15 News Headlines That Sound Like Horror Movies

Man screaming

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They say there’s nothing scarier than the unknown, but those people have clearly never experienced the entirely too known. Something as seemingly mundane as a camping trip or an email notification can turn your life into an honest-to-goodness horror movie. Monsters and demons might make for a fun night out at the theater, but sometimes, fiction has nothing on real life.

A Woman Was Found in a Hotel Water Tank After Being Chased By… Something

Water tank

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In 2013, security footage at a Los Angeles hotel showed Elisa Lam ducking into an elevator and peering around the doors, as if she was being followed, but the cameras didn’t show anyone else. No one saw her again until three weeks later, when guests started complaining the water was black and tasted weird and Lam was found in the hotel’s water tank, officially dead of an accidental drowning. You know how sometimes you go for a swim in a locked water tank.

A Man’s Family Got Dozens of Calls From His Phone After He Died


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After the Chatsworth train crash in California in 2008, the family of a passenger named Charles Peck received 35 calls from his phone. They were relieved that he was apparently alive, but the sound on the other end was nothing but static, and when they tried to call back, it went straight to voicemail. The calls actually helped rescuers find Peck by tracing the phone’s signal, but it turned out he had died on impact 12 hours earlier. They never found his phone.

A Man Seemed to Email His Friends Months After He Died


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Peck wasn’t the only one reaching out from beyond the electronic grave. In 2011, Jack Froese’s friends began receiving strange emails from him… five months after he died. They say no one had his password, there’s no evidence his email was hacked, and some referenced things only Froese would know. One said, "Did you hear me? I'm at your house. Clean your fucking attic!!!" and another, sent to a relative who had recently broken his ankle, said, "I knew you were going to break your ankle, tried to warn you, gotta be careful," so it’s a wonder they didn’t have heart attacks of their own.

An Unknown Hacker Terrorized a Family

But technology can be malevolent, too. In 2007, the Kuykendall family started getting threatening phone calls from someone who seemed to always know what they were doing and even what they were wearing and leaving voicemails of recordings of their own private conversations. They never found out who it was -- the calls simply stopped after the FBI got involved.

Twin Sisters Both Went Nuts Out of Nowhere

In 2008, Ursula and Sabina Eriksson, identical twins with no history of violence or mental illness, went on a four-day rampage of destruction. It began when they were kicked off a bus for acting weird and not allowing anyone to search their luggage, middled when they both ran straight into oncoming traffic multiple times in succession, and ended with one of them killing a man and jumping off a bridge. Sabina ended up serving three years in prison for manslaughter, and while Ursula Eriksson seems to have returned to a normal life, Sabina was never heard from again.

The Silent Twins


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That’s not even the creepiest twin story of the last half-century. June and Jennifer Gibbons didn’t speak to anybody but each other, in their own strange language, for the first two decades of their lives, and only sparingly after that. After they took up setting buildings on fire, it was discovered that they were prolific writers, even writing a full-length novel together. They seemed to move together and were even found seemingly frozen in the same positions in separate hospitals, but eventually, they began to feel suffocated by each other. One day, Jennifer announced that she was going to die, and the next day, she did just that. Her death has never been explained, and June said they agreed that one of them had to die so the surviving twin could live a normal life.

A School Bus Worth of Children Were Buried Alive


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In 1976, a California school bus was hijacked by three men who drove the children inside and their bus driver around for 11 harrowing hours before burying them all in a van in a quarry, intending to ransom them for $5 million. After 16 hours, the children actually managed to dig themselves out, so that’s something to bring up the next time your kid is “too tired” to mow the lawn.

A Family Was Harassed With… Lawn Gnomes

Lawn gnome

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At the end of July in 2015, the Yearout family began noticing lawn gnomes (and bunnies and lions) that weren’t theirs pop up on their front yard. Then more. And then more. By mid August, 54 of the things had amassed, positioned to stare at the front door “as if they were plotting against us.” Instead of moving across the country, the family just posted pictures of the statues on Facebook, suspecting they’d been stolen and hoping to find their owners. Either no one ever found out or they were eaten by the Gnome King.

The Haunted Elsa Doll

In 2013, Emily Madonia also took to Facebook, pleading for help to get rid of a Frozen doll she bought for her daughter. It started speaking Spanish, even when it was turned off, so she threw it away, but it kept reappearing, even after she watched the garbage truck take it away. She found someone on the other side of the country to mail it to, but not before the doll “laughed for 30 seconds straight as she was putting it in the box to mail it, which had never happened before,” so… good luck to that guy.

A Stranger Lived Unseen in a Man’s Closet for a Year

If you ever get the eerie feeling you’re not alone in your home, maybe don’t immediately dismiss it. In 2008, a man started noticing food disappearing from his kitchen and thought he was the victim of a bizarre string of burglaries, so he set up surveillance cameras, which showed a woman he’d never seen before walking around his home at night. When police arrived, they found her hiding in a closet, where she’d been living for close to a year. Sweet dreams!

A Man Was Kidnapped By a… Crocodile


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Ryan Blair’s 2013 Australian vacation became a nightmare, as it so often does, thanks to the local fauna. After chilling a while on Governor Island, he realized he didn’t have enough food to chill for much longer, but a 20-foot crocodile popped out of the water and refused to let him leave. Every time he tried. It took two weeks to catch the attention of a passing boat, which finally rescued him from his reptilian prison. Naturally, he was greeted with a beer.

It’s Raining… Lampreys?


(Fernando Losada Rodríguez/Wikimedia Commons)

You’ve heard of raining frogs, but the real-life version is even worse than God could dream up. In Fairbanks, Alaska, lampreys -- you know, those blood-sucking tube fish -- began falling from the sky in 2015. It turned out they were being dropped by seagulls, who were possibly grabbing them up more often than usual due to a population boom, which isn’t much comfort. It just means it’s the birds that are out to get them.

It’s Raining… Zombie Lizards??


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At least the lampreys didn’t fight back. In Florida, it’s not uncommon to see lizards drop lifeless from the trees in the cold, but often, they’re not actually dead, just kind of cryogenically frozen. One guy was apparently unaware of this biological quirk when he came across what looked like the aftermath of a lizard Civil War and, like any true Florida Man, thought “dinner.” He loaded them all up in his nice, warm car, where they seemed to come back to life. In his panic at being trapped in a small space with a bunch of zombie lizards, he got into an accident, and he’s probably lucky that’s all he got in.

The Kentucky Meat Shower

The Kentucky Meat Shower was, sadly, not the name of a barbecue buffet but the granddaddy of “weird shit falling out of the sky” stories. In 1876, chunks of what looked like beef rained down in Kentucky that still haven’t been conclusively identified but were probably vulture vomit. It was basically The Blob except it didn’t kill anyone, which is surprising because a bunch of people immediately ate it.

Anonymous Letters Terrorized an Entire Town For 20 Years


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In 1976, the residents of Circleville, Ohio began receiving anonymous letters threatening to reveal their darkest secrets. The writer seemed particularly focused on one family, encouraging Ron Gillespie to kill his wife and her alleged lover, eventually threatening to kill him if he didn’t do it. Gillepsie soon died in a mysterious car accident, and his wife was lured to a booby trap containing a gun rigged to shoot when its box was opened. The gun was traced to her brother-in-law, who served 10 years for attempted murder, but the letters kept coming during his sentence. At the very least, someone was helping him send those letters -- someone who was never caught -- so if you’re thinking of settling in Ohio, have you considered Cleveland?

Top image: Tahiro Achoub/Unsplash

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