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20 Stories That Sound Like Urban Legends, But Are (Mostly) True

Have you heard the urban legend about the spiders that exploded out of the banana? How about the story of kids finding drugs mixed in with their Halloween candy? Well, those tales, and so many more true urban legends, are waiting to scare the pants off you in this collection of stories that sound too crazy to be true. Everyone grew up in a town with at least one piece of strange mythology that sounded too far fetched to be real; these stories prove even the strangest urban folk tales have a kernel of truth.

Have you ever wondered whether the creepy tales of babysitters being hounded by mysterious callers or people dying from atomic wedgies come from a real place? This list delves into crazy true stories that are the obvious catalysts for real-life urban legends and modern myths. After you check out these urban legends that are (mostly) true, leave us a comment about your local legend that’s totally true and not made up at all.

The Texarkana Moonlight Murders

Photo:  American International Pictures

series of murders that occurred in the Texarkana region of the Texas/Arkansas border in 1946 is most certainly one of the catalysts for lover’s lane urban legends (the hook hand, hanging boyfriend, etc). In a period of three months, (an) unknown criminal(s) murdered five people and seriously injured three more in attacks on couples in their cars and homes.

Most historians believe The Phantom Killer (the mysterious perpetrator of the crimes) was able to get in and out of town without being caught thanks to a railway hub that once sat in the middle of Texarkana. Regardless of where the killer went, the city owns its legacy. Every year, The Town That Dreaded Sundown, a ’70s exploitation movie about the killings, is shown in Spring Lake Park, where most of the crimes took place.

The Hinterkaifeck Murders

Photo: Andreas Biegleder/Public Domain

You know that urban legend about a killer hiding in a family’s home for weeks, learning their movements, and waiting for the opportune moment to kill them in their sleep? Well, get freaked out, because it actually happened to family in 1922, in the rural town of Hinterkaifeck, in Bavaria, Germany.

The story begins six months prior to the murder of the Gruber family, when the maid quit because she believed the family’s house was haunted. When a new maid was brought on, she mentioned hearing footsteps in the attic. More bizarre things happened that winter – footprints in the snow leading from the woods to the house appeared one day, as did a strange newspaper, found in the house. Someone tried to break into a tool shed on the farm, too. But in the end, nothing seemed to come of it.

At least not until March 6, 1922, when each family member was lured to the barn, where they were killed one by one with a mattock. The bodies were discovered a week later, and the crime was never solved. If that weren’t creepy enough, the weekend of the murders, neighbors reported that someone fed the cows and let the dog out, and smoke was seen rising from the chimney.

Spitman Pays for Watersports and Footjobs in London Council Estates

Photo:  Channel 4

A character known as Spitman (linked video has some NSFW material) haunts the urban council estates of West London, where he pays teenage boys and young men for bizarre sexual favors, which range from garden variety water sports (Spitman likes to be pissed on) to all manner of foot fetishism (he enjoys simply being rubbed by bare feet).

Marlon Tavares made a Vice documentary on the subject, after overhearing talk of Spitman at a pizza place. In the short, various anonymous young men talk about the things they’ve done for Spitman, and how it works; he gives out a fiver (£5; about $6.50) every three minutes while the favors last. According to Tavares, there were whispers of Spitman’s debauchery reaching back decades.

Is it possible there have been multiple iterations of Spitman over the years? Something similar happened in Philadelphia in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Ted Bundy’s Trip to Florida

Photo: Donn Dughi/State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory/Public Domain

Everyone knows Ted Bundy was a heinous serial killer who would pretend to have a broken leg in order to trick women into approaching him. But in his final crime spree before he was arrested, Bundy brutally ripped through an Florida State University sorority, attacking four women in 15 minutes, and killing two of them. If there weren’t reams of evidence for Bundy’s trip to Florida, during which he also smashed a dancer’s skull, ruining her equilibrium and destroying her career, and tried to assault a 14-year-old girl before her older brother showed up, it would sound like something college freshmen tell each other on Halloween.

Stalker Hides Under Teen Girl’s Bed

Photo: 20th Century Fox

If you’ve ever wanted to live in a real-life horror movie, get jealous, because this girl did it. In July 2014, a teenager living in Ellesmere Port, England received texts from a random creeper named Kyle Ravensport, who claimed he was watching her. Ravensport also told the girl he would hang himself outside her window, so she would wake up to see his dead body swaying in the breeze.

Over the course of his creepezoid texting spree, Ravensport scared the girl so badly she slept in her mom’s room that night. Good thing, because the next morning she discovered Ravensport sleeping under her bed. Heinous.

