Popular Culture

10 Creepy True Urban Legends


True Urban Legends

Urban legends are almost universal. Everyone you know has that aunt who had this friend that one time… and it just goes from there. Haunted places, gang initiations, whispers of the black market trade are all subjects that are covered by a ton of urban legends. Many of them are incredibly outrageous, but some of them are so unsettling because they seem like they just might be true. The reason that many of them seem that way is that they are rooted in truth. Some of these urban legends came from true stories, and some of them are stories that came true. Here are ten reasons to never sleep or leave your house ever again… er.. Ten urban legends that are actually true.

A Completely Silent Murder

A Completely Silent Murder

Libraries are a haven for many people for many reasons, the smell of books and the surrounding quiet make it a great place to relax or get some homework done. However, because of their silence, there are a lot of eerie stories. The story of a quiet college girl murdered between some shelves and no one hears anything is fairly popular and was heavily popularized in New York to explain a supposed haunting at a public library in the city. The real story took place in 1969 at Penn State. Betsy Aardsma was stabbed to death in the university just feet away from classmates and true to legend, absolutely no one noticed.

A Squatter Living Alongside a Family in Secret

Squatter Living Alongside a Family in Secret

There are tales in every corner of the internet about how people have come to discover a stranger living in their home without their knowledge. It begins with a few items misplaced, food items missing, or a door left ajar. Apparently, these are all extremely irresponsible squatters. They don’t commit. They’re not mindful enough to leave things as they were left (but those Red Velvet Poptarts were lit). Long before there were Poptarts, though, there was the Gruber family. They had a farm called the Hinterkaifeck ranch. One of the maids quit because she believed their house to be haunted, the second maid complained of hearing footsteps, and the family also reportedly saw footprints in the snow and finding random items around the house. It all came to a head on one crisp spring morning when the entire family and the maid were murdered with something called a mattock, which is best described as a lovechild of an ice pick and a pickaxe. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the story aside from the abrupt brutality is that no motive was ever determined because nothing was robbed and there were no suspicious relationships in their lives. Instead, he stuck around a while, warming up by the fire and tending the cattle.

A Craigslist Sale Going Horribly Wrong

Craigslist Sale Going Horribly Wrong

There are a lot of sketchy things that happen on Craigslist, and many people are apprehensive about using the site even for non-nefarious purposes because there isn’t any vetting process. You never know if you’re going to purchase a lawnmower or end up in the deep freezer in someone’s garage because it has inevitably happened to at least someone you’ve heard of before. Even though most transactions and interactions go by without incident, the website has a very chilling side as well. In 2009, the infamous Craigslist Killer started making his name. He was an attractive med student in the midst of planning a wedding with a gorgeous woman, and it was so stressful that he started seeking out escorts to blow off steam. When that wasn’t enough, he started murdering them and stealing their underwear. An elderly couple was murdered while trying to purchase their dream car, and there are plenty of other well-documented robberies and kidnappings.

A Banana Full of Spiders

Banana Full of Spiders

If I had a dollar for every time a fellow student told me that tarantulas hide in bananas or that the dark spots inside a banana were tarantula eggs, I could have paid out of pocket for a doctorate at Harvard and paid someone to do all my homework for me. Most people think that this story comes from the fact that sometimes, spiders like to hang out in the shipping crates that bananas come over on. While this legend might not have been originally based on truth, it came true in 2013. A woman in London thought that she spotted some mold on her bananas. She probably wishes now that it had been mold. It was actually hundreds of extremely aggressive and poisonous spiders called Brazilian wandering spiders. They’re nicknamed armed spiders.

A Little Bit More Than a Sugar High

Bit More Than a Sugar High

Around this time every year, there is an abundance of PSAs that float around. Some of them are very useful, like using glow-stick bracelets to keep track of your kids during trick or treating or what houses are giving out the full-size candy bars. However, something that makes the rounds every so often is that parents need to check for razor blades in the candy that children receive. There are also photos of themed ecstasy pills in all the different colors and shapes that they come in, warning you (even though most parents grew up in the 80’s and 90’s) that this is not candy!!!. Anyone with any sense just replies with: giving away drugs? In this economy? In front of my salad? But in Hercules, California back in 2014, an eight-year-old girl came home from making her rounds candy collecting with 1/10th of a gram of crystal meth.

