Phrogging: Real or Just an Urban Legend?
Phrogging (pronounced: frog-ging) is the act of sneaking into someone's home (or business) to live for a period of time without its occupants knowing. The people who practice this lifestyle are referred to as phrogs (pronounced: frogs).
Phrogs are commonly known to mooch food and water for survival and use the homeowner's bathrooms for personal use, i.e. taking showers and using the restroom.
Usually phrogs stay in a location for only a few days before moving on (although some have been know to stay years without being detected).
The terms "phrogging" and "phrogs" are fitting because the person "hops" from pad to pad much like the frog (amphibian) that hops from Lilly pad to Lilly pad. With this comparison, it's easy to see where the name stems from.
Real or Fake?
It was thought for many years that phrogging was just an Urban Legend; however, phrogging is indeed very real and several people have been caught doing it.
Phroggers in Action
Prior to 2007, a group of artists decided to give phrogging a try and lived inside a mall for years before being discovered. (MarkMaynard.com)
In 2008, a man named Stanley Carter lived in a family's attic in Wilkes-Barre, PA for a week. It was not until an iPod and cash came up missing that the family began to get very suspicious. A few days later, Mr. Carter was discovered hiding in the attic wearing their clothes. (ABC News)
Also in 2008, a woman named Hiroki Itakura lived in a Japanese man's home for a year. She was totally undetected until the homeowner noticed that food was missing over several months and installed security cameras inside the home. (Metro UK)
In 2012, a man in South Carolina lived in his ex-girlfriend's attic undetected for two weeks. The home owner, Tracy, said that she heard movement in her attic at night and thought it might've been poltergeist activity. When Tracy's sons discovered the man he fled before the police could apprehend him. (Huffington Post)
Phrogging in Entertainment
In 2006, a series called Living with Strangers emerged on YouTube where two phroggers, Renae and Lauren, document their five day phrogging adventure in an unexpected couples home. Many viewers questioned the legitimacy of the series and the two girls that played Renae and Lauren gave an interview to ABC's i-Caught (Season 1, Ep. 3) in 2007 stating that the series itself was fake and they were actresses.
Only a few episodes are left on YouTube, but the series was once compiled into a movie and was available on Amazon.com until 2015.
John Stevens wrote and directed Living with Strangers and was also the first person to create the words phrogging and phrogs that apply to this type of lifestyle.
Is Phrogging and Squatting the Same Thing?
Although, phrogging and squatting are both the act of unlawfully staying in a property, they are not the same. In fact, there are vast differences between the two.
Squatters stay in or on property that is not inhabited by anyone else such as an empty house, abandoned subway tunnel, or empty plot of land. Squatters are also well known for the destruction and unclean conditions they choose to keep in the property they unlawfully inhabit.
Phroggers stay in a place that’s occupied. Their number one goal is to coexist with the current tenants without being detected. Also, most phroggers have a code to respect the home owners by cleaning up after themselves and leaving the home in the condition that it was when they first arrived. (However, this code is not followed by all phrogs.)
What is the Phroggers Code?
The “Phroggers Code” is a set of rules that every phrogger should follow. (Although, as mentioned previously, not all phroggers follow the code.)
Four of the rules are as follows:
- Don’t get detected.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Only take what you need. (Water, food, and toiletries are fair game; however, taking anything else is not allowed.)
- Leave the home in the same condition as it was when you first arrived. (In other words, don’t vandalize anything.)
Do you know any Phrogs?
You may know someone who's a phrog or might have even went phrogging yourself a time or two.
I personally know people who have went phrogging and never gotten caught. With that being said, it's important to remember that phrogging is illegal and can result in jail time and even death if you come face-to-face with an angry home owner.
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© 2017 Cleo Addams