It's that time again.
It's becoming a reader favorite and Halloween tradition for us to count down those ridiculously over-the-top gruesome urban myths that, oh by the way, happen to be true. This is our third year (HERE is the first one, and HERE is the second) and once again these stories prove that truth is far more horrifying than fiction.
#6. Man Killed by Saw-style Explosive Neck Device
So all those convoluted puzzles and traps the Jigsaw killer uses, they're all just so ridiculous, right? Who would actually go through all that trouble?
Danny Glover knows.
So then you run into somebody on the Internet who heard about how a real guy showed up at a bank and said he had an explosive collar around his neck that would deposit his brains all over the walls unless he robbed the bank on behalf of a criminal mastermind.
On a day like any other in late August 2003, pizza deliveryman Brian Wells was about to end his shift when a fateful order came in. The directions given to Brian led him to a winding, deserted, dirt road that ended at a lonely TV tower. Now most people upon arriving at the spooky deserted road would have just tossed the pizzas in the ditch, but not Brian Wells. He was dedicated to his minimum-wage delivery job.
What exactly happened on that dirt road is still subject to debate, but what we do know is that around an hour later he reappeared at the aforementioned bank, with the collar contraption around his neck, a homemade shotgun shaped like a walking cane in his hand, and a note demanding a quarter million dollars in cash.
Unfortunately for Brian he was about as good at robbing banks as he was at avoiding obvious horror movie set-ups, and was apprehended by the police in the parking lot. The cops quickly discovered the collar, but just took it for a stylish ticking fashion accessory, and didn't bother to call the bomb squad for nearly half an hour. By the time the bomb squad did arrive, the collar had gone off, blowing a "postcard-sized" hole in Wells's chest.
Flava Flav is indirectly responsible for this.
The police found a list of tasks on Wells's body, each of which were to be completed in a set period of time or the bomb would go off. Poor Brian was doomed from the start though, as it was later determined it would have been impossible for him to execute all the tasks even if everything had gone according to plan. He simply hadn't been given enough time.
While supposedly all those responsible for putting the collar on Brian Wells have since been caught and charged, the addition of the weird, wacky, walking cane shotgun leads us to believe that there may have been another perpetrator that hasn't yet been brought to justice.
#5. The Call from Beyond the Grave
This one sounds like a modern update on a timeless campfire story: Someone receives numerous calls from a friend or family member, only to find out later THEY WERE DEAD THE WHOLE TIME.
On September 12, 2008, a California commuter train ran through a red warning light, crashing into a freight train, killing 25 people.
The family of Charles Peck, knowing he was on the train, watched the news with dread waiting for news of his fate--and then they got a call. Then another, and another, all from Charles's cell phone.
One family member after another was called, with Charles's cellphone sending out 35 calls in total, at which point, ghost calls or not, we're sure they just started letting the things go to voicemail.
The police managed to find Charles's body among the wreckage by tracking his cell phone signal, but it was not a happy reunion. Charles was dead, and to this day how those calls were sent remains a mystery.
Now, how about some irony with your creepy? Guess what the train's engineer was distracted by when he ran past that red light? Yup, in a twist that would be cut from a Twilight Zone episode for being too cheesy, it was his cell phone. God's not only a cruel bastard, but a hack horror writer as well apparently.
#4. The Deadly Elevator
The metal doors clamp down on a hapless victim, who can do nothing but scream in terror as the elevator dings and begins to rise, shearing off their head or limbs as it does. It's a scene that's turned up in several cheesy horror movies (including one movie based entirely around a murderous elevator).
But surely this kind of thing doesn't happen in real life. There are safety measures, right? Right?
Well yes, there are, but for whatever reason they were of no help to Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh on August 16, 2003. Why didn't the elevator open again, or shut down when the doctor became pinned between the doors at the shoulders as he was getting on? To this day nobody's exactly sure, but inspectors have suggested the tragedy may have been caused by a single out of place wire.
How much damage can one skewed wire cause?
Well, as the doors held Dr. Nikaidoh in place like a vice, the elevator began its ascent. It sliced his head in two at mouth-level, leaving only his left ear and lower jaw attached to his body. Found that a little nauseating to read? Well suck it up, and try to imagine what it was like for the other person in the elevator with him. She was a nurse who then had to spend up to an hour in a blood-soaked box with the good doctor's head. We're surprised they didn't find her scaling the elevator cables like John McClane to get the hell out of there.
Of course, we're just being alarmist when we act like a single wire could come dislodged at any time and kill your ass. Oh, wait, actually around 30 people are killed by elevators each year.