The Scariest Things People Got Up to While Alone in Their Bedrooms

The bedroom is a place for mad science — and murder
The Scariest Things People Got Up to While Alone in Their Bedrooms

What unforgiveable nonsense is that kid getting up to in their room, wonders a parent. They could be having sex. With someone else. Or with themselves. They could be listening to the devil’s music, or smoking the devil’s weed. They could be on the internet, reading.

We’re not going to be talking about any of those possibilities today. No, we’re going to be talking about stuff much scarier. Maybe — nay, definitely — your kid is at this moment engaged in... 

Building a Guillotine

Robert Taylor knew his son Boyd was building something. He heard the sounds of hammers and saws from his room. And Boyd had construction experience. He was 36 years old and worked as a builder along with his father. During the Christmas of 2002, he took some time off from work, maybe to work on this project. Robert didn’t investigate. Maybe Boyd was planning a surprise. 

The official Luxembourg guillotine

Christian Ries

Surprise! (This isn't the actual one he built, just an example guillotine.)

Boyd was building a guillotine. It worked on a timer. So, late one night, at 3:30 a.m., Boyd slid his head into the apparatus he’d built, and the blade fell and beheaded him. Robert heard the swish. Having listened to few decapitations up to this point, he thought the thing he heard falling was maybe a chimney, but then he went into Boyd’s room and saw the truth.

If we know anything about detective stories (this incident happened in the British village of Milbourn), the only reason for building such an elaborate device was some kind of deception. Either this was really murder and was cunningly arranged to look like suicide, or it really was suicide, and Boyd was aiming to frame someone else for the deed. The coroner’s verdict declared it a suicide. 

Robert blamed his own divorce from Boyd’s mother, which is the sort of thing a distraught father might do, but this divorce had happened 20 years earlier. What really motivated Boyd? We have no idea.

Hiding the Bodies

Tyler Hadley’s parents were not worried about what he was doing the night of July 16, 2011. They weren’t worried about anything because he had already murdered them both that afternoon. He killed each of them with a claw hammer, after first locking the dog in a closet lest it defend them. Afterward, he moved both bodies into a single bedroom. He needed the rest of the Florida house to be clear of corpses to avoid spoiling the party he was throwing. 

The party, said those who showed up, was a lot of fun. Kids started arriving at 11:30 p.m., and there was booze, drugs and beer pong. The 60 guests kind of trashed the place, and Tyler seemed fine with this. He was mostly concerned with keeping everyone indoors, where their noise wouldn’t attract the neighbors’ attention. As it happened, neighbors would indeed end up calling the police, who then arrived and knocked on the door to check in on things but would leave after warning Tyler to keep it down.

Some of the partying teens did notice that the computer, which played music off YouTube, had some weird brown stains on the screen. Maybe it was beer. A few people also said something about smelling dead bodies. Tyler wanted his friends to catch on to what he’d done, and he kept dropping increasingly direct hints, culminating in unlocking the sealed bedroom and showing one friend the bodies. That friend phoned the police, reporting the murders and asking them to send cops for a more serious visit — but he did party for a few more hours and got a few more selfies before making the call. 

Tyler is now serving a life sentence. From jail, he has signed autographs with the message, “It’s hammer time.” 

Peering at Embryo Nerve Fibers

In 1940, the University of Turin fired Rita Levi-Montalcini from her research position. If she wanted to continue her experiments, she had no choice but to obtain her own equipment and pursue scientific investigations from within her own bedroom.

So, that’s what she did. She incubated eggs and grew bird embryos. She removed the embryos from those eggs and placed them in wax so she could cut them into slices. She tinkered with the developing young, watching how nerves failed to wire together depending on what parts she lobbed off. She continued all this while three other family members lived in the house.

Rita Levi-Montalcini nerve experiment

Rita Levi-Montalcini

“The nerves are quaking! Good... good...”

You can stop reading now and safely assume that Levi-Montalcini used her experiments to create deformed chicken-human hybrids, who slaughtered the university personnel and then went on to lay waste to large sections of the town. If you instead insist on knowing what she her unsanctioned experiments actually uncovered, we can’t tell you because the scientific establishment refused to publish her findings. 

They refused because this was Fascist Italy, and they had laws against publishing Jewish scientists. This was also why the university had fired her. But Levi-Montalcini did go on to win a Nobel Prize for her later research into how nerves work. Then at the age of 92, Italy gave her a lifetime appointment to the Senate, which is something that they do in Italy. This is very different from the United States, where elderly members of the Senate also have their job for life, but we pretend they don’t. 

Getting Swallowed by a Hole

Last month, we celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the time a sinkhole swallowed Jeffrey Bush. The 36-year-old Bush was sleeping innocently in his bedroom in Seffner, Florida. Without warning, the floor collapsed beneath him. A sinkhole opened up, measuring 30 feet across. Bush fell in. No one ever recovered the body

Once again, we’re going to mention the possibility that this was a tall tale invented to cover up a murder, and once again, we’re going to dismiss that possibility. The hole was 100-percent real. Bush’s brother Jeremy heard screams from his room, heard the guy yell “help!” then ran in and saw the bed and dresser vanish into the floor. Rescue personnel arrived and had to grab Jeremy to stop him from getting swallowed too. Bush? There was nothing they could do. 

Two years later, the hole opened up again.

Jeremy had moved away now, as had the home’s other occupants, the house had been demolished, and the city had seemingly filled the hole, but it ripped open again. There’s no stopping sinkholes. No one is safe. 

Just Being Alone

We don’t know the name of the girl in this next story. Reporters and academics who documented her story simply refer to her as Genie. When she was around two years old, Genie’s father locked her in her room. She stayed in that single room for more than 11 years.

Picture the most horrific fairytale or horror version of this story you’ve already heard. Now, picture something worse. Because in addition to being confined to her room, Genie was generally tied up, either to a toilet or to a crib. During her decade of confinement, her father never spoke to her, though he sometimes growled at her like a dog. As a result, in addition to growing up physically deformed, Genie never learned to speak. When doctors finally got a look at her, they estimated she had the mental development of a 13-month-old, not a 13-year-old.

They finally got this look because her mother took her from the home to seek help. This mother escaped being prosecuted for Genie’s mistreatment by saying she was unable to act since she was almost blind. The father? He killed himself before he reached a courtroom.

Genie first saw the outside world in 1970, and she went on the spend the rest of her life in foster care, in state care, or being observed by researchers. She’s still alive today, somewhere in California.

If you’re reading this in your bedroom right now, maybe now’s a nice time to take a walk outside. 

Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for more stuff no one should see.

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