We like to hope that the horror stories spread in the school playground are just the workings of kids’ wild imaginations, or future fantasy plotlines for authors like Stephen King.
But frighteningly, many are actually based on fact even though they may be slightly embellished. You may have heard some of the tales below before – we bring to you the stories behind them that really happened.
1. Being Cut in Two by an Elevator
People who have a phobia of riding in an elevator may have legitimate reasons for their fears. It is not just paranoia borne from hearing playground tales of being chopped in half when riding an elevator.
There was a case when this actually occurred in China, to a surgeon named Hitoshi Nikaidoh. As he entered the hospital elevator, the doors shut too soon, and refused to open despite him frantically pressing every button. As the Elevator began to rise taking his body with it, his head was decapitated when it was caught on the other side.
2. Brain filled with Flesh-eating Maggots
Be careful when vacationing in exotic lands – and take heed of the horror stories that people tell. They may not just be paranoid urban legends!
A British woman by the name of Rochelle Harris went hiking in Peru, and returned home after having a wonderful time – until she developed a persistent earache. She took herself to the doctors and after an investigation they found a squirming nest of maggots eating the flesh inside of her ear.
A fly called the New World Screwworm had laid eggs inside her ear canal. Luckily doctors were able to remove all of the maggots and she recovered completely.
3. Dead Bodies under Hotel Mattresses
Do cheap hotels kind of creep you out? Ever worry that the cleaner didn’t do a proper job, and that strange smell could be from something sinister?
You might not be acting paranoid. There have been numerous instances of lazy cleaners ignoring putrid odors, only for hotel guests to make a complaint that they can’t get to sleep because the smell is too rancid. Hotel workers will then check under the mattress and find a decomposing body under the bed frame.
The most recent case was in August 2016 when a Thai couple complained the morning after sleeping on a bed that contained the corpse of a murdered trans woman, who had met her end at the hands of two teenagers 3 days prior.
4. Frozen Alive in the Morgue
One frightening tale that others like to spook people with is one about being frozen alive in the morgue. You would assume that with all the modern advances in science that such a thing happening would be impossible – surely science has worked out how to define if someone is legitimately dead.
Apparently not! As recently as February 2016, a tiny premature baby came back to life just minutes before he was about to be cremated. Workers had gone down to the morgue to fetch him when they heard his cries, 15 hours after being kept at a temperature of -12C in the freezer. He has been declared dead at the hospital after he had experienced a cardiac arrest, and now he is in intensive care, still fighting to remain alive.
Another case occurred in 2011 when an 80-year-old woman was found in the morgue freezer who had climbed out of her body bag, was covered in bruises, and was positioned in such a way that it could be seen that she clearly had tried to escape. Sadly, she didn’t survive the freezing cold temperatures.
5. Waking in an Ice Bath with a Kidney Missing
Usually when tales are told about this, they are hugely embellished and entirely untrue. The story generally goes that after drinking with a stranger one evening, you wake up in a bathtub full of ice holding a note telling you to rush to hospital as you have a kidney missing.
This has never transpired, but there are unfortunately many people who have found themselves victims of illegal kidney stealing rings run by criminal doctors, nurses, paramedics and even hospitals, who make a profit on selling organs for transplants.
There was a case in India where this actually happened for 8 years, until the truth came out in 2008. 500 people ended up as victims.
6. Buried Alive in a Coffin
As mentioned above in the story about being frozen alive – we are totally mistaken to think that current medical science can predict the exact moment someone has officially died.
One of the oldest urban legends, dating back throughout history, is that of tales of people being buried alive after they were declared dead. It is understandable that historically, people who had found themselves comatose may have been mistaken as dead, and there are stories of such people coming back to life after they are buried, even returning to normal life.
But more recently in 2015, a young married and pregnant teenage girl was thought to have died after having a panic attack outside her home in La Entrada, western Honduras. The day after her funeral, her husband believed he could hear noises and cries coming from her grave so he rushed for assistance, and with help he retrieved her coffin.
Upon opening the lid, it was clear that the girl had been trying to escape, as the glass on the lid was smashed and her fingers were covered in bruises and her forehead was scratched. She was rushed to hospital but declared dead again, as it appears she had ended up suffocating inside the coffin.
Her body had shown no signs of decomposition and was still showing color, indicating that she indeed had been alive. It is assumed she had what is called a cataplexy attack, which causes a temporary loss of voluntary muscle function, but full consciousness remains.
The family blame the doctor who had been too hasty when initially declaring she was dead, as they suspected otherwise all along.
7. A Needle Prick can give you HIV
During the height of the AIDS paranoia that circulated during the 80s, countless urban legends did the rounds suggesting a myriad of absurd ways you could catch HIV.
Even during the 90s, the urban legends persisted, but due to more facts being broadcast about the virus, they looked slightly more realistic. One email that was circulated claimed that people should be on alert about a stranger who was randomly pricking people with a HIV infected needle and then whispering in their ears “Welcome to the world of AIDS”.
This was a complete hoax, however there was indeed a case where a HIV infected syringe was used by an Australian prison inmate to attack another prisoner. The other prisoner, who in reality only had a 1 in 200 statistical chance of getting HIV from the needle, did end up testing positive and died 7 years later.