Urban legends are so terrifying because they are plausible enough to be true, but sometimes the line between fact and fiction is so blurred it's hard to know whether these events consist of hearsay or real-life horror.
Shockingly, a lot of the most skin crawling urban legends are gleaned from events that have actually happened to some poor unfortunate souls, and the four chilling tales below are no exception...
1. The Corpse in the Deep End
Many have us have heard the chilling campfire story of kids inadvertently swimming in what is, in essence, a giant corpse soup thanks to an unseen body lurking in the deep end, but surely this couldn't happen in a clean public pool?
Unfortunately, in 2011, this exact scenario came true and the drowned woman in question, Marie Joseph aged 36, was under the water for two days with unsuspecting members of the public before she was discovered.
A 9-year-old boy at the pool saw Marie slide down the water slide and never resurface, but when he told lifeguards they assured him that he must be mistaken and didn't investigate the possible accident.
The next day, routine health inspectors checked the water in the pool and did not discover anything wrong, despite the corpse that had somehow remained hidden in the deep end.
Police said it was unclear how many people, if any, had seen Joseph's body in the pool and expressed their concerns about the unknown object before it was recovered two days after she drowned.
2. The Legend of Dog Boy
The Bettis House in Cleburne County, Arkansas is said to be haunted by many local people who claim that the evil spirit of a man who beat his own parents and savagely tortured stray dogs are the cause of the ghostly goings on.
While it's impossible to verify if the house is haunted, despite multiple claims of lights turning on and off and animals refusing to go inside, the "Dog Boy" of urban legend was a real person.
The real Gerald Floyd Bettis was just as evil as the urban legend claims he was. Local residents recall that they could routinely hear animals screaming from the house and Mary Nell Holabird, who was unfortunate enough to live on the same road recalled:
His parents were good people, but Gerald was a brat, vicious and cruel. He would catch stray animals and torture them. We could hear them howl. I had almost forgotten about all those cats and dogs he had, but he even added onto the house so he could keep more of them.
When he grew up, Holabird also remembers how 6'4 Gerald Bettis:
Kept his parents virtually imprisoned in the upstairs part of that house. He would feed them, but only when he decided it was time for them to eat.
Bettis also threw his 70-year-old father out of a window (where he clung to a ledge for his life) and broke his mother's hip, prompting the state to remove them from his care.
If evil spirits were to lurk anywhere, it seems like the old Bettis house is a prime location.
3. Rabbit's Rampage
We are all familiar with horror movies where children's characters are subverted into murderous psychopaths and there are more urban legends about deranged slashers in sheep's clothing than I can shake a stick at.
Of course, we all already know Gacy, the clown killer, but he didn't ever dress up while he stalked or murdered his victims, but an evil rabbit attempted to take things a step further.
In 1970, a young couple were making out in their car when they were approached by a terrifying dude in a rabbit suit ranting about trespassing before throwing an axe through the window at them. Amazingly, nobody was maimed, but this wasn't the rampant rabbit's last attack.
Two weeks later, the rabbit was spotted viciously hacking at the front porch of an unoccupied porch with his trusty axe. When a security guard approached him with a gun, the rabbit ran into the forest and was never seen again.
4. That's a Prop, Right?
If that Halloween porch ornament looks a little bit too realistic for your liking, sometimes it might be prudent to trust your own instincts.
There are numerous true stories of real dead bodies being mistaken as macabre Halloween props, but the most recent one I've discovered comes from November 2012.
A mailman was doing his rounds when he stepped over what he thought was a prop body left over from Halloween as he had seen plenty of the fake bodies around the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the body was the real corpse of Dale Porch who had collapsed and died after returning from work that day.
The U.S. Postal Service issued the following statement in defence of their worker's tragic error:
We do know the carrier delivered mail to the house that day, and he remembered seeing something he thought was related to Halloween. When the carrier learned that was not the case, he was shocked and extremely upset,