ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Hollywood might be a celluloid dream but under the gloss there is a sickly ooze of contagiously creepy urban legends.

These chilling whispers have survived for decades and darkened even the most 'innocent' of movies, but are any of them actually true?

Take a walk with me through the shadows of cinematic history as I dissect these terrifying movie myths to find out once and for all...

A Suicide in Munchkin Land

The Urban Legend: Rumor has it that thing's weren't so magical when Dorothy was skipping down the yellow brick road to see the wonderful Wizard of Oz...

In the scene where Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man continue their jaunty musical journey, a mysterious shape can be seen swinging in the background. Rumor has it, this is the dangling corpse of a Munchkin who hung himself over unrequited love.

According to movie lore, the little person sneaked onto set and committed suicide unbeknownst to the director, various stagehands, and the actors on the screen.

The Reality: There is undeniably movement in the background of the infamous frame, but no munchkins were harmed in the making of this scene.

The motion is, in fact, the flapping of an exotic bird loaned from Los Angeles Zoo for the classic movie. Although it is often misidentified as an Emu, the feathered fiend in question is probably a crane.

Judy Garland herself might have unknowingly planted the seeds of the suicidal munchkin rumor while she was on a promotional tour for The Wizard of Oz. The young actress appeared on many talk shows giving exaggerated accounts of the boozing and bed-hopping ways of the little people on set, which made the rumor seem all the more viable.


Simba Gets Sexy

The Urban Legend: From the phallic castle spire on The Little Mermaid VHS to theories that Aladdin encourages teenagers to take off their clothes, Disney has been accused of secret perversions for years.

One of the more prevalent urban legends used to prove Disney's sordid underbelly is that the dust blown into the savannah by an adolescent Simba in The Lion King spells out 'SEX'.

You can undeniably see a three letter word in the sky if you look closely, but conservatives who decided Simba was selling sex to youngsters were barking up the wrong tree...

The Reality: In a perhaps misguided attempt to play homage to the hard-working animation effects team, the dust actually spells out the name of the company which happens to be SFX. I bet Disney wish they never hid that Easter egg...


The Subliminal Shining

The Urban Legend: If you see sinister triangles in everything, this new world order urban legend is the one for you!

The Shining is a hotbed of conspiracy theories and supposed curses, but one of the most interesting theories is that Stanley Kubrick is responsible for faking the 1969 moon landing and the 1980 classic horror is his confession.

If you believe this rug is in fact a launch pad and not just frighteningly garish 80s style, you might just believe the rest of this video, but it doesn't take a mastermind to realize the facts are shady...

The Reality: Although the moon landing is one of the most prevalent conspiracy theories of our time, it definitely happened. Hell, the Apollo 11 mission even left some reflectors up there that still exist today. Whether you chose to believe in the moon landing or not though, the facts in the urban legend aren't entirely Kosher.

Namely the 237 room number which gave birth to the entire theory in the first place. Although the room number was indeed 217 in the book, there is a much simpler explanation why this one wasn't used...

Timberline Lodge, Oregon, was used for exterior shots of the hotel and the owners requested that Kubrick did not use an existing room number in The Shining to avoid scaring off paying customers. Kubrick complied and used the non-existent room 237 in the movie.

Ironically, room 217 is now the most requested room at Timberline, despite the fact it had no role in the filming of The Shining.


Three Men and a... GHOST?!

The Urban Legend: When Three Men and a Baby was released on VHS in 1990, a terrifying rumor was also unleashed on the general public.

In the above clip, you can see a sinister figure standing at a window in the background that the actors seem oblivious to.

This ghostly presence was rumored to be the spirit of a boy who killed himself with a shotgun. According to urban legend the house was only vacant for Three Men and a Baby to film in because of his grisly death.

The Reality: The mysterious figure is actually a cardboard cutout of Danston's character wearing a top hat and tails. It was intended to feature in the movie, but the scenes were eventually scrapped.

To discredit this urban legend even further, the Three Men and a Baby house is in fact a movie set in Toronto. Nobody ever lived there.


Charlie Chaplin's Time Travelling Circus

The Urban Legend: Urban Legend has it that one audience member was so desperate to go and see Charlie Chaplin's 1928 blockbuster, Circus, that she traveled through time to get there.

In a 2004 DVD release of the movie, the scene picturing the premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles shows a woman using what appears to be a mobile phone.

Clearly this was absolutely impossible in 1928, so what else could be afoot here?

The Reality: There is no denying this mysterious woman is clutching a small black object to her ear, but what could it be if it isn't a mobile phone?

Some historians have theorized that the unidentified object could be a pocket sized carbon microphone known as the Siemens 1924 hearing aid. It could also be the worlds smallest ear trumpet.

These arguments might be quite compelling, but nobody has yet tackled why the woman in question is also talking...

To be fair though, she could be just bat-shit crazy. Anyone who has been to Walmart at 3 A.M. knows that speaking into an inanimate object isn't as uncommon as you might think...


Which urban legend do you think was the most convincing?

(Source: Mental Floss and Listverse)


Latest from our Creators