ByKarly Rayner, writer at Creators.co
Editor/Senior staff writer | Movie Pilot's celebrity savant.
Karly Rayner

We've all had at least one night trembling in the darkness over that terrifying thing that happened to your friend's cousin's sister, but are these oft-told urban legends ever actually real?

I hate to break it to you, but the answer is a big, resounding yes!

So, steel yourself for yet another sleepless night and brace yourself for the dangerous urban legends that are actually real.

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

The Urban Legend: We all know the drill, a gang of hard-talking mobsters do someone in and then transport the body in a nice, rolled up rug.

This gangster movie trope originates from censorship laws that forced directors to find creative ways to depict a dead body without actually showing one, so surely it never happened in real life, right?

The Shocking Reality: Things didn't exactly go to plan when three Columbia students decided to brighten up a nice recycled carpet that was left neatly rolled outside their apartment...

Instead, they noticed bloodstains oozing out of the rug when they reached their dorm room on the 8th floor, and when the carpet was unrolled they discovered a murder victim with two bullets in his head.

Yep, that's right, not only were three students from one of the most prestigious colleges in America cheap enough to drag a rug off the piss-sodden sidewalk, but none of them had the brains to notice the rug was a tiny bit heavy.

Education, eh?

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Organ-ized Crime

The Urban Legend: We've all heard how much human organs are worth, and how some people will stop at nothing to get their surgically inept hands on your precious kidneys.

Sure, characters in movies such as the Final Destination series have woken up in a bath of ice with a monstrous scar, but does it have any grounding in reality?

The Shocking Reality: You probably don't need to start wearing a kevlar vest permanently here in the United States, but impoverished workers in India aren't so lucky.

Thanks to a law passed in 1995, people in India can only receive an organ donation from a close relative. Needless to say, the black market is rife with desperately ill people willing to pay huge sums of money to save their lives.

In 1998 a number of Indian men came forward who claimed they had been drugged and robbed of their kidneys during what they thought was a medical for a new job.

When they woke up, they were quickly dismissed with a pain in their sides and, unknowingly, one kidney lighter. Needless to say, they never heard anything more about the job...

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Hanging Horrors

The Urban Legend: Those zany kids are having another one of those wild Halloween parties again, and this time the decorations are even more realistic than ever!

That is, until one of the hanging mannequins starts dripping blood onto the revellers and some poor observant soul realizes it definitely isn't made of wax...

The Shocking Reality: Believe it or not this horrifying scenario has happened on multiple occasions...

In Delaware in 2005, a woman hung herself from a tall tree by the side of the road, but unfortunately for her, it happened to be a few days before Halloween. Due to the proximity of the the Holiday, hundreds of people drove past her dangling corpse until someone eagle eyed (and, now permanently traumatized) realized she was a bit too realistic.

Another chilling Halloween corpse mishap happened in 2009 when neighbors were very impressed with the effort Mostafa Mahmoud Zayed had put into his seasonal display. Along with streamers and pumpkins, there was also a fake corpse slumped forward in a rocking chair.

It took four days before somebody suspected something might be amiss and called the cops to inspect the realistic (and by now, I would imagine, fly coated) prop.

Yep, the 'dummy' was 75-year-old Zayed who had been gradually decomposing with a single gunshot wound to the eye while the rest of the town gawped at him.

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Wait, Jigsaw's Real?!

The Urban Legend: Okay, so this isn't really an urban legend, but the automatic kill devices in the Saw franchise captured our imaginations and crept into our nightmares.

Surely nobody would ever go through the effort to actually construct one of these torturous devices in real life though?

The Shocking Reality: It's time to let your faith in humanity slump down a notch, because some sicko actually constructed a fully functional kill collar and used it to make their victim rob a bank.

In 2003 an unsuspecting pizza delivery guy named Brian Wells was sent to an address that just so happened to be at the end of a long dirt track.

We still don't know what happened out in the wilderness, but an hour later Brian popped up in a bank wearing a collar containing an explosive device armed with a handwritten note demanding quarter of a million in cash and a homemade shotgun shaped like a walking cane.

When the staff in the bank called the police, they treated Wells like he was a regular criminal and didn't believe his story about the explosive collar... Until it went off and blew a postcard sized hole in Wells' chest.

The police found a list of tasks on Wells's body, each of which had to be completed in a set period of time to prevent the bomb going off. Poor Brian was doomed from the get go though. Even if everything had gone to plan, it would have been impossible for him to execute all the tasks before the collar blasted his head off.

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Terrifying Island of Dolls

The Urban Legend: Creepy Dolls are the terrifying, dead-eyed foundation that urban legends are built on.

There are far too many campfire stories to mention that feature murderous dolls, and most of us would freak the hell out of we ended up in a house crammed to the rafters with unseeing porcelain faces.

Sometimes, fact is even more chilling than fiction though...

The Shocking Reality: If you ever book an idyllic holiday to a Mexican island, make sure that you don't end up on this one...

Isla de las Munecas (Island of the Dolls) was discovered in the 90s, and it is exactly what it says on the tin. Severed dolls heads, scattered plastic limbs and unseeing eye sockets greet intrepid visitors, but the story of the islands creation is even creepier than the dolls themselves...

A hermit named Mr Santana Barrera lived on the island until his death and the dolls are a, perhaps misguided, tribute to a young girl whose body was found in the waters surrounding the island.

The isolated man found a doll near the spot where the girl died shortly after the grisly discovery and was convinced her spirit lived on in the plastic effigy.

Barrera became obsessed with preserving the memory of the dead girl through dolls and collected thousands on the island before he himself drowned in 2001.

Rumor has it Barrera and the young girl died in exactly the same spot.

Now will you believe me when I say dolls are cursed?!

Poll

Which creepy urban legend terrified you the most?

(Source: Love to Know, Neatorama, Cracked)

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