55 Nightmare Fueled Creepy True Tales
We've got facts for you spanning the spectrum from "ooh, that's kind of creepy" to "AAAAARRRRGGGHHHHH please please make it so I never heard this, please." So take a deep breath, turn on the night light, and read about how ...
1. A man named Edward Edwards went on the game show To Tell The Truth to talk about being a reformed criminal. But while he openly talked about having served time for robbery and arson, he neglected to mention that he was now actively a serial killer. He wouldn't be caught till 2009, over 25 years later.
2. Head over to the right alley in Shanghai, and you can eat live shrimp soaked in a soup of local liquor. Shrimp will keep jumping in the bowl, either because they're trying to escape or because the alcohol has removed all inhibitions. Pick them up with chopsticks, and chew them as they squirm in your mouth.
3. In 1934, a Canadian woman gave birth to quintuplets, and the government convinced her to turn them over. Their new doctor guardian created an attraction called "Quintland" out of them, keeping the children behind glass so 6,000 people per day could come to stare at them. This baby human zoo was the biggest tourist attraction in Canada, more popular than Niagara Falls.
4. Keep an eye out for chigoe fleas. They bite their way into your foot. Each bug balloons to the size of a berry, with their asses pointing out so they can spray eggs as you walk.
5. French company Gaumard has built a robot child named HAL for doctors to practice on. HAL bleeds when you cut it. HAL cries in pain. HAL calls out for its mother. HAL was "built to suffer," according to its French creators, who (did we mention) are French.
6. Nintendo avatars are called Miis, and they look pretty cute. Just don't think about how they're based on kokeshi, a type of Japanese doll inspired by child murder. In the Edo Period, parents would limit their families' size by killing unwanted infants after giving birth to them, and kokeshi were a memorial to these murdered babies.
7. More than once, people have jokingly stuck their heads in nooses in haunted houses and ended up hanging themselves.
8. The Japanese Imperial Army ate some of their prisoners of war. The country covered up over 100 cases of cannibalism, and victims who were murdered before being eaten were the lucky ones. Other victims, their captors kept them alive and sliced meat off them to eat a little more every day.
9. Farting can be silent but deadly. In 2006, a patient came to a New Zealand hospital to have hemorrhoids removed. He farted on the sparking tool, and fire sprung thanks to the resulting flames.
10. Musician Matthew Roberts spent 30 years wondering who his real parents were. He discovered his mother, who said she'd conceived him at an orgy in 1968. The good news is he finally learned who his father was too. Bad news: It was Charles Manson.
Read more: The 5 Most Terrifying Serial Killers You've Never Heard Of
12. The town of Sagada in the Philippines has a tradition of hanging their coffins, so they line the faces of vertical cliffs. You'll also find such coffins in places like the Yibin District of China, but you won't see as many as there used to be. Over the years, thousands have broken free from their ropes and dropped their deceased contents on the villagers below.
13. Ever hear the urban legend of the goofy Halloween decoration that turns out to be a dead body? That happened for real. People cleaning out a Tampa home in 2014 were sure they'd found a tasteless prop hanging in the attic ... until police saw them toss the body into a dumpster and soon had some pointed questions for them.
14. Katherine Knight stabbed a lover 37 times, then decapitated and skinned him. She fried up chunks of his buttocks, intending to feed them to his children. Police arrived just before the meal was to begin.
15. Churches in Germany often display the bodies of long-dead saints. The really weird part? The gold. The flesh is gone, but they've got so many gold chains and jewels that they look like skeleton kings.
16. A man living east of Bangkok squatted over his toilet one day in 2016, and a python slithered up from within and latched itself to his dick. He managed to fight and kill the snake, which wasn't venomous, so this didn't go as bad as it might have. But still: a toilet snake bit his dick.
17. When a highwayman named George Parrot died in 1878, a doctor turned his skull into a doorstop and his skin into a pair of shoes. Wyoming's governor wore these shoes at his inauguration to show off how tough he was and then went on to become assistant secretary of state of the country.
