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by Pauli Poisuo
Look, we've tried very hard to keep things casual. We've given you stories of stupid criminals, awesome rogues, and strange happenstances. But the stories you're about to read are next-level creepy. They're stories about terror. About mayhem ... just going about your daily life and suddenly being thrown in a straight-up horror movie.
Family And Friends Receive Phone Calls From A Dead Man
The Chatsworth crash in 2008 saw a passenger train and a freight train collide head-on in San Fernando Valley, CA, with predictably disastrous results. One of the people in the passenger train was Charles Peck, a 49-year-old customer service guy for Delta Airlines. Immediately after the crash, Peck started calling his family. Throughout the night, he bombarded his fiancee, mother, sister, brother and children with repeated phone calls. He never left any messages -- whenever someone answered, they could only hear static. When they tried to call back, it went to Peck's voice mail.
Everyone was understandably pretty panicked. They were aware that Peck had been in the accident. They knew that he wasn't among the survivors and injured, and in fact the rescuers had managed to pinpoint the location of Peck's phone in the wreck-iest part of the wrecked train. Clearly, he was desperately trying to signal for help the only way he could, but was so stuck and/or injured that he couldn't speak.
"I'm using the last of my energy to tell you all to suck it. Especially Chad"
11 hours and 35 calls later, Peck finally stopped calling. Just one hour after that, the rescuers found his body. What a tragedy. They'd been so close.
Only, there was one problem: Peck had died instantly in the crash, so fast that he never even saw it coming.
So ... what in the world happened? Had a dead man been leaving creepy farewells to his family all along? Or did a thousand times more logical thing happen, and Peck's cell phone merely took an almost-breaking impact and went insane in a particularly creepy way until its battery died? Did another, still-alive-at-the-time person gain access to the phone and try to desperately contact someone, anyone in the contact list, too dazed and traumatized to realize they could just call 911? Unfortunately, there's no way to tell. Despite the fact that they found Peck's body precisely where they had located the phone's signal, they never found the phone itself.
The Creepy Stalker Hiding Under The Bed For Three Days
Everyone knows that the bogeyman under your bed is just a myth. It's the kind of thing that only happens in the occasional film looking for cheap jump scares.
And then, one perfectly ordinary day, you hear a strange noise from the spare room of your house. Like a person who has never seen a horror movie in their lives, you decide to investigate. You enter the room. You see nothing. You look around. You see nothing. Relieved to find you were just imagining things, you turn away to leave. Then, as a last-minute concession to your subconscious fears, you decide to check under the bed, and ...
"Well, Clarice ... have the lambs stopped screaming?"
To be fair, the homeowner in this case didn't have his liver eaten. They just retreated from the room as fast as they physically could -- possibly by backing up so hard that their shoulder blades carved a tunnel through a wall -- and called the cops.
The police arrived to find an anticlimactic, yet deeply terrifying story. The monster under the bed turned out to be Jason Hubbard, a burglar who had snuck into the house when the owner was taking out the garbage. That was the good news. The bad news was that he then completely failed to burglarize the place, instead opting to live under the spare room bed for three freaking days. Just ... take a moment to let that sink in. A creepy, random person just living under a bed inside your house for days. What do you do when you think you're home alone? Jason Hubbard knows. He's watching. Listening. Knowing.
Hubbard's mysteries only deepened when the court date came calling. Apart from the obvious burglary, he was also charged with "theft of services" -- because he'd been charging all four of his mobile phones from an outlet in the spare room.
Wait, four mobile phones that he kept charging? He ... he was making videos in there, wasn't he? Suddenly, we think we'd prefer a regular, teeth-and-nails bogeyman.
An Elmo Doll Wants People To "Kill James"
Elmo dolls are some of America's most cherished toys, at least for the people who've never dissected one and witnessed the robotic horror hidden within. But sometimes, even the greatest things in the world can malfunction ... at least, if you consider "hurling demonic threats at their toddler owner" a malfunction.
In 2008, the Bowman family from Lithia, FL bought a brand new Elmo toy for their Sesame Street-loving 2-year-old, like you do. It was one of those fancy programmable versions that can be customized to say your name as part of the phrases it speaks. And young James loved it. Oh, how he loved it. He loved Elmo even -- and especially -- when Elmo finally stopped the happy-go-lucky charade and straight up started hurling death threats at its young owner. "Kill James", it would softly suggest to everyone who would listen, in a happy sing-song voice. "Kill James."
Imagine sitting in a dark room with that thing and maybe one of those malfunctioning Alexas that keep bursting into creepy laughter, and trying explaining to yourself that they're just product malfunctions. The family says that the weird phenomenon started after they changed the batteries in the toy. Unfortunately, the sources don't mention exactly what they replaced them with. Were assuming they used the still-beating heart of an unsullied virgin.
