13 Creepy Urban Legends That Turned Out To Be True

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Altered Dimensions

Sometimes truth is stranger - and scarier - than fiction. These 13 creepy campfire stories turned out to be true, but we wish they weren't!

1. Santa Got Stuck

The legend:

A man dressed as Santa tries to surprise his family for Christmas by sliding down the chimney, only to get trapped inside. Usually, the story ends with him being found days later.

The truth:

Lots of would-be Santas have gotten stuck sliding down chimneys, but thankfully there have been no fatalities. One man, dubbed "the Santa burglar," did get trapped and died trying to break into a house through the chimney.  

2. Cropsey

The legend:

Cropsey was a local boogeyman for the children of Staten Island. He was said to live in the tunnels beneath the Willowbrook State School for children with developmental disabilities, and looked for children wandering the nearby woods.

The truth:

There really was a monster lurking under the abandoned school. Willowbrook's former janitor Andre Rand lived in the school's tunnels, and was charged with kidnapping a pair of missing girls (police couldn't prove he murdered them).

3. The Halloween Hanging

The legend:

On Halloween, a performer or teen prankster tries to fake hanging himself. Unfortunately the rope slips and he pulls off the "trick" for real. Everyone else assumes he's a decoration, or just acting.

The truth:

Not only is this story true, it's happened multiple times. In 1990 a teen from New Jersey died while pretending to hang himself as a haunted hayride performer. The same thing happened to another teen in 2001, and visitors believed he was just pretending to choke.

4. Alligators In The Sewers

The legend:

In New York (or another big city) these scaly predators live in sewers. Sometimes they even roam the surface, looking for a bite to eat. Often, their existence is blamed on pet gator owners flushing them down the toilet drain when they grow too big.

The truth:

There's no shortage of news stories about alligators in the sewers, especially in the South. While a full grown gator couldn't survive a New York winter, the NYPD did catch a juvenile gator that escaped into the sewers in 2010.

5. Elevator Amputation

The legend:

A man is trapped in an elevator when it stops working between floors. He manages to get the door open and starts to crawl out, just as the elevator turns on again. You can guess what happens next.


The truth:

Just when you thought it was safe to step into an elevator. There are lots of grisly news stories about people caught in just this situation. We'll take the stairs, thanks.

6. The Secret Roommate

The legend:

A single man notices that things are going missing, or being moved around in his home. He sets up a hidden camera one night and catches a shadowy figure climbing down from his attic...

The truth:

Check your attic, because this has happened before. A man in Tokyo, Japan caught a stowaway who had been living in his cupboard for the better part of a year. Another woman was living in the attic of an American man until he heard her moving around.

The stories only get creepier from here...

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