18. A rare disease called Uner Tan syndrome makes you walk on all fours. The condition also limits your speech and mental abilities, which made scientists speculate that sufferers are devolving into animals.
19. No one knows why twins Ursula and Sabina Eriksson went mad. They traveled to Ireland and then suddenly attacked people, even successfully killing one. Doctors called it shared psychosis. Police got the spree on tape.
20. Slovakian computer programmer Matej Curko killed and ate 30 people. He advertised on Craigslist, looking for people willing to be eaten, but police remain skeptical that all of these encounters were voluntary.
21. Archaeologists in 2012 unearthed something terrifying: a bunch of bones! Specifically, it was a pit containing nothing but severed hands. This 3,600-year-old discovery provided evidence for the practice by which soldiers would chop hands off enemies and get paid for them in gold.
Read more: 5 Real Science Experiments Straight Out Of A Horror Movie
23. When police questioned Nannie Doss, she kept laughing, earning her the nickname "The Giggling Granny." She was giggling about fatally poisoning 11 relatives over the course of several years. To this day, no one knows why she did it.
24. People keep getting injured making jack-o'-lanterns. The lucky ones just slice their hands open. Other times, the pumpkins are cursed and explode into balls of flame, sending everyone to the hospital.
25. Human body parts used to be prized for their perceived medicinal qualities. You might already have heard of powdered mummy, and people would also drink healing chocolate milkshakes from skulls. In 1679, one priest even discovered how to make blood marmalade.
26. During myiasis, flies lay their eggs under your skin. During creeping myiasis, larvae are born inside you and crawl around in there. And sometimes, flies lay their eggs in the soft tissues of your mouth, and the result looks like a dozen eyes peeking out from your inner lip.
27. Police only realized Dennis Nilsen was a serial killer when a plumber found human remains flushed down the toilet. Dennis killed 12 to 15 people -- he was never quite sure how many. He masturbated over the bodies before sticking them under the floorboards and then dismembering them over the course of several days.
28. The Roman emperor Tiberius tied men's penises shut, so their bladders would burst. One time, he was so unsatisfied with a peasant's gift of a fish that he had guards rub the scales into the peasant's face. The subject said he was relieved he hadn't gifted a crab instead, so Tiberius next had guards fetch a crab and use its claws on him.
29. In Guatemala City, corpses go in vaults stacked ten graves high. People sell goods and play music between the stacks of crypts. And every morning, crypt keepers remove bodies whose relatives haven't paid the rent and fling them together into a pit.
30. Ted Bundy's girlfriend called the police on him twice. She told them he matched the description of their suspect, had the right car, had weapons associated with the killer, and appeared to have mementos from victims. The police ignored her, and Bundy went on killing.
31. Jennifer and June Gibbons were called "The Silent Twins" growing up because they refused to talk to anyone but each other, using their secret twin language. Then they repeatedly tried to murder each other, Jen strangling June then June throwing Jen off a bridge. After a crime spree, both were committed to an asylum.
32. Scientists are working 5,000 feet beneath the mountains of South Dakota. The supposed reason Sanford Lab is buried so deep is to "block ambient radiation." But isn't it suspicious that scientists have never spoken publicly about how they plan to deal with foul beasts coming through the deep campus's dark portal?
Read more: 6 Archaeological Discoveries Scarier Than Any Horror Movie
34. The fruits you're eating are probably fine. But in 2018, an Australian farmworker did stick needles in hundreds of strawberries. She was bitter about work, and there was no system to catch the needles before the berries wound up in customers' mouths.
35. A carny named Cancetto Farmica died in a knife fight in North Carolina in 1911. Instead of burying him, the mortician hung him upright, and he turned into a mummy. For 60 years, visitors paid to see him -- he wasn't famous when he was alive, but everyone just thought, "Hey, a dead body; cool."
36. Houses in London's Kensington Palace Gardens cost tens of millions of dollars each. One of them was home to the London Cage, a government torture operation that lasted into the 1950s. Thousands of prisoners of war were starved and beaten.
