11 Terrifying Urban Legends That Turned Out to Be True

Mental Floss has compiled a list of urban legends that have been made more scary by the fact they are (kind of) true. Here they are:

  1. Rats in the toilet bowl. Drain plumbing for toilets is typically three inches in diameter or more, plenty of space for a rat to climb up. 
  2. The legend of Polybius. Vintage video gamers have long traded stories about a coin-operated arcade game called Polybius that had strange effects on its players. While the entire story doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, individual pieces are actually based in fact.
  3. Candyman. In 1987, a woman living in a Chicago housing project made a frantic call to 911 insisting she was being attacked in her apartment. Responders eventually found her dead of gunshot wounds. Investigators determined that her assailants had gained access to her unit by breaking through the connecting wall in the adjoining apartment and climbing in through her medicine cabinet.
  4. Cropsey. Staten Island residents grew up hearing about “Cropsey,” a boogeyman who lived in the woods and disemboweled children. In 1987, Andre Rand was put on trial and convicted for a child abduction; he may have been connected to a rash of child disappearances in the ’70s. 
  5. The leaping lawyer. Toronto residents hear the tale of a lawyer who had a peculiar fondness for running full-bore into his office windows to demonstrate how strong they were and went sailing to his death. This hobby was actually practiced by Garry Hoy, a senior partner in an area law firm with an office on the 24th floor, who plummeted to his death on July 9, 1993. 
  6. The body under the bed. In 2010, guests at a Budget Lodge in Memphis were horrified to discover they had been sleeping above the body of Sony Millbrook, a missing person.
  7. The Maine hermit. For 27 years, Christopher Knight lived alone in the woods, keeping tabs on the hikers, canoeists, and other temporary residents of the grounds. When he was confronted by a game warden in 2013, Knight admitted he was responsible for an average of around 40 robberies a year.
  8. The fake cop trick. In Fayetteville, Georgia, a man donned a uniform and pulled over a teenage boy on a bike, forcing him to empty his pockets. 
  9. The legend of the bunny man. In October 1970, a couple in Virginia reported seeing a man dressed in a white suit and wearing bunny ears who began yelling at them that they were on private property. He also threw a hatchet at their windscreen. 
  10. Charlie no-face. “Charlie No-Face” (also called the Green Man) was actually a man named Ray Robinson, was disfigured as the result of an electrical accident at the age of 8. 
  11. The all-too-real corpse decoration. In 1911, the embalmed corpse of outlaw Elmer McCurdy became a grim sideshow attraction throughout Texas, with people eager to see the famed criminal on display in funeral parlors and carnivals. He eventually wound up in Long Beach, California, where someone apparently mistook him for a prop.

11 Terrifying Urban Legends That Turned Out to Be True | Mental Floss

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