These 10 true tales of killers, unsolved murders, and possessions prove that when it comes to horror stories, truth is scarier than fiction. Here are 10 true horror stories that will guarantee a few sleepless nights.
1. The Cropsey Maniac
“Cropsey” had been an urban legend in Staten Island for years. He was supposedly an escaped mental patient, who lived in the abandoned Willowbrook Mental Institution, and would only leave the ruins of his home to kidnap children. Then, in 1987, a girl named Jennifer Schweiger went missing. After a search party discovered her body, they also discovered the campsite of a man named Andre Rand, a kidnapper and suspected serial killer. He is currently serving 50 years to life in prison, after being charged with the kidnapping of Jennifer Schweiger as well as the kidnapping of a girl named Holly Ann Hughes in 1981.
2. The Black Monk House
Documented paranormal activity began at the Black Monk House in 1966, when the Pritchard family moved in. A demonic entity soon made its presence known to the family, who witnessed lights flickering on and off, potted plants tumbling down the stairs, a foamy green substance oozing out of the faucet, and slashes ripping through pictures. It turned out that in the 16th century, a Cluniac monk had been put to death across the street from where the home now stood, for murdering and raping a young girl. Ever since then, the Pontefract home has been known as the “Black Monk House,” and is considered to be the “English Amityville.”
3. Robert the Doll
Robert used to belong to Eugene “Gene” Otto, who spent his childhood playing with the beloved doll … until Gene started blaming household mischief on it. His parents claimed to overhear Gene talking to the doll, often pleading with it. Gene kept the doll well into adulthood, causing multiple problems in his marriage, as his own wife believed he was under the doll’s strange spell. You can now visit Robert in his glass case in Key West, Florida, where visitors claim their phones and electronic devices unexpectedly fail while in Robert’s presence.
4. The Murder Castle of H.H. Holmes
H.H. Holmes was one of the first documented serial killers in U.S. history. He ran a hotel in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair, in which guests checked in, but didn’t check out. Some estimations have his number of victims at 200. He burned his victims’ bodies in furnaces and gas chambers on site, until there were simply too many disappearances on his premises for authorities to ignore. Holmes was hanged in 1896. You can read more the killer and his hotel of horrors here.
5. The Chicken Coop Murders
Gordon Northcott was a Canadian-born man who moved to Wineville, California to start a chicken farm. He enlisted the help of several teenage boys, including his nephew Sanford Clark. Most of these boys were never heard from again. With the willing help of his mother, and the unwilling help of poor Sanford, Northcott tortured and molested the boys, worked them like dogs, then murdered them. When Sanford’s older sister came to visit, the boy told her what was going on, and the whole heinous operation was eventually uncovered. As if that weren’t horrifying enough, during the ensuing trial, Northcott’s mother defended her son, insisting that he had been sexually abused by their entire family when he was a child. Northcott was sentenced to death and hanged in 1930.
6. Elizabeth Báthory
You don’t earn the nickname “The Blood Countess” by being a saint. Elizabeth Báthory, a late-16th century Hungarian countess, is often referred to as a real-life vampire because of her lust for blood. Servants claimed to see Báthory bathing in and drinking blood to maintain her youth and beauty. To this end, Báthory is credited with murdering hundreds of young women during her reign. By the beginning of the 17th century, word spread of Báthory’s multiple killings, and she was finally investigated for her crimes. Báthory was imprisoned in her home in 1609, and remained in solitary confinement until her death five years later. The Guiness Book of World Records labeled her the most prolific female murderer of all time.
7. The Possession of Remy Chua by Teresita Basa
In 1977 Chicago, a respiratory therapist named Teresita Basa was brutally murdered in her apartment. While the police were investigating, they received a call from a man named Jose Chua, who said his wife, Remy, was channeling the spirit of Teresita Basa. Teresita and Remy had been coworkers. During one of Remy’s episodes, she named an orderly, Allan Showery, from the hospital where she and Teresita both worked, as the killer. Remy also listed jewelry taken from the apartment and disclosed where it was hidden. Orderly Allan Showery was later found with the jewelry and convicted of the murder in 1979. Much like The Greenbrier Ghost, this haunting brought justice!
8. The Hinterkaifeck Murders
One of the eeriest unsolved murders in history, this heinous crime happened on the Gruber family farm outside of Kaifeck, Germany, in 1922. Family patriarch Andreas Gruber noticed a strange newspaper in the house, as well as a pair of housekeys that went missing. Andreas also heard noises in the attic. Still, he wasn’t alarmed enough to go to the police. If he had, then perhaps the entire family wouldn’t have been slaughtered with a blunt pickaxe. The six victims’ bodies weren’t found for nearly six days, after which point teachers noticed the young Gruber granddaughter hadn’t been to school in a long time. The creepiest part of the whole ordeal? Neighbors saw smoke coming from the Gruber chimney for a week after the murders had taken place, and the livestock had all been fed. This means the killer(s) must have stayed at the house for some time after the murders.
9. The Missing 411
Every year, a disturbingly large number of people go missing while hiking in the U.S. national parks, never to be seen again. What happens to them? The mystery is so profound that former detective David Paulides has written numerous books on the topic. He calls his project Missing 411, and it has led to several conspiracy theories surrounding the parks. Some have even linked these missing persons cases with Bigfoot. Whatever the case, be careful when hiking in the woods!
10. The Crimes of Ed Gein
Ed Gein is not technically a serial killer, as he only killed two people, but that doesn’t make him any less terrifying. Gein reportedly took about 40 trips to the local cemetery between 1947 and 1952, exhuming bodies from which he then made utensils out of bones, lampshades and masks out of skin, bowls out of skulls, and a corset out of a female torso. Creepier still, he admitted to making a “woman suit” out of the skin from those bodies, so that he could crawl inside whenever he missed his mother. In 1957, the mysterious disappearance of Bernice Worden led authorities to Gein’s door. There they found Worden’s body, dressed like a deer in the shed, as well as Gein’s grisly collection. Upon his arrest, Gein also admitted to the 1954 slaying of tavern owner Mary Hogan. The man’s story is so disturbing it inspired Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre among others.
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Feature photo of Andre Rand: Murderpedia