TRUE URBAN LEGENDS
The Legend - The most common “Collector” legend is the neighbor who collects human body parts and proudly displays them in his basement.
The Truth - In 2011, Russian police arrested a man described in local media as the “cemetery collector”. The collector, Anatoly Moskvin, had dug up at least 29 corpses and made dolls out of them. The life-sized female “dolls” were without faces, and some were wearing platinum blonde wigs.
The Legend - A man moves into his new home and finds that the water coming out of the sink and shower is a murky black color. He later discovers that the black water is being caused by the remains of a liquified dead body.
The Truth - In 2013, the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles experienced some guests complaining about the water running black for a few seconds before returning to normal. The decomposing body of Elisa Lam was later discovered inside of the water tank on the roof of the hotel. Before the body was discovered, guests had brushed their teeth, bathed and drank the water for as long as 19 days. (Side note; this case is far more interesting than what is reported here. For more information, read this. Incredibly creepy stuff here.)
The Legend -The Shadow people folklore revolves around obscured visions or shadows of people that appear and disappear in the blink of an eye. People often report seeing these “shadow people” in the dark corners of rooms, after being sleep deprived, in a state of sleep paralysis, or after just waking up in the middle of the night.
The Truth - In Fukuoka, Japan, a man who lived alone in his apartment began to suspect that something else was in the apartment with him. He decided to set up surveillance cameras and ended up capturing footage of an old woman coming out of his cupboard to steal food and sometimes shower. The 58-year-old woman was homeless and admitted to police that she had been living in the man’s home for about a year, lurking just beyond his eyesight in closets and cupboards.
The Killer in Cop’s Clothing
The Legend - A police officer knocks on a couples door to tell them that there is a murderer on the loose and that it’s important that they let him inside. Not suspecting that anything is wrong, they obey his request and let him into the house. When they ask what the murderer looks like he replies, “a lot like me actually”.
The Truth - In November of 1974, 18 year old Carol DaRonch was browsing through a bookstore when she was approached by a police officer who told her that her car had been broken into and she needed to come to the station with him to file a report. She agreed to go with him but began to suspect that something was wrong when she realized that the “officer” as driving away from the police station and not towards it. The officer turned out to be infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy tried to handcuff DaRonch but he was unsuccessful and was able to escape from his car. Watch an interview with Carol DaRonch here.
The Body in the Bag
The Legend - A woman is on the bus by herself one night when she sees a stranger get on dragging a large, lumpy duffel bag behind him. She finds is strange but figures that her mind is just getting carried away because of the late hour. A few days later, she turns on the news and sees that the man is an escaped mental patient and is being labeled as “the body dismemberer.”
The Truth - A 56-year-old Cypriot monk was detained at the Athens airport after security staff discovered a skull wrapped in cloth and skeletal remains in a sheet inside his baggage. He told the airport security that of he was taking the relics of a saint back to his monastery. However, it was discovered that the bones were actually the remains of a nun who had disappeared from her convent four years earlier. How she died and what the monk was planning to do with the bones remains unclear. The monk was freed after being charged with theft and desecrating the dead, a misdemeanor in Greece. He was also suspended from his monastic duties for three months for going away without leave. Read the article here.
The Legend - Several teens are out playing pranks on Halloween night. They are throwing toilet paper in the trees around somebody’s house when they see a decoration that catches their eye; a realistic hanged man. They decide to steal the decoration for their Halloween pranks, but when they go to knock it down, they realize that the “decoration” is an actual dead body.
The Truth - A woman in Delaware hung herself from a tree on a busy street around Halloween time. The body, suspended about 15 feet above the ground, could be easily seen by passing vehicles. The suicide went unreported for hours because passers-by thought the body was a Halloween decoration. In another case, a camera crew arrived on set to shoot an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. While preparing the set, one of the workers went to move a dead body prop only to discover that “prop” was an actual dead body when the arm snapped off revealing a human bone.