No matter where you go, you’ll likely encounter local urban legends. Whether they be stories of unsolved murders, paranormal happenings, or simply creepy tales about weird residents, you can usually find some kind of spooky folklore in any given town.
The good news is that urban legends, by their very definition, are pure fiction. Unfortunately, there are plenty of actual events that are so creepy you’ll wish they were fake.
Here are 20 such stories that are so dang creepy they sound like they should be urban legends—but they were completely true!
1. The Texarkana Moonlight Murders: In 1946, there was a series of gruesome murders that occurred in the Texarkana region of the Texas/Arkansas border. Five people were murdered, and three others were seriously injured over a period of three months in Spring Lake Park. The killer was never caught.
2. The Hinterkaifeck Murders: In 1922, in the rural town of Hinterkaifeck, Germany, six members of the Gruber family were all lured into their barn and slaughtered one by one with an ax. Apparently, the murderer had been secretly living in their home for months prior to the killings, and even after the family was dead, the killer continued to live on the family’s farm for the next couple of days.
3. Ted Bundy’s finale: Ted Bundy will go down in history as one of the most heinous serial killers ever to have lived. In his final vicious spree before police caught him, he entered a Florida State University sorority house and attacked four women, killing two of them. He also smashed a dancer’s skull and attempted to attack a 14-year-old girl.
4. Stalker under the bed: In July 2014, a teen from Ellesmere Port, England, began receiving creepy texts from a man named Kyle Ravensport, who claimed he was watching her. He said he was going to hang himself outside her window one evening so she would see his corpse when she woke up.
The girl was so terrified that she slept in her mother’s room; the next morning, she found Ravensport asleep underneath her own bed! Talk about monsters under the bed.
5. Who is Spitman?: There is a man people call “Spitman” who supposedly hangs around the West London council estates in England paying young men to perform bizarre sexual favors on him. Even though several young men claim to have been in involved with this mystery man, no one knows his true identity.
6. Atomic wedgie death: No one can die from a wedgie, right? Wrong! In 2013, a man named Brad Lee Davis and his stepdad, Denver Lee St. Clair, got into a heated argument. This led to Brad giving Denver a wedgie so extreme that his stepdad choked to death on the elastic band in his underwear. Brad pled guilty to manslaughter two years later.
7. Craigslist killer: In 2009, a medical student named Phillip Markoff arranged appointments for sexual favors via Craigslist ads. When he met up with the women who responded, he brutally murdered them.
Police eventually caught him, and he killed himself in prison… but not before he wrote his fiancée’s name in blood on his prison cell wall.
8. Sweeney Todd IRL: In 1995, a serial killer named Joe Metheny murdered two prostitutes, chopped up their bodies, and actually mixed their flesh with pork and sold them as pulled pork sandwiches at a small sandwich stand he ran. Absolutely horrific.
9. The kidnapped hitchhiker: In 1977, a woman named Colleen Stan decided to hitchhike 400 miles from Oregon to California to surprise her friend. Sadly, she never made it. A lumberjack named Cameron Hooker picked her up and made her his sex slave for eight years before his wife eventually set Colleen free.
10. Banana spiders: In 2013, Consi Taylor of London, England, noticed odd white spots on a bunch of bananas she had just purchased from her local grocery store. The “spots” were actually egg sacs of one of the world’s deadliest spiders, the Brazilian wandering spider.
She and her family were ordered to leave their home immediately by pest specialists. This is pretty much everyone’s worst nightmare, right?
11. Actor’s accidental death: Throughout the course of live theater, there have been a number of cases of actors accidentally killing themselves during scenes. In 2016, a theater actor named Anthony Schumacher accidentally hung himself while reenacting a hanging scene during a live performance.
The stunt put him in a coma, and doctors pronounced him dead soon after.
12. Deadly Halloween candy: Parents have a reason to fear the candy their kids receive on Halloween. In 2014, an eight-year-old trick-or-treater received a small bag of crystal meth in her candy bag.
Luckily, her parents identified it before she consumed it, but they were never able to determine what house it came from.
13. Clown sightings: Even though clowns are meant to make us laugh, many people find them downright creepy, and the residents of Wasco, California, sure have a reason to. An unknown person dressed in a startling clown outfit roams the streets of the town, waving at pedestrians from afar.
Technically, they aren’t doing anything illegal, so police can’t do much about it.
14. The woman in black: In 2014, people who lived in certain parts of the southeastern and midwestern United States saw a woman dressed in all black walking the highways and town roads. She even began to appear on local news broadcasts.
The mysterious woman’s brother told Reuters that she was on a silent pilgrimage after leaving a veteran’s hospital in North Carolina.
15. Toilet snake: In 2013, a Texas Starbucks customer named Bruce Ahlswede freaked out when he went into the restroom and found a snake slithering around the toilet. Luckily, the snake didn’t harm anyone, and it was removed by authorities shortly after.
16. Razor salad: Back in 2014, a woman in Flagstaff, Arizona, was eating at a Burger King when she bit into her salad and felt something hard and sharp. It turned out to be an actual razor blade! An employee admitted to leaving the blade on a shelf near the salad prep area.
17. Snickers nightmare: One Halloween, a teen from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, bit into a Snickers bar only to realize there was a small metal shard of a razor stuffed into the side of it. Luckily, she wasn’t injured, but police never found the person who implanted the deadly object.
18. AIDS attack: In 1990, an Australian prison guard named Gregory Pearce was stabbed with a hypodermic needle full of HIV-contaminated blood by a prisoner. Pearce had only been on the job for three months, and he died eight years later after succumbing to AIDS.
19. The Tylenol Murders: In 1982, an unknown person put the deadly chemical potassium cyanide in random bottles of Tylenol, killing seven people and getting many more sick. Although no suspect was ever found, this horrific event caused the medical industry to adopt tamper-resistant packaging that has become strictly enforced today.
20. The Puebla Tunnels: Stories of a vast network of tunnels that ran underneath the city of Puebla, Mexico, floated around the country for decades, but because no one ever found them, they were deemed false…
However, in 2015, a public works crew amazingly came across them, and the mayor of Puebla donated nearly $300,000 to have them restored and turned into a tourist attraction.
Some of these stories are spooky enough to keep you up at night. Sometimes, facts are even scarier than fiction!
Share these creepy (but true) “urban legends” with your friends below!