A Pennywise Problem

Pennywise Problem

You have probably read in the past few weeks that the Department of Homeland Security is desperately pleading with the public to ‘just stay home’ on Halloween night. This is not true at all, and this has been spreading around because of the popularity of the new It film. There were hundreds of ‘clown sightings’ in the past year and a half where people have posted photos and made complaints to police. This is a unique type of urban legend because it is self-perpetuating, every single year when the dust stirs up there will be people who rush to buy a costume and start creeping people out. However, it truly started in 2016 with real events. In August, clowns popped up in small towns in Wisconsin and South Carolina. Shortly after, one came along in California. No violent behavior has been reported, but the clowns in the upstate areas of South Carolina reportedly attempted to lure children and were seen in backyards instead of just public places.

A Call From Inside The House

Call From Inside The House

When A Stranger Calls first came out in 1979, which is the most popular iteration of this urban legend but it was also a key component of Black Christmas (1974). It is considered a folk legend, usually called “The Babysitter and The Man Upstairs.” In the legend, a teen girl is home alone or babysitting some younger children when a barrage of obscene and threatening calls and texts starts. At first, she thinks it is a joke and pays it no mind, until…. gasp! The calls are coming from inside the house. It makes for good movie suspense, but it is so unrealistic in reality. One England teen mistook the legend for a game plan. In the summer of 2014, Kyle Ravenscroft tried to woo his younger crush with the opening line, “I’m watching you.” After some time, she discovered that he had, in fact, been watching her from underneath her bed. She wasn’t physically harmed, but I doubt that she’ll ever purchase a bed frame.

A Real Life Bogeyman

Real Life Bogeyman

Almost every town has its own bogeyman. He escaped from prison or an abandoned mental hospital, and usually preys on children to eat them, is often how the legend goes in its purest form. The people of Staten Island have Cropsey. He’s a deranged ax murderer that escaped from a mental asylum. Now he lives out his days in the tunnels underneath an abandoned school, Willowbrook State School. At night, he goes out to hunt children and take them back to the pits to dismember them. In a nearly unbelievable twist of fate, a janitor for the Willowbrook School named Andre Rand had a criminal history revolving around children. The school closed for the horrible treatment of children that was going on there from him and many other members of the stuff. Andre decided to live in the ruins of the school and continued abusing children. He was charged with the murder of two young girls and was convicted of kidnapping because the killings could not be proven.

A Vacation with a Terrifying Twist


There are a lot of terrifying things that happen in the back alleys of cities around the world that are popular with tourists. Cajun bingo, human trafficking, black widows using scopolamine, and so much more happens every year, raking in millions for the people perpetrating these crimes. In Mexico, there are tourists that get into taxis and end up being sold into trafficking rings. Even though those things are horrible, everyone seems to understand that they are just part of reality. But, the notion that there is a black market where organs are sold is little more than an overused joke. Most people have written this off entirely. However, a young man named Mohammad Saleem went for what he thought was a construction job in New Delhi, and woke up a few hours later with his kidney removed. Police uncovered an entire enterprise, the leader of which had been on the run for almost 20 years. He was arrested and convicted. His sentence was only seven years.

A Criminal Pretending to be a Cop

Criminal Pretending to be a Cop

This is more common in rural towns with plenty of backroads. A friend of a friend of a friend knew someone who was driving late one night on some of those backroads, who got pulled over by a police officer who turned out to not be a police officer, but a robber, rapist, or murderer. Posts on social media circulate about this happening from time to time, and there are plenty that provide false phone numbers to call and confirm that there is an officer following you if it feels at all suspicious. In truth, if you feel as though the ‘cop car’ behind you is suspicious, you can just call 911 or put on your hazard lights and drive to the nearest police station. But, this has happened before. Carol DaRonch was having a relaxing day at the mall when a police officer, Officer Rosewood, approached her and asked her to write a statement because someone had attempted to steal her car. She got in the car and was handcuffed, and the man started driving her to a remote area. She was able to fight him off and escape; however, despite the fact that this man didn’t even have a police car, he was able to convince her to get in the car and come along. Officer Rosewood, who is really Ted Bundy, used this ruse a few times.

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