Man Dies from Atomic Wedgie

Photo: National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office/Public Domain

Stories of kids dying from atomic wedgies are about as believable as that story of a guy dying from breathing his own farts. However, as it turns out, at least one unlucky wedgie recipient died from the childish prank. In December 2013, Brad Lee Davis and his stepdad, Denver Lee St. Clair, got into an argument that culminated with Davis giving St. Clair an atomic wedgie so brutal he was choked to death by the elastic band on his manties.

Davis, a former Marine, pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter in 2015. As per an article in The Oklahoman, “The man who killed his stepfather with an ‘atomic wedgie’ told a judge Wednesday, ‘It’s like a bad dream.'”

The Craigslist Killer

Photo: Massachusetts Department of Correction

Remember all those stories you heard about people being lured to their deaths over AIM by guys with screen names like “Slavemaster?” Well, this story of a woman who met a killer over Craigslist is a lot like that, but it’s real.

The crimes began in 2009, when medical student Philip Markoff arranged appointments for sexual favors on Craiglist with women, including a masseuse, an exotic dancer, and an escort. Upon meeting them, Markoff, who was only 23 when he was arrested, brutally murdered the women, employing methods such as bludgeoning and close-range shooting. After Markoff was arrested – on his way to a casino with his fiancé – police found pairs of underwear stolen from victims stuffed in his box spring, and a number of burner phones.

In prison, Markoff committed suicide by cutting major arteries, securing a plastic bag over his head with gauze, and swallowing toilet paper, so his airway would be blocked. Before doing this, he wrote his ex-fiancé’s name on his cell door in blood.

Killer Feeds Victims to Strangers

Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures

In 1995, Joe Metheny killed two prostitutes, chopped them up, mixed their meat in with pork, and sold them as pulled pork sandwiches. Notoriously hyperbolic British tabloid The Sun describes Metheny as “morbidly obese and with a bloodlust few have rivaled…”

According to Metheny, “I had real roast beef and pork sandwiches. They were very good. The human body taste was very similar to pork. If you mix it together no one can tell the difference.” Metheny’s story sounds like the kind you hear in every small town and knowing that it could really happen makes it even scarier.

Hitchhiker Kept as Sex Slave

Photo: Orion Pictures

Hitchhiking urban legends go both ways. In some, the hitchhiker is a ghost, murderer, or some other ghastly thing. In others, the person who picks up the hitchhiker is a killer or kidnapper. It seems both iterations have some basis in truth. In 1977, a spirited, attractive 20-year-old woman, Colleen Stan, elected to hitchhike 400 miles from Eugene, OR to Westwood, CA, to surprise a friend.

Stan never made it to Westwood. Instead, she ended up as a sex slave to Cameron Hooker, a lumberjack who locked a wooden box over her head. The man was married and had his wife and infant in the car when he picked Stan up, which led her to believe the situation was safe. At various points during her imprisonment, Stan was allowed out of the house. Hooker even took her to visit her parents, but she was led to believe that if she tried to escape, her family would be killed. After eight years in captivity, Hooker’s wife freed Stan.

Spider Eggs Hatch in Banana

Video: YouTube

If there wasn’t already enough nightmare fuel on this list, here’s something to make sure you never eat healthy again. In 2013, London woman Consi Taylor noticed some “white spots” on a bunch of bananas she recently brought home, which she thought to be mold. It turned out those spots were egg sacks of a Brazilian wandering spider, one of the most poisonous, aggressive spiders on the planet.

To quote Gawker article on the incident:

She was initially offered £10 ($16) for her trouble, but after sending a photo of the spider to a pest control specialist, Taylor, her husband Richard, and their two small children were ordered to get the hell out of the house and never look back.

Well, at least until the residence was thoroughly fumigated.

Actor Accidentally Hangs Himself

Photo: Artist Unknown/Public Domain

Stories of actors accidentally killing themselves or dying on stage date back to the 17th century. If you’ve ever done theater, you know that basically every stage in the world is supposedly haunted by something, be in the ghost of an actor who kicked the bucket mid-performance or some other ghoul.

Well, as it turns out, these stories aren’t urban legends. Several actors actually have died onstage, in front of audiences. In February 2016, for instance, Anthony Schumacher accidentally hung himself while re-enacting a hanging scene during an interactive performance. The accident put Schumacher in a coma, and doctors declared him brain dead son afterwards.

