Halloween is a time that is filled with myth and lore and there are some creepy legends surrounding the spookiest day of the year. In this list, there are some entries that are fictional stories, while others really happened. Can you figure out which ones are true and which ones are merely urban legends?
10. The Ghost Who Solved Her Own Murder
In the winter of 1896, Elva Zona Heaster married blacksmith Erasmus Shue, in Greenbrier, West Virginia. Rumors swirled around Shue, such as he was married twice before and both of his wives had died, perhaps not of natural causes.
A short time after getting married, mysterious bruises started appearing on Heaster, but she claimed it was her own fault. However, it was obvious that Heaster was a victim of spousal abuse. Then three months after the wedding, Heaster became mysteriously ill and no one was really sure what was wrong with her. Because she was sick, she was unable to do things around the house so Shue hired a young boy to do the chores.
Shue told the boy that if no one answered the door, he should just go inside the house. When he did, he found Heaster on the floor. He ran to get Shue, who summoned the physician. When the doctor arrived, he found Shue had put a shirt with a high collar on his wife and wrapped his arms around her neck and wept. The doctor was unable to get the body away from him, but he was able to confirm that Heaster was dead because there was no pulse on her wrist. The doctor initially cited the cause of death as heart failure.
At her funeral, her husband dressed her in a scarf, saying she was very fond of them, but no one remembered Heaster ever wearing one.
Heaster’s mother was suspicious of the death, but she had nothing to back it up. That was until she washed the sheets that her daughter’s body had been wrapped in and they turned pink. Later, she was visited by the ghost of her daughter, who stood in the corner of her bedroom wearing the same dress that she was buried in. The ghost said that she had been strangled to death by her husband after an argument because she hadn’t cooked meat for dinner.
Heaster’s mother went to the prosecutor and told him about the ghostly apparition, and amazingly, he believed her. The body was exhumed and Heaster’s death was ruled a homicide; she had been strangled to death. When Shue went to trial for murder, Heaster’s mother took the stand and the defense tried to make her look crazy for her story about the ghostly visitation, but she stuck to her story and the jurors liked her honesty. Shue was sentenced to life in prison.
9. The Candyman
On Halloween night 1974, in Houston, Texas, eight-year-old Timothy O’Bryan was out trick-or-treating with his sister, his father Ronald, and another family. When the group got to a house, Ronald would walk up to the house with the children, while the other father stayed on the sidewalk. When they came to one house where no one answered the door, the kids ran to the next home. Less than a minute later, Ronald caught up with them with five pixie sticks. He said that the person came to the door just a few seconds after the children ran off.
A short time later, it started to rain and everyone went home. An hour after returning home, Ronald called 9-1-1 because there was something wrong with his son Timothy. He was taken to the hospital and he was pronounced dead. It turns out that he had ingested cyanide, and it looked like it was from the candy he ate.
After the police investigated the death, they concluded that Ronald was actually the one who put the cyanide in the Pixy Stix. Ronald, who had a history of insurance fraud, had taken out a $20,000 life insurance policy on both of his children. He poisoned the Pixy Stix to kill both his children for the money, and then, he wanted to poison other children to hide his crimes. He was arrested, convicted, and executed for the murder of his son in March 1984.
8. The Outlaw Who Wouldn’t Give Up
In 1976, a television crew arrived at the Nu-Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California, to shoot an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. They were shooting in a funhouse, and when the crew moved a prop of a hanging dead body, the arm fell off. When they looked at the arm, they saw it had a human bone in it.
It turns out that the body was real and his name was Elmer McCurdy. In 1911, he was killed in Oklahoma during a shootout after he robbed a train of $46 and two jugs of whiskey. He was embalmed and the funeral director thought he looked good in death, so he set the dead body up in a chair in the back of his parlor. He then charged people a nickel to see McCurdy, who was labeled “The Outlaw Who Wouldn’t Give Up.” People would put the nickel in McCurdy’s mouth and the director would get them afterwards.
In 1915, two men who said they were McCurdy’s brother showed up to claim the body. However, it turned out that they were carnival that wanted to buy the body earlier, but the director had turned down their offer.
McCurdy’s body travelled with the carnival for a while and then he was passed around for several decades. He was featured at amusement parks, a wax museum, and in a few low-budget films before ending up in the funhouse. When the crew of The Six Million Dollar Man found the body, it had been hanging there for four years.
7. The Masked Killer
It was Halloween 1962, and the small town of Ketchum, Idaho, was throwing their annual Halloween masquerade at the town’s community center. The party was more popular than ever this year, with over 200 people attended.
Around 10:00 p.m. the picture above was taken by one of the guests at the dance. Shortly after the picture was taken, the man in the black mask grabbed a knife from the community center’s kitchen and began stabbing people at random. This caused a panic and people fled. When the police arrived, no one was inside the hall, except the people who had been stabbed. They also found the mask that the man was wearing. Police said that the killer removed his mask to blend in with the crowd and he got away.
In total, seven people were killed and the masked man was never identified. The murder has haunted the town of Ketchum, because, to this day, they do not know if the murderer was a stranger, or one of their neighbors.
6. The Crying Baby
In 1998, it was getting close to 11:00 p.m. on Halloween night in Gainesville, Florida, and a woman, who lived alone and who was only identified as Rachel, was starting to get ready for bed. Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the door and it made her jump. As she neared the front door, she could hear a baby crying. She looked through her peephole, but there was no one outside. She also couldn’t hear the baby anymore.
Thinking that this was all too weird and worried for the safety of the baby, Rachel called 9-1-1, and explained that there was a knock at the door, and then the sound of a baby crying. The dispatcher told her to stay in the house with the doors locked and he was sending the police.
