat them. So simple and basic that I’d be surprised if cavemen didn’t play it.
But one thing that many parents (and I’m sure younger) people who spouted rumors about people who would get their arms ripped off by playing the game. The whole concept is, of course, rather ridicules. Given just how the human arm and shoulder works, it would be extremely difficult to just ‘rip’ it off. Even in medieval torture racks (where they would put a guy on a bench and pull his legs and arms apart) they needed to cut various parts of the body to even get close to doing that… But as it turned out, yes, it really seemed like not only did such a thing happen, it happened TWICE in the same game.
In 1997, in Taiwan, there was a huge tug of war contest. When I say huge, I am positively gigantic. I mean there were over 1600 people involved in playing this game. Sometime towards the end of the game, the rope snapped underneath the massive stress it was put under with the huge amount of people tugging on it, and two of the men had the rope wrapped around their arms for better support. Needless to say, the sheer force of the rope snapping and everyone falling over one another in the process did result in detached arms. Thankfully this has a happy ending when they did manage to get their arms reattached in the hospital.
4. Santa Claus Is Dead…
Santa Claus is coming to town! Well not for another couple of months since it’s only September… but we all know how the jolly old dude loves to deliver his toys. He just jumps down the chimney fills up every good boy and girl’s socks, has his milk and cookies, and then leaves… Or at least he tries to leave, since those milk and cookies from the last 10,000 homes he visited resulted in him getting so fat that he got stuck in a chimney and died.
Just like the rumors of the dead bodies in hotel mattresses stuck around, there have been urban legends of people getting stuck in chimneys for a little too long, too. While people really DID get stuck in chimneys (early 19th century chimney sweeps had that as a leading cause of death). But when someone dies in a chimney, they can’t remain there for a long time. I mean usually when people are getting in chimney’s they generally get help and are doing it for a reason… But it seems that in the case of Joseph Schexnider, he not only got stuck in a chimney, but he managed to stay missing for no less than 27 years. His body was completely skeletalized by them and he had to be identified by DNA. Forget the skeletons in the closet, it’s the ones in the chimney that you need to worry about it.
3. Kitten discovered in couch
OK, OK, so I’m cheating here. This isn’t an urban legend, this isn’t a horrific story even, but it so fits in line with the rest of the stuff we have seen that it could easily BE one of them if it didn’t have such a happy ending. Besides, we need a break from all the gore and gruesomeness and inject some cuteness instead.
Amid bodies found in mattresses, hanged people, and rolled up corpses in rugs and skeletons in chimneys. There’s this case of a couple who heard meowing coming from a couch that they had bought at a goodwill. At first they thought they were hearing things, but they wasted no time in investigating, and they discovered that there was a kitten hidden in the couch. This wasn’t even the only time such a thing happened, and in all of those times, the cute little fuzzy friends were discovered before they succumbed to hunger and dehydration and given a nice home. There, see… not all of these need to involve arms getting ripped off, but the little kitty nibbles might prick, but that’s only because they love you so much!
2. The Organ Trail…
So you know this one, right? You’ve probably seen it on comedy shows like Charlie the Unicorn of all things. You have someone going on vacation in a faraway land where they don’t speak English and the liquor is cheap, and then they drink too much (or end up getting duped into drinking too much or something). They pass out from the alcohol… and end up with a stitching on their stomach with a least a few of their organs missing.
But surely this can’t happen. I mean it’s just preposterous. This is something that should be in the same realm as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster category… but it actually happened. In 2008, in India, a man called Mohammad Salim Khan regained consciousness in a place where he doesn’t remember going and was promptly informed that he had had one of his kidneys removed. He wasn’t alone, either, since two other men were near him who had underwent similar thefts. Apparently this wasn’t even the only case… it makes you wonder if more than just kidneys get stolen…
1. Don’t Let the Bed…Dead Bodies bite?
Horror stories about bad hotel service and literal skeletons in closets have been around for a very long time. But one of the biggest, most ridicules sounding stories is that of a dead body that is somehow hidden in the mattress. I know that there’s a lot of bad stories about mattresses gaining double its weight due to hair and dead skin from the (not dead) people sleeping on it. Hey those old used car salesmen had to do something to earn their pay after their shady methods were banned.
But as it turned out…this one isn’t a lie. It didn’t just happen once, it happened numerous times. There were cases in Las Vegas, Kansas City, Atlantic City, and other places in Florida and California. It might be that it’s a popular method for murderers to dispose of the bodies of their victims, or at least by exceptionally lazy hotel staff who think that if a guest dies, they should just sweep them under the rug like the rest of the dust… ouch. If you are ever at a motel and it smells like something died in there, then that’s exactly what might have happened…
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