Five TRUE Creepy Urban Legends
The Funhouse Hanging Man
In late 1976, a camera crew went to film the television show, The Six Million Dollar Man, inside a funhouse at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California. During the process of setting up, a worker had been moving a prop of a hanging man when one of the arms fell off- exposing real human bone. The 'prop' was an actual human corpse!
The identity of the body was discovered to be that of Elmer McCurdy, a young criminal who in 1911 had robbed a train of $46 and two jugs of whiskey and was later killed during a shootout. Right after he was embalmed, the undertaker must have thought that he had done a really good job, as he decided to prop up the body at a corner in the back room and charge people five cents to see the so-called 'Bandit Who Wouldn't Give Up'. The nickels were dropped into the mouth of the corpse and later were retrieved by the undertaker (not sure exactly how they were taken out).
Then a few years later, two men claiming to be McCurdy's brothers showed up to claim his body. However, they weren't really his brothers at all but were actually carnival promoters, and instead of giving him a decent burial, they displayed him for people to see while they toured throughout Texas.
Afterwards, the corpse ended up in numerous other places, including in an amusement park near Mount Rushmore, in a wax museum in Los Angeles, and appeared in a few low budget films. Eventually, his body hung inside the Nu-Pike Amusement Park funhouse, where it remained for four years before it was discovered to be a real human corpse.
He was finally laid to rest at Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Cement was dumped onto the coffin to ensure that no one else would use his body for any other entertainment purposes.
Halloween Stunt Goes Fatally Wrong
Often during Halloween shows, an actor will imitate being hanged, which is usually done by ensuring that the noose placed over the individual's head supports his weight so that it doesn't actually snap the person's neck and constrict the windpipe. However, there have been instances where the stunt goes awry and the person really ends up hanging himself- and it probably happens more often than you think.
While the majority of victims of these stunts-gone-wrong are teenage boys, it can and does happen to girls as well. One such case was that of a 17-year-old employee at the haunted house attraction, Creepy World, in Fenton, Missouri who was found hanging from a noose that was used as a prop for the show. The incident happened right before Halloween of the previous year. No one could figure out how she became entrapped in the noose, but it was later determined that it was an accident. Even worse, it is likely that people thought that the girl was part of the show and simply walked past her, not knowing that she was in any real danger.
While sources state that she was hospitalized in critical condition after the accident, I can't find any information on the girl's name nor whether she made a full recovery.
While it only seems like something that could happen in your worst nightmares, there have been actual cases throughout history of people being buried alive. While most of them happened long ago when modern technology wasn't yet available, some instances of people who were pronounced dead and then 'came back to life' have occurred quite recently as well.
One such case was that of a 50-year-old man in South Africa who was thought to be dead when his family couldn't wake him up on July of last year. He had spent almost 24 hours inside the morgue when he suddenly woke up, screaming to be let out. The attendants ran out in fright, thinking that the man was a ghost. However, they did return and called for an ambulance. The man was simply treated at the hospital for dehydration and didn't need any further treatment.
Various coffins have been created throughout history in efforts to ease the fear of being buried alive and never being discovered. These contained features, such as bells and flags, which were supposed to help alert people that the individual was still alive, both when they were about to be or were already buried.
Severed Heads Can Remain Alive
While decapitation had long been thought to be a quick and painless way of dying, there is significant evidence that suggests that the head can remain aware for up to 15 to 20 seconds after it has been separated from the body. There have been numerous accounts from long ago when the guillotine was used as one of the primary methods of execution that claimed that after the head of the perpetrator was removed, it would still show signs of awareness, such as by blinking the eyes or opening the mouth, for several seconds afterwards.
One of them involved a doctor in 1905 who claimed that after he called the name of the murderer, Languille just after he had been decapitated, his head opened its eyes and focused them on him. Another one occurred in 1880 when another doctor pumped blood from a living dog into the severed head of Menesclou, a murderer and rapist, three hours after he was executed. He claimed that the eyelids twitched, his lips moved, and his mouth seemed like it was about to speak (though no words actually came out).
One more recent account came from a a US Army Veteran who had been stationed in Korea. In 1989, he and his friend had been riding in a taxi when it crashed into a truck, decapitating his friend. He said that right afterwards, he saw his friend's mouth open and close "no less than two times" and that the head displayed a facial expression of confusion, followed by what seemed to be terror. The eyes also moved from his living friend, to his own headless body, and back to him. Then they came in direct contact with him, proceeded to go hazy, and the head died.
Dead Body Under Hotel Bed
Many things can happen within the confines of a hotel room, and unfortunately murder is one of them. Human corpses have really been found under or inside hotel beds, and it happens more often than one would want to believe.
One of the oldest of these incidents occurred in 1982. There were three men who often pulled off auto theft scams together, and eventually two of them decided to kill the other one. Inside a New Jersey motel room, the men gave the victim a burger laced with cyanide. They must have grown tired of watching him slowly being poisoned to death, as they then decided to strangle him. When he was dead, they placed his body under the bed and left. It remained there for four days, while guests who stayed in the room endured the smell of decay, until someone finally decided to look under the bed.
However, there was one case of a dead body that remained inside a hotel bed for a whopping 47 days. The body was that of a woman named Sony Millbrook of Memphis, Tennessee, who was reported missing after she didn't arrive to pick up her children from school in late January of 2010. She had lived in a Budget Inn motel prior to her disappearance. Finally, on March 15, her body was found inside the frame of the bed. The room had been rented out and cleaned several times during the almost seven weeks that her corpse remained there.
Numerous other cases have happened in various hotel rooms all over the world.
More by this Author
Read about the true story of a creepy wooden cabinet known as the Dibbuk Box.
The Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to the Baleroy Mansion. Besides being rich in history, the mansion has also been reported as being one of the most haunted homes in the United States. The...
Various types of folklore can be found all over the world. Japan in particular has some very interesting, as well as creepy urban legends. The majority of them are based on onryo, or vengeful spirits that have had...