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Five TRUE Creepy Urban Legends

Updated on July 26, 2012
McCurdy | Source

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.


Premature Burials

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.


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    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      7 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      Wow, what an interesting ( and like everyone else said) creepy hub! You did a great job writing it, even though Halloween was yesterday.

      Voted up.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      7 years ago from Chennai, India

      A creepily engaging hub filled with gruesome facts! You did a wonderful job of researching and putting all of it in this well-written hub! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Awesome & Interesting. Voted up

    • Thefilmguy24 profile image


      7 years ago

      Creepy, creepy hub, but very interesting. I have heard that the human brain can live up to 3-7 minutes after death so the head thing you mentioned isn't far fetched. I believe that. I did like the story about the dead guy's body being used for fame and fortune. That's just dang creepy right there. Awesome and interesting hub. Voted up.

    • jennzie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for all the great comments, everyone! I'm glad that you enjoyed this hub. :-)

    • nmdonders profile image

      Nira Perkins 

      7 years ago

      Wow those are crazy stories. I fell sorry for the folks that lost their lives but this was really interesting.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 

      7 years ago from California, United States of America

      Truly creepy real life stories, but very fascinating too.

    • nanderson500 profile image


      7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Very interesting stuff. This hub should be featured for Halloween. Voted up and interesting.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Good writing. Creepy stories. Enjoyed them.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      Yikes - this was interesting and scary all in the same hub! I still have chills running down my spine! Great job - and I am glad I read this long before bedtime tonight!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      7 years ago from North-East UK

      Interesting and very blood curdling hub....gave me the heebie geebies!

    • LABrashear profile image


      7 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Interesting stuff...the hotel bed thing really creeps me out. I've often thought of that when travelling. Voted up!

    • Natashalh profile image


      7 years ago from Hawaii

      47 days? How many people slept on that bed in the meantime?! I'd heard about a couple of these, but others were quite new to me. Thanks for putting this together!

    • ThoughtSandwiches profile image


      7 years ago from Reno, Nevada


      In trying to figure out the most creepy...I would probably go with the whole severed head thing! That said...I've spent more time in motel rooms than I have around guillotines so I am certainly checking out the sheets next time. I have to hope the maid got fired at that one place...


      PS...Voting UP and sharing!

    • ESPeck1919 profile image

      Emilie S Peck 

      7 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      LOL Probably not the best hub to read just before bed, but still very well done!

      I've always thought that although the head thing is really disturbing, it still makes perfect sense, since the human brain can survive for a period time after oxygen is no longer delivered to it. Not that I'd want to find out myself! Ugh...

      The dying process is generally pretty interesting, albeit rather morbid. ;)

    • jennzie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Chuck, that is true that they might still not be experiencing any pain even while they are aware for the few seconds afterwards. And yes, I think I have heard about the girls that you mentioned. For me, it would seem very strange being attached to another person and having to go everywhere with them, but for them I'm sure it is just everyday life as that is all they have known.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your view on this!

    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 

      7 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      That is very interesting about the human heads. It is still possible though that decapitation is painless. None of the heads grimaced in pain. I saw on Youtube, there is a girl with 2 heads. She is actually 2 people (conjoined twins) but with 2 legs and 2 arms. I am thinking about writing a hub about her. Other than this, they seem like normal teen girls.

    • jennzie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Mhateer, CyberShelly, and Gypsy- I'm glad you enjoyed it- thanks for stopping by!

      And I'm with you Kenneth, I think these stories are interesting from afar. But I certainly wouldn't want any psycho killer coming after me!

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Gypsy, love hubs such as this one. As long as my doors are locked.


    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Voted up and interesting. Thoughts of Psycho and crazed lunatics came to mind. WOW Gave me the chills. Well done and thanks for sharing. Passing this on.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      7 years ago

      I enjoyed these creepy stories, they give me the shivers! Voted up and interesting.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this haunting article.

    • jennzie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      francisassissi, efeyas, & bravewarrior- There is definitely some icky stuff in here- sorry if I grossed you guys out! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      kenneth & lipnancy- Thanks for the compliments! And I'll think about the screenplay idea, kenneth.. :-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Ewwww. This is a morbid hub. I believe in the spirit and that it can go wherever it needs to go. But I've only seen good spirits. I guess that says something about my psyche/soul. I hope to never entertain or promote the presence of icky spirits!

      Not sure how to take this one....

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      7 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Creepy.... see if I ever stay in a hotel again. You are a very good story teller.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      LOVE this stuff. Great hub. Voted UP and all the buttons they had for me to push. Wow. You should write screenplays you are so talented, Jennzie.


    • efeyas profile image


      7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      The head thing just plain creeps me out. However, I read a fictional story about a scientist who decided to amputate his body and keep his head alive by using all sorts of various scientific machinery. Maybe the idea wasn't so fictional after all!!! Voted Up!

    • jennzie profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for the comment and share, jolinabetts! I'm glad you found it interesting.

      Becky, if I smell something strange in a hotel room, I will think twice about staying in there- lol. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you liked it.

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 

      7 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Oh this is excellent, I love this hub! I love reading creepy urban legends! I've heard about the hotel bed thing.. always creeps me out when I'm traveling! But the head still being alive.. ah creepy!!!

    • jolinabetts profile image


      7 years ago from Kalamazoo

      Hi! This hub is interesting and gives me chills! Thanks for sharing this. I'm going to share this , absolutely!


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