7 Creepy Urban Legends That Happen to be True (Part 4)
Once again, it's that time of year when Cracked goes out our way to fact check the outlandish stories that allegedly happened to your friend's former roommate's cousin's girlfriend. As we've shown three times before, sometimes the stories that get told and retold around a flashlight at slumber parties aren't as full of shit as we might've hoped.
The Organ Thieves
We've all gotten emails about tourists who are abducted or drugged, only to wake up with a ragged scar where one of their kidneys used to be. These kind of stories sound like good fodder for an Eli Roth movie, but they couldn't possibly be true, could they?
Survey says "yes".
Tell that to Indian construction worker Mohammad Saleem, who thought he had just lucked into a new, higher paying job working construction in New Dehli. Saleem was told to travel to the city, and wait in a specific bungalow for further instruction. While such instructions might raise some flags where you're from, the job promised an extra dollar a day. In India, that's like upgrading from beggar to blind beggar without having to poke either of your eyes out with a hot knife.
Admittedly, we learned everything we know about India from Slumdog Millionaire.
Unfortunately for Saleem, his new employers never showed up. Instead, men in masks broke into the house, forcibly drugged Saleem and knocked him unconscious. He would wake up sometime later on a cold metal gurney, with a shooting pain in his side. His kidney was gone, and his abductors told him in no uncertain terms that if he told anyone he'd be losing a lot more than a kidney.
Job applicants should be enthusiastic, self-starters who aren't particularly attached to their internal organs.
Saleem wasn't the only victim either. Police would later uncover a blood-soaked reverse Robin Hood scheme. A band of men were posing as doctors and stealing organs from the poor to sell to rich people willing to pay top dollar for a kidney transplant.
Getcha' kidney! Getcha' kidney here! Tub-full-of-ice fresh kidneys!
In case you just crossed India off your list of countries to visit, you'll want to keep your pen out. The illegal organ trade is worth big money from Brazil to Eastern Europe. The chain email probably originated from incidents in the Eastern European country of Moldova. The big difference between the chain email and reality is that in the real world, they usually just dump your body on the side of the street after they're done raiding your organ suitcase.
The bottom line is, there are plenty of folks out there willing to do anything to get their hands on new market fresh organs -- even if the people who own them aren't quite done using them yet. So yes, sometimes spam email isn't completely full of shit -- don't get your hopes up about getting back the five grand you sent to that Nigerian Prince though.
That Nigerian Prince.
The Corpse in the Chimney
A person goes missing and their loved ones look high and low for them, but the search proves fruitless -- that is until a telltale smell begins to waft out of the fireplace. The family peer up the dark chimney, and well, they sure as hell don't find Santa Claus up there.
Like this, but childhood-destroying.
This past August, a 49 year old woman was trying to get into the house of her on-again, off-again boyfriend. We're guessing they were "off-again" at the time, because instead of say, using her key to open the front door, she decided to scramble up on the roof and descend into the house through the chimney. Apparently she didn't watch a lot of Looney Tunes as a kid, or she'd have known these types of schemes almost never work out well.
Halfway down the chimney she got stuck, and with her boyfriend away there was nobody to hear her cries for help as she hung wedged in what would ultimately become her soot-caked final resting place. Friends and family immediately began searching for her when she didn't show up to work, but nothing turned up until the boyfriend's house-sitter showed up to water the plants. Upon entering the house, the house sitter immediately noticed an overpowering stench, and found the fireplace filling with -- and this is a technical term now -- corpse juice.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this story? The job that the tragically deceased woman failed to show up for? Doctor. If this story proves anything it's that bad relationships can make you do some crazy shit no matter how smart you are.
The Creepy Sewer Creatures
You make your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night, still half asleep. As you plop yourself down on the toilet and open your issue of Time Magazine, you hear something sloshing around in the water just inches from your bare ass. Checking between your legs, you see a sopping wet, foot long sewer rat, which is strange since you don't remember eating one of those. Before you can figure out where it came from, it rears up on its hind quarters, and gives you a dose of rabies right where it counts.
Pictured: Where it counts.
Late one night Ian went to go use the washroom and upon lifting the toilet seat, found himself face to face with a furry creature that a second glance confirmed was not the Charmin bear.
It was beady-eyed, sopping wet sewer rat. Ian's first move was what any sensible person would have done -- he tried to flush it. A cleansing flush has removed so many other unwanted things, why not a rat? Unfortunately, that only made it mad. In the end Ian had to trap the squealing struggling beast between the bowl and the toilet seat and murder the vermin with his own hands. The whole thing sounds like the final scene from a Saw movie when the hero finally realizes the horrible thing he must do, except way more terrifying, and actually true. If you're not afraid of catching liberal bias, you can hear the whole story from Ian himself courtesy of NPR.
Or you can look at the cute puppy!
Turns out Ian's not the only one this has happened to, and plumbers agree that you should probably check before you pop a squat on any toilet located on the ground floor of a building. Of course, another plumber says all the toilet rats he's encountered were in top floor apartments, having shimmied their way down through a roof vent. Either way, next time you're running to the bathroom post Taco Bell visit, make sure the check the bowl first ... not even a rat deserves that.
And no one deserves this.
The Human Grease Vampires
In parts of South America people tell the tale of the fearsome Pishtacos, shadowy figures who stalk peasants along dark roads, kill them and drain them of their fat. Stories of these cholesterol-laden vampires are hard to believe -- Anne Rice and Stephanie Meyer taught us anything, it's that vampires spend most of their time shirtless. How are they going to maintain rippling, six pack abs if they spend all their time drinking liquid fat?
In fairness, vampires do lots of weird shit.
