Well, they're based on true stories...
Scary stories are just that, right? Not if it happens to be one of these halloween urban legends. Yes, our imaginations can run wild, which has given path to many a scary story. But, there are a few that have been inspired by true events too. Like these…
Dead body under the bed
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The legend:A couple checks into a hotel and notice a foul odour in their room, but they sleep there all night. They call the staff the next morning to complain. Somebody comes up to check it out and they figure out the stench is coming from the bed. When the staff take the mattress off the bed, they discover the couple has been sleeping over the rotting body of a dead girl who had been stuffed in the box spring.
The truth: In The Baby Train, folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand wrote that he first heard the ‘dead body found under hotel bed’ legend in 1991. Every version that came to him mentioned a Las Vegas hotel, but the lack of proof made him think it was a tale. Fact of the matter is this has happened a few times. In fact, it has been previously reported in Kansas City, Atlantic City and Florida.
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The legend: A man is thought to be dead and is buried. Scratch marks are later found on the coffin lid along with other desperate signs of escape.
The truth: Back in the day, this happened with alarming regularity. In the late 19th century, William Tebb compiled a list of premature burials from several medical sources. He managed to collect 219 cases of near-premature burial, 149 cases of actual premature burial and a dozen cases where dissection or embalming had begun on a not-yet-deceased body.
The funhouse mummy
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The legend: It was discovered that a prop at a carnival wasn’t made of the usual combination of papier mache and spit, but human skin and bone. All the children at the haunted house had been poking and playing around with a real, mummified dead body.
The truth: Back in 1976, a camera crew who were filming an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man began to set up in the haunted house at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California. As they were moving aside a ‘hanging man’ prop, they accidentally knocked off its arm and discovered human bones inside. The body was actually that of criminal mastermind Elmer McCurdy, who was killed in a shootout after robbing a train in 1911.
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The legend A young man pretends to hang himself in front of an audience and he accidentally hangs himself for real.
The truth: This has happened more than once. According to Snopes, the closest fit to the urban legend was when a teenager working at a Halloween hayride died while performing a fake hanging stunt.
The evil clown
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The Legend: A babysitter has put the children to bed when she notices a disturbing clown statue in the corner of the bedroom. She calls the parents to ask for permission to cover up the life-size clown statue in the corner of the family room because it’s frightening her. The parents tell her to grab the children and run. They don’t own a clown statue.
The truth: No doubt you’ve heard about the clown epidemic sweeping across the US and the UK. People dressing up as clowns and jumping out from bushes to scare people. We’re hoping this comes to an end ASAP.
Funny tasting water
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The legend: Hotel patrons complain of funny tasting water that looks darker than usual. Eventually they find out that they’ve been drinking water contaminated by the body of a deceased person.
The truth: Families holidaying at Los Angeles’s Cecil Hotel noticed black water coming out of the tap in their bathrooms. A maintenance worker went to investigate the source and discovered a decomposing body in the water tank.