Throughout history, there have been many tales that tend to cause people to shudder upon hearing them. Chills run up your spine or perhaps you just can't stand to hear the ending. Most of these are legends or intentional yarns meant to elicit a reaction. However, others are real and are retold as cautionary tales or as a call to be ever vigilant. Others are just plain freaky, full of depravity, mystery, horror and would be very hard to believe if they had not been confirmed as true.
Some involve gruesome murders, stalkers, mysterious deaths, or just downright creepy tales of the macabre. You may believe that most of these types of stories are from long, long ago. Would you be surprised to know that there are plenty of these strange occurrences being investigated as recently as last year? It’s quite chilling to consider, but events such as these occur all the time and they are just as mysterious as the scary tales we all heard as children.
Some of these are more frightening than others and some might actually have you double-checking your bedroom locks and looking under your bed. Be strong and just be glad that none of these stories actually involved you. With that affirmation in place, let us take a look at fifteen real life horror stories sure to creep you out!
15 The Lead Masks Case
In August 1966, a young boy in Niteroi, Brazil came across the decomposed bodies of two men. Upon examination, police were mystified: both bodies were dressed in formal suits, raincoats, and strangely enough, lead masks of the type used to defend against radiation. Among the men’s belongings were an empty water bottle, two towels, and a notebook with some notes written inside. Translated from Portuguese, the notes read, “16:30 be at agreed place, 18:30 swallow capsules, after effect protect metals wait for mask signal.”
The men were later identified as electricians from a town a few miles away. The bodies appeared to show no signs of trauma and an autopsy could find no cause of death. What killed the men? Why were they wearing the lead masks? What is the meaning behind the note and what led them to their fate on a secluded hilltop in Brazil?
14 The Ukraine Mutant Spider
It was the late 1990s, sometime after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. A man’s body was found slumped against the wall inside an elevator in the Ukraine, a pair of puncture marks on his neck. An autopsy revealed he died of severe blood loss and shock. No blood was found near the body. A month later, a young girl was found dead in the same elevator. Believing a killer was afoot, a police sergeant and a detective begun riding the elevator, looking for anything suspicious. Finally, the elevator stopped in-between floors and the lights went out.
The men began hearing a strange sound from overhead. Turning their flashlights up, they saw something through the open roof panel, a dark shape, easily a foot wide, heading towards them. Stunned, they watched as a huge spider crawled into the elevator and leaped onto the sergeant. The detective shot at the spider, but it was too late, the sergeant was dead. The event was suppressed but a Turkish newspaper broke the story, reporting that flamethrowers had to be used to destroy the spider and its nest at the top of the elevator shaft.
13 The Strange Disappearance of Zebb Quinn
In January 2000, 18-year-old Zebb Quinn had just gotten off work and was with his friend, Robert Owens, when he received a page and had to make a phone call. According to Owens, upon returning from the payphone Quinn appeared “frantic” and left quickly, rear-ending Robert’s car as he sped off. Quinn was never seen again. Two weeks later, Quinn’s car was found near a hospital. Several odd items were found inside the vehicle, including a hotel key, an unknown jacket, several empty liquor bottles, and a live puppy dog. A large pair of lips was also drawn on the back window in pink lipstick.
Police traced the page Quinn received and found it had come from the home of his aunt Ina Ulrich. Ulrich claimed she didn’t make the call and wasn’t home at the time, but did believe that her house had been broken into. No explanation has ever been found for the bizarre events of Quinn’s disappearance.
12 The Jennings 8
Jennings is a small town full of rural dirt roads and wet farmlands in central Louisiana. With a population of about 10,000, you would think nothing major could remain secret for long. However, Jennings is home to a chilling mystery that has stunned the community for years. In the small community, every few months, between 2005 and 2009, the dead body of a young woman would be discovered in the swamp or nearby highway ditch. What’s even more mystifying is that the victims all knew each other. Some frequented the same bars, worked together, had the same circle of friends, or were even cousins. One by one, they all ended up dead.
Despite years of investigating and numerous suspects being brought in, the police are no closer to learning who committed these murders or why. Many of the bodies don’t even have a clear cause of death. Initially, police believed a serial killer was on the loose but the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit has long maintained that serial killers target strangers with no ties to one another. Whoever killed these women, over the course of many years, selected them for a reason; a reason we may never know.