Eight Year Old Gets Meth for Halloween

Photo: AMC

Every few years, a new panic breaks out around Halloween about evildoers putting drugs in candy they plan on handing out to kids. In the ’90s it was PCP, in the mid 2000s it was MDMA. In 2014, an eight year old trick or treater got a 0.1 gram bag of crystal meth in her candy bucket. Luckily, the girl’s parents found the meth before she accidentally ate it. She would’ve been high af.

Scary Clown Stalks Small Town

Photo: Warner Bros Television

Every town has a story about a creepy dude, or maybe even an anthropomorphic creature, that hangs out being sketchy. Wasco, CA has a legitimately spooky, very real, clown who has been seen around town, waving at pedestrians. The clown also has a Twitter account, on which he/she posts creepy ass sh*t like “Goodnight. Next stop’s a msytery.”

Was the clown a marketing stunt? Some weirdo pulling a prank? A costume warehouse trying to get the word out about its deals that are so low that they must be crazy? Is there any relation between the Wasco clown and the clown with black balloons that was spotted wandering around Wisconsin in August 2016? Because people called the police on that clown.

To quote from USA Today: “‘This person is not breaking the law,’ said Captain Kevin Warych of the Green Bay Police Department. ‘He can walk in a clown costume anywhere he wants.'”

Woman in Black Seen Walking Across America

Video: YouTube

Most towns have an urban legend about a woman in white who walks rural roads and does something spooky when you stop to ask if she needs help. But in July 2014, people noticed a woman dressed all in black who was walking across the American Southeast and Midwest and was definitely not a ghost. After she began appearing on local news affiliates across the country, the woman’s brother told Reuters she had been in the VA hospital in North Carolina for a few months before taking off on a silent pilgrimage.

Snake Slithers Out of Starbucks Toilet

Photo: Michele Ahlswede/via Facebook

File this way-too-real urban legend under: NOPE. In September 2013  Bruce Ahlswede, a customer at a Starbucks in Texas, got a nasty little surprise when a snake slithered out of the toilet. After a brief freakout, the man decided to contact Harry Potter so he could translate for the snake alerted Starbucks employees of the snake’s presence.

“I said hey, you know you’ve got a snake in your bathroom and she’s kind of freaking out.  So we went back in and watched it as it slithered back and around and down underneath the rim of the bowl and right inside,”  Ahlswede said.

Razor Blade Found in Burger King Salad

Video: YouTube

In June 2014, a woman in Flagstaff, AZ lived the nightmare when she found a razor blade upon biting into her Burger King chicken salad. There have been stories dating back to the ’70s of needles and blades being found in food, but this is one of the first instances of someone actually coming across a real weapon in their food.

All of the Razor Blades Are in All of the Candy

Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

As Glen Danzig says in “Halloween” by the Misits, “Candy apples and razor blades/Little dead are soon in graves/I remember Halloween.”

Myths about monsters tampering with candy flair up every year around Halloween. And while that sounds like an urban legend, it’s real. There’s the woman who found a razor blade in her Jolly Ranchers, and there’s the girl who bit into a Snickers and found a razor blade. Come on guys, aren’t razor blades a little passé?

Prison Guard Injected with HIV-Laced Blood

Photo: TriStar Pictures

Everyone’s kooky aunt has sent them newspaper clippings warning them of gang members injecting people with AIDS needles, but until 1990, it never actually happened to anyone.

Gregory Pearce, an Australian prison guard who’d only been on the job three months, was stabbed by a prisoner using a needle full of his own blood, infecting him with HIV. Despite the chances of infection being low, Pearce succumbed to the disease eight years later.

The Chicago Tylenol Murders

Photo: Marvel

Stories about nut jobs tampering with food and random containers at grocery stores float around from time to time, but all of those stories come from a very real, very scary place. In 1982, a mysterious person tampered with random bottles of Tylenol, putting potassium cyanide in the bottles. No one was ever charged for the crimes, but there were multiple suspects. This case of domestic terrorism forever changed the landscape of medicinal packaging, and jump started the invention of tamper-resistant containers.

The Puebla Tunnels

Video: YouTube

For decades, there were stories floating around Mexico of a series of tunnels under the city of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City. According to legend, the tunnels were used from 1531 all the way through to the 1862-1863 battles between Mexican and French forces. It was assumed, however, that the tunnels either never existed or were filled in, because no one could find them.

Until 2015, that is, when the tunnels were rediscovered by a public works crew. The mayor of Puebla dedicated a million pesos to the restoration of the tunnels, hoping they can be turned into a tourist attraction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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