The internet’s scariest true stories might sound like an oxymoron at first. The internet? True? Surprisingly, this fright-fest is so real we wish it wasn’t true. Some are just cold cases and others are the inspiration for horror movie blockbusters. Don’t read on if you want to get any sleep tonight.
On February 11th, 1927, four-year-old Billy Gaffney was playing in the hallway of his family’s Brooklyn apartment with two neighbor boys – one twelve and the other three. The eldest of the three returned to his apartment for a moment, and when he returned, Billy and the remaining boy was gone. Eventually, the three-year-old boy was found on the roof, and when asked where Billy was, he just replied, “boogeyman”. Investigators never found Billy. Some believed he simply wandered off, but it wasn’t until 1934 that child-murderer Albert Fish was found to be the perpetrator. To this day, Billy’s remains are missing.
The Bretzius Family Home
The Bretzius family bought their dream home in Auburn, Pennsylvania in 2011, and decided to add new insulation to the walls in 2015 when they made a shocking discovery: they were already insulated with dead animals. Yes, you read that right. The carcasses were wrapped in old newspapers from the 30s and 40s and found with them were spices and strange artifacts. Apparently, the grim discovery was the work of Dutch magic or “Pow-wowing” used to heal ailments. This historical fact did nothing to soothe the Bretzius family, however, who spent $20,000 in repairs with no insurance coverage. Who knew Allstate doesn’t cover Dutch magic?
Mary Moroney was two years old on May 15, 1930, when she disappeared. Her mother and father, Catherine and Michael Moroney were struggling to care for her and her younger sister – plus, they were expecting their third child. Michael so desperately needed help he posted an ad in the paper seeking assistance. On May 14th, Julia Otis appeared. She said she was sent by a social worker named Mrs. Henderson to help them. She gave them groceries, money, gifts, clothes, and even offered to take Mary to California for a few weeks. Catherine refused. When Julia asked the next day if she could take Mary out shopping, Catherine agreed, and the two were never seen again. Later, the Moroney family received a letter from “Mrs. Henderson” stating Otis had taken Mary because her husband and baby had died the year before and she was “love-hungry”. The Moroney family never stopped looking for Mary.
Robert The Doll
If you hate dolls, then you’re going to despise this story. Robert the Doll was a straw-filled boy standing about three feet high in a sailor’s suit. He was a gift given by a Bahamian servant to the young son Gene of the Otto family in Key West, 1906. Unbeknownst to Gene, a voodoo curse was placed on the doll by the Bahamian servant after she suffered abuse from Gene’s parents. It wasn’t long before the Otto family noticed Gene talking to himself in two different voices, screaming in the middle of the night, and finding mutilated toys and overturned furniture in his bedroom. He would claim Robert the Doll did it. Eventually, Robert the Doll was locked away in the attic. Today he can be found at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, in case you need proof he is one of the scariest true stories around.
On the days leading up to May 1st, 1947, eight-year-old Georgia Weckler expressed on multiple occasions for no apparent reason that she feared being kidnapped. She was the daughter of a public official, so when she was abducted authorities suspected she had been kidnapped for ransom. Strangely, no demands for ransom ever came to light. Investigators then believed she fell victim to a sexual predator, but this theory was complicated when numerous individuals, including Buford Sennett and convicted criminals, confessed to murdering her. Even Ed Gein was considered a suspect. However, no conclusive evidence was found to prove any of them right. Her disappearance remains unsolved to this day. It is one of the scariest true stories to remain unresolved.
The scariest true stories of all time aren’t always about murderers. In 2007, three unrelated Washington families had one thing in common – cell phone stalkers. Anonymous callers would call at random times of night knowing fully what the families were wearing, doing, and telling the police. They would even leave voicemails of recordings between the victims and local police officers. If that doesn’t scare you, the families reported their cell phones turning on independently after being switched off, ring tones changing on their own, and death threats being left in their voicemail. Cell phone companies claimed there were no such features in their phones to allow such behavior, and investigators were stumped. To this day, the mystery is unsolved. The Kuykendall family, alleged victims of the stalking, nicknamed the callers “Restricted” to reflect their caller ID.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
Aren’t you glad Freddy Krueger wasn’t inspired by a true story? Well, you’re wrong. One of the scariest true stories around made it to the big screen. Director Wes Craven got the idea from a 1975 news article about eighteen South East Asian refugees fleeing to the United States from communist dictatorship. The refugees experienced so much anxiety from the escape that they would visit doctors for imaginary diseases and parasites believed to be living under their skin. Their night terrors were so bad they were terrified of going back to sleep for fear of an unknown dream-man catching them. Soon enough the refugees were found dead in their beds – but not from disease, from nightmares. Doctors listed the cause of death as “probably cardiac arrhythmia”. They were literally scared to death. These days we call it “Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome” and it claims the lives of 43 out of 100,000 South East Asian males a year.
The Bell Witch
Since we’ve already confirmed Freddy’s existence, we might as well let you know ghosts are real too. This is one of the scariest true stories in history. According to the thoroughly documented legend of the haunting of a family of settlers in 1817, a mysterious entity had tormented John Bell and his daughter for four years. The creature called itself the “witch” of Kate Batts – John Bell’s neighbor who had been on the receiving end of a few bad business deals. The witch did everything it could to the Bell family from tearing bed covers off in the middle of the night and singing hymns to kicking them, pulling their hair and eventually killing John with poison. The tale is so well documented even General Andrew Jackson attests to the witch’s existence. Rumor has it she still haunts the Bell farm in the town of Adams, Tennessee to this day.
In 1873, a group of six men with gold-fever decided to journey through the San Juan Mountains of Colorado in search of treasure with only ten days’ worth of food. Alfred Packer was one of the six men who were thereafter missing for two months. Strangely, after those two months, Packer appeared alone at a saloon bar in Saguache. When asked about the other men, Packer explained he had fallen behind, and they had abandoned him. A likely story – if he wasn’t carrying all the missing men’s wallets in his pack. It didn’t take long for the police to find him and arrest him. After many rounds of interrogation, Packer confessed he had found four of the men slain and cooked by fellow traveler Shannon Bell. He intended to eat them. In self-defense, Packer shot Bell…and later ate him plus all his slain comrades to survive. The crime scene was so obscene they had an artist sketch it for historical records. The worst part is you can still find the sketch on the web for viewing.
One of the scariest true stories is of Elisa Lam, which went from tragic to eerie when footage of her behaving strangely in an elevator of Cecil Hotel surfaced on the web. This footage is supposedly the last time she was ever seen. In it, Lam is found pushing buttons to different floors and then peering out of the elevator doors, as if expecting someone. In between pushing buttons and monitoring for activity, she would hide in the corner of the elevator. Some say she had an existing mental health condition and recently stopped taking her meds, while others say she was attempting a satanic summoning ritual with the elevator. Later that month, reports of the hotel water tasting strange and showers running black came to light. A maintenance worker was sent to inspect the water tank, where Lam’s deceased body was found.
What are the scariest true stories you’ve ever heard? Do you have a personal one? Share it below!
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