8 Urban Legends That Turned Out To Be True

It's amazing what ridiculous stories get passed around the table at a dinner party, or when you're out drinking with your friends. I'm sure you've heard a few gruesome tales that sound too horrible to be true. Most urban legends are no more than Chinese whispers; told over and over again, until no one can actually remember if there's any truth to the damn thing. But very occasionally, it turns out that one of these creepy tales is actually, completely true and the real-life version is more horrific than you could ever imagine. The Green Man If you spend long enough in western Pennsylvania, you will undoubtedly hear the spine-chilling tales of "The Green Man". According to the urban legends, he was a horrifically disfigured man, with no face and glowing, green skin. The Green Man apparently wandered the streets of Pennsylvania every night. Drivers would often report seeing this terrifying figure at the side of the road in the dead of the night. Turns out the real story is actually one of misfortune and loneliness. The Green Man was not a monster at all but a man named Raymond Robinson. When Robinson was eight years old, he was attempting to view a birds nest and was electrocuted by some electrical lines of a nearby tram line. Robinson narrowly escaped death but was left severely disfigured. He lost his nose, eyes, an ear and and one of his arms. The skin on his face was so badly damaged by the shock that it glowed with a green hue. Hence his nickname of The Green Man. Robinson walked the roads of western Pennsylvania every night because he could not go outside during the day without causing mass hysteria. The Shadowy Figure Next up is the shadowy figure. I'm sure that everyone has been witness to this urban legend. At some point in most people's lives, they've seen a shadowy figure dart across the room, out the corner of their eye. As if someone is there, but when they turn around, nothing. It's the oldest urban legend in the book and stories of mysterious shadowy figures have been told all throughout history. But for one man in Fukuoka, Japan. This urban legend turned out to be true. The man, apparently, lived alone in an apartment. He kept telling people how he saw shadowy figures moving around his apartment, out the corner of his eye. He swore that things kept going missing from his apartment; the man claimed that someone was eating his food and moving things around. He reported an overwhelming sense that another being was present with him and that he was far from alone. He was absolutely correct. One day he set up a hidden camera in the corner of his apartment. And, to the man's horror, he captured footage of a woman slithering out of his cupboard and using his apartment as if it was hers. Eating his food and using his belongings; even taking showers. The creepiest part of it all is that when he was watching the footage back, the woman was still in his cupboard, only a few metres behind him. The woman turned out to be 58-year-old Tatsuko Horikawa. She was homeless and admitted to the police that she had been secretly living in the man's apartment, without his knowledge, for the past year. Bloody Mary There's an old folklore called Bloody Mary, that goes likes this. If you turn off all the lights, then light a candle and stare into a mirror and chant "Bloody Mary" three times. The face of Queen Mary I of England will supposedly appear in the mirror with a terrifyingly evil expression. In some versions of this urban legend, she apparently appears in the mirror holding a dead baby in her arms. Which may be a reference to the number of miscarriages that Queen Mary I had. This may seem farfetched, but there is some truth to this urban legend, and oddly enough, some science too. A lot of people who try this, do actually see something peculiar in the mirror. And many perceive it to be the face of Queen Mary I, but it's not. What you're actually seeing is your own face heavily distorted, due to something called the Caputo Effect. This effect occurs because of sensory deprivation. Our eyes are being deprived of light, but our brain is trying its hardest to make out the face in the mirror. This causes the brain's facial-recognition system to malfunction. The result of this is that we see a distorted version of our own face, which, in poor lighting, could be misconstrued as the face of Queen Mary. Because most people who attempt this are expecting to see the face of an evil Queen, that's what the brain makes us see. Our brain is deprived of visual information, so naturally, our imagination fills in the gaps. Dead Body in the Mattress There's an infamous story that many parents have told their poor children in an attempt to scare the living daylights out of them. The legend goes that a couple stayed in a hotel room and complained about a putrid smell. But, when the hotel staff couldn't find anything out of the ordinary, they stayed there anyway. Later, they found that the cause of the smell was a dead body stuffed into the mattress. That's bloody nasty, but it has happened. In fact it happens a lot more commonly than you might think. Cases of dead bodies in hotel mattress's have been reported in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, California and Florida. A recent case occurred in 2010 when a Memphis woman was missing for two months before she was finally found, dead, under the mattress of a hotel room she had been staying in. In the two months whilst her corpse had been rotting away under the mattress, the hotel had rented the room to five different people, and none of them thought to investigate the strange smell. The room had also been cleaned by hotel staff, several times during those two months. I guess the cleaners just took one look at the body and thought "I don't get paid enough for