To our dedicated HorrorBuzz fam: when it comes to real-life horror, we know you already know your Bundys from your Gacys (thanks, Netflix!). But we horror-hipsters love learning about scary true stories that you’ve probably never heard of. *sips $7 latte*
Here are our favorite terrifying true stories that even made us tremble in our boots.
ROBERT PICKTON: THE PIG FARMER KILLER
Just when you thought Canada was the last place for a wide-awake nightmare to occur, think again! In 2002, Robert Pickton was a seemingly kind and good-natured pig farmer who would lure sex workers to his farm, kill them, and feed their remains to his pigs. Pickton also reportedly ground up some of the victims into mincemeat, mixed them with pork (made from the pigs who had already eaten his victims), and sold the meat to the public, including police officers. If the reasoning behind this was the macabre punchline of feeding pigs to “pigs,” well then, maybe it was all worth it.
ON THE LAM: THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF ELISA LAM
Okay, you’ve probably heard of this one already, but it’s so creepy and recent that we needed to include it on our list.
In 2013, a young woman staying at the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles disappeared for several weeks. The last time she was seen alive was in creepy surveillance camera footage of her in an elevator, making strange body movements and interacting with someone who appeared to not exist. After the videos were leaked, guests at the hotel began notice a strange taste and color in the water supply, and after an investigation was launched, Lam’s body was finally found: decomposing in one of the water tanks on the roof. It is still unknown as to why she was behaving so strangely or how she even got INTO the tank in the first place.
THE OKLAHOMA GIRL SCOUT MURDERS
Camp Scott 1977: a Girl Sout camp counselor discovered that her belongings had been ransacked and the box of donuts she had brought to a training session had been stolen. But inside the empty box was a disturbing handwritten note, and whoever wrote it vowed to murder three of the campers. It was quickly dismissed as a prank.
Less than 2 months later, three Girl Scouts between the ages of 8 and 10 were sexually assaulted and murdered, their bodies left hundreds of yards from their tent at Camp Scott. Since then, the culprit has never been found, and the camp has been shut down ever since. I wonder how many of you are reading this article first thing in the morning.
THIS TIME, IT’S ACTUALLY BASED ON A TRUE STORY: THE KEDDIE MURDERS
One of our all-time favorite home invasion films is The Strangers, written and directed by Bryan Bertino, which opens with a vague “based on a true story” title. There are a number of inspirations behind this ball-retractingly horrifying film, including the Manson-Tate murders and actual events from Bertino’s childhood. Though it wasn’t listed as an influence, the previously-forgotten 1981 Keddie murders sparked conversations on the internet when theorizing the “true story” that The Strangers based itself off.
Deep in an eerily small town in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Sue Sharp and three of her children were found dead one morning by one of the surviving siblings, Sue’s 14-year old daughter. They had all been bludgeoned with a claw hammer and stabbed with a steak knife, and were all bound with medical tape and electrical cords. The murderers were never found.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AMY BRADLEY
Remember the bad guys in Taken? It’s not that surprising to know they exist. Unfortunately, in the sad case of Amy Bradley, there was no Liam Neeson to save the day.
In 1998, while cruising with her family on the way to Curacao, 23-year-old Amy Bradley mysteriously disappeared. To make matters worse, Royal Caribbean International refused to participate with Amy’s family in the investigation for fear of ruining their reputation.
Throughout the years, several people in Curacao have claimed to have seen her (even recognizing her tattoos), and photos have surfaced on adult websites that almost identically resemble her, implying that she was likely sold into sex slavery. Seriously, we hope we didn’t totally ruin your morning.
Alright, those were dark. But here are a few other stories we discovered that were just too weird to not mention.
EDGAR ALLAN POE: A REGULAR NOSTRADAMUS?
Edgar Allan Poe only published one novel throughout his career in 1838: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. In the book, the crew of a ship called Grampus finds themselves in a busted boat with no food or water, and in order to survive, they draw straws to see who will be sacrificed to provide meat for the others. Richard Parker, the cabin boy, is the unlucky recipient and is promptly stabbed to death.
Fast forward to 1884: a yacht named the Mignonette sank in a storm and the small crew managed to escape in a lifeboat. One of the crew members, a young man named RICHARD PARKER, nearly died from consuming sea water and his fellow survivors decided to sacrifice him for food, stabbing him with a penknife, and later devouring him.
Seriously how the hell did this happen?
CATFISHING: THE REAL DEADLIEST CATCH
In 2005, two 18-year-olds under the usernames “Talhotblond” and “MarineSniper” struck up a relationship online, and it seemed the two were deeply in love. There’s only one catch: well, two actually. MarineSniper was actually 46-year-old Thomas Montgomery, a married father of two, and Talhotblond was Mary Shielder, a mother who had been using her daughter Jessi’s pictures while communicating with Thomas, including sending pictures of her own daughter’s underwear. When Thomas’s identity was revealed, Mary began messaging Brian Barrett, one of his coworkers. Enraged, Thomas shot Brian three times with a military rifle. Moral of story: don’t lie on the internet.
IT’S JUST A DECORATION… RIGHT? RIGHT??
This is something that has actually happened several times over the course of several decades: after becoming accustomed to realistic Halloween decorations, neighborhood residences began mistaking real hanging suicides for some spooky ornamentation. Talk about bad taste!