11 The Dorothy Forstein Abduction
Dorothy Forstein led a great life. She had three great children and her husband, Jules, was a Philadelphia city official. Then one night in 1945, with Jules at work, the children away, Dorothy had gone out and had come home after dark. As she entered her home she was quickly assaulted and beaten unconscious by an unknown attacker, who then fled the area. Nothing was taken and the police could find no motive. Then four years later, Dorothy was at home with her children. Around 11:30 PM, Jules returned home and found his children trembling in their bedroom. There was no sign of Dorothy.
The police were immediately called. Nine-year-old Marcy Forstein told police that she was awakened by a strange man coming up the stairs. She watched as the man picked up Dorothy’s unconscious body from the floor. He put her over his shoulder and then patted Marcy on the head, saying, “Go back to sleep little one, your mother has been sick, but she will be alright now.” The man carried Dorothy downstairs and out the front door, locking the door behind him, and disappearing. There were no signs of forced entry and nothing was missing. Dorothy was never seen again.
10 "The Watcher"
In 2015, a New Jersey family, having just moved into their million-dollar dream home, began receiving disturbing death threats from someone calling himself “The Watcher.” The family received frequent letters from this person where he claims that the family's new home “has been the subject of my family for decades,” and, “I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming.” Subsequent letters ask if the children have “found out what’s in the walls yet?”, stating “I am pleased to know your names now, and the name of the young blood you have brought to me.” That was enough for the family to flee the home. They have since filed a lawsuit against the previous owners as it appears they knew of “The Watcher,” as well.
9 “The Doodler”
For almost two years throughout 1947 and 1975, an unknown serial killer terrorized the streets of San Francisco, murdering 14 men, and then mutilating their bodies. He was dubbed "The Doodler" or "The Black Doodler" for his penchant of sketching his victims prior to stabbing them to death. All of his victims were homosexual men and drag queens he had picked up in area bars. He would break the ice by drawing little sketches of his intended victims as gifts. Then once he lured them some place private he would kill them. His creepy artistry was only learned thanks to three of his surviving victims who have never been willing to go public for fear of outing themselves as homosexuals. The Doodler has never been caught and identity still remains unknown. Is he still prowling the streets of San Francisco?
8 The Tale of Edward Mordrake
In 1896, Dr. George M. Gould published a book of medical anomalies he had come across in his career. One of these was the chronicle of Edward Mordrake. He was a young man, quite smart and musically gifted, yet he lived in seclusion and rarely even allowed his family to see him. The reason was that young Edward was born with another face on the back of his skull, that of a girl, exhibiting some sort of intelligence. Mordrake hated it for the face appeared to be malevolent, smirking whenever he cried, and whispering hateful remarks while he tried to sleep.
He begged his doctors to destroy the face even if there was a strong chance it could mean his own death. Despite being under a doctor’s care, he managed to acquire some poison and committed suicide at the age of 23. He left a letter requesting the ‘demon face’ be destroyed prior to his burial so it wouldn’t continue to torment him in his grave!
7 The Horrific Murder of Kelly Anne Bates
Young Kelly Bates was only seventeen when she was murdered in England. Her death was a monument to brutality and depravity, testing the constitution of even the most hardened homicide investigator. She had been tortured repeatedly for four weeks, tied by her hair to a radiator or by a rope around her neck and a chair. Her autopsy revealed the horrendous suffering she endured: stab wounds inside her mouth, stabbing and mutilations of her ears, nose, eyebrows, mouth, lips and genitalia, with burns caused by a hot iron. Her eyes were gouged out very early on in the process and she exhibited stab wounds inside her eye sockets. Bates was partially scalped. All while she was alive.
She eventually died from a reported accidental drowning but when the police arrived, her murderer, James Patterson Smith, was immediately arrested. The jury spent barely an hour unanimously convicting and sentencing Smith to life in prison, where he remains to this day.
6 The Disappearing Couple
In the early morning hours of December 12, 1992, 19-year old Ruby Bruguier and her 20-year old boyfriend, Arnold Archembeau, along with Ruby’s younger cousin, Tracy, were driving along a remote road in South Dakota. All three were a bit tipsy from drinking earlier and the car began to skid out of control, crashing upside-down in a ditch. When Tracy opened her eyes, she saw Arnold was not in the vehicle. She claims she then watched Ruby crawl out of the vehicle and out of sight. An exhaustive search by police failed to locate any clue as the whereabouts of the couple.