Within minutes, two squad cars arrived and the area was canvassed. The police couldn’t find a baby, but there was evidence of someone hiding in the bushes outside of Rachel’s house. Also, two neighbors also said that they heard a crying baby.
The police believe that it was all a trick to lure Rachel out of the house so she could be kidnapped. They also believe that the person who did it used the trick on two other women and sadly, both of those women were murdered.
To this day, the identity of the Babysitter, as he was dubbed in the media, remains a mystery.
5. The Halloween Decoration
In October 2015, in the town of Chillicothe, Ohio, people in one neighborhood noticed a grotesque Halloween decoration hanging from a chain link fence. It looked like the body of a dead woman, but the face was unrecognizable because it was all bloody. Everyone thought it was a sick joke, but no one actually went near it until about 8:30 a.m. on the following day. A construction crew went to move the prop and they discovered that was a real body.
The police were called, and the body was identified as Rebecca Cade, 31. On the day she was killed, Cade had gotten into a fight with her boyfriend, Donnie Cochenour Jr., 27. She tried to run away, but she fell into the fence and Cochenour hit her with a rock. He then proceeded to beat her to death, disfiguring her face enough to make it look like a Halloween prop. Cochenour was arrested and is currently awaiting trial.
4. The Physic and the Sorority Murder
In the late 1980s, Daytime talk shows would often have psychics on the show. Most of them were pretty forgettable. However, one appearance on The Geraldo Show in October 1989 stands out among the rest. Jeanne Dixon, a well-known psychic, said that on Halloween night, there would be a murder on, or near a college campus, somewhere in America.
Well, that prediction turned out to be true. On Halloween Night, someone broke into the Chi Omega sorority at Louisiana State University. Only three girls were home because the rest of the sisters were at a party. Sadly, Susan Prescott, Cheryl Milne, and Rebecca Dion, all 20, were murdered. They had all been stabbed to death. After killing the girl, the killer simply walked off into the night and no one knows his, or her, identity.
The only clue to who killed the three girls is that a witness saw a man wearing a Bo-Peep costume that was covered in blood. However, since it was Halloween, it’s unclear if the man was the killer or if it was just someone with a strange Halloween costume.
As for the psychic, critics think it was just a lucky guess while believers point to this as proof that some people do have psychic abilities.
3. The Spared Roommate
Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., on Halloween 2004, a woman named Lauren living in Napa, California, saw her security light turn on and heard her dog bark. She just assumed that it was the cat that belonged to her roommate Adriane Insogna and went back to sleep. A short time later, Lauren heard someone come into the house. Lauren assumed it was her other roommate’s, Leslie Mazzara, boyfriend, and she again fell back asleep.
A blood curdling scream awoke Lauren next. It came from upstairs, where both of her roommates slept. Lauren stepped out of the bedroom and was suddenly frozen with fear. That’s when a man came barreling down the stairs. Lauren ran out the backdoor, but the problem was that the backyard was surrounded by a 6 foot fence and there wasn’t any way to get out, so she hid until everything went quiet.
Lauren didn’t know if the intruder was in the house or not, but she ventured back in. She tried to use the phone, but found that the line had been cut. She then ventured upstairs and in one of the bedrooms, it looked like a scene straight out of a horror movie. Both bedrooms were covered in blood, and Mazzara was dead, while Insogna was slowly bleeding to death. Lauren called 9-1-1, but sadly, it was too late for Insogna and she died at the hospital.
Eleven months later, the husband of one of Insogna’s friends, Eric Copple, confessed to the murder. He says that he was drunk when he broke into the house and went into Insogna’s room. He fell asleep on a pile of clothes, and when she woke up she screamed. So he attacked her with his knife. He then went down the hallway and stabbed Mazzara to death. As for why he didn’t kill Lauren, Copple just said that she was lucky.
2. The Cannibal in the Haunted House
In October 2015, visitors at the Fright Night Haunted Dreams attraction in Austin, Texas, got a little more than they were expecting for their $15 admission. A few visitors to the attraction, which is a maze filled with terrifying scenes, came across a scene of a man with face tattoos eating a screaming teenage boy in a bloody bathtub. As they got closer, they realized that it wasn’t some skit and the man was eating the teen. They called 9-1-1 as they ran back to the entrance.
When the police arrived on the scene, they had to taze the man. However, it was too late for the victim; 17-year-old Tanner McMillan was pronounced dead at the scene. The cannibal, 27-year-old Phillip Harris, was taken into custody and PCP was found in his blood stream. He was sentenced to life in prison in July 2016.
1. The Trick-or-Treat Murder
It was Halloween night, 1973, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and Arlene Penn had just finished work. After work, she was supposed to go with her boyfriend, Gerald Turner, to her mother’s house for dinner. However, when Penn got home, Turner said he wasn’t feeling well and that she should go to her mother’s without him. Penn drove over and when she got there, she realized that her mother wouldn’t be home for another hour, so she returned to her home where she snuggled and watched TV with Turner and then left again for dinner.
Nine months later, Penn was shocked when Turner was arrested for the murder of nine-year-old Lisa French. On Halloween night, while Penn was still at work, Lisa left her home dressed as a hobo. She knocked on Turner’s door, but instead of giving her candy, Turner somehow lured Lisa into the bedroom he shared with Penn. Once there, he assaulted Lisa before strangling her to death. Her body was found dumped along a roadside three days later.
That means, Turner killed Lisa either before Penn got home from work, or he killed Lisa when she drove over to her mother’s house. When she returned home to await her mother, Lisa’s body would have been in the bedroom on the floor above. Also that night, Penn slept in the same bed where the little girl had died just hours before beside the man who had killed her.
Turner was arrested and given a life sentence
Which ones are true?
9. The Candyman