Urban legends are generally a great way to scare your most gullible friends, but what happens when an urban legend turns out to be true? Well, prepare yourself for eight of the most horrific stories you’ll ever hear. These eight urban legends have been proven to be true.
Number Eight: The Green Man. The Green Man is rumored to be a disfigured man with no face and glowing skin roaming the streets of Pennsylvania at night. Though it sounds made up, this green man was actually named Raymond Robinson. When Robinson was eight years old, he was electrocuted and so badly disfigured that he appeared not to have a face, and his skin glowed green from the shock. He walked the roads alone at night because he was too horrifying to leave his house during the day.
Number Seven: Shadowy Figure. Many people report seeing shadowy figures every once in awhile, but for a man in Japan, it turned out to be true. He reported that, despite the fact that he lived alone, he constantly saw shadowy figures in his home and thought someone was eating his food. It turns out a 58-year-old homeless woman had been living in his cupboard for a whole year without him realizing it.
Number Six: Bloody Mary. A fun way to scare yourself as a kid is to go into the bathroom, shut the door, turn of the lights and say “Bloody Mary” three times in hopes that Queen Mary I will appear in your mirror looking devious. Well, it turns out that the people who report actually seeing her are experiencing what’s called the Caputo Effect. The Caputo Effect occurs when your brain is subjected to sensory deprivation and the facial recognition system begins to malfunction. People who see Queen Mary I are actually seeing a distortion of their own face.
Number Five: Body in the Mattress. One urban legend states that a couple staying in a hotel smelled something bizarre but couldn’t find the source. Later after the couple checked out, a dead body was found in the mattress. Well, it turns out bodies are found in hotel mattresses far more often than you realize. There are cases of dead bodies in mattresses all over the United States.
Number Four: Dead Water. Similarly to the above urban legend, another one involves a couple noticing the water coming out of their taps was jet black. When inspected, they found a decomposing body in the water tank. While this is horrifying enough, it turns out the truth is worse than the legend. In 2013, a hotel in L.A. left a body decomposing in its water tank for 19 days before it was found. People at the hotel bathed with this water, brushed their teeth with this water, and even drank this water.
Number Three: Buried Alive. Another common urban legend is that of being buried alive. Well, around the 19th century, it was actually quite common for people to be buried alive. In the late 19th century alone, 219 cases were reported of people mistakenly buried alive.
Number Two: A Truly Haunted House. One urban legend states that a fake corpse in a haunted house turned out to be an actual body, so be careful every time you go into a haunted house. Well, in 1976, a camera crew filming in California was using a fake corpse and accidentally nicked its arm when they discovered there was flesh beneath the bandaging. It turned out to be the body of a criminal from the early 1900s who was shot and killed while robbing a train.
Number One: Ear Worms. One of the creepiest urban legends is that it’s possible to have bugs living inside your head. This legend became very real in 2013, when a woman traveling from Peru back home to England developed headaches. When she woke up the next morning, she heard scratching in her head and was experiencing extreme pain. It turns out there were maggots living inside her ear canal. And that’s what we’d call legendarily gross.