Then, a few months later, two bodies were discovered in the same ditch, just feet from the crash site. The bodies were identified as the missing couple. Both were in different stages of decomposition. The area had been thoroughly searched by police after the accident and they claim there was no way the bodies would’ve been overlooked. Where had they been during the few months that had transpired and what brought them back to the accident site?
5 Robert the Doll
He’s a weathered, old toy sitting in a display case at a Florida museum. He has been given a comfy chair in which to sit and in his arms, a small stuffed toy of his own. He wears a clean naval outfit with a sailor’s cap. This is Robert the Doll, and he is quite evil. His story begins in 1906; a young boy is given a doll called Robert. The boy claimed Robert began speaking to him, and his parents sometimes would hear a different voice talking but assumed it was their son. Whenever the boy would get into trouble, he would insist that Robert was actually the culprit. Passersby would often see the doll sitting in the window watching them.
The boy kept Robert into adulthood and when he passed, his widow gave the doll his own room. Eventually new owners found Robert in the attic. They gave him to their daughter, who was terrified of him, claiming Robert wanted to kill her. In 1994, Robert was given to the museum, where visitors sometime claim he curses those who take his picture without permission, or nods in agreement to those who ask nicely.
4 The Facebook Ghost
This story showed up on Reddit in 2013, creeping many, when a user named Nathan told the tale of receiving Facebook messages from his girlfriend, Emily. Why so creepy? Emily had been dead for two years. It all began as a perceived glitch, old messages being resent but then Emily started tagging herself in photos. Then, Nathan received a new message, “FRE EZIN G [sic]….I don’t know what’s happening.” In despair, he drunkenly responded and received back a message, “ust [sic] let me walk.” That freaked Nathan out even more, as the accident that killed Emily severed her legs. Nathan began losing sleep and decided to memorialize Emily’s Facebook page, but the messages didn’t stop, many were cryptic, most incoherent. Then he received a photo taken of him from behind a half-closed door. Nathan claims that no one was in the house with him at the time the photo was apparently taken. Is Nathan truly being haunted or this some elaborate ghastly hoax?
3 The True Story of ‘The Entity’
Have you ever seen the 1982 film, The Entity? It’s about a mother who is raped and tormented by a spectral being. Did you know it was based on the 1974 true story of Doris Bither? That makes the movie even creepier to watch! For years, Bither claimed that the poltergeist made living absolutely horrendous for her and her children. Her children claim it all began when their mother was playing with a Ouija board and invoked a response. However it started, Bither was beaten, tossed around and sexually assaulted, sometimes in view of her children who were powerless to aid their mother.
Paranormal investigators were called in to investigate and, over a two month period, they witnessed incredible occurrences. They challenged the entity and it responded with throwing objects around, strange light phenomena and a green mist that materialized in the partial form of a large man, in full view of investigators. What happened in that Los Angeles suburb has never been explained.
2 The Cell Phone Stalkers
In 2007, various families in Washington began reporting a series of cell phone calls where frighteningly detailed death threats were being made. The callers would threaten to slit their throats in their sleep, kill their children or grandchildren. The mysterious callers always knew exactly where the families were, what they were doing, and what they were wearing. The calls would come at all hours of the night, some including recordings of private conversations made by family members, one of which was actually with a police detective. Police were baffled as to the identities of the terrifying callers. When trying to trace the calls, police were often led to cell phones of other families who were receiving the same calls. The case was never solved and who or how they were able to torment the families for so long is unknown.
1 Calls From The Dead
In September 2008, a horrible train accident in Los Angeles resulted in the deaths of 25 people. One passenger killed was Charles E. Peck on his way to a job interview from his home in Salt Lake City. His fiancé lived in California and was optimistic that he would find a job and relocate. The day after the crash, Peck’s mobile phone made calls to his fiancé, his son, brother, stepmother, and sister. In total, family members received 35 calls from Peck’s number. Upon answering all they would hear would be static. When they called back, the calls would go straight to voicemail.
They had high hopes that Peck somehow survived and was trapped, trying to call for help. The search team finally found his body in a front passenger car. From his injuries they concluded that he had died on impact and couldn’t have possibly made the calls. What’s more peculiar is that his mobile phone was never recovered.