When police arrested the gang which operated deep within the jungle highlands of Peru, they made some grisly discoveries -- a pile of human ribs and thighbones, a decomposing human head, and yes, two plastic Coke bottles filled with what appeared to be human fat. It seems the gang would confront people along the quiet back roads, lure them to their laboratory, bludgeon them to death, dismember them, and then using candles render the fat out of the body, which they captured in a basin below. But what do you do with a bottle of human pan drippings?
The police at first claimed they were selling the fat to cosmetic companies to be used in anti-aging creams. According to the BBC, the liquid fat went for $15,000 per liter on the black market.
In an attempt to retain some vampire street cred, the criminals themselves claimed they were selling it to local shamans to use in satanic rituals. The motives of the murderers may never be known for sure, but this much is clear -- the South American version of The Biggest Loser should probably steer clear of the Peruvian jungle.
Why are we saving this place again?
The PCP Cannibal
The legend has been floating around for a while that the drug PCP doesn't merely inspire regular garden variety hallucinatory freak-outs, it actually has the ability to turn somebody into a flesh hungry maniac. Surely this is merely Reefer Madness-style propaganda though -- something dreamt up by Nancy Reagan in one of her more creative moods?
Not pictured: an appealing alternative to getting high.
The story of Antron Singleton, a rapper with the appropriately creepy sounding handle "Big Lurch" says otherwise. In 2002 Big Lurch was found, well, lurching around the streets of Los Angeles in the dead of night, naked, covered in blood and howling at the moon after going on a near week long PCP binge. Of course none of this is overly strange for a rapper -- Snoop Dogg considers drug-fuelled naked moon howling part of a regular Saturday night -- but things got much more sinister once they inspected Antron's apartment.
Rapper Big Lurch in his more innocent pre-human flesh ingesting days.
There they found his roommate brutally slain, with her lungs torn from her torso, and her body and face covered with...bite marks. An examination of Antron's stomach contents found it was full of human flesh, officially eliminating the "uh, I think the dog must have done that" defense. Turns out PCP can be a bit of a gateway drug -- a gateway towards becoming a goddamn zombie that is.
They moved a few words around when teenage focus groups called it "Awesome."
Of course we don't want to be alarmists -- we're sure there are plenty of fine upstanding PCP addicts out there. All we're saying is you might want to hit up the Burger King before you go on that PCP bender, as this clearly isn't the drug you want to be doing on an empty stomach.
The Ice Woman
A person is brought into the hospital completely frozen and assumed to be dead. The doctor taps the body with his pen, declares, "Yup, that's dead" and the presumed corpse is taken to the morgue before any kids can accidentally get their tongue stuck to it. But that's not the end of the story -- as the body thaws it begins to stir, and eventually rises to its feet and walks out of the hospital as if nothing happened.
Sometimes things go further.
When a neighbor found Jean Hilliard in the snow she was frozen solid. That's not euphemism; she was literally frozen like a turkey in your grandma's deep freeze. Her body was too frozen to pierce with a needle, her temperature too low to register and when they took her to the hospital they loaded her into the car diagonally like a piece of lumber from Home Depot. She was, by nearly every measure, literally stone cold dead.
When the Jeansicle arrived at the hospital doctors tried to thaw her out, but nobody had much hope for a happy ending. Even if she wasn't dead, all medical evidence suggested she'd at least have severe frostbite and brain damage.
As Jean lay wrapped in an electric heating pad her eyelids began to flutter, and after some time she thawed completely, returning to life as if nothing had happened. She showed absolutely no ill effects from her little nap in the snowbank -- no frostbite, no brain damage, not even any freezer burn. The 19-year old woman from North Dakota had, essentially, come back from the dead completely unharmed. Had she been sipping on antifreeze cocktails earlier in the evening? Did Mr. Freeze secretly give her up for adoption as a baby? Dr. George Sather, who treated her, isn't ruling anything out. As he put it, "I can't explain why she's alive."
Nobody knows for sure, but she certainly has a hell of story to tell her kids if they ever try to go out in the cold without their hats and mittens on.
The Killer in Cop's Clothing
Depending on the story a police officer approaches somebody in public, or knocks on their door, and tells them there's a dangerous criminal on the loose in the area, and that it's important that they let them inside or that the person comes with them. The person being an upstanding -- yet not particularly perceptive -- citizen, does what the officer tells them to. As they close the door behind them, sealing their fate, they ask the officer what this criminal looks like.
"Oh," the officer replies "a lot like me actually."
Carol DaRonch was browsing through a Utah city bookstore when she was approached by a police officer who informed her that her car had been broken into in the parking lot and that she should come with him down to the station to file a report. A perfectly reasonable sounding request, except for one rather important fact -- this police officer was, in reality, infamous serial killer Ted Bundy.
We're not sure that haircut is in compliance with police guidelines.
Carol started to suspect something was up when Bundy didn't pick her up in a shiny police issue Crown Victoria, but his shitty VW Bug. Granted she still got in the car, but hey, it was the 70s -- creepy looking guys driving Volkswagens made up 90% of the male population back then.
The other 10%.
Thankfully Carol finally caught on when Bundy pulled out a gun and a pair of handcuffs. She managed to kick him in the balls, escape the car and flag down another vehicle that drove her to the police station. After what she'd just been through we suspect she made sure every cop at the station showed her their badge about half a dozen times.
Bundy was hardly the first, or the last to try this kind of stunt, and unfortunately others have pulled it off with deadlier results. It may be a good idea to ask a few questions before you blindly do whatever the man tells you to do -- just don't tell the cops that advice came from us as you're laying face down on the pavement with a knee to the back of your head.
Pictured: someone who is not taking your shit.
As always, Nathan Birch also writes the disgustingly cute webcomic Zoology.
What the Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror, the third book in David Wong's John Dies at the End series, is available now!