37. Blind hoarder Rita Wolfensohn lived with the body of her dead son for 20 years. She never realized he died, she claims. She thought he'd moved out. It took years for someone to check in on her and poke around.
38. Beneath Cappella Sansevero in Naples are several bodies whose circulatory systems have been preserved with metal. No one has been able to figure out how they were made. The best guess is evil 18th-century inventor Raimondo di Sangro injected liquid metal into unwilling servants.
39. James Jameson, heir to Jameson whiskey, visited the Congo in 1888. Intrigued by tales of cannibalism, he bought a slave girl and sold her to cannibals so he could watch them rip her apart and eat her. He made sketches of the event. Later confronted by the media, he clarified that he'd made the sketches in his tent from memory, as the murder was too quick to draw.
40. Poison Halloween candy is almost entirely a myth. The only exceptions have been cases where parents poison their own kids' candy. Like parents in 1970 who added heroin to their kids' candy, or the 1974 dad who went with cyanide instead.
41. Mexico's Knights Templar Cartel did all kinds of shady stuff until they disbanded in 2017. The worst was surely their practice of harvesting organs from schoolchildren. They kidnapped kids, took them to rented homes, and chopped them up. And no, they did not sew the kids back shut afterward.
42. Indonesia's Ahmad Suradji killed 42 women. His reason? A dream told him to murder them and drink their saliva. He styled himself as a healer, and he buried victims up to the waist as part of a healing ritual -- then strangled them.
43. So many people were dying in 1800s London, with no place to bury them, that the city built a special railroad for the corpses. The London Necropolis Railway carried dead bodies with the ultimate goal of moving 28 million of them to a giant plot in the suburbs. It ran till the Nazis bombed it in 1941.
Read more: 5 Real Places Straight Out Of A Horror Movie
45. Fairly often, a farmworker finds themselves in a grain silo, takes a wrong step, and sinks. Within 25 seconds, they go fully under. Swimming back up is impossible. Over 80 have died this way in the past decade or so.
46. If you went hitchhiking in the '80s, and you're still alive today, that's because you were never picked up by Robert Ben Rhoades. His truck was a mobile sex kill room, and he managed three victims a month at his peak. Police finally caught him with a chained naked woman in the back and took him in.
47. Dance marathons are fun, right? People use to die participating. During the Great Depression, marathons offered free food and shelter for dancers, so people danced for months. Cities finally had to ban them thanks to all the deaths.
48. Bela Kiss killed 24 victims and pickled them in brine. He lured them in by placing ads in Hungarian newspaper marriage columns. Authorities never managed to track him down after finding the bodies in drums in his apartment. Part of the problem was "Bela Kiss" was a very common name.
49. A Chicago cemetery reserves a special section for circus performers. It began when two trains collided in 1918, killing 86 in the circus, but it's expanded since then. We don't know the official names of some of these clowns. Some headstones simply read "Smiley" or "Baldy."
50. If you visit Namibia's Atlantic coast, you'll come to the area known as the Sands of Hell. Expect to stumble on bones -- whale and seal bones, mostly, but also human bones, from shipwrecked sailors who came searching for diamonds. Said one note, found next to a corpse: "I am proceeding to a river 60 miles north, and should anyone find this and follow me, God will help him."
51. King Leopold of Belgium ran the Congo with bloody tyranny. Officers cut off heads and penises. They also had to provide superiors with one severed Congolese hand for every bullet they used, so the natives ended up slicing off their own hands and using them as currency.
52. Limbal dermoids are a type of tumor that grows on the eye. At its mildest, it may mess with your vision a bit. More severe? You will grow hair out of your eyeball.
53. When Milwaukee police were called about a drugged 14-year-old found naked and bleeding from the anus, they questioned the owner of a nearby apartment. This man said he was the boy's 19-year-old lover, and they should leave the boy in his capable hands. The cops did so. The man (Jeffrey Dahmer) then killed and dismembered him.
54. Valerie Spruill's grandparents adopted her and said they were her parents. She grew up, got married, and was widowed before she discovered who her biological father was. It was Percy Spruill ... her late husband. Her family knew he was her father when she married him.
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