It was in the early 1900s when a Pennsylvania boy named Ray Robinson was electrocuted by a trolley wire and resulted in lifelong disfigurement. That led to him being ostracized, and the stories about his disfigurement grew more preposterous with each telling.
Today, people in western Pennsylvania insist that Charlie No-Face (how Ray became Charlie is a mystery) is a radioactive, glowing green figure who haunts an abandoned freight tunnel. The truth, sadly, is he as the victims of an unfortunate childhood accident.
2. Croc from Batman is real
In the early 1900s, wealthy New Yorkers would bring baby alligators from Florida to the Big Apple as pets. When those pets grew too big and weren’t as cute as they wanted, they supposedly flushed them down the toilet. The truth in this tale come from a New York Times report of a group of teenagers who witnessed a gator crawling out of the Bronx River.
3. Wanted: Dead Children for government science!
After World War II and the US dropping the world’s first atomic bomb, there was a rush of testing. scientists wanted to determine the effects of nuclear radiation of human flesh. A series of tests known as “Project Sunshine” used the bodies of deceased children—specifically, stillborn babies. It’s believed that the parents were probably not told how their children’s bodies were being experimented on!
4. This water tastes funny
It was the year 2013 and guests at a Los Angeles hotel were complaining about a terrible smell whenever they showered—as well as taste when they tried to brush their teeth. Management went up to the roof to check the water tank and found the body of a 21 year old woman floating inside. Elisa Lam had been estimated to have been in the tank for two weeks.
5. The Bogeyman is gonna get you!
“Cropsey” was a Bogeyman in Staten Island who would drag children from their beds while a bloody ax was nestled in the crook of his arm. The legend surrounding him can most likely be traced back to a man named Andre Rand. He worked as a janitor at Willowbrook State school and was suspected of kidnapping multiple children. Officially, he was found guilty of kidnapping two.
6. The house at the bottom of the lake
It is confirmed that a house rests in the murky depths of Connecticut’s Gardner Lake. Supposedly, the house sank when a family attempted to move it across the frozen lake in the middle of a 19th century winter. Where this story gets eerie, is to this day, fishermen report hearing musical notes gurgling up to the lake’s surface. They say it sounds like a piano.
7. The Woman in Black spotted haunting the South
2014, a woman dressed in black from head to toe, complete with a trailing black veil and billowing black robes, was spotted walking the highways of the South. Rumors mounts to what she could possibly up to. The truth turned out to be mundane. She was a US Army Veteran on a self imposed pilgrimage having to do with her faith and religion.
8. It’s not really a dead body, is it?
In 1976, at The Pike Amusement Zone in Long Beach, CA, a mummy prop was discovered to be the real body of Elmer McCurdy, a bank and train robber in the early 20th century. What’s even more bizarre is before his body wound up at the amusement zone, it was a staple of the traveling and sideshow circuit for more than five decades. His remains were finally sent to their final resting place in 1977 at Summit View Cemetery in Gunthrie, OK.
9. Aliens are real...ly dead
Everyone knows about Area 51. Are aliens real? Is the government hiding them from us? Maybe, maybe not, but there is a real mass burial ground related to aliens—more specifically E.T. and his 1982 video game, E.T. The Extraterrestrial. The video game is rumored to be the worst game ever made, and was so widely hated, that Atari buried every copy of unsold games in the sands of a New Mexico landfill.
10. Sit, Dog Boy. Good, Dog Boy
An Arkansas-based urban legend tells of a dog man roaming around the town of Quitman is actually an embellishment of the true tale of Gerald Bettis. In 1981, his father was found dead. Bettis then kept his mother imprisoned in the house until adult protective services placed her in protective custody. His mother testified against him in court and he went to prison, where he died.
People claim Gerald’s spirit still haunts the house he grew up in and where his father died. In a variation of the legend, his ghost walks on all fours and is shaggy like a dog.
11. Video games will kill you
In 1981, a video game called Polybius was released at an arcade in Portland, Oregon. The game was designed by the government to be a psychological experiment. It functioned like a drug, and it gave its players seizures and nightmares. Government officials would come in and extract information about the players through the arcade machine.
Polybuis may not exist, but there was a game, titled Tempest, that did cause epileptic reactions and motion sickness among players when it was released in 1981.
12. The Alice Killings
The Alice Killings is a new and famous urban legend in Japan. It revolves around a series of killings between 1999 and 2005 where the victims only connection to each other was a single playing card found on the body with the name "Alice" written in the victim's blood.
While this urban legend isn't true in Japan, it is in Spain where a serial killer identified his murders with playing cards. He was caught in 2003 and sentenced to 142 years in prison.
13. The city beneath your feet
Conspiracy theories abound about a subterranean city beneath Denver International Airport (despite many being debunked.) But did you know there is an American city that has its own underground city? Beneath the streets of Las Vegas homeless people live in the city’s flood channels. It wasn’t a grand conspiracy theory, but more an effort on the tourist industry to maintain the city’s “appeal” that forced the homeless underground.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the truths hidden in 13 urban legends. What legends are your favorites? Do you know the nugget of truth inside?
(Sources: 30 Urban Legends, Creepy Urban Legends)