Horror movies rely on tapping into our deepest fears and dragging them out into the light of day, but surely the sadist plots that are dreamed up to get our stomachs churning are way too terrible to exist in the realm of reality?
Unfortunately, a surprising amount of terrifying horror troupes have happened in real life and seven of the most shocking are presented below. The videos contain pretty disturbing content, you have been warned!
1. Swimming with a Corpse
Movie Link: Creepers
Real Life Story: 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.
News Source: ABC News
2. Halloween Prop is a Real Body
Movie Link: House of Wax
Real Life Story: 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 for 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 defense 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.
News Source: Washington Post
3. Stolen Organs
Movie Link: Turistas
Real Life Story: You probably don't need to start wearing a kevlar vest permanently 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. Chilling.
News Source: Washington Post
4. Phone Calls from the Grave
Movie Link: Well, TV link this time. The Original Twilight Zone series featured an episode where a child received phone calls from his dead grandmother asking him to join her in the land of the dead.
Real Life Story: Horror author Dean Koontz received a call on his unlisted number from his mom back in 1998, that wouldn't be unusual except for the fact she had been dead for 20 years. Koontz claimed her heard his mother's voice pleading "please be careful" repeatedly until the line went dead.
Two days later, Koontz was called into the facility where his father lived because he had punched another resident. When Koontz arrived, he was horrified to see his dad was trying to slash the other resident with a small fishing knife.
Koontz wrestled the knife from his father and stepped out of the room to be greeted by armed police pointing their guns at him. When they shouted "drop the knife," Koontz tried to explain the situation and then, remembering his mother's words, realized he was going to get shot unless he complied. He explained:
All of a sudden, I realized that they were going to shoot me if I didn’t drop the knife. They thought I was the perpetrator. So I dropped it. [ . . . ] My own stupidity almost got me killed.”
The author believes it was the message from the other side that saved his life that day.
News Source: Psychology Today
5. Complicated Killing Devices
Movie Link: Saw III
Real Life Story: Brian Douglas Wells was a pizza delivery guy who was coerced by two co-conspirators to rob a bank wearing an elaborate explosive kill collar in 2013.
Kenneth Barnes, the mastermind of the failed heist, confessed in 2008 that when Wells realized a real bomb was going to be attached to his body he tried to back out but was forced into wearing the deadly device at gunpoint.
Wells was instructed to hold up a local bank and tell police that strangers had forced the explosive device upon him. Officers called for the bomb disposal squad 30 minutes after their initial encounter with Wells, but the device exploded and blasted a credit card sized hole in his chest 3 minutes before the bomb team arrived.
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. 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 detonated.
6. Horrifying Collection of Creepy Dolls
Movie Link: Dolls
Real Life Story: 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 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.
News Source: Isla de las Muñecas Website
7. Waking Up Under the Knife
Movie Link: Awake
Real Life Story: Diane Parr, 48, experienced a living nightmare when she woke up during surgery and couldn't even signal with her eyes as her eyelids had been taped closed, she told The Daily Mail that:
I was overwhelmed with panic, screaming inside. I couldn’t believe what was about to happen. I honestly thought I was about to die, from the shock as much as the pain. My heart was pounding so hard I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
News Source: The Daily Mail