Urban legends are part of every culture. Everyone has grown up listening to at least one piece of strange mythology that sounded too far-fetched to be real, and in many instances they are. However, there are some very believable urban legends that do have at least some kernels of truth to them.
Although they may not be completely accurate, here are eight creepy urban legends that turned out to be true all along.
1. The Green Man
An urban legend out of Pennsylvania has some locals believing in a green, glowing man who wanders alongside roads late at night or in a local tunnel where his touch is said to disrupt a car’s electrical systems. “The Green Man” or “Charlie No Face” is believed to be supernatural in origin, and there have been many alleged encounters. This legend does have some basis in fact, as it is based on the life of Raymond Robinson. Robinson was severely injured in an electrical accident, which disfigured his face and caused his skin to exude an unnatural glow. He roamed at night, only because this was the time in which he would not be ridiculed. It appears that he had quite the opposite effect in the long run.
2. Dog Boy
The original story of “Dog Boy” involves a boy who spent his life torturing and killing local animals, using a combination of torture tools and supernatural powers. Although not exactly like the story, the “Dog Boy” tale is based on Gerald Floyd Bettis, who spent his time torturing neighborhood cats and dogs. He actually built an addition to the family house so that he had more room to experiment on and torture the unlucky animals. It is also reported that he also kept his parents locked in his attic, feeding them only when the mood took him. Although he may not have had superpowers, his massive size and sadistic tendencies were enough to inspire a legend.
3. Black Water
It is almost a staple of haunted house movies to have the water turn to bile. There’s hardly anything more terrifying than seeing your water turn black before your eyes. In 2013, some unfortunate guests at the Cecil hotel, LA, experienced this exact phenomenon. When guests contacted management to complain about the strange tasting water in their rooms, a maintenance worker, on investigating the water cisterns on the roof discovered the decomposed body of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam at the bottom of the tank. Residents had brushed their teeth, drank and bathed in the water for 19 days. It was never explained how Elisa died or how her body got into the tank.
4. Someone is Watching You
Many ghost stories begin with the main character feeling as though they aren’t alone in their own home. This is often accompanied by missing items and unopened doors. In 2008, one man was experiencing this for himself, so he set up a camera. What he found out, was that a homeless woman was living in his attic, sneaking down for food when he was asleep. The video shows the woman drinking from the same carton of milk that the resident drinks from, and even shows her urinating in the man’s sink. Although the validity of this video has been called into question, the man is steadfast that this is a true story. After seeing the video, the man abruptly left his apartment, called the police and had the woman removed.
5. Fat Vampires
This is a local 400-year-old Peruvian legend, centering on supposed vampires who would suck the fat out of tourists when they visited Peru. The reality of the situation is nearly as sinister but instead of vampires, human traffickers were the culprits. In 2009, General Eusebio Felix Murga announced that the department had identified and broken up a local gang who were trafficking human fat. The next time you want to skip the gym, remember this story. They can’t steal your fat if you don’t have any!
6. Frozen Alive
There are many famous cases of celebrities or eccentric millionaires getting cryogenically frozen, so that they may be brought back to life in the future. While it seems plausible, scientists insist that such an act will not yield positive results. The science community was proven wrong in 1981 by a young woman named Jean Hilliard in North Dakota. Her body was found, completely frozen, after she had been stuck in -22 degree cold. She was frozen solid, as the researchers tried fruitlessly to take her temperature and pierce her skin with a needle. No one could explain why, but incredibly the woman survived. If I were her, I’d move to Florida to defrost for a while.
This urban legend originated on Staten Island in the 70s and 80s. There was a string of missing children during this time, and lore created a real-life boogeyman as the culprit. Adults would use Cropsey to scare children into behaving, and older siblings would often haunt their younger counterparts with masks and axes. The true aspects of this story surrounded the Willowbrook State facility. This housed mentally handicapped children and had a reputation for abhorrent conditions. Police investigated and later arrested Andre Rand, a former employee, who is now serving 50 years to life on kidnapping and murder charges. Although it is not confirmed, he remains the most likely candidate for the real Cropsey.
8. Buried Alive
One of the scariest propositions for most people is being trapped in a box with no way of getting out and a dwindling oxygen supply. Unfortunately, this was a relatively common problem throughout history, with exhumed bodies showing signs of struggle after they were buried. With modern technology this has become extremely rare, though there are still cases in which people claim to hear someone screaming or banging on the coffin after they have been buried. The only other explanation is zombies, which doesn’t sound much better to me.
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