The parents understandably confiscated the hell out of Death Elmo after realizing its newfound homicidal oratory talent, but like any good possessed doll, it had already gotten its owner hooked. Ignoring his horde of other, less possessed Elmo toys, young James kept climbing up closets and counters to be reunited with the sweet, dulcet death whispers of his tormentor.
Meanwhile, Fisher-Price, the makers of the toy, reacted to the news with a resounding "Huh, that's weird." They issued the family a voucher for a hopefully less, uh, customized replacement Elmo and hauled the defective doll away to be examined. Wait, isn't that pretty much exactly how Child's Play 2 starts?
Tenants Discover Their Creepy Landlord Is Spying On Them From A Secret Viewing Room
The creepy old mansion with a lord that spies on you through eye holes in paintings is such an old horror trope that you can only use it as a lame joke these days. After all, it's not even remotely realistic that some freaky old dude in a Hammer horror getup would skulk around the building in secret corridors and eyeball you through an American Gothic replica as you retire in your boudoir by candlelight.
Because it's the 21st century. These days, that guy uses a special array of hidden cameras and a special viewing room.
To be fair, 66-year-old Masaaki Imaeda was no vampire. He was, however, the next best thing: A millionaire landlord from Sydney who operated a number of rental properties, including a crappy, shantytown-style complex made out of shipping containers. In 2015, a couple who were renting an apartment from Imaeda found to their horror that their landlord clearly hadn't felt that he was being villainous enough with mere slumlording. They found this out by accidentally discovering a hidden camera in their apartment. Namely, in the ceiling of their bedroom. With a full view of their bed.
If you're imagining that this was just one of the many, many sex-spying cameras that Imaeda had rigged in his various apartments, and the masses of cables he'd hidden in the walls and ceilings fed all the hot tenant action directly into a secret room, where he was watching it for hours on end ... well, you're not wrong. Determined to make the whole process as revolting as humanly possible, Imaeda did all his lurking in a run-down garden shed where the only imaginable decorations would be lotion stains.
We don't know why that makes it so much creepier, but man, it does.
Remember, the dude is a millionaire. He could have easily afforded the classy version. Instead, he opted for the Silence of the Lambs aesthetic. If finding out that your landlord perved on you via hidden cameras doesn't scare the living daylights out of you, seeing that he did it from that room would be more than enough to make you search for Saw-style traps in your apartment, then move as far away from Masaaki Imaeda as humanly possible.
A House Renovator Finds A Mummified Baby In The Wall
Sorry, folks; this is going to be a scale-tipper for creepiness. There are many things that you don't want to find while renovating a house. Bones. Dead animals. Live animals. Spiders riding said live animals and attacking in formation. But most of all, you don't want to find a dead guy. There's nothing that can be worse than tha-
... Oh, who are we kidding? You read the header for this entry, you know what's coming. A dude renovating a house once found a straight up mummified baby in the ceiling.
That. That right there. That's the worst thing that can happen.
The year was 2007, and Bob Kinghorn was fixing up an old house in Toronto. He and his colleague had noticed a strange smell in one of the rooms, but that's nothing especially weird in such buildings -- after all, there's a reason they were renovating it.
Bob was just about to drill a hole in the ceiling for some wiring, when he noticed a weird-looking bundle of newspapers within the structure. Knowing that you can sometimes make valuable discoveries in old houses -- antiques, old coins and suchlike -- he grabbed the bundle and started uncovering it.
I mean ... to be fair, that house just looks like it would have a baby mummy in it.
The inevitable "No, no, no, no" moment later (seriously, those were the first words out of his mouth), Kinghorn noted that the papers the poor baby had been wrapped up in were dated 1925, so it was unlikely that the house's current owners were murderers who had just realized he'd discover the body and were currently standing behind him with an ax. He reported the case to the authorities, who were at a loss on what to do. "This is being treated as a suspicious death at the time," said a representative of the police before going to collect his Understatement of the Century Award. However, there was ultimately very little they could do. Forensics could only determine that the baby didn't seem to have any signs of physical trauma, so its death probably wasn't violent. Besides, whom could they prosecute? Even if the mother of the child would've been 15 at the time of the birth, and even if she was still alive, she'd be 97 in 2007.
Still, at least Kinghorn did the most he could do for the poor mummy. He started taking donations to get the child peacefully laid to rest, which was done in a quiet ceremony with another unknown baby. No word as to whether he ever returned to finish the job in the house, or if he just went full-on Supernatural by throwing salt on it and burning it to the ground.
Like this article? Check out "6 Real Science Experiments That Sound Like Horror Movies" and "Do You Faint At The Sight Of Blood? Don't Worry, You're Not A Wuss".