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

Urban Legends are an essential part of modern day oral folklore that every one of us is all too familiar with.

While chanting 'Bloody Mary' into a mirror three times is obviously nothing more than a scary superstition, some of the real-life events that lurk behind the fictional facade are even more shocking that the eerie tales themselves.

So, get ready to have your worst fears confirmed as we explore the truth behind 4 terrifying urban legends.

1. Doors of Death

The Urban Legend: A hapless individual steps onto an elevator and is clasped between the vice like grip of the faulty doors before having their limbs torn off as the elevator begins to rise.

This urban legend has appeared in plenty of horror movies (with its equally horrifying cousin, the automatic garage door, also getting plenty of screen time), but does it have any grounding in real life?

The Shocking Reality: It's comforting to believe that modern technology has made harrowing elevator deaths like this a thing of the past, but unfortunately that is a little too optimistic.

In 2003, Dr. Hitoshi Nikaidoh met a harrowing end in a elevator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Houston Texas. As the doctor tried to step onto the escalator, the doors clamped around the top portion of his head and he was unable to escape.

When the elevator began its ascent, Nikaidoh's head was torn in half at mouth level leaving his lower jaw and neck attached to his body.

If that wasn't horrifying enough, a nurse happened to be in the elevator at the time and was forced to spend an hour in the blood spattered metal box with the top half of Dr. Nikaidoh's head.

Terrifyingly, this isn't an isolated incident. As late as 2013 a 24-year-old woman in China was decapitated in a busy elevator when the doors failed to close and she was distracted by her mobile phone.

2. Good Morning Morgue!

The Urban Legend: We all know the story of someone waking up from their slumber only to realize they are stuffed into a morgue drawer modeling a fetching toe tag, but this doesn't still happen with the advances in medical science, right?

The Shocking Reality: Wrong! Waking up in the morgue is not as unusual as you might want to think.

In fact, there are at least four tales of people waking up on a cold steel slab from 2014 alone, with some patients surviving hours in cold storage.

One of the most remarkable examples is a 91-year-old Polish woman who was found 'dead' by a relative at her home. Doctors examined the woman and quickly pronounced her dead, but she proved them wrong 11 hours later.

Mortuary assistants noticed movement from her body bag and the elderly woman was found to be very much alive despite spending an entire day in cold storage.

The woman was later sent home to her family where she recovered with pancakes and soup. In what is perhaps a small blessing, the woman had late stage dementia so she does not remember her terrifying ordeal.

3. Deathly Dollies

The Urban Legend: Tales of real dead bodies being mistaken for macabre dummies emerge every Halloween, but there is a real-life tale that is even more twisted than the urban legends.

The Shocking Reality: Forget mistaking a corpse for a joke prop, one twisted man actively turned the dead bodies of little girls into macabre dolls.

Russian, Anatoly Moskvin dug up deceased girls from over 150 cemeteries and dressed their decaying bodies in bright and colorful clothing.

When his horrifying hobby was finally discovered, Moskvin was sharing his home with 29 corpse dollies.

If you want to know more, check out Jancy's article on the subject here

4. Coming Out of the Closet

The Urban Legend: Almost every child knows this urban legend intimately. The thought of someone or something covertly living in the closet and emerging when you're asleep is a chilling thought most of us are familiar with, but we have nothing on the man below...

The Shocking Reality: In 2008, a 57-year-old man in Kasuya Japan was confused to find that food kept on disappearing from his fridge.

Thinking that he was a victim of a succession of small scale robberies by someone who might have a duplicate key to his door, the man decided to install CCTV cameras, but what he discovered was much more nightmare inducing.

Footage revealed that a 58-year-old homeless woman was the culprit, but instead of breaking and entering, she was living on top shelf of his closet on a permanent basis.

The woman, identified as Tatsuko Horikawa, said she had been living in the apartment for around a year.

Horikawa did not steal any money or possessions apart from food items and used the shower on a regular basis while the owner was out to maintain a neat and clean appearance.


Which urban legend did you find the most chilling?

(Source: Beijing Cream, Cracked, The Guardian, The Telegraph)


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