Urban legends are fascinating.
We can laugh at Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness loyalists all we want, but if they ever turn out to be right, we’re certainly to be red in the face.
And it wouldn’t be the first time. Here are a few urban legends that people once thought were bogus, but actually ended up being true.
1. The Green Man
If you’re from western Pennsylvania, then you may know about the legends surrounding The Green Man, also known as Charlie No Face.
As the legend goes, a man with green skin stalked the night because he was too hideous to be seen during the day.
The real man’s name was Raymond Robinson. He was just eight years old when was injured by a live electrical wire on the Morado Bridge. His face was permanently scarred from that tragic day onward. Robinson lived in Koppel and sold handmade goods to make a living. Because of his ghoulish appearance, he was rarely seen during the day. But, at night, he would take long walks along State Route 351, creating The Green Man legend.
2. Elmer McCurdy
Elmer McCurdy was killed in a shootout with police after robbing a train in 1911. Throughout the 1920s, sideshows displayed what they claimed to be McCurdy’s mummified body.
In 1976, the body found its way to an amusement park in Long Beach, where it was used as a prop.
Someone accidentally broke a finger off the body, and to the surprise and horror of everyone around, it revealed a human bone. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that it really was the robber’s body.
3. The Dog Boy of Arkansas
People believe that the Dog Boy of Arkansas kept a secret shelter full of dogs that he tortured…and there are those that actually believed the man was part canine.
In reality, Gerald Floyd Bettis was a terribly abusive monster, both to animals and his parents.
Throughout his childhood and into early adulthood, Bettis imprisoned his parents in a room of their own house. He kept them there for years. However, he wasn’t arrested for this abuse until after his father died.
4. The Legend Of Cropsey
Staten Island had a real boogeyman in the 70s and 80s, and his name was Andre Rand. The drifter abducted and killed children in the area, creating the “Cropsey” legend.
Parents used to tell their children that “Cropsey would get them” if they misbehaved, but this creepy threat was based in truth.
Rand worked at a children’s mental institution called Willowbrook State School. During his spree, five children disappeared, but it’s possible that he was responsible for more disappearances. Some of the bodies were never found.
5. A Suicide Mistaken For Decoration
There’s a legend that, at Halloween, one house in Delaware was decorated SO well, there were rumors that real bodies were used in the gruesome display.
As ridiculous and morbid as that sounds, the story is partially true.
A suicide was actually mistaken for a gory Halloween decoration…and was ignored for hours. A 42-year-old woman in Frederica, Delaware, hung herself from a tree. Despite being seen by passers-by, it took three hours for someone to call the police. People later claimed that they thought it was a Halloween decoration.
It’s not uncommon for bizarre local history to morph into gruesome urban legends — it makes the myths that much more terrifying. Nothing will keep you up longer at night than a spooky story that you know is true.