this." Black Water According to urban legend, there's an unnerving tale of a family who moved into a new house. The story goes that a rancid smelling, jet-black water came out of all the taps in their new home. When they investigated, they were horrified to discover that the cause of the black water was a decomposing human body in their water tank. It makes one's skin crawl to think that this could actually be true, but it is. However the real story is so much worse. Because it happened in a hotel, not someone's home. In 2013, for a whole 19 days, hundreds of guests at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, were bathing in, brushing their teeth with and even drinking the water from a tank on the rooftop that contained the decomposing corpse of a college student named Elisa Lam. Seriously guys, just stay away from hotels, they're bad news. Buried Alive We've all heard the horror stories of people who have been buried, six feet under, presuming they were dead, but, they weren't. Are the tales just urban myths, or is there some truth to it? Unfortunately it's true and not only is it true, but it's happened literally hundreds, if not thousands of times. In the late 19th century, when the medical profession hadn't yet fully developed, people were mistakingly buried alive quite regularly. There were 219 known and reported cases of people being buried alive during the late 19th century. But that's just the ones that were later dug up, only to find scratch marks on the inside of the coffin where they tried to get out. Just think how many more people this happened to without anyone's knowledge. Because, you know, once you bury someone, it's usually a permanent arrangement. You don't usually make regular checkups to see if Granddad is still alive down there. In fact, this happened with such regularity that wealthy people would invest in "safety coffins" before they died, to prevent premature burial. These specially built coffins had a device that allowed the supposedly deceased person to ring a bell above the surface, if they were still alive down there. Some people believe this is where the phrases "saved by the bell" and "dead ringer" come from, but there's still some debate going on over this. Many designs of these safety coffins were patented during the 18th and 19th centuries and they sold in their thousands. You can still buy more modern versions of safety coffins today for the ultra-paranoid out there. Carnival Corpse When you went on the haunted house ride at the carnival as a child, did your parents ever tell you that the paper mache corpse handing up was actually a real human corpse? Well in at least one fairground this turned out to be gruesomely true. In 1976 a camera crew was filming an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man at the Nu-Pike amusement park in Long Beach, California. The crew was moving a hanging man prop whilst preparing to film inside the haunted house. When, they accidentally knocked off one of its arms. To their horror this prop wasn't made of paper mache, because inside they found real human bones. Turns out the whole thing was a real human cadaver, hung up for all the little kiddies to see. It wasn't any ordinary corpse either. It turns out the body was that of a criminal mastermind Elmer McCurdy, who was shot and killed whilst robbing a train in 1911. His body was embalmed by the local undertaker. The undertaker was so pleased with his work that he put it on display in his funeral home to show off to clients. Like some kind of horrible, macabre portfolio of dead bodies. McCurdy's corpse remained on display in the undertaker's funeral home for several years until one day McCurdy's brothers showed up and claimed the corpse. Turns out these guys weren't his brothers at all, but carnival promoters who were too lazy to make their own artificial props for the haunted house ride. McCurdy's corpse went on a whirlwind carnival tour all across America, scaring the holy hell out of little kids everywhere it went. Until it was finally discovered by the film crew in Long Beach, California, and he was finally buried. Insects Infesting Your Brain There's hundreds of urban legends about people who get a creepy crawly inside their ear and the bug then lays its eggs inside their skull. Well I truly am sorry to tell you this, because after hearing it you will probably never go outside again. But it does happen. It happens very rarely, but one recent case happened in 2013 to Rochelle Harris from Derby, England. She was on the flight back from a holiday in Peru when she began to develop headaches. She ignored them until a few hours later when she started to get shooting pains down the side of her face. Then to her absolute horror, she heard scratching sounds inside her own head. The next morning she woke up to a pillow soaked in fluid which was pouring out of her ear. Harris went to the hospital in Derby. After a brain x-ray the doctor told her she had maggots living inside her ear canal. At which point she instantly burst into tears, rightfully so. The maggots had burrowed a hole 12mm deep into her ear canal, luckily they hadn't yet reached her brain and caused any serious damage. Harris had minor surgery to remove the maggots. The surgeons found a colony of 8 large flesh eating maggots inside her ear. After laboratory research it was discovered that the maggots must have hatched in her ear after a Screw-Worm Fly had flown into her ear and laid its eggs, whilst she was in Peru. So if there's anything you can take away from this video, it's that if you ever go to Peru, cover your ears. Also, don't stay in hotels, ever. Check all your cupboards in your house because there might be someone living in there. Oh, and if you ever go to a carnival, don't touch the props.

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